Moment of Clarity

198 replies [Last post]
Joined: 2012-12-08
re: Another Lesson Learned

Harsh. AA is neither a cult nor a religion. Sticking to GSO approved literature is the group conscience of AA as expressed through our trusted leaders. AA is doing fine.

Another lesson

"A.A. is neither a cult or a religion." In a video produced
in 1999 for public television this question was asked. "Is
Alcoholics Anonymous some kind of religious cult? This
video was titled "Inside Alcoholics Anonymous". Whether
we admit or not A.A. has become a strange religious cult. The public sees it. New alcoholics aproaching us soon see
what we have become. We have become what we vowed never
to become. Bill W. warned us many times about the mistakes
we might make. We have made practically all of them.
If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it
probably is a duck. From the inside, A.A. appears to be "alive and well". But stand back and take a good look.
We have been "spinning our wheels", stagnant, for two
decades now. Pride and EGO, dogma and distortion are
pushing suffering human beings, from what may be their
last attempt to quit drinking themselves to misery and
early death. That is what I would call "Harsh".
We have a method, technique, gadget which rarely
fails, but we have pushed that solution aside, trying
to do it our own way. Again Page 70 in Alcoholics Anonymous
Comes of Age offers that vital information. ANONYMOUS

re re

Good questions, I’ll try not to botch my answer too much! To answer question 1. Yes, I would and do object. When I attend a meeting that reads the 24 book, I state my case and share some facts and leave it at that. In my location, which I like to refer to as treatment centerville (ha ha) all but three meetings use the 24 hour book during the meeting format. All but one (my home group) read how it works to start the meeting. As a relative old timer (20+ years sober), I feel a responsibility to suggest groups not use non aa material as part of the meeting. That being said I will answer question 2. We need to remember that each group is indeed autonomous. What each group conscience chooses to use in their format is up to them. I need to keep in mind tradition 2. If GSO ever did approve the 24 hour book, I will eat my shoe. It was turned down because of it’s religious tone and I don’t see how AA could ever approve a book that Hazeldon prints.

As Always, I enjoy these discussions,
Corey in Mn.

Joined: 2012-02-25
Religion and religious cultism

Thanks again Corey for your input. I enjoy reading your comments and it gives me encouragement that I am not alone in my concerns for the future of AA.

It is not just the reading of non-approved AA literature due to its religious content that gives me concern. There are many other religious aspects present at most AA meetings which I believe are equally damaging.

Our preamble states, “AA is not allied with any sect or denomination”. Reality falls far short of this objective. Religion is offensive to agnostics, atheists and non-religious members. We live in a pluralistic society where meetings should reflect only spiritual values.

Due to AA religious practices many professionals and the general public hesitate to recommend us. Many practicing alcoholics believe AA is a religious cult and refuse to seek our help.

Groups holding meetings in churches fail to state they only rent the meeting rooms adding to the belief (especially with newcomers and visitors) that AA is a religious organization affiliated with many churches.

Sadly, the Lord’s Prayer, a Christian prayer, is used to close most meetings. Religious prayers, prayer circles, chanting, religion bashing and Bible quoting are frequent practices, seen and heard, that contradict our tenet of being only a spiritual program.

Newcomers arrive at our doors sick, lonely, and resentful towards God and religion. They leave after experiencing too much of either. The last thing a newcomer needs is a religious member trying to convert them at an AA meeting.

AA unity, growth and recovery rates depend on retaining spiritual principals while eliminating all religious aspects found in our meetings. What we do and say in meetings must follow the principals laid out in our traditions, Blue Card and Preamble.

These practices have been getting worse over my 23 years of sobriety. IMO religion is one of the main issues that threatens the unity and survival of our life saving and life giving fellowship.

I pray that the majority of AA members and groups begin to accept these problems exist and become willing to take some action to turn things around.

Let’s keep the spiritual and get rid of the religion in AA. There really is a difference IMO!

Mike B.
Oliver, BC

Hazelden's Book

GSO will never approve this little black book. They do not
have that power, any means to do so. The 21 trustees could
possibly render it approved. They have absolute power.
It is the fellowship, represented by our delegates,
which will eventually approve the 24 hr book. And I believe
it is closer than you think. The membership has already
made the book a part of A.A.. It has already been
accepted by most of our membership. You say "all but 3
of your local meetings use it." Most of the meetings
in my area use it. Why not just make it "legal". This
could be accomplished by the General Service Conference.
Out of 134 voting members, if the majority approves,
it will be Conference Approved Literature.
I believe that this action would be a tragic blunder.
But the blunder has already been made by our religious
members. But we need to investigate and understand why
this book was rejected in the first place. Confused??


