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"A New Way Out" is a concept I have been sharing with people lately which shows emphatically that the same power and love of God that enabled the recovery and cure of early A.A. members in Akron is available today to those who suffer.
Early A.A. first favored the name "The James Club." [See DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers (New York, NY: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1980), 71. 213.] The older members strongly believed that the Book of James, the Sermon on the Mount, and 1 Corinthians 13 were the parts of the Bible that were absolutely essential to their program. [See DR. BOB, 96.] In fact, the Book of James was a favorite with early AAs. [See DR. BOB, 71.]
As the First Edition of Alcoholics Anonymous (the A.A. "Big Book") was being readied for publication, the "James Club" title was discarded. [See DR. BOB, 213.] At first, the title "The Way Out" was favored by a considerable majority of the pioneers. [See Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age (New York, NY: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1957), 165.] Most were Akron AAs. [See "Pass It On" (New York, NY: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.), 203.] Bill Wilson favored the name "Alcoholics Anonymous." [See "Pass It On," 203.] Bill W. asked John Henry Fitzhugh Mayo to research the popularity of the latter two titles—i.e., "The Way Out" and "Alcoholics Anonymous"--at the Library of Congress. "Fitz" found that there were already 25 books entitled "The Way Out" and another 12 entitled "The Way." [See "Pass It On," 203; and Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, 166.] None was called "Alcoholics Anonymous." The name "Alcoholics Anonymous" was then adopted for the basic text. [See Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, 166.]
But the idea of a "way out" and of a "pathway to a cure" did not immediately die out—a fact underlined by the title and cover proposed in an early draft of the Big Book cover. That draft cover contained the name "Alcoholics Anonymous" and then added "Their Pathway to a Cure." See the excellent reproduction on the cover of Alcoholics Anonymous: Their Pathway to a Cure. A "First – First" Double Anniversary Limited Edition of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous (Nashville, TN: Broad Highway Publishing Company, LLC, n.d.).
~First Step Prayer~
I admit that I am powerless over my addiction.
I admit that my life is unmanageable when I try to control it.
Help me this day to understand the true meaning of powerlessness.
Remove from me all denial of my addiction.
~Second Step Prayer~
I know in my heart that only you can restore me to sanity.
I humbly ask that you remove all twisted thought and
addictive behavior from me this day.
Heal my spirit and restore in me a clear mind.
We are who owns us. We derive our nature and uniqueness, our very selfhood, from our owner. Furthermore, we willingly join ourselves to God in Christ. Being forced to go to church, or feeling under coercion, ordered to be who we are, is like telling a bee it must gather pollen and fly to the hive. If it were unnatural to be who we are, the Christian life would be alien, foreign and against our will. But we belong to God.
All Mine are thine, and thine are mine, and I am glorified in them. John 17:10
Through His gracious generosity, in Christ Jesus, God has adopted us. We are not natural born, but supernaturally born children, through the cross and resurrection of Jesus; He owns us. That's the reality. Embracing any other owners, or powers is like swimming upstream or committing spiritual suicide. As long as we remember that we belong only to God, and continue to assemble to worship Him and do the work He has given us to do, we will be who we really are and do what we truly should do.
We can all provide a catalogue of things wrong with our lives and the world. Thanksgiving is a time when we must forget these things to remember God's mercies.
The origin of Thanksgiving is in the harvest festival of the Old Testament. The early American celebration was a self-conscious adoption of the Old Testament observance together with many other things. Throughout the year, the Hebrews constantly were summoned to thank God for His mercies and blessings. Many Psalms resound with thankful praise, especially Psalm 136:
O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good:
for his mercy endureth forever.
2 Peter 3:11-12
Hebrews 2:1, 3 NKJV
Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. . . . how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him.
There was a time in the American Church when we didn’t believe that salvation was simply a one-time experience that we could do, forget about, and still retain. There was a time (and in my lifetime) when those who attended church understood that their behavior was an important part of the salvation process, not that we earn our salvation, but that we appropriate it through our choices day by day.
- “We must give the more earnest heed.” The NRSV translates it: “We must pay greater attention.” How do we measure how much attention we give something? For me, it means what I think about, what I focus on. Do we spend time focusing on the things we have heard (meaning the Bible and the things of God)? Or do we spend time on other pursuits? How much do we know about the Bible compared to other things we know about? What consumes our conversations?
Do We Sit With Our Hearts?
I admit it. I have a difficult time being still.
I like background noise, action and movement. This probably explains why I am pathetic at relaxation exercises, Tai Chi and yoga. I just can't seem to settle down. The room may be completely quiet, yet my thoughts, "to do" lists and anxieties are often at record-setting decibel levels.
And this noise is often a part of the addiction package. Why? Because it's distracting. And anything that promises to provide escape from reality is tantalizing.
Being "spiritual" does not mean "made up of spirit." "Spirit" is not a ghost-like substance that inhabits the truly "spiritual Christian." The adjective, as in "spiritual man" and "spiritual body," does not mean ethereal, incorporeal, immaterial, otherworldly, or even unworldly as depicted in movies like The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, Ghost, and The Sixth Sense. True spirituality takes form as we live in this world in our own bodies following God's Word in the power of the Holy Spirit.
To be Spiritual is to be guided and motivated by the Holy Spirit. It means obeying His commands as recorded in the Scriptures. The Spiritual man is not someone who floats in midair and hears eerie voices. The Spiritual man is the man who does what the Bible says (Romans 8:4–8). This means, therefore, that we are supposed to get involved in life. God wants us to apply Christian standards everywhere, in every area. Spirituality does not mean retreat and withdrawal from life.1
Spirituality is measured by
Here's an Alcoholics Anonymous-Bible refresher as Early A.A. spoke about using the Bible
In his last major talk to AAs in Detroit, Michigan, in December, 1948, Dr. Bob said these things about Alcoholics Anonymous and the Bible. See The CoFounders of Alcoholics Anonymous: Biographical Sketches Their Last Major Talks (NY: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc; 1972, 1975. This is A.A. General Service Conference-approved literature, Pamphlet P-53:
"When we started in on Bill D. [A.A. Number Three], we had no Twelve Steps, either; we had no Traditions. But we were convinced that the answer to our problems was in the Good Book. To some of us older ones, the parts we found absolutely essential were the Sermon on the Mount, the thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians, and the Book of James," p. 13.
"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," p. 14.
In DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers
I must admit, my favorite question is "why?"
I ask it a lot: of God, of others, of myself, of life.
And yes, I ask the why question concerning the tricky addiction/recovery issue.
Author, Jonathan Lockwood Huie really takes that matter to task, using two words.
It's not merely a question; it's a statement... about the significance of urgency.
And this is right up addiction's alley. The fix driving the addiction- why?
Why is this my answer?
Why will this solve things?
Why will nothing else do?
Why must I be instantly healed?
It is that last question which brought two scripture passages to my mind: Jairus' daughter and Lazarus.
If you're feeling far away from God, guess who moved?
Do you ever feel like God's least present when you seem to need Him most?
Lost In Darkness
When I struggled with depression following my injury, God seemed to be a million miles away. I knew intellectually that He was right beside me, but it sure didn't feel like that. I imagined myself wandering in darkness so impenetrable that not even God could find me.
As I began to get a handle on the depression, I seemed to discover edges to the darkness. Bits of light penetrated the oppressive blanket of despair. And I found that as I felt less lost, God's presence suddenly felt more real.