You can't just make up any kind of a "Higher Power" or "god" you want, and then worship it like some Golden Calf, and expect it to perform miracles for you and grant all of your wishes, including making you quit drinking. That is the worst kind of superstition and idolatry.
Nevertheless, that is just what Bill Wilson preached:
Despite the living example of my friend [a sober Ebby Thacher] there remained in me the vestiges of my old prejudice. The word God still aroused a certain antipathy. When the thought was expressed that there might be a God personal to me this feeling was intensified. I didn't like the idea. I could go for such conceptions as Creative Intelligence, Universal Mind or Spirit of Nature but I resisted the thought of a Czar of the Heavens, however loving His sway might be. I have since talked with scores of men who felt the same way.
My friend suggested what then seemed a novel idea. He said, "Why don't you choose your own conception of God?"
That statement hit me hard. It melted the icy intellectual mountain in whose shadow I had lived and shivered many years. I stood in the sunlight at last.
It was only a matter of being willing to believe in a Power greater than myself. Nothing more was required of me to make my beginning. I saw that growth could start from that point. Upon a foundation of complete willingness I might build what I saw in my friend. Would I have it? Of course I would!
Thus was I convinced that God is concerned with us humans when we want Him enough. At long last I saw, I felt, I believed. Scales of pride and prejudice fell from my eyes. A new world came into view.
Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 1, "Bill's Story", Page 12.
"I can choose any conception of God I wish.
I can make God in my own image.
It is only necessary that I believe whatever I wish to believe.
Upon that simple beginning, I can build a whole new theology.
Will it work? Of course it will, because I wish it to!
Oh happy day! The scales are falling from my eyes. My prejudices are gone! I can see The Promised Land clearly now!
I am convinced that God will be concerned about me, and take care of me, and grant all of my wishes, because I want Him to."
Yes, Bill Wilson was stone crazy.
And Bill was lying when he talked about his "icy intellectual mountain". That was just another phony act that Bill Wilson put on. Bill Wilson was a superstitious flunk-out, not an icy intellectual.
Lastly, claiming that you are going to "Turn It Over To God" and "Let Go and Let God" is just a cop-out that makes matters worse. Abdicating personal responsibility for your actions, and just "Depending on a Higher Power" to solve your problems for you guarantees failure, because "God" is not going to do your work for you. And neither will Santa Claus or Cinderella's Fairy Godmother. And that is just one more of A.A.'s dirty little secrets.
There is no simple one-size-fits-all cure for alcoholism.
There is no panacea. There is no magic bullet. Mere sobriety will not solve all of your problems and give you boundless happiness. It will solve one huge problem, but you will still have lots of other smaller problems, because real life isn't so simple or so easy.
Ebby Thacher caught Bill Wilson at a weak, vulnerable moment in the hospital, while Bill was detoxing and totally out of his head from alcohol withdrawal and hallucinogenic drugs, and convinced Bill that Frank Buchman's Oxford Group cult had a simple program that would be the answer to all of his problems.
My friend promised when these things were done I would enter upon a new relationship with my Creator; that I would have the elements of a way of living which answered all my problems.
The Big Book, 3rd edition, William Wilson, Chapter 1, Bill's Story, page 13.
Alas, it ain't necessarily so. There is no simple panacea that will solve all of your problems. Bill's insistence that twelve simple steps are the answer to all of your problems is childishly simplistic thinking, outright lunacy:
"Quite as important was the discovery that spiritual principles would solve all my problems."
The Big Book, 3rd edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 3, More About Alcoholism, page 42.
Nevertheless, in spite of all sanity and common sense, Bill Wilson insisted that his version of Frank Buchman's cult religion was The Big Answer to all of an alcoholic's problems:
You say, "...I know I must get along without liquor, but how can I? Have you a sufficient substitute?"
Yes, there is a substitute and it is vastly more than that. It is a fellowship in Alcoholics Anonymous. There you will find release from care, boredom and worry. Your imagination will be fired. Life will mean something at last. The most satisfactory years of your existence lie ahead. Thus we find the fellowship, and so will you.
It may seem incredible that these men are to become happy, respected, and useful once more. How can they rise out of such misery, bad repute and hopelessness? The practical answer is that since these things have happened among us, they can happen with you. Should you wish them above all else, and be willing to make use of our experience, we are sure they will come. The age of miracles is still with us. Our own recovery proves that!
See to it that your relationship with Him is right, and great events will come to pass for you and countless others. This is the Great Fact for us.
Abandon yourself to God as you understand God. Admit your faults to Him and to your fellows. Clear away the wreckage of your past. Give freely of what you find and join us. We shall be with you in the Fellowship of the Spirit, and you will surely meet some of us as you trudge the Road of Happy Destiny.
May God bless you and keep you — until then.
The Big Book, 3rd edition, William Wilson, Chapter 11, A Vision For You, pages 152,153,164.
