Burning Desire to Share
Corey, I have a question for you. Do you think it is acceptable for Alcoholics Anonymous to
continue to use profits from the sale of books and literature to support services? A considerable
amount of this profit comes from outside sources, as Bob P. wrote in 1986. The paragraph on page
74 in the Service manual, describes this practice as dangerous. By the way, this paragraph was
removed from the 2012 Manual. It seems that our leadership has accepted that they have two
ligitimate sources of income, member contributions and profits from our literature and book
Our tradition of self support gave Alcoholics Anonymous a tremendous boost in the eyes of
the public. How the public views Alcoholics Anonymous is extremely important. Imagine that!
these alcoholics insist on completely supporting themselves with their own money, actually
refusing outside contributions when they are offered. Our reputation became better than
our actual character.
Our goal has always been to support ourselves at all levels with our own money, and to
sell books to everyone at the cost of printing. We can obey Tradition Seven, and claim self
support, eliminating any chance of outside influence. But we have moved further away from
that goal instead of toward it.
Please do not think that alcoholics are still "tight as the bark on a tree". Sober alcoholics
are generous to a fault. I see members who are on food stamps dropping two dollars in the
We have about a million and a half members in the US and Canada. AA members attend an
average of two meetings a week. If every member put one dollar in the basket, that would
generate three million dollars a week. Multiply that by 52 weeks and it equals 156 million
dollars annually. That is a lot of money. Where does it go? It is our obligation, as leaders,
to insure that this money is spent wisely. Members who donate depend on us to monitor where
their money goes.
We are looking at a shortfall of $700,000 for 2013 and a million dollars for 2014. How
could that possibly happen when we collect over 150 million dollars from our members?
Some may complain that members come into the meetings with their fancy expensive
coffee and put nothing in the basket. I am aware that some members do this. But in
my experience, the collection usually averages a dollar per member.
Corey, you are obviously a dedicated, informed member of our fellowship. What are your thoughts on this issue?
Thanks for your dedicated service. ANONYMOUS
In response to your question if I think AA should continue to use profits from book sales to support our services? Personally my opinion is NO, we should not.
I am not sure of the numbers exactly, but I think AA printed the 1 millionth copy of the big book in 1970. I believe last year the 30 millionth copy was printed. That’s a lot of money coming from nonmembers, when I think of the treatment center boom in the late 70’s through the 90’s where large numbers of the big book are bought and given to patients.
I am also not sure of exactly what AA’s profit from the big book is. I know in 1939 it cost around $3.50. I bought mine for $5.00. My group just bought some for $8.00 apiece. Personally I think the book and literature should be sold at cost only and our service centers should be supported by group members. If we don’t have money, we shouldn’t spend it. (Advise from my sponsor, “if you spend less than you make, you will always have money”).
As far as group donations, I no longer attend a local group due to use of 7th tradition contribution spending. First the uninformed group conscience voted to donate $100.00 to a new group and $100.00 to another group that could not make rent. I spoke up and mentioned what the 7th tradition long form states on page 564 of the big book (4th edition) “The AA groups themselves ought to be fully supported by the voluntary contributions of their OWN members”. I said if you want to support that group go to it and put your money in the basket and that we should be sending money to district, area, and GSO. They gave the money to the groups anyway. Then in November they voted to buy $100.00 in gift certificates from the 7th tradition for the Alano club Christmas party. I asked what AA purpose are the gift certificates? They said that they can spend the money however they want and proceeded to do so. I no longer attend that groups meeting.
I think much of the money you described that AA meetings should have is spent in the manner I have just described. It’s really too bad. I have decided that poor sponsorship in my local is to blame. So to do my part, I am devoting more time to the traditions with those I sponsor.
Thanks for the thoughts and discussion topic!
We passed the 30 million BB sales in recent years. I believe
that almost all of those books were placed in the hands of
suffering alcoholics or their friends and families. Thirty
Million!!! Where are the results of all those books? I
don't believe they are in storage at some non A.A. facility. Those thirty million books have been given
to alcoholics with an invitation to join us in our
fellowship. Millions have come. Out of those millions,
very few alcoholics have stayed with us. If you care
to understand why, read the messages on this Forum. Most
of our mistakes are pointed out by others and myself.
