The experience of “powerlessness” is where we all must begin, and AA is honest and humble enough to state this, just as Jesus himself always went where the pain was. Wherever there was human suffering, Jesus was concerned about it now, and about its healing now. It is rather amazing and very sad that we pushed it all off into a future reward system for those who were “worthy”—as if any of us are.
Let me sum up, then, the foundational ways that I believe Jesus and the Twelve Steps of AA are saying the same thing but with different vocabulary:
- We suffer to get well.
- We surrender to win.
- We die to live.
- We give it away to keep it.
This counterintuitive wisdom will forever be resisted, denied, and avoided, until it is forced upon us by some reality over which we are powerless—and, if we are honest, we are all powerless in the presence of full Reality.
— from the book Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps by Richard Rohr