Moment of Clarity
Fortunately for me, I was able to obtain a college degree before my alcoholism sent me running to AA. I’m not willing to write off the thousands less fortunate with difficulties reading by telling them here it is and throwing them a book. There are some very smart people that have difficulty reading. Our delegate from a few years ago told how an in depth big book study retreat gave his recovery a tremendous boost simply because everything was spoken aloud. He was able to deal with his reading problems AFTER he got sober.
Thankfully your speaker knows what he is talking about ! Many people have learning disabilities, and deserve recovery just as much as other people. Remember too that it was the one on one contact, a close community, and verbal communication of the steps that got the first real members of AA sober. They did not have a book - nor did they need one. Many people today find that weekly attendance at Big Book and 12 and 12 meetings where the books are read out loud made ALL the difference !!! Please support literature meetings- and invite newcomers to meet you there !!!
It seems to me that there is almost an overemphasis on using the Big Book these days. When I came to AA I couldn't read, was homeless, and had been committed to an institution. My sponsor told me to go to meetings and listen. When I tried to read my mind was so darkened and confused that by the time I got to the end of a sentence I would forget the beginning. I didn't know how to spell alcoholic.
Gradually I cleared up. I read the big book. I now work as a teacher and have a Masters degree. The Third Tradition states that the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. I get the sense from some members (the recovery Taliban) that we are also required to study and apply first 165 pages of the BOOK to our lives just as they do. According to their standards, the 29 years of sobriety God and AA have given me don't count. In humility, love, and hope I believe they do.
I got sober with an AA group that was very strict about using the BIG Book as a guide and diligently undertaking and continuing the steps. I feel unbelievably grateful that I was instructed by people who would might strike you as the AA Taliban. We called them, affectionately, Big Book Nazis. Being part of AA requires only a desire to stop drinking certainly. But the most powerful part of the program is the transformation that people undergo, and the only way to do that is to rely heavily on the Big Book and take the steps seriously. The transformation at first is from a drinker to non-drinker. As time passes, AA members who follow the Big Book and the steps change from unquiet, troubled, deeply anxious and often destructive people into happier and more loving souls. That's the part you miss if you use AA just to stop drinking and not to change, and it's why the hard part of the program -- the book and the steps -- is so important.
We have a great group of diviservied alcoholics who get to meetings in small town collaborations. Unfortunately there are some who have stomped all over the rest of the majority with Big Book steps that seemed troubled and defiant of the others to just be there, even without their books. This has aileniated the communications to be open and fruitful. We all know the steps are important and follow the long journey with multiple meetings a week. Yet these isolating individuals are a thorn, making some previous groups now uncomfortable to be with.
lets remember it's the message, not the messenger.
what has happened in AA is strange. when did using the book alcoholics anonymous from which the fellowship took its name become wrong? what's even stranger is other fellowships are having great success using the big book as their program. google cocaine anonymous, all addictions anonymous, eaters anonymous, or opiates anonymous. those fellowships are all using the big book as their basic text. why has the big book become taboo in AA? My guess is there are members of AA expressing opinions about the big book without having experience with using the big book. My home group uses the big book as the basis for the meeting. the group is sucessful, meaning newcomers come, do the work because we are, and become happy, joyous, and free. we would be fools not to follow the books design for living.
Personally, I consider the book Alcoholics Anonymous to
be the second greatest story ever told. I have not heard
or read any messages that anyone has labeled the Big Book
as taboo. I consider it a story book. You say it is a
work book. We each have the freedom to use at we please.
I do not push it on anyone. But our difference is that I
offer the Big Book in a suggestive manner. We don't seem
to have the same understanding of the meaning of suggestion.
I find that alcoholics have a defiant nature. If we do not
offer them anything to reject, they will stay with A.A.
If we make demands of them they leave and may never come back. Suggestions are not directions.
How successful are those other twelve step programs?
Really? IMO, the solution offered to Bill W. by Dr. Silkworth will work when all else fails. ANONYMOUS
in the spring of 1935
Yes, there are those of us who have been sober a while in AA (20+ years) who have never been all that much of a worshipper of the Big Book (12&12? Yes. Big Book? Not so much.) I find your statement "the only way to do that is to rely heavily on the Big Book..." a bit extreme. Only? Sorry, not my experience. I have a bigger Big Book and it's called the Bible - works for me just fine.
