September 2011

Welcome to aboundinglove.org. This month we are celebrating Recovery Month with the rest of the recovering addicts throughout the United States. I pray that your visits to this website will be a healing experience to be remembered forever.

Recovery Month

National Recovery Month (September) is a national observance that educates Americans on the fact that addiction treatment and mental health services can enable those with a substance use or mental disorder to live a healthy and rewarding life.

Each September, thousands of treatment and recovery programs and services around the country celebrate their successes and share them with their neighbors, friends, and colleagues in an effort to educate the public about recovery, how it works, for whom, and why. There are millions of Americans whose lives have been transformed through recovery. These successes often go unnoticed by the broader population; therefore, Recovery Month provides a vehicle to celebrate these accomplishments.

Recovery Month spreads the positive message that behavioral health is essential to overall health, that prevention works, treatment is effective, and people can and do recover.

Total Recovery

All efforts towards recovery are commendable, but we at aboundinglove.org believe that any recovery worthwhile must include the spiritual aspect of recovery. And not just any spiritual recovery, but one centered around the person and finished work of Jesus Christ at the cross, His resurrection, and His gift of the Holy Spirit.

This fact may be hard for you to receive, but listen to what the apostle Peter had to say about recovery.

"As we know Jesus better, His divine power gives us everything we need for living a godly life. He has called us to receive His own glory and goodness! And by that same mighty power, He has given us all of His rich and wonderful promises. He has promised that you will escape the decadence all around you caused by evil desires and that you will share in His divine nature."1

All of the movements of the church, beginning with Peter and Paul and the other apostles, had as their goal a spiritual awakening or renewal. This is true through various monastic movements, the Protestant Reformation, and the Oxford Movement of the early 1800s. It was true, also, of the Oxford Group (originally called "A First Century Fellowship"), an evangelistic movement in the 1900s, out of which the Twelve Steps grew. Both the Oxford Group and the Twelve Steps have at their hearts the desire to take a healing message to people caught in unwholesome lifestyles.2

The Oxford Group

Dr. Frank Buckman, a Lutheran minister of Pennsylvania Dutch Stock, was the founder of the Oxford Group. This was the parent group of Alcoholics Anonymous, which, in turn, is the source of the Twelve Step Recovery process.

While attending the 1908 Keswick Convention in England, Buckman had an experience that changed his life. Bearing resentment and feelings of ill-will toward the official board of a hospice he had established and from which he had been compelled to resign because of differences with those board members, he entered a little church in Cumberland. His pride and anger had prevented his serving as a Christian minister should. Suddenly, in that church, through a woman's talk about the Power of Christ's redemption, he envisioned the suffering force of the crucified Christ.

In that moment, he realized what a distance his resentment had placed between himself and God's unconditional love. Spiritually transformed, he was filled with an intense feeling of life as he surrendered his will and willfulness to God. The Oxford principles of surrender, restitution, and sharing were founded on his personal experience of spiritual conversion.3

Alcoholics Anonymous

Bill Wilson, the founder of A.A., traced his journey through the Oxford Group. In November 1934, while he was still a practicing alcoholic, Bill was visited by an old friend, Ebby Thatcher, who had been restored to sobriety through the Oxford Group. One month later, while in a hospital undergoing treatment for alcoholism, Bill was again visited by Mr. Thatcher, at which time the principles of the Group were explained. Twenty years later, Bill Wilson described his conversion experience that night in this way:

My depression deepened unbearably and finally it seemed to me as though I were at the very bottom of the pit. I still gagged badly at the notion of a Power greater than myself, but finally, just for the moment, the last vestige of my proud obstinacy was crushed. All at once, I found myself crying out, 'If there is a God, let Him show Himself! I am ready to do anything, anything!'

Suddenly, the room lit up with a great white light. I was caught up into an ecstasy which there are not words to describe. It seemed to me, in the mind's eye, that I was on a mountain and that a wind, not of air, but of spirit was blowing. And then it burst upon me that I was a free man. Slowly the ecstasy subsided. I lay on the bed, but now for a time, I was in another world, a new world of consciousness. All about me and through me, there was a wonderful feeling of Presence, and I thought to myself, 'So this is the God of the preachers!' A great peace stole over me and I thought, 'No matter how wrong things seem to be, they are still all right. Things are all right with God and His world.'"4

Are things all right between you and His world? Maybe you've had a similar spiritual conversion? If not, God desires to deliver you from past resentments of ill-will towards others, and the pride, fear, and anger that prevents you from living a wholesome life. The power of the Cross will remove the distance that your resentments have placed between you and God's unconditional love. May God open your eyes to the many possibilities that are ahead of you as you experience the freedom that comes through Jesus Christ.

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."5

A Prayer For You ...

Heavenly Father, it's hard for me to believe that You would love me, but I want to believe You. Holy Spirit, I need your help to know God's love and for the willingness to receive Your love through abounding love ministries. My life is a mess, but I believe that Your love in Christ Jesus is the ultimate affirming love that heals human wounds and patiently awaits my graced response. I come to You now in faith, believing that You raised Jesus from the dead for my salvation, which is available to me. I invite Jesus into my heart, so that I may be cleansed from sin, to receive a new spirit and a new heart with new and right desires. Thank You, Father, for setting me free to experience Your healing and affirming love. Amen.

Scripture References:

1 1 Peter 1:3, 4
2 Serenity: A Companion for Twelve Step Recovery, pg. 16, Thomas Nelson, Inc.
3 Ibid, pg. 17
4 Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age: A Brief History of A.A., pg. 63.
5 John 3:16

Acknowledgement: A special thanks to Sherry for transcribing this months view!

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