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Brother Stafford

Bible based alternative to 12 step addiction programs?

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I used to be a drug addict and alcoholic.  I have been clean and sober since September twenty-first of 2000.  When I got sober, I had absolutely no interest in 12 step programs or Christianity, but when my drinking and drugging friends found out that I was sober, none of them wanted to have anything to do with me.  It was like I had leprosy.  I white knuckled it for about a year before I finally went to an A.A. meeting.  Then, I attended as many meetings as I possibly could and even worked behind the counter at an alano club, slinging burgers and processing membership dues.

I worked the 12 steps, but I avoided the ones that had anything to do with a "higher power."  My sponsor told me that if I didn't find Christ, then my sobriety would eventually fall down like a house of cards.  After a while, I got involved with Buddhism and I continued to attend A.A. meetings.  One night, while I was playing a gig at a bar and was on a set break, I was reading a book by the Dalai Lama and a friend of one of my bandmates sat down with me and started asking me about my book.  That started an innumerable amount of conversations, between the two of us, about Christianity and, eventually, I had a "coming to Jesus" moment with him around a campfire in northern Michigan, although not anything close to a biblically based faith.

Fast-forwarding a few years, I began to become disenchanted with A.A., as it just seemed like the same people kept telling the same stories and the meetings just seemed like dry bars filled with a bunch of miserable dry drunks.  I no longer felt any desire to drink or to use drugs and I stopped attending the meetings.  My discovery of true Christianity is another story, but, suffice it to say, I eventually came to rest in a Independent Baptist, KJV only, Bible based faith.  I had, however, always credited my sobriety, and my eventual coming into my faith, with my roots in A.A.

Tonight, out of curiosity, I decided to attend a meeting at the old alano club at which I used to work.  In addition to the new faces I expected to see, I recognized several people from when I used to attend years ago.  They were still struggling with the same types of issues they had when I met them almost seventeen years ago and still seemed just as miserable. The subject of the evening was the second step: "We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity."  They spoke of a vaguely defined "higher power" or "god as I understand him," and spoke of a "happy, joyous and free" life in the same tone that a prisoner in solitary speaks of his one hour of yard time.  When it was my turn to speak, they listened intently to me. However, when I spoke of the joy that I have found in Christ and the feeling of liberation I experienced in having received the gift of salvation, they started looking noticeably uncomfortable and a few of them left the table early.  Afterward, the leader of the meeting took me aside and told me that people don't like it when people "preach or proselytize" at the tables and that, if I come back, that I should keep things confined to the idea of just a "higher power" because "a lot of people just don't like hearing about Jesus."

I believe that, although A.A. may have helped me at a certain point, I came to a saving faith despite of A.A. and not because of it.  I really believe that such programs can be a great hindrance to people coming to true salvation.  Similarly, although I met a man that was instrumental in my eventually being lead to Christ, I would not recommend that people frequent bars looking for Christian conversations.

This leads me to the question in the title of this topic.  Would it be a good idea to try to create a different kind of meeting, for people who are struggling with addiction, that looks nothing like A.A., but is biblically based?  I had been to a few "faith based" 12 step programs years ago, but I remember them being more non-denominational in their approach and leaning more toward quick-prayerism.  Does the idea of a more biblically sound program sound like a good idea to pursue?  I would really appreciate your feedback on this.

Edited by Brother Stafford

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Hello Brother. What a great testimony, thank you for sharing.

There is a great faith based program called RU. Are familiar with them? I know there are other good faith based program out there, this is just the one that I have worked in and am very familiar with for about 10 years now. 

Here is the website: https://rurecovery.com/

 

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Yes indeed.  A great testimony indeed.  Thankfully I never had to deal with any alcoholism and have never touched any drugs other than prescribed by my Doc.  I do have an addiction toward tobacco however.  For many years the 'Broad Leaf' was king in my neighborhood and as a teenager I cropped it for a local farmer.  

Brother Stafford..., you hang in there and thanks for your honesty!      

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I am now of the belief (as are many others and many professionals) that addiction is not a disease.  Almost every 12 step program, that I know of, teaches that it is and that it is something from which a person can never be completely recovered.  Although I am fairly certain that this man is not a Christian, neuroscientist, Marc Lewis, shares many of my beliefs on addiction.  He gives a talk on this view in the video: "The Neuroscience of Addiction."  I don't agree on every one of his points, but he is the closest I have found, so far, to my beliefs on the issue.