Our General Service Board is the worst violator
of Tradition Seven. "Spend What We Send" gets my vote.
Our reputation is tarnished by continuing to accept
money profits from outside sources. ANONYMOUS
"...Our reputation is tarnished by continuing to accept money profits from outside sources. ANONYMOUS"
Thanks for your comments. I was against members of my home group being paid $20.00 to hear "Fifth Steps" at a treatment center. The rationale was to cover gas. We had a group conscious and it was voted on members were to donate the money back to the treatment center. A year or so later I went and volunteered to hear a few "Fifth Steps" and to check out the situation. When I was leaving I refused the money. The counselor thanked me and said I was the first person in my group to not accept the money. Not one member of my group had offered the money back to the treatment center. At our next group conscious I brought this up and members denied it. So much for honesty. I left the group never to return. Sometimes progress not perfection can be an excuse to continue old behavior.
As per Bill W's writings in language of the heart page 222.
Our home group has seen a significant increase in "newbies" attending our meeting and saying that is so unlike other meetings in our community. We stick to our problems as they relate to alcohol or alcoholism.
Go figure..truth is our A.A. message has become very diluted here in our community. "Recovery" houses being the bane of so many meetings.Had " recovery" been around at the time of the compilation of the traditions. It is likely that they would be mentioned somewhere in those traditions.
Just a thought.
First thought wrong
I hear many statements in the rooms which I feel are misleading. They are accepted as "facts or truths" when in reality there is little evidence to support them. I think they can be harmful to the newcomer. For instance, "Meeting Makers Make It" In my experience, the only thing meeting makers make is a lot of meetings. Meeting will not keep one sober. Another false gem "The only thing between you and a drink is God" Says who? and "If you don't read the big book and work the steps you will drink again" Helpful to some maybe yes, but again, what about all the oldtimer athiest and agnostics in AA I know who do not read the book or work the steps. There's been an alarming closemindedness in my area at the meetings regarding the recovery talk. The hoop that Bill W. talked about as being big enough for everyone has been shrinking and we must not put ourselves in a positon where we are turning away newcomers with dogma and false statements.
The Big book is very simple and clear it's primary purpose is to introduce one to a power that can intuitively handle situation that use to baffle us, we come tyo call him by name -God. Take a closer look
It also states that some take it into insanity or death and their not talking about drinking – Drunks don’t read the Big Book sober people do, it’s talking about sober people in A.A that seemed to have been born that way !!! There is more to just not drinking and prying on people to sponsor!!
I try and remember the Big Book is not AA. The Preamble states what AA is, "AA is a Fellowship where ...share our ESH with each other...to solve our common problem..." And by doing this we hope to help the newcomer. Quoting the BB may make one feel bigger but, it leads to arrogance and snobbery. The Preamble does not say "AA is a program where people read the Big Book and quote pages. Hearing a blowhard never helped or impressed me. We simply share our experience, strength and hope and not quote ESH from someone from the 1930's with less than three years recovery. In my experience, people who have to rely on quoting pages has little sobriety experience or wisdom to offer me.
I appreciate your comments about the big book and the preamble. If you check into the history of the preamble, you will find it came mostly from the forward to the first edition of the big book. If you google “when was the preamble written” you will get the following information and more:
Service Material from the General Service Office
THE AA PREAMBLE: BACKGROUND INFORMATION
THE PREAMBLE was introduced in the June 1947 issue of the AA Grapevine magazine.
It was written by the then-editor, who borrowed much of the phrasing from the Foreword to
the original edition of the Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous.
So as you can see, you have quoted a part of the big book. Like you said, did it make you feel bigger? Did it lead to arrogance and snobbery? Only you can answer those questions.
I agree with you that the big book is not the fellowship of AA. The big book to me outlines the PROGRAM of AA.
If you read the preface to the big book it says, “Because this book has become the basic text for our Society (I think Society used here is a synonym for Fellowship) and has helped such large number of alcoholic men and women to recovery……..”.
If you read the forward to the first edition is says, “To show other alcoholics precisely how we have recovered is the main purpose of this book”. I know for me, I want to follow precise directions, but that is just me.
Towards the end of the forward to the second edition, the big book says, “Yet it is our great hope that all those who have as yet found no answer may begin to find one in the pages of this book and will presently join us on the high road to a new freedom”. This is obviously just my interpretation, I think the authors are suggesting too find the answer to my problems in the big book while we join the Fellowship of AA.