Did you know that Bill W. and his friends rejected the
24hr book in the early 1950's, even though they must have
realized that it was and is a real money maker. A.A. could
have owned the book with all the profits.
I am convinced that if that same offer was made today,
the 24hr book would be accepted wholeheartedly.
The Daily Reflections book which is an A.A. approved
book. This accepted book is a conference approved version
of the 24hr. book. By 1990 the A.A. religion had already
taken hold.
In 1972, there were enough members who wanted the 24hr
book accepted to bring it to the conference, without
the possibility of any financial gain. That frightens
me. Try to understand what I am trying to say. A.A.
has become a strange religious cult and much of the
public sees that. New members approaching us see it.
It is only the current cult members who do not see it,
and refuse to even investigate.
You are sober two decades. At two decades I fought
"tooth and nail" to keep the 24hr book in my meetings.
You already have a glimpse of the problem. It took
me another fifteen years to open my closed mind. I
believe today that the acceptance of the 24 hour
book into A.A. was one of our worst blunders ever.
When I finally understood why the 24hr book was
rejected, it became clear why the reading of "How
it Works" aloud from the podium is so harmful to
the effectiveness of our fellowship.
Thanks for your devoted service. ANONYMOUS

RE: re, re.

You write that your home group does not read "How it Works".
How do you stand on that format? I truly believe that the
reading of HIW aloud at meetings is one of the worst mistakes we have ever made in Alcoholics Anonymous. That
reading in addition to the 24hr book has led our fellowship
down the religious path. Bill warned us about turning A.A.
into a new type of religion. We have done just that. Even
with that we do save some souls. But the theme of attraction
rather than promotion offers wholesale recovery for the
alcoholic sufferer.
Study Bill W.'s initial attempts at helping alcoholics.
He was using the HIW, 24hr book approach. Sure, neither of
those had been written, but that was the approach Bill was
using. No alcoholic responded to that method.
Bill W., using advice from Dr Silkworth, developed
a different method, technique, method, gadget which
has been effective in most cases. Study the "cart before
the horse idea". Bill writes many times in our literature.
Read page 70 in A.A.C.A. Bill tells us how to carry
the A.A. message. It may be difficult to understand.
A friend recently came up to me and said: Now I
understand what you have been trying to tell us. He
had been reading some of the messages from Language of
the Heart. This unique way of carrying the message may
seem a bit unusual but it works almost every time.
In 1972, I would have voted to accept the 24hr book
as approved literature. Today the fact that enough
A.A. members wanted it to bring it the conference
level in 1972 frightens me. But regardless, the 24hr has been widely accepted by our membership, but I won't ask
you to eat the shoe. ANONYMOUS

re anonymous

How do I stand on the how it works format? Personally I think the language is strong for a newcomer. I also believe in tradition 2 and 4. Each group should follow it’s own conscience and I should respect that if I am in compliance with tradition 4.
That being said, if you read Working with Others, on page 95 it says if he is interested and wants to see you again, ask him to read this book in the interval. So as you can see, AA suggest you read the big book from the get go, and any newcomer will be reading how it works when they get to page 58. The cart before the horse idea should be employed during that first meeting, in my opinion.
My home group is relatively small. It is a big book meeting. Each week we read where we left off the last week until we go through the first 164 pages, then start over. If we have a newcomer, we read the first couple pages of more about alcoholism and discuss that.
I feel if we are reading out of the big book, we won’t stray to far off course. I am well aware of the “cart before the horse”. That is what the Dr.s Opinion , Bill’s story, and More About Alcoholism is for.

Thank you and God bless you,

The first 164 pages?

We had a local meeting about ten years ago, a Big Book
noon meeting, where we read just the stories. We did not
even read the first 164 pages. Thinking about it now, I
wonder "What were we thinking?".
I don't know the location, but Bill W. wrote that we
ought not underestimate the value of the stories in the
Today at local meetings, we read the book beginning
to end, every page. I personally believe the stories
are as important as the first 164 pages.
I also love the book Experience, Strength, and Hope,
the collection of stories deleted from editions I II&III.
Identification is vital to recovery for most of us.
Alcoholics Anonymous is a spiritual fellowship. Few
alcoholics get sober using the mechanical TWELVE STEP
PROGRAM approach. Some but not many. ANONYMOUS

Joined: 2012-05-30
re 164

Yes, I agree the stories are important for identification. I have been to meetings where only the stories in the big book are read. I had the feeling the group was avoiding the program while enjoying the fellowship.
Including the forwards in the begining of the 4th edition, there are 196 pages. If we cover about 8 pages per meeting we can read the unchanged portion of our book of experience twice a year during our meeting. If we read the entire book during the meeting, we would have to cover 23 pages per meeting the cover the book in a year. Our group conscience decided to stick with the first 164.
In regards to the story section of the book, there is some great history in AA Comes of Age. I can't remember the exact page, however Bill W said that of the 28 stories in the back of the book,15 never drank again, 8 drank and returned to stay sober, and 5 drank and never came back. If you have time, a revealing exercise is to identify the stories removed from the first addition and replaced in the second. I am no rocket scientist, but I'll bet the stories removed from the first addition and not included in the second edition are likely the drinkers.
If anyone can remember the page this information is on in AA comes of age please respond.
You are 100% right that few alcoholics "GET" sober by using the 12 steps. Most alcoholics need to use the 12 steps to "STAY" sober and emotionally balanced. I like the sentence in the big book on the bottom of page 82, " We feel a man is unthinking when he says that sobriety is enough.
Thanks again for the discusion topics, good luck to you in your sobriety and God bless you,

RE; re 164

Corey, I don't especially like the sentence in the big book
on the bottom of page 82, "We feel a man is unthinking when
he says sobriety is enough." Looking up the definition of
sobriety, I am satisfied that sobriety is enough. "Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics
to achieve sobriety." Sobriety is our goal. Anything else
is icing on the cake. Did Bill mean that just not drinking
is not enough? That I would agree with. ANONYMOUS
Another great book (also my opinion) is "Experience,
Strength and Hope", a conference approved book, published
in conjunction with the Fourth edition of the Big Book.
This book contains all the stories deleted from the
first, second and third edition of the Big Book. It
is available at a very low price.

