Participants: Shelley Quinn (Host), Bob
Series Code: IAA
Program Code: IAA000482A
00:01 Today on Issues and Answers we are going to be talking about
00:04 taking a personal inventory and then prayer and meditation
00:08 and carrying the message forward. Please join us.
00:41 Hello, I'm Shelley Quinn and we're very glad that your
00:45 joining us today on Issues and Answers.
00:47 If you have been following the last few programs
00:49 you know we've been talking about the 12 Step Program
00:52 of Alcoholics Anonymous.
00:53 Now let me make one thing perfectly clear,
00:56 we believe that there are far more people who are
00:59 overcome alcoholism in church, than actually do in
01:03 Alcoholics Anonymous because we just know by the
01:07 sheer numbers in statistics.
01:08 Yet, we also believe very strongly that it's a wonderful
01:12 program because it is based on Christian principles
01:15 and it is the last house on the block, so to speak
01:20 for people who may not be able to go to a church
01:25 because they have been offended or wounded,
01:27 or they don't believe in the Lord.
01:29 And the interesting thing is, once they begin to participate
01:32 in this 12 step program, they almost always end up
01:37 knowing God as their father.
01:40 Now, what we are going to do today, our guest is in the
01:43 shadows. His name is Bob and he is joining us,
01:46 he is a member of AA, so we are respecting his anonymity,
01:51 but I want to make it perfectly clear that he is not a
01:54 spokesperson for AA, and they have none.
01:58 But what we are going to do now...let me just very briefly..
02:01 I want to...First Bob, welcome. Thank you, it's nice to be here.
02:07 Thank you so much for being here.
02:08 Let me go over the first nine steps that we've
02:12 already covered. And I am reading this directly from
02:15 the alcoholics anonymous book, and it says:
02:20 First, admit you are powerless over alcohol and the your life
02:24 has become unmanageable. Come to believe that a power
02:27 greater than yourself can restore you to sanity.
02:29 Make a decision to turn your will and lives' over to,
02:35 here's the name of the higher power.
02:38 To the care of God as we understand Him.
02:41 Make a searching and fearless moral inventory of yourself.
02:47 Admit to God, to yourself, and to other human beings
02:50 the exact nature of your wrongs.
02:52 Talk about...or be ready, let's see, ready entirely,
02:57 to have God remove all these defects of character.
03:01 Boy, it sounds like this is something all Christians
03:03 need to do.
03:05 Humbly ask Him to remove your short comings.
03:07 Make a list of all the persons you've harmed.
03:10 Become willing to make amends to them,
03:12 and willingness is first.
03:14 And this is a step that also involves forgiveness,
03:18 we discussed this last time.
03:20 And then make direct amends to such people wherever possible,
03:25 except when to do so would injure them or others.
03:29 That is a Biblical principle as well.
03:31 The idea of restitution for wrongs.
03:33 And it brings great freedom of guilt, condemnation,
03:38 it's a very freeing step isn't it.
03:40 That's right!
03:41 Alright, so once you've gone through those and
03:43 worked through those first nine steps...
03:45 Bob, you've been an AA member, you have been sober for
03:51 26 years. Correct!
03:53 Praise God!
03:54 That's one day at a time.
03:56 Sure! Wonderful!
03:57 So let's talk about step number 10.
04:00 Ok. Step 10 continued to take personal inventory
04:04 and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
04:06 This is a step the is difficult.
04:09 Most of us don't like to admit it when we are wrong,
04:12 and certainly no alcoholic is real keen on doing that.
04:16 But, we've learned by experience that if we allow something
04:21 to fester for very long, it causes a much bigger problem.
04:25 For example, if I hang on to a resentment...
04:32 What I've learned about resentments is,
04:33 they grow roots overnight.
04:35 And, you know the Bible calls it "the root of bitterness'.
04:39 And we cannot let that take hold.
04:42 If I don't deal with my resentment that very day,
04:45 if I don't get rid of it that very day,
04:48 it will be like a dandelion.
