Monday, September 28, 2015

Being saved by Him: Sobriety

“The only condition [required for a person to recover] is that he trust in God and clean house,” wrote Wilson in the Big Book. “To get well, we had to have God’s help,” he said in an interview. And, in spite of Wilson’s alterations, seven of the steps still require an acceptance of, prayer to, and surrender to God “as we understood Him.”

The emphasis on God isn’t relegated to the tenets and writings of the Program. At most meetings I’ve attended, speakers and participants talked about the grace of God, being saved by Him, and praying to Him. The nonreligious aren’t turned away, but people have told me about the shame and guilt they’ve felt while sitting in meetings because they didn’t or couldn’t believe. Some nonbelievers said they felt uncomfortable or even dishonest in AA meetings. Some became angry, and many left, never to return.

....the insistence that there’s only one way to get and stay sober—is not only wrong but harmful. Most addicts who wind up in rehab are initially belligerent, angry, uncooperative, and unwilling or unable to embrace the steps, because they’re detoxing and miserable. Sometimes, after being exhorted—sometimes ordered—to pray, or after persistent badgering and threats, they acquiesce and at least try to turn their lives over to God, as the steps require them to do. Some conversions last, but many don’t. Desperate to get well, they try to embrace and work the Program, but their successes are short-lived. Pressed by rehab counselors, they try to trust God, but ultimately they can’t.” ~David Sheff, Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy

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