Burning Desire to Share
Thanks for the feedback. It helps to have many points of view. So far everything is fine. I decided to just be friends with that man and go to a womens group for a while.
in the begging in might work. ive had one to ask me to sponser her and it worked for a wile. i was always encurging her to get a woman to work with and after im glad to say that she got a woman sponsor. thank god it was very hard telling her the truth to her. she was very fragile but she maid it, and moved from houston to new orleans
When you are between a rock and a hard place, pick one. I'd like to think I fit the description of the man you describe so maybe I can give you a little insight from the other side. I fit the age and AA years anyway. What you seek has been done before successively and otherwise. On the plus side AA has given me sisters, a category of women I never had before. Women were either potentials for a relationship, not potential for relationships or other. Other included married coworkers, bosses, cops, judges. But I didn't know any women as PEOPLE. Open, honest sharing of men and women with a common bond in meetings taught me about women as people, just like me, just like my men friends. That understanding later helped clear up my sick thinking about relationships and I have been happily married in one for the past 12 years and trust myself and am trusted enough to relate one on one with women in the program on a very limited basis. On the other hand, I’m not quite well yet and I’m not quite dead yet so caution is required.
If either you or the old vet are in a relationship it’s tough to believe jealousy won’t explode like a bomb somewhere. If either of you think that you are falling in love with the other and it’s not reciprocated then one of you won’t be able to stand to around the other so one of you quits the meetings or AA. Likely you and it’s a likely death sentence.
If I were trying to work with someone like you I would;
Not socialize with you
Work to try to find meetings with women with potential for you
(If you would drive 50 miles to drink, you can drive 50 miles to stay sober)
Answer any problems I see or questions you ask with AA answers right out of the book repeating like an old scratched record. (Men get that too, the only answers I have)
Thanks for sharing. It’s a good topic. Good luck.
Being an attractive woman can add a distracting dimension to recovery. In my experience, the men wouldn't leave me alone. Men are men. I can't blame them. Thats what they are designed to do. I had a similar experience with catty women.
God must of answered my prayers because a man (my future sponsor)entered my life and invited me to his mens gay group. He felt my frustrations and saw the hassles from straight men. It's been three years now and the men have totally embraced me. They love me for who I am and not how I can make their eyes feel when I walk into a room. This is what worked for me but, recovery is all about the decisions we make. Whatever you decide there will always be someone in the rooms that will support you. I wish the best. Shynia
It can work, but is very tricky. I was told the men will pat your behind, but the women will save it. I didn't listen till the man I trusted left town and didn't even say Good bye. You may fool a man , but not a women cause they have been in your shoes. Just remember, we are all here because we have souls that hurt, both men and women. Some may not make it if they can't be thoroughly honest, so be honest with yourself and ask your Higher Power to lead you to the sponsor you need.
"I was told to get a sponsor and to start reading the Big Book and to start asking god for help."
Where is it written that an alcoholic can't take the steps without a sponsor? The fact that you've written to this forum proves, to me at least, that you aren't illiterate and that you aren't learning disabled. I believe that you can read and understand the Big Book, so why not take a chance and try?
When I was new in AA I spent some time in an area where there were no meetings or sober alcoholics. And I wasn't sure I had a Higher Power but I got some very good advice from the AA who answered the phone when I called. He told me to use my Big Book and his Higher Power. When I realized he had told me to use the Big Book, not just read it, I began my actual recovery. As one of the old oldtimers said, we can starve to death reading a cookbook.
I'm still not sure Who or What I pray to, but whatever it is it's kept me sober for nearly forty-two years. And I don't need any formal prayers, just saying something like 'Please help me' is enough.
yes i belive the big book can sponsor. what did the old timers have back in 1935. tere was only three major city. the rest was in rual areas. they comunicated by letters and thoes letters sponsoed. the big book does have power to sponsor.
The Big Book has sponsored me since 1971.
A month ago I allowed myself to relapse. It was the same old ball and chain that it had been before ever obtaining sobriety in the first place. Thank God I'm finally sober. Just like before it really is that moment of clarity when it's as though sobriety was simply handed to me, after praying and begging for it for awhile.
It's so nice to not have to tend to that horrible habit. All I've wanted to do is sleep but I'm sure my body is resting from the abuse I put it through.