04:50 Anybody that's ever tried to pull out dandelion's
04:54 knows full well that pulling them out just seems to
04:57 multiply them and especially since they seem to be able
05:00 to flower and put out their seeds in a very short period
05:05 of time, and the more I yank the seeds out,
05:07 they are going to fly everywhere and they are
05:08 just going to multiply. Um, The root of a dandelion
05:11 goes very deep and the more I try to dig it out,
05:15 the less I get anywhere because all I do is I just stir it up
05:19 and it seems like I can never get to the root of that problem.
05:22 and I need to get it before it grows deep into my heart.
05:25 That's just a little... I think in pictures, so for me
05:29 that works.
05:30 In the scriptures that come into my mind is too...
05:33 It says: "In your anger, do not sin."
05:35 Also "Do not let the sun go down on your anger."
05:38 That's right. So this is some- thing about the daily inventory
05:41 so that you don't develop that deep root.
05:44 That's right. And once it's there, then only God Almighty
05:48 can do anything about it because if I think I can get
05:51 rid of my resentments, I am sorely mistaken.
05:54 You know, I hear people talk about their character defects
05:59 and they say, I really need to work on this,
06:01 and I have to smile and think to myself,
06:03 let me know how that works for you?
06:04 Because it really doesn't.
06:06 The more I try to change myself, the worse it gets.
06:10 And so, in step 10, we watch specifically for dishonesty,
06:14 we watch for selfishness, we watch for self-seeking,
06:20 trying to get our way, manipulating people
06:22 to get our way and we look for fear.
06:25 And when these crop up, the step asks up immediately
06:29 to ask God for forgiveness, and then go and make things
06:33 right with the people that we have harmed.
06:35 If we do this on a daily basis, we can sleep in peace.
06:39 One of the things I noticed when I started working this
06:43 step is how much better I felt, and suddenly
06:46 I made the connection. The fact is that today
06:49 when I go to sleep, I am asleep in a few minutes.
06:53 That didn't use to be the case, I would toss and turn,
06:56 I would play thing over in my mind over and over again.
07:00 The people I was angry about, how dare they do this to me,
07:03 how come so and so is acting this way?
07:07 All these things would just roll around in my mind.
07:09 When my side of the street is swept,
07:11 when my side of the street is clean, I go to sleep
07:14 very quickly. Wonderful!
07:15 This, and again, it amazes me as we have been going
07:19 through these steps Bob, how much they apply
07:22 to all of our lives. We all should be taking a daily
07:25 inventory and going through this same process.
07:28 If you don't mind, I would like to talk about step 11...
07:32 Yes. This is a big step sought through prayer and mediation
07:35 to increase our conscious contact with God as we
07:37 understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us
07:41 and the power to carry that out.
07:43 Most alcoholics have learned to pray early on because we
07:49 know our power comes from the Lord.
07:53 There is no other source of help for us, no human resource
07:57 can keep us from drinking. No human being can help us
08:02 stay sober in those moments where can't reach them,
08:05 so we need to rely on a power greater than ourselves.
08:08 At this point, it is important to increase our conscious
08:13 contact with Him. It brings to mind the Bible texts
08:17 that say pray without ceasing, in all things.
08:20 You know in prayer and supplication, talk to the Lord.
08:23 Make Him your best friend, talk to Him about everything
08:27 that is going on at every moment of your life
08:29 and step 11 reminds us to do that through prayer and
08:33 through meditation.
08:35 Now the whole concept of prayer and meditation came from the
08:38 original group that spawned Alcoholics Anonymous...
08:42 We didn't get into this but it was called the Oxford Groups,
08:44 and it was a group of people who got together and tried to
08:51 practice early Christian principles basically,
08:55 they studied the Bible, they found the principles that they
09:00 believed would help them practice that heartfelt
09:05 Christianity in the early days of the Christian Church
09:08 and there were always periods of prayer and meditation
09:12 that were done not only as a group, but encouraged
09:15 every morning to spend quiet time with God.
09:17 And the Oxford Groups used the Bible, in fact AA
09:23 used the Bible for a long long time in the beginning
09:25 because they had no other literature.
