Burning Desire to Share
I was wondering if the misprint on page 234 third and second last line repeats was an original misprint in the first addition or if it's a new misprint?
I have been finding it real easy to not make my meetings or talk to my sponser I mean life is good no real issues and I am so busy at work and at home with my wife and kids and I know I am making excuses I guess I just need to motivate myself
Don't let what AA gave you take you away from AA.
When I came to AA looking for help after awful experiences with alcohol I entered rooms full of people who were willing to share their experience, strength and hope to help me. I remain so grateful that there was a room with tables, chairs, AA literature, coffee and snacks. But most of all I am grateful that those chairs were full. Some attendees had many years of sobriety and full happy lives and yet they took time out of their busy lives to share the gift with me.
There are lots of reasons to go to meetings but one big one for me is to give back what was so freely given to me in AA. Though I can't make as many meetings as I'd like, I always hold a service commitment in my home group to make sure that there is a place where the suffering alcoholic can find help.
Keep coming back.
If you read and listen to those who slip you'll find a common thread: they stopped going to meetings and/or calling their sponsors. But if you ask them what else they were doing for sobriety you will find that in nearly every case they were doing nothing but going to meetings and depending on a sponsor. In my forty-two years of uninterrupted membership in AA I have never met a single slipper who was using the twelve steps as his/her program of recovery, especially steps ten and eleven.
I have to wonder at the mind set of those who have no trouble remembering to call another alcoholic at a certain time every day and being at a certain meeting every evening yet can't remember to pray in the morning and take an inventory at night.
You need not look any further than the post below of someone who relapsed after 27 years to get the motivation to get back close to the program: every person I have heard the story of who has gone back out has described a process of moving away from meetings, their sponsor, the fellowship. Read Dr. Bob's nightmare, last page, where he lists the four reasons he stayed active in AA. The people I know with 40, 50, 60 years of sobriety stick around lest they forget the debt they owe to those who came before, as well as their need for a little more insurance against taking the first drink. "This too shall pass" means both the good and the bad, and I personally want the "hand of AA" at my back it does.
Some will say that sobriety is not easy. True, it is not
easy to get here. But I am convinced that staying here ought
to be easy. I was told not to expect more out of life than there is in it. Forget about all the rules that you hear from today's prideful and arrogant A.A. member; sponsor or guru or whatever they call themselves.
An A.A. friend was getting ready to go to his daughter's
first birthday party. His "Sponsor" guilted him into going
on a twelve step call. His sponsor told him his daughter
would have more birthdays, but this prospect may not get
another chance at recovery.
Enjoy this life God has given us through A.A. Take
care of the wife and those kids. If you live long enough,
you can retire and "work" A.A. full time (like me). ANONYMOUS
I celebrated 27 years of sobriety this January; however, in the past month I started drinking wine. It is the same old story of having a small glass and quickly progressing to more. It is also the same story in that I stopped going to meetings and did not have a sponsor. As I write this it is so apparent to me that alcoholism does not change;and, I am no different than anyone else. There are "reasons" for starting to drink wine in particular, but none that substantiate anything! I could use some support and I thank you.
I celebrated 21 years in November, and I know I am not 'bullet-proof'...but it always helps to hear actual experience. I am sorry for your loss of sobriety, and I thank and commend you for honestly sharing with us. HP, meetings, serving, and sponsors are so much a part of my recovery...and reinforced when I hear you share. Thank you.
A Native American named Don C has an excellent story which I have heard twice. He must have used the word alcohol over a hundred times in his talk. I follow his lead. It isn't important what the alcohol is mixed with, bottled with or labeled as. I am an alcoholic. My problem is with alcohol. My alcoholism is ugly. I want it to sound as ugly as it is. If I start talking to myself about a nice chablis or a snifter of Courvoisier I'm headed in the wrong direction. No good could come of it so why would I want to?
Congratulations on 27 years. I have recently relapsed as well :/ I did not have 27 years of sobriety. heck im only 28 but I have a 10 month old daughter and I can't do this to her I can't believe I rationalized this. there isn't any excuse and I'm scared to turn to my family or anyone because I know better and they dont want to hear this crap again. I gotta pick myself up this time and most of all I'm just scared of failing again.
