Communion Wine - a question for those of the Christian Faith

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Communion Wine - a question for those of the Christian Faith

Postby Larry_H » Tue Jul 20, 2010 12:01 pm

I would like to know how those alcoholics of the Christian Faith handle Holy Communion?

Specifically do you partake of the wine that is supposed to symbolize Christ's Blood?

In my early days of sobriety my sponsor informed me that this was an individual choice and that some alcoholics do partake. My sponsor further elaborated by saying it seems to matter most why the wine was consumed. In this case in praise to God.

That being said my sponsor and I both seem to seek out churches that offer grape juice as an alternative to wine.

How do you handle this sensitive issue?

Larry H.
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Re: Communion Wine - a question for those of the Christian Faith

Postby Mike O » Tue Jul 20, 2010 12:11 pm

There's nothing sensitive about it is my feeling. It's pretty clear cut.

I am a Catholic, BTW.

Though we believe that the wine becomes the Blood of Christ at the consecration it is still alcoholic in it's basic nature and enough to set off the craving for more.
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Re: Communion Wine - a question for those of the Christian Faith

Postby jak » Tue Jul 20, 2010 3:10 pm

How do you handle this sensitive issue?


I discuss it in private and not on the world wide web.

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Re: Communion Wine - a question for those of the Christian Faith

Postby marietta » Tue Jul 20, 2010 7:32 pm

If we can use this forum to discuss the truly gifted alcoholic's ability to vomit straight upward from a reclining position (and laugh about it, no less), I think it's acceptable to discuss the possibility that partaking of wine while worshipping in a church of one's choosing may pose a dilemma.

Just sayin ...

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Re: Communion Wine - a question for those of the Christian Faith

Postby Marc L » Wed Jul 21, 2010 12:51 am

Tough question.
I don't use mouthwash or nyquil cuz there's alcohol in it.

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Re: Communion Wine - a question for those of the Christian Faith

Postby Mike O » Wed Jul 21, 2010 4:23 am

jak wrote:
How do you handle this sensitive issue?


I discuss it in private and not on the world wide web.

jimk


Why is that?
It's just as relevant to alcoholism as anything else that's discussed here.
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Re: Communion Wine - a question for those of the Christian Faith

Postby jak » Wed Jul 21, 2010 7:11 am

The 12 Traditions need to be guarded carefully.
I do really discuss such things with members.
Want to know about the outside issue of my religious practices?
Ask me in a personal forum, not on an open board where the posts remain for all to read until the end of time.
Why don't we explore what the Big Book and the 12x12 have to say about it?

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Re: Communion Wine - a question for those of the Christian Faith

Postby Ken_the_Geordie » Wed Jul 21, 2010 7:26 am

jak wrote:Why don't we explore what the Big Book and the 12x12 have to say about it?

jimk


Can we do this? I'd like to learn since I don't understand.

The 10th Tradition in long form:

No AA group or member should ever, in such a way as to implicate AA, express any opinion on outside controversial issues - particularly those of politics, alcohol reform, or sectarian religion. The Alcoholics Anonymous groups oppose no one. Concerning such matters they can express no views whatever.


Does this tradition mean - in this instance - that any discussion of a nature pertaining to a specific religion; when in a 'public arena', such as a meeting or this forum is against Tradition 10?
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Re: Communion Wine - a question for those of the Christian Faith

Postby Steven F » Wed Jul 21, 2010 10:38 am

I'm going to answer as an alcoholic (the only relevance the faith I grew up in has is that I know what you mean by the question).

You are in AA, and following the programme of AA. That means that you rely on a higher power - a concept of God if you will. Our programme suggests that we rely upon God, and ask him for guidance when we have a problem. If you ask, your answer will come, and that answer might be different from what people around you would say the answer should be. Other human beings, no matter who they are, are finite. God is infinite. In other words: he knows better. It is a matter of asking him, and being willing to listen.

Now, you have a practical problem, and while it is an outside issue and does not belong in an AA meeting or forum, I am going to answer you from a desire to solve your problem. I apologise to those who object. The question is out there (publicly), and I would not be helpful if I shunned answering it (publicly) - especially since I think I have a knowledgeable answer based on church law and not opinion. The following has no relevance to AA, is not based on the programme of AA, and should not be referred to as "I heard in AA that...". It is a personal answer from a personal knowledge of Catholic law and tradition.

