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Sunday, December 26, 2004

Alcoholics Anonymous: Conclusion and Thoughts

For the past two weeks, I've been blogging about Alcoholics Anonymous, one of the world's great organizations. I've described the organization to you, and I've listed the organization's guiding 12 Steps and 12 Traditions. Now I'd like to say a little more about why I think A.A. is so important.

I first learned how A.A. operates in Phillip Yancey's book, What's So Amazing About Grace - incidentally, one of the best books I've ever read about the Christian faith. The book is about grace - an undeserved gift, an unexpected joy. Yancey's conclusion is that A.A. comes close to expressing God's all-encompassing love for all humans, accepting all and loving all.

Or, taking it out of theological language, A.A. is one of the few organizations that actively works at accepting all people. Of course, every group isn't accepting all the time, but A.A. is widespread enough that a new member can usually find a group he or she feels accepted into. And even though the organization can't always live up to its principles, I think it's admirable for setting up these principles to begin with.

We're living in a divided world. An organization that can bring people together for a common purpose is an important step in making the world a less divided place. An organization that brings people together with the consciously stated policy of accepting all is an even more important step.

And lastly, A.A. works. The organization has helped, and is currently helping, millions of alcoholics around the world. A.A. meetings are a central part of alcoholism treatment, as ordered by doctors and courts. A.A.'s model has been adopted by other organizations to help people struggling with other addictions: Narcotics Anonymous, Sex Addicts Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, Codependents Anonymous, and others. A.A. is an organization that has received praise from many quarters, and deserves all the praise it can get.

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