Alcoholics Anonymous and The Sermon on The Mount

How much do you know about Recovery and The Twelve Steps?  Did you know this?

imageThe Sermon on the Mount had a different history in early A.A. Both Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob, founders of Alcoholics Anonymous said several times that Jesus’ sermon on the mount contained the underlying philosophy of A.A. As A.A.’s own literature reports: “He [Dr. Bob] cited the Sermon on the Mount as containing the underlying spiritual philosophy of A.A.” (DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers. NY: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1980, p. 228). Dr. Bob had no hesitancy about reading from the Bible and reading from it this sermon at meetings. An A.A. Grapevine article states that at a meeting led by Dr. Bob, Dr. Bob “put his foot on the rung of a dining-room chair, identified himself as an alcoholic, and began reading the Sermon on the Mount” (DR. BOB, supra, p. 218). Dr. Bob pointed out that there were no twelve steps at the beginning, that “our stories didn’t amount to anything to speak of,” and that they [A.A.’s “older ones”] were “convinced that the answer to their problems was in the Good Book” (DR. BOB, supra, p. 96). Clarence Snyder pointed out as to Dr. Bob: “If someone asked him a question about the program, his usual response was: ‘What does it say in the Good Book?’” (DR. BOB, supra, p. 144). Bob said quite clearly: “I didn’t write the Twelve Steps. I had nothing to do with the writing of them” but that “We already had the basic ideas, though not in terse and tangible form. We got them as a result of our study of the Good Book” (DR. BOB, supra, pp. 96-97). He also said the older members were convinced that the answer to their problems was in the Good Good.” Dr. Bob stressed over and over that the “the parts we found absolutely essential were” the Book of James, the Sermon on the Mount, and 1 Corinthians 13 (e.g. DR. BOB, supra, p. 96). In the Foreword he wrote to Dick B., The Good Book and The Big Book, Dr. Bob’s son “Smitty” pointed to the importance of James, the Sermon, and Corinthians; and I heard Smitty repeat his statement at several large A.A. history meetings, including one at A.A.’s San Diego International Convetion in 1995. Dr. Bob’s sponsee Clarence Snyder, got sober in February of 1938 and later became the AA with the greatest amount of sobriety. Clarence often echoed Dr. Bob’s words about the Bible and the three essential parts. Also, in a talk given to AAs in Glenarden, Maryland, on August 8, 1981, Clarence said: “This program emanates from the Sermon on the Mount and the Book of James. If you want to know where this program came from, read the fifth, sixth, seventh chapter of Matthew. Study it over and over, and you’ll see the whole program in there” (Glen Cove, NY: Glenn K. Audio Tape #2451).

The Resentment That Almost Killed Me

img_2038While walking through my recovery, a very important step was to write down all the people, places and things that I had a resentment to.  I was to write, in columns, the who, where, or what, why I had the resentment, what effect it had on my life, and what my part was, if any.  I found that in most cases I played a part in the resentment.  Once the work was done, I was to share it with someone I trusted.  During  process, I learned something that would change my life forever.  I learned that on of the most important keys in recovery from my alcoholism, was to put myself on my resentment list.

In that very moment a light bulb went on for me. Oh dear Lord, this is why I have relapsed with alcohol over and over again. This is what has kept me from surrendering my will to you. In facing the past, I would have to face the pain of just how much I hated myself for what I had done. I hated that person in the mirror. I actually had gotten to a place where I didn’t look in mirrors anymore. I found that the hate for myself, my guilt and shame, were at the root of my continuing to turn to the bottle even when I knew it was killing me. I would pick up a drink in an instant, just to not have to feel that pain. I think at times that kind of pain, the soul crushing kind, can drive people to consider suicide…..IF…and this is a huge IF…it is handled alone.

I also started to realize in this moment, that I wasn’t alone.

Psalms 118:5
In anguish I cried out to The Lord and he answered by setting me free.

For many alcoholics like me, by the time we discover that there is a solution to our alcoholism, the damage has already been done. Our husbands have suffered, our children have been neglected, our parents have cried until there are no tears left. Here we sit trying to get sober, but all the while trying to bear the guilt and shame of the past, all alone. So there I was with the name Lori Payne staring back at me, under the column labeled Who. The Who was me. It looked something like this.

Who:                                Lori Payne

What they Did:             Became an Alcoholic

How it effected Me:    Ruined my life

My part:                         Stayed in Denial, allowing the Disease to take over

There it was. Staring me in the face. I finally knew what had caused me to continue to pick-up a drink after knowing how bad it was destroying my life, and the lives of those unfortunate enough to be caught up in it. I could not handle the pain of my own shame and guilt. I would rather pick-up a bottle and all that entails, than feel the pain of my brokeness. Broken dreams, broken lives, broken hearts. When I looked at my son, I saw the years I had lost. The years he had lost. When I saw my husband I thought how could he ever truly love me again. He might love me again, but he would never see me as a wife to be adored, a wife to love as Christ loved the church. No, that kind of love was gone.
Let me tell you something from experience. When hate lives in your heart, you are doomed for brokeness. When the hate is for yourself, YOU will eventually destroy YOU.

