Burning Desire to Share
That is a wonderful statement: Alcoholics are staying sober
on the crumbs. The bottom was raised after A.A. became of
Age. If we do not try to cram the whole cake down their
throats, choking them to death, maybe they will stick around for more.
If alcoholics are staying sober without a Higher Power,
without a sponsor, and without committments, God bless
them. I see members who claim to have a Higher Power,
have half a dozen sponsors and volunteer for all kinds
of committments (MOSTLY TO CHAIR) and still continue to relapse.
I believe that Alcoholics Anonymous, in its true
intended form, is so powerful that Alcoholics can stay
sober on very little. Imagine how powerful it could be
when the alcoholic gets hungry for more. ANONYMOUS
the following is a blog about an alcoholic...
I have had my running with the law and always tried to stay sober to keep people seeing me as a good person. But when things would get good I would be back to drinking and breaking the law. I used AA to stay sober for only a few months and then I would drink again. I didn't like not talking to the women so it frustrated me in thinking I'll never find a sober girl if I do not meet women in recovery. I kept coming and little by little the city came alive in Oakland. I started seeing people from AA. They would shake my hand and smile. Noone liked me they treated me like a leaper from another planet until AA and church. I gave drinking finally because something bad happened to me physically and I knew one less drink one less poison. Coming back to those meetings keeps me sober to stay away from people who want my money and possessions. These give me something hope and talk about knowledge of what a Higher power does for us. Thank you AA central branch Oakland.
I live a half a continent away but I'm still happy with your success. Hang in there.
My new husband's father is an Alcoholic and drug abuser. My husband does not get drunk regularly but he is not able to say no when offered alcohol. Additionally about 50% of the time when he is drunk he can not hear when another person says 'no' about anything. Every time he gets drunk (not when he has one or two beers) he blacks out and can not remember the night before. All of this freaks me out. He told me that he would stop drinking if I asked him to and it came to a point where I had to ask him to and he had a beer the next day telling me he didn't think he didn't do anything wrong. Am I wrong for asking him not to drink? Might he be an alcoholic?
The black outs are telltale. Well that's my experience, the blackouts were mine. He or you might or might not find a case just like yours to say See! That's just like you. You are an alcoholic. Quit. OK? Good luck.
Of course you are not wrong to ask him not to drink. Are you then also right to say quit or I am outta' here.
He might be an alcoholic. There are just about as many kinds of alcoholics as there are people.
You can always tell an alcoholic - You just can't tell them very much.
Please go to at least 6 Alanon meetings. By then you will see if that fellowship is for you. Good Luck Alice
My dad was an alcoholic Check AA website out it has questions to see if he is alcoholic..but he is. My sister & daughter took me to AA. I am very new but so far I don't want to miss.
I agree that a visit to Alanon sounds like a good idea. In AA we deal with our powerlessness over alcohol. Alanon focuses more on powerlessness over the alcoholic. You will most likely find a treasure trove of experience and information there. Good luck.
My unqualified advice to you is to turn around and never
look back. You are in for a life of misery. Don't stay
until you are locked in and can't leave. Let him know that
these are your plans and don't deviate from them. Very
few alcoholics ever stop drinking, but I believe that
a good relationship is as effective as today's A.A. Is
he worth it? (maybe). But the real question is are you
more important to him than alcohol. He may have already answered that question. Again, my advice
is to simply walk away, and don't look back. Rose
If there's any person placeor thing that upsets me. It's not that person place or this it's me. He is notgonna see he has a problem until its a problem with him. Go to alanon. There you will find people that's going through the same thing Ans did not leave and some my have left.
