Where Christ and Alcoholics Anonymous disagree

According to the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book (the A.A. “bible”), “We found that God does not make too hard terms with those who seek Him. To us, the Realm of the Spirit is broad, roomy, all inclusive; never exclusive or forbidding to those who earnestly seek. It is open, we believe, to all men. When, therefore, we speak to you of God, we mean your own conception of God.” [1] (Bold mine)

“Broad, roomy, all inclusive” spirituality,¬†this is what the Alcoholics Anonymous textbook teaches.

But not Jesus. The Lord specifically warns against the broad way. “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is BROAD that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.” (Matthew 7:13)

If the Lord warns against the broad way of spirituality, why do we think we know better? Why would we even want to participate in such a thing, or give it credibility by approving of it? 

It is no coincidence that the A.A. Big Book again makes a direct reference to this spiritual Broad Highway: “If our testimony helps sweep away prejudice, enables you to think honestly, encourages you to search diligently within yourself, then, if you wish, you can join us on the Broad Highway. With this attitude you cannot fail. The consciousness of your belief is sure to come to you.” [2] (Bold mine)

Endnotes

1. ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS (Big Book) pg. 46-47

2. Ibid., pg.55

Published in: on April 10, 2011 at 12:01 am  Comments (7)  
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  1. 2 Corinthians 6:14-17. AA does need missionaries, but it is difficult using those who have already been immersed in 12 Step spirituality. I am glad you profess to know the Lord.

  2. I profess Christ and believe what he said. Go into ALL the world making disciples of all men. I see AA as a mission field and have seen people coming to Christ. It is true that you will be ostracized for bringing up Jesus in a meeting setting however there are other ways. The primary way I have found is through sponsorship. I can share Jesus one on one with a protege. People in AA are hungry for a power greater than themselves that can restore them to sanity. Who better able to do that than Jesus himself. But how will they hear if Christians shun AA because they can’t talk about Jesus in a meeting. Well I can’t share Jesus in a meeting at my job either but I still go. The majority of people I meet in AA are close to the kingdom but their past experience with legalistic churches have given them a false picture of who God is. That was also my own experience. But it was AA that got me back to God. By their fruit you will know them and I see good fruit in AA. I choose to be part of the solution instead of being a fault finder. There’s my two cents.

  3. The program of AA is now relying on ancient statistics, questionable at best, usually put forth by those with an interest in promoting the Christian root mythology. I am not necessarily referring to you. Bill Wilson himself tried to find more effective solutions than AA because he knew many simply could not be helped. Rarely addressed, but as harmful as ever, is the emotional and spiritual abuse alcoholics suffer in AA–by well meaning zealots who protect AA and continue to insist it is the only way.

  4. The program of AA works when done as it is written in the Big Book of AA. The problem is the majority of AA meetings talk nothing of the solution. The book of AA has the clear cut precise instructions on how to RECOVER. Nobody will ever recover in a meeting where people discuss how their day went. The program of AA IS the Big Book of AA NOT the meeting. This important distinction must be made. As far as the person who said AA doesn’t mention statistics is wrong. On page Roman numeral XX in the book Alcoholics Anonymous it states the stats from the 50’s. The sobriety rate was over 75%. Today it is probably around 5%. What is the difference between the 50’s and today? Today most AA meetings are discussion meetings. In the 50’s they followed the clear cut precise directions in the basic text of AA. The book repeatedly says that I am beyond human aid. So if that is true, and it is, how can a meeting full of powerless humans keep me from drinking? Answer: They can’t. Check out Primary Purpose Group. People are recovering there. It is old school AA and old school success rates were 75% +. There are fellowships worldwide.

  5. **Update** One of the best decision’s I ever made was to leave Alcoholics Anonymous. I sucked it up and trusted in my Great Gods’ will for me to be joyous, healthy, strong, full of abundant youthful vitality and to have His counsel and guidance all through this, and better bet I got even more than that. I told myself it would be great for me to get away from the social scene of A.A. that is regularly desperate-depraved-self-righteous-immature dissipation, but I in fact now am very excited at the opportunity to find myself among such people in the hope my testimony and witnessing will inspire them to follow and receive the abundance God has planned for them, succeeding the trickle he can only provide in their current state (of course I won’t be of a member of A.A. for this, but maybe I can reach them on the outside). Who would have known? That does not say I do not have to work towards God’s transformation for me that will continue all my life, but then I am so much more carefree I just as well ask myself what else do I have to do with my time. The greatest freedom I got when I trusted in what I read in Scripture, but more importantly when I trusted God, was the loss of limitations that were imposed by demonic spirits of Sorcery/Magic (drugs and alcohol) and others of the prince of this world and realized as if I became a child all over again that anything is possible. The world and its slave master’s imposing on me of insecurity and shame to try to break me to live at pace with it and embracing consciously regret, while walking limbo in the shadow’s of anonymity is a way of life for me no more, for my Mighty God has taken this and even inspired me to make my story public for all who suffer in the hopelessness of sinful living. Because that is what it is in the end. Sin. Its nothing more devastating, nor any more punishing than any of the rest of its kind. One big note. I was suffering from Manic Depression. Key word here! WAS. I was suffering Manic Depression after my coming to sobriety and now I have no more symptoms of mania, or do I have any kind of depression. That’s not even all what God’s done for me. All I needed was to let go of my will and accept God’s. When I did this I could finally live in truth and patience was no longer a virtue, but became like breathing, essential, and planted in me so God could insure my never ending growth in Him.