Dear AA Friend:
I understand well what you are going through. I am a sponsor for someone who is 28 also. He is having a very hard time. I know he needs help and really wants to stay sober. Go to those who love you and tell them you need their help, their prayers, and their love. Ask them to be with you. I hope you have a sponsor and are going to meetings. Tonight I will pray for you.
man I sure hate to hear that I myself have been there I have never acquired that many days in a row but am tring after 27 years you know what you need to do find a sponser make a meeting asap and remember guilt is a killer a long with self pitty and not to mention our ever so important ego its time to be humble and once again admit defeat I will pray for you my friend
I'm not sure how this forum works but I'm looking for a good group to go to while I'm in Corpus Christi next week.
I recently moved back to the town I grew up in. It took me two months before I began to go to meetings. I have been in AA since 1998, and it felt good to be going to a meeting. However, my first meeting I experienced a quick 13 step, which I was able to deal with and let go. My second meeting I experienced another 13 step, which got me a slap on the ass and a possible invite for more activities outside of AA. I didn't think much of it so, again, I was able to let it go. Then my third meeting did me in. I went to this meeting and felt worse coming out than going in. The chairperson hogged all the literature that was needed to be read, only delegating the twelve traditions, and how it works. The chairperson also took role call to make sure everyone was there. Correct me if I am wrong, however, I believe to have someone else call your name to make sure you are there is a breach of anonymity. If I had to put my name on a list and hear my name along with others' called out to respond with 'here', I think I would never show up. After the meeting, I went for coffee alone because no one had welcomed me or made me feel welcomed. Even the chairperson sat at his table prior the meeting sitting there in silence without even a hello or attempt to talk to anyone, only waited until the time to start the meeting and nothing more. While I was at the coffee shop I happened to see everyone there from the meeting I just left. Again, I was not invited to join them, so I sat alone to drink my coffee. I had thoughts of using and I had to talk with my Higher Power to keep me clean and sober. So, I have three meetings in this town under my belt, I have had three bad experiences at three meetings, and I am afraid to go to another meeting because I do not want to be on a role call list and I don't want to do any 13 stepping. Because I am back in a town where I grew up in, I need to find a new sponsor and because I am afraid to go to a meeting I am denying myself my rite to a sponsor. I want to go to a meeting, I want to have a home group, and I want to have a sponsor. What I don't want is to do 13 steps or to hear my name read out on a role call list or to hear the chair read all the placards and necessary readings for a meeting to take place. At the last meeting I was at it was mentioned to me to remember the message. The messages I heard were to believe in a higher power and your higher power will keep you sober; I heard that it does get easier; I heard about great courage; and I heard about gratitude. All of which are good messages. However, I have not been able to let go of the concept of role call breaking my anonymity. And I am afraid to go to another meeting due to three meetings and three experiences. I am reading my Big Book and GrapeVine Magazines and I hope that when I build up my nerve I will be able to get to a meeting again, a meeting that I can feel safe at and comfortable at. God Willing.
I've attended meetings in five states and three countries outside the US. Yes, I have seen thirteenth stepping, by both genders, but not as blatant as you report.
Since when do we hide our identities from other alcoholics? Are you looking for anonymity or secrecy? Tradition Eleven (not Twelve) states we are anonymous at the level of press, radio and films. You might want to read what Dr Bob said about anonymity on page 264, "Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers."
I have been to meetings all over the states the past 27 years including AA business meetings at the group, district and area levels and have NEVER seen a group take a roll call. Not sure what was going on with that but it seems quite unusual.
Having moved several times during my years in AA, I found that it is always takes a while for me to find my way in a new town. I always managed to eventually find a group that worked for me. It helps if I look for ways I can be of service at a meeting. Can I help set up, clean up or put away chairs & tables? At the end of a meeting, my group asks for volunteers to help clean up. I can guarantee you will not be ignored if you raise your hand.
We also ask for newcomers or visitors to identify themselves so that we can get to know them better. Again, you will not be ignored during or after the meeting and will probably be asked to share.
Thankfully, there are plenty of groups and meetings all with different formats and personalities.
It sounds like you need thick skin and possibly a big stick to join their group.
Since we aren't required to display ID at meetings we can use any name we choose. I'd tell them my name is Tradition Twelve and please add it to the roll call so the chair will always ask "Is Tradition Twelve here?"
I think it needs to be made perfectly clear that you are not looking for any dates or sexual encounters and any hands on you will result in scream, sirens and mace.
It sounds like your town needs a meeting where others can feel safe and comfortable and there is no one better than you to start one. GSO will be happy to send you a kit to do just that.