No Musts in A.A.

When Bill first introduced the traditions to the membership by way of the Grapevine,
He wrote that we have no "musts" in A.A. Some members say there are as many as fifty
"musts" in the big book. Bill explained that the big book and the steps were meant to
be suggestive only. He wrote in the big book that more would be revealed, that the book
was meant to be suggestive only. The steps are defined as suggestive only. Most A.A. members
today have no real understanding of what suggestive means, or what is meant by
suggestion. To tell an alcoholic to do something or they are going to die is far
from being a suggestion. ANONYMOUS

Joined: 2012-05-30
re no musts

When we say there are no musts or requirements to sobriety, we are full of intelectual pride and classic alcoholic rationalizations.
If i am to get or stay sober, i must not drink.
Our requiement is that we must be convinced that a life run on selfwill cannot be a success.
For me today to say there are no musts in AA is a deadly lie. I have seen more alcoholics drink and die by being mislead to beleive an alcoholic can continue to be selfish and selfcentered and live.
I am writing from experience. when i worked the program my way, i couldnt't stay sober. When i tried to do what the big book described as a program of recovery, I got sober and have stayed that way since,God willing.

clu 1992

What do you suppose Bill W. meant when he wrote in
an article for the December 1947 issue of the A.A.
Grapevine: Alcoholics Anonymous has no "musts". You can
find it in Language of the Heart, Page 76.
Do you think Bill was full of intellectual pride
and classic rationalizations?
I believe there are certain things I must personally
do, or not do, in order to get sober and remain sober.
But I do understand why there are no "musts" for
membership in A.A. I would hardly call it a deadly
We do not make any demands on any alcoholic coming into
Alcoholics Anonymous. A desire to get well is the only
requirement. We only share how we got sober and end it!
If we are attractive enough maybe they will want what
we have and will be, or eventually become, willing to
do what we did, as described in the Big Book. If we
display spiritual pride and EGO, without any humility
the suffering alcoholic will leave and may never come
back. See page 199 in "As Bill Sees It", and read the
related articles. Bill explains it better than I have
done here. ANONYMOUS

re anonymous

I get the impression you like as bill see’s it. Have a look at page 273. It says: The life if each AA and of each group is built around our twelve steps and twelve traditions. We know that the penalty for extensive disobedience to these principles is death for the individual and dissolution for the group. But an even greater force for aa’s unity is our compelling love for our fellow members and for our principals.

As Bill Sees It

When the work on that book began, It was meant to be
a daily reader. The A.A. Way of Life was the origional
title. I personally believe that the book was meant to
be a substitute for the 24hr book. I question why this
new book was never completed. If it had 365 or 366 dated
pages, it could be a true daily reader. It is an idea
which could easily be accomplished. Simply add the day
by day date and add the additional thirty some pages.
When the book was published it was not a very good
seller. Some attributed it to the title, so the title
was changed to "As Bill Sees It". I believe the reason
for poor sales was that the book was never finished.
Bill W. was old and ill, and time ran out.
I have a deep respect for all of Bill W.'s writings.
Collectively they offer a solution to the age old
dilemma of alcoholism. I needed to hear and understand
the whole story. Taken in bits and pieces his work
is sometimes impossible to understand and apply.. Bill often wrote material, and later explained it again as more had been revealed. Bill was a human being with flaws. He made mistakes. I think he covered that with "we are not saints."
Note: Some southern groups follow that with "WHAT IS THE POINT?"
The one point I would wholeheartedly agree on is this:
Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly
followed our path. Very few alcoholics stay sober in
A.A. today so why do I contradict myself? It is not
the newcomer who is not following the path. It is
today's prideful A.A. member. ANONYMOUS

re anonymous

Interesting what you say about no demands then the requirement in tradition 3. Sounds like talking out of both sides of our mouth.
I see demands everyday in aa liturature and meetings. anonymity, singleness of purpose, give it away to keep it, we must or it kills us, God makes that possible,any life run on self will cannot be a success,non-alcoholics cannot be aa members, share experience, strenght and hope,once an alcoholic always an alcoholic,if we skip this step we may not overcome drinking, abandon yourself to God as you understand God, admit your faults to Him and your fellows, Half measures avail us nothing, ect.
It's hard not to think we make no demands on newcomers when meditating on this last paragraph.


