Faith Without Works is Dead

- October 10, 2023


This is another saying that we hear around Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) on occasion.  It suggests that we should not rest on or laurels after taking the steps.  We have to give it away to keep it is another admonition around the fellowship.  If a person has truly taken the step, applied them in their lives and had an entire psychic change, they will invariably want to help others and give away what was so freely given to them.  They will also be very grateful for any opportunities to share the message of Alcoholics Anonymous with new people.  

When we share the message of AA, we are not to brow beat anyone into sobriety.  This doesn’t work and we can easily see why.  The newcomer may just be agreeing with the person he is talking to, to just get them to leave them alone. It is up to each individual to personally decide if they are an alcoholic or not.  It is not our place to diagnose anyone as alcoholic.  Our place is to share our experience with the new person.  We may share our drinking history with them in an attempt to get them to identify with us and our alcoholic way of thinking.  This usually proves to be effective in getting and keeping the new person’s attention.  It is said in the literature that our message that we carry “must have depth and weight.”  Any kind of lightweight wooing of the person will not suffice.  We know this from our own drinking careers and our time as a newcomer to the program.

“Works” can also mean more than working with others.  It takes a village to keep an AA facility up and running.  Meetings must be scheduled and provided at various times of the day at a dedicated meeting site.  Each meeting needs a secretary whose job it is to open up the doors and pick a leader for the meeting.  Leading a meeting is also another form of service.  We share what it was like, what happened and what it is like now.  Hopefully the message we carry is that of recovery found in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. This message is very effective in getting through the denial that some newcomers have in place.  Lots of time we will hear laughter in a meeting.  One may wonder what’s so funny in dealing with alcoholism.  This laughter is a form of identification with the absurd things we did while drinking or the crazy way we thought when doing so.  

So you see that there are many ways to be of service in Alcoholics Anonymous.  One may make the coffee for a meeting. Others may participate by reading aloud in a meeting.  Some may be so situated that they can offer rides to meetings to those in need.  Still others may accompany someone to court or to a meeting with Children’s Services.  The point here is that we are no longer alone in this life.  We now have a new host of sober friends who are more than willing to offer their experience, strength and hope to us in order for us to gain sobriety and remain sober.  Then we are able to be of service to others.


Written by Phillip