Have you read the stories of the pioneers in the Big Book?
"Go start AA in Detroit."
"Go start AA in Chicago."
"Go start AA in Canada and here's 500 letters asking for help."
How did AA grow to over 64,000 groups in the US and Canada alone? By members who valued AA enough to find a coffee pot and a place to plug it in.
Please be patient with us. Seek some other meetings. I
am fortunate to have dozens of meetings available. Although
I feel that all A.A. meetings ought to be alike, that is not
reality. It takes me it seems like forever to make a new
friend. I don't do the "coffee after the meeting" meeting.
I believe the message ought to be carried by the group
within the context of the meeting. One or two members
carrying their own message is limiting, and I feel can
I have never been to an A.A. meeting where the roll
has been called. But I believe it, as I have been to
and heard about some strange meetings. Long ago we would
call the roll at our district meeting but that was
different. That no longer is done. Most new GSRs don't
return anyway, when they see what a waste of time the
GSR meeting is.
Thirteenth steeping has always been a problem in A.A.
beginning with our founder. The issue is being addressed
on a feeble basis in my area. It seems that once we get
sober some of our other instincts come alive. And it is
not only the men who are predators.
Please search for other meetings where you can feel
safe and comfortable. Maybe in future years you can be
instrumental in returning A.A. to its original successful
form. The new suffering alcoholic approaching us deserves
nothing less. ANONYMOUS
I have moved a few times in sobriety and found meetings like that while traveling across country and around court ordered populations.
I find the answers I need in asking for the Higher Power's guidance to where I am supposed to be and what I am supposed to do. No matter how gnarly a meeting is, there is usually someone to pray for and sometimes someone who could do with an encouraging word. Sometimes when I am feeling that I need something, what I need to do is to give back something.
As to finding a sponsor, I always ask to be guided to the right meetings and right person and then relax cause HP is in charge and isn't going to drop me as long as I keep doing the step work.
Gosh, I just wanted to say I hear you & will pray for you. 2 1/2 yrs sober me here & today's a crappy day for me, but decided to go online after several mths not & whew...I feel better already. So, I personally always have tools to use to get me OUT of my funky days, like online or I keep literature close by, like the Grapevine or As Bill see's It. One can always call the local AA & get #'s of some woman to call. Maybe they can bring a meeting to you?? We do that for some of our older/ disabled members, but maybe if it's not easy to get another job right now maybe they can help you. Just ask & good luck & one HOUR at a time if you must.Go girl....you can do it!!!
I just found out my boyfriend of a year and a half has been relapsing. I'm completely devastated and feeling very alone.. I keep thinking that it is my fault but I know that I was powerless over his actions. I'm breaking up with him today. I really need the support of the fellowship but can't get to a meeting until later tonight. I'm trying hard to keep my head up and know that this is God's will. I don't have much to say I just felt the need to share
It took me 3 years to get a year. I just couldn't believe it was over. I only drank 5 years from 25 till 30. I have a long history of the problem in my family. The stuff scared me greatly. We love you because you tried to help but..... He may need a new Spons. Dec. 15, 2014 I'll have 40 years sober. Keep the Faith in yourself.
Joe C. St. Pete Florida
My sponsor shared with me that I am only capable of working 12 steps (and even that imperfectly) - not 24 steps (my program and that of someone else). At a parents' program at a treatment center recently, I was reminded of that fact, and that Al Anon would be useful to develop the necessary objectivity and boundaries not to keep enabling my kid's use. As for the "god's will" part, I am rather fond of the Merton prayer, which reminds me that I must keep trying to do what I believe to be right and good and moral and just - not be so selfish and self-centered - and when I do I am probably pretty close to god's will.
I didn't do very well with the God business until I developed a very different view than you expressed of "God's will".
As far as I have seen "God's will" is that we all have free will, after all he gave it to us. I don't buy the idea that we have free will but there is a big GOTCHA if we don't use it according to some somewhat mysterious rules that vary with every sect and also from day to day.
If your boyfriend chooses to drink, that's his will. If you choose to stay and help him drink or leave that is your will. So where doe's God come in? Just like it says in our literature, standing by ready to help us if asked. He doesn't need to be told by us what others need. I imagine he knows that without being told. If they ask and are willing to accept help IN THE FORM IT IS GIVEN they will get the help they need too.
Also there is a group apart from AA that deals with alcoholism when it affects, not ourselves, but others.
