Burning Desire to Share
Those who need to hear AA’s message are not limited to those just walking through the door. None of us get the whole message until we graduate and thirty three years hasn’t gotten me there yet. The sponsor, playing doctor, needs more of the message and needs it now. Not unusual. Sponsorship is not a one way street. I’ve enjoyed the education provided by numerous tour guides but I never heard one claim having all the answers. (And many of them are licensed!) A sponsor, a tour guide for AA, shouldn’t be held to a higher standard. They don’t need to be, after all life is and open (Big) book test.
Wow - sounds like that is one rough home group you have there, if what you're saying is true (do you think it could possibly be your own perception, thinking the home group members see newcomers as an annoyance?) If ANY folks in AA tell you or anyone else to stop taking their meds, then find another group. There is not a person in the program who should be giving advice on meds - WE ARE NOT DOCTORS. Tell your friend to find another sponsor - and stay on her meds, if that's what her doctor is telling her to do. Just hang in there and find another home group - and please don't leave...
I am not about to leave! My home group is within walking distance and many fellow alcoholics who are my dear friends live close and do not drive presently either. I am getting a lot of mixed messages, but I find myself on this site reading and studying every day to keep my head clear of some of the "nonsense" I hear and it works! I also attend meetings at other locations to learn more about alcoholism through others experiences and about myself. I know I am doing the next right thing, they cannot shake my sobriety or take away the peace and tranquility I am feeling. I try to love all, but have discovered not all are lovable regardless. And yes, some of the longer sober ones seem to take a sick pleasure in watching us newbies struggle, but we prevail!
Recently, I was at a meeting and a man said, “If the brain is engaged then God is disengaged” That was just too much. The sad thing was everyone was nodding their heads. My first sponsor said, “You can’t think your way out of a bottle” I disagreed and that was 29 years ago. Is thinking a bad word in AA today? Is there not a slogan “Think, Think, Think”? In my area, many of the meetings don’t even have this slogan on their walls alongside the other ones. I often hear, “My best thinking got me here!” That just is not true. Who was the unwise originator of that turn of phrase? The way I see it, my worst thinking got me here, which was a thinking compromised by my addiction to alcohol. I was not capable of making sound choices as long as alcohol was in my body. Just to go along with the phrase, yes if I made a decision to come to AA for help I believe that was thinking at its best but, as it is really implied not very helpful. I used to hear I over E (intelligence over emotion) There was once an importance placed on learning to use your mind in a healthy way and to start making healthy choices. At my first meeting I heard, “Think through the drink.” People talk of emotional sobriety. To me, this will only happen if the brain is engaged. What is there to fear? It’s popular to hear, “Faith without works is dead” Well, I must think in order to keep the workings of faith alive.
People who think their thinking got them here the Big books talks about, some are mentally disordered incapable of being honest with themselves, knows very little, maybe even nothing about alcoholism they can’t think right? So they join the outside institution around A.A for comfort and lime light. . I am glad I have a reason for being here alcohol got me here and my thinking keeps me here.
Think! Thanks so much for the post and the old reminder of I/over E. I agree re-using the brain in a healthy way is the first step into taking responsibility for our situations and our individual journey’s into sobriety. We must learn to think to determine if we are alcoholic or not; if we are powerless or not. Was an angel going to slip away from heaven and deliver a note to me saying I was powerless over alcohol? Every person in my life was doing that just fine but, I couldn’t see it. The white light fever thing with rapturous gongs never happened to help convince me I was sick. It took time. After a lengthy withdrawal period and attending meetings 2-3 times a week for a year, I could clearly see what the first step meant and the importance of thinking. It’s easy to read the first step once and move on to bigger and better things but, to fully grasp what alcoholism is and the ramifications if I pick up again took much longer. On the surface the first step is an obvious thing but to fully meditate on it is another. Although my thinking is far from perfect today, I have enough of it to take healthy choices thereby having the ability to stay sober for one day.
