Hi, Kathleen. No, i have no push back – you have seen correctly that the full Gospel cannot be a standard part of the 12 Step fellowships, since most people coming in have a distrust of religion and much confusion about God being a demanding, hostile, vengeful kind of being. Most of these folks had a broken home and only a very few had a good church experience as part of their up-bringing.
So first the newcomer needs to begin to come to trust their fellow recovering addicts, then see that there is almost no “self-righteousness” among us, yet we have found workable relationships with the “God of our understanding”. Then, as they begin to relate to us more and hear/see the changes in us, they can begin to believe that there is an accepting, caring, “Higher Power” that wants to help them in their specific-substance recovery, and later in all aspects of their lives.
Given more meetings and time away from their active addiction, they will normally get into the Step process, which i understand to be empowered by the Holy Spirit, who then leads them (sometimes very gradually/slowly) to Christ. Not all people will come to know Jesus this way, of course, but a lot of folks do, Me included, and i was a confused, militant atheist when i got into recovery.
It is a “partial Gospel”, definitely, yet the environment is conducive to wanting to know more and more about this Power that helps us stay sober/clean/abstinent. Naturally there is a heavy emphasis on “gradual-grace” rather than “instant-righteousness”, since many of us have been rejected and “burned” by highly critical, judgmental religious groups, and rebelled against “the pharisees”, so to speak, who misrepresented the true God of infinite goodness.
I will plan to write some more about the way Jesus reveals it is Him who is healing us, soon. I appreciate your thoughtful interaction – thank you.