Now, let’s look at what the AA Big Book teaches as the key components of faith. You may ask, ‘Why? Who cares what this book says about faith?’ This book has led many to physical healing and has provided a spiritual gateway to those who would never consider God. Additionally, the fingerprints of God are all over its pages!
To begin with, ‘Faith Means Courage‘ (Pg. 68). This sentence is found on a page in the Big Book that teaches how to handle fear. My life was ‘driven by a hundred forms of fear’ (Pg.62). Most of my decisions were made through the lens or filter of fear. Was I trusting God? Was I going to God? When I look back, the answer is not complicated. No.
The truth is, I tried to reason my way out of everything. Oh, I had faith! I trusted in my own reasoning skills. “We had been faithful, abjectly faithful to the God of reason.” (Pg. 54) I trusted in my ability to figure ‘it’ (every thing) out, to reason my way out of every problem. If I couldn’t reason my way out, then I was scared and turned to food. When I was happy, ‘Oh good, food!’ When I was sad, food was my comfort. Tired? Food. Angry? Food! Lonely? Food! The answer to every problem: food!
And so I was in a close relationship with food and my relationship with God was formal. Praying was the right thing to do, I knew that, but it was the food that I went to with my life problems. As in any addiction or compulsive behavior, it became a habit to turn to food. Eventually, It became clear that I had a choice, and that choice was prayer, to talk to God. It wasn’t comfortable, as I wasn’t used to turning to God (even though I claimed to walk with God for over 30 years). In fact, it was scary to stop turning to my best friend, food and the compulsive behavior of bingeing (and such) and instead turn to God. And so ‘Faith means courage!’; The courage to wait for His answers. The courage to not use a substance to gain an effect (to numb myself); The courage to face my flaws and especially face my God when I have so rudely turned to an idol (Webster’s Dictionary: ‘Idol: any object or thing regarded with admiration, adoration, or devotion.’ If we are honest with our selves, what ever we are obsessed over, we are devoted to, be it cigarettes, liquor or food, etc.).
To pray and wait for God’s answer, this takes courage and is the true meaning of faith in action. In fact, waiting on God is an action. (“Wait on the Lord” (Psalm 27:14, ‘They that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength…” Isaiah 40:31)).
Another important part of the Big Book that confronted my conception of faith is found on pages 53. It’s in the chapter, ‘We Agnostics’ and because I am not an Agnostic, in the past, when this was read, I simply tuned it out. It says, ‘crushed by a self-imposed crisis (my size) we could not postpone or evade, we had to fearlessly face the proposition that either God is everything or else He is nothing. God either is or He isn’t. Arrived at this point, we were squarely confronted with the question of faith.” Coupled with, “Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in Gods world by mistake!” ( Pg. 417), there is no way out, but to believe or not to believe that God either is in control or He isn’t! (“Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9). I decided, I had to give God a chance; in other words, see what would happen if I honestly surrendered my life and let God be God. I decided (made a decision) to stop playing God by trying to run my own life. This was hard! The truth: I never really believed I could trust God or surrender my life completely to the care of God!
Another important point is found on page 55. Is it possible that God created me to not be enough and to eventually reach a place where I honestly would have to admit my need for a God who is more than enough? The Big Book proposes that, “deep down inside every man, woman and child is the fundamental idea of God… faith in some kind of God was a part of our make-up.” These are important words; they suggest that faith is created in us from the start. It goes on to say, …”search diligently within yourself.”(ibid)
Then, the text ‘bops’ the sufferer over the head with an important announcement. “…we have been not only mentally and physically ill, we have been spiritually sick.” Yes, because we have been turning to anything other than God to comfort and succor us through troubled waters! “When the spiritual malady is overcome, we straighten out mentally and physically.” So, if we fix the problem, which is a problem with trusting God, then we straighten out on all other fronts (Pg. 64:3).
And finally, “We had been worshippers. . . Had we not variously worshipped people, sentiment, things, money, and ourselves?…It was impossible to say we had no capacity for faith, or love, or worship. In one form or another we had been living by faith and little else.” Here’s a real slap in the face (by way of a wake up call, of course!) So, the Big Book makes clear (and I believe they are spot on!). Every body believes in and worships something. Most people trust in their own reasoning skills to get them through life. And it takes courage to turn to God and give Him a chance!
I like to say, ‘He’s no Darth Vader!’ He is a loving God; and so patient, a gentleman.
If you are suffering with addiction or any compulsion, pick up a copy of the AA Big Book. Read through page 164. This book is God’s escape Hatch; and when you are suffering with an addiction, you’re looking for a way of escape!
Looking for part I? Go here.