Area News | Home | Marketplace | Community

Return to Archived Stories


Paynesville Press - September 24, 2002

Christians battle alcoholism through Alcoholics Victorious

By Michael Jacobson

(Editor's Note: Due to the confidential nature of their organization, local members of Alcoholics Victorious asked not to be identified. This story uses fictitious names.)

For alcoholics, whether they have been sober for years, or for days, sobriety remains a day-to-day battle.

Members of Alcoholics Victorious believe they have the answer to their struggle with addiction – God.

"Everyday, I drive by my favorite liquor store, and I want to stop…but it's been 12 years that God has empowered me to drive by," explained Tom, who, with his wife Mary, has been sober for 12 years.

"Our sobriety has really been hinged on our spiritual life and the strength we need to deal with our alcoholism," said Tom.

They find support for that sobriety at local Alcoholics Victorious meetings. Alcoholics Victorious groups have existed for a year in the Paynesville area, on Friday nights at the Paynesville Evangelical Free Church. They have just begun recently on Monday nights at the Paynesville Area Center and on Tuesday nights at Crystal Hills Assembly.

The Friday meetings at the Free Church are the largest right now, with eight or nine regular attendees. Alcoholics Victorious (AV) spun off from Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) in 1948 when a minister formed AV to emulate AA, only stressing the importance of a vital relationship with Christ. Where AA recognizes "a power greater than ourselves," AV stresses the healing power of the Christian God.

Robert found Christ – and started his journey to sobriety – in 1985. "Ever since then, it's been my belief in Christ and his spirit that's kept me sober all these years," he said.

Robert attended AA meetings in the early 1970s and had gone through various treatment programs but none of it worked until he surrendered to Christ, he said.

Instead of ridding his bondage to alcohol and drugs, AA just put him in bondage to AA meetings, he said. "That didn't work," he explained. He only found deliverance in Christ. Now when he attends AA meetings, which he still does regularly, he says, "Hi, my name is Robert. I'm a delivered drinker."

"Some people, it may work to go to AA, but I don't think they're getting the complete healing like Alcoholics Victorious," he added.

Tom and Mary were ostracized from a AA group because another member thought they talked God too much, which baffles Mary since they were meeting in a church. Mary sees accepting God and Christ as the only steps to recovery.

"God," she said, "is the only one who heals you."

Plus, Mary feels AA meetings can be intimidating, with foul language and smoke. Some meetings are just like a bar, she said, only without alcohol. "AA deals with the problem," said Mary. "We deal with the solution, and that solution is Christ."

Jennifer, who attends both AV and AA meetings, likes the Christian focus of Alcoholics Victorious.

Susan, attending just her second Alcoholics Victorious meeting a couple weeks ago, said she feels comfortable bringing her Bible and reading scripture at the meeting.

Alcoholic Victorious meetings start with introductions and prayer, followed by reading the 12 steps (with scripture verses), and then a round table discussion, which can involve more Bible study, may be informal conversation, or might involve looking at other prepared materials. The meetings go whevever the Holy Spirit leads the group, the members said.

The first meeting of each month is open for friends and family who might be affected by a loved one's addiction to alcohol or drugs.

AV meeting times are 8:05 p.m. on Mondays at the Paynesville Area Center; 8 p.m. on Tuesdays at Crystal Hills Assembly; and 7:30 p.m. on Fridays at the Paynesville Evangelical Free Church.

"How I know I'm going to stay sober is my relationship with Christ," said Tom.

"By the grace of God, go I," added Robert.

12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous with Biblical References
Alcoholics Victorious is similar to Alcoholics Anonymous,
except that where Alcoholics Anonymous recognizes "a Power greater than ourselves,"
Alcoholics Victorious recognizes a Christian God,
as evidenced by these steps with accompanying Bible passages.

1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol...that our lives had become unmanageable.   "...my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." (2 Corinthians 12:9)
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.   "I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out." (Romans 7:18)
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him.   ...if anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." (Luke 9:23)
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.   "Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord." (Lamentations 3:40)
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.   "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed." (James 5:16)
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.   "If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from this land." (Isaiah 1:19)
7. Humbly asked Him to remove all our shortcomings.   "Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up." (James 4:10)
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.   "Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you,leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift." (Matthew 5:23-24)
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible except when to do so would injure them or others.   "Give and it shall be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." (Luke 6:38)
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.   "For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given to you." (Romans 12:3)
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our concious contact with God as we understand Him, praying only for knowledge of His will, and the power to carry that out.   May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer." (Psalm 19:14)
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and practice these principles in all our affairs.   "Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." (Galatians 6:1-2)



Contact the author at editor@paynesvillepress.com   •   Return to News Menu

Home | Marketplace | Community