From the April 2014 magazine.

Look for the Gems

How old-timers taught him to mine his Big Book for the jewels that really shine

I’m lucky to have had the same sponsor for almost 29 years. I’m also lucky to have met some of the old-timers in my area and to have their guidance, in addition to my sponsor’s. A couple of these men were especially helpful with my appreciation for the Big Book. One guy knew some of the earliest AA members. His sponsor was one of the people who influenced Bill W. when Bill was writing the Big Book. It was said that his ideas on spirituality and God contributed to the wording “God as we understood Him.” One of the other old-timers attended his first six years of meetings in a maximum-security prison in Kansas. These men defined their era of getting sober by the different versions of the Big Book that their sponsors used. The sponsor of one of the old-timers had used the first edition. The other one had used the second edition, which was the current edition when he and his sponsor got sober.

My sponsor and I both got sober with the third edition. I have a copy of the fourth edition, but I still take my older one to my weekly Big Book and Step-study meeting. My sponsor told me in my first 60 days to develop the habit of attending meetings with different formats. He told me to get a home group. He also directed me to read the Big Book daily. He said to look for the gems and that I’d know it when I read one. He said everyone finds their own gems as they read the book.

-- Skitch F.

Albuquerque, New Mexico

This is a preview. To view the full article, use the link below to begin a free 7-day trial!