New to AA
Hi Corey, how has AA helped you? You were kind to bring up the topic but never expanded on it. If one is going to take the role of a chairperson here perhaps it would be helpful if they disclose a little bit more about how AA helped them and what their life is like today.
What gives in your recovery? Don't go stingy on us :)
Sincerely, Janielle S. Nevada
Good point about expanding, however I am no chairperson, just an alcoholic who has a little spare time to share experience, strength, and hope on this forum. The reading resonated with me, because it mirrored what I was taught by my sponsor-stay sober one day at a time or even one minute at a time. Attend regular meetings, especially a home group where they could get to know me and I would know who the newcomers are. And last but not least, adopt the twelve steps as a way of life.
As a result, I changed from a jaundiced skinned, 40 pound underweight alcoholic, who had lost the power to choose whether I would drink (mental obsession) and lost the power to stop drinking once I started (physical allergy) to a physically, emotionally, and spiritually sober member of AA.
Thanks for the nudge
Thanks Corey, my group is important to me too. The older women were overprotective of me because I was only 23. Even though I wasn’t a pretty sight in my early days, the women kept me focused on recovery and not boys. They took all my excuses away for drinking again. They even acted like grandparents and mothers watching my daughter when I went back to school and received a nursing degree. Today, I can be a loving mother and a responsible sibling. I show up to work on time and with a smile. I know my parents who died when I was in high school by a drunk driver are watching down on me. I’m okay with being a single mom today. When I was new I wanted to find someone to take care of me. AA helped me get my priorities straight. My daughter and higher power are first and my main focus today. I must say the men in my group have always respected me because they always gave me the space to work on my sobriety. The older men nurtured me as a daughter. The younger men respected me as a mother. I know there are unhealthy groups in AA but, I was blessed with a group that really applies the principals of AA. My daughter and I are moving soon to be with family. At one time my siblings looked down at me but, now they have embraced me again. All of this is because of the love and kindness that was given to me freely in AA. Janielle
Thanks everyone, I talked to my brother who lives out of state. There are hundreds of meetings in his area. I know I can find a good group there. My sister-in-law and him are going to give me a chance to live with them for my first year of recovery. Her father is going to hire me in his garage. I'll do anything to live at this point. I've seen death and it was enough to turn me around. Just when I was at my wits end a little light was around the corner the whole time. Rural Drunk (now headed for the city) Thanks AA Grapevine
I'm clean 43 days and the people said I could not be part of the group. They said I can't be because I don't have a god to pray to and told me to go somewhere else. I'm here for help and now I can't get it because I don't believe in God. Some guy said AA is not religious but, spiritual. So I should be allowed to stay unless spirituality means belief in God. I'm afraid they might harm me if I show up. My therapist told me to go to AA to decide if I am an alcoholic or not. Where else can I go? I live in a rural area and the nearest meeting to this one is 45 miles away and I don't have a car. I'm not trying to me a jerk. I just want help. I can't go on this way anymore. Everywhere I turn the door shuts.
AA is not a social club. You are a member when you say you are a member. Tradition 3 states this very clearly. You can't be thrown out. How dare they! You stated that your therapist told you to go to AA to decide if you were an alcoholic. There are only two questions I want you to ask yourself. Then you decide if you are an alcoholic. I'm I powerless over alcohol? Has my life become unmanageable? If you answer yes to both, AA can help you. If the social club they've formed 45 miles away won't help you, I can and will help you. My sponsor lives 6 states away and we talk all the time. True AA's will jump right in to help. Do not be discouraged by what you experienced at that group. Could you post again and tell us where this group meets? That shouldn't be anonymous. Here's something to consider. Are there two or more people who live close to you who would like to start a group? It only takes two to start. Ask one of your local churches if they would let you hold a meeting in their fellowship hall. You might be surpised at how many will show up. You could start your own group. Big books and 12 and 12 are cheap. Order them here through the GV if it's too far to the nearest big city. Time for action my friend. All we have in this world is each other brother.
