I wasn't around in the 40's but from what I have studied there was a lot of contention between the groups. Cleveland and Akron for example. Cleveland said Akron was too religious and followed the 4 absolutes of the Oxford Groups.
Also Hank P went to every group he could and bad mouthed Bill W. which caused a lot of problems.
Yes the problems did result in the forming of the 12 traditions.
"What like one word difference??"
That's cute. It's all right to take one sentence and use it to rationalize turning a share from the topic of alcoholism to drugs, but asking about changing "we' to 'it' is nitpicking. Yet we hear over and over, "This is a 'we' Program."
Bill W. (of the "Next day found me drinking both gin and sedative." fame)wrote an article published in the February, 1958 Grapevine. It was considered important enough to be made into a pamphlet and published again in "The Language of the Heart."
It say, in part, "Sobriety - freedom from alcohol _ through the teaching and practice of the Twelve Steps, is the sole purpose of an AA Group." Notice he stressed 'freedom from alcohol' and said it is the sole purpose of a group.
I have yet to find a legitimate reason for AA to allow addicts to turn our meetings into Alcadictions Anonymous.
As Tradition Five in the 12 & 12 states, "Shoemaker, stick to thy last!" better to do one thing supremely well than than many badly. And the final paragraph on page 142, same book. "Never did he trouble anyone with his other difficulty."
In the original manuscript, chapter five read: Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our
directions. Directions was changed to path before the Big
Book went to print. I believe this change is of great value. A path is different from directions. There is a
copy of the origional manuscript available for about
seventy five dollars. In today's AA we have changed "path"
back to directions. I suspect that many of the last
minute changes have been reversed. We were left a fellowship
of men and women by our pioneers. That has morphed into
a Twelve Step Program. Sad but true. ANONYMOUS
Nearly the whole BB and definitly the steps are written in the past tense. It is because the forebearers are saying "this is what we did, it you and the same results you do what we did and it may work for you". If my brother and I build a house that you admire and want to copy we tell you what we did and give you the "plans". If you use wood instead of brick, cinder block instead of concrete, you may get a different result. When I change "we" to "it" it makes the telling of "my story" my story. Get it? In other words what "it" was like for me! I can't tell "our" story!
Why not just explain how the house was built, and leave the plans on the table for the interested party to use, without
any qualifications? Attraction not promotion. Do we have to
say: this is what we did, if you want the same results, do
what we did and it may work for you. Why not simply say, this is what we did, period. We ought only share what we
were like, what happened, and what we are like now. Let the
newcomer decide all by himself if he/she wants to follow
our path. I will say: Attraction, absolutely without
promotion of any kind. This approach relieves the new
person of any guilt or shame. I drank a lot of times due
to shame and guilt. I think telling a newcomer to find
God and find Him now is harmful. To try to explain the
twelve steps takes a long time. Let the new person get
addicted to our fellowship and coffee. I hope this makes
a little sense. I am still trying to understand it. Thank
the newcomer for listening to us. This helps us to stay
sober. Allow the concrete foundation to set up before trying to build a house on it. ANONYMOUS
Dr. Bob said attraction for some people is sitting on the steps of the Alano club and waiting for a drunk to fall into their lap. He said that if you weren't promoting the program on levels other than press, radio, film and tv you were violating the tradition.
You must tell us where you found these sayings by Dr. Bob.True, initally Dr. Bob and Bill went out looking for drunks,but after AA was established and the word spread there was no need to promote ourselves. Bill W. went public at one point, promoting AA to the general public. He and his friends decided that promotion would harm AA in the long run. ANONYMOUS
You know what? Trying to explain myself in type is very very difficult. I guess I should have clarified the "plans" are the BB. All this going back and forth reminds me of one thing. Keep is simple. A person can be marooned on a desert island and get sober if they have a copy of the BB and read it. All this talk about whats wrong with AA reminds me that in truth the program of AA is the 12 steps of AA. If a person will not, does not, can not work/live/practice the 12 steps all this other stuff is irrelevant.
"If you want what we have" you will do what we did and see if it works for you. It is that simple!!
OK. I deeply appreciate your concern for our fellowship. If we had a lot more who have that passion for AA,we could do better at helping others. Mort J. sobered up
in 1940 in Calif with only the Big Book, and started groups
in Los Angeles. I believe alcoholics were getting sober
and were starting groups with nothing but the Big Book. I am sure that Bill W was pleased when he found out that
alcoholics were recovering without his personal help, just
using the Book.
I find this is much easier than face to face debate.
Believe me, I do both. I just don't think well "on my feet".
and I like to be able look up information. When I voice
my opinions and concerns at AA gatherings I do not debate.