09:27 They would...especially they enjoyed reading
09:31 The Sermon on the Mount, the chapters about the
09:34 sermon on the mount, and the other big favorite
09:36 was the book of James, which you will find AA principles
09:40 all over that, or should I say the other way around.
09:43 AA has those principles that James talks about.
09:46 For example:
09:47 Not to set yourself higher than anyone else.
09:50 Not to esteem yourself above anyone else.
09:54 Not to treat people differently. In AA there is this amazing
09:58 equality. Every member has every right to say or do
10:04 whatever they want. There are no controls in AA but
10:07 yet there are controls that constrain us and that is
10:10 alcoholism. We are forced to toe a line, because if we stray
10:15 off that path for very far, we end up getting drunk.
10:18 And so, we use the disease as a tool if you will,
10:22 to keep us on track, and we are grateful for that tool.
10:25 I have to believe I would probably not be sitting here
10:28 on a Christian program, were it not for the fact
10:32 that God knew that alcoholism would make me toe the line.
10:36 I know that today the worst thing that happened in my mind
10:40 turned out to be the best thing that happened
10:42 because it really helps me stay close to the Lord.
10:46 I know my need. Sometimes I'm saddened when I go in church
10:49 because it feels like many of the people in church
10:53 have no idea how much they need God.
10:55 And yet, you go in to an AA meeting
10:57 and they know, they know, because they can't stray
11:01 very far before it's so obvious to them
11:05 that their lives are falling apart. What a precious thought.
11:07 You know the idea that Romans 8:28,
11:09 "That all thing work together for good, for those who love
11:12 the Lord and are called according to His purpose."
11:14 And that being that He predestined to conform us
11:17 to the image of Jesus Christ. But what a precious thought.
11:22 That you can now, in all things give thanks,
11:26 the Bible tells us, that you can give thanks for this
11:30 condition of alcoholism, because it is what brought you to your
11:36 recognition of your need of God and total dependence
11:40 and please hear what I am saying,
11:42 if there is anything we need to learn, it is this.
11:46 God's plan of salvation is total dependence upon Him.
11:50 The Old Testament and the New Testament
11:53 both say that salvation belongs to God.
11:57 There is nothing that we can do to save ourself.
11:59 Now, we believe that as God is working in us
12:03 to change our will and line it up with His
12:06 and then He works is us to do His good pleasure.
12:10 Of course there are certain standards and principles
12:13 we follow because it's the guidance of the Holy Spirit,
12:16 but that is not obeying His commandments.
12:19 It's not what saves us, we obey because we are saved
12:23 and because He is working in us, but that's exciting.
12:26 One of the things that you talk a lot about in AA is
12:30 lining up our will with God's will. Amen.
12:32 Which I was actually quite interested in the fact that
12:38 so much of the language that's in our books, lines up so
12:43 much with another author that wrote along those lines
12:46 along that time and that was Ellen White.
12:48 For example, the term "character defects".
12:52 You don't hear that in every day language.
12:54 You don't read that in other books,
12:56 but those words, specific words, "character defects",
13:00 are prominent in Ellen White's writings,
13:02 and they are prominent in AA's writings.
13:04 The man who wrote the book, one of our co-founders
13:07 Bill W., was almost a Contemporary, actually he was,
13:13 they were alive at the same time and I have every reason
13:15 to believe that he read some of Ellen White's books because
13:18 the ideas are way too obvious, and they are worded
13:22 specifically. The other idea of lining up our will with God's
13:26 will, she writes about that quite a bit.
13:27 I'm a visual guy, so I think of for example, moving sidewalks.
13:33 I go to the airport and I love walking back and forth
13:36 on the moving sidewalks. And one day as I was doing this,
13:39 it dawned on me that that's what it is like to step onto
13:42 God's will, to line up my will with God's will.
13:45 I'm still walking the walk, but I am going five times faster
13:50 than I have a right to because I am lining up with God...
13:53 I'm doing...if there is an easier, softer way it is
13:56 to do God's will.
13:58 So in step 11 when it says, asking for knowledge of His will
14:02 for us and the power to carry that out, we can't go wrong
14:07 if we are asking God to show us His will and to give us the
14:12 power to step onto that sidewalk, so to speak.