You should know that both the bread and the wine are by themselves fully and completely the sacrifice of Christ - both are the entire body of Christ. If you take only the bread, you have taken the communion in full. Theologically speaking, one of both is enough. The reason you may get a different answer from a priest is because the rules of *leading* mass requires them to have both ("communion per intinctionem"). Alcoholic priests however can be relieved of this obligation and be allowed to substitute wine for "mustum" (natural juice - the "natural" is the important part). In other words: the rules of your religion do not force you to drink. Whether you still decide to do so is up to you.

If you wish, you can check this information (or just ask the question) with the church authority where you live. I would suggest the Bishop, who holds the fullness of the sacrament of Holy Orders and is thus competent to decide on the matter.

Thus far a personal, completely non-AA answer, offered person-to-person from a desire to help you with a practical problem you have asked online. I hope that this objective - while theological - information does not offend anyone. I would have sent it as PM, but as the question is on the public pages, I thought it best to answer on the same forum.

I in turn will not be offended should the moderators decide to delete the whole thread :-).
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Re: Communion Wine - a question for those of the Christian Faith

Postby Mike O » Wed Jul 21, 2010 11:08 am

The question was asked with specific relevance to alcoholism and a problem which some alcoholics may encounter BECAUSE they are alcoholics.. The topic is NOT specifically about religion.

I don't see what the problem is.

Thanks, Steven, for your reply to the original query.
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Re: Communion Wine - a question for those of the Christian Faith

Postby Ken_the_Geordie » Wed Jul 21, 2010 12:06 pm

Well, you could change religions to Buddhism! They have a precept that suggests you refrain from intoxicants; so the communion wine thing wouldn't be an issue. Clever bloke, that Buddha.
I'm more commonly known as Tosh (it's a nick name, but everyone I know in real life calls me it); just in case there's any confusion; I tend to use Tosh or Ken interchangeably and it confuses some; including me. ;-)
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Re: Communion Wine - a question for those of the Christian Faith

Postby jak » Wed Jul 21, 2010 2:03 pm

...offered person-to-person...


That is what the PM feature is for.

If Christians get to use this space for theological discussion then so do all others. If we discuss Buddhism next, as has now been suggested then what. How much of this is carrying the message of Alcoholics Anonymous?

When newcomers (the most important people) read theological discussion, through fogged minds that are desperate for escape and also for excuses, they can and do point at religious discussions and cry, "You guys are too religious! You liars!"

I don't need to look up every quote in the Basic Text for you. You have online access to it all. What does the Big Book say about it. It is in there if you will only search for it. Searching for these things has helped my recovery. I believe it can help yours.

AA needs to avoid arguments. Answers to the specific question displayed in the HEADING of this post for all and for ever differ from one sober christian to the next. If we pursue this discussion online - in public we WILL find arguments.

Is that the intent of the original post. I doubt it. I have seen it happen. In my opinion the title alone of this post is gasoline for a fire.

If you want to speak to sober Catholics about their considerations and their practices, why not sign on to a Catholic site and discuss it there? Or Buddhist Or Muslim or Satanist ETC. ETC. This site is for Alcoholics Anonymous. Is it not?

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Re: Communion Wine - a question for those of the Christian Faith

Postby Mike O » Wed Jul 21, 2010 2:20 pm

jak wrote:
If Christians get to use this space for theological discussion then so do all others.


What theological discussion???

The OP asked a specific question related to alcoholism. There is no invitation to theological discussion. You, Jim, are turning this simple matter into something complicated.
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Re: Communion Wine - a question for those of the Christian Faith

Postby marietta » Wed Jul 21, 2010 3:17 pm

Call me a cynic, but I believe that any Christian alcoholic, recovering or not, who makes a conscious decision to drink wine in church, or anywhere else, is not in recovery at all. Church, in particular, is just another excuse for the chameleon drunk to blend in and appear righteous while blatantly eschewing the suggestions as outlined by our founders.

To me, it has nothing to do with religion, but is rather a question of what is the better choice for the alcoholic who is trying to recover. The choice to drink wine makes him or her the alcoholic who still suffers.

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Re: Communion Wine - a question for those of the Christian Faith

Postby Blue Moon » Wed Jul 21, 2010 9:51 pm

I believe the answer lies in the question. If your sobriety is not sufficiently strong enough to be able to resolve such questions without bringing them to a meeting format where you will always be assured a variety of potentially-conflicting answers, by definition you should avoid the situation until you have sufficient sober steps and experience with which to determine the answer for yourself.

For if you must so vehemently avoid alcohol, by definition you are still a slave to alcohol despite having sober time. True freedom from alcohol comes both physically and mentally.
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