Burning Desire to Share
There is no doubt that AA is thoroughly infused with "God" or the more digestible, "Higher Power". There is no doubt that AA and its founders sprouted in rich Christian soil. The entire purpose of the Big Book is to help the alcoholic "find a Power greater than yourself which will solve your problem."
People who have a problem with God, religion or spirituality are probably going to have a problem with AA. Sorry, it IS a spiritual program. There's no getting around that. But, there are HUGE outs, if you will, for folks who are allergic to God & religion.
Bill, Bob & the early members realized that a traditional Christian or God door would be too constricting for alcoholics living at the bottom of life's sewer. So they opened the door as wide as they could by including the concept of a "Higher Power" and allowing each individual to define that term as they wish. A HP could be your sponsor, the group, the principles of the program, Jesus, God, Allah, the universe or nothingness. Whatever. All AA asks are 3 simple things:
Honesty - "This God stuff is bullshit" - OK, got that part.
Open Mindedness - "I have to admit, my way ain't gettin it done".
Willingness - "Maybe I'll take a look at how you folks are staying sober".
But, you don't even need to do HOW if you don't want. In fact, you don't have to do anything in AA. Nothing. AA is not about you. It's about me being there for you. That's how I stay sober. How you stay sober is your business.
If AA is a religion it is a very strange one. We have no leaders. We don't own anything. You can believe whatever you want...or nothing. You don't have to do anything to be a member except have a desire to not drink. WE have no dues or fees. We have no opinion on outside issues. The doorway of AA may still be too restrictive for some. And that's ok. AA is not for everyone.
Religion is good – Religious I question ?
I am glad A.A. is a spiritual program not a religious one administered by someone, Glad God is everything or nothing and glad I was not diverted by the religious outside sponsorship system inside A.A's 164 pages of the program in the Big book,
Today I have to many friends in A.A to associate with the diverters. Thank you God
Alcoholics Anonymous IS a spiritual fellowship. No
apology. Spiritual principles are our guide. But to
become a member of A.A. the only thing required of the
alcoholic approaching us is the desire to get well. Bill
wrote that in one of the "Three Talks to Medical Societies."
No one is required to believe in God to get sober or to
join us in A.A. We really need to become less restrictive
and more inclusive. If we can be attractive enough to keep
them coming, something of great moment is likely to occur.
If we push them away with religion their chances are practically nil. Our spiritual goals are to become more honest, gain in purity, become less selfish and more loving. ANONYMOUS
You said, “If someone thinks they can develop some kind of secular version of AA….” This is not what I gather from reading several of the posts. Even though I have a faith, in fairness to the more secular members I notice there can be at times a hostile force towards them not by AA itself but by individual members who feel they are more important than AA. I think if the more secular members were accepted as equal members than the problem would disappear. AA is made up of both secular and religious ideas so we can come together and solve our common problem. Yes, it’s true, the “Big Book Program” is spiritual in nature and some find it religious but, the “Fellowship” is secular as written by the Preamble. Where is it written, “The only requirement for membership is a desire to be religious or secular?” Therefore tossing about this issue doesn’t make any sense but hurts AA as a whole. Bill and Bob have hugs waiting for anyone who has a desire to stop drinking. We need to display a little love and tolerance and mind our own side of the street. People who engage in defending ideologies tend to be defending their egos. I personally am a devout Catholic however I separate my religious faith when I enter the rooms. But, even as a Catholic I find certain hostilities from members who claim to be "spiritual" Some members in my group think I am an atheist because I never talk about God, which perhaps is a wonderful compliment in the strangest way. Let’s focus on the newcomer and learn to love the person whose recovery is different than ours. The newcomer can do without the “King of the Hill” mentality because they are coming from a place that is nothing but that. The hope AA offers is a loving fellowship not a room full of egomaniacs and fanatics defending positions that do not need to be defended. As the old saying goes, “When we create an enemy, we become the enemy."
It may be an old saying but I am 68 and I never heard it before---I like it a lot
Please tell me why you use the names like, Dr. Bob and Bill W in the today's Quotes for Today, when their teacher was Jesus. I guess what I really want to know is why is Jesus's name like a bad word around A.A.
