Are the 12 Steps Too Christian for Me?
If you are suffering from substance abuse, drug addiction, alcoholism or alcohol use disorder, you may be considering entering a rehabilitation facility. In addition to rehab, a great number of people seeking treatment decide to attend a meeting of a 12-step fellowship, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (“AA”) or Narcotics Anonymous (“NA”).
If you are considering attending a meeting of one of these groups, you may be wondering if they are for you, and you may have questions. For example, are 12-step programs rooted in Christianity, and will you be uncomfortable if you are not Christian?
12-Step Fellowships Are Open to All
Alcoholics Anonymous is open to anyone and everyone wanting to stop drinking. Accordingly, other 12-step groups are open to anyone looking to overcome their addiction (i.e. Narcotics Anonymous welcomes those looking to stop using drugs, etc.). As said in the AA 12-step literature, the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking.
12-Step groups consider themselves “spiritual” programs. They do not align their meetings or principles with any one religion. Readers of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, a book containing information relevant to the AA program, may find spiritual principles in the text. These principles are sometimes rooted in Christian beliefs, as in the high premium placed on love and service.
Many members of AA have formed or joined meetings where Christianity and religion are intentionally de-emphasized in order to create a more welcoming environment for secular newcomers. If you are looking for such a meeting, contact AA Central Office. You can start by searching online for “AA Central Office in my area.”
A Brief History of Alcoholics Anonymous “AA”
The 12-step model for recovery from drug addiction and alcoholism was originated in 1938 when founder Bill Wilson, an alcoholic, began working with other alcoholics to stay sober. He found that working to help other alcohols to achieve and maintain sobriety helped him stay sober himself. This is the basic idea of Alcoholics Anonymous– one alcoholic helping another.
When Bill Wilson wrote the Big Book, he incorporated some of his own spiritual beliefs. Members are encouraged by the group to believe in a “higher power,” which many people call god. You may find that groups are very flexible on this point, and you will not be turned away from Alcoholics Anonymous for being non-Christian or not religious.
Are You an Addict? Attending a 12-Step Fellowship Can Help.
If you are struggling with drug and alcohol use and are looking to begin your journey to recovery, you have options. Many people pursue both rehab and membership in a 12-step fellowship. For more information on opportunities for recovery in and out of a rehab setting, contact us today. We will be glad to hear from you.