8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
I had recently spoken to a man named Quaid. He is an alcoholic and he was trying to determine why he had recently relapsed. He told me adamantly that he wasn’t a Christian, but that he was actually far from it – he was a Pagan. He continued to say that he respected my views as a Christian and that all religions, in his view, follow the same viewpoints, just from different perspectives. I intern, respect his views and only desired to hear his struggle with relapse and possibly offer suggestions. Being no expert on Paganism, I had to do some careful research in order to offer any suggestion. I did, however, find myself caring and taking it on personally. I wanted to ensure I didn’t cause confusion which might add to his relapse struggle.
To start, I had to understand what the definition of Pagan was. I found that it simply means a person holding religious beliefs other than those of the main world religions. The synonyms (heathen, idolater, infidel) stir up negativity to me and interestingly enough, “heathen” has Christian roots. I don’t like titles like that, so I am going to make myself feel better and say that Quaid just holds different beliefs than myself. Most people do!
Next, I wanted to know if Quaid had realized what brought on the relapse in the first place; the catalyst. He responded by telling me about his profession and some of the frustrations he has encountered. He is a caregiver to the elderly, which I find very honorable. As many of us follow in our parent’s footsteps, he began as a youth after school, sitting with his Mom who was a nurse and in his own words “interacting” with the residents at a nursing facility. Quaid went on to explain that now, as an adult in the profession, he sees situations of abuse and neglect carried out in his field by other caregivers and he is so passionate about the residents that he courageously reports the instances to his superiors. That is a valiant thing to do – and the right thing to do. He goes on to say that nothing gets done about it, his complaints are ignored, and it has brought him to the point of disliking and even changing his career path. So much so that he said, “Oh Gods, I wish I could this instant”. Quaid finishes by telling me that when he sees something wrong, He tries everything in his power to do something right. He can’t just sit idle, letting things happen. That has NEVER been him. He speaks up despite the trouble it may lead to, but with his alcoholism, his temper flares. He calls it passion.
I haven’t had a chance to talk more with Quaid and I am glad to have the time to reflect on his issue. This gives me time to study and hopefully offer a decent response to him.
While telling me the beginning of his story, I found a few details curious. First that he used the words “interacting, passionate, in his power, and Gods”. “Gods” in the plural sense. Everything about his story (besides alcohol) screams love. He loves the residents enough to stand up and fight for them. He loves them so much that in his confused way of thinking, that he is drinking to quell the anger and frustration of mistreatment of people. Yes, he is only hurting himself, but we all may be guilty of that charge at times.
Myself being a sinning Christian winced at the plural use of God, but dissecting his story to try and establish a root cause, it dawned on me that love was his motive. That I can relate to with my God. God is love, so maybe Quaid can take the “s” off of the gods he believes in. At a minimum, this will make things less confusing to him. Secondly, a career change at the reasoning of others wrong doings essentially makes the wrongdoers Quaid’s god. He would be allowing his gods of neglect and abuse to others win and direct his future. Ironic. Alcohol is temporarily one of Quaid’s other gods as well. That’s a lot of gods to juggle.
My God today is love. I learned the hard way that I can’t have more than one. If I continue to love – including myself and others – this will be all I can handle and I won’t have time for a relapse.
45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had a need.
The book continues… This exert is following a chapter on suicide (a failed attempt) and dual diagnosis. I can’t give away the entire book, but the suggestions and emails that I am receiving are encouraging to say the least, so I thought I’d post a little more. There are solutions.
…as I look back, I wonder what it would have taken at that moment, to admit myself into a detox. Clearly, I needed it. Clearly, I was spiritually dead. Or was I? If someone, a stranger, would have approached me and said to come with them to their church service at that very minute, would have I went? Probably not, however, I would have wanted to deep inside of me. What would have stopped me? A couple of reasons that were very true in my sober mind now, and exaggerated in my drunken mind then:
A perceived judgment from others. At a church? At a 12 step meeting? Yep.
A perceived judgment from God himself. Definitely.
…and lastly, but most importantly: self-imposed detachment from my vodka – my god.
