Patrick Steffy has been in AA since 1972. In 2006, when he moved to Naples for a job, he found the meetings at Emmanuel Lutheran Church. “I was trying to get out of my own way,” he said, “but saying it and doing it are two different things.”

Patrick has always felt a connection to God, but not to a community of faith that accepted him and supported him. During an AA meeting at Emmanuel, he shared with the others that he didn’t seem to be getting the spiritual aspect of the program. Then someone said, “Patrick, it’s all spiritual,” which hit home for him. He was going at life alone – and God calls us to community.

The first time Amy walked into an AA meeting at Emmanuel 10 years ago she felt like she was home. “Emmanuel Lutheran saved my life. I immediately felt God’s presence.”

A man walked over to her and lifted her chin up and said, “You got this. You can do this. Keep coming back.” Meryl was his name, and his motto was “Clean House!” What he meant was to clean yourself up, trust God, and help others. Meryl had been sober for 50 years.

Amy joined the Common Solutions Program (AA) at Emmanuel Lutheran Church and it saved her family. Peace and serenity had been missing in Amy’s life. She surrendered when she joined AA and learned to tell the truth. Now she can look people in the eye.

“I was trying to get out of my own way”

Through relationships and other conversations, he met Pastor Steve. “Pastor Steve shared that he felt like AA had it right. He would like to see the congregation more open to sharing stories and fellowship like AA.” Because the congregation showed an interest in Patrick and his own spiritual journey, Patrick began to show an interest in the people of Emmanuel. He felt the Holy Spirit called him to join the community and since that time, he has grown deeper in his faith and connection.

“I guess I am an 11th-hour guy. Jesus doesn’t care when you come to the table.”. Patrick jumped in with both feet hoping to make the most of it. He got involved in the community in several ways, but his favorite is being on stage, praising God through music in the band during the Alive services. Through Bible Study and relationships, through the work of Emmanuel, Patrick recognized what it meant to be spiritual. To him it means being connected to and surrounded by a community of faith.

For the first time in his life, he felt an affirmation from God that it was “okay” to be himself. He gained a new sense of forgiveness. He went from being a person of deep depression to knowing when it was time to pray and recognizing that he was not alone. Patrick believes that by opening up the congregation to AA meetings, Emmanuel is serving others who need this same sense of “okay.”

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