"Faith without works is dead". Works without faith can also
be dead. Many AA members think that the solution to alcoholism is a mechanical procedure. Sit an alcoholic down
at a table with workbook, pencil and a sponsor and work this
thing out. Work the twelve steps and you will be well. I
wonder just how many alcoholics do get sober this way. There
are some. Maybe one out of a hundred or one out of a thousand?
Alcoholics Anonymous offers a technique, method, which
rarely fails. Faith is the main ingredient in that recipe.
The steps are an adjunct, which we offer in the form of
suggestions. When I looked closely, I could see that I
had taken steps one, two and three upon entering A.A. The
rest of the steps have helped me over the years.
When "working with others", we do our part by sharing
our own experience, strength and hope. We have faith that
God will do His part, if we stay out of the way.
Sure, the steps work for some, but Dr. Silkworth's
IDEA rarely fail. Attraction, not promotion. First we need to make sure our own house is in order. ANONYMOUS
We've got to quit admitting members based on their liabilities.
Thank you for the reminder of the “Think, Think, Think” slogan. I rarely see this slogan on AA walls anymore. Perhaps this is a visible sign that “thinking” has become a bad word in AA today.
Some of you may recollect the film “Days of Wine and Roses,” from 1962. In the middle of the film, there is an AA meeting attended by Joe, an alcoholic who gets sober in AA. It’s Joe’s first time at the podium, saying “I’m an alcoholic” to the group. Joe’s figure on either side is framed by four big one foot by two feet posters. In big letters, one of the posters on his left says “THINK.” The other posters surrounding Joe say “EASY DOES IT,” “LIVE AND LET LIVE,” and “FIRST THINGS FIRST.” This film portrayal of AA’s walls in the 50’s and 60’s seems remarkably different from how AA walls look today.
In the rooms, I too hear the phrase “my best thinking got me here.” I always respond by saying “my worst thinking got me here.”
First Things First, Easy Does It, and Live and Let Live
were A.A.'s first slogans. The three are listed on page 135
in the Big Book Fourth Edition. When was Think, Think, Think
added. Was it really in the film in 1962, or was that
movie up-dated? Corey, where are you? ANONYMOUS
Easy Does It But Do It!
Can you tell me where to find this in A.A. literature?
But Do It! negates Easy Does It. Think, Think, Think.
If Joe does not state his name, does the group yell
"WHO ARE YOU"? Keep in mind that membership doubled
in that decade. Think, Think, Think. I think the introduction of chanting into A.A. was a horrible
blunder. I makes us look ridiculous, IMO. ANONYMOUS
No comments on my typing blunder? I really need to pay
more attention to Preview. ANONYMOUS
When Joe says "I am an alcoholic", does the crowd yell
Hi! Joe!? Something to THINK about. ANONYMOUS
Is it possible that the craving phenomenon that is spoken about in Chapter 2 of the big book also is happening when one drinks and then craves/reaches for other drugs? That describes me when I drink? Is that all part of the craving phenomenon that is alcoholic behavior?
There is a ton of current research on addiction to investigate. Behind addiction is not a lack of god but a brain disorder. It's in the bio-chemistry of the individual. Why do some people become addicts and others do not? Look at the research and it will answer your question. It’s all the same. I personally didn't do narcotics because alcohol did the trick. But it’s common in the rooms that members including me will switch addictions because after they sober up, the brain is still trying to light up the nerve pathways. Some do it with sugar, heavy caffeine drinking, nicotine, carbs, obsessive exercise, rage, sex, medications, diet colas, self-help books and so on. Chasing highs even though the alcohol has long been put to sleep is very common. In my experience, no matter how hard I worked the program I was miserable because in a way I was still blocking the recovery process with these other distractions. I needed to learn to have constant vigilance over these things. I have to make sure I am not numbing out my feelings and emotions in other ways. Recovery to me is allowing the feelings to surface. By facing and learning how to negotiate them the mind will heal. Taking healthy perspectives on these roots of pain totally turned my recovery around. If you are still lacking the joy of sobriety and have been in the rooms for a while perhaps my experience may appeal to you. Thanks
If we know what causes the craving, and how to prevent
it, does it really matter? Keep A.A. simple and out of
research. Leave that to the scientists. Rose
Does it make a difference?
