Today I want to present you with a personal story of a person who would have once described himself as “an addict/alcoholic.” He spent the first 15 years of his clean and sober life (began in 1982) in AA and CA.
He was not a Believer when he turned from drugs and alcohol. After his conversion in 1990 he continued to attend meetings because as he would say “It was pounded into me never to turn from AA if I wanted to stay sober.” As he grew and changed as a Christian he began to be challenged by the teachings of AA and other 12 Step groups in comparison to what Scripture says about a Believer. (It also helped that during those years I was being trained in the nouthetic methodology)
What he would tell you his struggle was with was how AA elevates itself to a god-like position in a person’s life. He would also tell you how the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions are more important than the Bible, and how meetings become “church” for many of those who attend. Another issue he observed is that other sinful behaviors and actions are tolerated within AA and other 12 Step groups because AA does not speak to any of that by its Traditions. Over those years he learned how being “a recovering addict/alcoholic” completely strips hope from a person, because in AA you are always “recovering,” eliminating the truth of being a new creation in Christ.
“G(g)od as you understand him” is not the God of the Bible that AA preaches, and AA did nothing to promote any relationship with the true God.
In reality, there can be no relationship with God if a person is unwilling to turn their life over to God, because this is what Scripture says God demands of a person who belongs to Him. Luke 9:24 is crystal clear on that.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his [b]life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself?
Luke 9:25 (NASB)
AA becomes a substitute savior for many who attend, and in fact leads people away from understanding the truth about a salvific relationship with Jesus Christ. To think or believe that following the 12 Steps of any Anonymous group will lead a person to Christ is not accurate. AA clearly states that “god as you understand him” is good enough.
12-Step meetings are a rehash of what you were, what happened, and who you are now and consist of a group of drowning people trying to rescue one another from drowning.
My own experience in several different 12-Step groups revealed that people used meetings to recount their sin, over and over again. They are hopeless and stuck in a cycle of meetings for the rest of their sobriety or abstaining from their “addiction.”
The testimony that you read today is that of my husband. For a while my he was going to meetings in hopes of helping other people OUT of them through Christ. He was asked to stop doing so because his talk about freedom in Christ from the idolatry of worshiping drugs and alcohol was “freaking out the new guys.” I guess I should also say that he has been a Substance Abuse Counselor for all of his years of sobriety. He deals with this every single workday of his life.
My wonderful husband has not been to a meeting in many years now, and he currently has abstained from all mood altering substances for 27+ years. He wisely says, “AA won’t get you to heaven, but it will help you stay sober long enough to hear the gospel.”