For me He has all the answers. Is it because there might be a New Comer in the room and we don't want to scare him or her away, I don't think so, or else we wouldn't mention God. If you never read about what Jesus said ? Please check it out for your self and please don't listen to close mined people, sorry I mean don't take to heart what some people say about Jesus
Charlie, when Bill W. was addressing the National Clergy on Alcoholism, he shared the following:
"National Clergy Conference On Alcoholism
The "Blue Book" Vol.12, 179-210, 1960
Co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous
Reverend Raymond J.H. Kennedy, S.J., Chairman
"God as we understand Him" this expression having been coined, I think, by one of our former atheist members. This was indeed a ten-strike. That one has since enabled thousands to join AA who would have otherwise gone away. It enabled people of fine religious training and those of none at all to associate freely and to work together. It made one’s religion the business of the A.A. member himself and not that of this society."
I think people receive the word of God differently. When I was a little kid, I imagine others were getting comfort and hope from the message in the Methodist church I grew up in. What I felt was shame and guilt for not living up to perfection. Something wrong with my receiver. Think it’s called the ‘ism” in alcoholism.
Since I have gotten sober, I have studied a variety of religious ideas and frankly, the more I look at Christianity the further I am drawn away. I have friends and family that I dearly love that are deeply religious Christian people. I respect them. I can clearly see that they have a quite different relationship with the Divinity than I do. The ones that I know that are truly committed and happy with it don’t see it as THE ONLY WAY. They respect others and their different relationship with God.
I try to keep in mind that every single member of Alcoholics Anonymous is there because of his or her misbehavior, not assets and from my experience many can do little more stop consuming alcohol. Many have had religion crammed down their throats. Members of your religion have a long history of being the target of intolerance, it’s part of the package.
I am perfectly comfortable with any AA speaking briefly, about their commitment to Christ or any other idea of a Higher Power. If it goes beyond that I am pushed away by it. Wear the label openly; show the world how well it works by your actions. If others aren’t drawn to it, they are hearing another one of God’s voices. Trust that God knows what he is doing and respect that and them.
Charlie B: Tradition one gives each individual A.A.
member the right to speak as he/she choses. I can say that
Jesus is my savior and my sobriety was given to me by God,
through Jesus Christ. In my case that is true.
The problem (and there is a problem) is if I try to
impose my beliefs on other A.A. members. We are taught
as Christians to spread the gospel and save souls.
This is where self-control and discipline come in. We
only share what happened to us in our own lives, without
appearing as preachers, teachers or evangelizers. This is very difficult to do.
We can talk about God, Jesus or anything you choose,
but don't prod or push any belief on anyone else in A.A.
You can preach on the street corners but not at an
A.A. meeting. Do not tell any member "That one is God,
May you find Him now! Let Bill W. tell him, through
reading the Big Book. ANONYMOUS
I don't think that people are saying that the name Jesus is a bad word or a bad name. To me it maybe folks are saying that Jesus implies a particular religious or spiritual belief system. In this program, the traditions tell us that we have a HP of our own understanding. Many people have had horrendous experiences with organized religion, and some folks don't believe in Jesus, with regards to their spiritual belief system. Therefore, as a member of AA I must be careful in my sharing not to be specific with regards to who and what my HP is or isn't so that all may decide for themselves. If a new comer hears a particular reference to a God of someone else's understanding, they might not come back.
I can relate to what you've said about your relapse / slip. I too had a pretty long time of sobriety and then, like you, "at a totally, surprising time" I had a couple of glasses of wine. Gradually, like you, I went "back to my ways, slowly but surely."
One thing I found helpful was the essay Slips and Human Nature by Dr. Silkworth (the doctor who wrote The Doctor's Opinion in the Big Book) which the AA Grapevine published in 1947.
Dr. Silkworth compares an alcoholic's relapse / slip to a cardiac patient's and a tuberculosus patient's relapse / slip. What I found most interesting is Dr. Silkworth's comments on the thinking that occurs before the relapse / slip. I liked how Dr. Silkworth ended the essay:
"In any event, the psychology of the alcoholic is not as different as some people try to make it. The disease has certain physical differences, yes, and the alcoholic has problems peculiar to him, perhaps, in that he has been put on the defensive and consequently has developed frustrations. But in many instances, there is no more reason to be talking about "the alcoholic mind" than there is to try to describe something called 'the cardiac mind' or the 'TB mind.' I think we'll help the alcoholic more if we can first recognize that he is primarily a human being - afflicted with human nature."