I hope you are still "hanging in there" and have made a meeting or two. And hopefully have gotten a sponsor or at least looking. I mainly wanted to suggest you might try an alanon meeting once in awhile. It helped me a lot when I was dealing with the problems of a family member. Most of us are good at blaming others for our drinking so don't be drawn into that trap. Time will help so try to put one foot in front of the other and take care of yourself. In spite of your feelings have faith that it will get better.
I am about to talk about the grey pages at Area Assembly. There will be riots.
Area 40 Grapevine Chair
Dear Grapevine Chair from Montana, area 40. Why not discuss
your concern here on the forum? You have a wider audience.
You may even be able to get some ammunition to support your
cause. Opinions vary from different parts of the country.
Personally, I would prefer a simple magazine, a "meeting
in print", funded by those who want it: supported by
sale of subscriptions to the magazine, not by selling
books or raiding our Prudent Reserve Fund.
IMO, "our" AA Grapevine has become an advertising
tool for Alcoholics Anonymous. Let's start the discussion!
As a point of clarification:
AAGV, Inc. has not taken a drawdown from the Reserve Fund for two years and in April 2014 made a donation of $260,000 to the Reserve Fund.
Further clarification: Was the $260,000 a donation? Or
was it simply a deposit? Money that comes in for subscriptions is routinely deposited into the Prudent
Reserve Fund to be used as needed. Both Grapevines have withdrawn millions of dollars more from the Prudent Reserve Fund than "donated". Now you call it a drawdown. ANONYMOUS
Note: Our Grapevines ought to be fully supported through
subscriptions from AA members who want them. That was the
Grapevine made a donation of $260,000 to the Reserve Fund in March 2014. The Grapevine Subscription Liability, a separate fund, sets aside money for unfulfilled subscriptions and is currently funded at 98%. Grapevine has received drawdowns from the Reserve Fund over the 70 years of its existence, but has not done so for the last three years. In 1995, the General Service Conference recommended that La Viña be published with support from the General Fund as a service to the Fellowship, this action was reaffirmed by the Conference in 2001.
For additional information it is suggested that you contact your delegate.
I am new to all of this. Not new to my alcoholism, or realization thereof, but new to talking to strangers about my problem. I attended a Narcotics Anonymous meeting in rehab back in 2009, but I was only in rehab because my father thought I was going to kill myself so he had me hospitalized. It wasn't of my own volition necessarily, though as scared as I was at the time, I knew I needed help. So, I have not been to any A.A. meetings. They only take place in my town when I'm at work. Therefore, I sought help from the internet. It's probably better this way anyway. I'm not much of a small town gal, yet I reside in one. Everyone knows everything about everyone. So, everyone knows I'm a gnarly alcoholic.
On that note, I have a lot to say. However, seeing as this is my first post, I will simply say that I am 27 years young. I don't think I've gone longer than a week and a half sober since I turned 20. Since then, my mom and dad have died, I've dropped out of college, lost jobs, lost friends, lost places of residence...and I suspect I'm losing my health. My dad died in 2012, and things for me have been uphill since then simply because he would want it that way. I went on medication, I got a great apartment, I've held down a steady good job, but there is still a constant in my life, to put it simply: alcoholism. Long story short, when my dad was dying and up until his death, I was more preoccupied with drinking to cope than I was being there for him. Now he's gone, and I'm trying to move on and create a better life for myself, but I'm still drinking. Then, it was drinking to cope with his impending death (amongst many other things). Now, it's to cope with his passing, which happened over two years ago. My mother died 8 months before he did, but we were estranged. She was an alcoholic too. She tried to get back in my life a month and a half before she died. I ignored all of her phone calls, because I was an alcoholic and I somehow blamed her for that and had no nice words to say to her, so I simply ignored her until "the time was right" to speak to her again after a five year hiatus. That time, obviously, never came. She died alone, without making amends with me. Peritonitis, apparently. I was the next-of-kin, so I was responsible for her funeral arrangements. Needless to say, I am filled with regret and sadness.
There are many other details I could share, but in this moment, I don't want to lose focus. I need to quit drinking, but I am so sad. All of the time. I have been depressed all my life, I get panic attacks, I'm anxious more often than not...as I stated earlier, I can't attend regular A.A. meetings because of my work schedule, which honestly is the only thing keeping me on any semblance of a straight-and-narrow.
I just needed to put this out there.