When I go to my next meeting, I'm gonna be real and get another 24 hour medallion and off we go again. I hope to find a real sponsor that will return my calls and meet with me but either way, I know that living sober is for me, I've had it both ways and herein lies the peace of mind.
Thanks for letting me share, thanks for being there.
Bless you all!
I’m reminded of a Joe H talk explaining three types of sponsors.
The first tells you to rely on yourself. “Just don’t drink no matter what!” Note the similarity to your ex mother-in-law's “Why don’t you just straighten out” and just as effective.
The second tells you to rely on them. “Call me every day; bring me all your problems....” Wants to be your higher power but, by definition, has to be nuts to get in this organization and is still proving it.
And a third, that shows you how to rely on God (as you understand him) through the Big Book, practice of the steps, traditions, slogans, service, history. If the first two had done this themselves they would know better than what they are doing, if they haven’t, what on earth do they have to pass on?
I've never gotten a busy signal or a recording when I reached for my Big Book.
I also experience that my sponsor doesn't answer my phone calls daily. I got frustrated until they told me I could A) talk to her about it B) call others on telephone list. C) get a new sponsor. All great options!
I recently moved to a Ohio and was sitting in a coffee shop with my wife. Next to us was a table of people from AA. They wouldn't recognize me of course as a member but, I recognized the talk. What was disconcerting to me was the gossip. Being a "fly on the wall" is not my thing but, the talk was loud and obnoxious. This group covered all the bases from the cranky oldtimers who make passes at the women; to the new "hotties" in the room; talk determining the real winners in their group; talk bad mouthing the agnostics; and talk about gays and members who are HIV positive. After that I got up and went to their table and said, "Look I've been a member of AA since 1990 and this talk belongs in the trash. Why not talk about your recovery and the things you are doing to change" You could hear a pin drop as my wife and I left. I think we should be mindful and aware of our conversations when in public because we never know who is listening.
I am so glad you did just that, instead of copping out to the other oft spoke "live and let live" which many will use to justify their bad behavior. it took courage and spiritual fitness to respond in a loving manner that you did to those still suffering individuals. That was a comfort and joy to realize we still can carry the message, even out of our meetings! bravo
Gossip is a sin equavalent to "Murder." They apparently lack the spiritual aspect of AA which is the most intracate part. Without the spiritual, one is just dry not sober.
Thanks for reminding us of the standards that we need to maintain. Not only not behaving like them but also to use the courage to put them on notice for it.
Thanks-After I left the place I wondered if I did the right thing being we were not in a meeting room. I'm not one to confront people but, that group taught me the value of speaking up. My wife was once a waitress. She mentioned that in her restaurant, the AA people who would come in after a meeting had the worst reputations. From being short on the bill, leaving no tips and can you believe some would actually "dine and dash" She didn't want to work on the nights they would come in. So I think we should practice the principals in all our affairs and not just in rooms. Thanks for the feedback!
I had to remove myself from sponsoring someone after many years. He as was I had rough times in our drinking days in the streets of NY. He recently came into quite a bit of $$$ and he has become an aristocrat, talks down to people, arrogent. I have spoken to him about this many times and he see nothing wrong. Truely narcissistic. One day I was sick and couldnt take a 12th step call and he refused to take it for no other reason than ---I dont want to---. It is very sad to watch someone turn into there extreem selfish selves.
He will have to learn the hard way. Soon it will be OK for him to drink because he said so.
And how is it your behavior any different than his? When he displays a typical sick alcoholic attitude, you mirror his “No, I don’t want to.” Only in your case, be a sponsor. You expect him to practice step 12 when he obviously hasn’t done much on the previous ones. His only business on a 12th step call is to be the junior partner learning how. The pamphlet “Q & A On Sponsorship” spells out the roles of each in the partnership and makes sponsoring much easier. My role as a sponsor is as simple as a WW1 carrier pigeon. Carry the message. What the recipient does with that message is their business, not mine. I doubt if a battle has ever been won by having the carrier pigeon call the shots.
A person might consider the thousands of hours spent by scores of AA members with tons of sobriety writing, reviewing and approving a simple pamphlet. If it’s not right, if it’s not good, if it’s not effective, it’s not in there. Can I do as well making it up as I go?