If you read the forward to the fourth edition, the big book states, “Literature has played a major role in AA’s growth……….in country after country where the AA seed was planted, it has taken root, slowly at first, then growing by leaps and bounds when literature has become available……. While literature has preserved the integrity of the AA message………”. My interpretation is this,after sharing our experience, strength, and hope, our literature is the key to our fellowship growing and maintaining the integrity of the AA message.
I hope I am not throwing too much at this at once, but since the preamble was written in 1947, I think you would like to read a line from page 17 of the 12x12 which was published 6 years later in 1953, “The book Alcoholics Anonymous became the basic text of the Fellowship, and still is. I think even the 12x12 is meant to be an enhancement to the big book, not a “stand alone” step study.
Finally, my last point comes from the chapter titled “working with others” from the big book. On the bottom of page 94 it says “On your first visit tell him about the Fellowship of AA. If he shows interest, lend him your copy of this book”. The third full paragraph on page 95 states “If he is sincerely interested and wants to see you again, ask him to read this book in the interval. After doing that, he must decide for himself whether he wants to go on. He should not be pushed or prodded by you, his wife, or his friends……”. I think each new prospect for the Fellowship of AA should have read the big book before joining the Fellowship, since it outlines the 12 steps which are the foundation of personally recovery in AA.
My question is this, if we are not carrying the message of AA as outlined in the basic text of AA, who’s message are we carrying?
As always, thanks for posting and God bless you,
My experience is that I was completely powerless over alcohol. I took the directions in the Big Book of Alcoholic Anonymous and found a connection to a power greater than myself. I agree with the Big Book that I suffer from an illness which only a spiritual experience will conquer. Today I get to experience freedom from alcohol and the joys of sobriety.
I have no experience with sobriety without the 12 steps but I know there are some other fellowships out there that may be perfect for you.
You said, "I have no experience with sobriety without the 12 steps but I know there are some other fellowships out there that may be perfect for you." Let me get this straight, so according to you people who do not believe in God do not belong in AA. Ouch!
This is Bill W's own words on the higher power business.
"It's interesting to note that there is no such thing as a 'wrong concept' of a higher power. A.A. is a program of ACTION, not beliefs. Do the actions, discount the God stuff, and you will recover and have a spiritual experience." Some people find God in AA and some people find a new way of life without God in AA. I've been a sober non-believer in AA for 30 years. There's enough wisdom in the rooms for anyone who wants to stay sober with or without God. Love and tolerance is our code.
Initially we would ask newcomers to try A.A. for 90
days and if you find that it is not for you we will
refund your misery. Make an effort to attend as
many meetings as you can. Today we tell the newcomer
that have to attend 90 meetings in 90 days or they
will not make it. That indicates that if you do
your 90 in 90 you are more or less guaranteed sobriety.
Yes, dogma and distortion are closing that hoop
to the eye of a needle. ANONYMOUS
You will find no mention of 90 meetings in 90 days in any AA conference approved liturature. If anyone reading this post has seen it in AA conference approved liturature, please post where, so we can read it.
The origins of 90 meetings in 90 days, I believe comes from narcotics anonymous liturature, which I belive to be an outside issue.
There are many things that oldtimers say that cannot and will not help a newcomer. In early sobriety, when the mind is still in a fog, "keep it simple" would be great! Telling a newcomer that they must do 90 in 90 is completely ridiculous.
I recently met a person with 20 plus years who will no longer sponsor a person who will not agree to 90 in 90. Seriously??? Good thing the real AA oldtimers didn't treat each other like AA Nazis. lol
Cannot and will not help a newcomer? 90 and 90 worked for me, else I never would have made it. I share this as my experience, and I have passed it on to those who wished to try it for 28 years now. My experience is what I have to offer. If I invent new stuff to pass on, I would continue to lie by sins of omission. I would also offer that members try not to use offensive labels of others just because they don't fit into a particular mind-set. Such is what the 'oldtimers' taught me.