  6. The one directly below is on cults. I am grateful I rely on God for all my sobriety, because in the end A.A. is a straight trip to the past. No wonder why they do not reveal statistics. A.A. seems to me to be for the individual who will not let go and give it over to God and rather live in a relationship with God in their Heads, and definitely not in the spirit as I have found. Working in and through the Church?? I wouldn’t hold my breath there either. I am leaving A.A., because its effecting my growth in God by the not so pleasent company, you catch my drift?

    http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-cult_a5.html

    Psychology Department
    Health Psychology Home Page
    Papers written by students providing scientific reviews of topics related to health and well being
    The 12-Step Program & Alcoholics Anonymous
    Diane De Trizio
    PSY 268
    20 September 2006
    Dr. Schlundt

    Although A.A. does not put out any direct information dealing with who is sober particularly because of them, they did put out the following data. After surveying all of their members, they came up with the following statistics:

    Average sobriety of members is 8 years.

    36% have been sober for over 10 years.

    14% have been sober between 5-10 years.

    24% have been sober between 1-5 years.

    26% have been sober less that 1 year.

    70% have a sponsor.

    Members attend an average of 2 meetings per week.

    30% were self motivated to explore the twelve-steps and Alcoholics Anonymous.

    Before coming to A.A. 64% had received some other type of treatment (counseling etc.)

    74% of those members said it played an important part in their recovery from alcoholism.

    After coming to A.A. 65% of the members received some type of treatment.

    84% of those members said it played an important part in their recovery from alcoholism.

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effectiveness_of_Alcoholics_Anonymous

    (more data within site)
    This article’s citation style may be unclear. The references used may be made clearer with a different or consistent style of citation, footnoting, or external linking. (June 2010)

    The effectiveness of Alcoholics Anonymous, the success of the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) twelve step program in treating alcoholism, is a subject of ongoing interdisciplinary research and debate in a multitude of academic and non-academic contexts.
    Analytical definitions of effectiveness, efficacy and success vary according to the particular field of reference investigating the practices, methods and prognoses of treating alcoholics, and in what terms these concepts are framed in individual studies. Experimental studies into the effectiveness of AA have been based either on results obtained from individuals attending meetings run under the umbrella of the AA organisation itself, or from similar twelve-step recovery programmes based on the twelve-step approach run externally from the AA organisation; generically termed, in this latter case, as twelve-step facilitation (TSF).
    Studies of both implementations of the therapeutic model have in general not yielded definitive evidence of efficacy when assessed in terms of long-term prevention of problem drinking as compared to other treatments,[1][2] although limitations are widely acknowledged in obtaining acceptable data due to the difficulty in applying experimental controls to clinical analyses of AA, such as adequate placebo control and uniformity of the delivered therapy.[3] Despite this lack of experimental confirmation in clinical studies, a study of statistics gathered by Alcoholics Anonymous indicates an approximate membership retention of 26% after twelve months from initial attendance.[4]

  7. I am in A.A. and I definitely now see a lot of err within the twelve steps and the entire ‘program’ in relation to God’s actual Covenant with Man and have become more turned off by the complete lack of understanding of this among members. One example is the second step that reads, made a decision to turn ourselves over to God as we ‘understood’ him. First, if you read Scripture God chooses us (2 Thessalonians 2:13, Ephesians 1:4, 1 Corinthians 1:27, John 15:16, Psalms 33:12). My relationship with God is growing and changing, but if its by how I understood God, that easily can lead me to live by my way, for to just understand God is an ideal and can be claiming I am that familiar with Him. In the Fifth Step it says to make admission of -wrong’s???- to God, which lets say refers to repentance, yet requires admission side by side with God and another. This is very inaccurate according to Scripture (Psalm 32:1). A.A. has all types of ‘Spiritual Advice’ and it often and easily becomes blurred and used by members as an excuse to permit their carnal sin and give all sin within them existence, using the claim, “It’s The Disease”,or taking the words of the steps like “Made a decision”, “Came to believe” and “Were entirely ready” to stall any progress (it is very irritating to listen to over and over). I think people in A.A. are spiritually dwarfed by the steps. Many more than not in A.A. do not even give themselves over to the Lord at all, but they tell everyone they serve God, yet I am sure many do not even attend on Sunday (or they just attend Sunday, but this is few) and the ones who do, you find many are not living by Scripture. Now I did not expect A.A. to be perfect, but learning of its contradictions from Bible Study Groups, Sunday Worship, from reading the Word of God daily and actually attending A.A., its begun to effect deeply my vision of the ‘program’. Also in A.A. many refer to their God as a ‘Higher Power’ (which really explain’s away God) and will back away from ever saying God, Jesus, and especially anything of the Word God. Many A.A. members say ‘Higher Power’ to be polite for those who worship other God’s and I’ve witnessed men who refer to their wife as their ‘Higher Power’, yet the ‘program’ is Christian Based. I believe the worst mistake the founders made was believing they could walk one through repentance and spiritual growth in God and I believe most in the ‘program’ do not even fully understand this is what they participate in (as is the twelve steps). The steps are out of order with God and many A.A. members go through them as if this a way of worship from Scripture and this makes them believe they have some deep spiritual marriage to the Kingdom of God and that their meeting is substitute for serving God. Yes, their is the Sponsor angle, but they really do not do much at all and what does it matter if the advice they give you on God is all wrong and they tell you that you can never heal from alcoholism. Its wonderful people can go to A.A. and get sober and I am sure God helped them in their sober beginning’s, but what does it matter if you never learn to know more of God, or seek to maintain your salvation in Him. I know God is mightier than any sickness, especially Alcoholism. A.A. meetings are so much about living in the past, complaining about your problems and I find most of the members I come across really suffer from Mind of Matter madness in their rejection and disbelief of God’s own works in their life. That’s really what it comes down to. They are not evil in A.A., many of them are just neighbors. Overall people in A.A. are more miserable than not and I now ask myself more and more with all of this what purpose does it serve, even on the level of sobriety?


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