Stepping from the Bridge of Reason to the Shore of Faith…

1 father sonI am no different than my father, we were both addicted to sugar at times in our lives. His came in the form of alcohol. Mine came in the form of food and pure sugar itself. Finding his strength in God, Dad stopped drinking for the last 25 years of his life. I remember his free spirit which would occasionally break out in wordy expression singing an Al-le-lu-ia unexpectedly. I am not an alcoholic. I am a compulsive overeater and a sugar addict. I have been in recovery for nearly four years and abstinent for the last three years though there are still times that I abuse sugar and compulsively eat. Sugar slips for me are a mistake. I see them today as a Godsend to remind me that I have much work to do addressing my shortcoming and character defects. I now know deep in my heart and soul that I am not a mistake of any kind. However, my long term fate is yet to be determined. I hope to live a long life, at least to the age of 90, with the good health. God willing I am entirely ready, willing and humbling pray for that opportunity!

2The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous speaks to the need for a spiritual awakening, a spiritual experience and a spiritual commitment and solution through abstinence and working the Twelve Steps. Stepping from the Bridge of Reason to the Shore of Faith is how they put it in Chapter 4 (see excerpts below).

For me, as a compulsive overeater and sugar addict, there was and is only one bridge to take to the faithful landing needed to experience a life of peace, joy and freedom—what I refer to as the Ultimate Love. That bridge was abstinence from sugar, binge foods and compulsive eating behaviors and working the Twelve Steps as suggested by Overeaters Anonymous. For me, abstinence and working the steps were intertwined and abstinence did not come until, as promised it came in, finishing Step 9—Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. My abstinence is of the perfectly imperfect variety, so is my working the Steps and so am I.

3I tried to cross many bridges to freedom in my life, some with short term success, some were at best, looking back, dismal failures on my part. I could easily look upstream and see the big beautiful bridge of self-illusionment, diets, exercise, mind games and limited spiritual growth. That bridge always seemed to collapse when I successfully lost the weight I intended to lose. I didn’t realize God was telling me to go deeper, be more thorough and be more honest with myself, Him and others. Perfection, control and a judgmental way of thinking, being and living is not the way to the Shore of Faith and beyond to a meaningful life based in peace, joy and freedom.

4I can easily look the other way downstream to the tidal marshes and outright swamps that I tried to pass through in life when I thought I was growing but in reality I was going in circles downward into the endless pit of depression, self-pity and not knowing myself or God at all. Food and sugar led me there and I stupidly followed thinking I deserved it or simply denied the truth of my addiction to myself.

5For me, as a compulsive overeater and sugar addict, there was and is only one bridge to take to the faithful landing needed to experience a life of peace, joy and freedom—what I refer to as the Ultimate Love. That bridge was abstinence from sugar, binge foods and compulsive eating behaviors and working the Twelve Steps as suggested by Overeaters Anonymous.

As I left the Island of Isolation in my life I could apply logic and reason as they outlined in the Big Book to come to an understanding of the reality of faith in my life. How to step from the Bridge of Reason to the Shore of Faith (see Chapter 4 excerpts below) is clearly and reasonably demonstrated. As an Adult Child of an Alcoholic (ACA) and a trained engineer at one time in my life I like programs and feel comfortable having a program lead me to a programmatic solution. But in reality that solution is not a program at all. It is a completely free way of looking at life anew each day I wake up and open my eyes. Yes, there are patterns in our lives but we also connected the dots that in a universal perspective were never connected. But we can unconnect what we connected for all the right reasons way back when—such as surviving periods in our lives that just needed to be survived.

6Leaving the Island of Isolation and stepping from the Bridge of Reason to the Shore of Faith am I… like I use to sing in grade school No Man is an Island… come join me…

Have a TROML Day today!

Your Personal Revivalist,

Anonymous Andy



Excerpts from Chapter 4, We Agnostics, of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous (Pages 44-57).

8You may be suffering from an illness which only a spiritual experience will conquer… To one who feels he is an atheist or agnostic such an experience seems impossible… To be doomed to an alcoholic death or to live on a spiritual basis are not always easy alternatives to face… But it isn’t so difficult. About half of our original fellowship were of exactly that type (atheist or agnostic)… After a while we had to face the fact that we must find a spiritual basis of life—or else… Our experience shows that you need not be disconcerted. If a mere code of morals or  better philosophy of life were sufficient to overcome alcoholism, many of us would have recovered long ago… Our human resources, as marshaled by the will, were not sufficient; they failed utterly. Lack of power, that was our dilemma. We had to find a power by which we could live, and it had to be a Power greater than ourselves...