I do have a plan which will solve our money problem and will return our fellowship to an
acceptable public image. First, any paid employee who has been an AA trustee will be terminated,
with a three week severance pay. All current trustees and future candidates will be required to
sign a release stating that will never expect or accept a paying job with A.A.
Second, begin a five year plan to eliminate all non-alcoholic Trustees. The need for non-
alcoholic trustees has not existed for many years. We can take care of ourselves.
Third, use five million dollars of our Prudent Reserve Fund to "Buy Out" as many employees
as possible. Use the remaining four million to move out of New York City. Save a million in
the Prudent Reserve Fund. That will meet our revised minimum requirement.
Fourth, return our goal of self-support and move toward that goal. "Spend what we send! and
not a penny more. Do not provide services that we are not willing to pay for out of our own
pockets. Sell books and literature at the cost of printing.
There are many flaws in our A.A. structure from top to bottom. Many took decades to happen
and may take decades to correct. But if we do not start now we may never return A.A. to any
acceptable degree of effectiveness. It ought to be obvious why I sign my messages ANONYMOUS
I have plan for you that is fool-proof. Put your hand out to a newcomer, make coffee, sweep floors and take the cotton out of your ears and place it in your mouth. Works every time. You'll wake up one day and be amazed before you are half-way through. Old School AA that works. By the way did I miss the meeting that appointed you the guardian of the kingdom? Love and Let Love
Don't expect much help here. Newcomers don't know or care what you are talking about and more experienced members understand that anyone harboring such a big resentment just doesn't get it.
The OK Go ahead was supposed to have a not really happy face after it. I guess it didn't come through.
Oh, it came through. Most A.A. members, new or experienced,
have no idea what my concerns are. The more experienced
members who do understand remain silent for selfish reasons,
greed being the main reason. Most any person of average
intelligence could understand it, if they cared enough.
Investigate THE POWERFUL TRADITION Page S72 in the
Service Manual. Bill warns us about the danger of inviting
authoritarian and institutional operating styles which
would conflict with A.A. principles. I suppose the
principles Bill is referring to, no longer exist. This
is probably not easily understood by today's A.A.
member. I was 35 years sober before I even saw a Service
Manual. Shame on me. ANONYMOUS. Believe me I was much
happier with my head in the sand.
OK. Go ahead.
Only our General Service Board of Trustees (GSB) have
the power to "Go ahead". You may not know that, but it
is accurate. Our Board of Trustees have all legal power.
We could get their attention by refusing to send them
any more money. That is the "power of the purse". Bill
explains that in Concept Seven. Our Trustees can either
obey the wishes of the membership, or continue on
their own path. They have recently made profit from the
sale of books and literature acceptable as a second
source of income. They removed the "in 1986" paragraph
from Page S72 in the Service Manual. I assume that this
deletion was "conference approved". In the near future,
our Trustees will begin to accept money from other
sources, further violating Tradition Seven. They do not have
to change the tradition: They just ignore it.
I am deeply concerned about where our financial
support comes from. What concerns me even more is that
so many of our A.A. members do not know the value of
self support. They don't care where the money comes
from. "What difference does it make?". The difference
is whether Alcoholics Anonymous is going to survive or
not. It may never die. We could just remain an eight cylinder engine running on two cylinders, which could
continue for many more decades. Personally, there is
not much more I can do. I can't do it alone. If you
do not help, there is no way I can "Go ahead". If
you are concerned about A.A.'s future, contact your
delegate. Do your own investigation. Seek out others
who may understand.Ignorance is not bliss. It can be fatal. ANONYMOUS
What a great idea. It should be implemented as soon as possible.
