Help for Today’s Pastor, Minister, or Priest Who…
Has experience with alcoholics and addicts in his church and elsewhere; wants to be of help; has heard strange things about or has concerns about A.A.; and doesn’t want expensive or expansive alternative programs? In fact, that servant wants his church active in a knowledgeable, effective, Christian recovery effort. And, here’s what he or she can do.
Start with the Facts
Here is the early Akron A.A. Christian Fellowship program – as briefly summarized in A.A.’s own literature – which repeatedly evoked the comment, “Why this is First Century Christianity! What can we do to help?”
Actual Seven-Point Original Program
Summarized by Frank Amos for Rockefeller
An alcoholic must realize that he is an alcoholic, incurable from a medical viewpoint, and that he must never drink anything with alcohol in it.
He must surrender himself absolutely to God, realizing that in himself there is no hope.
Not only must he want to stop drinking permanently, he must remove from his life other sins such as hatred, adultery, and others which frequently accompany alcoholism. Unless he will do this absolutely, Smith and his associates refuse to work with him.
He must have devotions every morning-a “quiet time” of prayer and some reading from the Bible and other religious literature. Unless this is faithfully followed, there is grave danger of backsliding.
He must be willing to help other alcoholics get straightened out. This throws up a protective barrier and strengthens his own willpower and convictions.
It is important, but not vital, that he meet frequently with other reformed alcoholics and form both a social and a religious comradeship.
Important, but not vital, that he attend some religious service at least once weekly.
DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers (New York, N.Y.: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc, 1980), 131.
This early program is as applicable today as the accounts in the Book of Acts, Chapters Two and Four.
This program is compatible with today’s A.A. and with most of today’s Christian approaches.
The program is published. It is free. It is contained in A.A.’s own General Service Conference-approved literature.
The program, as originally practiced, had a documented 50% success rate, with a probable additional 25% success rate among the 40 pioneers who really went to any lengths to follow it.
Criticisms of aberrations in today’s A.A. and about the shortcomings of its founders have had nothing to do with the help that tens of thousands of present-day Christians in A.A., N.A., and such 12 Step programs have received. And want to receive!
A Beginning Approach
Select one or more church leaders (perhaps a recovery pastor) in your church who have personal experience with alcoholism and addiction, who have personal experience with Alcoholics Anonymous or another 12 Step program, who are born again Christians and fervent Bible students, and who want to start an inexpensive, small recovery group, free from church “control” but fully supported, encouraged, and enriched by church leadership and teaching, and helped with starting costs.
Obtain two of Dick B.’s books:
The Good Book and The Big Book: A.A.’s Roots in the Bible
In the words of Rev. Samuel Shoemaker-cofounder of A.A.: Get Up. Get Started. Get changed!
The Dick B. Recovery Guide, 3rd ed., 2010
Note: Christians in Recovery also recommends:
Christians in Recovery Workbook and Meeting Guide
Christians in Recovery Devotional Journal