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I found God in an Exodus community called Alcoholics Anonymous. My primary conversion text is the healing of the Gerasene demoniac, which concludes, "The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him; but Jesus sent him away, saying, 'Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you' " (Luke 8:22-39).

Jesus made a conscious decision to cross the lake from his own town, Capernaum, to Gerasa before encountering the demoniac. It was not a whim. Just as the evil spirits invariably recognize Jesus as the Christ before we do, so Jesus invariably goes to confront evil before we recognize it as such. The basic story epitomizes my experience of recovering from a demon named alcoholism--how God's power will heal the addict who is willing to put down his ego and ask for help, who will name his disease and admit his powerlessness before it.

Alcoholism is a three-faced disease: physical, psychological, and spiritual. It is chronic, progressive, and fatal. There is no cure.

The process of recovery from alcoholism is not a matter of medical science curing the disease. Recovery is grace--a process of being healed by God's love.

THE FACT THAT SHARING our suffering can bring the redemption of God's love is something which is lost in society at large and in most mainstream churches. But it is not lost in Alcoholics Anonymous. It may explain why AA membership is growing at a high rate while mainstream church rolls are declining. The New York Times once noted that "religious leaders have begun suspecting that more lives are being transformed in church basements than in the pews."

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