Character vs Chemicals and Compulsive Behaviors

After arriving at Helping Up Mission, I felt the need to memorize and meditate on the 12 Steps in order to understand them fully. It was exciting for me to see how Biblically focused they were and how well they taught the principles of an everyday spiritual walk.

It  was also enlightening to realize that only 2 of the original 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous actually referenced alcohol. Step 1 says we are powerless over it and Step 12 says we should carry the message to others who are powerless over it.  The 12 Steps don’t focus on the chemical (or compulsive behavior) with which we struggle, but on character – an inner spiritual strength – which empowers us over them.

While we always want someone to stop using, abstinence is simply not enough. Being a “dry drunk” or “clean and crazy” is just not an acceptable end result.  It’s like being religious but not connected to the supernatural empowerment of a personal relationship with God. Both end up as simply unfulfilling systems of do’s and don’ts.

The essence of the 12 Steps is character – the inner spiritual strength – that comes from practicing the Biblical principles that are the basis of the 12 Steps.  Real recovery goes way beyond behavior modification – starting or stopping certain actions or activities.  Real recovery and real spirituality spring from the supernatural inner spiritual empowerment of character.  That’s what the Bible and the 12 Steps teach and what really works!  It’s key to living “reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with You forever in the next” (the conclusion of the original and complete Serenity Prayer).

One Step at a Time,
Pastor Gary Byers
Deputy Director

PS  If you are interested in viewing Helping Up Mission’s version of the 12 Steps, our 26 weekly Character Qualities or the Serenity Prayer in its entirety, go to: