AA is My Church

Yesterday I accompanied my wife to her church. Organized religion is not my thing, but I try to support her spiritual program just as she supports my AA activities. Sometimes I try to make her think I’m doing her a favor by going with her, but the truth is I like her church. Just like AA meetings, I feel better when I’m walking out of church than I did before I walked in. As I sat in church yesterday I thought about the similarities between church and AA and how lucky we alcoholics are to have the program we have.

I enjoy the devotional singing the most. My wife’s church features a six piece band complete with drums, keyboard, and bass guitar. They play modern worship songs with a rock beat. I sing off-key but fortunately the rest of the congregation drowns me out. When I am singing worship songs I feel my channel open, making way for HP to flow into my consciousness. I’m wondering if we should begin our AA meetings with a few songs, just to get the juices flowing? (just kidding)

I notice a number of church members have service roles just like some of us serve our AA meetings.  They greet the worshipers, act as ushers and collect the offering. The church supports a full calendar of events and activities, providing additional opportunities for members to serve. Just like in our meetings, the ones doing the service seem like the happiest people in the room.

Some of the members stand in the front after the service to pray for those who need a little extra help. I wonder if anyone ever asks their prayer partner for their phone numbers? I’m sure meaningful relationships develop between  church members, but I doubt if many of them go as deep at the sponsor-sponsee relationships in AA.

The sermon usually contains one or two spiritual thoughts I can apply to my recovery. Yesterday’s sermon was about carrying the message to non-believers. The minister shared some strategies about how to spot opportunities to deliver the message to others.  It wasn’t a hard sell program, but it made me grateful nevertheless that AA is based on attraction rather than promotion. An endless supply of drunks comes to us. We don’t have to go out and drag them off bar stools. No one is going to try to “introduce” AA to anyone unless they ask for it.

The bible is loaded with spiritual wisdom and instruction, but I wonder how many people in church yesterday have ever taken a searching and fearless inventory of themselves. How many shared their guilt and fear with another? Maybe all these folks aren’t suffering like I was before AA, but I bet some of them are. Without the 12-steps I wonder how these people will heal and find peace.

As we filed out of the sanctuary at the end of the service, the energy felt like the end of an AA meeting. People were talking, laughing, and making plans. As we made our way to the exit I thought about how grateful I am that I don’t have to wait a week for the next meeting.  I don’t believe one meeting a week would cut it for me.