As I attend meetings, the sense of community is vanishing. Once I walk thru those doors i made it a point to remember people names and really be sincere about who they were. In the two and half years going to meetings, things have kinda off been a down hill. Rarely are there hellos or handshakes. Greeters are being pushed to the way side. Keep coming back and continue to be involved is difficult. Trying to not lose sight off my primary purpose to help other alcoholics, but it is becoming very frustrating. ANY SUGGESTIONS???
Maybe you could help yourself first. If you take care of your sobriety first, others will notice and then ask you for help. If you don't help yourself first, you won't have anything to share with others. Just a thought.
When I was a newcomer I attended an out-of-town meeting where no one made an effort to make me feel welcome. I did not like this and I don't believe any one else would either. I put this on my shoulders and I now say hello to every person at every meeting I attend. When any one shows up at my home group all of the members make sure they have welcomed that person; even drunk drunks. This easy action helps tremendously in relieving one of one's self and it gives encouragement to those attending. Do you have a message you wish to share with someone else? Have you found this program to have worked in your life in a way that makes you burn to see it manifested in another suffering drunks life? I myself want to shout it from the mountaintop that I am free of addiction ridden life and that I have found a way to live that is incredible. I welcome all people to these principles that can rocket them into the fourth dimension of existence. Try this at your next meeting and continue to do it until you see it spread like wild fire! It is only a continuation of that little talk between Ebby and Bill.
If Alcoholics Anonymous is not attractive to those
of us who are already here, how can we possibly attract
and hold new members?
Frustration often was the cause of my drinking. Do
not let this happen to you. Much of my frustration was
due to wanting things to change, but not knowing how
to effect those changes.
I see many alcoholics walking away from A.A. I have
been sober for many years, and often wish I could just
It is this forum that finally offered me the vehicle
with which to take action. I believe we can make A.A.
attractive again. My generation made a lot of mistakes,
Bill W. called them blunders. Studying A.A. history,
I find that Bill warned us many times of the mistakes
we might make. I believe we have made most of them.
Initally I was excited about getting sober and
finding A.A. but things became routine, after a
One of the things which helped me was taking a good
look at the steps, especially the fourth and fifth steps.
Doing those steps helped me and others have stated that
these steps were helpful to them.
Are there any particular practices which you are
aware of other than not having effective greeters. We did
not have "greeters" in meetings I attended, until the
1990's. The group collectively greeted newcomers, without
aggressively pushing them away. The group ought to be
warm and welcomeing.
I have found found several particular customs or
rituals which bother me. It may be members like me that
annoy you at meetings. When I complain about chanting at
meetings, some say," well it is a good way of remembering
names, and we're just trying to be friendly." I feel that
it is a cult ritual and is just plain stupid. How does
that make you feel? (I am not a counselor)
Sometimes the sharing at meetings is dominated by
certain members every week. Sharing by "show of hands"
invites this. We all come together as equals and ought
to be given equal time. Round Robin, going around the
room usually is a solution.
I ask you to share here,exactly why you are becoming
discouraged. With two plus years you have a lot to
offer. What better gift than to offer a suffering
alcoholic a new life, simply by talking or writing
Easy Does It comes to mind. Make an effort to attend
some new meetings. I went to an early morning meeting
today, and it was one of the best ever. We all need all
the help we can get, groups as well as individuals.
The effectiveness of Alcoholics Anonymous has diminished
over the past twenty years. The causes began about thirty
years ago. We may not be able to turn the tide, but I
am convinced that we can turn our ship around. The
effectiveness of our fellowship can be restored. You
can be and will be part of the restoration. ANONYMOUS
Yes, in my area it seems our primary purpose is to see who is going dancing or bowling after the meeting. Our group stopped greeting and the last person people want to talk to is the newcomer. It gets in the way of the thirteeth step. However, in many areas the reverse is true. The rooms are full of warm, sincere and loving people. I've personally developed lasting friendships in these places. I try and remember I have to due what I have to do to stay sober.
I'm currently looking for a new group. People who focus on other things then recovery get their "Just
Desserts" sooner or later. You can count on that.
People who focus on other things than recovery are not
the people who suffer or will suffer. The high price of
A.A.'s failure is paid by the millions who are pushed
away from their last source of hope. We have a solution
for the alcoholic, and the family of he alcoholic, which
rarely fails. But we are not using that sledge hammer
left for us which drives the message home.