Keep doing what works, and stop doing or alter what doesn't work. I too have had employment where it deterred me from meeting times. I have since learned, no matter what, get to a meeting. When I was working, I had just started my career and was working graveyards. The morning meetings didn't happen until noon and by the time noon arrived I was already asleep or falling asleep (I was off work at 7 a.m.). I started work at 11 p.m., and now I know I could have attended meetings at 7 & 8 p.m., and I could have attended meetings on my days off as I had two of them each week. I chose not to go to meetings which led to the loss of my career and a depression that lasted fourteen years. I have been fortunate enough to not drink all these years, however, I have relapsed on drugs. Relapsing s not what I want, active using is no what I want. Right now I am both clean and sober, Thank God, and I do need to keep tabs on my way of hinking and my attitude. This is what I need meetings for. Right now I am afraid to go to meetings because of the experiences I have recently experienced so I decided to try online here. I am finding it is working. Thank You AA for being on the internet. It takes two to have a meeting and it takes work to have sobriety.
Thank you for your courage in putting all this down in words on the screen. You sound like a very honest and fearless person, which means your chances for a life free of alcohol are good, if you want it.
Is there a way you can attend a meeting in a neighboring town? Even one per week? I stress face-to-face meetings because that's what got me and kept me sober in the early days. I don't think I could have done it on the internet alone.
Keep in mind that sobriety is just about today and today only. Try not to drink today and try to make it to a meeting today or tomorrow.
All the best to you,
First things First you are talking about it so you are headed in the right direction. No one can stop drinking drinking. You have to surrender and until that happens you will remain depressed and drunk. I know because thats my experience,
Thanks for checking in and welcome. Sorry to hear of your your struggles. When my mother had a massive heart attack and was near death for weeks, I drank. Of course, I drank before that and after that. People said, oh he's really struggling with all this. But my brother didn't drink nor did my sisters or my father who was a dyed in the vat Irishman and was probably suffering the most. Only me. I drank. I am an alcoholic. I have a chronic, progressive, debilitating disease and I don't really need a reason to drink but I'll take one if you'll give it to me, thank you very much.
Thankfully, my family confronted me during this crisis and I got help. Twentyseven years later, I am nothing but grateful for the miracle of a life I found through AA. I am grateful for all I found here including a Higher Power, a way of life built on the steps, fellowship and friends who are more like family. I got to enjoy a second childhood (worked at a ski resort where I ski and bike raced and did triathlons sober), a second adolescence (dated and married sober) and a first adulthood (stayed married, raised 3 step children and put them through college, built a home...) I learned to practice the principles of AA in all my affairs including at home, at work, in my community and in AA.
All this happens one step at a time, one day at a time. I suit up and show up for what is in front of me today. This morning, I am enjoying a visit to the Grapevine. This afternoon, I attend an AA speaker meeting at noon followed by my home group business meeting at 1pm where I am group secretary. I will do some fun stuff the rest of the day realizing that AA is the foundation upon which the rest of my life is built.
Not everyone is fortunate enough to know what is wrong with them AND to have a way out, a remedy, a cure, a solution. I am. I am an Alcoholic and I recovered and stay recovered in AA.
Recovery from this disease can be a fantastic multi-colored journey along the yellow brick road but only if I join hands with my fellow AAs and take that first step.
Why not change your work schedule, or get another job, even if you have to relocate? I sobered up at 27, and I had to make some really radical changes to stay sober.
When we start looking for solutions instead of obstacles we find them. Depression? Panic attacks? See a doctor. Many of have found that many problems go away when we stop drinking and the medical profession can't do much for a diagnosis until the alcohol and other drugs are taken out of the formula.
Looks like you are down to work -drink- live where you don't want to and don't have access to help. Thousands of people starting with nothing are living in halfway houses or better, working, not drinking, making sober friends, getting their lives straightened out and accessing any kind of help they need. What do you have to lose except alcoholism's progressive misery?
You say that alcohol has taken away almost everything important in your life. You have adapted to all the changes so far. So as long as your alcoholism is calling the shots you can adapt. One way or another we have found when our recovery starts calling the shots we can adapt. We don't see the outcome ahead of time, we just do it anyway and for millions of us we made it. If we don't make the changes we need to alcohol will do it for us.
Young eagles hang on to their nest for dear life so they don't fall. Then one day they are ready for a change. They let go and soar. That's what AA does. You are ready to change or you wouldn't have come here.