I admire you for looking for a solution. I am sorry that you had this experience and unfortunately, ignorance is everywhere. However, so is hope and the fact that you haven't given up on yourself is encouraging for me. I am struggling as well and your story has touched my heart. Don't give up. Use this site for support and start your own meeting for people in your community. there are probably many folks like you who would love to be able to meet with others who are open minded and open hearted.
I was not at that meeting to see both sides of the story, so I only have half, your half. If you were at a closed meeting of AA you may have been asked to leave if you didn’t say you were an alcoholic or that you had a desire to stop drinking. This practice of asking people who are not alcoholics to leave closed meetings helps to protect newcomers anonymity in AA. For your information, AA has only one requirement for membership, and that is a desire to stop drinking as stated in tradition 3 short form.
If you have the book Alcoholics Anonymous, page 573 of the fourth addition has the directions for getting in touch with AA. I assume you have a computer or access to one if you are posting on this site. If you go to www.aa.org; or send a letter addressed to Alcoholics Anonymous, box 459, Grand Central Station, New York, NY 10163, USA, you will receive a prompt reply from our world service center, referring you to the nearest group. If as you stated the nearest group is not really an AA group, you will be invited to carry on a correspondence which will do much to insure your sobriety no matter how isolated you are.
The book “Alcoholics Anonymous” is also available free online at www.aa.org. The purpose of our book is to show you precisely how we have recovered in AA. You may do what it suggests and start an AA group based on the principals of AA.
I am grateful for your newfound sobriety, good luck to you and may God (as you understand him) bless you in your recovery.
"The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking." Any group or person who tries to add more requirements ie particular beliefs is wrong, wrong, wrong. The AA pamphlet "The AA Group" available online is the best source of information.
The second word of your sharing mat be a tip -"clean". AA as a whole has always maintained that problems with drugs should be solved elsewhere, that we have nothing to give these sufferers and are doing a dis-service trying. Many groups have been ignoring this for decades. Many haven't. I've seen plenty of success with it but failures are always invisible. We may be doing that dis-service. I'm not in charge. It is the conscience of my group therefore I support it.
Was it really "the people" or just one jerk that barred you?
If it really was the conscience of the group then they did you a service. They have nothing to give. Despite your isolation, AA is further away than 45 miles. Our book "Alcoholics Anonymous" can be within an arm's reach 24 -7. Costs about ten bucks or much less used, on-line. With AA's program of recovery an alcoholic can compare his or her experience with others and decide how much of their suffering is in the past and how much more is in the future. It's all there. If you attend a good meeting you will be told to get a big book and read it. What's not to understand about that?
Wow...these folks fundamentally don't get it do they? The third tradition says that the ONLY requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking. I'm amazed that they don't want you to come. My advice to you is to try to make it to the other meeting, at least once, even if you have to take a cab or hitchhike to get there.
And by the way, I don't believe in God and I've been sober and an active member of AA for 19 years. Good luck and hang in there!
Congratulations for staying sober for 43 days plus the time since this post if you've made it.. Those early days weren't easy for me but with AA's help i have weathered the storm of those early days.. I have been sober almost 8 months so i remember the struggles that go along with those first couple of months quite well. AA has taught me that I am in no position to give advice but i want to say that you are not alone. I struggled with belief in a power greater than myself for a long time but with a willingness to find one and a sponsor to help I have been able to do just that. The beautiful thing about these steps is that you do not have to believe in God. Specifically someone else's. It is your own conception and in the first two steps the only step you have to take is coming to believe that a power greater than yourself could restore you to sanity. Not god just a power that isn't you. Whether that is AA, a tree, a book etc. you get to decide and carry it into the other 10 steps. If you have a desire to stop drinking then no one can turn you away from AA.. Keep going back and not drinking and something good is bound to come from it. You are not alone.
This is hard to believe, but I do believe it. Exactly
who is telling you to leave the meeting? If it is in a church and the minister or priest tells you that you are
no longer allowed on the property, I would assume there
is good reason.
If the meeting is held in a clubroom, the club can
ask you to leave their building, but I doubt that would
happen without good reason.