Stop preaching at or to alcoholics. Stop telling
alcoholics what to do. Let the big book be the teacher.
Let the group do the teaching.
Let us as recovered, or recovering alcoholics talk
to those among us about our own recovery, what we were
like, exactly what happened, and what our lives are
The first and most important task is to remove the
reading of "How It Works" from A.A. rooms. This reading
drives newcomers away and becomes redundant to the
members who remain. It loses its value after hearing
it read day after day for a thousand times. Return HIW
to chapter five in the Big Book where it belongs.
Remove the 24hr book from A.A. rooms. The reading
of this book has turned A.A. into a religion. Bill
W. wrote that nothing could be more harmful to A.A.'s
future. And stop all chanting and praying at A.A. meetings.
Chanting is stupid and members should pray on their
own time, not at meetings. ANONYMOUS
You shared, "The first and most important task is to remove the reading of "How It Works" from A.A. rooms. This reading
drives newcomers away and becomes redundant to the
members who remain. It loses its value after hearing
it read day after day for a thousand times." My question is how can a reading drive newcomers away? I would bet its their alcoholism/addictions/brain disorders that are being untreated which drives them away. Last time I heard, each group is autonomous and the group conscious decides meeting formats. If you are bored with the reading, it may be you need to change and not the group. Or perhaps in my case, we started a new group that doesn't pray, read "How It Works" or hold hands. Our objection to "How it Works" was not all members followed the path of god or prayer as dictated by "How It Works" We felt by reading it, it sends a wrong message to the newcomer that there is only one way of getting sober. An earlier poster stated AA is about action. That's why we stopped whining and started a new group. After 3 years there are 40 members. Some people see AA as a fixed institution, others as a growing changing fellowship willing to adapt.
You asked me the question and then answered it yourself.
How can a reading drive newcomers away? Answer: Because We
felt by reading it, it sends the wrong message to the newcomer that there is only one way to stay sober.
If a reading is sending the wrong message, don't you
think it should be eliminated? I certainly do. I think
the reading aloud at meetings is the most tragic blunder
we of Alcoholics Anonymous have ever made. We started
that reading in Eastern states in the early 1980's,
and by the mid 1990's our membership had diminished
by half a million members. Add the 24hr book and we
became a religion. Obviously there are many who share
my concerns, if you have 40 members in the non-praying
non-hold hands group, where you have axed HIW.
My goal is to remove that reading from every A.A.
meeting, and have it removed from our GSO literature
catalogue, as a stand alone item. We push newcomers,
suffering human beings, away from what may be their
last glimmer of hope, by reading "How It Works" to them.
It seems to me that you just ran away from what
is a problem which must be addressed. ANONYMOUS
I agree. There are members who will just whimper and complain until no end. My sponsor told me early on that recovery is about growth through action. He said "Change" can be a scary word for addicts. "I'd rather stay here in my misery than do something about whats causing it."
"What does it take to start an AA meeting?"
Answer, "A resentment and a coffee pot."
Our group conscious voted to stop reading, "How it Works"
We just read the Preamble and open with a few notes about turning off the cell-phones, clean-up and parking. Why waste twenty minutes through rituals and reading? This is what the original poster was sharing I think. If you are reading this than I'm sure you are not the only in your group that is equally bored. If your Group Conscious won't budge maybe you can get the people who feel the same way to start a new group. We are responsible to the newcomer to provide a space where they feel comfortable enough to stay for at least one day.
I have hoped that some day I would go to an A.A.
meeting and hear that the reading of HIW has been
deleted. There are two reasons for not reading it.
You stated one good reason. At meetings where HIW and
the 24 hr book are read, toward the end of the meeting
I think: Two or three more members could have shared
if we just read the preamble.
But there is a more important reason. As written in
an article published in the AA grapevine, this reading
is in direct conflict with Dr. silkworth's" "cart before
the horse idea". Bill wrote several times that without
that advice, AA could never been born. Bill warned us
against trying to cram the steps down alcoholics
throats. See page 8 in Language of the Heart. Reading HIW with the steps to all and sundry
including a demand that they find God and find Him now,
certainly sounds like cramming.
