The Erroneous Aim of Recovery
From a Christian point of view there is a problem with the supposed "spiritual awakening" needed for recovery put forth by the Alcoholics Anonymous program which ignores and directly contradicts the gospel of Jesus Christ (see: The Walking Dead of Alcoholics Anonymous, Does Alcoholics Anonymous Teach Forgiveness Without the Atonement?, Does the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous contradict the Christian Gospel?). But what if recovery as a concept and as it's come to be understood in it's worldly context, is completely in error in and of itself? What if the whole modern idea and obsession with recovery could be cast aside for something far greater?
For a Christian believer familiar with the Christian doctrine of eternal salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, the question must surely come to mind, "Just what kind of spiritual awakening is actually happening through Alcoholics Anonymous and the Twelve Steps? Because according to God's Word the only way to salvation (which is what AA is alluding to), is the atoning sacrifice that was made through the person of Jesus Christ and Jesus is no part of the Alcoholics Anonymous program".
Is the worldly concept of recovery in error? It depends on how you look at eternity.
In secular recovery, lasting sobriety is the goal and end to be sought for. Length of time sober is measured and coveted, celebrated and honored. Old timers with years of sobriety in Twelve Step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous are revered and respected by those who dream of one day having a collection of sobriety chips with Roman numeral X's on them denoting years of continuous sobriety.
A worldly program of recovery may help someone. They may achieve and maintain sobriety for the rest of their lives. They may have relationships repaired, bank accounts replenished, reputations restored, and worldly status re-established because of their success in achieving and maintaining sobriety. They may gain all that the world has to offer because they were able to stay sober.
But what about the big picture - actually, the biggest picture of all? What about eternity? Might eternal destiny have been sacrificed on the altar of recovery?
So you may ask the question, "What does eternal destiny have to do with recovery?" Most people in Twelve Step programs seem mainly concerned with just getting out of the trouble their drinking and using have caused and getting their lives back together. So how would eternal destiny have anything to do with recovery?
Worldly recovery programs like Alcoholics Anonymous have a direct effect and influence on the eternal destinies of their members because the programs work within the realm of the spirit - or at least that is their claim. In fact, the steps themselves make very clear the spiritual nature of the Twelve Step program. On page 59 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, the Twelve Steps are listed and steps eleven and twelve make direct claims to the spiritual nature of the Alcoholics Anonymous program.
When considered from an eternal perspective and through the divine illumination of the light of scripture it becomes clear that recovery, as it has come to be understood and pursued in its modern worldly context, is not an end to be sought for. Rather, by understanding and accepting that alcoholism and addiction are sin and the only atonement of its death sentence is by the blood of Jesus Christ it becomes apparent that recovery is a blessed by-product of salvation in Jesus Christ. No programs or steps are needed from a biblical perspective. Instead, we need only to believe in, rely on, adhere to and have faith in Jesus Christ with complete loving abandon forsaking all else.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. - Matthew 6:33
In an eternal sense; to make recovery your sole aim and goal for your life is like striving to live in the gutter outside of a palace. By casting aside the worldly concept of recovery and seeking for eternal life in Jesus Christ we step over the gutter and into the palace of eternal glory.
But, as it is written, "What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him" - 1 Corinthians 2:9
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Chad Prigmore is Pastor and President of The Way R122 Ministry USA & Kenya.