We must give it away to keep it. If we don't try to give
away the gift so freely given us, we may lose that gift
ourselves. To me that gift is life itself.
But in order to transfer the gift, we must (there's that
word again) follow specific directions. The directions may
sound strange. We must never tell any alcoholic what they
must do. Most alcoholics have a rebellious nature. One
of the steps describes us as being emotionally sensitive
and grandiose. Defiant brats.
Again, we do not tell any alcoholic what to do or
what they must do.(in theory). Leave that job up to the Big Book and God. Attraction, not promotion. If we just share
exactly what happened to us, and our own house is in order,
we will rarely fail. If we display spiritual pride and
arrogance, we will rarely succeed.
If you have trouble understanding this concept you are
not alone. Dr. William Silkworth worked intensively with
alcoholics for 20 years until he stumbled upon the "IDEA"
while working with Bill W. Very few alcoholics recovered. Most of today's A.A. members have no idea what that IDEA is. Dr. Silkworth simply called it the "cart before the horse", idea. If we can study, understand and obey that
idea, we can restore the effectiveness of our fellowship.
If we stubbornly refuse to even acknowledge that a problem
exists, Alcoholics Anonymous is doomed.
The saddest part is that we could stumble along,
"spinning our wheels" for several more decades, appearing
to be successful, all the while failing hundreds of
thousands of suffering human beings every year. God gave
us a special technique, through these two men. Bill W.
and Dr Silkworth. This method rarely fails. ANONYMOUS

re anonymous

I absolutely do believe Bill W was full of intellectual pride and alcoholic rationalizations. If he wasn't to one degree or another, he would hardly be alcoholic.

Like you said, you belive personally there are certain things you must do for sobriety. I agree 100%.

I feel when we say there are no musts, we mean there is no way to enforce our musts or requirements. Each member must decide for themselves if they want to live or die.

Bill also said there are two authorities in AA. One benign and one malign. One is God waiting for you to do his will and the other is alcohol saying if you don't do God's will I will kill you.

If I want to live, I am required to take or not take certain actions. AA's have no way of impossing those requirements on anyone but ourselves.


Nice Post, Corey

Good job, Corey - nice and simple -


All members must decide for themselves if they want to
live or die. But to carry our message of recovery to the suffering alcoholic, we do not tell them that they have to decide.
Attraction, not Promotion. If we are good examples, they
will want what we have. How could anyone refuse a new
life when it is offered? The God of my understanding
gave me free will. We must offer the suffering alcoholic
approaching us that same freedom.
You have some good messages. I hope you have the time
and energy to continue for a long time. Hopefully you
can find more information in A.A. Comes of Age, and
The Language of the Heart. Study those books and learn
the A.A. history. They offer information vital to the future
of A.A. It took me 35 years to get involved and somewhat educated.Please don't wait that long. ANONYMOUS
PS: We have no way of imposing any requirements on
anyone but ourselves: Let's stop trying!!

re anonymous

Anonymous, it sounds as though you are imposing requirements on Corey, let's stop trying.


No requirements, Just suggestions.

"Our" Big Book

Does everything happen for a reason? I am not an attorney and do not claim to be any kind of expert on copyrights. I have always believed that the loss of the copyright to the book
Alcoholics Anonymous was to some measure a tragedy. Today I see the loss as a defining moment
in our fellowship, in regard to our seventh tradition of self support. That is, supporting
ourselves at all levels without any money from outside our AA membership, actually refusing
outside contributions, always. Bill W. certainly was crushed when John D. Rockefeller refused
to give AA large sums of money. It was not Bill W., but Rockefellow who gave birth to our
tradition of self support.
In the early years Bill and Dr. Bob needed the income from the Big Book, in order to devote
full time attention to developing our fellowship. Without the
Big Book income, Bill would have had to find a job. Dr. Bob could
not have treated those thousands of men and women in his remaining
fifteen years.
The General Service Board was given full ownership of the BB
in 1942. If we had not lost the copyright and had maintained full
absolute control of the book, our trustees would be able to fund our
NY operation with profits from the book. If necessary the price
could be raised to $30 each. I would guess that the books are
printed at $2.00. Our AA members would not even have to
"participate" at all. But with the loss of the copyright, and
competition from other publishers, we have to keep our price
within reason, along with other publishers.
What a blessing. The book is easily affordable by all. Plus
the AA membership is compelled to pay for services and
"participate". What a wonderful design. What a wonderful
Designer. I hope this makes sense. ANONYMOUS

RE: "our" Big Book

I am disappointed by the lack of response to this article by ANONYMOUS. I think it deserves discussion. Rose

The Big Book

How GSO ever lost control of their lifeline I do not know but I see it as God's will.I just hope other's who publish the BB do not make changes like the AAWS did in Dr Bob's Nightmare-which ws a real nightmare.

Big Book changes, Dr. Bob's nightmare?