Why waste 20 minutes through rituals and readings? That
is one of the questions I frequently ask. We are at the meeting to share with each other, not to read to each
other. With a lot of meetings reduced to an hour, why
waste time reading HIW over and over. ANONYMOUS
Usually when I walked into a gin mill the only one who greeted me was the bartender, and the usual greeting was, "What'll it be?" or "The usual?" Lack of hellos and handshakes never kept me from going back.
I live far away from most of my family, I keep in touch somewhat, but not good enough, I know. It is part of my program to call and write some, but I keep myself very busy. I just learned that one of my sons is in trouble in his family because of his drinking and because he has not really grown up yet. I know a lot of his problem was caused by me having similar problems, but I am sober now and learning to be different. He used to go to church, but has apparently given that up. He knows about AA some, but not from his own experience. I don't know if there is anybody around him to help him. His wife used to go to Alanon, but not any longer, I suggested she get back to the meetings. But I don't know what to say to him, when I call him soon. His wife said, "don't yell at him or tell him what I said." I know enough to not do any of that, he's not 5 years old anymore and I am not a distressed single mother of small children any longer. I don't yell at anybody anymore, that is part of what the program did for me. But I need to say something, I want to help him, not try to control him. I know he is hurting. He's tried to make me believe he is fine, holds no grudges against me, but now I learn he was probably drinking every time I talked with him, on the phone. So what do I say, any suggestions? Thanks
I strongly believe that no-one is going to stop the insanity of drinking until THEY are ready. However, I also strongly believe that praying for him, or anyone else you know that has any addiction problem, hits a soft bottom that will wake them up to the realization that their life has become unmanageable, and they are sick and tired of being sick and tired.
It makes me happy to know that he has someone close in his life that will be there for him and know exactly what to do to try and help him when he asks for help.
Many children of alcoholics eventually pick up and
often become as bad or worse than the parents they had
observed while growing up. With my first drink I understood
why my father drank. I always wondered why he would do
such a thing time and time again. In ten years, I was
as bad or worse than my father.
My son has been battling addiction for about five
years. He is currently in another treatment "program".
I try to be a good example. I did not drink while he
was growing up, but I can see that I made mistakes.
As a mother, I can only imagine the pain that you
are going through. Try not to yell at him or anyone
else. Love him as much as you can. So far my advice
has not worked for me as far as helping my son.
Maybe it will eventually work for both of us. I have
found I am better being calm and loving. ANONYMOUS
I had a father who died with a marijuana joint in his pocket and that was because he couldn't drink alcohol anymore. I cried at his funeral for the father I never had and the shame I felt because he died an Alcoholic/Addict. I vowed to honor his death with the promise that I would not disgrace my children that way. Needless to say, my grown ups drink and smoke marijuana and I find myself at a loss of words (definitely can relate) so I say nothing as well. We don't control anyone but ourselves and I have learned there really are no magical words that can be said until a person is ready to listen. I believe you have may have said more than enough so he knows you love him. Let go, let God is my advice.
Here is something I wrote for all of you that are struggling I hope you like it. When your dream's seem shattered and you can't see beyond the broken glass remember you have a future not only a past. Although your past mistakes are haunting you,there's still room for your dream's to come true. Hold on to those dream's and dont let go,for one day you will see no more broken glass below. My prayer's are with you all,Arlene.
I just talked to a freind. He drank again after 4 months on going to daily meetings and not working the steps. I have seen this over and over. In my experience it seems that most newcomers make it about 3 months by going to meetings. Newcomers who have gotten some dry time in treatment seem to make it up to about a year.
The newcomers that hit bottom and read the book Alcoholics Anonymous and try to apply what it says, seem to get and stay sober as long as they apply the steps day by day.
This is just my observations over the years, Have any of you witnessed this?
There is no magic formula in AA that I know of which will quarantee sobriety although there are a lot of snake oil salesmen in the rooms that will claim to heal the sick. Recovery is an individual experience. As members we are responsible to help the sick and suffering alcoholics, but we can only share our experience strength and hope. The only person I can keep sober is me. Its often said in AA, "What keeps one sober might make another drink."
I've watched the biggest of big book thumpers and the holiest of holy rollers pick up a drink after many years and have watched members labeled, "Most Likely to Drink Again" stay sober for many years. Even 12-Step gurus have relapsed. Alcoholics have damaged brains and many other complicated factors that impair judgement and lead one back to the bottle. I'm one drink away from a drunk not 30 years away. I can offer a new person this...if they do not put alcohol in their body today than they will be alcohol free today. I hope each newcomer discovers whats inside them to make that happen.
