This is so true… I had to attend AA meetings as part of a class for my undergrad degree and was amazed at the community atmosphere and the loving environment. Acceptance……and love in pure form unlike many churches of today.
A.A. looks more like church than a lot of churches
The following from Buechner compares A.A. to the church. The church would look a lot more attractive if it learned a few things from A.A.
Alcoholics anonymous or A.A. is the name of a group of men and women who acknowledge that addiction to alcohol is ruining their lives. Their purpose in coming together is to give it up and help others do the same. They realize they can’t pull this off by themselves.
They believe they need each other, and they believe they need God. The ones who aren’t so sure about God speak instead of their Higher Power. When they first start talking at a meeting, they introduce themselves by saying, “I am John. I am an alcoholic”, “I am Mary. I am an alcoholic,” to which the rest of the group answers each time in unison, “Hi, John”, “Hi Mary.” They are apt to end with the Lord’s Prayer or the Serenity Prayer.
Apart from that they have no ritual. They have no hierarchy. They have no dues or budget. They do not advertise or proselytize. Having no buildings of their own, they meet wherever they can. Nobody lectures them, and they do not lecture each other. They simply tell their own stories with the candor that anonymity makes possible. They tell where they went wrong and how day by day they are trying to go right. They tell where they find their strength and understanding and hope to keep trying. Sometimes one of them will take special responsibility for one another—to be available at any hour of day or night if the need arises.
There’s not much more to it than that, and it seems to be enough. Healing happens. Miracles are made. You can’t help thinking that something like this is what the Church is meant to be and maybe once was before it got to be Big Business. Sinners Anonymous. “I can will what is right but cannot do it,” is the way Saint Paul put it, speaking for all of us. “For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do” (Romans 7;19). “I am me. I am a sinner.” “Hi, you.” Hi, every Sadie and Sal. Hi, every Tom, Dick, and Harry. It is the forgiveness of sins, of course. It is what the Church is all about.
No matter what far place alcoholics end up in, either in this country or virtually anywhere else, they know that there will be an A.A. meeting nearby to go to and that at that meeting they will find strangers who are not strangers to help and to heal, to listen to the truth and to tell it. That is what the Body of Christ is all about. Would it ever occur to Christians in a far place to turn to a church nearby in hope of finding the same? Would they find it? If not, you wonder what is so Big about the Church’s Business.
Reading this was wonderful. Having spent sevral years in the rooms myself, I know all this to be true. The honest caring and sharing that goes on there is beyond any other. I always said if you can’t get a ride from an AA meeting there is somthing wrong… Yet I have never said that about all the churches I have been too.
I have been thinking this very thing resently and am happy to know there are others.
My friend, after her husband died described it this way, “The church said they would pray for me, AA came and helped clean out his closet”.
It’s now difficult for me to attend church. I found a safe, loving and accepting place in AA where everyone wants you to do well. For me, there is no comparison.
I chose Church over as and now my Children, Grands and I are separated and Constantly under attack, had I chose as over Church attendance I would have been led to place my Families Safetyin its perspective place which was in the same space as my sobriety and right after my Spirituality. Its amazes me how People that Aren’t necessarily considered Holy has Much More Concern for Others than Those Who profess to be Followers of Jesus, but I guess if One hasn’t actually been or almost been to rock bottom due to controlled substances how can One understand and assist Those that have Unconditionally, I also Love how there’s complete Honesty Among Those in the Rooms One Towards Another,.