An Answer for Christians in A.A. Today
How to Deal with Obstructive Individuals Misconstruing A.A. Principles
By Dick B.
© 2012 Anonymous. All rights reserved
The Incessant Chatter of Ill-Informed and Even Well-Intentioned Fellow Drunks Who Seem to Have Inadequate Knowledge of A.A.’s Roots and of A.A.’s Own Literature
Day after day, we talk on the phone, exchange emails, and converse at meetings and conferences with Christians who appreciate their benefits from Alcoholics Anonymous and also love the Lord Jesus Christ. Sometimes they are parents and relatives of alcoholics and addicts. Sometimes they are pastors and recovery pastors. Sometimes they are AAs, NAs, Al-Anons, and other varieties of 12-Steppers. More often than not they are either long-clean and sober old-timers, or newcomers fresh out of jail or treatment.
Then, they let out a peep that they love the Lord.
Or they say they are praying to their Creator in the name of Jesus Christ.
Or they mention that they are reading the Bible daily.
The result? Often, some authoritarian person who has no more governance, or control, or special privilege than any other drunk or drug addict tells them they cannot do any of these things because they are “not conference-approved;” or they violate the Twelve Traditions; or they are “outside issues;” or that they are contrary to A.A. because A.A. is supposedly “spiritual, but not religious;” or that A.A. worships a “higher power” instead of God.
The statements are wrong. In the more jocular days of my early sobriety, we might have said that such behavior is just the “ism” in alcoholism still showing through. The statements are nonsense. And they obstruct many AAs in their efforts to rely on Almighty God for help as did the founders and original pioneers of A.A.
Does the aggrieved person just sit quietly in meetings and suffer? Does he start an argument with some unbeliever? Does he leave the meeting? Does he start a new meeting? Does he leave A.A.? Does he condemn A.A. or develop hostility to 12-Step programs? Does he try some other route which has a far lower success rate than that of the original A.A. “Christian fellowship” program?
He could read the diatribes of a few Christian writers who say A.A. is “not of the Lord.” He could read the distributions of a few Christian writers (usually the same ones) that A.A. is “psychoheresy.” He could read the ad hominem attempts to lay all of A.A.’s supposed shortcomings on the alleged adultery, LSD use, Freemasonry, New Thought, and spiritualism of one or both of A.A.’s cofounders. He could! But he doesn’t need to.
The Best Available Answer I Know
Get the facts.
Learn A.A.’s real history.
Study reliable and accurate “conference-approved” literature that cites sources and authority.
Ignore the shibboleths that A.A. is allegedly “spiritual, but not religious;” that it is about “not-god-ness,” and not about the Creator – Almighty God; that A.A. worships some “higher power” that can be a tree or a rock or a light bulb;” and that you can choose your own conception of just any old “god;” and that A.A. supposedly has a non-Christian God.
Discard the nonsense and decide whether you want God’s help or not. Decide if you agree with A.A.’s own literature which says: “Be quick to see where religious people are right. Make use of what they offer.” (Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., 87)
Today’s Formula for Christians in Recovery,
for Christians in A.A., and for Christian Recovery Leaders
• Alcoholics Anonymous was founded and grounded on a long line of pre-A.A. Christian organizations and individual helping drunks to get well by relying on God and coming to Him through His Son Jesus Christ. They include: (1) The great evangelists like Dwight L. Moody, Ira Sankey, H. M. Moore, Allen Folger, F. B. Meyer, and Billy Sunday; (2) The Young Men’s Christian Association workers of the 1800’s; (3) The Salvation Army; (4) Gospel Rescue Missions; and (5) the United Society of Christian Endeavor. All had followers numbering in the hundreds of thousands.
• Alcoholics Anonymous founders and pioneers like Bill Wilson, Dr. Bob Smith, Ebby Thacher, Dr. William Silkworth, Rowland Hazard, and Rev. Samuel M. Shoemaker were all devoted Christians; born and raised as Christians; steeped in Christian principles and practices and Bible study and prayer; and applied their Christian training in the positive help they passed along to thousands of recovered drunks they helped.
• The early A.A. biblical solution is spelled out in A.A.’s own conference-approved literature like DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers and The Co-Founders of Alcoholics Anonymous: Biographical Sketches, Their Last Major Talks. And in the newly conference-approved, but long-discarded, personal stories of the pioneers in the first edition of A.A.’s own Big Book (as seen in the A.A. General Service Conference-approved book, Experience, Strength & Hope).
• A Christian today who wants to remain a practicing Christian in a 12 Step Fellowship needs to heed the oft-uttered statement of old-timer A.A. Clarence Snyder: “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for almost anything.” And also the well-known words of Jesus Christ in John 8:31-32: “. . . If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples
indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
Suggested Authoritative Reading
By Dick B. and Ken B.:
Bill W. and Dr. Bob, the Green Mountain Boys of Vermont: The Roots of Early A.A.s Original Program.
God, His Son Jesus Christ & the Bible in Early A.A.: The Long-Overlooked Personal Stories in the First Edition of Alcoholics Anonymous
Stick with the Winners! How to Conduct More Effective 12-Step Recovery Meetings Using Conference-Approved Literature: A Dick B. Guide for Christian Leaders and Workers in the Recovery Arena