I don't think there is a magic potion or formula in AA that works for everyone equally. Of course, there are a lot of members selling snake oil. I feel we didn't drink the same way and we don't get sober the same way. I often heard in the rooms, "What keeps me sober might make another person drink." I believe its the responsibility of each member to find a path that works for them. The only person I can keep sober is me. I found what works for me today. Tomorrow, my recovery needs may change so its important I remain flexible. I avoid rigidity and dogma. I've observed Big Book thumpers relapse and the member "Most likely to drink again" stay sober by doing nothing. I've learned that people may give the illusion of being sober in meetings by being active in the group but, there just might be a time bomb ticking inside.
you are 100% correct that there is no "magic formula". There is however a "spiritual formula". On page 14 of the "aa group" it says "Because the 12 steps are the foundation of personal recovery in AA, many groups devote one or more meetings a week to the sudy of each step in rotation.
Regardless of my personal opinion, the fact is that the 12 steps ARE the foundation of persoal recovery in AA. However some not so far advanced problem drinkers may be able to stay dry without the 12 steps. I say more power to them.
In the forward to the 4th edition to the big book it says "While our literature has preserved the integrity of the AA message,.......I want to read and hear the AA message. It is proven to work. The individual's message may or may not work.
I am not saying that whatever each individual member has done will or will not work, I'm just saying for me, the AA message as written in our big book for sure has worked for me and countless others like me. When I say like me I mean a hopelss alcoholic, who had lost the power of choice when it came to alcohol. Unless I was locked up I continued to drink until I was led to use the 12 steps as presented in the book Alcholics Anonymous.
Thanks for reading,
From my observations over the past years, most newcomers
stop attending A.A. meetings after a short time. Is it because they have not hit bottom and have not read the Big
Book? I personally feel that an alcoholic who is at a high
bottom has a better chance of permanent sobriety than
someone who has lost everything. In the gutter, an alcoholic's only comfort may be a bottle of liquor.
I personally feel that we are trying to pass on a message without the knowledge necessary to effectively
pass that message. We may have recovered, but we do not
know how to pass that message on to others. We try to carry the message to others (in all sincerity), but our pious attitude and spiritual pride prevent the message from being
transferred. What is missing is humility.
I believe we can help and hold a greater number of
suffering human beings by only talking about ourselves,
whether at speaker meetings or group discussions.
Simply give the newcomer a copy of the big book (third
edition if you can find one). Suggest that they read
some of the stories in the back of the book. Do not tell
them to fast forward to chapter Five. There are no
short cuts. Keep the horse in front of the cart. Do not
push or prodd in any way. We may think we are encouraging.
We want every one to find what we have found. but I observe
that alcoholics have a rebellious nature. If we do not
give them anything to rebel against, how can we go wrong?
We offer our own story and thank the new person for listening to us. That is what helps me to stay sober:
continuously carrying the message. Let God be the
missing piece of the puzzle. He will help the new
person if we will only let Him. My hope is that others
will eventually understand what I am talking about and
they can in turn help others to understand. ANONYMOUS
I am going on two years with no hard liquor.i have tried to drink beer n wine, but couldn't go thru with it.do I have sober time?
I think you already know the answer to your question. Maybe you are looking for justification. If you are implying you tried... meaning that you consumed a little then you did not maintain your sobriety.
Are you sober today? That's the only question that matters. Take one day at a time. The rest will work, if you work it. I found that putting the plug in the jug was the easy part. The hard part was working the steps with a sponsor. There is relief from your desires, if you are willing to follow the steps. Read the beginning of chapter 5...first word in bold...RARELY have we seen a person fail. All you do is show up with a willing heart and the program does the rest.
If you show up with a willing heart; If you are willing to follow the steps; The rest will work, if you work it.
Why do we put so many conditions, when the only requirement
for A.A. membership is a desire on his/her part to get well?
The method of passing our message to others is sharing
our own story of recovery with them. Then thank them
for listening. That is how we maintain our own sobriety.
