Bill Wilson, the cofounder of Alcoholics Anonymous, reached the unshakable conviction, now a canon of twelve-step groups, that an alcoholic must “hit bottom” in order to climb upward. Wilson wrote his fellow strugglers, “How privileged we are to understand so well the divine paradox that strength rises from weakness, that humiliation goes before resurrection, that pain is not only the price but the very touchstone of spritual rebirth.” The Apostle Paul could not have phrased it better.
A broken relationship with God, accepting moral responsibility, admitting the need for outside help, a commitment to make restitution to all who have been harmed – the formula for twelve-step groups comes straight from the pages of the Bible. As an alcoholic once told me, “I have to pubilcly declare ‘I am an alcoholic’ whenever I introduce myself at group. It is a statement of failure, of helplessness, and surrender. Take a room of a dozen or so people, all of whom admit helplessness and failure, and it’s pretty easy to see how God then presents himself in that group.”
– Philip Yancey, Rumors of Another World