The word God is not usually synonymous with recovery. When most people think about recovering from a disease they think of doctors, prescriptions, hospitals, and science. For many years medical doctors were stumped by how to treat drug addicts and alcoholics. None of their modern medicine seemed to work. It wasn’t until the 1930’s when doctors began to see alcoholics recovering and the process that worked surprised them. The solution was spiritual.
In the foreword to the book Alcoholics Anonymous, you will find a chapter titled The Doctor’s Opinion. In it is a letter from one of the leading physicians in the treatment of alcoholism at the time of the book’s publishing. He shares that he has seen individuals recover that he would have called the hopeless variety. It states, “Though we work out our solution on the spiritual as well as the altruistic plane, we favor hospitalization for the alcoholic who is very jittery or befogged… it is imperative that a man’s brain be cleared.” While God is the keystone to recovery, the physical addiction must be treated, as well.
The 12 steps are a program designed to create a spiritual awakening. The success of these steps is based on a willingness to turn your will and life over to the care of God. What the doctor explained in the foreword was that no medical treatment alone had helped these alcoholics. It was their reliance upon God and their willingness to share the program with others suffering that seemed to be the keys to success.
Another principle of the 12 steps is that you use a God of your understanding. This means you can be practicing any religion or no religion at all and the program can work for you. You can also use any term for God you desire. You may use the words Buddha, Jesus, divine mother, heavenly father, group of drunks, or mother nature. God in the 12 steps is simply a power greater than yourself.
You may wonder why it’s necessary to have a power greater than yourself. You likely have a great deal of experience trying to use willpower to cease your drinking or using. Since it’s a physical and spiritual disease, willpower isn’t the answer. In the chapter titled How It Works in the book Alcoholics Anonymous it is simplified for us. “God could and would if he were sought.”
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