14:15 Um, we're going places, we're growing spiritually
14:19 and to me, that's important.
14:21 The other aspect of step 11 that is talked about quite a bit
14:25 is the idea that we pray only for knowledge of His will
14:29 for us. A lot of us have spent a lot of time trying to
14:34 figure out what is best for everybody else,
14:36 and sometimes we pray wrongly. In AA they talk about
14:41 selfish prayer don't get us anywhere, and you can see why.
14:45 God's not going to do for us, give us selfish things
14:49 that we ask for selfishly. And it also cautions us to be
14:52 careful not to assume that we know what God's will is
14:56 for another person.
14:57 Specifically it talks about people who are sick,
15:00 we don't know if it is their best interest for them to be
15:05 healed, we cannot demand anything.
15:08 What we ask for is God's will to be done in that person's
15:11 life and we learn to trust that God knows what is best.
15:16 And a lot of that step helps us growing not only closer to God
15:20 but also to trust Him more.
15:23 One little prayer that I say quite often and I try to say it
15:27 every day...I'm not sure I could say I do it perfectly,
15:29 but I ask God to remind me all day long that He is there
15:34 with me. My prayer is God,
15:36 tap me on my shoulder, let me know that you are there,
15:39 and every time I think of You, my promise to you is I will
15:44 acknowledge you. I will speak with you,
15:46 and you know what, those are the best days of my life.
15:48 Because we are talking all day long, we are dialoging.
15:52 I'm praising Him all day long, I'm thanking Him, I'm searching
15:58 for Him all day long and He is there all over the place.
16:01 And I also...The way I word it is a little differently but
16:04 I just...I have Him tap me on the shoulder.
16:07 I just pray Lord, give me a divine awareness of your
16:11 presence within. Because He is always with us and there are
16:14 times... Have you ever found this Bob that there are times in
16:17 the day you can get so involved in your work,
16:21 that it's kind of like you come up for a breath of air,
16:24 and all of a sudden you realize, I've been ignoring you
16:27 Lord. You could've probably helped me through this
16:30 a little bit. It could have been easier if I had really included
16:33 You and it is amazing how It's like you can be sitting
16:37 and talking with Him almost, if you were...
16:40 You know, like you were talking in an earlier program,
16:42 like if He were in this chair and you were here.
16:44 You can have that prayer or conversation with Him,
16:48 start off right, but then things start happening
16:51 and it's kind of like you just giving Him the
16:53 silent treatment, put Him over there and forget
16:55 He's right there with you. That's good.
16:58 If I can, I want to make sure and spend a little time
17:02 on step 12. Sure!
17:03 And that is having had a spiritual awakening as a result
17:07 of these steps. We try to carry this message
17:11 to other alcoholics and to practice these principles
17:14 in all our affairs.
17:15 This is the culmination of those 12 steps.
17:19 This is where we have become fully aware of God
17:25 moving in our lives. We have had what they call a spiritual
17:29 awakening. All along the way we've had spiritual experiences
17:33 as AA puts it, but at this point we are fully awake.
17:37 We are aware of God moving in our lives and we are aware
17:41 of the people He is putting in our path,
17:43 not only to help us, but for us to help.
17:46 And there is an element of actively seeking another
17:50 alcoholic to help. One of the saddest things
17:53 I've ever seen in my life, are Christians who have been
17:57 delivered from alcoholism for example,
17:59 and they come up to me and very quietly whisper to me,
18:03 I used to have a drinking problem,
18:05 I used to be an alcoholic, I have not had a drink
18:09 for so many years, but I don't want anyone to know.
18:12 And I don't say usually anything to them except I think
18:16 to myself, how sad that you have been forgiven so much,
18:19 and yet, you will not give your witness for the Lord.
18:23 You are uniquely qualified to help another alcoholic
18:27 and you choose not to. I think that makes God's heart
18:30 very sad, and for me, it's incredible.
18:34 You know one of the things we learn in AA is that
18:38 strenuous work one alcoholic with another is vital to
18:42 permanent recovery. I need to give it away,
18:45 if it stays inside of me, it rots, it dies.