Reading Dr. Silkworth's essay after my own relapse / slip helped me to stop beating myself up and feeling like such a loser.
Dreamed one night that I passed away and left the world behind. Started on down that lonesome trail, some of my friends to find.
Came to a sign on that trail; directions it did tell: Turn right to go to heaven; keep left to go to hell.
Well, I hadn’t been too good on earth, just a hopeless boozing rake. Knew there at the cross roads the path I’d have to take.
So I started down that rocky road. Yeah, the one that leads to Satan’s place. I shook within, not knowing, just who or what I would have to face.
Satan said, “What’s your name, my friend?”
I said, “Joe…who came to a sad end.”
He glanced through some files. “You made a mistake I fear. You’re listed here as an alcoholic, and we don’t even want you here.”
I said I was looking for some friends, and a smile stole on his face. He said, “If your friends are alcoholics, you can find them in that other place.”
So I rushed back up that rocky path till the crossroads I did see. Turned right to go to heaven, as happy as can be.
Saint Peter said, “Come in, my friend, for you and I have a birth. You’re listed here as an alcoholic, and you’ve been through h*ll on earth.”
I saw Kristen, Mark, and you all know our brother, Bill. Brothers and sisters, I was tickled. I thought you had all gone to h*ll.
So, brothers, and sisters, take warning. Learn something from this trip: You got a place in heaven if you try hard not to slip.
If someone tempts you with a drink when you’re not feeling well, just tell them you’re going to heaven, and they can go to h*ll! LOL
Joe R Wild Ones Group Wildomar, Calif
Whenever I'm feeling good/bad, etc., or otherwise, there is now a necessary reason to drink.
I had 10 wonderful years of sobriety and at a totally, surprising time, decided to have a little shot of schnapps.
In my whole career as a drinker, I "never" drank schnapps. Who Knows why I picked up the little shot as part of an unprepared, unrehearsed, relapse. I can only say this - it is because I am and will always be an "Alcoholic"
Since that day, I have gone back to my ways, slowly but surely. I have gained some moments of sobriety but feel there is always something lacking. I can't seem to fill the VOID in my chest - and drinking will never allow me to do such a thing.
I have lost many things during my career as an alcoholic but never this much. I have now lost the respect of family and friends (my phone doesn't ring much) as well as my mate.
I knew these things would happen - as per the many, many, stories told by my friends in the rooms, but I truly thought my friendly, compassionate personality would save me - WRONG!!!!!!!
I am desperately trying to crawl my way back but would dearly love to hear some friendly advice (I have a
terrific sponsor and a great friend in the program but would appreciate hearing something else as well}.
Your fellow AA alumni friend, Deborah
I've been where you are countless times. There's nothing worse than having a belly full of booze and a head full of AA. I had to really really want it. My higher power is and has been my saving grace. For me there is no other way. I proved that many times. My prayers are with you.
You will be OK !
When I came into AA 21 years ago in Dublin,Ireland, I thought I had a million problems. Then a sober member of our fellowship held up his index finger and asked me if I could count..... I said "sure thats ONE".....
"Never forget it my friend, It's the most important thing you'll ever have to remember in your life"
"Don't take one sip out of one drink"
This has been my experience and I prey I never forget this most important fact in my life today !
Everything else sorts itself out............
Congratulations for posting here! Your story is quite scary to me because I have double digit sobriety and I feel like it could happen to me. I try to insure against that possibility of picking up the drink by staying close to the program.
Your sponsor may already have given you this advice, but my advice to you is to go to a meeting every day for 90 days. During those ninety meetings, someone is going to say, "we need someone to bring cake next week" or some such. Say yes. In other words, pick up any little service commitment you can. And here's the big piece of advice (and something I have trouble with myself)...don't worry about tomorrow, just stay sober today and everything is going to work out. Hang in there and be sure to write back here.