I recall comments about slight changes in the doctor's
story from the third to the fourth edition. Could you
explain what changes were made. Do you know if we still
hold the copyright on the stories in the third edition.
I know that we lost the ownership of the first 164 pages
somewhere along the way. I understand that some of the
wording on the dust cover of the third edition was
changed by "someone". "Someone Else" recently tried to get that change reversed. I don't think they were very successful. I found that fellowship in the
third edition evolved into Fellowship in the fourth
edition. Shucks, says someone. What difference could


It seems to me that your posting is more severely caustic, scathing than anything I have posted.
I questioned whether it was even worth a reply. But here goes: I really do not consider any edition
of the Big Book to be sacred. I would have stayed with the third edition. I would never have accepted
the "Hold hands and pray" story in the fourth edition. AA is prettymuch like it was thirty years
ago. By 1982 most of the changes had already taken place. The reading of HIW, the 24hr book, and
chanting had already made an appearance. These changes had taken place in the eastern states by
that time. Todays concept of sponsorship developed probably late 1980's, into the 1990's.
I love the way Bill W. wrote. I do not know if it is Edwardian English. I know that his writings
are simple and can be understood with a little effort. He warned us about turning AA into a
religion. He wrote that nothing could be so unfortunate for AA's future. The courts view AA as
a religion. Recent postings show that to be true. Bill warned us about cramming the steps down
anyone's throat. Yet we read them to newcomers over and over at meetings. The God filled 24 hr
book has been accepted as appropriate for AA in many meetings.
We have about 300,000 less members in Alcoholics Anonymous than two decades ago. If that does
not alarm you, then just go back to sleep. We grew continuously for 57 years until these
distortions began to affect our effectiveness. Very few alcoholics coming to AA today remain
with us. We make too many demands on them. Really, "what an order".
I believe if we can develop an understanding why the 24 hr book was rejected by our
founders, we can understand why the reading of "How it Works" from the podium has been
so harmful. How it Works is a part of chapter five. Let us return it to chapter five. If this
were to be the first thing a newcomer to be exposed to, Bill would have written it
in chapter one. We startle the newcomer by yelling HI JOE, and then tell him/her they have
to find God and find Him NOW! This nonsence has to stop. For those members who understand
what I am writing about, the reversals will not be easy. But we must stand up and speak out.
Alcoholics continue to suffer while we delay. Their families are suffering unnecessairly.
We have a solution, a technique, method that works. Dr Silkworth and Bill W. left the
solution for us. Stop telling any alcoholic what to do, or what they must do. Just share
what we were like and what happened to us, and end it there.
I do not consider Bill W. or Dr. Bob to be spiritual leaders. They were simply alcoholics
who discovered a way out of the nightmare. They left this solution for us. Dogma and distortion
have pushed the solution to the sidelines. We can bring it back, but it will be costly, not in
cash. We have to give up our foolish pride and admit our mistakes. ANONYMOUS

4th Edition

I agree that there was no need for a 4th Edition.I did campaign against it & fully understood why the GSB wanted it but why would the membership?

4th Edition

I remember reading "somewhere" that the number of
new fourth edition books sold on the first day available,
exceeded the number of any other book sold in any one day.
I believe this to be true. Anyone who finds it, please
give its location. Almost all A.A. members were waiting
to order it. Add the groups who stock and use the
Big Book. The number sold was huge, to my knowledge.


Instead of taking it personal when members say "keep coming back." I now understand it as life gets better.

RE: Eureka

Keep coming back, It works if you work it, etc. when
spoken by the group is chanting. Chanting has no place
in A.A. This ritual began in the Northeast around 1980,
and makes us look foolish in the eyes of the public. I
think it startles newcomers, who come to their first
meeting aprehensive, shaking and sweating. This seems to be one thing that many I-SAY posters agree with. This
nonsense began with one member chanting Hi Joe! when I
said my name is Joe and I am an alcoholic. It quickly
spread throughout the Northeast. Chanting can be
eliminated from AA but not without a lot of work. Too
many members have no idea how stupid it sounds. They
only hear themselves, as they demand attention. ANONYMOUS

I feel sorry for you

That statement is not coming from a judgement of you, nor is it an attack, just that I sense by your words that you haven't gotten 'it' yet. What I mean by that is there are a lot of things that can be off putting to a newcomer, the language they use, the mantras, the activities, the chants... but here's the point to it: all of it together is a new kind of routine and structure that is not part of 'your element', is not something you'd normally do or say, may seem foolish. (By the way as I type that word out, it now feels a bit insulting that you'd go to the length of posting your view of not only something I've come to appreciate but more importantly as a response to someone else's offering of their moment of clarity.)

To really get it means that no matter how you feel about the ways they present this program, what you ultimately get out of it for you to interpret. Forget the language, the style they use and so on, and take what you hear and learn to use for your own recovery. If it really bothers you so much, then start a meeting of your own where that rhetoric is left out. But, if being sober is really your goal and it's not being forced on you or is a way to get people or the law of your back, then you take out of it what you need and leave the rest. Repeating the lines 'keep coming back, it works if you work it' ('sober and honest' is added at the end of our version) is a way of reminding you that if you've gotten through the day in the way you had really hoped for, it was probably because you had something different at play than the ways and means that you did before. You were honest with yourself and others, you didn't have thoughts of using, you didn't relapse. What you were doing in the past was destructive in some way and trying to sort it out without help and being honest never truly worked, or you wouldn't have needed AA in the first place.

That's why I think that you don't get 'it'. Why right now you might not be able to further recover because of the issues you have with how it works. I'm drawing from observations of my own when I see someone who appears to not be commited to it. I could be wrong as I'm unaware of your situation or progress.