The meeting may be a closed meeting which is limited
to people who want to stop drinking, or wish to stay
stopped. If it is an open meeting you are allowed to
attend to determine if you are an alcoholic. If you
are not sure just listen and observe.
I suspect that some aggressive members control the
meeting instead of allowing a group conscience. Or do
you identify yourself as an addict and turn members off?
That happens at some parts of the country. The solution
is to respect the group and discuss alcohol.
If you are afraid of being physically abused, you may
have to get other members involved and maybe even the
police if you are assaulted. I was assaulted physically
and verbally by one oldtimer at a meeting at our club.
I did not call the police but wish that I had. I thought
the club would expel him. He has kept up the abuse with
Contact GSO and find out if there are loners who you
can communicate with. There are on-line meetings and
Don't give up, please. Where there is a will, there
is a way. I am grateful to live in an area where meetings
are numerous. I do wish you well. ANONYMOUS
You are a member if you say you are. Read the Preamble or Traditon 3. Remember 43 stays in ain't much but its more than the guy who just walked through the door. Any alcoholic can help another. There is no pecking order to that. Sometimes to me, the new person is the wisest person in the room because they are raw. They are hurting and they remind me where I was and where I will end up if I pick up a drink. Whatever comes you can handle it one day at a time. Nothing stays the same. I'm not sure everyone in your group is whacky. I don't think they will harm you either. That's a bit much. Don't become rebelious towards people.
You can smile and tell them to f...off in your head if you'd like. Sit quietly and do not argue. You don't have to accept everything you hear. Just find the stuff that makes sense to you and don't worry about the God wall. You'll learn soon its okay to not believe in one to live a happy, joyous and free sober life.
I am 3 hours away from confronting my son about his drinking. Public intox /drinking under age arrest in 2011..dwi in april 2012....public intox/underage drinking in September 2012...arrested last night for same, plus assalting a cab driver. Does not drink often, never seen him drunk, but drinks to blackout with his friends.
He says he will got to a meeting tonight. Lets see what happens.
Alanon is for friends and families of alcoholics and can help you get your life Back regardless if your son is sober. There are many meetings. Check their website for times and locations. Alanon has helped so many and I hear many people in AA say they got sober after a loved one went to Alanon. Good luck.
Has he been to rehab? Went I went to rehab It was a great way to get introduced to AA and understand that I wasn't alone. If I hadn't have gone to rehab, I doubt just attending AA meeting s would have worked for me...it is scary and most of the people that attend are older. In rehab there will be people his age and he will be able to relate. If you have the resources...my suggestion is to give him an option to go...out of state...change in people, places, things was the best for me...and it has been almost 8 years and I'm still sober. My husband was more of in the same situation as your son (he finally quit drinking when he was 23 now he is 35). He attended 4 rehabs and the only one that worked was in Florida...miles away from Maryland where he had attended his previous rehabs. I personally, went to The Watershed and it was the best thing that ever happened in my life. I know it is scary, but my husband and I are proof it works.
For the life of me I can't understand why AA members are so quick to recommend rehabs and counselling to newcomers before trying AA first.
Is it any wonder many feel AA has squandered its 12th step work to professionals and treatment centers. Don't get me wrong I am not against rehabs & professionals but why spend all that money for options that have a success rate less than AA?
I for one went the AA route and it worked just fine for me and has continued to do so for 22+ years. Remember, “Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path”.
Thanks for my sobriety.
Mike B. In the early days, alcoholics were at a lower
level, and in many cases needed to be hospitalized just
to dry out. It was a way to de-tox physically, at least
giving the alcoholic a chance to clear his/her head enough
to understand that sobriety is posssible.
That bottom was raised, to the point where drinkers
who had their own homes and two cars in the garage, could
join A.A. I was one of those. I had the best job of my life
and a promising future, but alcohol was destroying me
mentally and physically.
I recently went to a four speaker all addictions meeting
in a local rehab center. The co-pay was $50.00 plus a
larger amount paid by medical insurance. It was a nice
meeting, but not much different than many other meetings
I have attended at the cost of a buck in the basket.
