AA and Jesus

AA and Jesus By Mel B. via Silkworth

How Ancient Spiritual Teachings are Linked to the Inspirational Program of Alcoholics Anonymous

On my way to a favorite bar, I sometimes passed a church sign whose blazing neon letters proclaimed: “JESUS SAVES.”

The message annoyed me because I thought it was in poor taste and tended to intrude on my privacy. I resented the zeal of those who would erect such a sign. I agreed that the world needed saving, but it would be saved by tolerant, broadminded people like myself, not by religious zealots. I hurried on towards neon signs that seemed more inviting and to companions who did not threaten my way of thinking.

That was in the late 1940s. By April 1950 my reasonable way of thinking had landed me in a state hospital as an alcoholic patient. It hit me, then, that there were some problems which individuals could not solve by intelligent reasoning or personal determination. One of them was alcoholism, and a mere glance about the hospital ward told me that there were other more sinister human problems. In short, I needed saving—from myself. At the same time, I realized that I had no answers for the others in the hospital, the victims of terrible mental and physical diseases.

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Well, my answer came via AA. Its principles and practices have carried me over some very rough spots in the years since 1950. In its way, curiously enough, AA has been a form of personal salvation like that offered by the old time religionists who proclaimed that “Jesus Saves.” It has neither altar call nor sawdust trail, but some of its best ideas appear to have come from the teachings of Jesus. In fact, some of AA’s most novel and radical ideas are not new or different at all; they are just new and different in our time. Here are a few of them that first saw the light of day in the sayings of Jesus:

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