By Chad Prigmore
The following is a brief fictional story based on a common reality.
Our main character is a young man in his late twenties named Taylor.
It's a cold dreary late Tuesday morning in a suburb south of Los Angeles and Taylor is just waking up from a fitful sleep. He opens his eyes and the light through the bedroom window of his condo is like a brick being pressed into his head. He sits up on the side of the bed for just a few seconds and then jumps up and nearly falls from dizziness as he stumbles into the bathroom, raises the toilet lid and throws up.
This morning ritual has been a recurring episode in Taylor's life over the last couple of years. He's an alcoholic and a cocaine addict and the last year especially has gone from fun and wild parties with his friends to a rapidly growing panic that he's under the control of something he can no longer battle against. He's home in bed late on a Tuesday morning because he no longer works. He lost his job because he was undependable and then his girlfriend left a few months ago.
Taylor's burden of depression, anxiety, and disgust because of what he has let himself become is near the point of breaking him. He never in his life considered suicide, but over recent months the idea of it regularly comes into his mind on mornings like this. As the memory of the previous night's depravity seeps into his foggy mind he drops to his knees on the bathroom floor and cries.
A few hours later, after a failed attempt at trying to eat breakfast without getting sick again, Taylor is back in the bathroom trying to shave as his hands shake like those of a ninety-five-year-old man. As he stares at his once vibrant face in the mirror and notices the dark bags and sallow skin he decides he'll do something he swore he'd never do - he'll go to a church for help. After all, isn't that what churches are supposed to do? His friend Josh's mom nagged them for years about going to church. Taylor never had any desire or interest because it all just seemed like a big scam carried out on the weak and ignorant. But he was willing to try anything on a day like this. He'd go to the big church a couple of miles from his condo he always drove by. In fact, he remembers seeing lights on and cars there just about every evening so he'll go tonight and see if maybe they can help him.
That evening as it continues to rain, Taylor drinks three beers to stop the relentless shaking, gets into his car and drives to the big church. As he comes up the street to the church it's just getting dark and the wet streets glisten with reflection from the car lights. The low clouds and drizzle add to his already despondent and dark mood. But as he nears the church he sees the front door is open a bit and a warm light streams out onto the sidewalk. He thinks to himself maybe the inviting aura of the light is a sign he might find the help he so badly needs. He pulls into the parking lot next to the church where twenty or so cars are parked.
As Taylor walks up to the front door of the church he becomes extremely nervous. What are the people here going to think of him? These are church people - those shiny happy people who send those evangelist guys on TV all their money. Will they maybe just send him down the road because he's so messed up? But he continues toward the slightly open door and it's welcoming light and pulls the door open. Just as he does, a man coming out the door nearly runs him over. The man stops and asks Taylor if there's anything he can help him with and introduces himself as Pastor Doug.
Taylor - to his own surprise, briefly explains to Pastor Doug that he's in a bad place because of drinking and drugs and is hoping that maybe the church could somehow help him but he'd never been there before. Pastor Doug explains they would love to help him and as a matter of fact, there is an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting starting in one of their meeting rooms in just a few minutes - God must have led him there! Pastor Doug tells Taylor that he doesn't go to the meetings but knows they help people suffering from alcoholism. He invites Taylor to church the next Sunday and then ushers him inside to the meeting room and introduces him to a man named Tony who runs the Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.
Tony welcomes Taylor to the meeting and offers him a cup of coffee. The meeting is just getting ready to start so Tony goes to the podium at the front and Taylor finds a seat toward the back. As people begin sitting down around him many of them introduce themselves and seem eager to make him feel welcome. Just about everyone there seems to know everyone else.
As the meeting begins, Taylor is surprised that a prayer called the "Serenity Prayer" is recited and it doesn't offend him. Then one of the men goes to the podium and reads something called a "Portion of Chapter Five" from a book they call "The Big Book." As Taylor listens to the man he becomes a bit intrigued by what he hears - especially something about "God as we understood Him". After the man finishes reading, Tony invites people up to share their stories and Taylor actually begins feeling a bit of hope because the people who speak seem to have been through some type of struggle with booze and drugs similar to his own.
After the meeting, Tony asks Taylor if he can buy him a cup of coffee and they head out of the church and into the parking lot to Tony's car. They drive a short distance to a coffee shop and go inside. There are a couple guys from the Alcoholics Anonymous meeting there and Tony introduces them to Taylor.
