Tool: 12 Steps

John: “Sin is My Sickness”

I am powerless over sin. That’s my problem. I used to feel damned because my life seemed to be falling apart. By the grace of God I learned that although I was just as much at fault for the problems in my life as the people in my life, God was not so cruel as to torment me for my sinfulness. In fact only he could restore me to sanity. My higher power volunteered.

Luke 4:18
He hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.

A.A. History Epochs and What They Tell Us Today

A.A.’s Real History – a product of ongoing research and open-mindedness.
The more the research, the more writers are able to divest themselves of the idea as to what AAs do and don’t say, believe, practice, and pass along. The shibboleths of higher power, spiritual but not religious, salvation or something, nonsense gods that can be chairs, and all the other baggage that has emerged from lack of historical research may never be extracted from today’s recovery language. But there’s hope.

A.A. had several distinct and usually unreported epochs.

Are You Willing to Live by Faith?

There are two kinds of rest: the rest (peace and joy) that we have with the Lord everyday when we walk closely with Him and the eternal rest of Heaven. The writer of Hebrews has just talked about the Israelites who, through their rebellion toward God, were not allowed to enter the Promised Land. It seems very possible for us to deny ourselves of that very thing we have wanted by our own unwillingness to live by faith.

Hebrews 4:1-2 NKJV
Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.

Unfortunately, the word “faith” is bantered around so much these days that it’s almost impossible to know whether or not we truly have the kind of faith Hebrews talks about. We talk about believing in Jesus as having faith. James writes: “You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe–and tremble!” (James 2:19 NKJ). Why do the demons believe? Because they know that someday God will deal with their rebellion and sin against Him. We believe and fail to tremble because we think that God is so tolerant that He will just forgive and let us go on in our rebellion. Why. we believe in Jesus! That should be enough. The demons believe and it won’t save them.

James precede this verse with a discussion about works:

Are You Cultivating Life Saving Fruit?

Let’s imagine that recovery grew on a vine, and like grapes in a valley, it would need proper soil cultivation, sunlight, water, fertilization, and pruning to bear fruit.

Wouldn’t it be nice if your recovery would bear enough fruit to eliminate fruit-bearing guides, books, classes and counselors? That being asked and answered, what would your mandatory concerns be to make that a reality in your struggles to grow recovery-bearing fruit?

Your concerns should be the following:

  • Make sure your potential fruit-bearing recovery plan is connected to the vines clearly with unobstructed prayer.
  • That you cultivate and prune your life by working a Twelve-Step Program.

Trying to Find Your Way Back?

Every so often the familiar and even somewhat predictable “amnesia scenario” is resurrected for another made-for-TV-movie or sitcom. The actor stares blankly into once-loved faces and professes no recognition whatsoever. Places, sounds, smells, even names–nothing seems familiar. Memory has been lost; hence, a sense of identity has been lost as well.

And that is exactly what has happened to us–all of us. We have lost our memory. Like the prodigal son’s older brother who toiled endlessly and joyously in the fields, we have forgotten who we are and where we came from. But the forgetting goes beyond the pigsty from which the Father has rescued the prodigals. It extends back to the beginning–to a time when our identity was secure in our fellowship with the Father.
Before the rebellion…
Before the fall…
Before the exile.

As a result, our world is in the midst of an ongoing identity crisis. We walk around, day after day, year after year, generation after generation, trying to find our way back to….somewhere…. hoping that when we get there, someone will recognize us and tell us who we are.

The problem is, even if we figure out where that “somewhere” is, we cannot get ourselves back there, contrary to a song that was popular in the late ’60s and early ’70s that proclaimed the need to get ourselves back to the Garden.

God Chooses the Improbable

“You did not choose me, but I chose you…”John 15:16a

I know what you’re thinking: “God chooses others, but not me.”

You think it’s because of your secret, don’t you? The awful thing in your past — that abortion or that affair; your divorce; the rape; the sexual abuse; the shameful business failure; your drug usage; alcoholism; criminal past. etc. Like the clumsy, nearsighted child no one picks for playground sports, you want God’s favor, His grace, but it seems beyond your wildest dreams. It’s not.The poem “The Chosen Vessel” tells how God picks a vessel to use: “Take me,” cried the gold one. “I’m shiny and bright,”I’m of great value and I do things just right.” But God passes by the gold, silver, brass, crystal, and wooden urns, and chooses the vessel of clay. The poem explains why:

Then the Master looked down and saw a vessel of clay.
Empty and broken, it helplessly lay.

No hope had the vessel that the Master might choose,
to cleanse and make whole, to fill and to use.
“Ah! This is the vessel I’ve been hoping to find,
I will mend and use it and make it all mine.”

Understanding the Twelve Step Process

For addicts, the brightest, most inviting path of all was the one marked “The Twelve Step Process”. This path is recognized by doctors, psychiatrists, counselors, and recovering addicts around the world as the sure thing, the gimme, the easy button, and the road map to a successful recovery.

Recording Your Life as a Journey

Have you ever considered your life a journey? To describe it in this way has become cliché. But there is nothing cliché about you! Because God created you in His image and loved you so much that He gave His only Son Jesus to die for your sins, each of you is a precious, unique creation of God. He treasures you beyond imagining, and He has given your life infinite worth.

My personal motto is “a life worth living is worth recording.” Is my life worthy because of who I am? No. But because God loves me, my life has great significance. My life is so valuable to God that one of the most important things I can do is to journal my journey with Him.

Using Our Recovery Feet

Over the years, I have learned about boundaries and the discernment needed in determining when to stay and when to go.

“And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.” Matthew 10:14; Mark 6:11


These scriptures often deal with the spreading of the Gospel. And that is certainly the case. But I also see them applying to addiction/recovery matters as well.

1. We admitted we were powerless over a substance or behavior ─ our lives had become unmanageable.

Step One challenges our “I have this under control” lie we often tell ourselves.

I have encountered this from close family members, most specifically, my mother.

I was rather late arriving to the therapy party when it came to addressing my disordered eating/image issues. I wasn’t in therapy as a skeletal anorexic, an impulsive bulimic or a ravenous overeater. No. It was a matter of “years later” when I finally decided I needed to face personal issues about myself. And I did it alone.

I did it alone because, when it came to dealing with those unpleasant and difficult issues, my family was unwilling to participate in unflattering truth’s revelation.

I first encountered this as an emaciated anorexic.

Fruit of the Other Spirit

Let’s face it – fruit has been a tricky thing from the beginning.

Certainly, any of us who battle with addiction, compulsion or disorder know the power of its lure.

“…the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”Genesis 2:16-17

It goes downhill from there. Check out Genesis 3:1-24; here are a couple of fun highlights…

“Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field.”
Genesis 3:18