Step Two of the 12-Step program of Alcoholics Anonymous states we come to believe that a power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity. Step Three says we turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand him. There is no mention of a specific concept of God.
The Oxford Group, which existed before the formation of Alcoholics Anonymous, was based solidly upon Christian principles. Jesus was at the center of the program. This was also true for the earliest groups of Alcoholics Anonymous. The Twelve Steps are rooted in basic Christian principles. The message has been watered down over the years. Today, sharing about a Christian God is frowned upon. In fact, naming Jesus Christ as your higher power will likely draw strong comments. I think it is no coincidence that fewer than twenty percent of those who start attending AA meetings today remain sober one year later. The rate of success was as high as fifty percent in the early years.
Although it is often difficult to share Jesus in AA, I am convinced that he is the one true God. He is the highest of higher powers. The 53rd Chapter of the Book of Isaiah tells us that Christ was bruised for our iniquities. It states that by his stripes we are healed. The Gospels indicate that Jesus became a sacrifice for our sins. Christ wants us to have life, and to have it more abundantly. He sets the captives free. This is good news indeed for the alcoholic and the addict. In the grips of active addiction, we are certainly not happy, joyous and free. We are living in the flesh while in the grips of active addiction. We find ourselves doing things we do not want to do, and we find it difficult to do the things we want to do. The Apostle Paul discusses this in detail in the Book of Romans.
For me, the answer is Jesus Christ. I long to share the message of Christ in AA meetings, but I cannot. Instead, I make sure to share him with alcoholics on a one-on-one basis. I give my testimony and explain how I have been set free. I also tell people that I am capable of falling out of grace and taking my will back. When I do so, I take definite steps toward relapse. That is why I start my day on my knees asking Jesus to walk with me and to reveal his will for me throughout the day. I ask that he deliver me from the bondage of self. That he keep me away from a drink or a drug for the next twenty-four hours. I pray that God’s will, not mine, be done. When I get ready for bed at night, I once again get on my knees. I thank Jesus for delivering me from the bondage of addiction. For keeping me sober throughout the day. I take a look at my behavior during the past twenty-four hours, and I ask forgiveness for my shortcomings and my offenses.
I veered away from turning to Christ. The result was relapse. I started lying to myself and to others. I took my will back. Once again, I was the god of my own universe. My emotions were raw. My anxiety was through the roof. I experienced increased back and neck pain, and was negative about my life. The more miserable I became, the further I slipped back into active addiction. When I couldn’t get enough opiates on my own, I started stealing pills from family members. It got so bad that I lost track of how many pills I was taking. I knew what I was doing was wrong, but I was trapped in active addiction with no sense of hope.
It took an intervention by my family in order to get my attention. Not everyone is lucky enough to have a family that cares. One that takes a stand and confronts you. I am most certainly blessed in this regard. It’s clear to me that God works through the actions of those around us. I will be forever grateful to God that he saw something in me worth saving. I am a cat who has used up eight of his nine lives. It reminds me of a video game where your life force is down so low that just one more brush with the bad guy will knock you out of the competition. You run around looking for “health” icons, trying to stay alive for one more minute. It’s a lot like running on empty in active addiction. I’m so lucky to still be breathing. It’s as though I have been saved for something special.
I realize now that God’s will for me is to be clean and sober, and to reach out to others caught in addiction. He wants me to be a conduit through which his power can move. Although I cannot “preach” during AA meetings, I can get together one-on-one with addicts and alcoholics and share Jesus Christ with them. I look at it this way: They’ve literally tried everything else, what have they got to lose? I just pray that God keeps me clean and sober today, and that he helps me keep my head above water. Thank you Jesus.