My dear when he is ready to admit he has a problem with alcohol he will. Pain is a great motivator. Maybe he hasnt hit his rock bottom. If alcoholism runs in the family, its possible that he is an alcoholic to. No, its not wrong for you to ask him to not drink. He will stop when he is ready, if he is ever ready. If he doesnt and it is affecting your life you can get help by going to a 12 step program called alanon. This is a good program,you might want to look in to it. I am an alcoholic in recovery, and I was also raised by an alcoholic so AA, NA, and Al-anon are programs that I use to help me to stay sober, and clean. Good luck and God bless. Lisa
I just wanted to share a joy. I’ve been living in a place where the meetings are blatantly religious. I’ve suffered them for 5 years now. I never engaged in controversy but, it wasn’t easy being the token oddball no one talks to. Believe me, I tried to fit in but, it wasn’t meant to be. Perhaps, the cultural differences were too much to overcome for both parties. The other day I found out my company is transferring me to a city where there is an agnostic and atheist AA group just 10 minutes away from my office and another 30 minutes away! The news made me feel like I’d died and went to a AA humanist heaven on earth. What a relief. Now I can listen to people talking my language again. If I learned anything the last five years, it was I can love and tolerate people who I never thought I could. Patience has paid off. I did discover I have the capacity to respect others no matter how far-out-there I think their recovery is or how well they liked me or not. Relieved Anonymous Agnostic
I have found an enormous amount of room to live a complete AA program between religion and the agnostic and atheist thinking. I've tested visiting churches less than half a dozen times in the last 33 years, cracked a bible a few times, read Houston’s Smith’s “Religions of the World” a couple times and couldn't get a thing out of it except nearly the opposite of what believers seem to. The only way I can understand ANYONE getting anything out of it is that their brains are made completely different than mine. I've learned to accept that. Not inferior – different. If you consider the simple mention of god and prayer included in Alcoholics Anonymous program of recovery religious then I don’t see how AA has anything to offer you. The 201 word instruction sheet hanging on the wall mentions alcohol twice and god 5 times. It’s not difficult for me to see belief in a higher power essential.
On the other end of the scale, I can't look at a sunrise or a rose and see how ANYONE can't see a Higher Power at work. It took some looking to sort through the nature of a god that obviously has helped millions (including me) not only get sober but completely reverse the course of their lives yet allows a tremendous amount of pain to occur in the world. Much better minds than mine have been working on this dilemma for thousands of years and by simply looking to them I have found answers that satisfy me. If you’re a & a AA groups don’t get you what you need, just look around. The answers are out there.
I would say our beliefs our different. My question is, "Why out of 58,800 AA groups in America people get stir crazy and hostile because there are a handful of atheist and agnostic AA groups approved by Central Office? You said, "If you consider the simple mention of god and prayer included in Alcoholics Anonymous program of recovery religious then I don’t see how AA has anything to offer you" Okay first of all, there is not much sobriety in this way of thinking.
Love and tolerance is our code. I'm not sure this statement of yours reflects this. Secondly, your statement is incorrect. There is more to AA than God and Prayer. If all there was to getting sober was God and Prayer we could just go to church. Before AA formed, God and Prayer or Soup and Salvation was the only thing offered to drunks and this did not work. Bill W. and the earlier members saw the social-humanist value in drunks helping drunks, "The first person who was speaking my language" as Dr. Bob put it in his story. So to me, an agnostic and atheist AA member can speak more of my recovery language than say a religious member who talks about God and Prayer. Are the rooms big enough for these two styles? Absolutely! Live and Let Live
GOD BLESS YOU!!!
That was tongue-in-cheek I believe
Thanks for your sense of humour
The thing that bothers me is that an alcoholic finding
and attending an A.A. meeting would logically think that
the meeting they are attending is real A.A. Would they
not think that all meetings are alike. If the God talk
might turn someone away, should we not go easy on the
We must separate the fellowship from religion. Practice
your religion in a place of worship. Praying is a religious
practice. It does not belong in an A.A. meeting. Citing
the serenity and the Lords Prayer ought to be tolerable
to most of us. If the majority of group members want to
use these prayers to open and close meetings, it ought
to be done (according to each groups informed group
I can pray (outside of A.A.), share that I pray at a
meeting, but coercing everyone at an A.A. meeting to
"hold hands and pray" is simply wrong, and harms A.A.
as a whole.
