Saturday, December 29, 2007

Greetings

The holiday season is almost over and a new year is about to arrive. I truly hope this new year brings better things for each and everyone. I have been taking some time off from writing and visiting my favorite blogs. I needed some down time and I will get back to my writing and favorite blogs in the new year. I do not intend to make any resolutions for 2008 because I never keep them anyway, so why make them. lol

I only have one more thing to say today and that is:

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU!:

5 comments:

MICKY said...

AN ABOMINATION TO GOD

Alcoholics Anonymous
is
A False Religion

I. History

[Most of the following history was taken from the book, 'Pass It On,' The story of Bill Wilson and how the A.A. message reached the world, copyright 1984, Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.]

The history of A.A. begins with its founders, William G. Wilson (known as Bill, or Bill W.), and Dr. Robert Holbrook Smith (known as Dr. Bob). The setting is New York City and Akron, Ohio, 1934 & 1935. Both Bill and Dr. Bob were captive to the sin of dissipation, being drunks, who (according to their own testimonies) no longer wanted to be drunks.

Bill Wilson found victory over his compelling drive to drink alcoholic beverages through the influence of a Dr. Silkworth and an old time former drinking buddy named Ebby T.. Dr. Silkworth worked at a hospital in New York City working with drunkards. Silkworth convinced Bill that he had an allergy, and his propensity to drink and get drunk was an illness. In the A.A. book entitled, Pass It On, The story of Bill Wilson and how the A.A. message reached the world, it says,

Bill listened, entranced, as Silkworth explained his theory. For the first time in his life, Bill was hearing about alcoholism not as a lack of willpower, not as a moral defect, but as a legitimate illness. It was Dr. Silkworth's theory - unique at the time - that alcoholism was the combination of this mysterious physical "allergy" and the compulsion to drink; that alcoholism could no more be "defeated" by willpower than could tuberculosis. Bill's relief was immense. (p. 102, copyright 1984)

A little later on page 104 they write,

Because he now understood what it was about, because he now knew that he was an alcoholic and could not safely take one drink, Bill believed that he had found his salvation.

This knowledge was not quite enough though. Bill stayed sober for several weeks (exact time unknown), but soon went back to the bottle sometime in March of 1934.

By November of 1934 Bill had been in and out of the hospital at least twice because of his excessive drinking, and matters looked very bleak. Then came along Bill's old drinking buddy, whom he had not seen for five years, Ebby T.. Ebby shared with him that he got religion, and it had kept him sober for several months.

Bill was intrigued by his friend's newfound sober life via religion, and eventually Bill went back to the hospital (drunk, of course) saying that he had "found something" and apparently to sober up.

Actually, in the hospital is when he "found something," which, as the story goes, was the turning point of his life. On page 120 of Pass It On, it records,

In his helplessness and desperation, Bill cried out, "I'll do anything, anything at all!" He had reached a point of total, utter deflation - a state of complete, absolute surrender. With neither faith nor hope, he cried, "If there be a God, let Him show Himself!"

What happened next was electric. "Suddenly, my room blazed with an indescribably white light. I was seized with an ecstasy beyond description. Every joy I had known was pale by comparison. The light, the ecstasy - I was conscious of nothing else for a time.

"Then, seen in the mind's eye, there was a mountain. I stood upon its summit, where a great wind blew. A wind, not of air, but of spirit. In great, clean strength, it blew right through me. Then came the blazing thought 'You are a free man.' I know not at all how long I remained in this state, but finally the light and the ecstasy subsided. I again saw the wall of my room. As I became more quiet, a great peace stole over me, and this was accompanied by a sensation difficult to describe. I became acutely conscious of a Presence which seemed like a veritable sea of living spirit. I lay on the shores of a new world. 'This,' I thought, 'must be the great reality. The God of the preachers.' (bold added)

One paragraph later it continues,

Bill Wilson had just had his 39th birthday, and he still had half his life ahead of him. He always said that after that experience, he never again doubted the existence of God. He never took another drink.

Even though it says, "he never again doubted the existence of God," it also records his immediate doubt. Bill Wilson believed he found God, but he needed the confirmation of Dr. Silkworth's assurance to be convinced.

Now, doubt made its inevitable appearance. The experience had been too beautiful. Bill began to fear whether he had been hallucinating. He called for Dr. Silkworth.

