A former Alcoholic/Addict seeks Christian assistance for those still suffering.
An article by Dick B.
Today’s Addiction Dilemma
Shall a seemingly hopeless, recidivist addict be sent for help to church, a clergyman, a physician, a psychologist, a detox, a hospital, A.A., a 12-Step program, treatment or rehab, counseling, a mental health clinic, the drug court, jail or prison, a DUI information course, a diversion program, a secular recovery program, a Christian recovery program, a Christ-centered program, behavioral therapy, nutritional therapy, pharmaceutical therapy, or what?! It should be no surprise to learn that most chronic cases have done most or all of the above. I did. Yet, in 21 successful A.A. years, I’ve seen relapse after relapse, failure after failure, overdoses, drunkenness, and despair that has led to death by any number of means.
The Old School Approach
The cure of alcoholism by religious means is centuries old. So is reliance on the Creator. Whether in Billy Sunday revivals, temperance meetings, Salvation Army hands, conversions at Gospel and Rescue Missions, and medical management in hospitals, alcoholics and addicts have been lifted from the pit to the pinnacle. But usually, only if they wanted to be helped and dedicated themselves to the process. The simple ingredients: (1) Abstinence. (2) Reliance on God through Christ. (3) Obedience to the Creators Word. (4) Growth in fellowship through Bible study, prayer, seeking Gods guidance, and study. (5) Witnessing particularly by one converted and healed individual to someone new and still seeking help. And that’s exactly how A.A. began.
The Alternative Approaches
We’ve already mentioned some: In addition, there are government funds, benevolent grants, medical research, coalitions, recovery calendar days, Prohibition, drug wars and all the rest mentioned above. There’s no monopoly on approaches to solving addiction. All are frequently tried. Few succeed for any length of time.
Early AA’s, the Gospel and Rescue Missions, the Salvation Army, and many preachers turned to the Bible for truth about rescue and deliverance. They recognized:
1. The Adversary who, described figuratively by Jesus as the thief in John 10:10, comes not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. Bill Wilson called the devil the Boss Universal of the world who had chained him into captivity.
2. The temptation weapons, whether in the form of pleasure, pressure, or power, were described in deadly terms in the early A.A. favorite, the Book of James. For James 1:12-16 declared that where man is tempted, drawn by his own lust, enticed, and yields to sin, the conclusion death.
3. The solution Ephesians 6:11 calls for is putting on the whole amour of God and standing against the wiles of the devil; and, as James 4:7 promises: Submit yourselves therefore to God, Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
4. The victory for a new creature in Christ: Either the power of darkness can triumph over mankind or that dominion no longer rules believers because the Father [Yahweh] hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins (Colossians 1:13-14) For whatsoever is born of God overcomes the world: and this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith. (1 John 5:4).
The born-again child of God has a relationship with God, the power of God, the love of God, and a sound mind that is God-given and transcends the power of meetings, treatment, and scientific research.
The Need for Christians to Help Today
Secular approaches – those involving the removal of the Bible, the Creator, and Jesus Christ – are ascending in popularity as fast as those approaches are declining in results. Universalism – the idea that there ought to be one tent, one assembly, one fellowship, one church, one religion for all mankind – has made its mark in new 12 Step approaches. When proponents of the universal recovery society tell the newcomer that he can believe in something, or somebody, or nothing at all, they are mainly offering atheism and unbelief in a Society founded on the necessity for coming to believe. When the term Spirituality is used as a code name for illusory goodness and works, it may produce smiling faces, but it doesn’t cure addicts.
Christians within and without A.A. frequently shun or abandon 12 Step programs due to intimidation, misunderstanding, and fear. They surrender to the power of nothingness. Their illusion that A.A. stands for false religion and phony gods arises out of a tremendous ignorance of its history, and a failure to believe that the power of God is just as available within A.A., as it is outside A.A.. Additionally, they lack accurate information about the successful results in the early days of A.A. Christian Fellowship, when reliance on the Creator was the core of cure.
Our Goal and Plea
I got well in A.A., not outside of it. Despite all the nonsensical “higher power” chalk talk that abounds in fellowship chatter, I discerned that God and the Bible had a vital role in the organization’s beginnings, and particularly in its unique successes.
To be sure, AA’s themselves have provided me and countless thousands, with love, service, understanding, and support – which are unequaled elsewhere. But far more is needed for recovery and cure. The alcoholic has dug a hole so deep that, as co-founder Rev. Sam Shoemaker wrote, “a divine derrick is needed to pull him out.” Once I turned to the Bible, to God, and to Jesus Christ for the answers – just as the early AA’s did – the battle was over. I have never, since Day Number One, needed, wanted, or sought liquor or other mind-damaging stuff for my answers.
If Christian churches, clergy, leaders, ministries, and programs would steep themselves in the early A.A. Christian Fellowship history – its roots in the Bible and its astonishing successes in the 1930s – and join us in disseminating those facts, a completely new face can shine again! AA’s once vital Divine Aid, as Bill Wilson called it, can be restored to dignity and honor and healing – and perhaps either replace or -at the least- contrast with the wild, new efforts and approaches that are failing so miserably today. If only Christians would get behind the effort to provide good, rock-solid information; the ‘good news‘, if you will.
Alcoholics and addicts today can still go to all the doctors, the detoxes, the hospitals, the rehabs, the jails, the therapists, the recovery books, and the mental wards they like. In fact, most of us have done just that. But we lacked exposure to the history, details, principles, and practices of our own successful roots. As a result, many of us succumbed to secular influences.
There is compelling evidence that Christians, in and out of recovery fellowships and programs, need to put on the whole armor of God, in order to defeat the illusory snake-oil scholasticism that is the dominating problem today. Christians need to help us carry the message that it was God in early A.A., and it can be God in today’s programs as well. God can and will do for the alcoholics and the addicts what neither they, nor any human power, can do for themselves.
Jesus is the Way. There are other ways which seem right to men. But to ignore the good news in the Christian message does little to make man’s ways right in our Creator’s eyes, or insure the validity of man’s experiential research, or warrant to the sick alcoholic and addict that mans ways are superior to God’s ways, and will triumph through today’s secular approaches alone. For Dr. Bob and for many an A.A. pioneer, our Creator was as much a part of medicine and surgery as the scalpel and the stethoscope.
Copyright, Dick B., 2007. All rights reserved. Posted with permission. You may contact Dick B. by writing to PO Box 837, Kihei, Hi 96753-0837; by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his site at www.dickb.com.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Just as DICK B discerned that “God and the Bible had a vital role in the organization’s beginnings, and particularly in its unique successes,” God also made me aware in 1999 that if I failed to properly grasp and exercise “the spiritual aspect of the program,” I would never recover and/or be restored to sanity. I knew that I could not ‘dance around’ the ‘foundational truth’ that the ‘Big Book’ made perfectly clear;
“But there is ONE who has all power — that ONE is God. May you find Him now!” (Alcoholics Anonymous, Third Edition, Chapter Five, “How It Works,” page 59).
In essence, it was The Big Book that led me back into The Good Book! I do not believe that would’ve happened if my sponsor had not been a man of God.
ALL italic, bold-type, and underlined emphasis in this article was added by me.