I’ve been retired for several years and thoroughly enjoy it. My 12th step work has been minimal until lately. I started to chair a weekly noon meeting and usually attend Saturday when we have an open meeting for people in treatment. Also do some other odds and ends as they come up. Started to notice that when 11:30 rolls around on the remaining five days I start thinking about heading to the meeting and I did a few times. Then it occurred to me that my motive was to go hang out with my friends instead of doing something else. Many projects need to be done at home etc. The first one is fun and the second isn’t. Then it came to me to throw in a third option. Visit somebody in a nursing home. Top of this list, wonderful guy who likely never took a drink in his life. Good church man for 80 years or so and a good customer when I was in business. I certainly don’t need to twelfth step him and his brand of religion doesn’t appeal to me. I just try to keep him company once in a while. Gets me out of myself, he enjoys it and I feel some real growth I couldn’t get from umpteen more meeting a week. Before somebody gives me a longer list of 12 step work I could be doing, I already have one. Near as I can tell the world has an unlimited supply of drunks and others as well who need help. I’m choosing one that isn’t a drunk once in a while.
I agree with what is said here, thank you. I feel people best respond to personal experience and not to being preached to.
That was the advice given to Bill W. by Dr. William
Silkworth in the spring of 1935. Stop preaching and
just share your personal experience. Bill obeyed and
A.A. was born. Bill writes that without that advice
A.A. could have never been born. Yet we tell newcomers
every day, "That One is God"!, May you find Him now!
We help very few alcoholics using that approach.
In the US and Canada, we gain about 15,000 new
members each year. We ought to be gaining at least
100,000 each year. Even a hundred thousand a year
is a conservative goal. We ought to be doubling in
membership about every ten years as we did the
first 57 years. And we will when we again pick
up that sledge hammer silky left for us. ANONYMOUS
Ah yes, another sentence taken out of context. From November, 1934, until May, 1935, Bill told alcoholics they had to have a spiritual experience similar to his. Besides his drinking, that was the only experience he could share.
The Big Book contains the shared experience of the early members, not so much their drinking but of their recovery. I can go to any gin mill in the world and find people who share my drinking experiences. From my own experience I feel safe in saying that nearly every one could tell the answer to all my problems. But how many could tell me how to recover from alcoholism.
If you don't like the Steps, fine, don't take them. But quit trying to convert other suffering alcoholics to your brand of so-dry-ety in the name of AA.
You aggressively shared, "If you don't like the Steps, fine, don't take them. But quit trying to convert other suffering alcoholics to your brand of so-dry-ety in the name of AA." That's black and white logic friend. Recovery is living in the grey areas. I think there is more to recovery than the the steps. Diagnosing someone with "so-dry-ety" recovery is judgement. Is our role in AA to judge others. Leave judgement to the religious minded people and anyway, I don't recall judgement being one of our principals in the first place. Let's be open-minded and put our hand out to the people who see things differently. Our rooms can put up with just about any human characteristic but, hatred is dangerous to AA as a whole. Live and Let Live.
Jim: I have written many messages although not all of
them have been posted. Of the ones that have been posted
can you point out even one in which I have said that I
did not like the steps. The messages are numbered: Which
one? I love the twelve steps of A.A. I attend two step
meetings each week where we read the steps as they
are written in the 12&12.
But I understand why Bill
wrote on page 8 in THE LANGUAGE OF THE HEART:quote "For example,
the Twelve Steps of our A.A. program are not crammed down
anyone's throat" end quote. If you will read the previous paragraph, Bill explains the example.
In the book Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, Bill
tells us how to carry the message. Page 70. ANONYMOUS
The first edition of the book Alcoholics Anonymous was priced at $3.50. It was printed on thick
paper which of course made the book bigger. They wanted the purchaser to believe he/she was
getting the most book for the buck. Bill and his friends needed money to proceed on their other
ideas, and most important to offer hope to other alcoholics and their families.
At the beginning of this year our Big Book group began at the front of the fourth edition,
with the intention of reading the entire book word for word. We read a chapter each week and
allow each alcoholic member to comment.
I am becoming more convinced that the book Alcoholics Anonymous is a story book only meant
to offer an invitation to our fellowship. It may be called our basic text, but it was not
meant to be a "work" book. The purpose of the book is to explain how the first 100 members
recovered. They left us a path to follow, a way out, if we choose to follow it. But we have
to thoroughly follow that path, or the results are nil.