I just state my ideas and let everyone else do the same
without interruption. Here on I-SAY we have the
moderator to keep us from attacking each other. I am
convinced that our purpose is the exactly the same. To
help save as many alcoholics as humanly possible.
In the 24 hours I’ve been sober, I have had the opportunity to attend meetings across the country due to my occupation. I have been in communities from one day to nine months. This experience has given me a great respect for group autonomy.
I have recently settled into a community and no longer travel as I did in the past. During a recent vacation I took the opportunity to visit each individual group in this city which has meetings scheduled daily at noon and at least once each evening. My motive was to get a feel for each group in order to guide newcomers to meetings they would feel comfortable in.
As I made the rounds to each meeting, I asked at each if they were open or closed since it wasn’t announced. After asking, I was informed that all meetings in the city are open except for two. Which I think is ok however I feel it should be announced.
The next custom I observed is that at each of the open meetings, Richmond Walker’s book “24-hours a day” (now printed by Hazeldon) is read at each meeting with no announcement that it is not AA conference approved literature.
I have no issues with Walkers book being read at closed meetings when coupled with a “this is not AA conference approved literature announcement” as long as the group conscience approves it. I do feel since the meetings are open to the public that reading this book as part of the meeting implies affiliation and endorsement (tradition 6 long form) to Hazeldon and Richmond Walker.
Each page of Richmond Walker’s book begins with a statement that States the date and “AA thought for the day”. I think this is contrary to tradition 4, by reading an AA thought for the day that AA doesn’t have.
After getting close with members of this AA community, it is easy to see how fond this area is with this particular book. I think it’s good as well. I just don’t think we should imply that AA has a thought for the day, or the particular meditation and prayers for each day as stated in Richmond Walker’s book. AA does however have several meditations and prayers listed in the book “Alcoholics Anonymous” and the “Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions”
I have heard that AA was given the opportunity to print Richmond Walker’s book, but turned it down because the 12 x12 was about to be printed. Does anyone know why aside from the reasons I have listed? All responses given by Members who have worked the steps, studied the traditions and concepts will be read with great diligence.
I don't see how the reading of non AA literature at any type of meeting (open or closed)conforms in any way with the 4th tradition.
What does the reading of non AA literature at meetings tell the newcomer or anyone else for that matter? In my opinion it says that AA literature isn't good enough for AA.
Does this practice not negatively affect other groups and AA as a whole? I think so and is totally unacceptable. Group autonomy not withstanding the fact still remains that the 2nd half of the tradition is being totally ignored!
Group conscience should be informed and this practice does not even come close to conforming to the standards of common sense.
Just like many other new style AA meetings and groups.... anything goes!
It is my understanding that Hazelton has indeed offered Walkers's book to AAWS on more that one occasion, after all we are about the only ones who buy the book. The reason it was turned down from what I have been told is because of it's recurring "Christian" overtones. I'm sure that the GSO archives desk can fill in some of these questions. Mike
I believe it was Walker himself that offered the book to us, but the Confrence at that time felt that we would be better off to develop our own literature rather than accepting it from outside the fellowship. This precident has continued to this day.
I sincerely doubt that Hazelden ever considered giving
up the rights to the 24hr. book. They must have made millions on that book which is so popular with alcoholics.
I was going to write "Everything has a price", but that is
not entirely true. Bill W. refused that job at Towns
hospital, after his friends asked him not to take it. Bill
would have been secure financially for the rest of his
life. The word altruistic comes to mind. Bill was convinced
that taking that position would not be in the best interest
of AA. Bill and Lois surely could have been comfortable.
My point is that the 24 hr book was already a very
popular book and the profit for AA would have been great,
and the money was needed at Headquarters.
But Bill and his friends, along with the AA's
General Service Conference in 1954 refused to accept the
book, despite the obvious financial profit. They decided that the book was not what AA was all about. The Christian
overtones was the main reason. But there are other reasons
for the book's rejection. Take a real close look while you
are reading it. I read it almost every day and I suspect that you do the same. I would guess that most AA members
today use this book. Hopefully, the other 28 million suffering alcoholics in America have found another solution.
Those of us who remain are members of this strange new
religion. We have pushed all the others away. My conservative estimate is six million so far. They are
just not comfortable, "ready", for the Christain approach
to recovery. We push them away before they become ready.
I am convinced that if we use the approach developed by
Dr. Silkworth and Bill, that most alcoholics approaching
us will come to believe, if we feed them with teaspoons
instead of buckets: That One is God, may you find him NOW!
Those who do not come to believe can remain sober with us
in AA with whatever beliefs they may have (or none).
