AA · alcoholism

Why the Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous can be a Lesson for us all

Lantern, Alcohol, Drunk, Fig, MetalSin is ugly and writhing. It keeps us distanced from the ones we love and more importantly, distanced from God. We are in no position to judge those that sin because we find their sin less acceptable than ours.

Sin is not loud and bright, it is dark and subtle. Sin does not exist in the light. It takes a lot of work to sin, to hide it, to cover it up, to prepare for the wrong we are about to do. It takes more work to hurt ourselves than to deny ourselves and become holy.

For anyone that tells you that your church has too many rules, I would inquire how their life is going. Without a structure, walls in which to operate, distinction of what is good and what is bad, we are operating in an uncertain fluid state where everyone does what is right in their own eyes. People who can’t admit that they are powerless, have not surrendered to something higher than themselves are caught up in a whirlwind of subjectivity. They view the world through their own eyes, do not have parameters, because their parameters are whatever they think they should be, whatever they feel may make them happy at the moment. Because the message, the goal of the world is for you to be happy, whatever that takes. It is a sad, egotistical message that leads to self-loathing. I know, I lived it. I lived it until my soul almost died.

The journey to God for so many of us is painful. That is why there is no time to hate. The love of Christ can not co-exist in your article about how your bible interpretation leads you to believe such and such is a sin. We know. We know such and such is a sin. But to the person reading it, your article is not just an article. It is a judgment. It is a condemnation. It is death.

I was privileged to sit in a room full of alcoholics and addicts at a recent AA meeting. Someone needed me there so I went. In the sixty minutes I spent there, I heard God more than I have in the last three months. Why? Because that’s where God is, he is with the sick, the lost and the broken.

And as I listened to the many testimonies and stories and was humbled by the recitation of “my name is so and so” and “I am an alcoholic”, I realized that the church is truly transcendent. That the Eucharist can be carried with us wherever we go. That Jesus is more alive in the admitted sinner than the self-imposed righteous saint.

I saw the twelve traditions of the AA program with the eyes of Christ, lectio devina, the understanding that there is something beneath the words. Here is what I heard in the Spirit:

  1. The good of another should come first; our walk with God deepens with the unity of the ones that walk with us.
  2. There is but one God. There is one name above all names, the name of Jesus. And when there are two or more gathered in His name, He is there.
  3. The only requirement to be a Christian is to deny yourself, pick up your cross and follow Jesus.
  4. Let people walk their walk except in matters that may effect the welfare of others.
  5. The church has but one message, to carry the gospel to the one that still suffers.
  6. Christians should never sell-out the name of Jesus. He is God, and using His name otherwise diverts us from who He is.
  7. We must give to the church to support the mission of Jesus Christ, his continuation of the church and His mission to make disciples of all the nations.
  8. We as Christians are forever his servants. We should remain as such, and show reverence and respect for the clergy whom He has called to himself.
  9. We should let the Holy Spirit work freely in us, not always preparing, but trusting God for the words we will need at the time we will need them.
  10. The name of Jesus should never be drawn into public controversy.
  11. We should always remind ourselves that we are nothing apart from God. That we need God to survive on this earth, and without Him our lives are devoid of His great light and the meaning He brings to it.
  12. “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.” Mark 9:35

How does AA say that their program works?

Follow the path which they have set up and surrender.



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