One of the gifts I receive from writing a weekly article is the opportunity to hear from folks around the country and around the world. The internet has offered me an abundance of friends in recovery who email their experiences, strengths, and hopes. Every now and then, a writer will share something that I in turn can share with you. In this case it is a wonderful book called “God is at the Meeting: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps” by Maurice C. Maury has been sober for 25 years and after retiring from a fast-paced corporate position, he spends his time taking AA meetings and the message to jails and prisons.
Going to the jails and prisons is such a phenomenal way to be of service but what Maury realized was that many of these incarcerated men had years of AA experience yet struggled with the idea of spiritual living. And, at best, these men were able to attend one meeting per week with little continuity when it came to the Steps.
Maury wanted a way to talk about alcoholism, the feelings of “less than” that all of us have experienced, the denial, the selfishness and the solution to all of this. The stories he tells are real but as he says the names are changed to protect “the guilty”. Mr. C speaks from the heart in a language all of us can understand.
When I first began recovery I read every book possible on the Twelve Steps. They were all helpful and all very much the same. “God is at the Meeting” goes into each step but Maury defines each step using his own experiences as a guide. In other words, he shows the reader how he lived the steps, how he felt about each one, the struggles and the “aha” moments. At the end of each chapter he asks a few questions that the reader can answer quickly or with thought but nonetheless, can answer clearly.
Throughout the book he talks about sponsorship and service because he strongly believes in both and because he is the embodiment of what these mean and how they contribute to sobriety. He also intersperses words from the Big Book but not so much that he parrots what we have read many times. His focus throughout the book is spirituality and the importance of it in an alcoholic’s recovery and in working the Steps.
The chapter I liked best was “AA in Jail and Prisons”. He describes the difference between jail and prison (which I now understand) and you can sense how emotionally connected he is to the inmates. He paints a very real picture and if you feel as I did, you will close the chapter with a ton of gratitude because you did many of the things that put these men in jail. You (we) just didn’t get caught.
Please add “God is at the Meeting: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps” (Amazon) to your library. It is an easy read and it a wonderful publication for someone early in recovery or years in recovery—and you don’t have to be an inmate. It would make a good addition to whatever you use for sponsorship because it makes each step real in the type of world we live in today.
It is truly a book written from the heart and soul of someone who is giving back graciously what he was so freely given. I am blessed to have met Maury and I believe after reading his book, you will feel as if you know him also.
Namaste’. May you walk your journey in peace and harmony.
“Like” Grateful Recovery on Facebook. Kathy L. is the author of “The Intervention Book: Stories and Solutions from Addicts, Professionals, and Families” (Conari Press)