I recently received an e-mail from a Christian who was going to set me straight. He wrote that the 12-steps were evil - the antichrist. You could not worship a program lead by a man who spent his life chasing different beliefs trying to obtain sobriety. I won’t write this person’s letter here, but it did have me shaking my head.
I’ve been around AA for a few years and I never knew or believed it to be a religious institution. It is a spiritual program based on 12 steps to make this life manageable. No where does it tell anyone who to worship or how to worship. Even in it’s own “Big Book” it states that these are merely suggestions for a path to recovery.
Any program, in my opinion, that brings a sense of serenity and peace is accepted by any Higher Power. The AA program helps citizens regain a sense of self-worth and slowly become the person they were meant to be. As a collective whole it has nothing to do with worshiping one god. That is up to the individual.
This is where religion and spirituality are quite different. Spirituality tries to get the person through this life, with the idea that the next life will take care of itself. Religion deals entirely with the next life. For this alcoholic, I could care less about the next life. I don’t mean that to sound “Anti-God,” but I have enough issues in this life to clear up first.
I believe that if I can become a better person in this life, my next life will be just rewarded. I have accepted my Higher Power, whom I have a name for, but I don’t believe I need to preach to others about Him (or Her.) Can this Being be found in church? Yes! Can He also be found outside that church? Yes. And for me, do I need a book telling me how to live my life? No.
If I can’t see God in a beautiful sunrise, or in the eyes of my wife, or in the innocence of a child, or even in a blade of grass, then I will not see God in a book of religion.