That path leads to a better life and can be called a spiritual
awakening. There is no one on that path. They have gone ahead of
us. God may be there, but you probably won't see Him. Our pioneers
left us a path to follow. They tell us precisely how THEY recovered.
They do not tell us what to do. They only tell us what they did.
We ought to be doing the same thing in A.A. today. We push away
those approaching us by trying to give them directions and
calling them suggestions. Alcoholics,
especially those who are still drinking are rebellious and do not
respond favorably to directions. So let us stop giving them
directions and just share our experience, strength and hope. Let
us do what the writers of the big book did. They just shared
how THEY recovered. ANONYMOUS
according to our latest local meeting list we now have over three hundred meetings per week. Quite a few are Big Book study meetings, quite a few more are Twelve step study meetings, yet not a single one is an AA Comes of Age study meeting.
One difference between the Big Book and "AA Comes of Age is that the eleven chapters of the Big Book were edited by those who were members of AA at that time and was a consensus of their total experience. There is and entire chapter devoted to carrying the message to the newcomer, Chapter Seven. In it we are told to, "..... simply lay out the kit of spiritual tools for his inspection. Show him how they worked with you." On the same page, "If he is sincerely interested and wants to see you again, ask him to read this book in the interval."
Perhaps I'm misreading something there, but if he reads the book he has a good chance of reading the twelve steps. And he just might read that AA recommends taking twelve steps in order to have a spiritual awakening.
If simply telling our drinking experiences did any good the Big Book wouldn't need anything except the stories, and even they could be shortened to leave out any mention of recovery. We wouldn't have to go to meetings because all our drinking buddies can share their drinking experiences.
One more quote from Bill W., the author of both the Big Book and AA Comes of Age: "Sobriety - freedom for alcohol _ through the teaching and practice of the Twelve Steps, is the sole purpose of an A.A. group."
Please tell me how we teach the twelve steps to the newcomers if we do nothing but tell him war stories of our drinking days.
"Sobriety, freedom from alcohol, through the teaching and
practice of the Twelve Steps, is the sole purpose of an A.A. group." What do you think is the most important part
of that statement? Is that A.A. ought to stick with its
singleness of purpose and remove drug addicts?
I place the emphasis on the last part of the sentence.
It is the purpose of the AA Group to teach the twelve
steps. We do this in a group setting. If each member of the
group shares her/his experience, the newcomer is likely to
identify with a similar experience. Fitting in, the
sense of belonging, is what I was always looking for. I
found it in the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous.
We ought to let the group do the teaching. Let the
Big Book do the explaining. We ought not have to "explain"
the Big Book to anyone who can read. Bill wrote it in
simple language. If we try to explain the meaning of the
Big Book to a newcomer, we are offering only one persons
intrepretation. Let the group do the teaching.
Jim, this message probably means nothing to you. You
obviously have not studied our A.A. history. A Brief
History of Alcoholics Anonymous can be found in the
book "A.A. Comes of Age". In all sincerity, I ask you
to read it. That book and The Language of the Heart book
ought to be studied by all members who have any concern
for the future of Alcoholics Anonymous. ANONYMOUS
Well said! well said! I have seen far too many alcoholics not drink and go to meetings until they die in a drunk driving accident or hang themselves in the woodshed because our groups were not focused on the answer we had found. when they were ready, they were told to go to meetings instead of practice the program of AA, the 12 steps.
Nonsense! The intention of the book was to put the aa program in writing to avoid the message from being garbled like it is in your post. If you don't think the big book is important, you better tell gso. They've wasted a lot of time and energy translating the big book into 67 foreign languages for no reason!
I assume this message is directed at me. I have written
many messages, not all are posted, and would appreciate
you pointing out any message where I have written I don't like the Big Book. I prefer the third edition, before the
"hold hands and pray" came out (in the fourth). Also in
the fourth edition fellowship has become Fellowship.
I consider the Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous to be
one of the greatest books ever written. It offers hope
to the suffering alcoholic, and to their friends and
families, who suffer even more.
My concerns are at the way meetings are conducted,
the demands (called suggestions) we make on new members
and others. We say "no human power can help you" and then
tell everyone to get a sponsor to depend on or lean on.
You have read my messages. Someday I hope you put
them all together and the light will come on. I do still
have hope. ANONYMOUS
quit telling us how to do our 12 step work! The proof is in the pudding. How many newcomers have you 12 stepped that have gotten sober, stayed sober,are carrying "this message", and are happy about it?