The only real difference was that the group did not
"hold hands and pray" at the closing. The presence of God,
I felt was in the room, but no one pointed Him out. No
one demanded "That One is God! May you find Him Now!
Mike, you are one of the almost two and a half million
members counted in 1992. Today our membership count is
about 200,000 less than twenty years ago. When you came
into A.A. our fellowship stopped growing. Do you have
any idea why that happened? Did the old members just
die off without being replaced. Or was A.A. changed at
its very core? I will answer that question. Dogma and
distortion have all but destroyed Alcoholics Anonymous.
The means of restoring A.A. to an accepted rate of
effectiveness can be found here on this Forum. I
have repeated our mistakes over and over.
We MUST: Stop reading HIW aloud at meetings; Remove the
24 hr book from A.A. rooms; Stop all forms of chanting;
Stop coercing members to pray at meetings, Stop the
"hold hands and pray" ring around the rosy closing.
Stop making a spectacle of newcomers. Stop allowing them
to make spectacles of themselves. Remove the word sponsor
from our vocabulary. Then the true sponsor will re-appear.
We have made other blunders, but correcting these few
mistakes will save many more alcoholics from a life of
misery and death. Members who think like you are few.
Most alcoholics who share your concerns have just walked
away. I have decided to stay until the end. I see that
you are persistent. Continue to stand up and speak out. Bill
w. often mentioned the value of the minority opinion
such as yours. ANONYMOUS
Thanks anonymous for your share on this topic. Your comments encourage me and tell me I’m not alone.
I too am willing to do whatever necessary to turn AA around from its present course. Unfortunately members who are concerned with what is going on in AA are definitely in the minority. The majority seem comfortable with the status quo and don’t want any changes. Human nature I guess.
I am well aware of AA's dismal lack of growth since coming to AA in March 1990 and hope I am part of the solution and not the problem. If AA is not growing it will surely die.
I am grateful for my 4 sponsors since 1990; 3 who passed on sober. All of them taught me what AA is and what it is not through the teaching and practice of AA’s Steps, Traditions and Concepts.
I too am committed to staying and passing on what was so freely given to me. I come from a long line of alcoholics and I want AA to be here for my children and grandchildren as it was for me. This is a multi- generational family disease and I am sure some of mine will need AA at some time in the future.
I pray that AA does not continue to squander its heritage and responsibility.
Thanks for my sobriety.
How It Works was read to me at my first AA meeting four months ago. It meant so much to me and gave me hope. The words still give me great comfort. Sometimes a reader will rush through the words and I feel disapointed because I like to hear them. I will always remember how they made me feel the first time and when they are rushed I worry that a newcomer may not get out of them the same effect that I did. I am new, so please enlighten me. Why do you feel as though HIW should be eliminated?
I am a newcomer, my first 23 days in over 17 years, and I am so grateful for all those at our ER meeting in Santa Cruz, CA who continue everyday to do 12th step work by sharing their stories, welcoming me and hugging me and sharing with me what I need to do to stay sober. I'll take this over rehab any day! Thank you Mike B. for reminding us to pay it forward because it does work.
I would guess that you are in the fellowship. I
wish you the best of luck. I am reminded of my brother.
He was like that. Driving while drunk, Public intoxication
and just a hell-raiser. He resisted A.A. until the
judge sentenced him to two meeting a week and took
away his privledge to drive for a year.
He celebrated 22 years this past april. I wish you
and your son the same success.
This is my eighth day sober. I'm embarrassed that I still don't get how aa works, even though going to meetings, reading big book, etc. I ask questions, but don't understand the answers. Don't feel like I fit i very well. (never have been able to fit in ever, no matter how hard I tried to figure it out). Am socially awkward, still struggle to read body language no matter how many books I've read over the years. The loneliness led to my drinking to cover the pain of being on the outside looking in to begin with. Tonight went to buy bottle of wine, came home with a bag of candy instead. So going to try to study the steps on my own. Is best I can come up with. Don't want to torture the group with my presence, lol... Is there a way to do the study on line? I lost my family before the drinking started, because I can't do normal conversation, baffling to me how people make it look so easy. Went to alcohol after I lost everyone to cover the pain of loneliness. Thank you.