As far as saying hello in response to an introduction, just realize that people are trying to make you feel welcome, at the very least it helps some remember people's names. But keep in mind, some of these people have almost literally just come from a place where they've screwed up their lives and relationships so badly that people they love and would want to now rely on may not even want to look them in the eye, let alone acknowledge them when they've just done something as meaningful as admitting to a serious problem. A problem that a lot people have died from before ever opening up about. Your comments didn't anger me, just made me confused that you feel these are aspects that need to be eliminated, even though that program as it exists now has proven to help so many people. It's the total commitment to the process and the structure that makes it work the way you need it to. But like I said, take from it what helps you and simply leave the rest.

As a note, I just started a recovery program for the first time in my life this last Friday (10/5/12) and the same day attended my first AA meeting. I don't pretend to have all the answers but I have an open mind and am slowly gaining the tools that will help me live a life that I would have missed out on. Right now, I can't think of much else that I am more grateful for than that.

-Anonymous, alcoholic and addict.

-Anonymous, alcoholic and addict.

Welcome to Alcoholics Anonymous. I do hope that you
also seek help with your other addiction. Let us keep our
fellowships separate. My food addiction took me to Overeaters Anonymous, but I do not state "My name is Joe
and I am an alcoholic and an food addict".
Please try to keep an open mind while reading the
many posts on the I-SAY FORUM. Listen carefully at
meetings. I find that listening to the other person
helps us both equally.
And please do not let anyone keep you away from A.A.
especially members like me. Be one of those very few
who remain sober no matter what happens. There are so
very few alcoholics today who remain in the fellowship.
I don't know why you would feel sorry fo me. I am
one of the luckiest people in the world. There was a
time long ago when I would have traded lives with
almost anyone. Today I am happy with my own life and
who I am. I have difficulties like everyone else.
Before I found Alcoholics Anonymous, I just felt
that life was not worth living. My life for over
four decades (sober) has been very much worthwhile.
Save your sorrow for the six million suffering
alcoholics, and their families, who have been pushed
from our rooms, by the strange cult-like religion
which A.A. has become in the last three decades.
Spiritual Pride and the alcoholic EGO have all
but destroyed our fellowship. You can be a part of restoring the effectiveness to an acceptable rate.
Our negative growth rate since 1992 is shamful.
Most of the reasons for our failure can be
found right here on the I-SAY FORUM. Maybe not all
the reasons, but I believe most of our mistakes can
be found here. Don't drink anything containing
alcohol, including over the counter medicines,
and stay close to A.A. And again, try to keep
an open mind. Remember, the parachute works best
when open. ANONYMOUS

A moment of clarity

Over the span of 35 years of drinking, 9 DUI's, the courts and prison system, my 1st and 2nd wife and family, my employer and even my friends and drinking buddies telling me I have to get a handle on my drinking, I refused to "see the light" and could never manage to string together more than 3 or 4 months of sobriety and when I did, it was "forced!" No one could tell me what to do! Even faced with four years in prison for violating the terms of my last DUI conviction, I continued to drink through the better part of my probation. I barely squeaked through the five year process and finally, with the last of my legal troubles behind me, it was off to the races with a particularly vigorous 2 month binge. The morning of June 4th, 2011, not unlike many other mornings, to many to recount actually, I woke up at two o'clock in the morning, shaking and sweating in a puddle of piss, not able to remember the last several days and I desperatly needed a belt just to function. I reached behind the cushion of the couch for the bottle of vodka I had left there instinctively the night before with just enough vodka left to get me to the liquor store the next morning. I stared at that bottle for only an instant and I felt the bile rise in my throat. You see, it was not at all unusual to dry heave for a period in the morning before I could actually keep any liquor down and not wanting to waste my "get back to normal" stash, I hesitated! In that instant something happened! In that moment, something clicked! In that oh so brief flash, something was different. I experienced an intense "Moment of Clarity" unlike anything I had experienced before! I saw my life and my alcoholism for what it truly was and where it was quickly taking me. I would soon be dead, or worse yet, in a drunken stupor, I would kill someone else and spend the rest of my life in prison. I recoiled from the thought and with my head in my hands, I sobbed. I cried like I had never cried before and finally, after ALL these years, I truly surrendered! Alcohol had finally beaten me. It had whipped me into submission! I was helpless and I admitted! I believe in that moment, my Higher Power intervened and I was, to the core of my being and in the depths of my soul convinced that, for me, "to drink is to die!" I have not found it necessary to take a drink since. By the grace of my Higher Power and the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, my life is much different today. In working the steps and working with other alcoholics I have found uncounted blessings and rewards and I thank God daily for my "Moment of Clarity!"

