Twelve Steps?

by James Rudy Gray

Since I have worked with alcoholics and drug addicts as a volunteer for the past 11 years, I thought a mention of the twelve steps that are often used by Alcoholics Anonymous groups could be helpful for those who are called on to deal with alcoholics and drug addicts.

You may or may not agree with the twelve steps. However, you can find some biblical basis for utilizing them.

1) We admitted we were powerless over the effects of our separation from God- that our lives had become unmanageable (Rom. 7:17).

2) We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity and balance (Phil. 2:13).

3) We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand Him (Rom. 12:1).

4) We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves (Lamentations 3:40).

5) We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs (James 5:16a).

6) We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character from our lives (Rom. 12:2).

7) We humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings (James 4:10).

8) We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all (Matt. 5:23-24).

9) We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others (Luke 6:31).

10) We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, we promptly admitted it (I Cor. 10:12).

11) We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry out His will (Luke 18:1, Col. 3:16a).

12) Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs (Gal. 6:1).

These twelve steps do not have to be used to help an addict. But, they can be effectively used when they are used under the authority of God's Word and in the power of the Holy Spirit. In fact, these same 12 steps (as modified here) offer a pretty accurate description of everyone's journey from death to life through Christ.

It is essential to keep in mind that working with any type of problem involves a process especially when that problem is some type of addiction or habitual sin. Time is not an enemy to someone who is in recovery. Time is a friend. Trust has usually been broken and it takes time to rebuild it. A person who has a history of bad choices, addictive behavior, and dysfunctional living cannot expect someone to trust them just because they have professed faith in Christ. It takes time for that trust to grow. The change may be there, but the trust that is so essential in relationship will take time to develop.

It is often disappointing when a truly repentant person does not get the trust from a loved one they feel they need or even deserve. However, trust is not something that just springs up but something that grows out of the soil of faithful living. The good news is trust can be rebuilt in less time than it took to destroy it in the first place.

There are many good tools to use in helping people, but they all will fall short unless they are built on the foundation of God's truth. The twelve steps may be a good tool for you to use with addicts or it may not be. The important thing is that the foundation for any helping ministry be anchored in Scripture.

James Rudy Gray is certified as a professional counselor by the
National Board for Certified Counselors, and is a member of the
American Association of Christian Counselors. He pastors
Utica Baptist Church in Seneca, S.C.

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