The Holy Ghost Tribe is part of the global Hungry Ghosts Anonymous organization and are based at Lifeguard Tower 7 in Huntington Beach, California. They hold their gatherings every morning at eight o’clock, and have a bonfire ceremony every Saturday at sunset to celebrate those who have reached milestones in their recovery.
There are Hungry Ghost gatherings for those suffering from a multitude of addictions, such as food, sex, codependent relationships, gambling, even compulsive hoarders, but the one at Tower 7 is for those the program was originally created for, alcoholics and addicts of the hopeless variety. They accept the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous as their Bible, and follow the twelve steps of the program, but take it further, insisting that unless the twelve steps lead to Twelve Awakenings, the hoped-for progress is not being made.
As ghosts, they look to the Holy Ghost as their Higher Power, and are militant about their recovery, taking extraordinary measures to keep themselves honest and on the right path. If other programs shoot for the moon, they shoot for the moons of Jupiter.
Like everyone who finds the circle, I’d been deceiving myself about the severity of my condition, not even aware that I was a hungry ghost until a seizure transported me to the Middle Plane. My way of doing things had run straight into a brick wall. My will had led to complete and utter ruin. If I didn’t find a new way of doing things, and fast, I was well on my way to a pathetic end, and quite possibly a harrowing afterlife, where the misery would continue tenfold.
By the time I found the Tribe, I was desperate for a solution. My eyes, ears, and heart, had been pried wide open. If anyone had asked me to jump, I would’ve jumped over the pier
Fortunately, I managed to avoid another seizure, detoxing on my own. By the end of the week, I still hadn’t slept much, but instead of feeling sketchy and fearful, had grown exultant. As I sat in the sand cross-legged at the gathering one morning, the sun came out and the light of it began pouring into my skull, like water into a bowl. I smiled and nodded at everyone, brimming over with generosity and mirth.
Later that afternoon, I repeated what I’d done the day before, plunging into the ocean for an icy-cold cleansing of the senses, then walking along the shoreline, down to the river jetties and back. On my return, the sun was sunken low in the sky, suspended like a golden mandala. It was burning in the center of my forehead when my eyes were open, and burning there when I shut them.
In that moment, I felt the presence of the Holy Ghost upon me, and was filled with a warm rush of serenity and joy. In less than a week, I’d gone from terror to euphoria. At that rate, how good were things likely to get?