by Dale Wolery
We encourage you not to dismiss lightly the possibility of finding a secular support group that will be helpful to you. Until recently, of course, finding an explicitly Christian support group was not really a possibility because so few existed. That means that most Christians in recovery today began their recovery journey in a ‘secular’ support group – and most still find that participation in ‘secular’ support groups is essential to maintaining their recovery!
The kind of help you need is probably NOT available at your church. Does your church have 90 meetings in the next 90 days? Probably not. But you may need that. So that means you are going to be attending ‘secular’ groups.
Remember these points:
- You can be sure that there will be other Christians at any group you attend. Guaranteed.
- The fundamental principles of the 12 steps are thoroughly Christian in character. Is it really a non-Christian meeting if everyone there is practicing basic Christian spiritual disciples like confession and testimony? If people are seeking to increase their conscious contact with God?
- Imagine for a moment that you were seriously injured in an automobile accident and God arranged things so that an athiest who was a medical doctor ‘just happened’ to see the accident and stopped to help. Would you refuse the help God had provided and say ‘I need a Christian doctor.’ Probably not. So think of it like this: you have been in accident. You are going to die if you don’t accept the help God has provided. If you need help, get help. It’s really simple. Do it.
- AA and other ‘secular’ twelve step programs are ‘spiritual kindergardens.’ Their literature acknowledges this. But you are ready right now for spiritual graduate school? Probably not.
It is true that, in some situations, participation in a ‘secular’ group may mean tolerating some constraints on what you can say about your faith as part of the group process – try to remember that these constraints serve an important positive purpose for many other people and that you can always supplement your ‘secular’ group experience with other kinds of Christian fellowship in support of your recovery. It is also true that many Christians who struggle with spiritual abuse issues may find it helpful to begin their recovery in a setting which is completely free of religious connections.
Getting help in a secular setting does not mean that your recovery is any less Christian!