You may be a believer. You may be a Christian believer. And you may wonder what in the world recovery literature today is talking about when it speaks of a mysterious “higher power” or “not-God” or Santa Claus or a Coke bottle in connection with taking one of the Steps, achieving recovery, or learning how to believe.
That’s what revisionist historians, writers, and unbelievers are telling the world today. Just pick some inanimate “Something” as your “higher power,” they say. And their sayings dominate 12 Step literature and recovery literature – even some Christian recovery literature.
But that is not what A.A. was about in 1935. It was not what it was about when its Big Book was published in 1939. And it’s not about idolatry anyway, no matter what you read. For what despairing drunk or gambler or bankrupt wants to read that he can “recover” by relying on a chair, a light bulb, or the Jolly Green Giant. Yet these desperate souls are getting it thrown at them by the barrel today – in therapy, in rehabs, in treatment programs, in purported “histories,” and in “scholarly” journals.
We think, however, that even a simpleton can look at early A.A., look at its Christian fellowship; look at its “old fashioned prayer meetings;” look at its Bible studies; look at its “Quiet Times;” look at its sources in the Sermon on the Mount, the Book of James, and 1 Corinthians 13; look at its documented 75% success rate, and conclude it was not and is not about molten idols or fairy goddesses.
It was and is about the love of Almighty God, no matter how much that fact offends those who want to sell more books, devise new treatments, herd more people into A.A., and escape the burden that comes from loving God, learning about God, obeying God, and hearing what God has said about Himself and His love in His Word—which early AAs affectionately called “The Good Book” (See Dick B., a href=”http://www.dickb.com/goodbook.shtml”>The Good Book and The Big Book).
AA Co-Founder Dr. Bob taught the Pioneers that the Creator, our God, is a loving God:
“Dr. Bob was the first group leader I heard refer simply and without ostentation to God. He cited the Sermon on the Mount as containing the underlying spiritual philosophy of A.A.” (DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers, p. 228).
“. . . the earliest A.A.’s agree that Bob presented God to them as a God of love who was interested in their individual lives” (DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers, p. 110).
“If you think you are an atheist, an agnostic, a skeptic. . . I feel sorry for you. . . . we know that we have an answer for you. It never fails, if you go about it with one half the zeal you have been in the habit of showing when you were getting another drink. Your Heavenly Father will never let you down!” (Big Book, 4th ed., p. 191).
“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 a result of our study of the Good Book” (DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers, p. 97).
“If someone asked him a question about the program, his usual response was: ‘What does it say in the Good Book?'” (DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers, p. 144).
Bill Wilson wrote in his Big Book that God was the Creator and a loving God:
“The central fact of our lives today is the absolute certainty that our Creator has entered into our hearts and lives in a way which is indeed miraculous” (Big Book, 4th ed., p. 25).
“If what we have learned and felt and seen means anything at all, it means that all of us, whatever our race, creed, or color are the children of a living Creator. . . . ” (Big Book, 4th ed., p. 29).
“When we became alcoholics, crushed by a self-imposed crisis we could not postpone or evade, we had to fearlessly face the proposition that either God is everything or else He is nothing. God either is, or He isn’t. What was our choice to be?” (Big Book, 4th ed., p. 53).
“For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority—a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience” (Big Book, 4th ed., p. 563).
“God is love” (1 John 4:8, 16)