And just what is the magic ingredient in Bill Wilson's cure for alcoholism? It is to confess your sins, all of your sins, every last little detail, to "God and another human being":
We pocket our pride and go to it, illuminating every twist of character, every dark cranny of the past. Once we have taken this step, withholding nothing, we are delighted. We can look the world in the eye. We can be alone at perfect peace and ease. Our fears fall from us. We begin to feel the nearness of our Creator. We may have had certain spiritual beliefs, but now we begin to have a spiritual experience. The feeling that the drink problem has disappeared will often come strongly. We feel we are on the Broad Highway, walking hand in hand with the Spirit of the Universe.
The Big Book, 3rd edition, William Wilson, Chapter 6, Into Action, page 75.
Bill Wilson was delusional.
A.A. creates a completely untrue negative stereotype of alcoholics, and then says that the Twelve Steps are the magic that will fix that standardized bad guy:
Alcoholics especially should be able to see that instinct run wild in themselves is the underlying cause of their destructive drinking. ... This perverse soul-sickness is not pleasant to look upon.
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William Wilson, page 44.
Since most of us are born with an abundance of natural desires, it isn't strange that we often let these far exceed their intended purpose.
(Whose intended purpose? God's? Mother Nature's? The Force of Evolution's?
What happened to "A.A. requires no beliefs?")
When they drive us blindly, or we willfully demand that they supply us with more satisfactions or pleasures than are possible or due us, that is the point at which we depart from the degree of perfection that God wishes for us here on earth. That is the measure of our character defects, or, if you wish, of our sins.
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William Wilson, page 65.
"Instinct run wild? Natural desires exceeding their intended purpose? Pleasures due us?"
Pleasures due us from whom? And due us, according to whose ledger book? God's?
Also notice how Bill Wilson just redefined "character defects" to mean the same thing as "sins":
That is the measure of our character defects, or, if you wish, of our sins.
That noticeably changes the meaning of Step Six --
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character
— by adding a burden of guilt to the Step, making it into a begging session where we beg God to remove sins. Bill Wilson gradually morphed alcoholism from a disease to be cured, into a sin that must be removed by God. That is another Bait-and-Switch trick.
Bill continued his attack on the stereotypical alcoholics:
Selfishness — self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity, we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate. ...
... the alcoholic is an extreme example of self-will run riot, though he usually doesn't think so.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William Wilson, Chapter 5, How It Works, page 62.
Since defective relations with other human beings have nearly always been the immediate cause of our woes, including our alcoholism, no field of investigation could yield more satisfying and valuable rewards than this one.
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William Wilson, page 81.
So now alcoholism is caused by "defective relations"? Earlier, Bill Wilson declared that our self-destructive drinking was caused by our sins, moral shortcomings, defects of character, resentments, instincts run wild, instinct gone astray, self-will run riot, self-seeking, selfishness, desires that far exceed their intended purpose, and failure to practice religious precepts properly. What will it be next?
People do not drink too much because they have big puffed-up strutting-peacock egos, or because they think they are the center of the Universe, or because they think they are too big and too good to need God, like Bill Wilson said.
And people do not drink too much because they are examples of instincts run wild, or self-will run riot, or because they are sinners with moral shortcomings and character defects, like Bill Wilson said.
People usually drink too much because they feel bad and are trying to feel good. They are often miserable, and just trying to "have fun."
Just because alcoholics and drug addicts have brains that are deficient in L-dopamine or beta endorphins doesn't mean that they are all selfish, immoral, and unspiritual, like Bill Wilson said.
Forty percent of all alcoholics and drug addicts were abused children who are now just trying to cope with their mangled emotional lives, damaged personalities, and shriveled cerebellar vermises. In addition, many more alcoholics and drug addicts suffer from emotional or mental illnesses that they are trying to fix by self-medicating. And there are even more people who are sick and in pain from physical illnesses, and they are just trying to kill their pain with drugs and alcohol. And last but not least, there are alcoholics who smoke and drink to kill the pain of being very sick from having drunk too much alcohol and smoked too many cigarettes for far too long.
The numbers look like this:
Trying to make those people quit drinking or drugging by crushing their egos and making them feel guilty doesn't work, and usually does more harm than good. (They will just get stoned again, trying to obliterate the feelings of guilt and get back to feeling good. It is neither an accident nor a coincidence that involvement with Alcoholics Anonymous was seen to increase, not reduce, binge drinking.)
William Griffith Wilson
|Alcoholics Anonymous founder William Griffith Wilson was insane, really insane, clinically diagnosable, as well as being grossly, feloniously, dishonest, coldly exploitative of others, and a grandiose, habitual liar. He was not a wise counselor who helped other alcoholics, not at all.|
Bill Wilson suffered from 297.10 Delusional (Paranoid) Disorder, Grandiose Type and 301.81 Narcissistic Personality Disorder, as defined by the American Psychiatric Association in their book The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, third and fourth editions, DSM-III-R and DSM-IV.