Silkworth sat patiently by the bed as Bill told him what had happened. "It was all so incredible that I still feared to give him the full impact of it," Bill remembered. "But the essential facts, toned down somewhat, emotionally, I did relate to him." Bill finally asked the question that was nagging at his own mind: "Doctor, is this real? Am I still perfectly sane?"

Bill was always grateful for Silkworth's answer: "Yes, my boy, you are sane, perfectly sane in my judgment. You have been the subject of some great psychic occurrence, something that I don't understand. I've read of these things in books, but I've never seen one myself before. You have had some kind of conversion experience." Whatever the experience, he said, "You are already a different individual. So, my boy, whatever you've got now, you'd better hold on to. It's so much better than what had you only a couple of hours ago."

Coming from Silkworth, now a central figure in Bill's life, this evaluation meant everything. It put the seal on Bill's experience, making it acceptable to the part of his mind that had argued long and hard against the idea of God. (p. 123-124, bold added)

So, as the story goes, immediately before this experience Mr. Wilson did not have faith ("With neither faith nor hope") and even after this experience he had doubt (fear of hallucination). Mr. Wilson thought he found God, but finding God requires faith, as it is written,

He who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6)

Faith must be present. According to this A.A. account, faith was not. Moreover, Jesus said,

Those who worship God must worship in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24)

As will be demonstrated further, Mr. Wilson was in neither godly faith nor truth.

After Bill's "spiritual experience" he began to pursue drunks. He desired to pass on what he had found and to help sots out of their miserable state. After several months of pursuing inebriates, he finally found a convert by the name of Robert Smith (otherwise known as Dr. Bob).

Bill was in Akron, Ohio on a business adventure, and was seriously tempted to drink. So, instead of giving in to the temptation, he pursued finding a drunkard that he might help, and he was lead to Dr. Bob.

Dr. Bob had a long history of drunkenness, and, according to his story, had desired for years to rid himself of his obsession with alcohol; but he was unsuccessful. When Bill came along, Dr. Bob was already pursuing a spiritual answer to his problem, but he was still unable to stay sober. But, with Bill, Dr. Bob found someone to whom he could really relate. And, being encouraged by Bill's message, Dr. Bob finally sobered up and stayed sober.

Dr. Bob's last drink of alcohol was June 10, 1935, and this is the date given for the beginning date of Alcoholics Anonymous. These two men, Bill Wilson and Dr. Robert Smith, went on to eventually have convert after convert to their new found way to live a sober life. Their converts made other converts, and thus we have now Alcoholics Anonymous all over the globe. As of 2006,

It is estimated that there are more than 100,000 groups and over 2,000,000 members in 150 countries. (www.alcoholics-anonymous.org/en_information_aa.cfm?PageID=10)

The influence of the A.A. society has been massive and widespread. A.A. cooperates with a large variety of groups which includes the U. S. court system. Judges often order people to be involved in A.A. as a part of a rehabilitation effort. A.A. is also hand in hand with psychologists and psychiatrists. William James, who is known as a founding father of American psychology, was accredited by Bill Wilson to be a founder of A.A. (see Pass It On p. 124).

Bill also acknowledged the influence of psychiatrist Carl Jung when he wrote in a letter to Mr. Jung not long before Jung's death,

"Very many thoughtful A.A.'s are students of your writings. Because of your conviction that man is something more than intellect, emotion, and two dollars' worth of chemicals, you have especially endeared yourself to us. . . .

"Please be certain that your place in the affection, and in the history, of our Fellowship is like no other's. Gratefully yours," (Pass It On, p. 383)

II. Religion

In what is called the "Big Book," in the forward to the second edition, also found in the third edition on page xx, this claim is made:

Alcoholics Anonymous is not a religious organization. (Alcoholics Anonymous, copyright 1976)

This is a lie. Alcoholics Anonymous is very much a religious organization.

In Alcoholics Anonymous chapter two entitled, "THERE IS A SOLUTION," the very beginning of the chapter starts with:

We, of Alcoholics Anonymous . . . "

So, it is the society of A.A. speaking, and they say in this chapter on page 25,

We have found much of heaven and we have been rocketed into a fourth dimension of existence of which we had not even dreamed.

The great fact is just this, and nothing less: That we have had deep and effective spiritual experiences which have revolutionized our whole attitude toward life, toward our fellows and toward God's universe. The central fact of our lives today is the absolute certainty that our Creator has entered into our hearts and lives in a way which is indeed miraculous.