It’s often heard in the rooms that AA is spiritual not religious, but what does that mean exactly? The only thing that makes sense to me is this statement must be referring to the “AA Fellowship” as defined by the AA Preamble. Its common knowledge the “AA Program” we offer as a suggestion was inspired by religious ideas, which is overtly evident in its main teachings, the big book and the twelve and twelve, however our identity should always be presented as the “AA Fellowship” and not as the “AA Program.” In other words, the fellowship is spiritual and the program tends to appear to look religious especially to the person walking through the doors for the first time. I believe all the confusion for the newcomer lies within this misunderstanding. What is more spiritual than “A fellowship of a men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism” There is no confusion in that statement because it’s easy to understand the spiritual essence in community built on equality and love. But, when people wrongly and aggressively promote AA as a program; this is where the newcomer obtains a dose full of anxiety. Religious elements are intertwined throughout the twelve steps and the big book and in any meeting you hear religious themes such as, divine intervention, miracles, confession, penance and redemption, not to mention, many groups have rituals and rules to obey. So when we are presented in this way, I feel it is unfair to criticize or condemn any newcomer who points out these religious elements which make them uneasy, especially when it is presented as a rule and not an option. When we inflict this on a newcomer it can set them up to fail. The AA Preamble and Traditions are very clear about what our organization is; the problem lies with a few of its members who do not possess the ability to understand that AA is a Fellowship which is spiritual in nature but also for the more religious members offers a “Program.” When I sponsor people, the first thing I do is clarify this to them so, there are not any misunderstandings that may lead to severe consequences. I personally am religious but, I go to church for that need. The “AA Fellowship” especially through home group and speaker meetings provides me a community of social mirrors in my daily reprieve from alcoholism. Grateful in Recovery
Your share and perspective on AA and its spiritual base in fellowship helped me to understand the separateness from spirituality and religion. Although I already had an understanding of this your way of describing and defining this has given me comfort from feelings of guilt and fraudulent character. They are no longer large in my thinking, practice and study but I have struggled with this in the past.
I was not raised in a family that identified with religion or went to church although I went to Sunday School I'm sure because all good Mothers in the sixties sent their children along should they be deemed unfit.
In my late thirties and forties my late husband and I embraced Tibetan Buddhism and meditation to help us in his death from brain cancer.
After his death I continued to study and meditate to a small degree. Eventually this practice left me as I began to drink more each day to cope.
I came to AA nearly 3 months ago with an understanding of a higher power as I had gone to Al Anon in my twenties. Some understanding of the fellowship of AA and its program of recovery also helped me but I still felt very uncomfortable trying to pray each day. I felt like a fraud!
I stumbled each morning as I tried to pray asking God for help and guidance, strength and peace.
A few weeks into my recovery I spoke with my new friend from AA about this and she gave me the best advise - " Some people just say please."
This freed me in a way I cannot describe until I became more comfortable with my early journey, AA, my understanding and daily prayer.
I begin my prayer now with thanks and then I ask please help me .......
I end my prayer with thanks.
Something so simple has helped me so much and I don't feel fake or fraudulent.
I give thanks to the spirit of my universe and then I ask for its continued help. And of course I offer my thanks again.
I wish every recovering alcoholic a beautiful peaceful day.
Be gentle and kind with your spirit.
I struggled mightily with the 3rd step until an older woman passed me a note in a meeting on which was written "I don't have to understand spirituality to accept its benefit." That was very freeing. A Thich Nhat Hanh interview on prayer was very enlightening as well. I still have more questions than answers, but I accept that as part of the gift of seeking, without which I might become stagnant/complacent and start the road back to the bottle.
Dear Grateful in Recovery, Thanks for a clear message.
I am grateful that our Preamble has remained intact. At least that definition of Alcoholics Anonymous has not
changed. The preamble still says that we are a fellowship.
It is one of the few places fellowship has not been
changed to Fellowship.
A newcomer is not going to point out religious elements
which make them uneasy. They may think "this is just another
religious group and religion has not helped me before".
They don't voice their objection. What they see is what it
is. They just don't keep coming back although we chant
"Keep Coming Back! It works if you work it!".
It is really up to us seasoned old timers to speak up
for the newcomer; they still come even though they may
have heard about our religious nature. They are desperate,
but not that desperate. "Let me out of here".
Even churches I attend offer more grace than today's
A.A. At least they wait until the end of the service
to do the alter call. We tell the newcomer right up front
That One Is God! May you find Him Now!. Sure, this works
for some, but the multitudes are pushed away.
