When I arrived here at Helping Up Mission in 1998, I only knew about the 12 Steps through Alcoholics Anonymous. I did not know anything about any individual Step or how they fit together as a unit. I was told they had a Biblical foundation, but did not have any idea what that might mean or look like.
While my role here centered on teaching Biblical Discipleship, I felt the need to become familiar with the Steps. So I memorized and meditated on each Step, adding the next one to what I had already learned – just like I do with Scripture. Armed with only my years of Biblical studies and no 12 Step background, I was amazed at what I found.
First of all, I was stunned that the 12 Steps were not 12 different things to do to quit drinking (or drugging). In fact, I could only find alcohol (or drugs for Narcotics Anonymous) mentioned in Step 1 (I am powerless over it) and Step 12 (I will carry the message to others who are still powerless over it). The 12 Steps did not focus on chemicals, instead they focused on character. The 12 Steps teach us the character we need to live every day and and which will empower us over whatever the chemical (or the compulsive behavior) with which we might struggle.
Secondly I found that the 12 Steps are organized in a fashion which exemplifies a Biblical spiritual walk. Steps 1-3 focus on the Present – Getting Right with God Now. Then Steps 4-9 focus in the Past – Forgetting the Past by Dealing with it. Finally Steps 10-12 focus on the Future – Living One Day at a Time.
The content of each Step and their organization into an understandable whole is, in fact, a powerful statement of Biblical principles for a spiritual walk – and, oh by the way, they will also keep you clean from alcohol (or drugs). It became clear to me that I had worked through the 12 Steps myself over the years in my own spiritual journey, never knowing that the two were one in the same. That means that I need to practice the same spiritual principles every day in my life that I am teaching the alcoholics and drug addicts in my Spiritual Recovery Program that they need to practice.
And guess what? The same things that I am practicing and teaching to my guys here is the same good news that people in our churches need to know and practice. I have been spreading the word and am happy to report that good Christian people all over the area are working at applying the 12 Steps to their every day spiritual walk – regardless of whether they have any alcohol or drug issues.
Admittedly, our version of the 12 Steps is a slight revision of the original 12 Steps of AA (over 50 different groups have adapted the 12 Steps to their own particular addiction or compulsive behavior in recent years). We put Jesus right in there as the God of our understanding and made a few other changes to make them a little more Biblically focused. But the bottom line is this…the Christ-centered 12 Steps for Every Day Life are a powerful tool to help someone develop a spiritual walk – and, oh by the way, they will keep you clean from drugs and alcohol, too!
Pastor Gary Byers
Spiritual Life Director
PS If you would like a copy of our version of the 12 Steps, email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will be glad to pass them along to you.