Given to me on my first AA birthday back when nearly everybody smoked

The 12th Step of Alcoholics Anonymous is: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

I’m going to continue with what comes next in the Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous:

Many of us exclaimed, “What an order! I can’t go through with it.” Do not be discouraged. No one among us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence to these principles. We are not saints. The point is, that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines. The principles we have set down are guides to progress. We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection.

Our description of the alcoholic, the chapter to the agnostic, and our personal adventures before and after make clear three pertinent ideas:

(a) That we were alcoholic and could not manage our own lives

(b) That probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism.

(c) that God could and would if He were sought. (from Chapter 5: “How it Works”, page 60)

In this blog and during this time in my life I am pondering the relationship between recovery and discipleship. In AA it is central that the message get carried, that you keep your sobriety by giving to others. When we read the exclamation “What an order!” we know it refers to the arduous path to freedom through the 12 steps: Admitting we need help, being willing to turn to God, turning to God as best we can, admitting our faults to God, to ourselves and to another human being. We become willing to make amends and make amends when possible. We practice rigorous honesty in all affairs, and we carry the message to others.

This is a clear path of discipleship, and we in the Church could learn much.

By the way, I doubt my AA friends will be offended by a cigarette lighter.

The back has my name, my sobriety date — 2/17/88 and the name of the Bellaire Club, where my sponsor Jesse gave me this gift.

About Frank Richard Coats

Follower of Jesus, husband and family man, pastor, picker, writer, missioner with the Inspire Movement
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