Dick B. interviews Christian Recovery leader Gary Agnew on the July 30, 2013, episode of the “Christian Recovery Radio with Dick B.” show
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You may hear Dick B. interview Christian Recovery leader Gary Agnew on the July 30, 2013, episode of the “Christian Recovery Radio with Dick B.” show here:
Episodes of the “Christian Recovery Radio with Dick B.” show are archived at:
Over my years of travel, research, and talks, I have met many experienced AAs and Christian recovery leaders and workers; and featuring these folks on radio is a top priority. Today’s guest is Gary Agnew of Columbia, Connecticut. Gary is now retired, but his resume is long and admirable. He is the author of two books and of a power point presentation on the history of A.A. He is a participant in the International Christian Recovery Coalition, and will be attending “The First International Alcoholics Anonymous History Conference” in Portland, Maine, September 6-7, 2013. Gary is acutely aware that there is a Christian Recovery Movement afoot and is certainly a part of it. He handled a ministry at My Father’s House for 5 1/2 years. He has been a supervisor for the staff of counselors at a Veterans Administration facility. He currently does outreach work in the prison system; and that is his passion now that he is retired. For many years now, Gary has been in touch with me, has purchased and read all of my books, has actively shared his viewpoints on Christian recovery from alcoholism and addiction, and has supported our efforts to disseminate the facts about the role of God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Bible in early A.A.’s astonishing successes, and the role they can play today for those who want and need God’s help. It will be a pleasure to hear Gary tell us the facts. Take it away, Gary.
Synopsis of Gary’s Interview – “Stick with the Winners!”
Gary is 30 years sober, and has been in the treatment field for 22 years. As to God’s Word, Gary has freely used 12-Step Bible study in facilities where he has worked. He’s noticed that clients—if they refuse to participate—returned from their drinking sprees sooner; and those who participated, had toted up the longest sobriety ever.
Gary worked for a time in My Father’s House and there conducted Bible study. He is the author of two books: (1) God’s Word and 12 Steps , covering religion and A.A. history—particularly Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount, the Book of James, and St. Paul’s 1 Corinthians 13. The title is “Watch What He Does With This”—portraying a sense of Jesus’s place in life. (2) “Spiritual Journal Guide to Recovery.” And. as he goes through each of the Twelve Steps, he asks three questions: (a) What have you done? (b) What are you doing? (c) What will you do?
Gary has carried the spiritual message to the Veterans Administration and to prisons. He was a superintendent of counselors at the Veterans Administration, and did much outreach to those in prison. His work in that realm centered around Brooklyn, Connecticut.
At The First International Alcoholics Anonymous History Conference in Portland, Maine, September 6 and 7, 2013, Gary will be attending and a participant. He will be presenting an hour and ten minutes “History of Alcoholics Anonymous” power point production with music. His book is handed out with notes and discussions. And he points to the fact that there is not just one clear way to recovery.
Two significant questions about the frequent objections in present-day A.A. and 12-Step meetings when there is mention of God, Jesus Christ, and the Bible. These two issues were tendered to Gary for a statement of his experience and how he handles such attempted objections and intimidations:
(1) As to the astonishing, documented 93% success rates achieved in the early Cleveland A.A. program, Gary simply asks “Why would you want to deviate from a program like that!”
(Cleveland AAs, of course, brought with them from the early Akron A.A. Christian Fellowship the Big Book, the Twelve Steps, the Oxford Group “Four Absolutes,” the Bible, and “most of the old program”—hospitalization, giving your life to God, obeying God, growing in understanding of Him and His Son through prayer, Bible study, Quiet Time, reading Christian literature; and then helping others get straightened out with the same Christian technique.)
(2) What about head-turning, and voiced rejections of Christian remarks in meetings? Gary simply points out that even the Apostles were not always accepted with open arms. How would you handle the rejections of your religious statements? His answer? Accept them! For the reason that you can say to yourself and others: “I have a life.” And I “Stick with the Winners!” (alluding to the new book by Dick B. and Ken B., 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) http://mcaf.ee/s50mq.
And the winners, of course, were the Akron A.A. Christian fellowship pioneers—Bill W., Dr. Bob, Dr. Bob’s wife, Henrietta Seiberling, T. Henry and Clarace Williams, Cleveland founder Clarence H. Snyder, and Sister Ignatia of St. Thomas Hospital