What I Learned From Alcoholics Anonymous

Carl Olivier Duperval
4 min readNov 12, 2021

A while back, I attended Alcoholics Anonymous. Not as someone seeking recovery, but as an observer

(“Hi, my name is Carl and I’m just here to watch” 😅).

I was on an assignment and what I discovered was eye-opening…

Over time, I’ve discovered that the key to healing and intimacy is vulnerability, well here I got to see it in action.

I was scared out of my mind because I was the only dude there who wasn’t regularly attending the meetings(And the only black dude lol). I sat in the back, in my lawn chair, listening to the discussion, and heard some encouraging and challenging things…

Let’s back up for a second. ..The reason I went to the AA meeting was because my leader wanted us to see that Biblical principles of true community, freedom, and love can be found in the unlikeliest of places, namely an AA meeting.

As I listened to the members share their stories, I was floored by the level of honesty they had with each other. They talked about how the addiction started, struggles with family, drinking for acceptance, drinking to numb pain, and SO MUCH more.

The crazy thing is there wasn’t an ounce of judgment from anyone else. None!

They were there for some of the same reasons. Freedom being the main one.

One dude said he tried to “white knuckle” his way out of addiction and found himself falling flat on his face so he admitted his need to the Higher Power, the community, and the recovery resources. He knew he couldn't overcome his struggle on his own.

Isn’t that all of us?

Another person mentioned how they got a level of freedom and then rested on their laurels and backslid.

Ouch! When we get too comfortable instead of going forwards, we go backward.

The people who spoke were completely vulnerable with where they were currently and not just where they had been in the past.

There’s a HUGE difference between vulnerability and transparency.

To be transparent, I can let you know where I’ve been and what I’ve struggled with in the past. Since it’s in the past, it can’t really hurt me anymore.

To be vulnerable, I’d have to let you see me right where I am, right now. In the middle of my struggle.

To be vulnerable means that I’m giving you the opportunity to either hurt me, judge me, or embrace me. Vulnerability is a risky business but it’s the pathway to true freedom.

We can be transparent without being vulnerable. Venting to someone can be freeing but it’s not effective to bring transformation because what we’re doing is only expressing ourselves.

Vulnerability leaves space for the other person to truly speak into our area of weakness leaving us open to change and transformation. Vulnerability requires enormous humility.

One of the best definitions I’ve heard of humility is “the willingness to be known for who we truly are”.

In the last few years, I learned that the Church is supposed to function as a family. We who’ve accepted Christ have been adopted by a perfect Father who places us in His family (Psalm 68:6, Ephesians 2:19–22).

He wants us to know and be known by each other.

True Church happens when we’re vulnerable with God, ourselves, and each other.

There are several benefits and dangers to vulnerability…

The benefits are — we get to be known and seen for who we really are. We become open enough to receive the help we need to move forward in our area of struggle. And we get on the path to freedom.

The danger comes when we’re vulnerable with any and everyone. The truth is that some people won’t care to hear our story and some people may judge us. Another danger is that, since vulnerability is so rare, people can often get commended for being vulnerable and we can become addicted to the praise that comes from it (ask me how I know 🤦‍♂️ )

Vulnerability should be between us and Jesus and other trusted mature people in our lives that are able to speak the Truth in love and help us walk through our struggles.

If you don’t have anyone you can go to, I encourage you to pray and ask God to bring them into your life. We can’t live a life of faith alone. We NEED each other.

I know when I struggle alone, I fall alone, but the consequences inadvertently affect my community. When I fall and have people around me to help me up, I can recover quicker and keep moving forward.

We came into the world vulnerable….Literally completely naked! We needed people to take care of us and nurture us but when we grow up we learn to become independent and try to do things alone.

Nothing works well for long that way.

We’re all in some sort of process.

We all struggle with something.

We all need support and accountability.

If you’re struggling and need help. I’d encourage you to pray and ask the Lord for trusted people who can guide you through your journey to freedom.

Life is a journey. But it’s not one we should walk alone. Let’s learn to be open. Let’s learn to be honest. And let’s learn to be free.

Your friend,
Carl Olivier Duperval

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Carl Olivier Duperval

Christian. Hip Hop Artist. Writer. Curious Explorer of God’s Love and Mental and Emotional Health. Join me on my journey!