Tom in Chicago
try going to meetings and sharing. get honest with yourself. this disease is very deadly and the only way to beat it is get to meetings and get honest with yourself
What worked for me was a spiritual experience as a result of the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and intensive work with other alcoholics.
But there are some things that meeting relationships be suffering with in common. Some relationships take stuck in peaceful coexistence, but without truly relating to each. While it may earmarks of firm on the surface, require of involvement and communication increases distance.
In the 11 lines of your statement: "I" eleven times, "me" two times, "my" one time. WE do understand how you feel. Please get back to meetings and follow the directions - Get A Home Group, make friends, Get A Sponsor. Do SERVICE, Help someone else, etc. WE'll be waiting for You. If you have trouble, for nany reason, getting to a meeting ,You might try Sober Voices, 1-712-4320075 access code is 654443# If you still have trouble connecting to God, try praying for someone else. that works for us. Yours in love and service, joe h Pennsylvania
I quit drinking two months ago. Again. Before that, I drank for five months. Before that, I didn't drink for a year. Before that, I drank for two years. Before that, I didnt drink for a year and a half. Before that, I would not drink three to nine monthes at a time but always go back to drinking for three to nine monthes at a time. This lasted five years. Before the three to nine month drinking / not drinking period started, I did not drink for six years. Prior to that I drank steadily for 20+ years.
The end of my 20+ years of steady drinking came in 1996 with an "ah ha" moment where I realized that drinking had taken over my life. I obsessed about it, I craved it. During the next 16 years, I was often free of it, sometimes for extented periods (11 years total). However, any time that I started drinking again I always got caught in the obsession and craving (five years total). I was on the merry go round.
Now I am at the point were I "know" that the obsession and craving will come back if I drink. I didn't know that after my first six years of not drinking. I really thought that after such an extended period of time not drinking, that I could start drinking in moderation. It didn't seem unreasonable to believe that I would now be able to take it or leave it. I was wrong. The ensuing years demonstrated that any time I decided to drink, I would end up drinking too much, too often. My thoughts would become dominated by the desire for the next drink and my actions and life revolved around seeking out and having the next drink.
The notion of "doing more research" is sometimes spoken of in a dispariging way. As if knowledge of one's condition should be self evident and only a fool wouldn't see it. I guess I'm that fool. Once I figured out that the length of time away from alcohol didn't change anything, I tried everything else. For instance, I tried changing what I was drinking. I thought the volume of beer I had to drink to get drunk would limit me. Wrong. It didn't work. I would go to the ligour store time and again telling myslf that this time I would drink less and make it last for the week. I would be back at the liquor store in two days for more.
I'm at the point now that I want to quit for good. Not pick up another drink. Ever. My experience tells me that I haven't been able to moderate my drinking. When I don't drink, the promises come true -- not because God has finally decided to hand them out to me in asnswer to my prayers -- but because life gets better when not drinking. Whenever I drink, the drinking takes over, along with all the crap that goes with it. I want to take the necessary actions to get alcohol out of my life permanently.
I'm writing this post because I just need to say it in writing. I guess that's why it's called the Burning Desire to Share forum. I assume that by posting here there will be advice and "suggestions" that will come my way. I'm OK with that, although I think it's more effective when AA'ers share their own experience, streghth and hope instead of quoting literature. Please try not to bang the Big Book and the 12 Steps on my head. I'm agnostic. I doubt that there is a God, whether "He" is of your understanding or mine. I'm not willing to say for sure that I know there is not a God, so I'm agnostic rather than atheist. I definitely don't think I'm God, nor have ever thought that I was God. I'm always amazed that there are people in AA who say they thought they were God and the revelation that they are not has some relevance to believing in God. I don't think I'm the Queen of Sheba, but that doesn't prove anything about her existence. I've read the "We Agnostics" chapter multiple times and don't find Wilson's arguments convincing. I've sincerely attempted to believe in God and divine intervention through prayer. I've tried the "fake it till you make it" concept. Ive tried believing in God substitutes (higher powers). It seems like trying over and over with the same results is the definition of insanity. Yet, even without a God or a God substitute, I'm not willing to give up on getting sober.
I have a lot of uncertainty and anxiety about the future but I feel better after writng this post.