In chapter five entitled, "HOW IT WORKS," the A.A. society writes,

We trust infinite God rather than our finite selves. We are in the world to play the role He assigns. Just to the extent that we do as we think He would have us, and humbly rely on Him, does He enable us to match calamity with serenity.

We never apologize to anyone for depending upon our Creator. We can laugh at those who think spirituality the way of weakness. Paradoxically, it is the way of strength. The verdict of the ages is that faith means courage. All men of faith have courage. They trust their God. We never apologize for God. Instead we let Him demonstrate, through us, what He can do. We ask Him to remove our fear and direct our attention to what He would have us be. (p. 68)

On page 69 of the same chapter they write,

In meditation, we ask God what we should do about each specific matter. The right answer will come, if we want it.

In chapter six ("INTO ACTION") they write,

We begin to feel the nearness of our Creator. We may have had certain spiritual beliefs, but now we begin to have a spiritual experience. The feeling that the drink problem has disappeared will often come strongly. We feel we are on the Broad Highway, walking hand in hand with the Spirit of the Universe. (p. 75)

The spiritual life is not a theory. We have to live it. (p. 83, italics in original)

We vigorously commenced this way of living as we cleaned up the past. We have entered the world of the Spirit. (p. 84)

Much has already been said about receiving strength, inspiration, and direction from Him who has all knowledge and power. If we have carefully followed directions, we have begun to sense the flow of His Spirit into us. To some extent we have become God-conscious. We have begun to develop this vital sixth sense. But we must go further and that means more action.

Step Eleven suggests prayer and meditation. (p. 85)

Here we ask God for inspiration, an intuitive thought or a decision. We relax and take it easy. We don't struggle. We are often surprised how the right answers come after we have tried this for a while. What used to be the hunch or the occasional inspiration gradually becomes a working part of the mind. Being still inexperienced and having just made conscious contact with God, it is not probable that we are going to be inspired at all times. (p. 86-87)

We alcoholics are undisciplined. So we let God discipline us in the simple way we have just outlined.

But this is not all. There is action and more action. "Faith without works is dead." (p. 88)

In chapter seven, "WORKING WITH OTHERS," which is "entirely devoted to Step Twelve" (p. 88) of the twelve steps of A.A., they write,

Remind the prospect that his recovery is not dependent upon people. It is dependent upon his relationship with God. (p. 99-100)

In chapter eight they write,

Since this book was first published, A.A. has released thousands of alcoholics from asylums and hospitals of every kind. The majority have never returned. The power of God goes deep! (p. 114)

"The Twelve Traditions" of A.A. are given in this same "Big Book." Note traditions one, two, five and six:

1. - Each member of Alcoholics Anonymous is but a small part of a great whole. A.A. must continue to live or most of us will surely die. Hence our common welfare comes first. But individual welfare follows close afterward.

2. - For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority - a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience.

5. - Each Alcoholics Anonymous group ought to be a spiritual entity having but one primary purpose - that of carrying its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.

6. - Problems of money, property, and authority may easily divert us from our primary spiritual aim. (p. 565, italics in original)

For a non-religious organization to have a "primary spiritual aim" is oxymoronic.

Tradition number seven speaks of their "spiritual heritage" and number twelve reads,

12. - And finally, we of Alcoholics Anonymous believe that the principle of anonymity has an immense spiritual significance.

Indeed it does. The "immense spiritual significance" of "anonymity" is that they are walking in darkness, as it is written,

The fool walks in darkness. (Ecclesiastes 2:14)

They keep it anonymous, because they are evil and they do not want themselves and their evil deeds to be exposed, as it is written,

Everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. (John 3:20)

So, the second word in the name of the organization is "Anonymous," and this concept has an "immense spiritual significance;" yet they are not a religious organization? You can believe that when pig meat is no longer pork.

On page 182 of the "Big Book," Alcoholics Anonymous, they write this of the third member of A.A.

Pioneer member of Akron's Group No. 1, the first A.A. group in the world. He kept the faith; therefore, he and countless others found a new life. (italics in original)

At the end of this third member's testimonial, he says,

I'm so grateful for both the program and the people in it that I still want to go, and then probably the most wonderful thing that I learned from the program - I've seen this in the 'A.A. Grapevine' a lot of times, and I've had people say it to me personally, and I've heard people get up in meetings and make the same statement: The statement is, "I came into A.A. solely for the purpose of sobriety, but it has been through A.A. that I have found God."