…I once walked into a random church (on a Friday evening) straight from a detox hospital. This particular church had started a “movie night” and I literally had nothing else to do. I was going to sleep outside that night. I had no food, no alcohol, and no money. I was in a city that I was completely unfamiliar with. I had never been there before. My backpack with everything I owned on my shoulder – and I just kept telling myself that people would think I was a student of some sort. Right! 40 something years old with a 5 o’clock shadow and I could smell myself – a student! I recall walking through the enormous parking lot that had just begun receiving cars. I told myself that once I got closer to the building, people wouldn’t realize that I had walked. They would believe I had a car just like everyone else. I remember being impressed that the church had the city police directing traffic and there were members of the church holding up signs to help point people in the right direction.
I walked in and proceeded down an escalator! Yep, this place had an escalator. I had never seen that before. I continued to follow the crowd and couldn’t believe my eyes, when, near the entrance to the sanctuary (or auditorium) were coolers full of soda, coffee pots lined up with fancy cups (with lids!) and more “members” handing out bags of popcorn and candy!
How did they know I was hungry? I couldn’t show any eagerness and take these snacks and drinks – could I? Nope, that would make me appear homeless. I did get a cup of coffee and thought: this will numb my stomach hunger pangs and get me through.
I entered the massive auditorium and found a seat in the nosebleeds, away from everyone else. The music started. There was live music with real instruments. There were laser lights and smoke machines. The soundboard was as large as a dining room table and there were professional movie cameras everywhere – one of which was on a telescoping boom that looked like it should be at a professional football stadium. The music boomed. The singer’s voices were incredible and sent waves of shivers down my spine. God was there. No doubt, no disputes, God himself was sitting right next to me and tears were streaming down my face uncontrollably.
If only the church knew what was going on with me.
Would they help me?
They didn’t ask.
I won’t tell them – and I didn’t.
…What did the 12 Apostles do and say at their brand new churches to convince sinners that Jesus saved them? Why can’t I feel this way? If I did feel this way, would I stop (or try to stop) drinking? How did they persuade thousands of people to feel the mercy and grace of our Lord? I had to know. I don’t want to hang my head down anymore, but people and shame hindered my every move. Do I quake in fear of being identified with Jesus? Yes, but why? Probably in part due to the fear of the same persecution that they encountered. Maybe the same reason the “big book” added later “as we understood Him” to simply God. Fear and self will…
…I have walked many miles. I slept very little last night and I was cold. One eye open for the most part of the extremely long night. Once the vodka wore off and the night set in, I was scared to death. The only peace I felt was that I gathered 7 or 8 half cigarettes and I protected those with my life – well, those and my cell phone. Finally, daybreak. I’ve got to sneak out of this hiding spot and blend in with the city. I won’t need to use the restroom – I’ve got nothing in me. First thing’s first, gotta find a cigarette and get my phone charged where there is WiFi. Now is when I begin to realize how dirty I am – and it is getting hot. My socks are literally sticking to my feet and I begin to wonder if my feet are medically okay, however, I must keep walking. To where I have no idea. I haven’t eaten today and I think yesterday neither. I need a real cigarette. A whole one – not someone else’s half-smoked butt. I have too much pride to bum one from a stranger, but if I could just have a whole one, and some vodka, I would be great! Ahhh, a Mcdonalds. WiFi and an outlet, maybe a half cigarette. I can feel the eyes on me. Am I that rough looking? Will the manager let me loiter? Man, the food smells good, will someone please take pity on me and buy me a sausage biscuit? I won’t dare ask…
The master plan: Somehow, once again, I have to swindle my sister to wire $20 to the nearest Western Union. This will be after a psychotic amount of texts and phone calls. I am so mad at her for not responding quickly to my texts! My cell phone battery is about to run out and the only hope I have is that I have bothered her enough or laid on enough of a guilt trip that she will surprise me with a confirmation code. Maybe she’ll send more than $20 I think. Doesn’t she realize what a great guy I am for only asking for $20? Doesn’t she realize how hungry I am! She must feel sorry for me. I promise her that I will buy food with the money – and I mean it this time because I am so hungry. I know; I’ll tell her how much I love her! That always does the trick. “Kill her with kindness.” My phone dings! My heart races and I am somewhat afraid to look at the text because it’s a rejection. How could she reject me! I am her blood brother and I would do the same for her! The last time (two days ago) that I got money from her, she gave me a sermon about getting my life together. She yelled and yelled. I kept my responses meek and humble. What right does she have to yell at me! She does wrong things all the time. Oh, the hunger pangs. Where am I anyway? She responds with a confirmation code! Life is okay. I check maps on my phone for the Western Union and it’s only a 4-mile walk, but I now have the energy I need to get there. It’s located in a little mini-mart gas station about a mile from Wal-mart. I’ll get the $20 and walk to Walmart, buy some food, snap some pictures and text them to my sister. This will prove how responsible I was with her money and she will be so happy. I should get a pack of cigarettes while I’m here. Maybe one tall can of beer. The rest I’ll spend on food. I buy vodka, beer and a pack of cigarettes. Life is good. Two dollars left. That’s enough for a coffee and a sausage sandwich – tomorrow morning…
I received a lot of feedback from yesterday’s post, thanks! Feel free to keep the comments coming, or send me an email. Have a great Tuesday.
