Friday, June 10, 2011

Step #1 admitted that we were powerless...that our lives had become unmanageable...

A bunch of years ago I was working as a residential counselor at a drug and alcohol rehab center for juvenile delinquents. My job was to be a custodial guardian for 6 teenage drug addicts who were in recovery. Each morning I would wake them up, ensure that they ate breakfast and did their chores, send them off to school, make sure they did their evening chores and then put them to bed. In addition to all the other functions of my job, one of my responsibilities was to take them to nightly Alcoholics anonymous meetings. It was at one of these A.A. meetings I had my world rocked. About ½ way through the meeting the speaker asked the question, “What lengths are you willing to go to in order to stay sober?” It was at this moment that I realized I was willing to go to any length. I stood up and started to stumble my way to the front of the group of about 60 people and with tears in my eyes and all the conviction I could muster, I blubbered out loud for the first time, “My name is Andy, and I'm an alcoholic.” In the midst of 60 awkward stares and a few looks of shock disrespect on the faces of the clients I counseled, I experienced peace.

You see, at that moment I knew that the awkwardness and instability of my immediate future was only a temporary discomfort in comparison to the immeasurable rewards that awaited me in recovery. I just didn't care anymore about what others thought. I only knew that things couldn't get any worse and that no matter what happened next, whether I was fired, or ridiculed for being a counselor at a drug rehab center while all along being a closet addict didn't matter to me anymore. All that I knew was that from this point on things were going to change.

I finally admitted that I was powerless over alcohol and that my life had become unmanageable and due to God's grace and my willingness to stay willing, I haven't taken anything stronger than a Tylenol in over 6 ½ years.

I often wonder what it would look like for a church community to mimic A.A. And to be as honest and thorough about going to any lengths to have peace, joy, contentment and deliverance from destructive behaviors. What do you and your community do to ensure a healthy honesty?


  1. Hey Andy. Looks like you have a great blog here. I'm also going to be keeping up with your posts because, like you said, I'm sure we have a lot of similarities.

    While all the credit goes to Jesus for freeing me from my sexual sin, I also have to thank my church community because they were the ones who modeled healthy honestly for me. All around me I saw people being set free from addictions, darkness, and pain...and eventually I began to believe that I, too, could be set free. Communities are amazingly powerful this way.

    So you were raised in Central America? Which part? My boys were born in Bogota, Colombia.

  2. I lived in Costa Rica, Honduras and Puerto Rico...missionary kid.

    Isn't it funny how when we were trapped in bondage to sin we did everything to hide it and how now after experiencing true deliverance I can't wait to tell everybody I meet about my story.