In the forward to the A.A. book Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions in the third paragraph it reads,

A.A.'s Twelve Steps are a group of principles, spiritual in their nature, which, if practiced as a way of life, can expel the obsession to drink and enable the sufferer to become happily and usefully whole.

In the A.A. book, Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, they write,

The society of Alcoholics Anonymous is spiritually as well as morally centered. Nearly every A.A. member comes to believe in and depend upon a higher Power which most of us call God. In A.A. practically no full recovery from alcoholism has been possible without this all-important faith. God, as we understand Him, is the foundation upon which our fellowship rests. (p. 253, copyright 1985, italics in original)

So, here we have an organization that is not suppose to be religious, but it "is spiritually" centered and "the foundation upon which" they rest is "God, as we understand Him." That's as religious as it gets. Most every religion rests on "God" as they (that religion) understands Him.

Also, on page xx they write,

By personal religious affiliation, we include Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Hindus, and a sprinkling of Muslims and Buddhists.

A.A. is a religious organization, and like some other religions, it affiliates with others of various religious persuasions.

III. Idolatry

As mentioned above, A.A. propagates a "God, as we understand Him." This is emphasized in both step three and eleven of their 12 step recovery program.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out. (Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 59, italics in original)

With this "God, as we understand Him," the true God continues to be rejected (Romans 1:18-32), and the acceptance of false gods (idolatry) abounds. For example, they write,

When, therefore, we speak to you of God, we mean your own conception of God. (ibid., p. 47)

If the man be agnostic or atheist, make it emphatic that he does not have to agree with your conception of God. He can choose any conception he likes, provided it makes sense to him. The main thing is that he be willing to believe in a Power greater than himself and that he live by spiritual principles. (ibid., p. 93, italics in original)

This is exactly what Romans 1 talks about. It says they,

changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man - and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. (Romans 1:23)

In other words, they come up with a god of their own idea, a god as they understand Him.

Romans also says they,

exchanged the truth of God for the lie. (Romans 1:25)

All men know about the true God (Romans 1:18-20), but they reject Him and follow after false gods (idolatry), gods of their own making, yet the true God they hate. As it is written,

And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind. (Romans 1:28)

This distaste for the real God is illustrated in A.A. literature. For example, on page 45 of the "Big Book" they write,

Many times we talk to a new man and watch his hope rise as we discuss his alcoholic problems and explain our fellowship. But his face falls when we speak of spiritual matters, especially when we mention God, for we have re-opened a subject which our man thought he had neatly evaded or entirely ignored.

Indeed, men suppress the truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18). Even though God has shown Himself to them (Romans 1:19-20), they hate Him (Romans 1:30).

Another illustration of this is found on page 239. An A.A. member writes,

He said something about God or a Higher Power, but I brushed that off - that was for the birds, not for me.

But then this rebel comes around, because of the phrase "as we understand Him."

Around this time our A.A. book was being written and it all became much simpler; we had a definite formula which some sixty of us agreed was the middle course for all alcoholics who wanted sobriety, and that formula has not been changed one iota down through the years. I don't think the boys were completely convinced of my personality change, for they fought shy of including my story in the book, so my only contribution to their literary efforts was my firm conviction, being still a theological rebel, that the word God should be qualified with the phrase "as we understand him" - for that was the only way I could accept spirituality. (p. 248)

One "unofficial" A.A. booklet, Conscious Contact, Partnership With a Higher Power, more graphically portrays this hatred of God.

In Twelve Step programs, we see the word "God" all over the place, hear the phrase "Higher Power" until many of us feel like we're going to throw up, and are sure "those people" are trying to force something down our throats. Even if we have a sinking feeling that we do need to take a drastic measure like believing in a Power greater than ourselves, we continue to resist the idea. (p. 4)

But, when you qualify this "God" with "as we understand Him" or "as you understand Him" then they often find they can stomach the idea. Why? Because in this they can still hate and reject the true God, and replace Him with a demon.

IV. Demons

A false god, not as He really is, but "as we understand Him," is false religion and it is idolatry. It is the worship of a false god, and when there is idolatry there are demons.