I want to hear your results. Does your homegroup have to split in half or move to compensate for all the recoveries? Ours does. We encourage personal sponsorship, using our basic text as directions to practice the 12 steps of AA, and homegroup membership.
We are results orientated. We had far too many alcoholics who wanted to recover and didn't know the directions for recovery were in the big book.
Lighten up man. We are all in this thing together. The original post guy was just sharing his experience strength and hope. Just because the sound of it hurts your ears doesn't mean you have to hit the gong back at him. Diversity in sobriety is a good thing. We never know what a newcomer might hear that will keep that person coming back.
If one is a big book guru or one is a non-believer they are both permitted to be a member. Neither is right or wrong because some newcomers need to be bullied by dogma and others need to be allowed to discover their own path as an atheist.
What works for you might make me drink. Cheers Mate
Thanks Mate. I have no problem with the Big Book. It is
the Big Book Guru (one person's understanding) who is helping to destroy A.A. I first
read "Dogma and Distortion" a few years ago. That is what
is killing us. ORIGIONAL POST GUY.
The meetings that I attend are stagnant. I noticed about
five years ago that our meetings had fewer and fewer
members. The few who stayed seemed to be changing faces.
I did not know that our total membership worldwide had
taken a nose dive after 1992. We have fewer members
today than twenty years ago. Am I happy about it. Hardly!
I want A.A. to again become attractive enough to
double its membership every ten years. You certainly
seem to be doing your part. I applaud you, although
Dr. Bob was quoted as saying,"don't applaud any
alcoholic". "I've got mine". My concern is for the
future of Alcoholics Anonymous. Future generations
of sufferers, alcoholics and addicts, are going
to need what real A.A. has to offer. ANONYMOUS
I would suggest you start with an inventory of your own meeting. something is wrong if it's had a steady decline for five years. is the group doing 12 step work? are the members carrying the AA message? is there sponsorship? is the meeting attractive to newcomers? how are you going to save future generations of AA if your own homegroup is decaying.
Sounds like a good time for a group inventory.
AA is just that AA and nothing else. AA says nothing about how an addict, overeater, sex addict,compulsive gambler, pedefile or anyone else recovers from there illness. If this offends you I suggest you read AA's primery pourpouse then read all of the other AA writings and you will not find any referance to any recovery but alcoholics. I am very much aware there is almost nothing like a pure alcoholic comming into AA today. I hear sharing in AA meetings about issues relater to alcohol and drugs. There are two problems with that. 1, the person who shares like that disrespects AA (read the primery pourpose) & 2, They may think they are helping them self but they are hurting them self.This is clearly part of selfish imature behavior. They very well might have two ailments to deal with(alcoholisem and drug addiction) but they are only getting help for one. It dosent matter how you twist , turn and minipulate AA to your satisfaction it is only for alcoholics. I heard a renowened alcoholic and drug counsler, PHD, MD speak one time to a group of alcoholics and drug addicts saying----Do not hide out in AA and look for a cure for your drug addiction, they are clearly two different addictions. She went on to say the same aplied to other illinesses and there treatment had no place or chance of recovery in AA. At the AA Convention in San Antiono at a discussion forum titled "Primery Pourpose" one of the guest speakers on the panel read a statement from N.A which said in part---Addicts have no right to disrespect AA by sharing there drug problems there and we (NA) would not like it if alcoholics shared there alcohol problems in a N.A meeting--- Although alcoholics , addicts and others share some common behavior issues we are just compulsive cousions and "not" brothers and sisters".
If you had a hart problem would you go to a dentist? Obviously not. Why not, they are both doctors. You will never get "proper" treatment from a dentist for your heart condition. Real simple.
I am sober quite a while, I have a son who is an active drug addict that has been homeless, lived in the street and been to prison in Mexico and the US and I would "never" recommend him to go to a AA meeting. I have all the respect in the world for addicts and others wanting to get well and live a sober life. I know people in AA who tell me they are addicts and attend AA meetings and just substitute the word alcohol and replace it with drugs. They have also told me they feel like an outsider and not fully included in AA, I wonder why. Its not AA that creates this feeling, its the addict etc. Inasmuch as the AA program is designed for alcoholics then by designe no one else will reach there full potential.
Treat yourself with the proper medecine in the program for your ailment, your worth it.