“some think it’s a rigorous practice of the 12 Steps, some think its sober alcoholics sharing their experience, strength and hope……”
I don’t see where anyone get the idea that it’s an either/or proposition.
I share my experience of what it was like, what happened and what it’s like now.
What it was like is simple enough. I drank too much. I throw in some details for the newcomer in case it might strike a chord that someone else’s story might not.
What happened was a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps. Most of my story is spent on the steps, how I did them. If someone brought a broken car to some kind of car repair group I believe he would need more information about how to fix one than how broken they can get or how good they are after being repaired.
My strength? It took some intestinal fortitude to give up the only way of life I knew, to trust an unknown Higher Power and face my shortcomings and their results. Sometimes it was hard, but I did it. I think if I did you can too.
And hope - What it’s like now?
I personalize how the promises have come true in my life.
Junk vehicles to nice ones.
Replacing what to do for money to what to do with money.
Run down house in a slum to watching the sun rise and set over our land.
One night stands to 12 wonderful years of marriage and growing.
Comfortable around strangers and everyone else.
Still having feelings that jump all over the Richter scale but no longer control my life.
Assertive when I need to be and accepting when I need to.
Happy to live and unafraid to die.
God doing for me what I could not do for myself.
so helpful my feelings too jump around but no longer control my inner life the way they used to--thanks for calling that to my attention
Sounds like your life a perfect life today. Congratulations! I didn't do any of those things you mentioned and I got the same results. Go figure. The program works even if you don't work it.
To me, as long as I don't pick up that first drink and seek goodness its a sober happy hour 24/7. Thanks
Funny, I've never seen anyone hanging around cardiac rehab or a weight watcher's picnic saying "I don't do any of these things and get great results?
Why do we get them?
Thanks for a simple message. If we "don't drink" and
show up at meetings to try to share this precious gift
with others, how can we fail? I believe that "It Works"
no ifs, ands or butts. Seek and spread goodness. My
life is not perfect and I am not always happy, but your
message brought a smile. Rose
I'm an alcoholic I can't just NOT DRINK. I am sick mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. The physical improves in the absence of alcohol. That's not enough for the other three. That's how we can fail.
“some think it’s a rigorous practice of the 12 Steps, some think its sober alcoholics sharing their experience, strength and hope……”
I don’t see where anyone get the idea that it’s an either/or proposition.
Some think it's a followship some thinks it's a free gift from God the fellowship
Shhhhh Don't tell the outside sponsorship syetem practicing on people already here helping people out instead of in !
I am curious about THE PLAN which had gotten a lot of attention in the year 2012. My delegate
returned from the annual conference and gave the report at our Spring Assembly. I tried to pay attention and would have asked for details at the end, but I already had questions to ask. I had to ask if the commemorative first edition was accepted or rejected. I thought it was rejected (which
it was), but the minority voice turned the vote around. So it will be published against the
wishes of my area. But what happened to THE PLAN? Was the whole thing dropped, or was it placed
on the back burner. What happened to the Planner. Did he resign? Was his term completed? Or did
he drop out of sight for a while until a paid position in the structure can be found for him,
maybe as GSO manager? The last two GSO managers were trustees. I don't know how many trustees
have been given jobs in the past. It makes me extremely sad that most A.A. members today have
no idea what my concerns are about. ANONYMOUS
I read this as part of a post here recently.
“To me, recovery is an individual experience. For example, if we pass a piece of paper and a number two pencil to a room full of people and ask them to draw a picture of what recovery looks like, I guarantee every piece of paper in that room will look completely different.”
This concept might apply if the room full of people were asked what this years parade float should look like but trying to apply it to recovery from alcoholism has been a death sentence for many.
In the Foreword to the First Addition (no you don’t need to buy a first addition, it is included in the fourth)
“We, of Alcoholics Anonymous, are more than one hundred men and women who have recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. To show other alcoholics precisely how we recovered is the main purpose of this book.”
