By Sherry Brownrigg



I am the light of the world, says the Lord;
whoever follows me will have the light of life.
~ John 8:12


One of the primary goals of a 12-step program is to have a spiritual awakening, recognizing that there is a power greater than ourselves who can restore lives broken by addiction. For most, that power is our merciful, loving God. For some who do not yet know God, that “higher power” must begin with the simple understanding that we are not the center of the universe, that there is something or someone greater than ourselves. One thing is certain – without that spiritual awakening, someone caught in the ravages of addiction has very little chance of success.

Step into the Light

On this Laetare Sunday, the Church gives us several options for readings, but they all have one central theme running through them – the concept of spiritual (and physical) blindness that keeps us rooted in sin and darkness. In each of these readings, God offers a way out of sin and a life firmly anchored in His light, yet many people in the world do not realize they are trapped in sin and darkness, and some even prefer staying trapped. It’s familiar, easier, and often feels good – for a time anyway.

Those in the depths of addiction are often trapped in the same way until they begin the path toward that spiritual awakening. Decades of research have shown us that addiction is a disease, much like cancer or diabetes, but the manifestations of that disease are confusing, to say the least. It looks like the person with an addiction or the alcoholic is simply making the choice to use, but if you talk to someone who is addicted to drugs or alcohol, they cannot see the light – in reality, addiction is baffling, cunning, and powerful. It fights for its very life within each human, working hard to keep the soul trapped and addicted and creating a path of destruction that cuts across families and the whole of society. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

Bondage of Self

In one of today’s readings, Jesus calls out the Pharisees for protesting the healing of the blind man on the sabbath and passing judgment on his sin. We like to think that we always choose to live in God’s light, but if we’re honest with ourselves, we all have pharisaical tendencies and often make choices that keep us bound to our sins and living in darkness. Ego, self-preservation, pride – it’s a constant fight for many of us to dislodge these root sins from our lives.

A common prayer in 12-step programs, the Third Step Prayer, centers on offering oneself to God to do with as He pleases and asking to be relieved of the bondage of self so as to better do God’s will. It’s a prayer that is useful for all of us as we live out our daily walk with Christ. Focusing on His will rather than on ourselves lifts that spiritual blindness and allows us to walk in the light.


God, I offer myself to Thee – to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. 


Call to Action

How are you choosing to stay rooted in sin and darkness?


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