I used to qualify at meetings in this one close-minded suburb, "Hi my names Bill and I'm a drug addict, my drug of choice Alcohol" Yea the oldtimers there got annoyed for sure but, they were dying out and I could outlast them is the thought that ran threw my head at the time. I wasn't going to drink because I was treated as an outcast. Today, the hippy generation and 70's punks are now the oldtimers. I believe 98% of them used drugs. I always mention drugs in my lead because its my story. Once when I was sharing at an out of town meeting a guy went over and literally pulled the plug on me. He yanked the cord right out from the wall. But, afterwards I got mobbed by newcomers thanking me for being honest and real. Years ago the oldtimers wanted me to respect them but, they didn't respect me one bit. They only respected people who became docile and tame followers. I never was a re-Pete in AA. I had to fight against prejudice and hatred. Thanks goodness I packed my bags and moved to Manhattan. When I arrived I was fed up with that fascist suburban area and prayed that the AA here would really accept me. And they did. I've met the most loving, caring and serene people I have every known. I learned to breathe again and no one cares I smoked pot when I was eleven or the lifestyle I live. I'm even softening my position on the oldtimers from my early days but not too much. Bill V. Manhattan
Wow I feel very strongly about this but feel vilified for even mentioning this in our group .Thanks for putting it so well
Fellow alcoholic cathy
Wow I feel very strongly about this but feel vilified for even mentioning this in our group .Thanks for putting it so well
Fellow alcoholic cathy
Color Me Drunk in the Feb. issues ends with the statement ".....never look back, but always keep it green."
I've never heard this expression before. Can someone enlighten me?
A very wise woman named Willie B. from Spring, Tx. used to say 'you have to keep the grass green" and she stated she meant we should continue attending meetings, talking to the newcomers, sponsoring people, reading the Big Book, working the steps, etc. It works for me-E
Years ago, when sitting with my sponsor at a discussion meeting listening to a seemingly important man speak. My sponsor leaned over and said,
“That guy sure knows the talk but, doesn’t have a clue about the walk.
When we leave this room is where the walk begins”
Sure enough that guy relapsed. What I learned from that experience is my sobriety can not be depended on how I look or how knowledgeable I sound but, my actual experience and with this I can offer strength and hope to the newcomer. I’ve learned people can hide behind the 12-steps and all the Big Book language. And I can also tell you how many of these 12-step professors have relapsed. The only guarantee I know in AA is this “If I do not put alcohol in my body today then I will be sober today.” People squawk over what sobriety means and what is the only means of obtaining it. But to me, just because a person can tell me everything about the 12 and 12, the big book, the history of AA or all the other books doesn’t mean they are telling me anything about sobriety. Knowledge of the path is not the same as the wisdom obtained by walking the path. So when I sit at meeting I listen to the wisdom shares and when the knowledge people speak I pull out my wife’s honey-do list and think about my responsibilities as a husband and father.
I would have to agree with you as one of the former big book gurus who could quote passages and paragraphs weigh ease, but still want at ease with the most important part off sobriety,a higher power. I became once again, the higher power with all my knowledge of the big book, the steroid and the,"process" . I too regrettably, picked up again, and first it was prescriptions, so the old, I'm not drinking so I'm sober mentality had firmly gripped me in the depths off despair again. I was a 3 year sober gal who has no clue sponsoring many girls, one with over 25 years, pure egotism. That is what I still craved, attention getters and ego driven power mad thumpers, because I still suffered from our age old complex, inferiority. now, I take it one day at a time, living my life for me, not attention, sponsoring no one and learning how to live not speak.
Sounds like semantics. Your wisdom through your own experience is what we call "reinventing the wheel ". Our Aa literature cuts to the chase.for example I met with a new sponsee over lunch today. We read the prefaces to the big book and the Dr 's opinion. In his words, he said he learned more about the program of Aa in an hour than he did in three meetings a week over the past ten months.
Again, why reinvent the wheel? Alcoholism hasn't changed since man first crushed grapes, the answer hasn't changed since then as well. It is still spiritus contra spiritum.