I doubt that any information exists where it is written
by Bill where it states that the 24 hr book was rejected
because of its religious nature. In my opinion, Bill trusted
that his view would be honored. Of course, today this book is as much a part of AA tradition as the Big Book.
I certainly don't have all the answers, but I do believe I have many of them. Most of this is my opinion,
but it has developed over a period of four decades of
sobriety. Some periods of time may have been "dry", but
I am convinced that dry is much better than wet. I have
found that GSO will gladly respond to any question by
regular mail. And I assume by email. Write to them. I
have found that a reply is almost immediate, and a followup
mailing is made after a thorough search is made for answers
to our questions. ANONYMOUS
On line AA forums are overflowing with complaints about holding hands, praying, reading "How It Works" and/or other excerpts of AA literature, dress codes, language codes, sponsorship, etc. etc. etc. "...we could increase the list ad infinitum," to quote another portion of the Big Book.
Yet the same gripers not only approve, they encourage groups to allow addictions to be discussed and shared in our meetings.
I suppose it's the typical mantra of the untreated, "If I do it everyone else does it, too, If I don't do it nobody else should, regardless of what the Traditions say. After all, I'm above the Traditions."
In "Problems Other Than Alcohol" Bill W. wrote, "Experience says loudly that we can admit no exceptions, even though drug users and alcoholics happen to be first cousins of a sort." Many societies forbid marriage between first cousins, for obvious reasons. AA should be no exception.
I agree that addiction should not be part of AA. Lets revise the big book and take every reference to drug use or drugs out of it. We can then call the big book, "The little book".
Look at today's reading. March 6th. God is mentioned by name fourteen times, eighteen times counting the capitol
pronouns. Many will say, so what? This is a God Program.
But Alcoholics Anonymous is not a God program. A belief in
God is a common side effect of the AA fellowship, not
the medicine. Bill W. was wise to reject this book.
How many times today will this page be read to alcoholics all around the world, along with "That One is
God, may you find Him NOW!? Even the Full Gospel churches
I have attended waited until the end of the service to
have the alter call. We proselytize at the opening of the AA meeting. We have the cart in front of the horse.
When a piece of literature is brought up for approval and it is turned down, (or voted in), do they have to give a "reason" for the approval or denial or just a vote??
That is a good question to ask of our General Service
Office. While you are writing, ask for a copy of the
membership numbers from 1935 to the present. Look at the
growth pattern for our first 55 years. A friend made a
line graph using the numbers which made it look even
more alarming.(to me). Please note that the first nine
numbers are every five years, after that every year. I
ask you to write for the list and examine it. ANONYMOUS
I was at an AA meeting in Northern Virginia about five years
ago and was told by a member of the group that they no longer allowed the 24 Hour book to be read at their meetings. I was livid! How dare they ban a book which had
helped me so much for 35 sober years! My first little black
book was given to me at my second AA meeting. The price on
the inside cover was $1.75. After a few years in the
fellowship I bought them by the box and sold them at cost
or gave them away. I had been told that they were not
"conference approved literature". I did not know what that meant, but I kept the books separate from the approved
literature, and paid for them out of my own money. The
elders allowed me to display them at meetings but they
had to be on a separate table away fron AA literature.
Nothing from the 24 hr book was ever read aloud at AA
meetings. Three decades later the book was read widely, from the podium in meetings I attended. We often used
the page of the day for topic discussion. I could see
nothing wrong in doing so.
When I found out that AA memberhsip was declining,
losing a half million members in the 1990's and little
or no growth in the years after, I became concerned.
The study of Bill W.'s six months of what he called
"violent exertion" became of interest. I studied Dr. Silkworth's advice to Bill just prior to Bill's trip to Akron in 1935. Bill wrote that without that advice AA
could never have been born. This was the "cart before the
horse IDEA" advice. An understanding of this advice is
vital to the future of AA. If AA could not have been born
without it, AA cannot survive without it. Many will say,
"that is old horse and buggy stuff". Most members will
refuse to even bother to investigate. That is the "stuff"
that enabled AA to be born.
Some alcoholics respond to the "That one is God, May
you find Him NOW! approach. They keep up the appearance
that AA is working just fine. My observation and opinion
today is that most suffering alcoholics are turned away
from AA by today's religious nature. ANONYMOUS
I like you Manny you say some good things. I like everyone on this board. I learn from everyone!
I did want to ask you though--do you know how many times God is mentioned in the big book!
A F.... Lot!! It is a God program, the good part is, (and this is what makes AA universal), it is a god of your own understanding!!
I don't care why the 24hr book was turned down, I just know it was! Therefore should not be used in an AA meeting unless
group conscience. Otherwise, people start bringing in Dear Abbey articles and everything else!