 
Edited by Brother Stafford

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16 hours ago, OLD fashioned preacher said:

H.O.P.E. (Helping Others Put Off Entanglements) is another. It was developed by Rick Carter, Jr. when he pastored in OR. It is now home based at Beth Haven Baptist in OKC, OK.

This one looks fairly promising.  I'll look into that one.  Thank you for the suggestion.  Out of curiosity, how did you hear about H.O.P.E.?

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Old Fashioned Preacher,

After reading their courtesy agreement and reading their downloadable sample book for about five minutes, this is looking very promising!  Thank you very much for this suggestion!

21 hours ago, BroMatt said:

Hello Brother. What a great testimony, thank you for sharing.

There is a great faith based program called RU. Are familiar with them? I know there are other good faith based program out there, this is just the one that I have worked in and am very familiar with for about 10 years now. 

Here is the website: https://rurecovery.com/

I am familiar with them.  I attended some of their meetings several years back and had some pretty bad experiences.  There are also things that they are into that I disagree with.  I am glad that you have had good experiences with them.  Thank you for the thought.

Edited by Brother Stafford

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2 hours ago, Brother Stafford said:

I am familiar with them.  I attended some of their meetings several years back and had some pretty bad experiences.  There are also things that they are into that I disagree with.  I am glad that you have had good experiences with them.  Thank you for the thought.

I have been to about 10+ RU meetings in different churches. I have preached at some and I even preformed a wedding  during a RU meeting. Granted I have always been on the other side of you in the RU meetings as I mostly preached in them. 

I have noticed that each chapter runs independently and different. I have been to some that I did not like and would not attend, and  I have been to others with hundred in attendance and countless lives that have been changed. They tend to go in the direction that the church is in. 

Out of curiosity and my own information, what was it that you do not agree with? I'm not asking to argue with you, just so that I can look into it myself as I may have overlooked something. Things may have also changed in recent years. 

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7 hours ago, Brother Stafford said:

This one looks fairly promising.  I'll look into that one.  Thank you for the suggestion.  Out of curiosity, how did you hear about H.O.P.E.?

The founder's dad started the church I pastored in KS. We ran a chapter there for 10 years

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5 hours ago, BroMatt said:

Out of curiosity and my own information, what was it that you do not agree with? I'm not asking to argue with you, just so that I can look into it myself as I may have overlooked something. Things may have also changed in recent years. 

The ones I attended seemed to be heavily influenced by A.A.. They believed alcoholism was a disease from which one could never recover.  They believed that if you attended less than three meetings a week, that you would inevitably relapse.  They used the "higher power as you understand him" line and mimicked A.A. in saying that your higher power could be the radiator if you wanted, so long as it was something other than yourself.  It was like going to an A.A. meeting with a bit of Christianish flavor sprinkled on top with a lot of sales pressure.  They pushed the books and materials so hard that every meeting felt like a sales convention.  They would hand newcomers one of their shirts and say, "It's free, but we would welcome a donation of $20," or whatever was five dollars more than the price of the shirt, had you bought it directly from RU.  It also seemed like a singles meat market and a lot of co-ed sponsoring.  It felt like more of a cult and I was actually more comfortable at A.A. and N.A. meetings.

Edited by Brother Stafford

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Thank you brother for explaining. I did notice a few things like book selling that was pushed, but some of the other things I have not noticed in RU meetings here in the Northeast. I too would be disturbed if RU was pushing that alcoholism was a disease and just referring to higher power. I too would feel uncomfortable and get out of there like you did. The RU meetings I have been to has been heavy of God, and scripture was the main teaching book. I'm wondering now how different that each chapter must run. RU meetings here are only 1 day a week on Friday nights, and its alot 1 on 1. Thanks for sharing your experience.

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Those people left under conviction and rejected the Lord pulling them away from their sins.  As you have learned those programs are man-centered and not Christ centered.  My poor aunt is sucked into those things and the church makes her pay for them!  What heathens!  And after all these years she's still destitute and miserable and still in rebellion to Christ even though she attends "church".

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