“…I also believe in God. Yes, the God that is in the Bible and in heaven and in my heart. I also believe in trees, but no tree was ever described in such masterful detail as God is in the Bible. God made trees! It says so in the Bible. God made people and people make groups, light fixtures, and door knobs. That is also explained in the Bible…”
I have been asked to author a book and haven’t been able to blog lately, but here is an excerpt from the draft:
…we spend more money on tennis shoes in this country than we do on recovery. We put one dollar in the basket at an AA meeting while wearing $100 Nike shoes. We have probably worn those shoes in the hospital detox or rehab facility. I know that I have. The brand Nike alone in 2017 was worth 29.6 Billion – that’s just for the name! Annual revenue for the company exceeds 34.4 Billion…
The annual revenue for all U.S. treatment centers was around 25.6 billion…
…what is one person’s voice, opinion or even conveyance of facts worth?
One U.S. apparel company: $34 billion.
14, 500+ U.S. addiction facilities: $26 billion.
Churches in the U.S. rack in 1.2 trillion. If that doesn’t scream that people are searching for a higher power, God or spirituality, I’m not sure what does. “This number is more than the combined revenue of the top 10 technology companies in the country, including Apple, Amazon, and Google.”…
“If you’d like to spend your time in dispute, arguing, or resenting the info – feel free to do so if it helps you. My guess is that it won’t do much except entertain the Devil and grieve the Holy Spirit (which I also believe in).”
15 Are they ashamed of their disgusting actions? Not at all—they don’t even know how to blush! Therefore, they will lie among the slaughtered. They will be brought down when I punish them,” says the Lord.
The shame, remorse, guilt, sorrow, and pain of my regrets have many a time led me straight to the liquor store (or gas station)! In the past, I have “played the tape” over and over and the result was always the same: I am a failure.
People don’t need me.
Employers don’t want me.
And there’s no way that God can love me.
Better drink. I’ll feel better and forget about that sh*t. That works, we all know it or we wouldn’t do it.
But wait a second… If I read the Bible verse above, isn’t God Himself angry at these people (referring to the people of Judah who won’t listen to God’s repeated warnings) for NOT being ashamed?
In fact, they were hard headed and spent 40 years wandering around the desert instead of just listening to God in the first place. How long am I going to “wander around in the desert” before I listen? It is important to know that their decision killed some of them, but at the end of the day (when they decided to change) God redeemed them!
The old me firmly believed that alcohol (and sometimes money) was the only solution for soothing my terrible emotions brought on by regretful actions AND this is important: Those regrets were caused by my solution!
Being that I am fairly new in sobriety “this time around” and that I don’t know everything there is to know about the Bible, I have two choices:
Plan A: Drink.
Plan B: Verify this new solution, and CHANGE my old ways.
I am ready to minimize my possible future regrets, so I choose B.
18 “But forget all that—it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. 19 For I am about to do something new.See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.
2 Corinthians 7:10
10 For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.
Even better!! Getting excited.
13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
Kind of makes me regret never taking the time to surrender to change years ago. I’m guessing some of the Judeans thought the same thing.
