GOD CLIMBS THE 12 STEPS

GOD CLIMBS THE 12 STEPS November 16, 2018

The last piece in this series (#10), was titled, “America’s Trump Addiction, Withdrawal & Recovery.” It illustrated how people (and even churches and other institutions) can behave like addictive family systems. Today, I pick up on where I left off before being diverted into Trumpland.

I am acutely aware that not even AA has been terribly successful in saving the lives of addicts. The vast majority of people who come to AA do not stay sober for even one year. As long as those statistics remain true, I will continue to ponder and investigate ways in which more people could be served and saved by AA, similar fellowships, and the church. I believe that Bill W. would do the same.

Bill W. did not have disdain for God. But it is fact that Bill W. did not part with the Oxford Group to establish a church. Some of the reasons are part of AA history and have been detailed in prior posts in this series, including the statement that “AA is not allied with any politics, denomination, organization or institution and does not endorse or oppose any causes. And yet, despite decidedly not forming a church, God “as we understand Him” is mentioned in six of the twelve steps. Here they are:

Step 2: Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
Step 3: Made a decision to turn or will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
Step 5: Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
Step 6: Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
Step 7: Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
Step 11: Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

Referencing language common to religious institutions and traditions, the Big Book od AA states, “We are not saints. The point is that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines. The principles we have set down are guides to progress. We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection. Our description of the alcoholic, the chapter to the agnostic, and our spiritual adventures before and after make clear three pertinent ideas:

(1) That we were alcoholic and could not manage our own lives.
(2) That probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism.
(3) That God could and would if He were sought.

It is clear the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous has a primary purpose of helping people to achieve sobriety. It is equally clear the way in which attempt to do that is to connect, or re-connect, people with their Higher Power, or God, however and whoever you understand God to be.

Please ask your friends and colleagues to subscribe to this blog by entering their email address in the upper right corner of this page. Your comments may be incorporation into future posts. Please read the six posts published prior to this one in this series called “Spirituality Within Addiction & Recovery.”

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  • Patrick

    “The vast majority of people who come to AA do not stay sober for even one year. As long as those statistics remain true, I will continue to ponder and investigate ways in which more people could be served and saved by AA, similar fellowships, and the church.”
    What 12 step programs, in my case Narcotics Anonymous, have shown me is that “they” are not responsible for keeping me clean; I am! I take responsibility for my recovery and I participate in NA meetings, have a home group, have a sponsor, work the steps, etc. Personal responsibility is a key part of the message that must be carried to others.

  • Dwight Wolter

    Good for you, Patrick! Another part of recovery stressed by groups is to have a commitment meaning service beyond self, such as service to your home group or the fellowship beyond the local level. I agree that personal responsibility is indeed a key part of the message that must be carried to others as you stated. Part of my personal responsibility, as I stressed in my article, is to “ponder and investigate ways in which more people could be served.” Bill W. was always looking for ways to improve and expand the reach of recovery into the darkness that is addiction on a rampage. And so am I. Keep up the good work, Patrick, and best wishes and prayers for your continuing recovery.