The Israelites of old sacrificed to false gods, and they are recorded as sacrificing to demons (Leviticus 17:1-7; Deuteronomy 32:16-17; 2 Chronicles 11:15; Psalm 106:34-38). Paul proclaimed,

What am I saying then? That an idol is anything, or what is offered to idols is anything? Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons. (1 Corinthians 10:19-20; see also Revelation 9:20)

An idol is simply a false god, for there is only one true God (Isaiah 45:5-6, 21-22), and where there are idols, there are demons.

Because of the A.A. policy of a "God, as we understand Him," A.A. is a den of demonic activity. In the booklet, Conscious Contact, they write,

. . . there are probably as many different ideas about a Higher Power, or God, as there are people in Twelve Step programs. (p. 8)

Idolatry and demons abound, not only in the many gods they make up in their own minds, but demons are the very foundation upon which A.A. was founded.

One of Bill's persistent fascinations and involvements was with the psychic phenomena. His belief in clairvoyance and other extrasensory manifestations arose out of his conviction that our lifetimes on earth constitute what he liked to call "a mere day in school"; that we are all pupils in a "spiritual kindergarten"; and that life after life is a matter of fact as well as faith. This belief led to his attempts to get in touch with other lives in other lifetimes.

Because Bill was such a sensitive person in this world, it should come as no surprise that he believed himself able to pick up energy from another. He thought of himself as having some psychic ability; to him, spiritistic matters were no mere parlor game. It's not clear when he first became interested in extrasensory phenomena; the field was something that Dr. Bob and Anne Smith were also deeply involved with. Whether or not Bill initially became interested through them, there are references to seances and other psychic events in the letters Bill wrote to Lois during that first Akron summer with the Smiths, in 1935. (Pass It On, p. 275)

This book continues on and chronicles some of the contacts with "discarnate" spirits (dead people). A little later it records,

As early as 1941, Bill and Lois were holding regular Saturday "spook sessions" at Bedford Hills. One of the downstairs bedrooms was dubbed by them the "spook room"; here, they conducted many of their psychic experiments. Of one session with a ouija board, Bill wrote this description:

"The ouija board got moving in earnest. What followed was the fairly usual experience - it was a strange melange of Aristotle, St. Francis, diverse archangels with odd names, deceased friends - some in purgatory and others doing nicely, thank you! There were malign and mischievous ones of all descriptions, telling of vices quite beyond my ken, even as former alcoholics. Then, the seemingly virtuous entities would elbow them out with messages of comfort, information, advice - and sometimes just sheer nonsense."

Bill would lie on the couch in the living room, semi-with-drawn, but not in a trance, and "receive" messages, sometimes a word at a time, sometimes a letter at a time. Anne B., neighbor and "spook" circle regular, would write the material on a pad. (p. 278)

One of the "regular members of the 'spooking' circle" testified,

Now these people, Bill and Dr. Bob, believed vigorously and aggressively. They were working away at the spiritualism; it was not just a hobby. (p. 280)

The Lord says of those who are spiritists, as Bill and Dr. Bob were, and those who call up the dead, as these men did, that they are an abomination to Him (Deuteronomy 18:11-12). The Lord also asks the rhetorical question in Isaiah 8:19,

Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living?

The answer should be an obvious, "No!" The Lord continues and says,

To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. (Isaiah 8:20)

There was no light in the founders of A.A., Bill and Dr. Bob. They were an abomination to God, and they got people to abandon themselves to demons.

We were now at Step Three. Many of us said to our Maker, as we understood Him: "God, I offer myself to Thee - to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always!" We thought well before taking this step making sure we were ready; that we could at last abandon ourselves utterly to Him. (Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 63)

Abandon yourself to God as you understand God. (ibid., p. 164)

"Complete abandon"; "Half measures availed us nothing"; "Thoroughly follow our path"; "Completely give oneself to this simple program" - rang in my swelled head. (ibid., p. 349)

Since this is utter abandonment to a god "as we understood Him," it is utter abandonment to a demon, because the "we understood Him" in A.A. equals the god of their own fancy, which equals idolatry (false religion), which equals demonology.

A long time symbol of A.A. has been a circle with a triangle inside of it. In Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age they write,

The priests and seers of antiquity regarded the circle enclosing the triangle as a means of warding off spirits of evil, and the A.A.'s circle and triangle of Recovery, Unity, and Service has certainly meant all of that to us and much more. (p. 139)

The symbol hasn't worked. There are plenty of evil spirits in A.A..