When I read the words "There is a Solution" - my Hope turned into Faith. That Faith has sustained me for 26 years.
I new to the world of sobriety, I have 27 days sober today!!! What a day to remember as it means to you, I was sitting around in the detox center three weeks ago, homeless and beat. I was wondering what has become of my life? Is this what was meant for me? I never wanted to be an alcoholic. but somewhere I was consumed in the whirlwind of this mental defect.
But it occurred to me that no one was putting me here but me. No one told me to drink all that I did for so many years. I decided to let god into my life. that day, I kneeled down and gave myself to the will of god. and I heard a voice say to me " what took you so long" I was neglecting my will. god wasn't punishing me for the sin I had been living, we was welcoming me back into his will,
So today I sit in a rehab sober and grateful.
your comment was very uplifting to read, as i am now 30 days sober. I still cannot believe I could ever go for any stretch of time without force. My sobriety is the best thing that has ever happened to me, and I am finding strength I never knew I had, as I have been faced with the near death of my husband--and still maintained my sobriety. Letting go and letting God has changed my life into a miracle.
9 years 8 months of total sobriety...ain't it great!!!
I've had more moments of clarity as the years of sobriety accumulate.
The latest? Well, after being laid off in 2009, I experienced intense rejection and hate toward me as I struggled with so many different jobs at my age.
I started to retaliate and was angry for quite some time. But now, I've had a moment of "clarity". Since it feels so terrible to be rejected and hated, what good does it do to spread that virus around? It does nothing to solve it, make me healthy, or create harmony. So, I've decided in a moment of lasting clarity that I will simply not hate or reject anyone.
I may disagree with them, but I will NOT hate or reject them.
These moments of clarity are not restrictive, but rather liberating.
And liberation is what gives us true inner freedom.
So, sometimes we must suffer to have a moment of clarity followed by liberating thought and action.
Nuff said: Sounds like you are getting a glimpse of
that vital ingredient, humility. Stay away from alcohol.
Stay real close to the fellowship. There are millions
in the same boat, alcoholics and non alcoholics. As difficult as it is to believe, God is still in charge.
I have a friend who is waiting for a lung transplant.
He was baptized last night. He says that he is not
dying, but wants to be ready. He is at peace. He made my day brighter. ANONYMOUS
Hi, I'm fairly new to the program, almost 7 months in. I've been working on letting go of some issues and resentments from my childhood. I was abused and mistreated and have held on to the resentment and anger for decades. I have not been able to forgive or forget the way that I was treated and I feel living the victim role has played a big role in my alcoholism. In working the steps and participating in the program, I've made a lot of progress. I'm also discovering my spiritual side, which was pretty much in a coma. I had an aha moment, where I thought of the movie, the Labarynth, with David Bowie and Jennifer Connelly. Towards the end of the movie, Sarah, played by Jennifer Connelly declared to the Goblin King, played by David Bowie that "you have no power over me", therefore defeating him and taking away his power, gaining victory and her Brother's safe return. The moral to the story was that it was all in her mind and soon as she realized this and cast him out, declaring he had no power over her.... He no longer did. I guess it was a moment where all of the work I've been doing became so clear and simple. The people that hurt me in my childhood have no power over me anymore. I choose who I am now and how I live my life and that statement is very liberating and freeing! AA has really opened me up to a spiritual side of myself that I've denied for so long and I'mextremely thankful.
Wow. You told my story. I am only a few weeks off alcohol and struggling with prescription meds still. I had a moment of clarity when I realized the people who abused me don't care and I have sabotaged my entire life trying to be believed and understood. I just turned into a bratty victim. Thanks for helping me put this into words.
Moments of clarity are nice, I hope they are glimpses of what life is going to be like once I have constant clarity. I empathize with you regarding false powers holding people back. They seem like legitimate reasons of why things aren't going your way but the future isn't written. Just because life sucked because of it it doesn't mean it has to keep ruining things.
forgive: to give up resentment of or claim to requital for
resentment: feeling of indignant displeasure or persistent ill will at something regarded as a wrong, insult, or injury, ew-living anger.
I'm now quick to deal resentments. Why would I provide free rent in my head for people I dislike?
Forgiveness does not mean I need to start liking the person, although I may. Nor does it mean trusting some who have proven untrustworthy.
Welcome and it sounds like you're on a good track.
