In 1976 a born-again recovering alcoholic attended an A.A men's retreat. He had attended others in the past 1 1/2 years of his recovery and had always left these retreats with something good. This retreat was to be different. This retreat would be the beginning of a vision from God. He reasoned after the retreat that if people could stay sober without professional help at group meetings, why could not the same principals work on retreats as well. So in that same year he organized a retreat for A.A. men with a slight difference. All the leadership were born-again Christians.
Two significant miracles happened at this retreat. The first was that except for the leadership, no one else was a Christian, but by the end of the retreat on Sunday almost every man there had made a decision to accept Jesus Christ as his personal Savior.
The second miracle was that God had given the same vision to a second man. This man had been in recovery for over 20 years and was also a born again Christian. These two servants of God began to work together and have provided the major development and direction of the Alcoholics for Christ ministry.
In February of 1977 another men's retreat was organized and it too had the same miraculous results with most of the men attending accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of their lives.
The change in the lives of these recovering men brought on another major development of God's vision. Two women that were attending Al-Anon heard of the results of the men's retreats. Not wanting women to be left out of what God was doing, they asked for help in organizing a women's retreat. The men helped and the same results occurred with the women.
No one at this time was thinking about organizing a ministry. No one saw the total picture of what God was doing in their lives. It was enough to see and experience the excitement of the changed lives around them. Not even the two men who were given the credit for founding the A/C ministry, as we now have it, saw all that God was creating.
In June of 1977 a few of the men that were involved in the retreats felt led to organize a prayer breakfast. Although these men had participated in other Christian breakfast meetings and enjoyed them, they wanted more fellowship with other Christians that were recovering from substance abuse.
The excitement for the women's retreat a few weeks earlier, meant the women far outnumbered the men at the first breakfast gathering. It was at this time God began to reveal more and more of what He was doing. It became evident that God was beginning a very special ministry. This small fellowship of believers adopted the name Alcoholics for Christ.
A second prayer breakfast was developed, and now there were two other breakfast meetings to bless people. One was on the west side of the Detroit suburb and the other on the northeast side of Detroit.
In the fall of 1977 it was decided that if A/C was a Christian group, there ought to be a Bible study. The purpose of the Bible study was to get "grounded in the Word of God" and provide a place for open table discussions. again it was felt that they should establish a group on each side of Detroit. The meeting place on the west side was held at Ward Presbyterian Church in Livonia and the one on the east side of Detroit was to be held at St. John's Episcopal Church in the suburb of Royal Oak. The Ward Group began studying the Book of Romans, and the St. John's group started with the Gospel of John. The St. John's group eventually moved their meeting to Zion Christian School in Clawson, Michigan.
1978 was another blessed year in the emerging ministry of A/C. God began to enlighten the founders with an in- depth understanding of the 12 steps of A.A and the word of God, the Bible. Scripture began to fit into the 12 steps so that recovering alcoholics could see how God's word applied to the 12-step process. The results of their endeavor led to the printing of the A/C workbook. Since then the workbook has become the outline of our group studies. The workbook is considered to be the second most important piece of literature in the A/C program. The first is the Christian Bible.
Growth came slowly at first, but by 1980 there were four breakfast meetings, one dinner meeting and five group meetings. More and more people found A/C to be exactly what they were looking for in their Spiritual search. Most of the people who came to A/C functions at this time were recovering A.A and Al-anon members. Now, the majority of A/C meetings are made up of people who have attended only a few A.A or Al-anon meetings.
The next step in the growth of A/C came in 1983. This is when the first family member table began their discussions. The first family table meeting was held at Ward Presbyterian Church.
Another important addition in 1983 was the first broadcast of the A/C radio ministry on WMUZ- FM in Detroit.
As a rush of substance abuse came on society, so did the people rush to A/C meetings. Something new began to happen. People began coming to the Bible Studies who had not experienced sobriety and Sanity. A/C was becoming a true support group ministry for substance abusers and their families. More and more churches began to trust the A/C program. The Holy Bible and the 12-step process really did work.
Two more important parts of the A/C program came close together in 1986 and in 1987. They were the establishing of the tables for those who were Adult Children of alcoholic parents, and a group called ACTS-12, which is an acronym for Alcoholics for Christ Teen situations. The ACTS-12 tables are for juniors and seniors high school age children.
Today A/C has over 100 open groups meeting nationwide. There are a number of meetings in prisons, county jails, rehab centers. counseling centers, and other institutions, 43 in Metro Detroit alone.
Members come from a variety of Christian denominations. Although there have been some changes, and new additions, the original vision has stayed the same as it was in 1977. It is still people helping people by the grace of God, the Blood Of Christ, and the power of the Holy Spirit using God's Word and the 12 step process.
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