Don't give up, don't back down. I am almost a carbon copy of your situation and feel like you. It's not about God or Religion - it's about our inner self and strength. I'll make it happen if you do! :o)
Spiritual axioms are never proven; they are defined by this lack.
axiom (noun) a statement or idea that people accept as self-evidently true.
When dealing in unknown, unknowable areas, the rules of proof are of no value. On the other hand accepting that “all that can be” must be within “what I can understand” doesn’t hold up under much scrutiny, does it?
By accident, when I started AA I landed at a table that studied steps 1, 2, 3 in rotation. The other meting I happened into was a gratitude meeting on Friday night. (Good combination by the way) I didn’t know anything else so this was AA to me. 1, 2, 3, G over and over. Despite being a devout non-believer the thing in step two about how our “Faith” in electricity keeping my food in the refrigerator cold, made life easier for me. I had been to Paris a few years before and saw how the rest of the world carried their groceries home twice a day on their bicycles. I’m busy; I like my refrigerator, thank you. Point 1. Faith, in some cases, opens up choices, improves the quality of my life. Surprisingly for some I’m sure; my reasoning did not jump from this small insight to the whole Christian-walks-on-water-heaven-hell-rapture package. Still hasn’t. However with some effort seeking, reading, listening, observing, discarding (yes, mainly discarding) and reasoning I have come up with an image that answers life’s otherwise unanswerable questions, meets AA’s requirements for a higher power, helps keep me sober, improves the quality of my life. That takes care of two. Three, God’s will for me? Steps four through twelve and enjoy my new life. No-brainer, it’s spelled out in the manual.
One of my A.A. friends pointed out that gravity is
also a power that I cannot see or touch. But gravity
can be overcome. I am grateful that belief in God
is not required for sobriety or membership in A.A.
Far too many alcoholics would not approach us in the
first place. I believe many alcoholics blame God for
their dilemma. When they hear: Find God and find Him
now, they walk away. Away from what may be their
last chance for recovery and life. ANONYMOUS
Misquote! The big book says "may you find him now " in AA we ought to be free to say anything that is in our big book. If not we ought not have the big book or continue to print it!
My Big Book(fourth edition) says: and I quote: May you
find Him now! end quote. In A.A. we are free to say anything
that is in the big book. But do we have to say the same thing over and over at every meeting? The repeated reading of "How it Works" pushes new people away, and becomes
monotonous to the rest of us. No, I have not done a survey.
Members just do not "keep coming back", although we
do the chant after holding hands and praying, Keep coming
back, etc etc, etc. ANONYMOUS
Hallo,i am for 6 years in aa and relapsed many times.I know that i can not drink normaly.When i pick up the first drink i can´t stop. an real alcoholic can never drink save for the rest of his live. And with god or your Higher Power;fake it till you make it.So do I.
I wish you a lot off succes!
A member of AA in Holland.
Thank you for posting a message.
I live in the middle of the United States and my first job out of University was in Delft, Holland in a training center for an oil service company. Beyond my greatest dream. I couldn't see the difference between the other men's drinking and mine. They could have a couple of Amstel's after work and study what we were to learn. You know what happened after I drank the first beer.
My dream job lasted about 3 months. I never came close to as good of a job and certainly not in such a beautiful place. I had every excuse but I really didn't see my alcoholism had caused losing that job until years later when I got sober.
I don't like fake it until you make it. Sounds exactly opposite from "half measures availed us nothing" from chapter five of Alcoholics Anonymous. The closer I stay to that book the better my life is.
Have a great day and enjoy your beautiful country.
Thank you for posting your reacting and your story.Nice to read that your first job was in Delft.It's a nice place.
You 're riht;half measures availed us nothing!So i do my prayer every day altough i am agnostic.Read my Big Book every day.I see a lot of people in AA with a long sobriety,so i know that it's works.Now i am for three month's sober and every day i feel better and enjoy my life.
Have a nice day and greets from Holland.
When I first saw your message I almost just scrolled
past it, as just another drunk-a-log. Taking a good look,
my mind changed. First of all I would like to extend a
sincere apology for our failure. Many will say A.A. didn't
fail, you failed. If a treatment fails, we blame it on the
You are an alcoholic. You have the typical obvious
signs and symptoms. I have the same condition. When I
drink anything containing alcohol, something happens to
me that does not occur in a normal social drinker. They
can take it or leave it alone, even after having one or
two drinks. We almost never stop until we reach a point
today I see as dangerous.
