When I was a member of a Catholic Monastery, we ran a retreat center for all of the various "Anonymous" groups. Our facilities could hold up to 65 visitors. Each week, we would have a whole new set of people come to get away from their regular routines to find the support they needed to help them "restore themselves to sanity" (Step 2) and to "turn their will and lives over to the CARE of God" (Step 3). All day/night long, they would have a marathon of meetings where a tremendous amount of Healing took place, through the fellowship of the Anonymous programs.
The "Guardian" of my monastery (the head monk) was an admitted Alcoholic and actively participated in the AA program. As Guardian, it was his role to instruct the younger "monks-in-training" to learn about and progress in the Spiritual Life. Although there are incredibly important "Doctors of the Church" who were experts in Spirituality (my favorites... St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross and St. Thérèse of Lisieux), it was our Guardian's belief, after having been a monk for over 50 years, that the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous was the most powerful, practical approach to growing in the Spiritual Life! Although it was not required of us to learn about and attend meetings, he highly encouraged us to do so. He would say, "If you don't want to do our monk schedule, you can go to the meetings for fun." Well... even though I have never done drugs or have been drunk in my life, I decided to check it out, and I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT! The 12 Step can bring about PROFOUND HEALING and either introduce people to Spirituality or Reconnect people to it.
These Steps can be followed by anyone, regardless if they are an addict or not. The first step saying "our lives had become unmanageable" can mean for the non-addict, that their lives had become a jumbled puzzle that was too hard to figure out how they got there and what to do next. To the addict, only they can fully understand how unmanageable it has become. Where the word "Alcohol" or "Alcoholic" is used in ANY/ALL of the Anonymous literature, just replace those words with what you're struggling with... Crystal Meth, Cocaine, Food, Gambling, Marijuana, Narcotics, Nicotine, Sex etc.
The 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous
12 Step Anonymous Programs
Please email me at Paul@MeetYourAngels.com if you want me to help you work the Steps and provide you with Life Coaching and/or Spiritual Direction... My own approaches to help you reconnect to your Spirituality and HEAL the past wounds and traumas that you're still carrying with you. In your email, please share your circumstances and what type of help you need. Until then... PEACE and LOVE Always - Paul
A lot of people FEAR God because of His "wrath"... because they somehow think he is some old man up in the sky who is watching every move we make and is going to get revenge for all the "naughty" or bad things we've done.
The following message was a lesson I was actually taught in college while studying Theology at the University of San Diego. I would say it is the clearest and perhaps the only thing I consciously remember from my degree studies (meaning... I learned many things, but I can probably only verbalize one thing immediately without having to dig deep into my memory banks.) When working with certain people lately, this message keeps coming to mind and I was told to share it with you today...
"The Punishment of Sin is Inherent to the Sin Itself"
Meaning... Whatever or however you choose to "Sin" it isn't GOD that is punishing you, it is in the action itself that has the consequence is embedded within it. YOU choose the punishment!
I don't really want or need to explain this... Think about it for yourself.
A little bit about Sin... the word means "To Miss the Mark" like an archer pointing towards a target... Sin is when you miss the target. In the Old Testament, the most common message of all the Prophets whose writings we have, is to "SHUV" (in Hebrew) which means to:
"Turn Around And Face God, You're Looking In The WRONG DIRECTION!!!"
When we Sin, We are not facing God who should be our ultimate target... Our Ultimate Goal.
One of my favorite Prophets is Hosea. There is a song that is sung at church which paraphrases the message of Hosea. The book of Hosea is about the Love story between God and His people (us). The song goes like this...
"Come Back to Me, With All Your Heart...
Don't Let FEAR, Keep Us Apart...
Long Have I Waited For Your Coming HOME...
So That We Can LIVE DEEPLY Our NEW LIFE!!!"
(The punctuation is my own and I don't know off-hand who the song was written by, but THANK YOU for such a beautiful rendition of such a beautiful message!)
That is EXACTLY God's invitation... He wants us to come home to Him... to feel His embrace... to Rejoice in LIFE and LIVE the Life that He designed for us.
SIN is our own choosing... SIN is our way of dying... SIN is turning away from GOD!
Today, Right Now... LISTEN for His Invitation... "Come Home, So We Can LIVE DEEPLY In Our NEW LIFE!!!"
SHUV... "Turn Around And Face God, You're Looking In The WRONG DIRECTION!!!"