Spiritual Experience, Spiritual Awakening, Personality Change, Awareness
Excerpts Prepared by Ken B. for Our “Conference-approved” Appendix
Occurrences of the Phrase “Spiritual Experience(s)” in the Fourth Edition of Alcoholics Anonymous
The phrase “spiritual awakening” did not occur in the first printing of the first edition of Alcoholics Anonymous (which had a copyright date of April 10, 1939). Even in the fourth edition of Alcoholics Anonymous (2001), the phrase “spiritual awakening” only occurs once up to page 164, and that is on page 60, where the phrase is included in the wording of Step 12: “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, . . .” Step 12 originally read, in the first printing of the first edition of Alcoholics Anonymous, “Having had a spiritual experience as the result of these steps, . . .” Here are the occurrences of the phrase “spiritual experience(s)” up through page 164 of the fourth edition and in “Appendix II: Spiritual Experience.”
P. XVI (“Foreword to Second Edition”): Six months earlier, the broker had been relieved of his drink obsession by a sudden spiritual experience, following a meeting with an alcoholic friend who had been in contact with the Oxford Groups of that day.
[This Foreword was not included in the first edition. The second edition of Alcoholics Anonymous was first printed in 1955.]
P. 25 (“There Is A Solution”): The great fact is just this, and nothing less: That we have had deep and effective spiritual experiences(*) which have revolutionized our whole attitude toward life, toward our fellows and toward God's universe.
P. 27 (“There Is A Solution”): This hope, however, was destroyed by the doctor's telling him that while his religious convictions were very good, in his case they did not spell the necessary vital spiritual experience.
P. 27 (“There Is A Solution”): Here and there, once in a while, alcoholics have had what are called vital spiritual experiences.
P. 29 (“There Is A Solution”): Surprisingly enough, we find such convictions no great obstacle to a spiritual experience.
P. 44 (“We Agnostics”): If that be the case, you may be suffering from an illness which only a spiritual experience will conquer.
P. 47 [“We Agnostics” (Note)] (*) Please be sure to read Appendix II on "Spiritual Experience."
[This footnote was not in the first printing of the first edition. It was added in a later printing of the first edition.]
P. 56 (“We Agnostics”): One night, when confined in a hospital, he was approached by an alcoholic who had known a spiritual experience.
[** P. 60 (“How It Works”) **] [Step 12 in the fourth edition reads: “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, . . .” Step 12 in the first edition (1939), found on page 72, read: “Having had a spiritual experience as the result of these steps, . . .” The phrase “spiritual experience” was changed to “spiritual awakening” in the second printing of the first edition. “Appendix II: Spiritual Experience” and footnotes on pages 35, 38, and 72 stating “see Appendix II” were also added in the second printing of the first edition. A footnote on page 59 stating “Please See Appendix II” was added in the fourth printing of the first edition. Source: “Big Book Changes”: http://silkworth.net/bb_changes/BB-Changes-02.pdf ; accessed 8/14/12]
P. 66 (“How It Works”): But with the alcoholic, whose hope is the maintenance and growth of a spiritual experience, this business of resentment is infinitely grave.
P. 75 (“Into Action”): We may have had certain spiritual beliefs, but now we begin to have a spiritual experience.
P. 79 (“Into Action”): Reminding ourselves that we have decided to go to any lengths to find a spiritual experience, we ask that we be given strength and direction to do the right thing, no matter what the personal consequences may be.
P. 119 (“To Wives”): Your husband will be the first to say it was your devotion and care which brought him to the point where he could have a spiritual experience.
P. 124 (“The Family Afterward”): In the first flush of spiritual experience they forgave each other and drew closer together.
P. 128 (“The Family Afterward”): Assume on the other hand that father has, at the outset, a stirring spiritual experience.
P. 130 (“The Family Afterward”): We have found nothing incompatible between a powerful spiritual experience and a life of sane and happy usefulness.
P. 131 (“The Family Afterward”): Being possessed of a spiritual experience, the alcoholic will find he has much in common with these people, though he may differ with them on many matters.
P. 155 (“A Vision for You”): A spiritual experience, he conceded, was absolutely necessary, but the price seemed high upon the basis suggested.
P. 157 (“A Vision for You”): The two friends spoke of their spiritual experience and told him about the course of action they carried out.
P. 158 (“A Vision for You”): He had begun to have a spiritual experience.
P. 567 [(569), Appendix II]: The terms "spiritual experience" and "spiritual awakening" are used many times in this book which, upon careful reading, shows that the personality change sufficient to bring about recovery from alcoholism has manifested itself among us in many different forms.
[The facts: (a) The phrase “spiritual awakening” did not occur in the first printing of the first edition. (b) The phrase “spiritual awakening” first appeared in the Big Book in the second printing of the first edition, when the phrase “spiritual awakening” was substituted for “spiritual experience” in Step 12, and “Appendix II: Spiritual Experience” (with its two occurrences of the phrase) was added.]
P. 568 [(570), Appendix II): Most of us think this awareness of a Power greater than ourselves is the essence of spiritual experience.
[As stated above, “Appendix II: Spiritual Experience” was added to Alcoholics Anonymous in the second printing of the first edition.]