Have I ever had an ah ha moment

Yes I most certainly did . One of tremendous magnitude . I did not call AA . My total consideration over the 5 days since my just previous 6 days away from home binge .was I was a total failure in every respect. I was working full time in an elected position in a labor Union. I had been active all my life ,from the age of 14 years , in the labor movement . In fact I was fired from my first job for trying to organize the "Union " there . I had matured into my teens as a very defiant athiest. I had been impressed by the writings of Karl Marx and some how along the way for my search, to back this position in bar room arguments, I also fell into the writings of Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution . Very quickly I became an avid student of both of these philosophers and became proficient at "proving " there was no God . I became very adept at this defending all comers against this dual philosophy . I did much harm and lost many if not all freinds and aquaintances over this position , but,I did pick up considerable debating skills and this lent itself well to the working position and the . Then came that moment of truth , I am a failure as a father, as a husband, a friend ,and an employee. Little did I know how terrifying the next 90 days were to be .I went to work head down ,came home to my family, head down and silent, finding myself in an absolute as I tried desperately to "do " the fourth step. I was finished . Suddenly I heard a voice scream ,if only some day' some way there could be a power greater than myself I could accept . The Miracle happened,complete surrender, complete faith . In that OH YES MOMENT MY LIFE CHANGED FOREVER , there was a God and , It wasn't me.

RE: Have I ever had..

The same thing happened to me. Fighting the urge to
drink for about 60 days, I finally realized what was wrong
with me. I am an alcoholic! That is what is wrong with me!
That is why I feel the way I feel! There is a name for it;
alcoholism. I also cried out to the God of my understanding
and the desire to drink was lifted. And it wasn't a
"sponsor" or another human being. That moment changed
my life over forty years ago.
Today I consider my sobriety a gift from God. Unlike
other gifts, this was one I had to ask for. Strange too,
in order to keep the gift, I have to give it away. And
the way I give it away is to talk about it; to share the
experience with other alcoholics. Thanks for sharing your
gift with me. It works! It really does! ANONYMOUS

Long term sponsorship

After 30 years of the same sponsor I had to make a change. Now I live in a small rural community with good AA but I have the most time sober in AA. My expierence is you need to have a sponsor no matter how long you have been sober and active in AA. I have also been taught to believe that sponsor is a guide with more AA expierence. I also have been advised that the sponsor should be someone you see face to face regurlarly.

My questions to all are - in the expierence of AA.....
- do we really need a sponsor with more time or expierence than ourselves?
- does that sponsor need to be nearby or is remote sponsorship successful?

RE: Long term sponsorship

We pray that one day you will be able to join the fellowship of the spirit instead getting easily diverted again.

Long term sponsorship

I learned early on it's not the quantity of days but the quality. I started out needing help yesterday and was able to attend as many as 5 to 6 BB studies a day. Which I did for 2years, until I moved to a small community miles away.

I still attend many meeting each week, have been involved in service work and live the AA design for living each day to the best of my ability. I now have accumulated over 20 years - sponsor people with much more time than I have and do several ladies long distance. We talk to each other on the phone, e-mail etc. They like you have good sobriety and know when to call, to get new solutions as life's circumstances change.

So my answer to your question is no I learn from my newcomer's too. Yes, remote sponsorship can be successful.

RE: Long term sponsorship

The more I observe and read, the more convinced that
the lable sponsor needs to be eliminated from our A.A.
vocabulary. We all come together as absolute equals.
Bill W. explains this on page 70 in AACA. We sober
members need the new member as much as she/he may
need us. Who do we think we are? We are not A.A. experts.
We are all patients trying to stay sober and get well.
No matter how much experience any member has, that
person is still not perfect. We are not God. No human
power can relieve you. Don't expect them to.
It is wonderful that you have kept an AA friend for
thirty years. It is so easy to keep in touch today. Why
let distance prevent you from keeping this "sponsor"?
Maybe it is time for you to question this "advice"
you have been receiving. ANONYMOUS

Sharing at meetings.

I used to get upset at all the different views and opinions about how to or not to work the steps.

I had another moment of clarity this morning at an open AA meeting.

As I listened to each person around the room share their experiences, I looked into the eyes of each speaker. I was amazed. All the speakers that said do whatever you want or there are no one way to work the seps, ect, had a depressed or sad look in their eye. Like the look of a dog that has been beaten.

On the other hand, I noticed all the people sharing of how they worked the steps and now try to be usefull to others had a certian glow in their eyes. They had something attractive that I wanted and that made me want to listen to what they had done.

Now I am grateful for all the different views in an AA meeting. It is now clear to me that everyone is an example. Some may be of what to do, some may be what not to do, but everyone in that room this morning was an example.

Thanks, Corey

Thank YOU Corey

Wow thanks Corey:
Reading your share hit me like an Ah-Ha moment. If the eyes are the windows to the soul then looking into the speakers eyes and not just listening to their words will tell me if they have something I want. Are they happy, joyous and free or sad, depressed and dry. I know we all have up days and down days but my worst day sober, beats the heck out of my best days drunk. I want to be with people whose eyes sparkle and I want to help bring the sparkle back into the eyes of those who have had it extinguished by the wet brain of alcoholism.
Dennis D.

wet brain

I would also like to help bring back the sparkle into the eyes of those who have had it extinguished by the wet brain
of alcoholism. But the condition of "wet brain" is irreversable, to my knowledge. We have to save them before they get that far. Being happy, joyous and free are goals
we strive for. I have heard that anyone who walks around
always smiling is on something or up to something. ANONYMOUS


