"So if the Son sets you free, you are free indeed."  John 8:36

What is P/J



Jail Interview


Group Facilitating and Table Leading

Basic information from experience:  To begin with, after working the12-Step Program of Alcoholics for Christ for twenty years, I have discovered several important issues. I can honestly say that today these Steps are more exciting to me than ever. And they have caused me to "come into deeper recovery" than I'd ever knew could be possible. I love the Tables. I need the Tables. Therefore, I go to the Tables with a sincere need for more healing in my life, more change, more God. I do not go as a teacher, with a prepared lesson in hand, to teach those at the tables. Instead, I go as "One beggar telling another, where to get the Bread (of Life)." and, needing the Bread, myself.

     As I look at this program and gain a better understanding of it, I find that the 12-Steps are, foundationally Steps of Reconciliation. God has reconciled us to Himself through Christ Jesus, and has given us a ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18). How does this work? We realize that this ministry is a very personal one, and that God gives us "a personal testimony of reconciliation" to Him. By this we are convinced, encouraged, and strengthened to become involved in this ministry. In other words, "If a person thinks this is just a good program for me to take to those poor miserable suffering alcoholics out there, and he doesn't see his own personal needs in this program." Then "They'll be sorely disappointed," Because, "As people come to this program, they'll know if you're working it or not, and whether you believe in it enough to apply it to your own life!"

     As a person who is very much interested and involved in this area called "Recovery," I have had the opportunity over many years to observe all the different programs and methodologies at work. And seeing that so many of these treatments do not have the desired effect of changing lives, it caused me to look even deeper into this issue. Being an alcoholic, with many of the addict's dysfunctional character flaws, I came to realize that I am a very isolated person with most of my relationships revolving around alcohol. Then, a new and exciting realization came to me as I was meditating on what the Christ-centered 12-Step Program does, and how it works. I began to understand, that; there are three basic relationships that a person will have in this world (Matthew 22:37-39):
     (1) With Father God through Jesus
     (2) With other people, and
     (3) With ourselves.
I've asked people over the years, "Who is your worst enemy?" or, "Who causes you the most grief?" and, "Who gives you the most trouble?" The answer: ... "MYSELF!" Then again, I've asked people, "Who do you blame for your problems?" or, "Who is at fault for you being in this situation?" and "How did you get in this mess?" And sure enough their answer is, "So-and-so did this TO ME!" or "God did it TO ME." Does this sound like relational problems or relationship issues?
     Does it sound like reconciliation is needed? No doubt, most alcoholics over time have both: hurt others and been hurt by them, many times in their lives. Hurt is a divider and an isolator! Reconciliation with God through Jesus repairs the "Breech in our Relationship Bridge" by supplying us with understanding, and taking hold of the Grace that He has for us (Ephesians 2:14-16).
     God created the world to be in balance (1 Peter 3:8), and to have order. However, there are people who say, "All I need is God, just me and God! And leave me alone, because I don't want to get involved with others (again)." That person is out of balance. On the other hand, (s) he may be someone who loves God and other people, but hates himself (because of what they've done, said, been, or think). This low self-esteem is an out-of-balance condition. True balance gives glory to Jesus (John 17:21).

     The Christ-centered Steps systematically work on reconciling the three relationships that would cause a person to come into a place of wholeness and balance. It is all through the Grace of God, because He has reconciled us to Himself, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation. Simply put, that's what the program means to me. There's " Something Wonderful" that happens when a table is set up, then the guys come and sit down - and as they begin talking and sharing their intimacy- "The walls of isolationism begin cracking, then breaking, and finally crumbling." As they share God's Word, they are breaking down the "Walls "and as they pray for one another, more walls come tumbling down. And when we are stripped of our walls of phoniness, pride, and aloofness, and standing there in the nakedness of our character, we are truly humbled before God and man. It is then that the tender mercy and grace of God floods over us, washing and filling us with joy unspeakable. We are broken! We are contrite! We are loved! I truly believe that if people did nothing but these things, then everyone who came to the tables would share in "Joy of the Lord" and receive "strength for tomorrow." I have come to believe that the "Power" and the "Core" of addiction is I-S-O-L-A-T-I-O-N. In other words, if you have a (binding) relationship with alcohol (or drugs), it is impossible to have an intimate relationship with God (serve two masters. Matthew 6:24), or a meaningful relationship with other people (double minded-James 1:8).

     Again, I repeat, that anyone interested in taking this program into the prisons / jails, has got to first of all, take it into their own lives and work the program. Take ownership, and you disarm Satan. Once you understand that this program works for you, and also for others, then you won't be under a great deal of stress to either; add to the program, prop it up, or try to make it work. It does it all by itself (well, really it's God)! All you have to do is be honest and open, and this will set the tone for the table.
     Most substance abusers already know they're in trouble, and they also know they're hurting. What they need is a safe place to come together, and share their troubles and hurts, and a place to be able to encourage each other a ministry of encouragement). In retrospect, the Table Leading Insights that I have discovered are:
     (1). Believe in the Program
     (2). Work the Program in your own life.
     (3). Understand that it is God working the Program.

     Fundamentally, it's letting the power of God and the togetherness of the community do their work in the lives of those who come to the tables seeking. Many times, as a Table Leader, I have experienced some frustration, when someone comes to the tables, and they won't talk (open up). However, as they sit there for weeks, and they observe things, I realize they are going through a change (of God working in them). And then, sure enough, unexpectedly, they break wide open and out comes the flood. If this takes time, be not concerned, let God do His work.

     Another problem of sorts, are people who try to dominate the tables, and want to "fix" everyone. What we do in this type of situation is STOP them and tell them we are not here to "fix" each other, but to work on our OWN issues. We as facilitators allow very little cross talk (many conversations), and being restrictive of much dialog keeps the table sharing progressing along.

     An important item to remember, is when working Steps 2 / 3, is to make an invitation to those who have never asked Jesus to come into their hearts, and be their personal Savior. When one volunteers to accept Jesus as their Savior, it is very appropriate to have the whole group at the table to repeat the Sinner's Prayer along with the person.

     Another suggestion is to have prayer sheets to pass out at the table, and as we go around sharing, to ask people to write down the names of those sharing on the list. Then, after they take their turn sharing, ask for a brief prayer request. This will get them to pray for each other through the coming week, which will serve as bonding agent.

Setting Up and Maintaining Order at the Tables
 (1). Six to ten people at each table, whenever possible.
 (2). Open with prayer.
 (3). Each person to identify him (her) self.
 (4). Brief comments on the Step you are on.
 (5). Ask someone to read the introduction to the Step.
 (6). Go around the table with each person reading a Scripture from the Step (questions below Scripture optional).
 (7). Ask each person, in turn, to share his reason for coming, and what the Step means to him.
 (8). After each person shares, ask for a brief prayer request.
 (9). Try to limit sharing, so everyone has the opportunity to share, in the allotted time.
(10). Thank everyone for attending, and close with prayer (either you or ask someone else).

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