The power of God is evident. We all must recognize a power greater than ourselves. It can't just be us and that's it. Right? Well, that's how I, and most of us, feel but how do we know? I've always heard that if you look for God you'll find him. So I went for an internet stroll looking for God in some of my life's experiences.
My last experience with an organized attempt at indoctrination came on the heels of my sinning. Me likely some alcohol. I'm 36 now and I've mellowed, but at 22 I was the designated drunk driver. I was taking friends home and in the midst of an argument I didn't slow my speed as I approached a town. Soon, the gum-balls would light up and I was dealing with drinking and driving. The charges were reduced to Reckless Driving and part of the deal was attending 12 AA meetings. I was about to come face to face with the power of God!
AA is an awkward place for newbies. Especially those whom couldn't care less about not drinking. For me, it smelled of religion, coffee and cigarettes and in that order. Many meetings open with a prayer. They are often held in church basements. You see the down and out people of the world there. It's a coming together of people looking for hope and reason. Just how religious are the Twelve Step? See for yourself.
Step 1 - We admitted we were powerless over our addiction - that our lives had become unmanageable
Step 2 - Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity
Step 3 - Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God
Step 4 - Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves
Step 5 - Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs
Step 6 - Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character
Step 7 - Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings
Step 8 - Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all
Step 9 - Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others
Step 10 - Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it
Step 11 - Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God's will for us and the power to carry that out
Step 12 - Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs
My plea bargain including AA is no longer legal. In September of 2007 the Ninth Circuit determined that Alcoholics Anonymous has enough religious components that it would be a violation of the First Amendment to require attendance. If only I would have had the money to challenge that at 22. All I got from AA was this blog post.
So if AA claims god is the only one with the power to save you from alcoholism and it's been around since the 30's, surely there is evidence to back that up. We'll see god in these statistics for sure! Many studies have been conducted seeking to determine the effectiveness of 12 step programs. The Cochrane Reviews
looked into the eight studies conducted from 1966 to 2005. The conclusion... "No experimental studies unequivocally demonstrated the effectiveness of AA or TSF approaches for reducing alcohol dependence or problems." What!? No God was found? The eight studies and 3417 subjects over 40 years are flawed.
The success rates of Twelve Step Programs including AA can't be shown to be above the rates of those whom just want to stop drinking on their own. To the Christians whom suggest that Jesus is there if you just look for him and open your heart... can you show me the power of your god in any tangible manner? If he can't even get someone to put down a bottle more successfully than the average alcoholic, why look to him for anything?