Looks to me like those hundred plus picked up their number two pencil and drew the same picture “precisely how we recovered”. Then you can add Joe H who pointed out that the Big Book’s message starts before page one and you can add me, and my sponsor, and members in by group, and members in other groups and on and on.
Am I saying that it’s my way or the highway? Surprisingly, no. I only recommend AA’s way (as spelled out in its instruction book), I never developed a solution, I use theirs. Are there other ways to recovery? Certainly. Many benefit from spontaneous remission. Many get what they need from their church. The medical community and drug industry are always coming up with new cures, maybe even one that will work someday. If suffering alcoholics reach out to any of them for help, more power to them. If they reach out to AA, it’s my responsibility to give them AA, not what I think they should hear or some committee’s consensus.
You said, "If they reach out to AA, it’s my responsibility to give them AA" And what exactly is this AA you want to give them? Because AA is not the same for everyone. So we must be careful. As far as I know AA is a diverse Fellowship where members share their experience, strength and hope. There is a suggested pathway to the stars but, not all members find it helpful. Should we kick them out or beat them over the head; belittle their message; secretly hope they relapse to please our egos?
No, we welcome anyone with love and tolerance who has a desire to stop drinking. The wisdom and magic in the rooms is bigger than you or I. Anyone can find the necessary tools they need to stay sober for one day even if the tools they are using are different then mine. Embrace Diversity
The post says "as spelled out in its instruction book"
The main purpose of the Big Book was to show and tell
other alcoholics how to recover, and to make lots of money
to support the treatment centers which the government and
insurance companies support today. This was all changed
just before the book went to print.
The Big Book is a story book. It has a simple purpose:
to explain how one hundred men had recovered from a fatal
disease. It explains in detail how that was done. It
worked for them and it might work for you if you care to
try it. We will help in any way we can. Helping others
seems to be the way we stay sober ourselves. We are not
advisors, teachers or preachers. Most of us have developed
enough humility to know that we are sober and alive only
by the grace of God. Pride has no place in our fellowship
of recovering/recovered alcoholics. ANONYMOUS
Thank you, now let your sponsor know !
How could I do that? I do not have a sponsor. I have
never had a "sponsor". I have had several mentors over
the years, but they would never fit today's role of
sponsor. I believe we all come as equals to a place
where we can all recover together. No hierarchy or
patriarchy. That is the climate in which Alcoholics
Anonymous was born, two alcoholics needing each other.
Bill was well aware that he needed another alcoholic
to talk to. He was afraid of going "down the drain". Dr.
Bob needed what Bill had to offer, although he may not have
known what it was, or that he needed it. This ingredient
of humility is what is missing in today's A.A. ANONYMOUS
You said, "The Big Book is a story book. It has a simple purpose:to explain how one hundred men had recovered from a fatal disease." In a way this is true, however it leaves out so many important stories such as those of agnostics and atheists that found it not necessary to believe in god to live a sober life. There is a whole history in AA not being represented and their stories are not being told by the big book. The "We Agnostics" chapter means well but it only describes those who found god in the end. To me, this is an unfair and it truly discredits and insults the valuable work done by so many agnostics and atheists who throughout the years helped opened up the rooms and kept it from becoming like the Oxford Group. Are agnostics and atheists 2nd class members?
No that is not what I said. Read my post again or read it from your Big Book to be sure I got it right.
You must have come across some real losers to categorize anybody who has taken step two as someone blocking the entry to anyone who hasn't yet. A lot of us don't fit that mold.
"Are agnostics and atheists 2nd class members?"
Absolutely not. Newcomers are the lifeblood of AA.
You said, "Absolutely not. Newcomers are the lifeblood of AA." Thanks for your honestly, it gets better one day at a time. Keep coming back and your life will change as well as your attitude. We all have one in our early days. Even though you are new, your message can save the person who just walked through the door. Don't worry about being in early recovery. Most of us come to AA to learn how to not pick up the first drink. The strange and joyful journey in recovery is once you reach the top your realize someone else has been there and you are actually on the bottom and you have to keep striving for the top again. Thanks for you message of hope. Johnnie T.
