Lenten Reflection – 12 Steps

“Addiction” is a word that continues to come up in our Lenten worship services.  We live in an addictive and addicted culture and most if not all of us have our own addictions that we wrestle with.  Sometimes these addictions are public and sometimes private.  Sometimes they are socially ostracizing and other times they are socially celebrated.  As we are called and shaped by Jesus this Lenten season, we are invited to look deep into the heart of addiction.

Some among us have done this for a long time through Alcoholics Anonymous or other such support groups.  Twelve Steps programs began with A.A. in the 1930s and have expanded greatly, offering help and hope to a wide range of people suffering from a wide range of behaviors.

An anonymous writer in Leader magazine writes about her experience at her weekly Al-Anon meeting: “We know a great deal about one another, and yet we know very little – no last names, no professions, no addresses, just the daily heartbreaks and triumphs that come with loving an addict.  In this room, we share thoughts and stories that might never reach our best friends’ ears…  No matter what they say, nobody gasps in shock.  Nobody expresses judgment.  Nobody even offers advice.  All they do is listen, but they leave feeling better somehow, part of a whole.”

12 Steps:

  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 ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, 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.

submitted by Sarah Klaassen