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Salvation Requires Surrender

Not long ago one of the co-founders of Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill Wilson, published his correspondence with the great psychiatrist, Carl Jung. He thanks Carl Jung for his contribution to Alcoholics Anonymous. He said, "You have no idea the important role you played in the forging of the famous twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. You were treating a man named Roland H., and you said, 'Roland, you're a hopeless alcoholic, there's nothing more I can do for you except take your money, and I don't want to do that.'

"Roland asked you, 'Is there anything I can do?' and you said, 'Yes, there is something you can do. Have a religious conversion. Have a religious experience.' " (And Roland H. did have a religious experience, and he became sober. He's a recovering alcoholic.)

"At the same time," continued Wilson, "my doctor told me I was a hopeless alcoholic. And I said, 'Isn't there something I can do?'

"At the time I was reading William James's A Variety of Religious Experience, and I noticed at the bottom of every religious experience was that turning your life over to God, that surrender to God. So I went home, and I said, 'God, I don't know if I even believe in you. But if you're there, if you're there, God, will you help me please?'

"In that moment I knew I was healed. In that moment I knew that the addiction was broken, that I was a free man, maybe for the first time in my whole life."

He talks about this in a movie that was recently on television, My Name is Bill W. It's about how he experienced the peace of God, the strength of God, but at the price of surrender, of turning his life over to God. That is very important. To experience the reality of God in prayer is that moment of surrender.

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