It has been hard letting go of those familiar places and people alcohol and drugs took me too. sometimes I miss it sometimes I hate it and am glad to be free. I'm still angry about everything that's happened, and everything I have done. I hope to work through it someday, I'm grateful to be able to share with na and aa groups my hardships that others can relate to. I have been sober since September 2007. It still feels like it happened not long ago, and an eternity ago all at once. Thank you for reading. Sd


It has been hard letting go of those familiar places and people alcohol and drugs took me too. sometimes I miss it sometimes I hate it and am glad to be free. I'm still angry about everything that's happened, and everything I have done. I hope to work through it someday, I'm grateful to be able to share with na and aa groups my hardships that others can relate to. I have been sober since September 2007. It still feels like it happened not long ago, and an eternity ago all at once. Thank you for reading. Sd

Reminder of EGO

The following is an excerpt from “AA Comes of Age” pg 250: “Primarily, they say quite simply that AA can never be just a miracle. The single act of surrender can produce sobriety by its stopping effect upon the ego. Unfortunately, that ego will return unless the individual learns to accept a disciplined way of life, which means that a tendency for ego comeback is permanently checked. This is not new to AA members; they have learned that a single surrender is not enough. Under the wise leadership of the founding fathers, the need for continued endeavor to maintain that miracle has been steadily stressed. The Twelve Steps, repeated inventories, not just one, and the Twelfth step itself, a routine reminder that one must work at deserving sobriety, are all essential. Moreover, it is referred to as Twelfth Step work, which is exactly what it is. But this time the miracle is for the other fellow.”
After reading this paragraph last night I was struck with an overwhelming feeling of gratitude. I was taught to practice steps 10,11, and 12 on a daily basis. However I can remember complaining to my home group meeting after starting step 9, then learning I had to vigorously commence this way of living as I cleaned up the past. I didn’t like the idea of self examination, meditation, prayer, and work and self sacrifice for others. I wanted to have someone else do the work for me!
I am fortunate because I had fully conceded to myself that I am an alcoholic. I knew that I have a progressive illness that only gets worse over time. The memory of being 40 pounds underweight and having yellow skin was still fresh in mind. So there was nothing special about me. Alcohol had prodded me into accepting this program of action as a way of life.
This all took place in 1992. I remember it like it was yesterday - or maybe the newcomer I talked to yesterday reminded me!

Moment of clarity - now what

In his essay on "This I Believe," Aldous Huxley wrote of the common thread in all faiths and spirituality, that "all [people] are called [to the spiritual way of living] but few are chosen - for the simple reason that few choose to be chosen." When I had that initial moment of clarity as I hit bottom, when my choice was to live or to drink, I chose to live. Since then, I have had other moments of clarity, of awareness, of self-realization, many of which are incredibly fleeting. With each comes the choice, whether to stay anchored to the spot or to move forward. What I learn from others' examples in AA is that I do not have to be afraid of moving forward, in fact I am supposed to embrace change as natural and inevitable, a part of growing up. Or to paraphrase a mentor, every moment is another growth opportunity if I am open and willing to grow.


The following is a list of numbers which changed my belief that Alcoholics Anonymous is "alive and well". I will
try to get other AA members to also "view with alarm" for
the good of AA. Many call us Bleeding Deacons.
This is Service Material from the General Service Office.
These numbers are estimates of worldwide AA individual and
Group Membership .
(Because AA has never attempted to keep formal membership lists, it is extremely difficult to obtain completely accurate figures on total membership at any given time. The information shown here is based on reports given by groups listed with GSO's around the world and does not represent an actual count of those who consider themselves AA members. We are aware of A.A. presence in more than 150 countries, including 60 other autonomous general service offices in other lands.) copied from the bottom of the page.
1935 2
1940 1400 50
1945 12,986 556
1950 96,475 3,527
1955 135,905 6,249
1960 162,037 8,615
1965 232,105 12,444
1970 311,450 16,459
1975 533,590 26,456
1976 574,318 29,352
1977 612,876 31,587
1978 627,456 33,241
This list continues to show our fellowship membership numbers to increase continuously until the year 1992. The
theme was "each one reach one". If we are sober and are
helping others, our membership will always increase.(in
my opinion).
1992 2,489,541 89,215
1993 2,062,380 90,155
The numbers continue to fluctuate around the two million
mark and remain at about two million today. The complete
list is available from GSO. Many AA's seem to say, "well
that is about all we can expect", and come with many
excuses for our stagnation. For those who have any interest
or concern, read the reasons for our lack of growth on
I-SAY. Please stand up and speak out at the group level.
Stop the chanting. Stop reading "How it Works". Bill W.
himself wrote in Three talks to medical societies, that
even he could not explain how AA works. Remove the 24 hr book from AA meeting rooms. These reversals at the group
level can be made if we start now. In another two decades
it could be too late. It may already be too late, but we
have to try. While we "spin our wheels" or "churn", men
and women are suffering needlessly. ANONYMOUS note: When
I clicked on preview, the numbers run together. For any
who are concerned please consider that I am still
basically computer illiterate.

Joined: 2012-03-19
Don't count number of people.

In a spiritual program we never should count the amount of people involved. "Principle's above personalities".

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