Haven't gotten "It" yet in eight long days? If it takes you longer to learn to live a great life without alcohol than it took you to perfect living with it then you'll have a real problem. Fortunately we have the ability to influence to time required to a large extent. Keep doing what your'er doing (maybe omitting the wine shopping) an you can get there. I know. I'm one of the millions who have.
I am a loner who can't do it alone.That is what sponsors are for:"To show you the ropes in AA".We loners do it the same way everyone else in AA stays sober:1)Don't Drink 2)Go to a Meeting 3)Read the Big Book,or other AA literature 4)Say Your Prayers,or Meditate 5)Talk to a Sponsor.All sponsors are temporary;they either drink,die,or leave town.Had over a dozen.The important thing is:I asked for help.Takes guts.But you don't have to be alone in AA.
new but dense... you guess... Don't be embarassed. No One expects any one to have answers to questions after 8 days. No one ever REALLY has all the answers ever. I am sure someone would be willing to go through steps with you if you step up to the plate and ask them. You're not alone.
Bud you are early recovery.new to the meetings and confusing.we have all been where you are.we say just keep going to the meetings.they need you more than you need them.just take it one day at a time.God bless stick around
SLowwwwwwwwww Down just take it one day at a time keep going to meeting get their 15 min before hang out after ask people how time they have find some one with 5 or more years and get phone number ask ask ask all you want
How I did it as a newbie. Made as many meetings as possible. For two years I attended three meetings...Fri through Sun. Now I do at least 5 meeetings a week.
Feeling like I was a part of and w God's guidance and the fellowship I got involved w service work...coffee maker, treasurer, got a sponsor who taught me the AA culture. My journey went to a new level.
Fifteen years later and I'm on AA fire. I've learned you get what you put into this wonderful AA life. No matter what happens a drink ain't solving a problem. Our researchers tell us that. Stay inside the AA herd.
Hey hang in there. Obviously your learning something since you bought candy instead of bottle. As you stay around (hopefully) you'll find that many people felt and still do fell socially awkward and out of place. Your're in a place full of people that didn't fit in.
The willingness to not let your shyness keep you isolated at this time will help keep you sober long enough to know every day you don't drink is a miracle,
One day you'll take these experiences of awkwardness and help someone else. I promise. In addition, allow someone in the group help you. Tell someone how confused and alone you feel. You'll be helping that person get out of their self-centeredness by helping you.
When i first came into AA, I quickly learned that it is a language of its own kind. Just like when you start a job, you learn the terms they use for that particular job (in time). AA is just about the same. PATIENCE. You have probably heard this but please get a sponsor. Our minds are a too much of a dangerous neighborhood to be taking all this stuff in alone. Life is awkward and soon enough its all just funny in the end. You're not the only one and you're not alone. And now I'm going to run to the store and get me some candy ;)
No, you are not "dense". Even Bill W. wrote in the
pamphlet "Three talks to American Medical Societies",
that even he could not fully explain how A.A. works.
We can only explain what we do and what seems to happen
to us. What we do is to share with other alcoholics
what we were like, what happened, and what we are like
now. When we do that we almost always lose the desire
to drink. The process is only complicated if we
insist on making it complicated.
Keep sweets available to replace the sugar you were
getting from alcohol. Have a thick milk shake or two,
and you will not want to have an alcoholic drink. I
followed my own advice and ended up in Overeaters
Anonymous, another wonderful fellowship. It too, has
developed into a TWELVE STEP PROGRAM, following the
A.A. fellowship, but it is tolerable and helps.
I have always been socially awkward. I sometimes use
the words socially retarded. I still have difficulty
in social settings but no longer have to drink to
be among people and have a good time.