I had ridden everything in my life to the edge of a cliff, job, finances, legal problems, out of friends, etc. I had spent six weeks reading the Big Book, going to meetings, and drinking. I woke up after a brutal, blackout weekend too sick to go to work. I stood in my dirty apartment and told myself, "My life sucks, and it is just going to get worse if I keep on drinking." Detox and AA recovery followed. The idea of the progressive nature of alcoholism, and personal powerlessness, finally sunk in. That was my moment of clarity.
Bill:Did you hear about the about the recovering alcoholic that went back to law school?
Bob: Ya, I heard he just passed the bar.
After 18 years in these rooms I often dont see the same AA I knew. The ' bottoms' of many are a joke. In Palm Beach their bottom was the 2 million they lost and only had 5 million left in their trust fund, please. The rooms seem to be populated by lightweights today- if you swear or speak bluntly they look at you like your the anti christ. I had a guy brag to me he had 2 years sobriety and had been on antibuse the whole 2 years- whats that? It aint AA- but he gets a clap on the back and a ' group hug' Thank God there are still ' cottage meettings ' out there
Many bottoms,are different.My 6 dui was not my bottom.Only when i lost my SOUL.It can be lost with 5 million in your pocket.
Hardest things for an alcoholic to do - admit he needs help and two ask for help.
Easiest thing in the world to do - stop taking a pill.
Someone wants to take antibuse to help combat those out of nowhere impulses (Bill's Armistice day drunk) more power to them. When he is sharing the road with my kids or anybody elses kids or anybody, I don't care how he keeps sober as long as he does.
You don't like meetings in Palm Beach go to Detroit, they didn't put glue in your chair did they?
Good judgment comes from experience, and experience....well that comes from poor judgment.
Great quote! I'm wondering why my judgment remains questionable since I've had lots of "experience", i.e. poor decision-making!!! Oh, wait, I've got an alcoholic mind. Still do after many years in recovery.
"...that's exactly what this book is about. Its main object is to enable you to find a Power greater than yourself that will solve your problem."
Alcoholics Anonymous p45.
Instead of the religious war mongering H.P by way of surrendering advisers imposes on others , I found within a loving and caring God that I “FREELY ACCEPTED”. Thank God that he himself is an un interpreted version. Acceptance and surrender are opposites, Take a closer look you don’t have to be bludgeoned into it religiously again
I surrender to the fact that my way doesn't work the twelve steps do. God provides acceptance.
If I had the capacity to simply dial in as much acceptance as I please I never would have felt the urge to escape into oblivion.
Towards the end of my first year sober I took a job at a ski resort and did a lot of outside physical work in a mountain environment. An old friend who worked at an outdoor clothing company heard about this and offered to send me a sampling of their latest gear if I'd try it out and report back. I was particularly looking forward to putting their state of the art rain jacket and pants to the test.
A box arrived about a week later filled with everything I had requested except the rain pants. I began to wonder (obsess might be a better word) did she not have my size, was there another box on the way, would it be bad form for me to call and ask why no rain pants.....during a run later that day in a place known as "Bum Jungle" with those thoughts still running through my mind, I had the sudden realization that I was thinking not about the 10 things I'd received but about the one thing that was missing. I realized that this was how I'd always thought and this was how I lived my life, in a constant state of want or need; always focusing on what was wrong or what was missing instead of what I had.
This realization hit me like a bolt of lightning and I fell to my knees right there in Bum Jungle. I thanked my HP for all of the gifts I'd received including my new job and the clothes and vowed to focus on and be grateful for the gifts. This was a major turning point of my sobriety. Once this pattern of thinking had been revealed to me, it became much more difficult to give it power.
I should mention here that I doubt this realization would have hit me if I had not already made a habit of taking inventory through the steps. I believe that the practice of the steps helped open my mind to this awakening and helped me see it as a gift of sobriety.
#13 "Again the 24 hour book" from January*
Yes,Kudos ! This person is 100% correct.Don't read non A.A. literature/books included, at A.A. meetings!
Since the 70's I've attempted to bring this point out a few times. Hot heads attacked me. I was weak. Healthier and stronger and more mature now, thank you to A.A.years of growth....This person has me ready to broach and pursue the campaign again. THANX !
At a meeting recently the non-conference approved
literature and books were displayed on separate tables
from approved material.