Well, here I am now and I know that I don’t want to drink again. I’d like to respect myself. I know that I’d like my family, friends, and employers to do the same and I need God in my life.
I know that it is a sin to continue to do or even entertain doing the same things that caused most of my regrets. Also, at the root of most of my regrets is the failure to love. The failure to love myself, my God, my family, friends, and others.
Here is an experiment that I am going to present you with to give an idea of that love:
Fill in the blank with any description or title you’d like: Alcoholic, Addict, Gay, Lesbian, Angry, etc., etc.
“When you claim you’re a(n) ________, do you mean that you embrace something good and God like? Or, do you view that as something to resist and by participating in it you will develop future regrets?”
Just for today, I will look ahead at my alcoholism as something to resist and I will stay sober and grow in Christ.
I will not regret the time wasted on entertaining regret and instead, I will reflect and be comforted by the lessons learned. That comfort will propel me forward instead of backwards.
Sorry, this came out so late today. I hope it helps someone. Comments are welcomed.
Today’s verse to “chew on”:
2 Samuel 12:13-17
13 Then David confessed to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” Nathan replied, “Yes, but the Lord has forgiven you, and you won’t die for this sin.
It’s Wednesday. For most of us, the positive spin we put on Wednesday is: “It’s Hump Day”. I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t put a spark in me. Most just put on a half smile when someone else reminds us that we are in the middle of the week.
Recovery can be monotonous at best. It’s almost at times like I am a robot. The talk around the kitchen coffee pot this morning was scattered. There was little talk about God. We were running way behind. I knew that I wanted to write this morning, however, I had no topic. No Bible study prepared… Uhhhggg.
Once the pace quickened and I finally sat down to start writing, and upon opening the laptop, I saw that there was a comment on a previous blog post of mine on a different social media site. As of yet, I hadn’t received anything negative, so I was excited to view the message. It wasn’t from a follower. Part of their username had the acronym “LGBT” and some numbers. At first, I had little idea of what that stood for. The comment stated simply: “This is just incoherent rambling”. Nothing followed.
Hmmm…. (yep, had to pull out this pic)
So, I immediately went to the blog post that they were referring to and read it myself. You can find the post here. I found nothing wrong with it. I even “jerked a tear” watching the video again. I then looked at the comments at the bottom (in an effort to lick my wounds) and they seemed positive enough.
“This is just incoherent rambling”
I replied to the comment and tried my best to stay “Christian like”. I learned what LBGT stands for and my reply probably hit the mark. I typed: “So is 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, but I’m for ya! Thanks for the revelation on the post.”
Now for anyone who knows me personally; this was about as Christian like as I can sometimes muster. Work in progress, I guess. I thank God I don’t have an acronym to describe me, however, I do care about that person and I would help that person if needed. I will pray for that person. I will do an inventory and at the end of this post, I will apologize to that person for being cynical towards them, But I will not be defeated!
The comment did give me a powerful reminder to watch the things that I say to others.
1 John 4:19-20
19 We love because he first loved us.20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen can not love God whom he has not seen.
Then it dawned on me! Why is one comment bothering me so much? The comment almost “took the wind out of my sails” and stopped my forward progress for the day. I realized also that my character defects were instantly shining through. Anger, resentment, hate, etc., etc! All over one comment. Dangerous place to be (as some of you may be aware).
I have to remember that the devil will jump in wherever I allow it. I opened the door and he came in. I don’t care to start controversy. I care to get through my day as the Lord directs and I care to do that sober. I suppose all of my posts can’t be uplifting because we all deal with these issues daily and I want to keep it real.
The video below is very helpful to me; if any of you have time.
Have a great Wednesday and comments are welcome!
Today’s verse to “chew on”:
18 You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.
2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ.3 If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves.
Tough morning to write. I’m not sure why. Maybe because I’ve got a cold and my stomach is in knots, I do know that I am struggling. I’ve gotta do it though because there are followers out there that seem to be counting on it and I’m not going to let them down.
I had one instance yesterday that pulled at my “heart strings”. It was an email that I received from a stranger, but a follower, and in it, she asked the following question: “If I don’t feel like I am worthy to go to Heaven, and I don’t want to go to Hell; can’t I just stop existing altogether?”. Great (but disheartening) question! Of course, I can’t answer it, however, I can relate.