Welcome to Alcoholics Anonymous. You are in for
the ride of your life. Sometimes it may seem like a
roller coaster, but riding the roller coaster was always
thrilling and you will enjoy this new ride. ANONYMOUS
My alcoholic experience was one in which I always wanted everything right away. That's why I drank. It immediately removed the fear, depression and self-loathing that I felt. When I came in to AA, I wanted the solution and I wanted it to work for me IMMEDIATELY. What ended up happening though was that it took a while of me just abandoning myself to the program, looking to the group and specific people in the group for guidance and doing the things that were suggested to me before I started to see slow progress. At eight days sober, I had no idea how AA worked. And frankly, for me, understanding why it works wasn't as important as just taking action and accepting the fact that it was working. When I had attempted to go through the Big Book on my own, it all sounded great but I couldn't figure out how to apply what was written to my life. The most important part of my recovery was sitting down with another alcoholic who shared the same problem with me and reading the Big Book with them, relating to their experience and hearing about how they practiced the program of AA, as spelled out in the Big Book. When I truly accepted that my life was unmanageable, whether living a sober life based on self-will or living a drunk life, and that when I put alcohol in my system, my mind and body reacted differently from that of a "normal" drinker, I became open-minded and willing to take the actions that were necessary to have the obsession to drink removed.
The flippant answer to how aa works is "Very well." How it worked for me is that I went to a lot of meetings, read a lot online and in recovery literature, and did not drink in between meetings. I just repeated the same thing every day. Over time, probably a few months, some of the things I was hearing made more sense, probably because it took that long for my brain to recalibrate itself to function without alcohol. Your fear of social situations, feeling of being awkward, not fitting in, makes you part of the 99% in AA, that is, just another one of us. The best description of what alcohol did for me, apart from "The Doctor's Opinion" in the big book, is in William James' "The Variety of Religious Experiences," which Bill W. was turned onto by Dr. Silkworth, as I recall. He devotes a half a page, accessible from the index, to a discussion of the alcoholic and his place in the discussion of the mystical experience. Amongst other things, it made me feel a part of, or rather gave me that illusion. I stuck around AA, talked with people who had been around a long time, opened up a little to them, got involved in service work and most importantly the fellowship of AA, and I'll be damned if I didn't really become a part of something truly.
my name is Lorraine and I am an alcoholic. 10 years sober and now down the slippery slope for the last 10. I just want to scream. I know where the hope is. Meetings.
Many people in AA struggle even after several years in recovery. To such persons, I believe meetings are not the answer but have become a band-aid to the real problems which may need to be addressed with the medical world. Depression, Anxiety, PTSD, Trauma and OCD are all hidden underneath the brains of many in the rooms. I believe chronic relapsers and people who relapse after many years never come to terms with these above problems. We are not a healthy lot in AA. Just putting the cork in the bottle and praying is not enough. In my own experience, I was sober 15 years and reached for my rifle. Just before pulling the trigger a light went off in my head and I cried, "I'm sick and I need medical help" I called my sponsor and the guys in my mens group came and took me to get the proper help I needed for PTSD and Trauma. That was ten years ago. Now, I'm sober 25 years. I know what real happiness and joy feels like today because I had to face my demons.
There is a will where there is a way!
Meetings are only part of the equation and not the answer.
The 12 steps and 12 conditions on the bottom of page 39 it states and I quote. More sobriety brought about by the admission of Alcoholism and by attendance at a few meetings is very good indeed, but it is bound to be a far cry from permanent sobriety and a contented, useful life. That is just where the remaining steps of the AA program come in. Nothing short of continuous action on these as a way of life can bring the much desired result
I am 61, newly sober and looking for meetings/support groups that are not religion-oriented. Although I know we can substitute Mother Nature, the group etc. for God and Higher Power, I find it so jarring and out of tune with my own reality that it is not working.
SO...is there anyone out there who can point me in the direction of like-minded people in the Ann Arbor, Dexter, Chelesa area?
Thanks-it HAS to stick this time!!
is there anyone out there who can point me in the direction of like-minded people in the Ann Arbor, Dexter, Chelesa area?
If groups in the area are doing anything close to Alcoholics Anonymous suggested program of recovery they are not religious. However the program operates on a Spiritual basis. That are quite different.
