You don’t like Christians or Church, but you’ll sit in a Church basement praying to your Higher Power??

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You don’t like Christians or Church, but you’ll sit in a Church basement praying to your Higher Power??

Sounds like someone got suckered into Christianity.

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) & Christianity — An Obvious Connection

The Booze Church

Often, the same individuals who agree with harsh criticism of Christianity take offense to criticism of AA.

It’s spiritual, not religious!
Church is for people who fear hell; AA is for people who have been there.
You can choose your Higher Power.

AA’s literature and mind-numbing rhetoric states the organization is a recovery program, not a religion, but little evidence exists to prove this claim. Only to Alcoholics Anonymous members and Christians do the two entities appear completely unrelated. To the rational, AA and Christianity, share an uncanny number of core beliefs, practices, and values. Yet with closer examination, even these adherents must admit to the obvious similarities, which should make them reconsider attendance in either congregation since they are both Christianity, and neither can help you overcome addiction.

Understanding Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) & Christianity

AA classifies itself as a worldwide fellowship of individuals who struggle with alcoholism and dedicate themselves to achieving and maintaining sobriety. Founded in the thirties, AA follows a set of twelve steps that provide a spiritual framework for recovery. These steps involve admitting powerlessness over alcohol, seeking a higher power for guidance, making amends, and helping others who suffer from addiction. AA meetings, held in various locations, offer a safe space for individuals to share their experiences, provide support, and work towards a life free from alcohol.

Christianity, one of the world’s major religions, is based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. Christians believe in the existence of one God, who created the universe and sent His son, Jesus, to redeem humanity from sin. The core beliefs of Christianity include the belief in the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), the divinity of Jesus, and the importance of faith, love, and forgiveness. Christians practice their faith through prayer, attending church services, studying the Bible, participating in sacraments such as baptism and communion, and living according to the teachings of Jesus.

Superficially, these groups appear different, even oppositional, but as you examine them, their similarities begin to clarify.

A Shared Focus on Spirituality

Despite their different origins and purposes, Alcoholics Anonymous and Christianity share a common focus on spirituality. Both emphasize the importance of developing a relationship with a higher power and seeking guidance from that power to overcome personal challenges. While AA says it does not endorse any specific religious affiliation, it encourages members to connect with a higher power of their understanding, which can be interpreted as God in the context of Christianity. This shared emphasis on spirituality allows individuals in AA and Christians to find solace, strength, and hope in a power greater than themselves.

AA’s Concept of a Higher Power & Its parallels to God in Christianity

In Alcoholics Anonymous, the concept of a Higher Power plays a central role in the recovery process. The Higher Power is an individual’s personal understanding of a force greater than themselves that can provide support and guidance. This concept mirrors the belief in God in Christianity. While the specifics of how the Higher Power is perceived may vary from person to person in AA, the underlying idea of surrendering control and relying on a power beyond oneself aligns with the Christian belief in submitting to God’s will and trusting in His guidance. Both AA and Christianity recognize the importance of humility, acknowledging human limitations, and seeking divine intervention in times of need.

Spiritual vs. Religious

Alcoholics Anonymous has often been described as a spiritual rather than a religious program. This distinction supposedly allows individuals from various religious backgrounds, including Christianity, to find common ground within the fellowship. AA’s spiritual principles, such as honesty, humility, acceptance, and service, closely mirror the moral teachings found in Christianity. Both emphasize the need for self-reflection, personal growth, and helping others. The shared values of empathy, compassion, and forgiveness provide a solid foundation for individuals in AA and Christians to support one another on their respective journeys of recovery and faith.

Comparing the Community & Support in Church & AA

Church and AA meetings serve as vital communities of support for individuals seeking connection, guidance, and healing. Both provide a safe and welcoming environment where individuals can share their struggles, find understanding, and receive encouragement. In church, believers gather to worship, learn from scripture, and support one another through fellowship: sometimes referred to as “witnessing.” Similarly, AA meetings create a space where individuals can share their experiences with addiction, listen to others’ stories, and find strength in the collective wisdom and support of the group. The sense of community and shared experience in both church and AA meetings fosters a sense of belonging and offers a network of support that is crucial for recovery and spiritual growth.