I am certainly glad that you found an area of A.A.
where you are comfortable. I could not change locations
but was able to form three groups where we do not read
"How it Works", do not chant and do not "hold hands
and pray". Maybe someday all A.A. meetings everywhere
will be acceptable to any alcoholic approaching us. That
is what A.A. should be. ANONYMOUS
I’m new to AA and I have been going to many meetings the past 6 months. I have a situation and I thought members on this site might help and it feels safe to me. I’m quiet and mistrustful of people in my group. I sit in the back and watch and listen. I was told to get a sponsor and to start reading the Big Book and to start asking god for help. I was raised with no religion so, I don’t know how to pray to God. I have no experience with a God. I haven’t found anyone yet who seems normal to be my sponsor but there is one guy I might ask. Everyone else seems hyped up on god and ordering people to work the steps. No one talks about alcoholism or how they feel. However, there is a biker guy though I relate to. He served in Vietnam and has a real sense of reality when he talks. That thousand yard stare my father took with him to the grave has left this man and his eyes shine with love. His talk cuts the BS in the room in half. The members tolerate him but, I can tell he’s not one of them and they don’t treat him with respect. But, he was the only person that ever greeted me politely when I showed up. When he talks it comes from his heart. This man is very soulful. I actually am not used to men talking this way. The real problem is I am a woman and was told to stick with the women. But, the women here I think are jealous of me because I’m younger and the guys well I feel their eyes wandering on me when I cross the room. The other members have tried to make passes at me but, this guy never has. He just smiles and says “Glad to see ya” and walks away and sits in his usual spot against the wall. He must have 40 years on me so I feel safe. My girlfriend told me I have a “daddy crush” and to stop chasing father figures but, I like the way this man thinks. I’m afraid to ask because I don’t want to give him the wrong idea. But, he really is the only one in the group that talks real. Has any other member had a sponsor from the opposite sex or same-sex when applicable? Can it work? I just don’t think there is one stable woman in my group. Thanks everyone from Erin
“But the ex-problem drinker who has found this solution, who is properly armed with facts about himself, can generally win the entire confidence of another alcoholic in a few hours. Until such an understanding is reached, little or nothing can be accomplished.
That the man who is making the approach has had “the same difficulty, that he obviously knows what he is talking about, that his whole deportment shouts at the new prospect that he is a man with a real answer, that he has no attitude of Holier Than Thou, nothing whatever except the sincere desire to be helpful; that there are no fees to pay, no axes to grind, no people to please, no lectures to be endured - these are the conditions
we have found most effective.
After such an approach many take up their beds and walk again.”
as a male with 31 years sober and sponsor "people"and I can honestly speak to this extremely necessary topic.my experience has been good with both,and for this reason.I was told by my very first sponsor that we arrive on the planet with a mother and a dad,we need guidance from a woman and a man.I have had 3 men sponsors in my 31 years and
2 women.because I had only 1 reason for asking for their help,not to get me sober,the program got me off booze and drugs.my mom died when I was 13 and I really needed this lady's guidance,she passed away this year with 55 years of
living this program ,I met her when I checked into detox and
she told me I just "might"be worth saving,which I didn't even believe,but she didn't give up even when I would mess up.My men sponsors all taught me solid AA and held me accountable all along the way and all of them urged me to
continue to"enlarge and perfect"my spiritual life.Dr Bob
gave some clear directions about the duties of a sponsor in
A manual for Alcoholics Anonymous (Akron) about 1939-40,I
believe still in print.A book (the wife of the alcoholic-
1953 )Lewis F. Presnall/same author for Search for Serenity,
an AA staple.also the personal story in BB (He sold himself short )at that time men and their wives attended meetings
together,and if men had not been supported by their wives AA would never have done so well.Cutting out men or women
from helping you build a spiritual life that will stand up
to any problem you might run into/do your own research and
trust your HP to keep you walking in the sunlight of the spirit.
I believe if we come here for the right reasons it doesn't matter if we have a male sponsor. I have seen it work for people who are truly interested in being sober. I have also seen people change and get new sponsors when they "outgrow" each other.Maureen
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