In the previous blog, I alluded to the fact that sharing your thoughts and fears with the select individuals you are intimate with is an action that you and I can take to help us confront our fear of intimacy and to move past it. A fear of intimacy is just one of the fears, or behaviors, that causes distance between others and ourselves. There is fear of rejection, fear of loss of control, co-dependecy, low self-esteem, approval seeking, misappropriated anger, fear of authority, resentment, isolation and inappropriately expressed sexuality to name a few things. I would love to tell you these ideas were developed from the inner genius of my own mind…but they are not. I got these ideas from one of the best books I’ve ever read. It’s called, “A Spiritual Journey: A Working Guide for Healing,” by RPI Publishing Inc. Well, it’s more of a workbook actually and it’s not meant to go through it alone but with an accountability partner or a mentor to facilitate the experience. What I love about this workbook is that it systematically moves you through the process of healing, as the title suggest. So many of us are able to rehash our pain and who is to blame for it but, where we struggle is at accepting our responsibility in the matter and changing its’ negative effects on our current circumstance. I’m so glad that someone has walked the road to freedom before me and was so inclined as to come back to get me and show me the way out. I strongly believe that we were not meant to walk alone on the journey to freedom so, my intent this week is to share with you a variety of ways to get with a group or at least one other person who knows the way. At the very least, my desire for you is to connect with a group of people with similar hang-ups so that you can come out of hiding and denial about where you are mentally and emotionally. James tells us that there is healing in our confession and prayer for one another! (James 5:16, ESV)
This spiritual journey book I spoke of is a valuable resource. It is to be facilitated by someone. The principles in this book are biblical and based on the 12-Steps. The Twelve Step process came about when a man, William Wilson, had a drunken stooper and found himself dying in a hospital bed when he regained consciousness. It was here, at his lowest point, where he had an epiphany. Four years later, under the influence of the teachings of the Oxford Group, William and his associate Smith, published the book Alcoholics Anonymous. The Oxford Group evangelical however, founded with the idea in mind to rekindle living faith while steering clear of institutionalism and religiosity. I love that about the 12-Steps! I am constantly reminded to apply the principles not because I am trying to follow a set of rules but, because it encourages me to exercise my faith and develop my character. I have given you a brief history of how the 12-Steps came about.
Below is a list of 12-Step groups that fall in line with the teachings of the 12-Steps of AA but, with a different target audience in mind. Each group has a website and their own reading material that can be rented at any local library or, may be purchased through the groups website. The websites are a good place to answer some questions that will help you to explore if the group is the right group for you. There is a nation-wide list of locations and you can find the location nearest you when you put in your zip code. Each of the groups usually meets as a whole large group to listen to a testimony or a principal of recovery then proceeds to break out into smaller, more specialized groups based on gender or issue where you are allowed to share if you choose to. It is in the small group that the real work begins. All the best on the journey to those who choose to walk the path.
About the Group: Alcoholics Anonymous
Target Audience: Membership is open to anyone who wants to do something about his or her drinking problem.
About the Group: Co-Dependents Anonymous
Target Audience: They offer no definition on the website but suggest that you check their list of patterns and characteristics to determine for yourself. These include a list of questions regarding avoidance, control, low self-esteem and denial patterns.
About the Group: Sex Addicts Anonymous
Target Audience: Men and women who desire to find freedom from addictive sexual behavior.
About the Group: Sex & Love Addicts Anonymous
Target Audience: Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous, or S.L.A.A., is a program for anyone who suffers from an addictive compulsion to engage in or avoid sex, love, or emotional attachment. (Has women only groups)
About the Group: Overeaters Anonymous
Target Audience: Everyone who wants to stop eating compulsively.
About the Group: Celebrate Recovery
Celebrate Recovery is a biblical and balanced program that helps us overcome our hurts, hang-ups, and habits. It is based on the actual words of Jesus rather than psychological theory.
Target Audience: Anyone with hurts, habits or hang-ups.