They see nothing wrong with that. The group conscience
(I don't know how informed they were) approved it. Is it
wrong? Doesn't every group have the right to be wrong?
For me it gets a little confusing. IMO, non-approved
material ought not be displayed at all in an A.A.
meeting room. ANONYMOUS
Each group is autonomous...meaning, it's ien sovereign entity. Beholden to none, but it's members. Furthermore, the term "conference approved" simply indicates that AA World is the publishing house that produced that piece of literature. It is not, as many mistakenly think, an implication of the existence of "dis-approved" literature.
That moment came a long time after getting sober and "coming back" for a while.If your new to this way of life,stick around for a while and see what happens. Don't leave "before the miracle happens". It took a while before I understood what " you can't think your way into better living, you have to live your way into better thinking" means. Maybe i'm slow , but slows good sometimes. Where else is a drunk like me got to go?
GRAPEVINE-The problem and solution “As Elliot sees it”
The Grapevine has been part of my life since I entered an inpatient treatment center 25 years ago and read some of one while sitting in a chair detoxing in the social area. It again showed up on a table at the AA group I started to attend at 40 days sober. I read more and have continued to enjoy and use the Grapevine to help me maintain my spiritual condition. My home group now has 5 subscriptions plus the 1 where I work and now the one I get where I live serve to keep me current with the stories, Victor E. and all other categories of information.
I have also read the 7 articles Bill W. wrote for the Grapevine about the Grapevine in Language of the Heart and he makes quite clear what his vision for “our meeting in print” is. In June 1944 he wrote “now comes another lighted lamp-this little newspaper called the Grapevine. May its rays of hope and experience ever fall on the current of our AA life and 1 day illumine every dark corner of this Alcoholic world.” In July 1945 he wrote “the Grapevine is self supporting now and should be kept that way always, rather than be dependent on subsidies or gratuities to insure its continuity, quality and service.” In 1946 he wrote “Dr. Bob and I hope that AAs everywhere will feel it to be their newspaper…that the Grapevine will presently take its place in the minds of all AAs as one of our essential central services….”. In 1950 he wrote “This is a plug for the Grapeviners and all their works. May they live long and prosper.” In 1957 he wrote “What do you think the Grapevine and all their works would like from you and me? Of course pieces contributed, sure, send them in, they chorus. Subscriptions? Here they brighten way up and say “Brother, now you’re talking.” In June of 1959 he said on the Grapevine’s 15 anniversary, “on this happy occasion I send my warmest affection to Grapevine readers and staff alike. May GOD prosper the Grapevine always.”
I have been disappointed to see how the Grapevine continues to lose money, except for last year, and have often wondered what the problem could be. I have read with interest many explanations and all seemed reasonable until I started to really study its history.
Whenever I study the history of some aspect of AA I first go to the Advisory Actions and there is where I began to see what the problem is and what the solution could be. The 1st thing I noticed is beginning in 1954 an Advisory Action started:
1. The Delegates on their return incorporate in their report on the Conference the suggestion that each group appoint a Grapevine reporter who will be responsible for subscriptions and bulk orders and who will encourage members to submit articles and stories.
2. That each delegate contact those groups in his Area which do not have the Grapevine available at its meetings and draw their attention to the importance and advantages of obtaining copies for the group either through monthly or yearly bulk orders and
3. The delegates emphasize the value of the Grapevine to the individual member.
The essence of this Advisory Action was restated in 1956, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1962, 1963, 1966, 1967, 1969, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1984, 1986, 1987 and 1988 and then there is no mention of the Delegates focusing their attention to and on the Grapevine until 2010 when a survey was recommended in order to reach the broadest spectrum of the fellowship on the Grapevine.
In 1972 the Advisory Action stated “Retiring delegates continue their service to AA by acting as Grapevine Reps in their Areas “ and in 1977 that “Delegates be responsible for establishing Area Grapevine Committees using the Area and District service structure to achieve the goal of a Grapevine Representative in every group.” In 1990 and 1991 I observed our Area 25 Delegate choose an Area Grapevine Chairperson who followed the Grapevine Workbook suggestions from the outset and increased subscriptions about 1500 in 2 years.
I am also aware that one of the duties of the Delegate, (pg. S48), is to remind GSRs to inform groups and individuals about the AA Grapevine and conference approved literature and also that Past Delegates be responsible to urge more widespread distribution of Conference approved literature and the AA Grapevine. ( pg. S47).