It came time for me to share my inventory, something that I had done before.  This time when I shared about resenting myself, the pain came, the tears flowed, my guts hurt.  I began to list the awful things that I had done.  The shame and guilt poured out of me like vomit.  I went on and on for several hours with my sponsor.  I shared how I had driven drunk with my child in the care.  I shared stories of being drunk at family weddings, funerals, church.  But I think the worst pain was when I realized just how long my drinking had lasted.  I had lost time with loved ones that I could never get back.  Hurt that couldn’t be undone.  Babies that were never born.  Memories that were gone forever.  I wept.  I wept for me, I wept for my family, I wept for what could have been.

Then Jesus came.  He showed up just when I thought the pain would be too much.  Peace started to come over me.  It was exactly like my friends in recovery had shared with me.  My sweet Jesus would carry the load with me, if I would just turn to him.  Something happened to me that day.  Jesus showed up and carried my sin and shame.  For the first time in my life, I started to feel free.  I finally knew with every ounce of my heart and soul that Jesus loved me.  I knew that I wouldn’t ever have to feel alone again, I had Jesus.  He died on the cross, not just for everyone else, he died for me.  That day I began to live.


You Search For Love

I was having one of those days of complete  anger and frustration.  I couldn’t seem to get a person to see my side of an argument, or really my side of anything. I could feel the resentment building, and getting stronger.

Ephesians 4:31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Christ forgave you.

I went to the Lord with my complaint, “Lord how do I handle someone like this?”  My first thought, before I listen for his response, Andy Stanley!  He always has great sermons on how to handle difficulty. Then I hear the voice

Not Andy Stanley

“Then where do I go Lord?”

Go to my word

Ok God, well that makes sense, but where do I start?  What do I Google?  This problem has so many elements, where do I start?

And the voice says….

Love, you search for Love
Then the tears started and I opened my Bible, and used my Ipad to Google

What Does the Bible Say About Unconditional Love

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.  For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.  1 John 4:18

But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you  Luke 6:27

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.  1 Peter 4:8

The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.  1 Timothy 1:5

And then the one that spoke to me the loudest…….

If I speak in the tongues of men and angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

Wow no wonder words spoken in anger are never heard correctly, or said how I intended.  They are a noisy gong or clanging cymbal, they are an anoyance, not a solution.  I heard it said “Speak the truth with kindness” or “Speak the truth with love.”

No matter where I wanted to go with this, whatever blame game I wanted to play, God took me back to Love.

Blessed Are The Meek

“Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5

The true significance of the word “meek” in the Bible is a mental attitude for which there is no other single word available, and it is this mental attitude which is the secret of “prosperity” or success in prayer. It is a combination of open-mindedness, faith, in God, and the realization that the Will of God for us is a always something joyous and interesting and vital, and much better than anything we could think of for ourselves.

Wow! One if my favorite writers. I have learned so much from him.

Emmet Fox/The Sermon on the Mount


Finding Betty/Continued

As I sit at the computer somehow an ounce of sanity finally hits me. My parents……you know Lori, Mom and Dad, the ones who raised you? The ones who provided for all you needed. Sat up all night with you when you were sick. Sat at the hospital for 21 DAYS when you were a sick baby and they thought you had a heart damage. The parents that showed waited up until the prom date brought you home safely to the door. The Dad that bought your first car, a beautiful MGB convertible. The parents that took in every stray dog that you found and “just couldn’t leave them there”. Yes those parents. My wine filled head decides that I at least owe them a “courtesy call”. I lift my hands from the keyboard, grab the phone and dial. Mom picks up on the second ring. I say hi and cut right to the chase. ” Mom I was watching T.V. and they advertised this service where you can find people on the internet”. “Oh?” she said. I think she knew what was coming. But after all, wasn’t it her who gave me her name in the first place? I told her that I wanted to just see if I could find my birth mother. Probably wouldn’t come up, but you know, you never know. I was surprised by her response. She almost sounded excited, as if, you know, she was curious too. I also heard my Dad in the background giving his approval. She told me that the counselors told them when I was born that the natural curiosity to find my birth mother might come up at some point in my life. She said they were prepared, and they would help me find her in any way that they could. Wow….that was easy. I hung up the phone after telling them how much I loved them,and that I would only find her with their permission, and how great they were, and wine induced bla bla bla…………..The minute I hung up the phone, my hands went back to that keyboard, sweaty palms by now, heart beating out of my chest, and I type www……………com. Ok…..Find Anyone Anywhere, click here…………….Click………Name Address Phone Number, Credit Report, Police Reports, Arrests, Deaths…Click here, or just Name Address Phone Number click here……..Click………Please enter credit card number for one time fee of $59.99. Ok, here we go #### ### #### ##. Congratulations! Who would you like to find? This is it, no turning back, I know the information I am about to get, is going to change my life forever. Wait stop right there Lori. As I write this, I realize that, no, in the state of mind that I was, I did not, and could not, realize that it would change my life forever. Not to mention the other lives it was about to change.em>