The Twelve Steps are a clear-cut pathway to shed destructive patterns and open up the hearts of blocked, trapped, hurting people to encounter the love of God. Not to intellectually comprehend God’s existence, but to truly experience divine love more and more and more. If you have a desire to hear more about the steps—whether you’re a struggling addict, a recovering addict, a friend or family member of an addict, or merely curious—I encourage you to listen to Buck M., a long-time member of Al-Anon who tells his story and outlines his practice of each step with beautiful humility. He describes how following this way of life has mysteriously led to his personal transformation: “I’m not what I ought to be, I’m not what I want to be, I’m not what I’m going to be. But I’m the best Buck M. I’ve ever had.”
I listened to Buck’s recording on a recent road trip and as he wrapped up his testimony, I found tears softly running down my face. His words brought my mind back to the not-too-distant days when I used to listen to online 12-step speaker tapes as I sat isolated and uncontrollably bingeing on food. I couldn’t stop stuffing my stomach to the point of misery, but even while doing so, deep down I knew it was actually a spiritual hunger that was rumbling within my soul. I sensed that my God was guiding me to join a 12-step program, but I was highly resistant, sure that pursuing that path was basically doom. Listening to speakers was the only action I was willing take at the time, and though I knew that both my body and spirit were withering, it still took quite a while until I desperately decided to ask for and actually accept help from other recovering addicts. That was by far the best decision I’ve made yet.
I’ve heard it said that the alcoholic’s excessive drinking is a displaced thirst for God and that when alchies start drinking from the truly satisfying Source, the spiritual results are powerful. I believe that. Buck’s story is evidence.
Today I’m rarely tempted by life-destroying substances—a priceless gift from above—but the underlying Al-Anon issues of codependency, self-doubt, people pleasing, approval seeking…those still give me much trouble. As I heard Buck share, I could feel my heart longing for the deep peace his calming voice carries. His God has led him faithfully through the great pain that accompanies alcoholism, and due to his continuous involvement with the 12-step fellowship, he’s also had the privilege to witness incredible miracles. I want what Buck has. Perhaps my heart is nudging me to seek some more teachers and ask for some more help.
“AA and Al-Anon and Alateen is the bread of life for the alcoholic and his family…So big is the human being’s soul that only God can fill it…Love is the one thing that God reserved to conquer every man…love is the one thing against which the hardest heart will eventually melt. And this is not theory; I’m sharing my experience with you.” (22:20)
Have you heard someone share about the steps?