I see reference to "we agnostic" meetings being formed
in some parts of the country. Try to find one. They seem
to be trying to separate religion from our fellowship.
Bill W. wrote that nothing could be so unfortunate
for A.A. future, as becoming some sort of new religion.
We have done that. I certainly did my part in bring my
own religious belief into A.A. tradition. You can read
Bill W.'s warning to us on page 345 in The Language of the
Heart, LOTH, beginning at the bottom of the page. Bill
repeats a warning he had first written in Alcoholics
Anonymous Comes of Age. I think it is around page 232
in AACA. Bill wrote the first warning in 1957 in AACA.
He repeated the warning in an article for the AA Grapevine
in 1963. Bill must have seen the religious element
creeping into A.A. tradition.
I identify with you as an alcoholic. I am grateful that
the treatment, remedy, solution, technique, method that
I found at my first meetings worked for me. I am convinced
that today's A.A. would have failed me, the same as it
is failing you. Look for a meeting that is not some kind
of religious cult, with everyone pushing their own agenda.
You may not find one, but if you keep your eyes and ears
open, maybe you can start such a meeting yourself. Like-
minded A.A. members can form "we agnostics" group. But
please do not call it an agnostic group. Just call it an
A.A. group. I am a believer but don't want to be excluded
from any A.A. meeting.
Thanks for writing. I also feel better after writing
this post. I believe this is "How It Works". ANONYMOUS
"But please do not call it an agnostic group. Just call it an
But please don't call it an AA group. Just call it an agnostic group.
Thank you for your answer and suggetions.
In my fellowship were told me it's not possible to stay sober when you don't believe in a Higher Power.So i'm a litttle bit scared for relapsing again.I go to meetings,have a sponsor and doing my steps.
I don't know what fellowship you are in, But I am in Alcoholics Anonymous, a non-sectarian fellowship. I
personally would not tell anyone that it is not possible
to stay sober if She/he does not believe in a higher
power. An article appeared in the AAGrapevine a few
years ago title "Without a Higher Power". I don't think
he capitalized hp. I believe that article ought to be
required reading for all A.A. members, atheist, agnostic
or born again Christian such as myself. We have lost
millions of sufferers in the past twenty years by
limiting membership in A.A. We are not a God Program.
We are a fellowship of men and women as defined by our
A.A. preamble. Thanks for adding a little more light to the
"What's on your Mind Forum. ANONYMOUS
Thanks for not scrolling past. Thanks for noticing I was trying to describe how I fundamentally "qualify" as an alcoholic -- but not by the drunk-a-log method, describing lost jobs, broken relationships, financial difficulties, crappy childhoods, etc. Non-alcoholics have these things happen to them too but these events don't mean they are alcoholic. Writing it out helped me to re-confirm that I am an alcoholic.
Thank you too for taking the time to talk about the religious element in AA. There is one "We Agnostics" meeting in the city where I live. It's somewhat of a long drive to get there and is just once a week, but I've made the effort to attend it. I agree with you that no AA meeting should require that the attendees be agnostic. This would be as inappropriate as requiring attendees at an AA meeting to be believers.
The main difference I see with the "We Agnostics" meetings is that the attendees don't preach the Big Book formula that a belief in God is required to stay sober. Back in the 90's when I originally got sober, it didn't seem like there was the same degree of preaching that there is now and there was a greater degree of acceptance of the non-believer. I am grateful that AA did work for me at that time(without being a believer) and am hoping to find some meetings where there is less testimony about the benefits of God and more testimony about the benefits of sobriety.
Again, thanks for the encouragement.
If your reaching out for help.
Grab ahold Your about to experience a new way of living w/o alcohol or drugs.
Read the big book.
Get a sponsor.
Get busy trusting God.
When all the bs fails come on back trust in God and clean house
What can be done about a group member who keeps chatting about Al-Anon as the solution and doing so while in an Open AA meeting?
I keep wondering why no one pays any attention to my explanation of our money problem.
