I decided to attend some Alcoholic Anonymous meetings just recently. I hadn't been to one for decades. The last time I was at one, the convener for the night asked me to give a testimony. I stood up and stated that I prayed to God at the age of sixteen asking that I would not become an alcoholic. Then I told some of stories of what had happened to me whilst drinking. Afterwards, the convener who asked me to speak said, "You are either an alcoholic or not, and once you are an alcoholic, you are one for life."
Evidently, the Alcoholic Anonymous belief system has not changed. Alcoholism is considered a disease and incurable. The only solution is not to consume alcohol in any form, least you prove beyond all doubt that alcohol controls your life for evermore.
The concept of alcohol being a disease is helpful, but at the same time it is also a complete untruth. One reason for this is immunity to disease is acquired by being inoculated with a small shot of the disease. For instance, immunity to malaria or influenza is created by receiving a small shot of malaria or influenza. Likewise, one would think that if alcoholism were a disease, a small shot of alcohol would provide the body with sufficient antibodies to prevent a person from becoming an alcoholic. Makes sense, don't you think?
However, if alcoholism is not a disease, but an addiction, then the cause of the problem has to be an issue of psychology rather than that of a physical nature. In fact, the truth is alcoholism is really a spiritual problem, as are most psychological issues, only people like to make a distinction, and in some instances use the distinction as a means of denial that a spiritual reality exists.
It is ironic that God or the Higher Power (an allusion to the Creator for those who have difficulty with the idea of the Heavenly Father) is very much a part of the Alcoholic Anonymous program and alcoholism is called a disease. When Jesus was on Earth, he equated disease with sin, when he healed people of their diseases, by saying that they were also forgiven of their sins.
What happens at Alcoholics Anonymous is beneficial, to say the least, but at the same time it is restrictive in that people who follow the program tend to bound up in fear rather than the discovering the liberty of being set free from the very thing that prevents them from discovering a richer and fuller life of self-discovery. People who are set free from alcoholism are no longer alcoholics. But Alcoholic Anonymous members are never permitted to think of themselves as being set free from alcoholism and start off every testimonal speech with "My name is ..... I am an alcoholic." And this is their confession. As many have said, "You are, what you say you are."
The other notable behavior among members of Alcoholics Anonymous is each one tends to repeat his or her story over and over again at every meeting they attend. There does not seem to be any real change in their testimony, except when they decide to embellish the facts a little and make the story more sensational as they revel in the spotlight Some call this hyperbole, others call it evangelastically-speaking, while others call it untruth.
Regardless of the negative element, on a positive note, there is a sense of reality when people share how they are struggling daily to come to grips with their alcoholism and stay sober. Like any addiction it is not easy to go cold turkey, and plenty of support is required. Alcoholics Anonymous provides this support in the many meetings that are conducted throughout the world at all times through the day.
Upon reflection, I wonder what would happen if Christians were able to mobilize themselves into having something similar to Alcoholics Anonymous, where meetings were organized for people to go and confess their sins and pray for one another, as the Bible says believers should, in the villages, towns and cities of the world throughout the day. This might be inconceivable today, but could this be what is going to happen in the thousand years that Jesus is going to reign on Earth. I wonder!!