Lessons From An AA Meeting

This morning a friend of mine who works daily with friends without homes in Indianapolis invited me to join him at an AA meeting in order to help me better understand the program as I look to get more involved with connecting with those entering recovery programs.  Sitting in a room full of addicts in recovery is always humbling.  It’s humbling because the people in that room always seem to understand life better than most of us who live in the “got it all together” world of suburbia.  They realize they’re always one bad decision, one drink, from going right back into the same chaotic life that drew them to AA in the first place.  They also know they need each other to keep fighting the battle to stay away from the things that have destroyed their lives in the past.  Many understand that trying to solve their challenges with self-effort will get them nowhere because they realize the challenge is beyond them.

It’s long been my conviction that every gathering of the Church needs to be more like an AA meeting than the professional productions we often rely on.  We need teaching.  We need corporate worship.  Still, we also need to be able to communicate as a community of peers sharing our stories and our challenges without fear and without pretense.  Even if alcohol addiction is not the demon that vexes our life, the reality is we’re all one bad decision, one sin, away from making a total mess of life.  Some of us may be at the beginning stages of realizing what a mess we had become.  Some of us may have been on the “spiritual sobriety” road for a long time.  Still, we all share these two things in common: we’re one bad decision away from chaos and we need each other to stay on the right path.

Today, I was drawn to the “Twelve Traditions Of AA” that were displayed in various forms throughout the room.  These traditions guide how every AA group should operate and how the organization as a whole should function.  As I read them, it seemed to me they were traditions that many of us who lead various faith communities and ministries would benefit from adapting into our own context.  As I read them and as I sat there and listened, I found myself praying “God help me and help Diakonos always live in this way.”

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