When I was new in AA, problems concerning our fellowship would come up and some members in response would come up with some great idea to solve same and then a long timer would stand up and say “My experience is that the solution is communication and all we need to do is make a concentrated effort by all involved to let people know of the problem” and they will come through” and I have seen this work over and over again.
I brought the last 2 items up to a Trustee and he inferred the “Delegates don’t take older Advisory Actions seriously and there is not a Guideline for the Grapevine because some feel the Grapevine is not AA. I was at the SW Regional Forum in Oct. of 2011 and listened to a Past Trustee blame the DCMs for the lack of Grapevine support. Yet if you read the Service Manual there is nothing stated in the DCM duties that he should be sure to have an active District Grapevine Rep nor does it state in the GSRs duties that they should have an active Group Grapevine rep. I was happy to see that this might be changing with respect to the GSR but what about adding similar language to the DCM duties so we have some consistency throughout the structure. *
So, as in most cases the problem is selfishness as it applies to any past Delegate who is not following through on the Advisory Actions that they voted on or his duties as described in the Service Manual and the solution is to take the actions suggested. If 93 Delegates and Past Delegates would do this it is my belief and experience that the Grapevine would always be self supporting and could pay for any losses still being incurred by La Vina.
I was asked to be the Grapevine Rep for Area 25 District 10 and I plan to follow the wonderful Grapevine Workbook we have, all 80 pages of it, and we will see what happens.
Yours in the Spirit of Sacrifice
*I was happy to read in the General Service Conference Final Report-2012 the recommendations and suggested considerations from the Grapevine Committee as stated on pages 57 and 58.
I am a snow bird in Fl attending over 300+ meetings annually for a few years. I am curious as to the defination of "a member of the group" and who is included and how one joins. I do have a sponsor in each location and have a home group. I do attend the monthly business meetings where all are welcome,speak,chair,greet, participate,sponsor,etc. Thank you, Don
In my experience and the third tradition, you're an AA member if you say you are, and your home group(s) are your home group(s) if you say they are as well. There are no qualifications or approvals to be met other than the desire to stop drinking... and to be a "part of"
I had turned to drinking/ drugs so early in life that I didn't learn to let the shock of a problem move through me and subside long enough to realize that it wasn't the end of the world. I had forgotten how to function without it. Oddly enough the challenges that used to turn me to escape now strengthen my resolve & run me away from danger. My former "fiancee"(5 years) wouldn't accept my new found strenghts and was really close to inspiring a relapse by seeing my former old helpless 1st step person when I may look the same but I'm different. He'd say go run out and get drunk, that's what you do, thanks to the 2nd step, No, I don't! Thank you very much, AA! I'm not the helpless victim, & I haven't been for 1 year and 2 1/2 months. I know that I can still be tempted but I distance myself from those who need me in a state that's easier to control or more comfortable to them for whatever reason. The urge to show him & prove the newer, healthier me is being replaced by the desire to be the newer & better person. And, of course, the desire to help someone else's recovery.
I have been quite pleasantly surprised by something that was hurled as an insult becoming a moment of clarity in the end of a strange realationship that was just as self-destructive as drinking.
Today, I don't automatically drink & for me it's escape from a horrible trap.
Re-reading the chapter Working With Others, reminded me that instead of "You should read the Big Book", I need to be saying "Myself, I read the Big Book, all of it." So I read it. What did I think, the last 411 pages were for, people who needed more fiber in their diet?
Putting together the information from the AA pioneers stories,
I saw clearly what I'm "Entitled" to.
The AA message.
A town the size of Chicago or a country the size of Canada to carry it to.
For thousands of years alcoholics didn't have that. They had insanity, institutions, death. The message came only 14 years before I was born and only 44 years before I needed it. I found it in minutes a few blocks from my home, a long way from Akron.
I don't believe I'm "Entitled" to a meeting free of chanting, non approved literature, the right brand of sugar substitute, dust motes in the corner....
If I'm not "Entitled" to something I not getting, I really have no business feeling angry about it or not being able to impose MY WILL on those who HAVE IT ALL WRONG. I think I do my part keeping the group close to the AA ideal as I understand it. I think that's what I'm supposed to do.
I'm grateful that I get infinitely more than I'm entitled to.