This concept is very complicated and difficult to
understand and follow. But it is very simple and easy,
with a little knowledge and self restraint. ANONYMOUS
Tried? But couldn't
I had that experience, but with vodka. I wanted to want it ( tried to drink it) , but I put the glass back on the counter without taking a sip ( or taste)(couldn't go through with it). I certainly consider myself sober (21+)(this happened at 5). If what you mean by couldn't go through with it is that like me you didn't drink, taste or sip, I'd say you are sober. On the other hand if you took a swallow or two and tossed it never to try again...I personally may be good with that, but the real test is how your sponsor and home group feel about it. My sponsor...and my group...well I'm not sure and don't want to find out....
North Hills, Ca
but if you have learned your lesson, it may have been well worth it. There is always that if for many of us until that last experience which really shows us who and where we are in our sobriety so I, personally commend you. It is what it is and who is taking your inventory. Good luck.
"I am going on two years with no hard liquor.i have tried to drink beer n wine, but couldn't go thru with it.do I have sober time?"
I have been in n out of aa four years.i still have not drank liquor,but in my groups imet a lot of people who know my medications and only until recently have cut these down to the prescribed levels.eleven mos. ago we were eating out and I had a margarita.i took a couple sips and said that is it for me.i had tried beer a few times but still have not gotten drunk in 23 months.have I had any continuous sobriety,just not being in blackouts or waking up not being in jail and not knowing how I got there.
Provided i stay sober tonight(which is my plan), i get to celebrate 20 years of continuous sobriety starting at midnight.
I don't have words to properly express my gratitude to Alcoholics Anonymous for the life given to me. Thank you for keeping this message and passing it on to me. Thank you for all the service work, the literature, the phone calls you've answered, the assemblies, gsr meetings, regular meetings, the guidance given to my home group, the coffee, the hugs, and most of all thanks for the love. I have a God because of you, and I'm still sober because of that. Thank you.
I went to 2 AA meetings a couple weeks ago. I blamed it on loneliness but I am now again lonely and drinking by myself, thinking it will fill the gap that I have felt since moving out on my own 3 months ago. I believe that my main reason for leaving was not the things that I did not agree with but more that I was drinking secretly, making the things that I did not agree with more difficult to work through. There were things said to me that were not excusable, I will say that. I did not leave for no reason. Now, I am having feelings of regret about leaving. I miss many things about it. Even my dog suffers from the unfamiliarity. I have been struggling, the opposite of what I thought it would be like to finally be free. I question my thoughts. Is it logical to miss someone who made me feel so unhappy or how much of that unhappiness did I create? I cannot help but believe that drinking is ruining it all right now. It is easier to admit that when I am in the throes of it, like now. Not so easy when I am sober.
and you sound like you are in pieces. Start picking yourself up one piece at a time, one day at a time. It will be better, every day you are sober, it will hurt less and less. Trust me, I have been there and I don't think much of it anymore because it was a part of my alcoholism/addiction. I, alone created that hell, starting with my alcoholism/drug addiction and then trying to be in a relationship....total insanity. I got sober, got my life in order, and found someone sober like me. Thanks to AA, there is a happy ending waiting for you, make it your beginning. Your friend in AA.
Dealing with a disease that tells you you don't have it is difficult. The question is do you want to be right or do you want to be happy. Get off the self pity pot, go back to AA, sit through the whole meetings, listen for the similarities not the differences, get a sponsor ( someone who seems to have what you want), do what they suggest (which more than likely will involve going through the steps), and you will be amazed at how everything in your life changes for the better.
Or you can just keep on doing what you've been doing, be right in your opinions and wait as things continue to get worse. Which I guarantee they will.
your honesty is very touching. i feel your pain, so you are not alone. yes, getting sober and trying to live life and all the difficult things in it definitely make you want to run for the hills! it is hard to be lectured from someone who is no different then us, but they know where we are because they have been there and believe it or not sometimes we are only lying to ourselves and that is what makes us so defensive and bothered by the advise. i have been sober for a very long time (left after 1 year in AA) and have recently started going back to NA and AA and if there was a place for crazy ass b@*$s i would be told to go there too. you can wait for many years in and out of addiction but you will miss out on life....believe me i am 50 years old. i started drinking and smoking at 12 years old and got sober in late 30's. don't sweat the small stuff....but remember if Nothing changes, nothing changes.