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Author Topic: Orthodoxy and Alcoholics Anonymous  (Read 2659 times) Average Rating: 0
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finbar
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« on: December 03, 2010, 11:06:10 PM »

I have recently corresponded with TWO Russian Orthodox who has not, thanks to thw power of God and parayer had not drnk for over 12 and 15 yearrs respectively. Both testified that tjat the reinrtorduction to them of the concept of thye saving ower of God had akkowed them as they progressed in their sobriety to return to God  and had been re-chrismated and were now in full communion once agin with the Orthodox xhurxh. Yet on some orthodox forums, mainly it must be said in the USA, AA has been seeen as some kind of deviation from the true faith. AA as far as I know does not set out to be a religious movement but it does insist that it is God alone that can free the alcoholic addict ultimately from their addiction. I was recommended this book by some one about some of the amazing work that the Orthodox Christians are doing in Russia around the issue of alcoholism... the link is here

http://www.amazon.com/Steps-Transformation-Orthodox-Priest-Explores/dp/1888212632%3FSubscriptionId%3D1VXG3CY1RZAZ2Z4MKS02%26tag%3Dunfitblog-20%26linkCode%3Dxm2%26camp%3D2025%26creative%3D165953%26creativeASIN%3D1888212632

I dont know what others think, but this mist surely be one of the most exciting examples of Christianity in action today...but I would be interested in other views. also... Wither way the book looks very interesting to me...

Finbar

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"Nothing troubles the man who is given over to the will of God.....He knows that the Lord in His mercy is solicitous for us.....But the proud and the self-willed do not want to surrender to God's will.." St Siluan the Athonite
quietmorning
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« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2010, 12:19:19 AM »

The book is well worth the read . . .a good intro/argument for the case of AA.  I am not an alcoholic, but have been in ACoA and Alanon.  I find that the twelve steps can be a hard balance, especially in the realm of self awareness - as it's often taken as a form of pride when the recovering person is just beginning to FEEL again and try to learn how to do so appropriately.  I have found that some clerics tend to get very hyper reactive about it.  They do not realize that these people are not being passionate - it's hard work to just feel the smallest feeling and be able to understand it and accept themselves in it.  The egoism is a very sneaky thing with people who suffer from alcoholism.  .and codependency.  AA and other 12 step programs do a tremendous job in breaking through the denial so that these people can allow themselves to be human beings and not some form of their own god - but it's a process, and the process can LOOK like it's going in the wrong direction spiritually to some who do not understand the complexities.  In reality as the process continues, the result is a very humble, self aware, honest individual who does not have to control everything and everyone and take a head dive into a bottle to feel 'normal'.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2010, 12:19:58 AM by quietmorning » Logged
Red A.
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« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2010, 02:45:51 PM »

Fr.Meletios Webber speaks on the 12 steps of AA here;

http://ancientfaith.com/specials/archimandrite_meletios_webber
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finbar
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« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2010, 11:41:52 PM »

I am so delighted bythe replie here I feared a rather crusty 'if i aint orthodox its not good' resposne AA had been a global ucesss story and still will adhere to ant particular faith group but read the 12 steps it is clearly heavily derived from Christianity and good christianity at at that. Here in Ireland, excludng sprtinh organsiations it si by far an away the biggest voluntary civic organisation in thye country and the samw applies to the USA and canada and Austraklia...a modern miracle indeed...
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"Nothing troubles the man who is given over to the will of God.....He knows that the Lord in His mercy is solicitous for us.....But the proud and the self-willed do not want to surrender to God's will.." St Siluan the Athonite
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« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2010, 12:46:13 AM »

I am so delighted bythe replie here I feared a rather crusty 'if i aint orthodox its not good' resposne AA had been a global ucesss story and still will adhere to ant particular faith group but read the 12 steps it is clearly heavily derived from Christianity and good christianity at at that. Here in Ireland, excludng sprtinh organsiations it si by far an away the biggest voluntary civic organisation in thye country and the samw applies to the USA and canada and Austraklia...a modern miracle indeed...
I was worried about attitudes about AA too. I am not even a Catechumen yet. At my second meeting with the priest I offered that I was a recovered alcoholic with 20 years of sobriety, he instantly asked me if I would be willing to help the son-in-law of one of the Deacons. I knew then that I was finally home. 
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« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2010, 12:47:35 AM »

I didn't know a person could be "re-chrismated"...
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finbar
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« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2010, 08:59:09 PM »

I think 'high elder' that in this context it may have been referring to being re-admitted as an active and participating member of the church, as opposed to what he was before, ie formally chrismated but in all respects effectively lapsed as a member of the Orthodox church.