We are paying salaries and benefits to individuals who ought not have been given the jobs
in the first place. This practice is in violation of the Powerful Tradition Bill wrote
on page S72 in the Service Manual. "The makeup..." "If it wishes".
These salaries and benefits are being paid for with money that we are not even supposed
to have: Profit from the sales of books and literature.
If we sell books and literature without profit (this has always been our goal), and only
spend money contributed by A.A. members, everything will be fine. "Spend What We Send".
Keep A.A. simple. quoting one of our co-founders. ANONYMOUS
I guess I’m a skeptic. I get suspicious when I see someone wanting something done just for the sake of having it done. There is a problem convincing alcoholics, trying or try to hide a bad motive under a good one or trying to keep an agenda secret. We used to do that kind of stuff, practiced it, rehearsed it, and thought we perfected it. Then we had it brought out in the daylight in steps four and five and saw it for what it really was and became willing to have it thrown in the trash with the rest. I’m grateful that the twelve steps are in the front of the book so I have a better perspective on the twelve traditions on the back.
For about thirty years my belief was this: The steps may
be labeled as suggestions, but for anyone who wants to get sober and stay sober, they are damned-well-betters. I just
thought that I knew better than our A.A. pioneers. I not only held this belief; I would offer it to anyone who was
polite enough to listen, individually or in meetings.
To say that the steps are free; the only ones you pay
for are the ones you don't take, distorts the meaning of
"suggestion". I regret that I stayed ignorant for so long.
How many suffering alcoholics did I push away? I don't
even like to think about it.
Today I believe that the Twelve Traditions are the
damn-well-betters. These were first called Twelve Points
to assure our future. Bill later wrote a thirteenth
tradition which he called a Powerful Tradition. The
violation of this tradition has harmed our fellowship
like no other. This Powerful Tradition can be found in
our Service Manual. Page S72. It surprises me that it is still there. "They" have removed the "in 1986" paragraph
from the Manual. Next, the powerful tradition paragraph
will disappear. Sure, there is some feeble explanation,
on page 17 under Concept IV. in the "For example" paragraph.
It also reads "if it wishes" the General Service Board
can legally do anything it wishes to do.
Concept Seven tells us what we must do. ANONYMOUS
The poster’s attempt to make AA World Service finances sound like some off-course, secret, nefarious plot is ridiculous. All of the financial decisions (in fact ALL decisions) are made with representation of members from all over the country with layer after layer of oversight built in. If anyone in interested in any of the details of how it is done just buy an AA Service manual and get ready for some really boring reading. It is only the poster’s opinion that using a small amount of profit from literature sales to supplement the General Service Office’s budget violates tradition Seven. To see this as accepting outside contributions we have to believe non-members MIGHT be buying some of our literature and the profit from THOSE sales is being used for something besides publishing expense.
When I buy a book, I buy it because I want the book. I don’t buy it because I want to make a contribution to Tom Clancy or Random House or whoever and thereby influence their decision making. Do you?
If influence from outside has ever been a problem, there have been thousands of trusted servants over the years to deal with it. If it ever does become a problem there will be hundreds more rising to the top service positions every year to meet the challenge. Something that isn’t broken, and shows no signs of becoming broken doesn’t need to be fixed today.
I think there is some economic theory left over from the early industrial revolution to the effect that there is a perfect and unvarying relationship between price of goods and demand. That is, lowering the price always causes a corresponding increase in sales. That theory fell down a long, long time ago. People aren’t failing to buy AA literature because it’s too expensive. Just like the items on the 90% off sales rack, they don’t buy it because they don’t want it. (I like it, I buy it, but I’m not everybody). His suggestion would not put literature in the hands of those who need it. It would cut the services offered by the General Service office where about seventy staff members serve about two million of us now and about twenty million more that need it.
I have a copy of my delegates report. It states that for the year 2012 total operating expenses were $14,283,552.
Contributions for the year totaled $6,557,608. Where do
you suppose the rest of the money came from? ANONYMOUS
I have a document in my hand from Ward B. Ewing Chair, General Service Board. It is titled: Trustees AgendaItem E
Background Doc 1. Under Finances he Writes:" Approximately 50% of the net income for the General Service Office comes
from the sale of literature", etc. So it is not just my
opinion, but, in my opinion 50% is not a small amount.