V. Illness

A.A. claims a lack of self-control in the consumption of alcohol is a sickness. In the forward to the first edition of Alcoholics Anonymous which is reprinted in the third edition they write,

Many do not comprehend that the alcoholic is a very sick person. (p. xiii)

On page 30 they write,

We are convinced to a man that alcoholics of our type are in the grip of a progressive illness.

Speaking of "alcoholism" they write on page 18,

An illness of this sort - and we have come to believe it an illness - involves those about us in a way no other human sickness can. If a person has cancer all are sorry for him and no one is angry or hurt. But not so with the alcoholic illness, for with it there goes annihilation of all the things worth while in life. It engulfs all whose lives touch the sufferer's. It brings misunderstanding, fierce resentment, financial insecurity, disgusted friends and employers, warped lives of blameless children, sad wives and parents - anyone can increase the list.

There's a reason there is such a stark contrast between cancer and "alcoholism." One is a physical illness, the other is moral. But A.A. wants desperately to get away from this moral reality.

For example, in one testimony in the "Big Book" it is written,

That was the point at which my doctor gave me the book "Alcoholics Anonymous" to read. The first chapters were a revelation to me. I wasn't the only person in the world who felt and behaved like this! I wasn't mad or vicious - I was a sick person. I was suffering from an actual disease that had a name and symptoms like diabetes or cancer or TB - and a disease was respectable, not a moral stigma! (p. 227)

Another testimony reads like this:

I realized that there were other people in this world who behaved and acted as I did, and that I was a sick person, that I was suffering from an actual disease. It had a name and symptoms, just like diabetes or T.B. I wasn't entirely immoral; I wasn't bad; I wasn't vicious. It was such a feeling of relief . . . . (p. 392)

Smooth words and deceits comfort the wicked human heart (Isaiah 30:10; Jeremiah 17:9).

Alcoholics Anonymous records their Lasker Award given to them in 1951, and they cite it in part on page 573.

"The American Public Health Association presents a Lasker Group Award for 1951 to Alcoholics Anonymous in recognition of its unique and highly successful approach to that age-old public health and social problem, alcoholism . . . In emphasizing alcoholism as an illness, the social stigma associated with this condition is being blotted out . . ." (ellipsis in original)

Yes indeed, the truth about the sin of drunkenness is being blotted out in the minds of many by A.A..

Nevertheless, the truth of God still stands. God sends drunkards to hell (1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 5:19-21). It is moral and spiritual rebellion against God (Proverbs 17:11), and the Lord will destroy these rebels in the lake of fire (Revelation 21:8/Deuteronomy 25:16). The only sense in which drunkenness is an illness is that it is a result of the disease everyone is born with, sin (Psalm 51:5; 58:3; Romans 5:12-19); and this is only cured by His stripes (Isaiah 53:5; 1 Peter 2:24).

VI. Different

A.A. attempts to convince people that sots (alcoholics) are a different "class" of people (ibid., p. 146). On page 30 of the "Big Book" they say,

Most of us have been unwilling to admit we were real alcoholics. No person likes to think he is bodily and mentally different from his fellows. Therefore, it is not surprising that our drinking careers have been characterized by countless vain attempts to prove we could drink like other people. The idea that somehow, someday he will control and enjoy his drinking is the great obsession of every abnormal drinker. The persistence of this illusion is astonishing Many pursue it into the gates of insanity or death.

We learned that we had to fully concede to our innermost selves that we were alcoholics. This is the first step in recovery. The delusion that we are like other people, or presently may be, has to be smashed.

If drunkards are a different class of people, then so are sodomites, homosexuals, pedophiliacs, liars, murderers, fornicators, adulterers, transvestites, revilers, extortioners, blasphemers, traitors, impostors, cowards, kidnappers, sorcerers, idolaters, thieves, gluttons, prostitutes, hypocrites, backbiters, boasters, gossipers, slanderers, deceivers, etc.. They all have this same exact thing in common, a serious lack of self-control.

