In God we trust, or so says our currency for now. No doubt much like the pledge of allegiance and prayer in public schools or even the 10 Commandments in front of our court houses, we seem to be removing God and prayer from everything. Even in our 12-step meetings there is an unfortunate movement to remove all comments relating to God. However disturbing to some, there is an equally active grassroots movement to put Him right back where he belongs, everywhere.

An acquaintance of mine that attends Alcoholics Anonymous told me of the night that his group, during a group conscience meeting, actually voted God out of their meetings. The general consensus was that when individual spoke of God, it made others uncomfortable. Just like that God was banished from a Dallas AA group despite the fact that AA is a spiritually based program. The problem being that without God There is no spiritual program, there is only separation breeding individuals with entitlement issues and little else. It is no surprise that if you were to compare a Dallas Area Meeting Schedule from 1995 to 2007 that nearly 50% of the groups no longer exist. New groups have continuously formed to fill the ever-rotating void, but this problem is not limited to Alcoholics Anonymous. This sad phenomenon affects almost every one of the 227 different 12-step fellowships as well as many institutions.

Truly speaking, any 12-step meeting or group void of God is not practicing the principles of a 12-step program. The 4th tradition in keeping any one group or entity presiding over other groups allows every group the right to do as they see fit. Some groups as we have seen in Washington D.C. however misguided, have taken great advantage of this tradition that reads “Each group should be autonomous except in matter affecting other groups or AA as a whole.”

With so many 12-step fellowships for so many different addictions and behaviors the General Services Office in New York has always been gracious and generous with the adoption of their steps and tradition but drew the line at their basic text. This simple book plainly titled Alcoholics Anonymous has kept the first 164 pages where definitions and directions are found, in tact. This move was made to keep the instruction free of interpretation or change that might water down the directions and message of hope. The 12-steps are a series of exercises to be taken one right after the other so that we will have a spiritual experience and in return take others through the steps so that they may have the same spiritual experience and enjoy a life of freedom.

So why are we so eager to evict God? This program that has saved thousands of lives and will save thousands more provided those in need are able to find God. So again, why would anyone in his or her right mind attempt to keep God out of anything? It is like holding the cure to your child’s life threatening disease and withholding treatment because you don’t like how it sounds.

It has been suggested that once the alcoholic’s trinity, is regained (job, car, and girl) all is well - voiding any further need for God. “Thank you for all that you have done but, I can take it from here.” This arrogant frame of mind has brought countless alcoholics and drug addicts to their knees, landing millions more in our jails and graveyards.

The cohesion that binds our world erodes as the tide of consequences engulfs every aspect of our existence. Self-reliance again fails us and we are sore. We are mad as hell while the bitter reality of our own action cancels out every hope of happiness. God must be to blame. How could He let this happen again? Violently shaking a fist towards the heavens a growing attitude of indifference separates us even further from Gods grace. Spiraling downward the very mention of God irritates us.

Returning to temporary a state of willingness again we try the old 12-step meeting and again are told of a God of our own understanding. A statement that has been picked apart time and time again fueling many arguments and resentments. Seeking an easier softer way is one of the more dangerous ways of thinking.

On page 46 the exact wording is, “ We found that God does not make too hard terms with those who seek Him. To us, the Realm of Sprit is broad, roomy, all-inclusive; never exclusive or forbidding to those who earnestly seek. It is open, we believe, to all men.”

If we have decided to use a 12-step program to be successful we must be willing to follow these directions to the letter. This passage puts to rest any idea that our higher power may be that of a doorknob, coke machine, or group of people. It clearly stated that God is all powerful, all good, and never exclusive. It is this simple concept of God that anyone can use as a starting point, regardless of religion, religious background, or lack there of. We are all children of God and therefore we all have the right to recover if we would have it.

This simple concept affords those of us who have built up great and powerful walls shielding us from religious talk, the opportunity to seek and find God in a practical fail proof manor. Make no mistake about it this is what all 12-step programs accomplish. Freedom, faith, serenity, and peace through the actions of helping others, it is a way of thinking that changes our lives. This by no means is the only path to God, but for those of us who have fallen between the cracks it is a way that never fails. If you are without a close and personal relationship with God, may you find him now.

Author's Bio: 

Scott Wisenbaker is 40 years old, married with three stepchildren, owner of a Delivery Company and works with alcoholics and addicts because he loves to. His career in management started in the restaurant business from 1987-1995 and the transportation industry from 1995 to present. His work with alcoholics and addicts includes speaking engagements whenever possible as well as weekly commitments to various treatment centers, jails, and hospitals. A few long-term commitments are 1997-1998 at The Jefferson County Juvenile Detention Center in Lakewood, Colorado and 2000-2003 at The Green Villa Treatment Center in Greenville, Texas. His date of sobriety is 3-20-1995.