Over coffee, Tony tells Taylor his story and how he's stayed sober for five years and believes Alcoholics Anonymous saved his life. Taylor asks Tony if he goes to the church the meeting is at and Tony says no explaining that sobriety is not found in churches and that he was finally able to get sober because he came to believe in a god of his own understanding and did not need anything churches offer. They just hold meetings at churches because the rent is cheap and sometimes even free. They spend a couple hours talking and Taylor is excited and hopeful. He's astonished when Tony tells him that alcoholism is a disease and Taylor was only suffering from the effects of it. As Tony drops him off at his car he hands him a brand new "Big Book" and tells Taylor he should start reading it right away and invites him to a noon meeting the next day at another church a few miles away. Taylor thanks Tony for the book and agrees to meet him at the noon meeting.
Now we fast forward the story. Taylor has now been sober for two years and Tony is his sponsor. Taylor has another job and a new girlfriend. He attends five AA meetings a week, prays to a god of his own understanding, asking him for sobriety each morning and thanking him for his sobriety every night. He lives one day at a time and understands that if he ever neglects his sobriety or walks away from Alcoholics Anonymous he'll probably die from his disease. He still attends the Tuesday evening meeting at the big church but has never been there for a church service. He's learned in AA that all he needs is his own higher power, a sponsor, and to completely give himself to the program of Alcoholics Anonymous and he will be assured of a place in the kingdom of his higher power.
It's again a Tuesday evening - but a nice warm evening. We see Taylor leaving the Alcoholics Anonymous meeting at the big church and get into his car. As he pulls out of the driveway his cell phone rings and he looks down to pick it up off of the passenger seat, pulls into the street in front of a semi truck, the semi-truck slams into Taylor's car, crushing Taylor inside and he dies almost instantly.
Taylor was suffering on a cold rainy evening two years ago. He went to a big church seeking help. He was introduced to Alcoholics Anonymous for the help he sought.
Taylor died without ever hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Devil is running rampant in an orgy of destroying souls in your own Church if it allows Alcoholics Anonymous to meet on its premises.
Visit your local Alcoholics Anonymous website and you will see that a vast majority of meetings are held in Christian Churches.
If you're not familiar with the false teachings of Alcoholics Anonymous please visit the Exposing Recovery page.
Are you suffering from alcoholism or drug addiction? Please know that you are who Jesus came to deliver and save.
If you need help please fill out the Contact form on this website.
I recently received an email from a woman who has been trapped in Alcoholics Anonymous for years and has now through God's grace had her eyes opened to the truth of what AA really is and is now beginning to grow in her faith in Jesus Christ. I am posting my response to her email in hopes that it will help others who have been ensnared by the sinister and fear based teachings of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Her main concerns were for her husband who has been in AA for years and what to do for those who reject any talk of Jesus or church and yet want to have sobriety.
The following is my response:
Regarding your first email, I understand your struggles after waking up to the truth of what Alcoholics Anonymous is after you were a part of it for so long. I was fearfully trapped in AA for thirteen years and fled from it eleven years ago and have not stepped foot in a meeting since. I can tell you from my own experience that you have been tremendously blessed to be freed from Alcoholics Anonymous by God's grace through Jesus Christ. Also, your greatest strength going forward will be in seeking to grow closer to Christ through prayer, study of the Word, and Christian fellowship.
Imagine in a few years it is discovered that there is indeed a planet far far away inhabited by an alien race. This alien race is ahead of us technologically - but not by as much as we had for years speculated they would be. However, they are very advanced spiritually and emotionally. They never fight, argue, or even have disagreements. This race of aliens gets along great, and their planet is awesome because the planet actually is what to each alien mind feels and wishes it should be. It's everything the perfect planet could be for everyone there and even though they all have different tastes and interests all their tastes and interests are satisfied by the planets unfathomable ability to be the best it can be for each individual alien.
We earthlings send astronauts to investigate and the aliens on this planet treat our astronauts with grace and hospitality when they arrive. And after a very short time it becomes clear to the astronauts that this is the place that we humans need to move to - it is literally perfect. However, the aliens have one very strict law which states that the only way to become a citizen of their planet and live there is if you are born there. What a bummer.
So, as it is with us humans, we beg and plead and try our best to get the aliens to change the law - but they can't - it's not possible. We even try looking just like the aliens (they aren't little and grey with big eyes), we dress like them, learn to talk like them, walk like them, but it just can't be done. We cannot live on their planet.
So it is with the kingdom of heaven.
Put on all you like of Christianity, appear in every way Christian. However, if you are not born again of the spirit - then heaven is closed to you.
A person may do wonderful and caring works, spend their life in altruistic pursuits. If they are not born again of the spirit - then heaven is closed to them.
A reprobate in the clutches of the sins of alcoholism and addiction may strive valiantly and reform themselves. They may turn away from their destructive vices and lead a commendable life as a fine member of society. But if they are not born again of the spirit - then heaven is closed to them.