How accurate is our Service Manual, when it is
contantly being changed. Of course these changes are
approved by representation of members from all over the
country. Our delegates (representatives) are kept so
busy at the General Service Conference they don't know
what they are approving. How many of them knew that the
"In 1986" paragraph was being deleted from Page S74 of
the 2011 manual?
On page S72 read the paragraph beginning with "In the
makeup, it appears that the meaning of "never" has been
changed. An explanation is offered, but I believe never
If anyone, anywhere is interested in any of this, I
also ask you to buy a Service Manual. Keep an eye on
it. In the next decade we will be accepting outside
money from anywhere we can get it. "For the sake of
the poor suffering alcoholic who has never heard of
A.A." Nonsense! Everyone in the world today has heard
of Alcoholics Anonymous.
The twenty million suffering is probably closer to
thirty million, and that doesn't include our friends
and loved ones who suffer even more than the alcoholic
does. But they are not getting the help from our New
York office. The alcoholic shows up at our local doorstep.
There we tell her/him they must find God and find Him NOW!
I can hear someone say: There you go again. Jimmy Carter lost the election on that one. ANONYMOUS Note: the real
secret is how much of our money goes to the top ten
positions in our service structure. That secret I would
At our last group conscious meeting, I recommended changing our format in order to better reflect our mission. My idea was to discard reading “How it Works” at the beginning of the meeting and also to stop saying the “Lord’s Prayer” at the end of the meeting; in order to not muddle up our primary purpose or bamboozle the newcomer into thinking “I must do this or die.” I proposed we should open up with the “AA Preamble” and close the meeting with the “Responsibility Statement” I was greeted harshly by the gurus but, to my surprise there were more “yeas” than “nays”! Many members had felt this way in the past but were afraid to speak up because they did not want to rock the boat. All it took was one person to do so. After much discussion the “yeas” came to believe that these writings clarify our mission better and provide a stronger foundation for our fellowship’s future. Does anyone else have a similar format? Thanks
I don't think that the Lord's prayer has any business in AA because it is uniquely Christian, excluding all others. Referring to finding a Higher Power to solve one's drinking problem does belong because that's what AA is. p45.
Bill W. wrote in the "Dear Russ Letter" the reasons
why using the Lords Prayer to close an A.A. meeting is OK.
Bill W. was no saint and made many mistakes before and
after sobriety. Some of them were serious.
Does anyone have any information indicating that Bill
changed his mind on this one?
I personally don't see anything wrong with it as long
as the majority of the group members approve it. It is
the coercion or forcing everyone to join in that I feel
harms A.A. as a whole. ANONYMOUS
"I don't think that the Lord's prayer has any business in AA because it is uniquely Christian, excluding all others."
As a matter of historical fact, the author of 'Lord's Prayer'
was a Jewish rabbi who taught the prayer to his Jewish disciples. There were no Christians at the time, no Christianity,there is no mention of Christ, God or Jesus in it so how can you pretend it's a uniquely Christian prayer.
The Serenity prayer, on the other hand, was written by a Protestant Theologian, yet no one seems to have a problem with saying it.
And please stop trying to convert AA into an Atheist sect.
Looks to me like the Lord’s Prayer came from Jesus at the Sermon on the Mount, Mathew 6:9 -13. Maybe he got it from a rabbi, but it’s certainly looks like his instructions on how to pray to me. Instructions from Jesus = Christian? Sounds like it to me.
Atheist? You better read my post again.
Check again. Jesus was not a "Christian", He was a rabbi and his disciples were all Jews. Christianity didn't exist when He lived.
You may not be an atheist, but you certainly seem to have a resentment against anything even remotely 'Christian'.
Over the years I have sponsored a Jew, an Iranian immigrant who is Muslim, a Laotian immigrant who is a Buddhist and a Catholic priest. Not a single one of these complained about the Lord's Prayer, the Serenity Prayer or any of the other prayers found in our literature.
I challenge anyone to show me where in the Lord's prayer God, Jesus, Christ, or Lord is found. Calling the word "Father" strictly Christian is stretching the point, isn't it?