Since an active Alcoholic is to all intents and purposes a slave to their addiction they can not truly be said, I think it is fair to say remain people whose primary purpose is to serve God and to work ft fufill his will. Believe me, having worked with active Alcoholics I would say that it is obvious that Godlike devotion is far from their priorities and many, and i would agree with this, would admit to being in the thrall of some form of demonic possession, although alcoholism can not always be so readily simplified..

In the Russian Trebnik (Book of Needs) there are found 1)Service composed by Patriarch Methodius of Constantinople for the reception of various people that have denied Christ and are returning to the True & Orthodox Faith; & 2)Prayer for Cleansing those who have denied Christ and are returning to the true Faith.

What is very important to notice here are the words "those who have denied Christ".  Many alcoholics through a form of idolatory, possession, or even the very many evil and hurtful things which accompany their addiction , have in effect denied Christ. I have rarely found active alcoholism associated with piety or christian devotion, though sometimes alcoholics will go to great lengths to maintain a pretence of piety, either through guilt or deceit. Whatever the reasons extended active alcoholism, wiyh its destrcution of the self, the family and the self esteem of the victim are I believe irrefutably in contradiction to a healthy life in Christ. Repentence is possible and is often remarkable in transforming the addict from a a state of moral and mentak turpitude to one of admirable and often extremely impressive  grace.
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"Nothing troubles the man who is given over to the will of God.....He knows that the Lord in His mercy is solicitous for us.....But the proud and the self-willed do not want to surrender to God's will.." St Siluan the Athonite
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« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2012, 04:58:30 PM »

I have recently corresponded with TWO Russian Orthodox who has not, thanks to thw power of God and parayer had not drnk for over 12 and 15 yearrs respectively. Both testified that tjat the reinrtorduction to them of the concept of thye saving ower of God had akkowed them as they progressed in their sobriety to return to God  and had been re-chrismated and were now in full communion once agin with the Orthodox xhurxh. Yet on some orthodox forums, mainly it must be said in the USA, AA has been seeen as some kind of deviation from the true faith. AA as far as I know does not set out to be a religious movement but it does insist that it is God alone that can free the alcoholic addict ultimately from their addiction. I was recommended this book by some one about some of the amazing work that the Orthodox Christians are doing in Russia around the issue of alcoholism... the link is here

http://www.amazon.com/Steps-Transformation-Orthodox-Priest-Explores/dp/1888212632%3FSubscriptionId%3D1VXG3CY1RZAZ2Z4MKS02%26tag%3Dunfitblog-20%26linkCode%3Dxm2%26camp%3D2025%26creative%3D165953%26creativeASIN%3D1888212632

I dont know what others think, but this mist surely be one of the most exciting examples of Christianity in action today...but I would be interested in other views. also... Wither way the book looks very interesting to me...

Finbar



The program of Alcoholics Anonymous is what led me to the Orthodox Church. 

I am a recovered alcoholic who got sober in the fellowship of AA over four years ago by working the Twelve Steps.  I worked them under the guidance of a sponsor and in the faith that my Higher Power – Whom I am now discovering to be the All-Holy Trinity – would induce a psychic change and a spiritual awakening as the supernatural result of working that process honestly and thoroughly.

Previously, I had twelve years of sobriety that I lost because I failed to enlarge my spiritual life.  I became a hardcore Protestant church member, but I failed to enlarge my spiritual life.  It was never real to me; it lacked the fourth-dimension that only a real spiritual awakening that happens after an authentic spiritual death can provide.  I survived that death, was pushed into AA where I found sobriety and in turn found God because it had become a life-or-death situation.

Please do not let anyone tell you that Alcoholics Anonymous is a cult, or even a religious program.  It is neither.  AA gave me a means to connect to God, which resulted in my recovering from a hopeless state of mind in which I drank rotgut whiskey to oblivion every single day even though I desperately did not want to do that.  Today I can not only go an entire day without drinking (or taking any mind-altering substances whatsoever, including cigarettes and caffeine), but I DON’T WANT TO!  That is huge, that is a real miracle that I experienced and didn’t just read about and con myself into believing, and it happened entirely through the Father, Son and Holy Spirit working through people in the program of Alcoholics Anonymous.
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Red A.
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« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2012, 09:26:05 PM »

The program of Alcoholics Anonymous is what led me to the Orthodox Church. 
Same here. In AA The spiritual life is a blood sport. The church I left was shallow and bland. I knew there was more out there but I didn't know what or where it was for a long time.
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