How did you conclude I was "Reinventing the wheel?" The wheel as interpreted by you I imagine is the "AA Program" And the “AA program” to you is the Big Book and the 12-Steps? Am I right? Suppose this wheel is broken? Suppose someone is not interested in the “AA Program?” Can they not then be a member of the “AA Fellowship?” Or should we banish them to the streets and some to their end? I’m not aware of any tradition or law that states, “The only requirement for membership is you must obey the ways of the ‘AA Program?’” Can we coexist with members who have found spirituality and sobriety from different sources? Can they not share these sources if it is their experience, strength and hope with a newcomer? These sources might save a life where say the “AA Program” might fail. Not every newcomer has the same needs or the same brain even if it’s soaked with alcohol. Are we not responsible to the newcomer? Is it a crime to question the wheel? Unless AA has a success rate of 100%, we can do better in my mind. Just pretending the wheel is perfect is irresponsible. There are many like me who feel the AA Fellowship as stated by the Preamble saves us from becoming dogmatic recovery snobs. It does not need to be fixed unless one wants to add the word "religious" in front of the word sect. The challenge AA faces today in my opinion is to take a stand against members and groups who promote ideas not in tune with the Preamble. To me, reading say “How it Works” at the podium is misleading the newcomer and it is not in tune with the Preamble because it aligns itself with specific sects, denominations and institutions. Saying the Lord’s Prayer to me is out of line. Not all AA members get sober “by the book.” Just the reading alone marginalizes many members and sends their recovery to the back of the bus. Will this post make a difference to the institution of AA? Not one bit. Could this post help out a new person? Definitely! Because if it wasn’t for the experience, strength and hope at the margins I would be long gone dead. Lastly, there are volumes of new information and data pertaining to addiction, brain chemistry and recovery that were not available to the earlier members. Perhaps if it was the “AA Program” might look completely different today. Trees that don’t bend with the wind won’t last the storm.
It is commendable to spend an hour reading the Big Book
with a newcomer. It seems like a lot of reading for one
session. I recently started chairing a Big Book meeting (not a study group, leave your crayons at home). We are
all at liberty to do 12 step work any way we feel best.
I personally feel that the teaching of the Big Book
ought to be done in a group setting. The newcomer is
getting only three opinions, Bill's, Dr. Silkworth's
and yours. The Book ought to be read alone or in a
group setting. One person's intrepretation is just
too limited, in my opinion. ANONYMOUS
I recently started working the big book with a sponsor. I love the overall meetings, but sometimes when I'm reading the Big Book, I have questions that could use some clarification. I'm almost 90 days without drinking, and it has been some of the craziest and hardest three months of my life. I am trying to comprehend the world as it is without that veil of alcohol, and it's so difficult at times. Some things just don't make sense to me at times. I have changed SO MUCH over the past 90 days, it's just hard.
Thanks so much for your wisdom. Wisdom is seldom heard in the rooms today because so many people are too busy defending the 12 steps and big book way of life and attacking the members who have found others ways to obtain sobriety in the rooms. Bill W. can not keep me sober. My sponsor can not keep me sober. My home group can not keep me sober. AA books and literature can not keep me sober. The only person that can keep me sober is me and the wisdom I continue to develop on a daily basis. Unfortunately, while reading over the shares on this site there appears to be two kinds of people in AA. There are the big book and 12 step blow hards-passionate guardians of the ultimate truth and the other group of humble AAèrs who actually apply the principals in their lives, have a degree of open-mindedness and are willing to accept that diversity in recovery experiences exists in AA. In this diversity, true wisdom is bred and it is what Bill W. hoped for AA. My last drink was in January 1983.
I need the wisdom too. Just having AA knowledge is not enough for me to have a peace of mind. I guess the knowledge guys can get a new person to fix their cars for free or have their houses painted. They can even thirteen step their way into an ill-fated love relationships but, I need more. I remember one day at a meeting I heard this guy go on and on about the 12-steps and how they changed his life and that he was happy, joyous and free. Soon after the meeting I happened to behind him in my car when I saw him having road rage with another vehicle. He was putting other vehicles and pedestrians in jeopardy. Shockingly, the man even jumped out of the car screaming and yelling and making familar hand gestures at a light. The first thing I thought of is I hope he comes to the next meeting and shares this kind of stuff. It could be more useful then his empty words. Of course, the following week came and he returned with all his perfect recovery talk again. One day I hope he is brave enough to be real. For me, I have to be honest and share both sides of my recovery and not just the positive stuff. Bill W. was humble enough to share some of his negative sides in recovery and so can I.