The bombastic, grandiose, and completely delusional things that Bill Wilson wrote in the Big Book "Alcoholics Anonymous" and in Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions leave little doubt about that.
Bill's behavior, both before and after sobriety, leaves even less doubt.
Dr. Robert Holbrook Smith
|And A.A. cofounder Dr. Robert Smith — "Doctor Bob" — was also a mental disaster. He was a cruel petty tyrant who abused his children and who tried to drink himself to death for most of his adult life. He even operated on patients while under the influence of alcohol and other drugs. The word in Akron, Ohio, was "When you let the proctologist Dr. Robert Smith operate on you, you're really betting your ass."|
See the Cult Test item, Disturbed Guru, Mentally Ill Leader for the details of these two tragic wrecks.
A.A. flat-out lies when it says it is a program of rigorous honesty; it is just the opposite — a program of rigorous dishonesty:
The truth is, they see it all of the time. It is actually Alcoholics Anonymous that is "constitutionally incapable of being honest."
"Act As If..."
The only idea that they really want you to be open to is the idea that A.A. is right about everything — the idea that the "spiritual" A.A. program with its Twelve Steps is a really good cure for alcoholism, one that actually works.
And now Susan Cheever, who was allowed into the archives so she could write a fawning uncritical hero-worshipping biography of A.A. founder Bill Wilson, reports that the A.A. headquarters is "excising" from the official Alcoholics Anonymous archives all of the embarrassing information about Bill Wilson's sexual exploitation of women newcomers to Alcoholics Anonymous. That sure as heck isn't "rigorous honesty".
From Pastor Paul Ellis:
As C.S. Lewis famously observed, grace is the one thing that makes Christianity unique. Grace is what makes the new covenant new and the good news good news. But what is grace?
Do you know what it means?
I read a lot of grace books and I have found that very few define grace. They tell you what grace isn’t. Grace isn’t works. Grace isn’t law. Grace isn’t religion. But they don’t tell you what grace is.
Don’t you find it strange that we who have been apprehended by the grace of God don’t have good definitions of grace? It’s like being French and not being able to explain what it means to be French.
What is grace? What does grace mean to me?
It is common to hear grace defined as the kindness of God, or his undeserved mercy or unmerited favor. These are fine definitions, but brief. Max Lucado said “Grace is God’s best idea.” Of all his works, it is his magnum opus. And a magnum opus deserves a magnum definition.
Since I have been writing about grace for some time, I thought it might be fun to put all my grace definitions in one place.
I am not claiming to have a handle on God’s amazing grace. Far from it. All I want to do is start a conversation. I hope you will weigh in with your own thoughts about God’s grace.
What is grace? Grace captures the goodwill, lovingkindness, and favor of God that is freely given to us so that we may partake in his divine life. Grace is God’s divine aid that supernaturally empowers you to be who he made you to be.
The Biblical noun for grace (charis) means favor or kindness, and is related to a word (chairo) which means to rejoice, be cheerful and well off. The grace of God leaves us cheerful and rejoicing. It leaves us better than it found us.
Grace is what the unconditional love of God looks like from our side. God is love and love that stoops is called grace. Grace is the love of God reaching down and gathering you in his arms.
Grace is God’s loving-kindness towards you. Grace is God blessing you with himself for no other reason than it pleases Him to do so.
Grace is the confident assurance that with God on your side, you can’t lose. Grace is his strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.
Grace is freedom from sin, guilt, and condemnation. Grace is freedom from the need to prove yourself. Grace is divine permission to be who God made you to be.
Grace is heaven’s cure for the world’s woes. Grace is the power of God that turns sinners into saints, haters into lovers, and orphans into sons.
Grace is being adopted into the family of God. Grace is realizing you are a dearly-loved child, the apple of your Father’s eye, and a co-heir with Christ.
Grace is God honoring us with his presence. Grace is God with us. Grace is the adventure of life shared with Christ.
Grace is favor, freedom, forgiveness and a million other blessings besides. Grace is God’s divine acceptance, his salvation and sanctification.
Grace is power, healing and prosperity. (What do you think the word blessing means?)
Grace is God blessing you for no other reason than he loves you. Grace is divine power to live abundantly in union with the One who loves you and calls you by name.
Grace isn’t a doctrine, or bunch of rules for you to keep, and grace is not God’s lubricant for greasing the cogs of self-effort. Grace is a Person living his life through you. Living under grace is like being married, only more so.
In a word, grace is Jesus. Grace is not one of God’s blessings but all of them wrapped up together in the One who is full of grace. Grace is the Gift of all gifts from the Giver of all givers.
Those are some of my thoughts. I would love to hear yours. What does the grace of God mean to you? In the comments below, complete this statement: “Grace is…”
I have given you my definitions of grace. In the Bonus Content that accompanies this article, I look at some outstanding definitions of grace provided by notable authors past and present.