At my first meeting I found people who could stay sober and even laugh about it. That group of people were most certainly a "power greater than myself" and that qualifies.
The like minded people that you seek are easy to find. They populate cemeteries, mental hospitals and your local jails and prisons are running over with them.
I have been sober for 26 years and think I have seen it all. My first AA group used a lot of "treatment jargon" (MN Model, etc.) My next AA group was anti-religious. Members were not only Alcoholics, but also called themselves "recovering (religious denomination)." Then the anti-treatment crowd - "I don't need to spend thousands of dollars on treatment to learn ho to read a $6 book." Then New Age Thinking was the higher power and our intergroup had a stock of metaphysical books and literate for sale next to the AA approved literature. Next "family of origin" - everyone wanted to talk about their "inner child." Other pop psychologies have come and gone. Fundamental (anthropomorphic) religious views have become popular lately. I have seen "on again - off again" partnerships with the judicial system. Through AA, I have met millionaires and homeless; pacifists and gun owners; liberals and conservative; priests and criminals, gays and straights; tree huggers and lumberjacks. Welcome to AA, Sue. For all its flaws I wouldn't have wanted to miss a minute of this crazy journey. To plagiarize a cable TV channel - "Characters Welcome." In the end, I can say, these very flawed and often desperate people saved my life when no one else could.
After posting below that I hoped you would find an open-minded group, I see that my post was followed by several folks who think they have AA figured out not only for themselves but for everyone else as well. Fortunately, AA does not have to be nor was it intended to be so rigid. Our history tells us that the original AA members were all but hoping that Jim B., the avowed agnostic/atheist, would go back out so they did not have to hear his "blasphemy." But he stuck around, and it was because of his influence that the phrase "of our understanding" was included in the big book. Around 1969 or so, there was a Grapevine article by Jim B., describing his 30 years of sobriety without belief in a god of others understanding. At AA conventions and symposiums around the country you will find many atheists, agnostics, Buddhists, whatevers, that are sober and happy and productive. Over time I have come to tolerate those who are convinced that their way is the only way, including belief in god as they imagine god, and hope that their rigid beliefs will soften with passage of time, or when circumstances challenge their conception of an ordered existence, so that they might stay sober in spite of themselves. I know I have to keep learning so I will be spiritually fit for whatever new challenges life may throw my way.
We may sit by quietly, and hope that their rigid beliefs
will soften with the passage of time. In my experience
the rigidity pointed out in 1986 has
become like concrete.
We can chose to investigate why that has happened and
take action to reverse blunders we have made. We need to
remove the reading of HIW from A.A. meetings. Some members
will agree to forgo the reading because it is time consuming. Others will agree that it is, after all, chapter
five. If Bill had intended this to be the first thing
to be read, he would have made it chapter one.
Those two approaches will delete the reading from
some groups. We have to start somewhere. Trying to convince
today's rigid members that the reading of HIW at meetings
was one of worst blunders is difficult. I am
convinced that it can be done. But it will take a lot
of sustained exertion. To keep accepting the unacceptable
will not solve the problem. Sure, we have ours, but
what about future generations.
We must remove the reading of HIW from meetings and
remove the 24 hr book from our A.A. rooms. ANONYMOUS
I don't have to guess at what Bill's intention was, I just looked it up. He spells it out in Tradition two (p77) "The Language of the Heart". It's reaffirmed in the AA pamphlet The AA group. It's one person, one vote, at one group. Majority rules keeping in mind the Highest values we can maintain and keeping an open mind about the minority's view. Trusted servants' positions should turn over quickly. None of us are entrusted with a terrible swift sword to deal with groups where the grapes of wrath are stored.
Future AA's won't need me playing God. They will have God playing God just as we have, just as the founders had.
Sorry Sue but have you bothered to take a look at where the, Tune of your own reality has gotten you so far?
AA is NOT a religious program but rather a spiritual God based program. Dont want God? Dont think you need God? Look how good you have done with your life so far ! Change -Change-Change. God is well enrrenched in AA and is not leaving for you or anyone else. You dont get AA your way, you get AA the way it is.
