Dick ; Gods Peace and Blessings today as I articulate my reflections on brother Marsh and his observations;
Some of my 2am ramblings on the subject;
This is really good stuff - relating to the need to address the culture where it's at today - and using the AA Conference approved literature as a bridge to witness .. which I do on a regular basis.. IE: I'm using the same text that motivated the co-founders (the Bible) - I sometimes tell folks that I don't need to have the Bible labled as conference approved because it is the founders TEXT - it is the TEXT FROM WHICH the program came therefore being the first BIG BOOK it is authoritative and certainly approved as having proceeded the printing of any AA Literature; everything evolved from it. You don't have to be a Christian to read it, but you might want to think about the role it played in the development of our 12 step recovery program.
Thanks to your forwarding information on the Recovery net ( www.therecoverynet.com ) a number of your readers have signed on as we begin to develop our list (I hope you signed on? If not go to www.therecoverynet.info ) and when we begin mailings you will be sure to receive it !
One of your readers emailed me and told me about a horror story wherein the "group" had spoken against him so profoundly that it only stopped an inch short of telling him that he could no longer attend if he brought those non-conference approved literature (the bible and sermon on the mount) into the meeting.
Using acceptable material to direct people to the source is the best way around that dilemma that I have found: Mr. Walsh's paper is very good..
The only thing I would like to see addressed a little deeper is the transitional understanding of words that we commonly banter around in a meeting.
IE: Been sober for xx years and doesn't know Christ... That man is NOT Sober; He's dry.
It is my fervent belief and message that the "abstinence of your mind and mood altering chemical is NOT sobriety" but that Sobriety (as a way of life) can begin when we put down the use of the chemicals or whatever we are using (could be sex, gambling etc..) 20 years ago a sponsor hit home with me when he suggested that many people come to AA and have a Change of Breath! However they are still behaving in a manner to which they have become accustomed, and that they probably will re-lapse at some point in time. Because abstinence is NOT sobriety.
A Good book is entitled "Addictions, A Banquet in the GRAVE" written by a Christian Author ("Welch" ) addressed the problem from a belief perspective that is based upon our understanding that we must have Christ to enjoy an eternal life! Sobriety comes to us when we seek first HIS kingdom and accept that we are made righteous by HIS work not our own. Watering it down does not change the fact that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.. and nobody comes to God except by him...
So sobriety in my opinion (the sobriety which is referred to biblically) comes when we truly have accepted and begin living for Christ. Salvation buys us a ticket to eternity - Sanctification leads us in growth in relationship to Christ and a way of life beyond anything we would have envisioned.. that's pretty attractive to me !!
Granted there are many people who have accepted and acknowledged Christ and his substitutional and sacrificial Death on the Cross as a means to eternity; but I want a good life here too (John 10:10 he came that we may have life and have it to the full) So we short change ourselves when we say to others or ourselves that sobriety occurs when you stop using and abusing. AA calls our problem a thinking problem and the only cure for that is to become acquainted with Gods plan for sobriety and submit ourselves to his direction and control. I have to read his word, and then put into practice (with Gods Help) what I am learning !
What I have seen in the last 27 years is that people, once DRY are told they are SOBER and they begin to think they have "made it" , only to wind up re-lapsing and very often dying because they believed they were Sober!
I don't need proof to support my observation; all I need to do is begin to collect the obituary's of people (new comers) I've seen in meetings who were told that because they were abstaining they were SOBER - it's a lie that kills !
Addiction in the Christian sense is Idolatry; Idolatry is the disease that keeps us from growing... the only thing that can be preeminent in our lives is Christ if we are going to experience much growth. But we all have to start somewhere.
I have a manual written by Ray Geisel entitled "walking the 12 steps with Jesus Christ" which has been an invaluable tool in sharing the concepts of going from our 3rd step (making a decision) (experiencing spiritual re-birth) and the process of growing in our faith which we call "Sanctification" (recovery)
God is awesome; you are an excellent messenger and I value highly your materials in the teaching of others.. You broach every topic, objection, with great in depth research, and supportive historical information - my computer is full to overflowing with your writings...
I cannot imagine being without your work product in my tool box !!