A christian is not a Christian without a Christian heart. And for a heart to be Christian it must be born again of the spirit in the heavenly country. To see and dwell in the kingdom of God we must be born anew there.
This may seem like a frightening and confrontational message - but it is the message the Lord gives us: "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God." - Jesus (John 3:5)
There is no wiggle room.
Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4
There will never be enough - that’s the truth that blows the lid off of our modern pre-manufactured, commercialized, consumer driven society. Regardless of how much you earn, how much you buy, how good you look, how famous you are, how sexy you are, how successful you are, how high you are - there will never be enough.
Does that seem like a crazy over generalization? Just take a look at all the fads and fixes that have come and gone in your own lifetime. Look back over the last twenty to fifty years and look at all the self help programs, religions, drugs, medications, fad diets, therapies, books, cults, twelve step programs, motivational speakers, etc… that have come and gone - and yet the world and the people in it are more frantically screwed up now than ever before.
Addiction now grows at a frenzied pace and seems to be just a part of modern life. Drugs, alcohol, food, sex, TV, the internet, Facebook, cell phones, energy drinks, the list goes on and on and on - moderation does not even seem to be considered or attempted anymore. What used to be a large sized soft drink cup at a fast food restaurant twenty or thirty years ago is now quite often smaller than the modern small sized cup! The modern medium and large sized cups don’t even fit into the cup holders in some older cars! Just how much can we consume? And why are we so obsessed with more and more and more?
Look at the stark reality of so many of the people that seem to get through the mass of striving humanity and actually become rich and famous and then completely implode or in the worst and far too often instance kill themselves. Why is such a sad and destructive end so common for so many that have achieved so much of what the world covets? What is missing?
Imagine the horror of spending years of toil and struggle to get that golden ring the world holds up over the heads of the masses, convinced that when you finally have that ring firmly in hand - when fame, fortune, everything you want is now yours and you look in the mirror and realize the pain and fear is still there. Then where do you go? What do you reach for? How do you get rid of the desire for more when there is no more to desire?
When you take all of this and look at it honestly it really becomes clear that the human heart, the core of who we are is really a screwed up mess.
So, as you read this you are either on top of your game and have it all together or, maybe the world has kicked you in the teeth for a while and you are suffering and fearful, maybe numbed up and addicted or drunk. For those that have it all together, then the questions become:
For those with the kicked in teeth and unhealed war wounds - have you just checked out? Have you given up to a chemical or to booze or some other worldly obsession? Maybe you did give up and then started working a recovery program, got some of your life back together - but there is still something out of whack, so you work and work and work that twelve step program and live from one meeting to the next foolishly telling yourself you have serenity and are living spiritually as you watch the revolving door of relapse and death swing back and forth for those on the same dark road you're on as you all spiral downward together.
This may all seem dark and cynical, attacking and negative. But is it not true of the human condition we see all around us?
Thousand of years ago, the wise and wealthy Solomon saw the futility of man's stubborn attempts at self repair. He wrote in Ecclesiastes 1:14-15, "I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind. What is crooked cannot be made straight, and what is lacking cannot be counted."
And the prophet Jeremiah nails the cause of why humans are so desperately lost when he says, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?" (Jeremiah 17:9)
The heart of the issue is that the heart is the issue!
The human heart is a storm of sinful chaos, striving to find some semblance of peace and calm in a world intent on intensifying the chaos and confusion. People without genuine eternal truth are like tiny boats tossed about in a tempest without an anchor, without any bearing or eternal direction.
...having no hope and without God in the world. (Ephesians 2:12)
...tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. (Ephesians 4:14)
However, there is an anchor that never fails, that will hold us through any storm we face. When you take hold of that anchor and forsake all that is in contradiction to it you step into the light of truth.
So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. (Hebrews 6:17-20)
the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned." From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matthew 4:16-17)
There is only one sure and steadfast anchor that is grounded in absolute unchanging truth and that anchor is genuine faith in Jesus Christ. Regardless of any storm our faith is the anchor that holds us in Christ, and by grace the Holy Spirit through the Word strengthens our faith.
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,
nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)
I will close with more wisdom from the writings of Solomon. Consider his words when the world through heresies like Alcoholics Anonymous, Celebrate Recovery, self help books and all the rest try to convince you that God's Word and the steadfast anchor of faith in Jesus Christ is just not enough - that something more is needed, remember these words of Solomon and simply stand firm in your faith, grounded in God's Word, protected by His love in the arms of the Lord.
The words of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings; they are given by one Shepherd. My son, beware of anything beyond these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh. The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. (Ecclesiastes 12:11-13)
Chad Prigmore is Pastor and President of The Way Ministry Church USA & Kenya.