I have experience with those same thoughts. I recall laying in a hospital bed in a detox facility for hours praying to God that my heart would just stop beating. I purposely slowed my breathing as slow as I could and “meditated” on my heart rhythm wishing it would stop. When I gave up on that plan, I changed it up to thinking “I’ll just not eat for a week or so, that will do the trick!” I thought that just maybe there is a chance that I would go to heaven, so I asked for forgiveness just in case but had no confidence that I would get my wishes. How could I?
I think we both were lacking Hope. Big word; and not where I am going with this post.
I’m going to suggest that acting on Empathy breeds hope and therefore a purpose to exist! In fact, most of my previous posts touch on empathy in one way or another and the Bible touches on synonymous words throughout. I am going to confidently say that empathy is the theme.
2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. (Philippians 2:2-4)
8 Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. (1 Peter 3:8)
A week ago, as I was selfishly chasing the goal of getting the most views and the most followers, I accepted a follower who is also a blogger. This particular blogger suffers from true diagnosed severe mental disorders. Once I accepted, I started to get numerous notifications of their posts and emails as well. Honestly – I was annoyed! I came very close to blocking that person. I couldn’t do it. I had to put myself in their shoes. So I actually read what they were writing and my heart sunk. Reading between the lines, they are struggling (and not with just an upset stomach and a cold). Now I read every one of their posts. Most I can’t understand at all, but my raw sympathy is present and I wish they only had my struggles.
35 Jesus wept.
My lengthy blog post can be summed up by the shortest verse in the Bible. Two words.
Among other things, Jesus wept because He felt compassion for Lazarus’s grieving sisters (Mary and Martha) and their loss. He knew he was going to raise Lazarus from the dead, but He was troubled by their grief.
There is power in empathy. At a minimum, it may serve us well to find out that we aren’t alone in our struggles. At its grandest, we can take comfort in knowing that in practice it fulfills, in part, the greatest commandment!
14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Galatians 5:14)
We’ve got work to do: great work, great purpose – and it will keep me sober today! I don’t want my heart to stop any longer and I don’t want my dear blog follower to suffer.
Thanks for reading. Comments are welcome! Have a blessed Tuesday!
Today’s verse to “chew on”:
24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Have you ever been in the presence of someone, a stranger, and “sensed” evil? They didn’t do anything, didn’t say anything, but something was “off”.
And then that person speaks and what (or how) they speak confirms your intuition. What then? I must say that personally it invariably draws me in! I say this in the context (and it’s difficult to explain) that I start to feel hatred. They do not create pleasant emotions. I start to “wish” for God to strike them down. Culturally, the leader of North Korea is a great example of this, however this “hits home” as well. This could happen at a gas station, a store, at rehab, or yes, even at church.
I’ve thought maybe it’s just me, however, I have asked others and turns out that isn’t the case.
The reason I am writing about this today is that I often reflect back to statements made to me that are almost a revelation (or revealing – to dull it down). In a past rehabilitation setting, a young man and current friend in his twenties looked me in the eye and told me “real knows real”. He said this in a very matter of fact manner and it has stuck with me ever since.
During the active phase in our addictions, we probably are at most times unaware of this “evil” that I’m writing about, although when thinking back there were brief moments of clarity. Thank God for that, amen?
When their actions, or words, don’t necessarily even involve me, I become resentful. In the world of recovery, most know that resentment is dangerous at a minimum.
What do we do about it? For one, we stay away from those people! Simple right? In the 12 step world, we say to change our “people, places, and things”, but the people variable is present no matter what we do or where we go. This video is helpful in explaining some of what I’m talking about.
1 Corinthians 15:33 Says that “bad company corrupts good character”. Corrupts!! How so? By interfering, or bumping us out of our path towards righteous, or virtuous goals. In the case of addiction or disorders, it is especially important and we must not allow it.
So, “Run Forest, Run”? The Apostle Paul says in 15:34, essentially just that! Break off the “leg braces” that have been holding you back for so long and you will experience freedom.
Ezekiel 3:19“But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will die for their sin; but you will have saved yourself.”
