Hi, I’m Don, and I Am a…

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I’m Don, and I Am…

Sometimes I just can’t help myself. I love to stir the pot with a bit of mischief. I know, I know – it’s a character flaw that I am working on. Sort of. Okay, not really. I found in AA meetings that a way to ruffle feathers is to not follow their unwritten rules exactly as they want. Now, it’s their meetings, and I shouldn’t misbehave, but after attending for a few years, I couldn’t help myself.

The standard for behavior is to go around the room and share on a chosen topic. Before speaking, the person identifies themselves as “Hi. I’m Don, and I’m an alcoholic.” And everyone says, “Hi, Don.” It feels weird to repeat your name for the thousandth time to people who already know every single intimate detail of your life (including the really, really lousy stuff), but that’s what they do. I guess if there’s a new guy, it helps. Some old-timers mix it up a bit with a signature intro like “I’m Bob, and I’m a grateful alcoholic,” or “I’m a recovered alcoholic.” Others provoke the AA purists by saying “I’m an addict.” Apparently, they should go to another type of meeting or toe the line.

Then I started to wrestle with this:

“For in Christ Jesus, you are all sons [daughters] of God through faith.” Gal 3:26

In other verses, Paul tells me that the old me is gone and a new me in Christ has taken its place. I am grateful for that as the old me was surrounded by deceit and chaos, but AA wants me to forever identify as the old me. Going to support groups forever makes sense to some folks, and if that’s what they need to lead a better life, then more power to them. The AA big book, however, doesn’t talk about being in recovery forever. It clearly discusses the people who have “RECOVERED” and no longer are who they were. They were following a new walk with the Spirit, and they were freed from those old bonds.

In The Dunamis Effect meetings, the goal isn’t to stay in meetings forever. It is to re-enter the body of Christ and become an active member of a church and neighborhood community. Many people feel ready to stop meetings too soon, and the wisdom of experience says that a year or even two is not too long to learn new habits that sometimes take decades to develop. Some folks like staying a longer time because they feel called to be there for the newcomer seeking discipleship. That is a fantastic calling that makes use of the old scars to heal another’s fresh wounds.

Also, all folks are welcome to identify as they please, and there will be people who go to both kinds of meetings, so old habits die hard. We encourage people attending DE meetings to recognize how God sees you and introduce themselves saying, “I’m Don, and I’m a child of God.” I saw a poster once that hit me between the eyes with this nugget of wisdom:

“Satan knows your name but calls you by your sin. God knows your sin but calls you by your name.”

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