This year, The Spiral Circle Pagans In Recovery rises being one of the new charities for the 2016 Midwest Witches’ Ball. Many in Michigan learned of this organization through the Universal Society of Ancient Ministry, Witches of Michigan, or through word of mouth. Those who have found it are making changes, and are agents of their own change.
The Spiral Circle is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience,strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from their addiction to self-destructive behaviors. – Preamble to Spiral Circle 13 Step Program Material
Why a need for a Pagan “step program of recovery”is the first question on some readers’ minds. There are many organizations doing great works out here. The pause that some take when hearing of this is understandable.
There are many reasons that many Pagans hesitate in getting the full benefit of the programs that are most ubiquitous for recovery. The main one is that they tend to emphasize a heavily Judeo-Christian base of belief and integration as part of the systems. For those who are no longer on that spiritual path or who have no ties to it in any way, this is a hindrance. Proselytizing can undermine the goal of the programs by injecting a feeling of being the “outsider” in a space where this is inappropriate.
Spiral Circle does not engage in this practice. There are no cliques, no causes, and no categories of belief. There is simply the space where healing happens. Their 13 Traditions’ stance of “Principles before Personalities” sets that bar, and rivets it in place.
Rebecca Sisler, a local Pagan business woman and community healer through this work, is the leader of the groups. She continues facilitating safe spaces for people to come together in trust and openness. Why does she do it? Because it works. In her own words, she shares this.
Spiral Circle has a wonderful core group. Some of them have been in other recovery meetings, and I have seen them really blossom from this program.
The Spiral Circle Program is based off the 12 steps of AA. It is designed for those people looking for a program of recovery that is non-Christian. I personally do not have an issue with the Christian dogma used in AA or NA. However it has been proven that Christian dogma is alive and well in both AA and NA meetings.
Up until now I have not spoken out about this program. I have heard a lot of people in recovery question this program, so now I am going to address the questions that I have heard. I have watched many people suffer even in recovery. I have seen people feel isolated and even shunned for their beliefs.
On the other side I have seen many people find recovery outside of 12 step programs. I have seen these people find their healing through Earth based spirituality. Some of these people have helped me work my program in profound ways
My heart bleeds for all those that NA and AA has not helped. Yes, there are people that these programs have not helped. And while listening I have heard two very disturbing facts.
One, there are those who feel excluded because their issue is not drugs and alcohol. They have been told that their issues are not as serious. Some of these people suffer from things like cutting, depression, eating disorders, the list goes one. And the truth is that drugs and alcohol are only a symptom of the disease. Self-destruction comes in many forms, and people are dying from self-destruction.
Two, even though these programs say a God of your understanding and a High Power, they are still based in “God” related thinking. For some people this creates an issue. Personally, I have heard many people say at meetings, “the God of my understand is Christ Our Lord”. Where this personally doesn’t detour me from meetings it does detour others. Furthermore, I know of people who have chosen to walk no-Christian paths that have been shunned at meetings for doing so. I don’t feel that people at meetings intend to come across this way however at times they do, and for some this is enough to railroad their recovery.
Perhaps there is a need for another 12-step recovery program that eliminates these issues? Personally, it is not my place to decide. It is for those seeking recovery to decide. And for those seeking out this new recovery program their reasons are personal. I have only spoke of what I have seen and experienced myself.
So, for those who still question the motive and validity of this program all I can say is that I come to you with an open heart. This program is not in completion with NA or AA. I can only hope that this program will save lives, help people find their true spiritual essence, and promote true recovery for those involved. I think that recovery in any form is a good thing and I believe whole heartily that all recovery programs can work together in carrying the message.
One primary difference in approach is the Pagan version of the Serenity Prayer. This goes into the personal toolbox of those who are working the steps. Other prayers based around Pagan spirituality make a big difference when you do the internal spiritual heavy lifting. They work toward making connections within the personal spirit.
To contact the program, you can look for them on Facebook at their group page, The Spiral Circle Pagans In Recovery
. Their program guide is available by visiting the Universal Society of Ancient Ministry’s resource page. There you can find the complete written form to decide if this is right for you.
This song featured in this article, Rootless
, dedicated to those who are making the healing journey, whether as healer of self or others. Ginger Doss and S.J. Tucker just hit it out of the park on this one. Through the bad times, and the good times, we SEE you. We are here. And we honor your strength.
Addendum: This article failed to mention that the research, development, and implementation of this entire program was done by Michigan’s own Gordon Ireland.