The Big Book is just an honest story of how the first
members recovered. There were at least two of the
early members who were agnostic or atheistic. Hank P
and Jimmy B. Bill wrote on page 164 that our book would
be suggestive only. The steps themselves are but suggestions. What most A.A. members lack is a proper
understanding of "suggestion". A suggestion is not telling
someone what they must do. I share what I did, what I
do and what happened to me. Sounds a bit self-centered,
but that is the IDEA offered to Bill W. by Dr. Silkworth
in the spring of 1935. A suggestion is just to share
an idea with someone for their consideration.
By making the BB suggestive, and the steps suggestions,
sobriety and recovery is offered to everyone.
There is a problem and it is a severe one. Agnostics
and atheistic alcoholics are pushed away, before they
get a chance at salvation. I believe that we can hold
on to almost all of them, if we stop pushing God and
the steps down their throats. Stop reading "How It Works".
That was our worst blunder ever. It led us down the
path to becoming a religion. I know A.A. is not a named
religion, but it has become a religion for many of us.
Too many! Please find and read the Grapevine article
"Without a Higher Power" from about three years ago.
Another article asked if we need an overhaul of our
fellowship. A loud YES. My past delegate told me to
"Keep sounding the alarm, maybe we can turn this ship
around." The members who are left in A.A. today are
the ones who steered us down the wrong path. I know,
because I was one of them. I regret that I was so
ignorant, misinformed, and uninformed. ANONYMOUS
How can you say "We are not advisors, teachers or preachers." then teach, preach, and advise about pride and humility? sounds like the pot calling the kettle black only the pot is still potted!
If there was only one way of getting sober than there would only be one person sober in AA. I don't know of anyone in my home group and in all the groups in the area that are clones of each other. Not everyone in AA works the steps; not everyone in AA reads the Big Book; not everyone in AA believes in God. Recovery and sobriety are not cookie cutter experiences. Even if you gave a paint-by numbers painting to everyone, the result would still be different. My recovery is very different than yours apparently. Does this mean you are more sober than me, better than me? I've been doing quite well since 1983, how about you? Never said one prayer to boot! Everyone I sponsor has a different style of recovery. Some like step-meetings, agnostics meetings, speaker meetings, Big book Meetings, LGBT meetings etc. I share my experience strength and hope, not my sponsors, not Bill W's and not yours.
I have almost 9 months sober now and haven't even made it past step 3, not because I am not willing and open and ready but because I am having an issue selecting the right sponsor. I had a temporary sponsor who completely lost her mind after 3 years of sobriety and believe she is using other substances and haven't seen her in 6 months so I selected a new sponsor who has just celebrated 2 years fresh out of finishing her 12 steps for the first time, keeps cancelling on our meetings to work on my steps, also when we did have a concrete date and time, planned a lunch together to do this, she had invited others along and was discussing her issues going on with her (boys and work) and completely disregarding what our plans were. also she doesn't go to meetings regularly and I don't even think she is doing any service work at this time. I do have to say that I don't call her as much as I should and when I do it is about 50/50 chance we get in touch. I have had to contact other women in the program to reach out for help more than I have from her to this point. I did go to a meeting last night and go figure...the topic was sponsorship (just what I was struggling with) and I have came to the decision that I need to ask someone else with more time and dedication for me. what do you think, am I wrong? I keep going back and forth on this because she has never sponsored anyone before and her relationship with her sponsor is not something I desire but I love her to death, she is a wonderful person, just not something I need for my sobriety or am I just trying to find the differences and excuses to jump to another sponsor? please help
You need to keep it simple. Just pick someone. Say it's temporary, and if it doesn't work out, get somebody else. It's dangerous to not have a sponsor. You are over-thinking it.