Sharing in A.A. How YOU Established Your Relationship with God
A Broad Highway of Clutter about Spirituality and Higher powers
A Broad Highway of Diverse A.A. Views and Freedom to Speak of Individual Experience
Copyright 2013 Anonymous All rights reserved
The Importance of Alcoholics Anonymous and God
Alcoholics Anonymous served God, those around me, and me just fine. It still does. At age 87, as an active, recovered AA, Christian, and historian, I devote at least 6 to8 hours a day to speaking personally or exchanging emails and phone calls with both the afflicted alcoholics and addicts. And with those affected by the ravages of addiction on the highways, in courts and prisons, in government expenditures, in hospitals, in codependency meetings, in divorce and bankruptcy proceedings, in homeless situations, in financial ruin, and in joblessness and severe mental depression. Service to the afflicted and the affected has been a lifesaver and a joy for me personally and, I’m sure, for many of the very ill alcoholics with whom I have worked.
Many with whom I communicate tell me almost daily about how their A.A. or 12-Step group has been stricken from listings, how they have been insulted and reproved in meetings for mentioning God or the Bible or Jesus Christ, and how they are told they can’t read or discuss anything but “Conference-approved” literature in A.A. meetings. That has happened to me also.
But that situation creates weakness in an organization such as A.A.–founded to help seemingly hopeless, medically incurable, real alcoholics who have hit their own bottom or reached the end of the road. These afflicted drunks did not and do not come to A.A. to find solace and worship in a church. They do not come to study Christian literature. They do not come to carry the good news of the Gospel. And they do not come expecting to be repressed—something their illness has already done aplenty.
The Gold Standard of A.A. – Even Today
The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous is meant to be suggestive only. Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., 164. It was written to show others precisely how other suffering alcoholics have recovered. Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., xiii. The entire book has become the basic text for the A.A. Society. Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., xi. A prospect is to be reminded “that his recovery is not dependent upon people. It is dependent upon his relationship with God.” Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., 99-100.
The evidentiary testimonies which comprise the larger portion of the book are described as follows:
Each individual, in the personal stories, describes in his own language and from his own point of view the way he established his relationship with God. These give a fair cross section of our membership and a clear-cut idea of what has actually happened in their lives. Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., 29.
So the entire Big Book, including the personal stories, is said to provide clear-cut directions showing how the drunks recovered. The earlier portions are followed by forty-two personal experiences. Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., 29.
Two of the First Three AAs Attested that the Lord had Cured Them and the Third called These Testimonies “The Golden Text of A.A.”
The following appears on page 191 of the 4th edition:
Bill D. [AA Number 3 said:] It would be hard to estimate how much A.A. has done for me. I really wanted the program, and I wanted to go along with it. I noticed that the others seemed to have such a release, a happiness, a something I thought a person should have. I was trying to find the answer. . .
Bill [Wilson] looked across at my wife and said to her, “Henrietta, the Lord has been so wonderful to me, curing me of this terrible disease, that I just want to keep talking about it and telling people.
Bill D. said: I thought, I think I have the answer. Bill was very, very grateful that he had been released from this terrible thing and he had given God the credit for having done it, and he’s so grateful about it he wants to tell other people about it. That sentence, “The Lord has been so wonderful to me, curing me of this terrible disease, that I just want to keep telling people about it,” has been a sort of golden text for the A.A. program and for me.
Writing on page 135 of the 4th edition, Bill Wilson wrote the following about the A.A. member and what his family can see has happened:
Though he is now a most effective member of Alcoholics Anonymous, he still smokes and drinks coffee, but neither his wife nor anyone else stands in judgment. She sees she was wrong to make a burning issue out of such a matter when his more serious ailments were being rapidly cured.
For similar statements about cure, see Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., 118, 180.
A.A. Number Two—Dr. Bob, a Cofounder—Underscored This with the Following Statement on page 181 of the 4th Edition:
If you think you are an atheist, an agnostic, a skeptic, or have any other form of intellectual pride which keeps you from accepting what is in this book, I feel sorry for you. . . .
Your Heavenly Father will never let you down!
Though Originally a Christian Fellowship in Akron, A.A. Today Is Not Monolithic: The Very Changes in the Composition and Views of Some Members in 1939, Coupled with the “Broad Highway” and “Realm of Sprit” Which Wilson Fancifully Described as “Broad,, Roomy, All inclusive; Never Exclusive or Forbidding to Those Who Earnestly Seek. . . Open to All Men.” These Changes Could Have Enhanced Help and Tolerance.
See Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., 46, 55, 75.
For better or for worse, I entered the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous in April, 1986. The adventure was not only better. It led me to sobriety and a cure of all my maladies in the hands of Almighty God.
Was there diversity at that time in religious and irreligious viewpoints of many in the rooms? There certainly was!
Did I find the “Broad Highway?” Though I am not keen on the phrase, I believe the “open to all men” thesis might justify the “broad” language.
Was A.A. all inclusive? I never saw anyone barred from the doors or evicted from the rooms.
Was it “exclusive?” Was it “forbidding?” Not that I could see in my early bewildered, sick, frightened, shaky, and forgetful days. But that viewpoint of mind began to learn A.A. reality
But! As the years marched on without break – almost 27 of them now—I saw an immense criticism of the Bible, of Jesus, and even of God. I saw groups stricken from meeting lists because they studied the Bible, even when they read “New Thought” literature. I saw groups denied registration by the New York world offices because the group used the word “Bible” in their name. I saw Christian speakers insulted as they shared their experience, strength, and hope that came from “finding” God in the program or that came from informed “reliance” on, and “trust” in God. So did many, some of whom have listed themselves as participants in International Christian Recovery Coalition http://www.ChristianRecoveryCoalition.com
I don’t think AA was uniform in its rejection of Christian and Biblical reading, speaking, and belief. Those activities dominated early A.A. in Akron and in Cleveland and in many other areas. I do know that criticism of those who did these things who intimidated and, in many cases, caused many to leave the Society—repulsed by the suppression, censorship, rigidity, and governance which were neither authorized nor characteristic of the “Live and Let Live” idea of A.A. Nor authorized nor characteristic of the love and tolerance and love and service slogans that were burned into the hearts of listeners at all kinds of meetings.
Alcoholics Anonymous Is Not the Problem. Intolerance and Ignorance Feed Condemnation By AAs and Among AAs Who Would Otherwise Be Busy Helping Others Get Well
Today, born again Christians, and adherents of other religions and beliefs and even atheism and unbelief are free as ever to read what they like, share what they like, help whom they like, write what they like and form whatever group or meeting they like.
There are no “bosses” or “governors” or “rulers” or “police” in A.A. Nobody controls A.A. And nobody controls AAs.
And Christians and others in A.A. today need to know their Big Book, know their Traditions, know their history, and know their rights and privileges. Fortunately, this is becoming common among those thankful to God and His Son, thankful for the Bible, and thankful for the love, forgiveness, guidance, healing, and power of the Creator. Proof positive can be found in every edition of the Big Book; in the new Dover Publications reprint of the Original 1939 Big Book and my introduction. See http://mcaf.ee/j4hq5; and in our two latest books, Stick with the Winners! http://mcaf.ee/s50mq, and Pioneer Stories in Alcoholics Anonymous http://mcaf.ee/gj7iw.