VII. No Cure

A.A. admits they have no cure, but that's because they are under the delusion that there isn't one. They write,

We alcoholics are men and women who have lost the ability to control our drinking. We know that no real alcoholic ever recovers control. (ibid., p. 30)

One man put it like this:

Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic. (ibid., p. 344)

Another tells this story:

One of the fellows, I think it was Doc, said, "Well, you want to quit?" I said, "Yes, Doc, I would like to quit, at least for five, six, or eight months, until I get things straightened up, and begin to get the respect of my wife and some other people back, and get my finances fixed up and so on." And they both laughed very heartily, and said, "That's better than you've been doing, isn't it?" Which of course was true. They said, "We've got some bad news for you. It was bad news for us, and it will probably be bad news for you. Whether you quit six days, months, or years, if you go out and take a drink or two you'll end up in this hospital tied down, just like you have been in these past six months. You are an alcoholic." As far as I know that was the first time I had ever paid any attention to that word. I figured I was just a drunk. And they said, "No, you have a disease, and it doesn't make any difference how long you do without it, after a drink or two you'll end up just like you are now." That certainly was real disheartening news, at the time. (ibid., p. 187-188)

Indeed, it is disheartening news. A.A.'s 12 steps cure no one, and they even admit it. But, there is good news apart from A.A.

VIII. The Cure

Jesus' one step offers the one and only complete and absolute cure.

If you abide in My word, you are my disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:31-32)

How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word (Psalm 119:9)

Taking heed to the word of God delivers from the bondage of "alcoholism." There is nothing else that can (Acts 4:12). And, once a person is delivered, they could even drink alcohol in moderation, because they would have the Holy Spirit (John 7:37-39), who brings with Him self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

I, MICKY, AM THE HOLY ONE OF GOD.

Sylvia said...

This is to Micky. I don't mean to be rude but you need to get over whatever your problem is and stop leaving comments that are nothing but a rant. Everyone has their own opinion about things and are entitled to express them but I would rather that you did not do it on my blog.

Shadow said...

happy new year dearest sylvia, to you and your family!

MICKY said...

OH MY GOD, I LOVE YOU!

St. Thérèse of Lisieux
A Transformation in Christ

by Fr. Thomas Keating
The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree
Chapter 4

A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and found none. So he said to the gardener: "See here! For three years I have come looking for, fruit on this fig tree, and still I find none. Cut it down! Why should it be wasting the soil?" He replied: "Sir, let it alone for one more year; until I dig around it and put some manure on it. If it bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down." (Luke 13:6-9)

In this parable, the household tells the gardener to cut the tree down and the gardener responds by pleading for a year's reprieve. What could this mean? It seems to me that this parable offers a powerful representation of how we experience daily life when we are committed to the spiritual journey--whether we are trying to take on the mind of Christ, to put into effect the values of the Gospel, or to manifest the fruits of the Spirit--charity, joy, peace, patience, meekness, goodness, gentleness, self control, and fidelity.

Manure means dung, of course--a very down to-earth term. The term "dung," and particularly the product, has certain pungency. Yet, because of the rich nutrients found there, trees like dung. Dung is the symbol of our experience of daily life and of our constantly recurring faults. The dung represents our experience of daily prayer as one of going nowhere, or even the inability to pray at all, and of the endless flow of unwanted thoughts. Dung also represents the psychological experience of how disagreeable daily life often is, and that nothing we do really helps to improve the situation. Turning on the television or making a phone call may give us a brief respite, but then we are back in the same old emotional hole we were in before. Indeed, we may be further in the hole than we were before. The means we normally use to assuage the pain of daily life are not the best way to proceed.

The right way is to shovel the dung around the tree--that is, to keep putting up with one's faults and still go on trusting in God. Of course, all the manure in the world is not going to change that tree. But if you keep shovelling, at some point God is going to give life to that tree--not because of the dung, but because you kept trying, and God was so touched that he gave life to the tree anyway. Thérèse comments on this subject, "I experience a lively joy not only in being judged imperfect, but above all, when I feel that I am. That joy is sweeter to me than all compliments, which really only weary me."

Thérèse expressed her insight into this parable in her example of an elevator:

We live in the age of inventions now, and the wealthy no longer have to take the trouble to climb the stairs; they take an elevator. That is what I must find, an elevator to take me straight up to Jesus, because I am too little to climb the steep stairway of perfection. So, I searched the Scriptures for some hint of my desired elevator, until I came upon these words from the lips of Eternal Wisdom: "Whosoever is a little one, let him come to Me." (Prov. 9:4). I went closer to God, feeling sure that I was on the right path, but as I wanted to know what He would do to a "little one," I continued my search. This is what I found: "You shall be carried at the breasts and upon the knees, as one whom the mother caresseth, so will I comfort you." (Is. 66:12,13). My heart had never been moved by such tender and consoling words before!
[italics in the original]

Somebody once asked Thérèse how to reach holiness, and her answer was as follows. Think of a tiny child at the bottom of a long staircase with her beloved father at the top. This little child is only eighteen months old and the stairs are steep and long. The child is reaching out her hands to her father to come and pick her up. The father is at the top of the stairs saying: "Come on! Come on!" All though the Gospel, we get the same invitation: "Come and be transformed, forget your faults, forget your sins. Just be with me in the present moment and I will take care of you." But because we are not like little children, we don't hear the reassurance.

