A Word About Spirituality
*It is important to understand the use of the word spirituality in the context that Formers Anonymous (FA) uses it. Many formers, be it because of criminal lifestyles and tactics or pure ideological differences have rejected any program or effort having to do with religion, God or a higher power of any religious sort. We have used that as a basis or an excuse for some, not to participate in traditional self-help programs. FA wants to remove barriers for as many Formers as possible. The founder of Formers Anonymous, also a Former, understands this barrier and conflict.
*We do not seek to be exclusive, nor to marginalize, discriminate or reject anyone based on any sort of extenuating circumstance be it gender, type of crime or drug use, belief, sexual preference or identity, age, size, whether religious or non-religious including atheism or any other sort of belief. This program is not a religious based program, nor is the word spirituality a code word for Christianity or any other form of religion. In the purest sense and intent it simply means the “people, places or things” that connect you to this world in a meaningful way that make change and recovery worth pursuing. When we value having an open mind the idea of maintaining a process or journey of self discovery becomes appealing. It may awaken a sense of urgency in us to embrace the challenge of reaching beyond our current limits.
FA describes the use of the word spirituality as the connection we all feel through the most important connections we all have to people, places and things that make this life worth living in even the smallest amounts. In many of our personal lives we have taken terrible steps, through horrific lengths to eliminate many of our most important connections to people, places and things through addictive and criminal lifestyles. We have actively and persistently worked on severing ourselves from those relationships, which are most critical for our wellbeing and the wellbeing of others. These relationships must be reestablished in any way possible. For many formers in a recovery program establishing connections, which are prosocial and transparent in nature, are a critical step in maintaining and modeling change.
Through our addictive and destructive street lives we have burnt many bridges. Through recovery we seek to rebuild or reconnect those necessary inroads and to build as many new ones with Family, Friends, Community, and Self. Typically these connections can be realized when a person practices spiritual principles such as; transparency, honesty, integrity, courage, compassion, forgiveness, reconciliation, fortitude, perseverance, kindness, caring, empathy, respect, open-mindedness, etc.
*Spirituality then means to us feeling connected to people, places and things that are most important and meaningful to us. This can mean for some God, Church or the people in it but it doesn’t have to mean this at all; to each their own. At the very least it must embrace the effort of creating and maintaining some sort of moral integrity and modeling transparency. For this group spirituality is a way of life that is not reliant upon or restricted to being religious, but honors the value of humanity in all people through practice of thoughtfully selected spiritual principles. Ultimately it embraces the belief that there is so much more to gain in life when we connect to these meaningful relationships in an intimate way.
On another level for many of us it can also mean family, children, mentor, or a special place like a certain spot at the lake, or in the woods, or a mountain, or the place you go that reminds you of others like a cemetery or a memorial. It can be that feeling you get when you see a beautiful sunset or a tornado. It’s the feeling you get when you have had a near death experience and just for a second you were glad you didn’t die. It can be a watch, a ring or a picture that reminds you of a connection to someone or something else. Whatever symbol it is it represents the connection that holds you to this place in a meaningful way.
As you can see it does not have to be a god or a person. As many of us may be dealing with issues with these things that are still too fresh to overcome your connection may come from a place or and object. The genius about this is you never feel alone because the connections are always with you, in you, and around you. *Above all else…to each their own.