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Bible Research

Christian 12 Step Recovery

By Dr. Richard J. Krejcir
Introduction to the Bible Studies on Recovery.

This recovery program works! There has been no better way that earnestly helps people recover from their past hurts, addictions and dependency than the Twelve-Step program. This series is designed to supplement a treatment or counseling program. We are not licensed counselors or a treatment center; we merely offer you God's Word and His insights to your journey of recovery.

Introduction to the Bible Studies on Recovery

The goal and purpose of this Bible study series is to offer you helps and insights on recovery. These are written from a theological perspective and not about any particular psychological theory. These are timeless truths found in God's Word from an inductive study in the Bible. Also, this is written by someone who has personally been a counselor and in recovery. We are following the basic 12-step program developed by a pastor whose heart is to help those who hurt. I originally wrote this series for Rapha Treatment Centers in Southern California when I was on staff at the Fuller Institute in the late 80's and early 90's; this organization no longer exits, although its parent one still operates in Huston Texas. Since I re-did these, I have used them as a pastor to help countess people; you can be helped too. These are not my ideas; rather, they are God's from His Word.

This recovery program works! There has been no better way that earnestly helps people recover from their past hurts, addictions and dependency than the Twelve-Step program. This series is designed to supplement a treatment or counseling program. We are not licensed counselors or a treatment center; we merely offer you God's Word and His insights to your journey of recovery. If you are dealing with any type of addiction or dependency, any substance such as chemical, alcohol, tobacco, sexual, pornography, lust, overeating, a victim of abuse or any abuse to self or others, this study series is for you. We also wholeheartedly recommend you seek the proper help. Be part of a 12 Step program such as Rapha, www.rapha.info/, AA, or Al-Anon, www.alanon.org/or any good qualified treatment center or counselor or licensed professional and use this series to supplement and help you through it.

Is the 12 Step program good for a Bible-believing Christian?

YES! The twelve-step program developed and used by Alcoholics Anonymous www.alcoholics-anonymous.org/ has its roots in the research and teachings of Episcopal priest Rev. Samuel Moor Shoemaker, Jr., and Dr. Frank N.D. Buchman, a Lutheran pastor from an Oxford Christian group in England who gleaned their ideas directly from Scripture. Thus, the 12-step method is based on Christian biblical precepts. And yes, there are a myriad of versions of this from atheistic, new age, self based, Buddhist-and the list goes on. Just because something is abused or distorted does not make the original bad.

The Alcoholics Anonymous program is based from:

  • informal home-like settings for meetings, intended to highlight the pleasures of spiritual fellowship;
  • an expectation that members would remain in their own churches, turning to A.A. not for theological interpretations, but for support in living a moral life;
  • a focus on gradually realizing a "changed life" by passing through "stages," a concept that presents sobriety as something positive rather than merely the absence of alcohol or drunkenness;
  • the policy that A.A. workers, especially its founders, should never be paid;
  • an emphasis on helping others in order to change one's own life.

The Oxford Group's teachings in the early 1930's are based on the following six,

basic, biblical principles:

  • Human beings are sinners.
  • Human beings can be changed.
  • Confession is a prerequisite to change.
  • The changed soul has direct access to God.
  • The age of miracles has returned.
  • Those who have been changed are to change others.

In addition, A.A. incorporated the philosophy the Oxford Group's five procedures, which were:

  • Giving in to God.
  • Listening to God's directions.
  • Checking guidance.
  • Restitution.
  • Sharing, both confession and witness.

Alcoholics Anonymous, in a 1937 book, by one if its founders, Wilson laid down six steps of a successful Christian recovery program, based on what he and other A.A. members experienced and learned from Pastor Shoemaker and the Oxford Group. The six steps were:

  1. We admitted that we were licked, that we were powerless over alcohol.
  2. We made an inventory of our defects or sins.
  3. We confessed or shared our shortcomings with another person in confidence.
  4. We made restitution to all those we had harmed by our drinking.
  5. We tried to help other alcoholics, with no thought of reward in money or prestige.
  6. We prayed to whatever god (As a follower of Christ we seek the One TRUE GOD) we thought there was for power to practice these precepts.

The twelve steps now are:

1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

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

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of our selves.

5. Admitted to God, to our selves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

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.

12. 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.

12 Christian Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous & Biblical References

1.

We admitted we were powerless over alcohol ... that our lives had become unmanageable.

"I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out." (Romans 7:18)

2.

Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

"... my grace is sufficient for you, for my POWER is made perfect in weakness." (2 Corinthians 12:9)

..for it God Who works in you to will and act according to His good purpose.. (Phil. 2:13)

3.

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

"... If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." (Luke 9:23)

4.

Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of our selves.

"Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord." (Lamentations 3:40)

5.

Admitted to GOD, to our selves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

"Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed." (James 5:16)

6.

Were entirely ready to have GOD remove all these defects of character.

"If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land." (Isaiah 1:19)

7.

Humbly asked Him to remove all our shortcomings.

"Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up." (James 4:10)

8.

Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.

"Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift." (Matthew 5:23, 24)

9.

Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

Give and it shall be given you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." (Luke 6:38)

10.

Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

"For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith GOD has given you." (Romans 12:3)

11.

Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with GOD, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will, and the power to carry that out.

"May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer." (Psalm 19:14)

"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly..." (Col. 3:16)

12.

Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and practice these principles in all our affairs.

"Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the Law of Christ." (Galatians 6:1-2)

(Christian Steps Distilled from many Christian recovery programs, this chart inspired from www.alcoholicsvictorious.org/, Research on this history and steps from Ernest Kurtz, Not-God, A History of Alcoholics Anonymous)

In my nearly thirty years of experience in this area, I have come to understand that when an addict does not do these 12 steps, especially 1, 5 and 8, they almost always go back to their dependency! That is why these steps are so essential and timeless and they work if you work them!

You cannot help someone who does not want to be helped. We have to realize that for us to go anywhere in our recovery as well as in our life as a Christian we have to surrender it and our will to Him. As our Lord moves among us, He will only ask this question of those who want to be healed. Do you want to be healed (John 5:6)? He may say nothing to those who do not or will not look to Him. It has been my experience and research that most Christians may not yet have reached the place this man in John 5 had reached. They are not helpless enough yet. They are not ready to give up on human efforts to solve their problems. They have not realized their need or the plan that God has for them. They are not ready to admit they cannot make it on their own. They are still determined to get into the water by themselves when it is stirred, when they determine to do so, when it is their will-regardless of God's will.

Jesus usually works within the parameters of what we will allow, so when we put up barriers, although He could easily penetrate them, He chooses to do nothing for those who do not want His help (Psalm 139 1-24; Isaiah 40:29; Jeremiah 29:11; Matthew 7:7-11; 9:12-13; Mark 9:23-24; John 3:16-18; 14:1-3; Philippians 2:12-13).

Do you want to be healed?

© 1990, 2008, Richard .J. Krejcir Ph.D. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership, www.churchleadership.org

© 2007 - 2018 Institute of Church Leadership Development - All Rights Reserved.
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