Overcoming Addiction Through Faith

In the context of Twelve Step addiction recovery and Christian healing, faith, not medical or therapeutic interventions, is considered the necessary approach to healing or recovery, whether it be emotional trauma or addiction. Both Christianity and AA recognize the importance of faith and spirituality in the journey to recovery. Christianity offers a framework of beliefs, values, and practices that provide guidance, hope, and forgiveness. AA, on the other hand, offers a program or steps, grounded in spirituality that supports individuals in their quest for sobriety. The combination of faith in God and the supportive community found in AA meetings is believed to provide individuals with the tools and support they need to overcome addiction and find a renewed sense of purpose and meaning in life.

The Shared Principles of AA & Christianity

Alcoholics Anonymous and Christianity share undeniable similarities in their emphasis on spirituality, the role of a higher power (God), and the importance of community and support. Many similarities exist that are often overlooked by both AAs and Christians.

Both AA and Christianity emphasize the importance of admitting one’s powerlessness over alcohol or sin, and the need for a higher power or God to restore one’s sanity or salvation. In AA, this is expressed in the first three steps of their program, while in Christianity, this is expressed in the doctrine of original sin and the need for grace.

AA and Christianity encourage prayer and meditation as a way of communicating with one’s higher power and seeking guidance for one’s daily life. In AA, this is expressed in the eleventh step of the program and reading of the Big Book, while in Christianity, this is expressed in the practice of prayer and the study of the Bible.

Both AA and Christianity value honesty, humility, and confession as essential elements of recovery or repentance. In AA, this is expressed in the fourth, fifth, ninth, and tenth steps, while in Christianity, this is expressed in the sacrament of confession and the virtue of humility which closely resembles the fourth step of AA: “admitted to God, to oneself, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.”

AA and Christianity promote service and fellowship as a way of helping others and oneself. In AA, this is expressed in the twelfth step, while in Christianity, this is expressed in the commandment to love God and one’s neighbor as oneself. AA’s sponsor one another and share at meetings in order to help the newcomer while Christians often perform volunteer work.

Both AA and Christianity recognize the importance of gratitude and joy as signs of spiritual growth and healing. In AA, this is expressed in the practice of gratitude lists and sharing one’s experience with others, while in Christianity, this is expressed in the Fruit of the Spirit and the Beatitudes.

AA and Christianity acknowledge the reality of temptation and relapse, and the need for perseverance and support. In AA, this is expressed in the slogan “one day at a time” and the availability of sponsors and meetings, while in Christianity, this is expressed in the doctrine of free will and the Communion of Saints.

Both AA and Christianity offer hope and promise for a better future. In AA, this is expressed in the slogan “progress not perfection” and the concept of a spiritual awakening, while in Christianity, this is expressed in the doctrine of resurrection and eternal life.

AA and Christianity respect the diversity and individuality of each person’s journey and experience. In AA, this is expressed in the slogan “take what you like and leave the rest” and the principle of anonymity, while in Christianity, this is expressed in the doctrine of personal revelation and individual conscience.

Both AA and Christianity draw inspiration from stories and testimonies of people who have overcome their struggles and found peace and happiness. In AA, this is expressed in the sharing of personal stories at meetings and in literature, while in Christianity, this is expressed in the lives of saints and martyrs or witnessing.

AA and Christianity are based on principles that have supposedly been proven to work for millions of people around the world for decades. In AA, this is expressed in the statement “it works if you work it,” while in Christianity, this is expressed in the statement “by their fruits you will know them.”

These are just some similarities between Christians and AA, to say nothing of the fact that AAs often meet, pray, and perform other twelve-step rites or that the organization came about through a Christian fellowship called the Oxford Group.

Rejecting AA & Christianity

Criticism of AA is not arbitrary because you cannot adhere to AA without adhering to Christianity to a large degree. For this reason, rejection of AA must follow rejection of Christianity because they are the same religion and neither can cure addiction or any disease. There are many more reasons why a person falls into this trap with AA, which explains AAs high failure rates, but more importantly, demands member scrutiny.

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