Tuesday, June 29, 2010
In Praise of A.A.
A column by David Brooks in today's New York Times titled "Bill Wilson's Gospel" reminded me once again of the good things about Alcoholic's Anonymous. Here's the link to the article: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/29/opinion/29brooks.html?src=mv&ref=homepage.
Brooks writes, "In a culture that generally celebrates empowerment and self-esteem, A.A. begins with disempowerment. The goal is to get people to gain control over their lives, but it all begins with an act of surrender and an admission of weakness."
In other words, A.A. is counter intuitive. It is based on a paradox that is also at the heart of the Christian faith: in powerlessness is true strength. To surrender ourselves to a Higher Power is to become empowered in deep and powerful ways.
What most impresses me about A.A. is that it lays out a program to transform your soul. The byproduct of this transformation is to gain control over your addiction. Yet, the thrust of A.A. is the salvation of one's soul. The result is deep and lasting moral and spiritual changes.
The evidence of this spiritual transformation can be found in the twelfth step: to help others embark on this same spiritual path. The remarkable genius of A.A., like the genius of Christianity, is its proclamation that the way to abundant life is through weakness and powerlessness.