Romans 16:17“I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them.”
What then if it’s less sinister? I have experienced family members and friends who don’t seem to be aware of the damage that they are causing by their words and actions. I’m not asking for enabling conduct from them, but I don’t need to feel less than or be criticised neither. I pray for them; along with patience, tolerance, acceptance, blah, blah, blah. No offense God, but my alcoholic tendencies require instant gratification. I am trying to do the best I can in my walk with the Lord, but should I run? Not exactly.
10 Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them.11 You may be sure that such people are warped and sinful; they are self-condemned. (Titus 3:10-11)
My father has always told me to “stick with the winners”. We know who they are (as my friend pointed out). OurFather has given us this ability. Let’s apply it and walk with Him today.
As always, thanks for reading and comments are welcomed.
Today’s verse to “chew on”:
15 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.
How about when you realized on your own that you needed treatment in the first place? The people in your past who have hurt you and made you feel unworthy didn’t “will” that realization into you. That’s the Holy Spirit whispering into your soul “I love you. You are worthy. Get help.”
I have often wondered: am I worthy of recovery? Is the effort and time involved in recovery worth it?
Let’s say, I have (for the majority of my life) felt feelings that induce negative behaviors and thoughts – such as low self-worth and esteem, and produced addiction(s), then what? What am I recovering? What have I lost?
I should explain that I am not trained in any form of psychology, nor am I ordained. I just write a blog with the intent of helping one person – sometimes that may only be myself, but I would hope that all treatment program clients, patients, etc., would get something from this as well.
The following is a conversation between myself and a “ranking official” at a recovery program. It is actual and did occur. It may not make much sense, but after (or if) you read it, I will make a point.
Jonathan writes:Hello! How can I help you today? I’m available to answer any questions you may have.
7:12 Good morning! I am trying to determine a link between attachment theory and the Bible. If there is “muscle memory” in the brain similar to the physical muscle memory. Meaning if a basketball player can (over time) be trained to hit foul shots every time, can he/she be trained the reverse? How that relates to attachment (say disoriented) in an adult, is the repeated negative behaviors associated with… say neglect in the form of non-physical inattention to childhood emotional needs, can they be reversed and is there an answer for that (hope) in the Bible? Deep, I know.
7:20 Perhaps not deep for someone of the clergy with training in attachment theory, but for me yes – Too much to consider without a background in Bible
7:21 Okay. Thanks anyway Jonathan.
7:21 Sorry I wasn’t more helpful!
7:22 That’s okay. Maybe you can help: I was once told that it is okay to say I don’t know, however, better to say I don’t know, but I might be able to find someone who does?
7:23 “I don’t know” is a key to humility and as such a benefit, not a deficit. It leads to growth and further knowledge if you seek it
7:24 Possibly someone associated with your facility there in FL? Was that response a “no”?
7:25 We are not a “religious” program, in that we accept any and all opinions and beliefs, however, we do not push one or another, therefore we do not have any opinions when it comes to religion or any text associated with one. So, I suppose my answer is no
7:27 Perhaps asking for an “answer” was incorrect. Take away the Bible and you are left with religion. The Bible is relationship. Religion is authority. Your programs offered – twelve-step programs are an example of religion (based originally Biblically). Good talking Jonathan. Have a great day!
This part is important (to me as a Christian)!! He continues in an email 21 minutes later! This gives me the impression that he may be curious…
7:51 12 Step programs are often mistaken for religion, and that misperception carries into the public view. It is NOT religious, but spiritual in nature
8:01 The misconception is in the use or definition of the word. The definition being an institutional system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices. You are aware that AA was founded on a belief in God and the 12 steps that eventually followed are the practice of that belief, yes? No other way around that.
My original question may have baffled you, but it really relates to recovery – and being “worthy” of it. To recover is to get back. If you’ve never had feelings of self-worth, then there is nothing to return to. That could be a beautiful thing for patients in treatment to understand. That thought basically says everything is new and what we need to return to is the original state that God designed us for – why we were born. Kind of a simple philosophy.
8:12 Yes, however the idea of a “God of ones own understanding” leads to a spiritual bent for the program, rather than to any specific dogma.