You have a right to share your thoughts but, your statement below is against what AA is all about as explained in the AA Preamble. You said, “Change -Change-Change. God is well entrenched in AA and is not leaving for you or anyone else. You don’t get AA your way, you get AA the way it is.” OOF! This is false. “…AA is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization…” These are the kind of statements that send newcomers running out the doors and some to their graves. She asked a sincere question and your answer falls in the bully category. If you feel God helped you in recovery that is wonderful but, at least have the compassion or love and tolerance for those who are not interested in God instead of making flippant intimidating ill thought out cliché’s. Since the days of Jim B. and many others, belief in God was not important for them to find recovery. And for thousands of AA members today “Change does not equal God.” Please be open-minded dude.
It is rigid beliefs like this which have caused the
near-death of our fellowship. Alcoholics Anonymous is
a spiritual based fellowship. But it is NOT a spiritual
God based program. A.A. in its true form is flexible
enough to include any alcoholic with a desire to get
well. Tradition three was accepted by our conference
in the early 1950's and still stands. Of course in
Today's A.A. that is only a theory. Most members who
have remained to be counted obviously agree with you.
If we don't return A.A. to a fellowship, alcoholics
will be back in their caves. ANONYMOUS
Today's A.A. is as religious as any church service I have
attended. And I have been to many including the full
gospel churches. Of course in A.A. meetings we do not
sing. Not Yet,anyway.
Even at the full gospel churches which are God or Christ
centered, the alter call comes near the end of the service.
At most A.A. meetings we tell all and sundry, That One is
God! May you find him now!, right up front.
Reading the first 2 !/2 pages of chapter five and the
24 hr book aloud at meetings has turned our fellowship
into a strange type of religion. Add the chanting and
we have become a strange type of cult. We have changed
A.A. from a fellowship to a Program/Fellowship.
Our preamble still reads fellowship, but that will
also be changed to Fellowship eventually.
Spiritual and religious basically mean the same
thing. Alcoholics Anonymous is religious and spiritual
to its core. What Bill W. warned us about is turning
A.A. into a religion. We have done just that. Bill warned
us about cramming the steps down member's throats.
God, of my understanding, gave us free will. We ought
to offer that freedom to any alcoholic approaching us.
We share what we were like, what happened, and what
we are like now. If they want what we have, they are
welcome to do what we did. Maybe it will work for them.
We have left a path for them to follow. I have found that
alcoholics are rebellious to the core. So we do not give
them any directions or instructions for them to rebel
against or ignore. We simply share our own story. How
can we go wrong? Let the Big Book tell them what to
do. Even the BB is suggestive only. The twelve steps
are but suggestions. A.A. in its true form does work.
61,don't give up on us. ANONYMOUS
"The twelve stepsare but suggestions. A.A. in its true form does work."
Pure falsehood spread by untreated alcoholics who refuse to take the steps.
The steps are a suggested program of recovery, not a list of suggestions. The Big Book is full of examples stating this fact. Here are a few:
"Rarely have we seen a person fail who has THOROUGHLY followed our path."
"At some of these we balked. We thought we could find an easier, softer way. But we could not."
"Half measures availed us nothing."
"Here are the steps we took, which are suggested AS A PROGRAM OF RECOVERY."
"Though our decision was a vital and crucial step, it could have little permanent effect unless AT ONCE followed by a strenuous effort to face, and be rid of, the things in ourselves which had been blocking us."
"The best reason first: If we skip this vital step, we may not overcome drinking."
"Having had a spiritual awakening as THE RESULT OF THESE STEPS, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs."
And from the 12 & 12:
A.A.'s Twelve Steps are a group of principles, spiritual in their nature, which, if PRACTICED AS A WAY OF LIFE, can expel the obsession to drink and enable the sufferer to become happily and usefully whole."
"More sobriety brought about by the admission of alcoholism and by attendance at a few meetings is very good indeed, but it is bound to be a far cry from permanent sobriety and a contented, useful life' That is just where THE REMAINING STEPS OF THE A.A. PROGRAM come in."
In other words, if you want what we have you should do what we do.