We must develop an understanding of Dr. Silkworth's
"cart before the horse IDEA" and apply same. Most A.A.
members today have no idea what this IDEA is. ANONYMOUS
"We tell the newcomer right up front That One Is God! May you find Him Now!. Sure, this works for some, but the multitudes are pushed away."
First off, I get the impression that your only familiarity with the Big Book is the portion of Chapter 5 read at many meetings. Just to set the record straight, your quotation is on page 59, not 'right up front' as you claim.
Second, how do you know what pushes the multitudes away? Have you conducted a survey? Or are you still clinging to the mantra of the untreated alcoholic, "I feel this way, therefore everyone else feels this way, too"?
I don’t remember anyone telling me the purpose of AA was to endorse religion and to dictate to its members that “God” was the only way to salvation and freedom from alcoholism. The earlier members and the founders may have believed that but, it doesn’t make it true for everyone even though it may have been true for them. As a newcomer and an agnostic, the older members told me, I did not have to believe in God to get sober but, just had to believe that it was possible. We provide that space of possibility in the rooms; it’s up to each person to define what that means to them. AA provides hope to every new person but, I believe it’s not helpful to mislead them into thinking that the only possibility for recovery is God and unbelief equals death. In any AA meeting, there are members that prove the erroneousness in that false assertion every night.
There is no reason to try to make Doctor Silkworth's quote about The cart before the horse some big mystery unless you are trying to use it for a smokescreen. Ebbie T told Bill W that he "Got religion" and was happily sober. In his umpteenth detox Bill W had some kind of Un-earthly experience which resulted in his compulsion to drink being removed. Bill tried to pass this on this Conversion with no results. Silkworth told him it wasn't working because Bill wasn't laying any foundation.
If you bother to look, the Spiritual Awakening is now at the end, not the beginning of the program of recovery of AA.
I would suggest reading the Foreword to the 12x12, especially the 3rd full paragraph which says,” AA’s 12 steps are a group of principles, spiritual in their nature, which, if practiced as a way of life, can expel the obsession to drink and enable the sufferer to become happily and usefully whole.” I have found nothing religious in the 12 steps.
Maybe read the foreword to the second edition of the big book on page xx, “Other thousands came to a few AA meetings and at first decided they didn’t want the program” I think the meetings are where we display the AA program for newcomers to decide if they want it or not, but you decide for yourself.
Also page 39 in the 12 x 12 has a great comment on meetings, “More sobriety brought about by the admission of alcoholism and by attendance at a few meetings is very good indeed, but is bound to be a far cry from permanent sobriety and a contented, useful life
My favorite example of the steps being the program of AA is in the 3rd or 4th page of the pamphlet “problems other than alcohol”, “Sobriety- freedom form alcohol- through the teaching and practice of the 12 steps is the sole purpose of an AA group.” This tells us what the purpose of our AA groups are. On page 15 of Bill’s story in the big book he says” we meet frequently so newcomers can find the fellowship they seek” I really think the fellowship is the meetings we have with each other and the program is the 12 steps we work for our individual sobriety. You can look on page 107 of the 12x12, it says “AA’s manner of making ready to receive this gift lies in the practice of the 12 steps in our program.”
There are around 40 spots in the big book and 12x12 that talk about the “program” please look for yourself. There is a web site called 164andmore that you can search the big book and 12x12 with key words such as “program”
I hope this helps and good luck!
Thank you very much for your well researched response. The only thing I can add is that AA is governed by democratic principals. Every year our elected representatives have the opportunity make changes or put proposed changes before the entire membership. Every year they appear to be satisfied with the first 154 pages of the Big Book and the 12 and 12 and have not changed anything.
Hi, you are missing the point of the discussion. Everything you are quoting from is taken from "Program oriented" materials. These are wonderful suggestions and an important part of recovery which the Alcoholics Anonymous fellowship offers but, they are not Alcoholics Anonymous. The Preamble does not read, "Alcoholics Anonymous is a program where people read the big book work the steps and gets a sponsor..." No it states that we are a fellowship. Because AA is a fellowship it is open for anyone who has a desire to stop drinking. Whether they follow the suggested path or not is their right. People who choose not to follow the program are still members of the fellowship. One's sobriety is not judged on what they read, follow or preach but, who they are and what they do. Keep coming back!