18:48 I become self-centered and selfish all over again
18:51 and it's just a very sad thing.
18:52 You know, it's shame based fear, is why people
18:58 don't want to share.
18:59 For so long in my life, I didn't talk about the dysfunction
19:06 of my upbringing. I didn't talk about the family problems
19:10 or my sister's problems, or my mother's problems
19:12 or anybody's problems, I didn't talk about mine.
19:14 And when I came into full time ministry,
19:18 the Lord impressed upon my heart that I had to share
19:22 from a gut level. Now I will say, I don't always talk about..
19:26 I talk about BC days, before Christ, but I don't' go into
19:30 great detail to give the glory to the devil.
19:33 But I think that we all need to...So many people...
19:37 You look, and maybe you see somebody on television
19:40 and you think, oh, they are just perfect,
19:42 and you put them on a pedestal, and we are all in the same boat.
19:46 We all have the same problems, we have the same challenges,
19:51 we have to overcome this flesh day by day, moment by moment.
19:55 And so I think it's good for us to, at least in my experience,
20:00 it was very healing for me to come forward and talk about
20:05 the problems, the spiritual problems I had,
20:08 because every teaching that I share, is how God led me
20:12 out of that, so it's something that it is not theory,
20:17 it's what you've walked through, and you know the power.
20:20 And just when someone has been healed of something,
20:24 it is sad to me that they are not using their testimony
20:27 as a witness to God, it should be something to
20:30 celebrate, rather than be ashamed of.
20:32 Shelley, one of the...you know, I spend a lot of time chasing
20:37 a high through alcohol, through drugs, through other things,
20:41 but the truth is, there is no better high in this world
20:44 than to listen to somebody's first prayer.
20:49 Than to share your experience and see the hope come
20:53 into their eyes, to watch them recover, to watch them help
20:57 other people, and know that I've had a small part of that.
21:01 I can't get anybody sober, I can't get anybody drunk,
21:05 that's not something I take on.
21:08 I don't worry about something I say or do is going to get you
21:11 drunk. It's impossible.
21:12 If an alcoholic chooses to drink, it's because they've
21:16 let go of God's hand.
21:17 You know in AA we talk about slips sometimes,
21:21 you know, so and so slipped, and everybody knows
21:24 what that means, but they don't know where that came from.
21:26 It came from our other co- founder Dr. Bob Smith
21:30 who many many years ago started talking about slipping
21:34 and they asked him, what do you mean by a slip?
21:39 He said, they've slipped from the grace of God.
21:42 God could not hold on the them if they are not hanging
21:47 on to Him, and so at some point that happens.
21:52 So once I recognize that I can not do or say anything that
21:59 will get anybody sober or get anybody drunk,
22:01 I thought, what is my part?
22:04 My part is to be a channel, my part is to be the conduit
22:08 of God's grace and God's love. To give somebody the answer
22:11 that I found it the greatest joy in my life.
22:15 In fact, you know, I can't keep quiet about it,
22:17 I don't have to broadcast it.
22:19 In fact, this is the first program where I've actually
22:22 talked about this and as you know, I'm doing this
22:26 anonymously because it is not about me.
22:28 It's about the Lord. But I cannot be silent,
22:32 if I'm given the opportunity, I need to share that,
22:35 especially one on one, one on one is what it's all about.
22:40 Alcoholics Anonymous said it's core is simple,
22:42 it's just one alcoholic speaking with another one
22:46 and sharing their experience, strength, and hope,
22:48 believing that that person will can and will get sober if
22:51 they try what we've done, they will get the same results.
22:55 Once again, this idea of sponsorship and sharing,
23:00 it's a Christian principle, this is discipleship.
23:03 I mean we are all to be if you were, Christian sponsors,
23:08 for people, other sinners like ourselves and to encourage them
23:13 to share the good news. So it's actually or partly...
23:18 well, I mean in part, we all are fulfilling the
23:22 Great Commission and that's what you are doing here.
23:24 Go and tell! Yes! Let me ask you this question.
23:26 We have just a few minutes left. Sure.
23:28 In these 12 steps absolutely changed your life.