The child keeps raising her tiny foot, but even with her greatest efforts there is no chance of getting to the first step because her legs are too short. The child keeps raising one tiny foot and then the other, all to no avail. There is no chance at all she is going to negotiate even the first step. Her father keeps on calling her with immense tenderness: "Come on! Come on! I'm waiting for you!" She keeps trying and trying. In other words, the child keeps shovelling the manure--accepting her weakness and her inability to make any progress. But she does not give up even though the task is impossible.

Thérèse says that if the child keeps up her helpless efforts, the Father himself, because of his great love, will not be able to stand the situation anymore and will come rushing down the stairs, gather her into his arms, and carry her to the top of the stairs. Thérèse says that this is how she got where she was in the spiritual life: not by any efforts of her own, but by the infinite mercy and tenderness of God.

This is why Thérèse's insight into the Gospel is so great a contribution to spiritual renewal in our time, especially to the renewal of the contemplative life, which is the way of spiritual childhood--that is, of listening to God, waiting, trying, trusting, and turning ourselves over to God. This way means refusing to listen to our commentaries that say we are not getting anywhere, or that we will never make it. Or, to be more specific, it means not complaining that we cannot negotiate the spiritual life because we are having problems in our marriage, business, professional life, or with our children, money, or some addiction.

The difficulties just listed may be very real, and I do not want to minimize them. But God is using these difficulties to give us the Kingdom, and the coming of the Kingdom is conditioned only by our consent and acceptance of the situation. One may try to change the situation, but always with detachment from the results.

The Kingdom is most powerful where we least expect to find it. God does not take away our problems and trials but rather joins us in them. Such is the profound meaning of the Incarnation: God becoming a human being. The Kingdom will manifest itself, not because of our efforts to keep trying, even when all effort seems hopeless, but because God loves us so much that God won't be able to stand seeing us struggle and always failing. God will do the impossible. He will give us a new attitude toward suffering. Such is the heart of the Christian ascesis, or self-discipline, and the mystery of transformation. It is the meaning of the Gospel as Thérèse perceived it.

Is this program too hard? Everyone can love and everyone can suffer: that is all we need. It gets a little uncomfortable now and then, but it also perks up every now and then. And it does not matter whether there is discomfort or pleasure, because God is fully present at all times! Whatever psychological trauma or difficulty we experience--even when we are the cause of our own suffering--that trauma or event is the way God alerts us to the fact that we need to let go of something to which we are overly attached. Some preconceived idea or prejudice is putting us into a straight jacket. The Little Way is the path of liberation from our false self with its over identification with our emotional programs for happiness and our cultural conditioning.

Here is an important distinction. We have feelings, but we are not our feelings. Indeed, we should not say, "I'm angry" or "I'm in despair." We should rather say, "I have angry feelings," or "I have feelings of despair." We can do something about these feelings once we do not identify with them. We can choose what to do with them. Remembering the distinction between "having feelings" and "being" our feelings allows us to change our attitude and look more kindly upon our feebleness and failings. Thérèse writes, "I accept all for the love of God, even the most extravagant thoughts that come to my mind and intrude themselves upon me."

While it is important for us to work on our addictions--if not for ourselves, then at least for the sake of other people--it is vital to know that only God can deliver us. Freedom usually comes only after a long wait--not because God wants to keep us waiting, but because we are not ready to be healed. We have first to hit bottom and know experientially that we cannot do it ourselves. Then God's grace can provide the healing. External disciplines can be harmful if we put too much confidence in them. We may think that if we do certain things we will force God to help us. But God responds only to love. It is a relationship. It was in the fullness of that relationship that Thérèse died. Her last words were what her life had become: an act of love, "Oh my God, I love you!"

___________________
Excerpted from St. Thérèse of Lisieux by Fr. Thomas Keating

I, MICKY, AM THE LORDS LIGHT & SALVATION FOR OTHER PEOPLE.

Jeni said...

Happy New Year, Sylvia - 2008 -the year to take back life. Right?