9We have written a book which we believe to be spiritual as well as moral. And it means, of course, that we are going to talk about God. Here the difficulty arises with agnostics… For we have re-opened a subject which our man thought he had neatly evaded or entirely ignored. We know how he feels. We have shared his honest doubt and prejudice. Some of us have been violently anti-religious… With that rejection we imagined we had abandoned the God idea entirely. We were bothered with the thought that faith and dependence upon a Power beyond ourselves was somewhat weak, even cowardly. We looked upon this world of warring individuals, warring theological systems, and inexplicable calamity, with deep skepticism

11We found that as soon as we were able to lay aside prejudice and express even a willingness to believe in a Power greater than ourselves, we commenced to get results, even though it was impossible for any of us to fully define or comprehend that Power, which is God… Much to our relief we did not need to consider another’s conception of God… As soon as we admitted the possible existence… we began to be possessed of a new sense of power and direction, provided we took other simple steps (The Twelve Steps)…  We found that God does not make too hard terms with those who seek Him. To us, the Realm of Spirit is broad, roomy, all inclusive; never exclusive or forbidding to those who earnestly seek. It is open, we believe, to all men (and women).

13When, therefore, we speak to you of God, we mean your own conception of God… Do not let any prejudice (contempt prior to investigation) you may have against spiritual terms deter you from honestly asking yourself what they mean to you… but if we wished to grow we had to begin somewhere. So we used our own conception, however limited it was.

14We needed to ask ourselves but one short question. “Do I now believe, or am I even willing to believe, that there is a Power greater than myself?” As soon as a man can say that he does believe, or is willing to believe, we emphatically assure him that he is on his way. It has been repeatedly proven among us that upon this simple cornerstone a wonderfully effective spiritual structure can be built. (From Appendix II, Page 567: The terms “spiritual experience” and “spiritual awakening”… shows that “the personality change” sufficient to bring about recovery from alcoholism” has manifested itself among us in many different forms.)

We often found ourselves handicapped by obstinacy, sensitiveness, and unreasoning prejudice. Faced with alcoholic destruction, we soon became open minded on spiritual matters… In this respect alcohol was a great persuader. It finally beat us into a state of reasonableness.

16The reader may still ask why he should believe in a Power greater than himself… The twentieth century readily accepts theories of all kinds, provided they are firmly grounded in fact. We have numerous theories, for example, about electricity. Why this acceptance? Simply because it is impossible to explain what we see, feel, direct, and use, without a reasonable assumption as a starting point.

Everyone nowadays (1939), believes in scores of assumption for which there is good evidence, but no visual proof. And does not science demonstrate that visual proof is the weakest proof? It is being constantly revealed, as mankind studies the material world, that outward appearances are not inward reality at all. The prosaic steel girder is a mass of electrons whirling around each other at incredible speed. These tiny bodies are governed by precise laws, and these laws hold true throughout the material world. Science tells us so. We have no reason to doubt it.

17We read wordy books and indulge in windy arguments, thinking we believe this universe needs no God to explain it. Were our contentions true, it would follow that life originated out of nothing, means nothing, and proceeds nowhere. Instead of regarding ourselves as intelligent agents, spearheads of God’s ever advancing Creation, we agnostics and atheists chose to believe that our human intelligence was the last word, the alpha and the omega, the beginning and end of all. Rather vain of us, wasn’t it?

We, who have traveled this dubious path, beg you to lay aside prejudice, even against organized religion… those faiths have given purpose and direction to millions. People of faith have a logical idea of what life is all about… many spiritually-minded persons of all races, colors, and creeds were demonstrating a degree of stability, happiness and usefulness which we should have sought ourselves... We talked of tolerance, while we were intolerant ourselves… We never gave the spiritual side of life a fair hearing… They (approaches and conceives of the Power which is greater) are questions for each individual to settle for himself.

18Every one of them has gained access to, and believes in, a Power greater than himself. This Power has in each case accomplished the miraculous, the humanly impossible…there has been a revolutionary change in the way of living and thinking… they found that a new power, peace, happiness, and sense of direction flowed into them… This happened soon after they wholeheartedly met a few simple requirements… Leaving aside the drink question, they tell why living was so unsatisfactory. They show how the change came over them. When many hundreds of people are able to say that the consciousness of the Presence of God is today the most important fact of their lives, they present a powerful reason why one should have faith.

