12 Steps to Christ: An Alcoholic’s Faith Journey
Hootie and the Blowfish drummer Jim Sonefeld shares how Alcoholics Anonymous led him to Jesus Christ.
BY: Jennifer E. Jones
When did you realize this was a problem?
When I tried to quit and I couldn’t. I was getting intervened by friends and family in a very loving manner. Friends were saying, “Hey, we’re concerned. We love you. We’re worried about who you’re hanging out with.” So, we had interventions happening at the same time as I was trying to control it. I said, “Oh, I’ll not drink this weekend” or “During Lent, I’ll not drink bourbon on the weekdays.” The biggest lies ever – the biggest attempts to say, “I can control it.” It’s the big lie the alcoholic says to protect himself. Also, I had a family started. You can get away with a lot in terms of wildness out on the road, but you bring that home and you have two little kids? You stick out like a sore thumb.
When did your faith in Christ come into fruition?
I had to one day come to the conclusion that I can’t do it. I can’t stop drinking, but I don’t know how to stop drinking. I went to my first AA meeting. That was the point where I said, “Alcohol has conquered me. Would someone else please help me?” That was the first time I’d said that in my life, and that’s a big measure for a 40-year-old man with a college degree, a family and a seemingly successful past. I said, “AA, tell me what the heck’s going on here.” And they told me. I believed it. I trusted it. I found out that it’s a spiritual program, and it opened my heart up to God. It wasn’t something I was looking for. The principles are Christian, but they make the program available for anyone. The idea is that you admit that you can’t control the world. You admit that, if you give it to a Higher Power, that’s the beginning of the help. Then you do an inventory, confessing your sins. You make amends of those you hurt and you commit to living the lifestyle. Those are Christian-guided principles for the most part. I didn’t know that my 12-step program would lead me back to God. That was, what we say in the program, “God doing for me what I cannot do for myself.”
Some people don’t stay in the program or leave and lose the spiritual aspect of it. How did you maintain your faith?
AA is a process. The thing that kept me believing that I needed a 12-step continually, not just at the beginning, is that I only have today. They say, “You have your sobriety today.” When you’re down and desperate, that’s very meaningful. AA says to look at your day one day at a time. So I did, and when I started looking at it that way, it’s easier to see God when I ask for Him today instead of looking at the past and being remorseful or looking to the future saying, ‘Oh, tomorrow, I’m going to do it different.’ It forces you to look at today and that’s what Jesus taught. It’s about today; it’s not about some other day. I started understanding that God put AA in my life. It’s about my heart, my decisions and where I put my faith.
Jim Sonefeld has a new solo album out that shares his Christian faith. Check out Found!