What the Church has over the AA/NA Meetings

PART TWO:

Following up from What AA/NA has over the Church ….
To be fair,
there is something the Church at large has over the AA/NA Meetings; there is something the AA/NA meetings can learn from the Church…
But,
they need to come up from the basement fellowship halls and enter the Sanctuary, to see and hear it for themselves.

AA/NA books containing the 12-Steps allude to it, but don’t quite come out and stand boldly with it, because it might keep some people in recovery away from entering thru the doors of a Meeting.
And yet…
As I was privy to listen to so many heart stirring stories at the meetings, I could not help but think about the one thing that the Church and it’s Book has over these meetings and their 12-step support book, even though similar themes run throughout – both books encourage:
• Surrender
• Personal inventory
• Humble repentance
• Call to making amends
• Call to living peaceably
• Engagement with prayer
• Sharing the way that works , with others
• Believing in God
Admittedly, I am surprised at how many similar themes there are between the two books. One might be as good as the other…

Except, Jesus.
The Jesus factor is the one thing that the Church has over the AA/NA Meetings.

I have witnessed the speaking about God in the meetings and in the Serenity prayer that is often a closing ritual for these gatherings. I understand that the majority of people in recovery are referring to God as an entity who is a power greater than themselves, an acknowledgement that they are not in control. And this is so very great!
God is in control. HE is all powerful, all present, all knowing and is the Creator of our very beings.

BUT,
it is not the whole story and I am afraid that this is where some people in Recovery are missing out.

Except Jesus; God’s Son, Jesus.
The Jesus factor makes it all personal and where victorious living begins.

I can tell you so, because I know, because I am personal with Jesus.
Did you know that when you believe in the name and person of Jesus and all He did for you, you are:
• made a new creation
• given a new identity
• given power over death

How is this possible? What did Jesus do for you and for me?

Like a regular hero – He jumped in front of the bus and pushed us out of the way!
Jesus was born, in order to die; He took the punishment of each of our sins upon himself and willingly sacrificed His own life for ours by dying a criminals death on a cross.

But that is only half the story!
He then was buried in a tomb, typical for those days…… but not typical,

God, the One who has all power, caused an earthquake to open the tomb and Jesus rose from the dead and spoke to his women friends, telling them to tell his other friends that he is alive, just as he foretold them days ago.

Best of all, and the key point here: Jesus then rose to heaven and now sits at His father’s side… well, that would be God… the one we all mention in the Serenity prayer

These events are known as the Good News, and we, church-going Christians, who love Jesus, are here to proclaim and share it with everyone who will listen.

Just like Step # 12 in the 12-step book mandates, share with others the way that works.

This is my moment to invite anyone in Recovery to consider the Jesus factor
He is the Way that works the best.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life… John 14:6a

I believe true and full recovery is possible and sustainable through the power that comes from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Jesus’ power is stronger than addiction of any kind.

I heard someone in a meeting say, anything can be your higher power,

…“like that rock over there”…
I am here to tell you,
the only Rock that has higher power over you to aide in the full and final defeating of your beastly addiction is
Jesus Himself – the Rock of your Salvation.

SO, I invite you, who are in Recovery, if you have not already, please come up from the basement fellowship halls and enter the Sanctuary; local? Visit my church.

What AA/NA has over the Church

PART ONE:

I am not an expert, nor a person in recovery, but I am a long time, church-going Christian, and I had the privilege to attend an AA/NA meeting and was involved in a similar type meeting – S.O.A.R.R., each took place in the basement fellowship halls of a church; my son was a recovering addict and that’s how I became connected to the meetings.

At first glance, the AA/NA & S.O.A.R.R and the Church at large, have many similarities:
• The meetings are weekly
• People are regular about meeting
• There is a book that guides them
• There is a leader who leads them
• There is a common goal
• There is mutual sharing and love.

I was kind of surprised at the many similarities actually.

However:

AA/NA meetings and the local S.O.A.R.R meeting, have something over the Church at large. There is this one thing that stood out and spoke volumes to me.

 

At the AA/NA & S.O.A.R.R Meetings, everyone is greeted with a genuine bear hug, and  people in recovery share testimonies at every gathering, not just on special occasions; I was awed at the level of surrender, humility and depth of airing real-life-messy; it took me by surprise, and without a doubt, convicted me and humbled me. Sharing and speaking up is the point:  Step OneWe admitted we were powerless over our addiction – that our lives had become unmanageable.
Total SURRENDER. Total HUMILITY.
My eyes were opened to the brokenness that is unfortunately so prevalent. Heart & gut wrenching details, baring of deep soul hurts and challenges wove through every story like a rough thread in a fine piece of linen.
Total exposing the MESSY of life.

THEN…there was that one thing that melted me.
That one thing stood out like the one tall stalk of corn left in the plowed field.

ACCEPTANCE by way of NO JUDGEMENT.

This is it: the one thing AA/NA has over the church is a lack of judgmental attitude.

It did not matter who was speaking, it did not matter what they had done, experienced, or been through, or how they said what they said. Nods, tears, and mutual-empathetic-attitudes are what exuded from each one sitting in the meeting. Not one member at the meeting judged that person in the vulnerable seat. This witness melted a place deep in my heart.

It is my opinion, that the Church at large can learn something from the meetings that take place in their basement fellowship halls.

The Church at large is generally too clean; at least it can often seem that way because of the façade that is portrayed when people walk through the doors on a Sunday morning wearing their best and smiling their best as they greet each other, exchanging, “How are you’s?” with smiling replies,  “I’m fine” (when underneath it all, many, if not all, really are not).  I know from my own experiences, I feared the judgment of others, especially as I endured very messy things in my life and guiltily I admit, I seduced others to passivity as well with the “I’m fine” replies, too many times.

To the Church at large, I challenge you to break down the facades if they exist, stop fearing and instead, accept people who have messes and be willing to share your own messes; stop judging those who are struggling with really hard stuff; you aren’t as clean as you want everyone to think you are…
…surrender and be real, so that we all can be seen and heard and accepted and helped, without fear of judgement – no matter what the mess or struggle is…

To the AA/NA meetings and all people in recovery who are fighting for your lives, I say BRAVO! Keep doing what you are doing…
…surrender and be real, keep seeing and hearing and accepting and helping without judgement!

We are all here together in this life trying to survive and thrive – let’s not make it harder for each other. There should be genuine bear hugs enough for all.

 

Stay tuned for PART TWO: What the Church has over the AA/NA Meetings – Next Tuesday