I believe it was Bill W who coined the expression "in the sunlight of the spirit".
Now spring is here, I am often out in that sunlight. I feel the warmth from the sun itself, but also the joy and contentment from living a spiritual life. In practical terms, I am often working in the gardens and grounds of Somerton Lodge, sawing down old trees, digging out old roots and planting new plants in their place. The hard work is, in a strange way, a pleasure, because it's replacing old stuff with new. Better plants in a lovely garden, growing in the sunlight.
The recovery analogy is clear to me. Building-up this garden is like the changes we make in recovery. We have to recognise the old unwanted stuff, and make a decision to remove it. And then we have to fill that space with something much better. Our lives, or indeed this garden, will not be good if we don't do the work. And then I tend the plants by pruning and training them to grow up the arches and fences, and water and feed them so they are healthy. But the biggest thing of all, the thing those plants need more than anything, is that sunlight. They, like us, will literally wither and die without it.
My spiritual life is a sense of warmth, contentment and security. Every now and then, things can get tough for a while, but I always know that the life-giving sunlight is still out there, waiting for me. What is so essential, for us all perhaps, is not to dwell in the dark for long – do the action required, then get back out into the garden.
We're very lucky at Somerton Lodge, we have a beautiful place here. And when people come for a break, whether it's to talk about recovery or visit the attractions on the Isle of Wight, they soon discover the garden, the plants – and the sunlight.