“Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.” (John 21:17)
The Twelfth Step of Alcoholics Anonymous states: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs. We are to partner with other alcoholics or addicts, and share our own personal journey out of the darkness of addiction, much like the disciples went out and shared the good news of the Gospel. We are not called to attract a large group to help. We are called to work with one person at a time. There’s wisdom in such an intimate relationship. Jesus promises us that “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.”
The power in the Twelfth Step is that we get to show up as our authentic selves. We don’t have to be perfect. We don’t have to keep a professional distance from the person we want to help. We can be the wounded shepherd that we are. We can follow in Jesus’ footsteps when He said: “I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.” (John 10:14-15) We can lay down our lives by sharing our own hope, fears, doubts, courage, and joys. We can be the humans that we are, with the conditional love we have and lead others to the unconditional love of God.
We are to feed other alcoholics and addicts the good news of recovery. We walk with our fellow addicts, equally yoked. We are not professionals that are in authority, distant, whitewashed from the problem, doling out advice. No, we are in service that gives and receives. We get back so much from sharing our experience, strength and hope with others. Being vulnerable and real, we connect deeply with others, where God’s healing can move through us and among us.