20This world of ours has made more material progress in the last century than in all the millenniums which went before. Almost everyone knows the reason…. The spirit of modern scientific inquiry, research and invention was almost unknown (in ancient times)… men’s minds were fettered by superstition, tradition, and all sorts of fixed ideas… Are not some of us just as biased and unreasonable about the realm of the spirit as were the ancients about the realm of the material? …but in most fields our generation has witnessed complete liberation of our thinking… Is not our age characterized by the ease by which we discard old ideas for new, by the complete readiness with which we throw away the theory or gadget which does not work for something new which does?

22We had to ask ourselves why we shouldn’t apply to our human problems this same readiness to change our point of view… Our ideas did not work. But the God idea did. We agnostics and atheists were sticking to the idea that self-sufficiency would solve our problems… others showed us “God-sufficiency” worked for them… Logic is great stuff. We liked it. We still like it. It is not by chance we were given the power to reason, to examine the evidence of our senses, and to draw conclusions…. We had to fearlessly face the proposition that either God is everything or else He is nothing. God either is, or He isn’t. What was our choice going to be?

Arrived at this point, we were squarely confronted with the question of faith. We couldn’t duck the issue. Some of us had already walked far over the Bridge of Reason toward the desired shore of faith. The outlines and promise of the New Land had brought luster to tired eyes and fresh courage to flagging spirits. Friendly hands had stretched out in welcome. We were grateful that Reason had brought us so far. But somehow, we couldn’t quite step ashore. Perhaps we had been leaning too heavily on Reason that last mile and we did not like to lose our support.

21That was natural, but let us think a little more closely… Yes we had been faithful, abjectly faithful to the God of Reason. So, in one way or another, we discovered that faith had been involved all the time! We found, too, that we had been worshippers. Had we not variously worshipped people, sentiment, things, money, and ourselves? And then, with a better motive, had we not worshipfully beheld the sunset, the sea, or a flower? Who of us had not loved something or somebody? How much did these feelings, these loves, these worships, have to do with pure reason? Little of nothing, we saw at last… Did not these feelings, after all, determine the course of our existence? It was impossible to say we had no capacity for faith, love, or worship. In one form or another we had been living by faith and little else.

23Imagine life without faith! Were nothing left but pure reason, it wouldn’t be life… Hence we saw that reason isn’t everything… we had been seeing… a spiritual liberation from this world, people who rose above their problems… we had seen spiritual release… Actually we were fooling ourselves, for deep down in every man, woman, and child, is the fundamental idea of God… For faith in a Power greater than ourselves, and miraculous demonstrations of that power in human lives, are facts as old as man himself.

We finally saw that faith in some kind of God was a part of our make-up... Sometimes we had to search fearlessly, but He was there. He was as much a fact as we were. We found the Great Reality deep down within us. In the last analysis it is only there that He may be found. It was so with us.

If our testimony helps sweep away prejudice, enables you to think honestly, encourages you to search diligently within yourself, then, if you wish, you can join us on the Broad Highway. With this attitude you cannot fail. The consciousness of your belief is sure to come to you.

In this book you will read the experience of a man who thought he was an atheist (Our Southern Friend, Page 208)… Our friend was a minister’s son… he became rebellious at what he thought an overdose of religious education…. Post-war disillusionment, ever more serious alcoholism, impending mental and physical collapse, brought him to the point of self-destruction…

25He was approached by an alcoholic who had known a spiritual experience…

“If there is a God, he certainly hasn’t done anything for me!”

“Is it possible that all the religious people I have known are wrong?”

“Who are you to say there is no God?”

This man recounts that he tumbled out of bed to his knees. In a few seconds he was overwhelmed by a conviction of the Presence of God… The barriers he had built through the years were swept away. He stood in the Presence of Infinite Power and Love. He had stepped from the Bridge of Reason to the Shore of Faith. For the first time, he lived in conscious companionship with his Creator.

His alcoholic problem was taken away. That very night, years ago, it disappeared. Save for a few brief moments of temptation the thought of drink has never returned; and at such times a great revulsion has risen up in him. Seemingly he could not drink even if he would. God had restored his sanity.

26What is this but a miracle of healing? Yet its elements are simple. Circumstances made him willing to believe. He humbly offered himself to his Maker—then he knew.

Even so has God restored us all to our right minds. To this man, the revelation was sudden. Some of us grow into it more slowly. But HE has come to all who have honestly sought Him.


When we drew near to Him He disclosed Himself to us!

Have a TROML Day today!

Your Personal Revivalist,

Anonymous Andy

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