Endigar 495 ~ Those Who Still Suffer

From Today’s Daily Reflections;

Let us resist the proud assumption that since God has enabled us to do well in one area we are destined to be a channel of saving grace for everybody.  (A.A. Comes of Age, page 232)

A.A. groups exist to help alcoholics achieve sobriety. Large or small, firmly established or brand-new, speaker, discussion or study, each group has but one reason for being: to carry the message to the still-suffering alcoholic. The group exists so that the alcoholic can find a new way of life, a life abundant in happiness, joy, and freedom. To recover, most alcoholics need the support of a group of other alcoholics who share their experience, strength and hope. Thus my sobriety, and our program’s survival, depend on my determination to put first things first.

END OF QUOTE

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Once A.A. became successful in countering alcoholism and the public began to take notice, the fellowship faced two potentially devastating advisories who might be jealous and territorial; the scientific and the religious communities.  In order to grow in power A.A. needed to evade controversy and limit its focus.  The medical community had given us the Disease Concept that counters religious guilt and the religious community had inspired the GOMU (God of my understanding) concept that resisted intellectual prejudice.  Like the founding fathers of the United States, A.A.’s infancy had to be protected from entangling alliances.  We had reasons to be grateful to and fear both camps.

An implication from the quote from A.A. Comes of Age is that the belief that an approach is “destined to be a channel of saving grace for everybody” is a prideful assumption.  Since there are groups in both science and religion that are infected with this false pride, A.A. needed a way to protect ourselves internally and externally.

Then too, it would be a product of false pride to believe that Alcoholics Anonymous is a cure-all, even for alcoholism. Here we must remember our debt to the men and women of medicine. Here we be friendly and, above all, open minded toward every new development in the medical or psychiatric art that promises to be helpful to sick people. We should always be friendly to those in the fields of alcoholic research, rehabilitation, and education. We should endorse none especially but hold ourselves in readiness to co-operate so far as we can with them all. Let us constantly remind ourselves that the experts in religion are the clergymen; that the practice of medicine is for physicians; and that we, the recovered alcoholics, are their assistants.
There are those who predict that alcoholics anonymous may well become a new spearhead for a spiritual awakening throughout the world. When our friends say these things they are both generous and sincere. But we of A.A. must reflect that such a tribute and such a prophecy could well prove to be a heady drink for most of us-that is, if we really came to believe this to be the real purpose of A.A., and if we commenced to behave accordingly. Our society, therefore, will prudently cleave to its single purpose: the carrying of the message to the alcoholic who still suffers. Let us resist the proud assumption that since God has enabled us to do well in one area we are destined to be a channel of saving grace for everybody. (A.A. Comes of Age, page 232)

There are now many groups that pattern themselves after the 12-step recovery program forged in Alcoholics Anonymous.

[ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_twelve-step_groups ]

As we have grown, attacks from intellectuals and zealots alike rail against the validity of this program, but to no avail for we are no longer an infant entity.

We have also faced internal conflicts for we are “erratic alcoholics”  (Alcoholics Anonymous, page xviii) who had to find a way to work together.  The fact that we did should be testimony to the Higher Power present among us.

I know that within myself I have a lazy skeptic who will use my intellect to become a professional critic, with no solution offered to fill the void of powerlessness.  I am also vulnerable to the religious hijack of my simple faith in Gomu to counter the burden and fear of an isolated self.

To those still suffering I will stand along side with a single purpose; recovery from alcoholism.  I hope we will be able to help shield each other from the crossfire between religion and science.

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