It is the basis of my earlier point, where some find the fact that God (which represents many, many different things) is mentioned means their God as opposed to a higher power which means something quite different
8:29 Read the history, my friend. Review the statistics of recovery rates from the beginning where the success rates were much greater. The roots had nothing to do with a “higher power” nor were the words “of my own understanding” present. We may have “re-invented the wheel” by changing the words to “appease people. We took the cliche “Keep it Simple” and ignored the suggestion.
In Alcoholics Anonymous(“the Big Book”), the “basic text” of A.A. (the first edition of which was published in April 1939), A.A. cofounder Bill W. wrote: “Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path.” [Big Book, 4th ed., 58]. What is usually unfamiliar to the A.A. Fellowship is Bill W.’s inspiring declaration in the personal story of AA Number Three (Bill D.) found in the second edition (published in 1955), the third edition (published in 1976), and the fourth edition (published in 2001) of the “basic text”:
“. . . [T]he Lord has been so wonderful to me, curing me of this terrible disease, that I just want to keep talking about it and telling people.” [Big Book, 4th ed., 191]
A.A. co-founder Dr. Bob said in his last major talk to AAs:
It wasn’t until 1938 that the teachings and efforts and stories that had been going on were crystallized in the form of the Twelve Steps. I didn’t write the Twelve Steps. I had nothing to do with the writing of them. . . We already had the basic ideas, though not in terse and tangible form. We got them, as I said, as a result of our study of the Good Book
An effort that began with the founding of A.A. in June 1935 in Akron, Ohio. And Dr. Bob concluded his own personal story in the Big Book by voicing the same emphasis that Bill W. gave when he spoke of his having been cured of alcoholism by the Lord. Dr. Bob stated:
Your Heavenly Father will never let you down! [Big Book, 4th ed., 181]
The problem is that neither I nor most AAs nor most other people in the recovery arena know or even seem to want to know exactly what occurred that put A.A. on the map. Or that generated sales of over 40 million Big Books. Or that brought the worldwide Society of Alcoholics Anonymous to a membership level of about 2 million people. Yet A.A. had produced a wide variety of solid, reliable, spiritual tools between its founding in June 1935 and the publication of the first edition of Alcoholics Anonymous (“the Big Book”) in April 1939. And we want to be sure that desperate, “seemingly-hopeless,” “medically-incurable” alcoholics hear the whole story. Better stated, that they know “the rest of the story” about their cherished Fellowship. And the option of placing their recovery in God’s hands today.
You have a great day sir! Please feel free to contact me anytime. God Bless.
Whether or not this entire conversation thread makes any sense to you the reader, I personally feel that the mere fact that I am searching for worthiness – makes me worthy. I need to go through my day believing and confident that God is looking down smiling!
To recover something we once had: what did we once have? Early childhood and young adult years of pain and neglect – criticism and insult, by people: causing us to believe we aren’t worth anything?? Other people and situations created our value or worthiness? NOPE!!
27 “His purpose in all of this is that they should seek after God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us. 28 For in him we live and move and are! As one of your own poets says it, ‘We are the sons of God.’ 29 If this is true, we shouldn’t think of God as an idol made by men from gold or silver or chipped from stone. 30 God tolerated man’s past ignorance about these things, but now he commands everyone to put away idols and worship only him. 31 For he has set a day for justly judging the world by the man he has appointed and has pointed him out by bringing him back to life again.” (Acts 17:27-31)
10 It is God himself who has made us what we are and given us new lives from Christ Jesus, and long ages ago he planned that we should spend these lives in helping others. (Ephesians 2:10)
I have let people and not God create my feelings of worthlessness. Those people will have to figure their own lives out from now on and I wouldn’t want to be in thier shoes when it comes time to answer for it.
13 People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them.14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.15 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”16 And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them. (Mark 10:13-16)
I wish them the best, but I am worthy of God’s love, so I’ll take it and love Him in return. I will love Him because he loves me. I will fight this affliction because I am worthy of recovery – to what His purpose was originally intended.
5 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. (Deuteronomy 6:5)
Thanks for the time you took to read this. Comments are welcomed. Have a great Thursday!
Today’s verse to “chew on”:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”