Earlier this week I attended an Alanon meeting to support a church member going for the first time. It had been quite a few years, but (just as before) the wisdom of a group of people gathered together to support each other under the guidance of their Higher Power was refreshing and inspiring. Here are some bits of wisdom I wrote down that will benefit me in ministry:
1. The problem is not the alcohol. The heart of the matter is self-centeredness and irresponsibility. Whatever the identified addiction, underneath you’re dealing with a me-holic, after all – me, me, me, inspite of how it hurts people I love.
2. Alanon gives practicality to spirituality. (Reminds me of John Wesley’s intent on “practical divinity” for his followers.)
3. Two things cripple a person, and the 12 steps address them: guilt and bitterness of unforgiven deeds; both are resolved by forgiveness and making amends.
4. “It doesn’t help him for me to be harmed or destroyed.”
5. Alcoholism is an illness; irresponsibility is not an illness. “She doesn’t want to grow up.”
It was time well spent and I appreciate the way that people shared their stories that helped these ideas come into focus for me. Which one speaks to you?