I started a sermon series on Sunday on the 12 steps of AA as it relates to our spiritual journey. And it certainly does.
I have been interested in the 12 steps for a long time and at one point was part of a 12 step group - "CoDependents Anonymous" which was helpful to me at the time.
Keith Miller wrote a book called "Hunger For Healing" which was about the 12 steps as we approach our "sin" or separation from God and I did a small group on that in Bowling Green and here at Karl Road. I also did a group about 6 years ago on a book called "Addiction and Grace" by Gerald Miller and now I am using "Breathing Under Water" by Richard Rohr.
A verse in the Bible that has always been pivotal to me was from Romans 7:
8 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[c] For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
To me this captures completely the dilemma of being human and wanting to do one thing and doing the exact opposite of what really makes us happy or is healthy for is. It feels like "powerlessness"
And that is the theme of this first week - identifying areas in our life in which we are powerless. And of course, that is most of them. But we sure like the illusion of control. That we can control more than we can.
Anyway, this is a beginning of going deeper into self awareness that might lead to greater faith and even changes within our lives. This first step is definitely the hardest - But the truth of our lives is that when we contront and accept our powerlessness - we are able to turn ourselves over to a higher power and really find peace in the midst of what used to be turmoil.
There are a couple of quotes from the book that I wanted to put in my sermon - but they did not fit. They are:
"Until you bottom out, and come to the limits of your own fuel supply, there is no reason for you to switch to a higher octane of fuel."
"To finally surrender ourselves to healing, we have to have three spaces opened up within us - and all at the same time: our opinionated head, our closed down heart and our defensive and defended body. That is the work of spirituality - and it is work."
And so we begin by praying about our powerlessness - that leads us into trusting God and finding that God is trustworthy.
Richard Rohr writes:
"Let me sum up, then the foundational ways that I believe Jesus and the 12 steps of AA are saying the same thing but with different vocabulary:
We suffer to get well.
We surrender to win.
We die to live.
We give it away to keep it.