I do believe that I am entitled to attend an A.A. meeting
without all the chanting,shouting,hooting and hollering.
We look like idiots in the eyes of the public. Bill
warned us many times about the value of a favorable
public image. It took a lot of time and effort, but
today I have a chant-free meeting to go to almost every day.
Occasionally a member will chant, but soon hears how
stupid it sounds. We don't even have to point it out. ANONYMOUS
I think you are too. I guess I’ve been fortunate in finding good meetings for 33 years. From Thunder Bay, Ontario to Pascagoula, Mississippi, from Gulf Coast Florida to the high desert country of western Colorado and close to a dozen ships at sea I’ve never herd any hooting or hollering. None. Chanting? Maybe three seconds of “It works if you work it”. Although I don’t join it doesn’t come close to reaching my resentment threshold and if it did, nobody elected me Grand High Poobah to lord over every second of every meeting. Thank God they didn’t, come to think of it.
For the poor fellow who reported all the chanting and hooting, I’m glad you found your way out of the Hare Krishna Temple or witches coven you were stuck in.
Thanks for your comments. If you have time, reread chapter 7. Take careful notice of the change from we ought to you in chapter 7. Especially read page 95 - ask him to read this book......and so on. I have counted at least 40 times in the big book where it refers to the book, asks u to read it or asks you to ask someone else to read it.
Campfire meeting, a gathering of clean and sober bikers in the western Colorado desert.
A line from page 45
"Its (Big Book's) main object is to enable you find a Power greater than yourself that will solve your problem."
About a dozen years sober before I heard it and now close to two dozen after and it's still the most powerful thought in all of Alcoholics Anonymous. I find a Higher power, the Higher power solves the problem. I no longer need to hammer square pegs through round holes. I'm freely given pegs that fit the holes.
Moment of Clarity is when I discovered there was a God and "WE" were not it !!
Two weeks ago I was at a meeting I normally don’t attend. I don’t recall the exact topic, but the discussion was mostly centered around the big book and AA literature. The last person to share said something I have never heard in an AA meeting until now. He said “When AA started they didn’t have the big book or literature, If they didn’t need then I don’t either”.
I thought,” to each his own”. That comment made me think something I have never thought in the 20 years I’ve been in AA. I wondered how many times in the big book does it suggest reading or using the book? I meditated on that question for awhile. I started at the front cover of the 4th edition of the big book. Before I got to page 1, I counted 10 references to reading or reasons for the book. From pages 17-164 I counted another 30 references to using the book or volume. That’s 40 references to why we have literature, suggestions to read the big book, suggestions to use the book for 12 stepping, suggestions to the wives, families, and employers of alcoholics to read and use the big book. There were a few other references to the book in different contexts. Nonetheless 40 references to the book “Alcoholics Anonymous”! I’ll take that number as a suggestion from the founders of AA that the big book is an important volume and should be used in my personal recovery!
Yes, I did have some free time during my winter break from work.
Good luck to you all in your recovery!
About 3 months ago I visited a town about 40 miles from my home. While there I got a chance to do something that I really enjoy, attending an AA meeting in a new town. I checked the local schedule and found a big book meeting that I could attend.
During the beginning of the meeting, as part of the meeting format, the group read Richmond Walker’s 24 hour book. My heart sank a little. I thought I was at a big book meeting not a Hazeldon meeting. After a few minutes the meeting started and it was good.
When it was my turn, I had a few words to say, although it was difficult. I said, I have never been to this meeting before, I am from out of town and may never return. I would like to mention that I am aware that each AA group is autonomous, however that the 24 hour book is not AA conference approved literature. Also our general service conference “suggests” that we only display or sell AA literature in our AA meetings. The conference also felt it was best to use AA materials that align with AA principals. I also brought up that Richmond had offered the book to AA in the early fifties. It was declined partially do to it’s religious tone. The book was offered to AA again in 1972 and declined again. I offered to forward an email sent to me from GSO describing the facts I had mentioned.
On Saturday my daughter had a basketball game in that same town. As it worked out, I was able to attend that same big book meeting before her game. The 24 hour book was read from again to start the meeting. I felt my heart sink again. This time, the chairperson called a group conscience just before the start of the meeting. He asked why are we reading a book produced my hazeldon in an AA meeting. A short discussion followed with a motion to no longer use the 24 hour book in conjunction with that meeting.