23:33 Yes. Working. Excuse me. God working through the 12 steps
23:38 changed your life.
23:39 It's interesting to me, I knew very little about AA
23:44 but I had heard various things. Some people don't think AA
23:49 really acknowledges God as God. We had an engineer who worked
23:53 for us who...and I may have shared this on an earlier
23:58 program, I don't recall, but he did not believe in God,
24:03 he was an atheist and so he called on a higher power
24:06 or kneeling at a tree one day praying, he heard a voice say
24:11 to him, my name is Jesus Christ and I am your higher power,
24:17 and he became a very devout Christian.
24:19 But where has...sometimes I think AA gets a bad wrap
24:24 from Christians, like it's somehow denying the power
24:28 of God if you have to to through a 12 step program, so...
24:32 it's very much...especially I know in your group,
24:37 it's very much Christ oriented, God oriented, so...
24:42 There's no doubt, anyone who believes that we deny the
24:46 power of God has not been to a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous.
24:49 They will hear God mentioned from every corner,
24:52 from people, and this is another miracle is watching
24:55 people who come in who have only used the word God
24:58 in a swear word, suddenly within days and weeks
25:03 they are talking about God in loving terms
25:05 and the transformation is amazing.
25:07 You know there is way too much evidence, even if they sit
25:11 silently in AA meetings, they see the changes happening
25:15 day to day, week to week, and they hear the acknowledgement
25:19 constantly that God is doing for us, what we cannot do
25:21 for ourselves. The results of prayer, the results of doing
25:25 the right thing because you know it's the right thing
25:27 and because God empowers you to do that.
25:29 There is a lot of mis- understanding, that's true,
25:33 but AA says keep your hand to the plow, do what you know
25:38 to do. Don't worry about what other people think of you,
25:40 worry about what God thinks about you.
25:42 Yes. And if you know what God thinks of you, you know He is
25:45 crazy about you. Amen! This is Christian principle.
25:48 Absolutely. We don't worry too much about that,
25:51 we don't do sensational advertising, we have
25:54 12 traditions which could be a whole nother series
25:56 which are also Christian principles, amazingly
25:59 in that we hold our groups together this way with our
26:04 12 traditions, and they are easily...
26:07 you can locate these easily on the internet.
26:10 There is a lot of misinformation, sadly there are
26:13 a lot of people that believe that they can cure alcoholism
26:18 in other ways. We believe it's a disease that is incurable
26:21 on this earth, on this earth in the new world of course
26:25 it won't be, but that it's fatal, that it's progressive
26:29 that it's incurable. But being a mental, physical, and spiritual
26:33 disease, there is only one solution and that's a spiritual
26:37 remedy connecting to God who gives us the power to not only
26:41 to stay sober, but to help others and live happy
26:45 productive, wonderful lives.
26:46 There are many people I know who come to AA who eventually
26:51 make their way to church, AA does not push them to church,
26:54 but they are connected to God and God draws them
26:59 to where they need to be and that's fun.
27:03 Several people in my group have become Seventh-day
27:06 Adventists because of it, and I think that is wonderful.
27:09 Amen! Amen! Well, what occurs to me once more is that
27:13 as we have gone through these 12 steps, that these are steps
27:18 we can all use for whatever we're trying to overcome...
27:23 If there is something that's been holding you back
27:25 you've got to admit that you are powerless over it,
27:29 that only by God's power can you overcome,
27:32 you need to turn your will over to the Lord
27:35 admit to God, to yourself, to others the exact nature
27:40 of your wrong, be ready to have God remove your character
27:45 defects, humbly ask Him to remove our short comings...
27:49 Make a list of those we've harmed, make restitution
27:52 to those and then take that personal daily inventory...
27:56 Seek God through daily prayer and meditation,
27:59 and then as God re-awakens you spiritually,
28:03 go out and share the good news of the power of God.
28:07 Bob, thank you so much for being with us,
28:10 this has been a pleasure to have you here,
28:13 and it's been a real joy and very educational.
28:16 For those of you at home thank you for joining in.
28:18 Share these programs with some- one who really needs to know,
28:22 there is HOPE in God.