Afterward I thanked the chairperson for what he had done. He said that he recognized me from months earlier and we left it at that.
I have learned once again that it is my responsibility as an older member of AA to share my experience, strength, and hope, even if it may be unpopular. As long as I am honest and have motives that stand up to the four absolutes, I should usually be ok.
About seven years ago I went to a meeting in Northern Virginia where I was told that they no longer allow the
24 hr book to be read in their rooms. I was livid! How
dare they ban a book which I had carried in my back
pocket for 35 years. I knew that it was not conference
approved, but I always felt that Bill W. didn't accept
it because it wasn't his work.
Let this be my apology to our co-founder. I simply
did not understand the real reasons for Bill's refusal to
allow this book to be an official part of Alcoholics
Anonymous. The book contains a vast amount of great
material for alcoholics.
To read this book aloud at meetings places the
"cart before the horse". We do not want to try
to cram this information down the throats of our
members, new or old.
This book "must" be removed from all A.A. meeting
rooms. This is one of my favorite books, but it ought
not be allowed in meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous.
The reading of this book at meetings has led us
to becoming some new type of religion. Bill wrote
that nothing could be so damaging to A.A. than for
it to become another religion. The reading of HIW and
the 24hr book aloud at meetings has driven hundreds of
thousands of suffering alcoholics from our rooms. No,
I have no scientific research. Only my observations
and GSO's membership numbers. ANONYMOUS
To my knowledge the 24 hr book was not "offered" to
Alcoholics Anonymous in 1972. It was only offered once
in the early 1950's. In 1972 enough members wanted the
24 hr book approved to bring it up for a vote. The
members at that time wanted the conference to approve
the book. It was being widely used and accepted by the
members and the groups. Thank God there were enough
votes to deny approval. Today I am convinced that it
would be approved, and by a large majority, although
there would be no financial gain.
Personally I never understood why Bill W. and his
friends refused the book in the first place. Today I
do understand, and it frightens me that it is so
widely accepted and used in meetings. ANONYMOUS
Corey, I have a couple of questions. 1. If the meeting you
attended were an open discussion topic meeting, would
you have objected to the reading of the 24hr book. 2. If
our General Service Conference approved the book (this may
be closer than you think) would it then be OK to use?
I see the reading of the 24hr book and the reading
of "how it works" aloud at meetings to be in contrast
to how to carry the message. This custom ignores Dr.
Silkworth's advice to Bill W. in the spring of 1935.
Bill writes that without this advice A.A. could never
have been born. If we keep ignoring that advice A.
A. is doomed. Read that history. Investigate please.
Chanting and today's concept of sponsorship make us
a cult. Reading the 24hr book and How it Works aloud
at meetings make us a religion. We were never meant to be either, a cult or religion. Today much of the general
public view us as a strange religious cult. A recent
poster wrote that one of the frequent questions asked
of GSO Is A.A. a cult? ANONYMOUS
I might be just a little thick tonight but I fail to understand how reading HIW at our meetings makes AA a religion. Can anyone explain the logic of that statement?
Thanks for your your help and wish all of you another 24 hours.
Alcoholics Anonymous is not a religion, never has been
and never will be. But our fellowship has become so much
like a religion that it is treated as a religion by our
court system. The next time you hear "How it Works" being
read loud and clear at an A.A. meeting ask yourself: Is
this much like a church service? Are we not cramming the
steps and God down everyone's throat. According to Bill W.
that is not the best way to reach the suffering alcoholic
at the depth necessary for recovery. Please read the Grapevine article Bill wrote for the September 1945 issue
of the AA Grapevine. "Rules' Dangerous but Unity Vital,
page 6 in The Language of the Heart.
The decades of the 1960's, 1970's and 1980's were years
of tremendous growth in A.A. membership. Ought we not
return to A.A. to the way it was in those years. I saw
the changes, heard them with my own ears and now have
seen the results of those changes. Most other members
who observed them have simply walked away or have
passed away. A.A. will eventually become effective again
or it will die. I just want it to be restored to an
effective solution to alcoholism before we lose another
generation. We have not only ruined A.A. Other fellowships
are following our lead and soon they also will be
You are one of the few who will ever be willing to
continue to investigate until you understand what I am
talking about. You will get there. I am just trying
to fast-forward by sounding the alarm, repeatedly. ANONYMOUS