I was at an AA meeting one time and they gave the lead out of a paperback book! No one said a word! I was new at the time. Today I would speak up. I Am Responsible.
I see no reason why a snippet from any source can't be read, after all who knows where wisdom lies. I tend to read a lot and I often find myself relating to and finding bits of wisdom in some of the oddest places. One man's junk is another man's treasure. Who is to say that the newbies interest in Star wars or 24 won't help them, afterall AA doesn't hold a patent on these principles. Recovering alcoholics in all walks of life are sharing their stories and getting the message out to the masses of still suffering.
Recovering alcoholics in all walks of life are sharing
their stories and getting the message out to the masses
who are still suffering. There is one message: Alcoholics
Anonymous offers a way out of the suffering, for alcoholics
and for those who care for them. Our primary purpose is
to carry that message. How to best help the most is a
concern for most of us. I believe it is a single message,
and I believe we carry that message best by attraction
not promotion. ANONYMOUS
We have to have some kind of guidelines. People would start reading out of the Bible, Koran, Medical Journals, Poems, Whatever! Our basic text is the book Alcoholics Anonymous.
We need to stick to AA philosophy. There are other programs out there if a person wants to be able to do whatever!
All my life I have had this desperate need to have everyone to like me. I still have the need but it is no longer that
important. I have lost many AA friends in the social sense
in the past five years, due to my concern for the fellowship
of Alcoholics Anonymous. No one likes to have his/her
basic beliefs questioned. Today(much of the time), I speak
up. Today I am responsible. I don't have to repeat my
concerns here. I have and will remain ANONYMOUS. Two and
a half men is one of my favorite sitcoms, second only
to Seinfeld. Manny Q. and Rose are synonyms. You had to see
the episode. I try to be funny at times. But I am often
advised not to give up my day job. So I am back to being
I don't know you personally but one thing that is important is to like yourself, (I am talking about having good self esteem). If you have a belief, especially if you have studied it, researched it, talked it over with another and prayed about it then stick with it.
I too have been chastized because I am outspoken and opinionated about AA. AA saved my life and I don't like anyone F....... with it. My opinions are based in fact and I am a student of the BB and 12/12. I am certainly not always right but I try to know what I am talking about. You can hear a lot of BS in meetings but you will always find the truth about alcoholism in the book "Alcoholics Anonymous".
When I post here it is nothing personal I just try and understand a person's point of view. I was told "don't read between the lines in the BB because there is nothing written there". PS ( I like Seinfeld and 2 1/2 also), you are probably not old enough to remember some of the great sitcoms we had in the late 50's early 60's also.
I read these books for many years. I have studied the
steps and traditions in group settings. I honestly believe
that I understand the 12+12. In the past few years I have
taken a real interest in AACA and Lang, starting two Language of the Heart meetings a couple years ago. I just
recently was introduced to the 12 concepts. There are also
six warrenties. I have no idea what the warrenties are
all about. But I found the concepts extremely interesting.
The concepts seem to deal with our service structure.
As much as I loved AA when I came in, I have always
found things which bothered me. That is, after the first
three months of the wonderful "pink cloud". In that eurphoric state nothing bothered me. Being a non smoker,
I began to hate the cigarette and cigar smoke. Friends
tried the smoke eaters, and exhaust fan systems, but
relief was limited. Eventually I started a non-smoking
meeting where most members were smokers but they smoked
outside. The meeting lasted about ten years, until our
state ruled no smoking in public rooms. Smoking in the
rooms was a big issue for years, I suppose some states
still allow it. Hopefully meetings are available for
non smokers. But I wonder how many newcomers would be
offended if we order them to "PUT OUT THAT CIGARETTE".
Bill W. was a heavy smoker, and he sufferred in his
final years because of it.
What really is on my mind is this idea of conviction.
For years I questioned many of the changes I saw at the
group level. But I could seldom understand or justify
my concerns. I have always had trouble speaking, even
when I knew what I was talking about.
For example, I had this awful feeling about the
reading of How It Works at the beginning of meetings.
And it did start in my area in 1980. I made feeble attempts
to prevent it, but even with 10 years sober I just did
not understand the recovery method of our fellowship.
I eventually accepted this reading and would actually
stand up and read it loud and clear. I would emphatically
say THIS IS HOW IT WORKS!! I did not know that our
co-founder Bill W. had written in three talks to medical societies that even he could explain how AA works. Yet we
claim that we know how AA works. Bill wrote that we can
only disclose what we do and what seems to happen to us.
Bill called it a gadget or technique.
I understand today that How It Works is simply the
title of chapter five. To claim that we know how AA
works and that we have the ability to explain how it
works is simply not true.
I have heard that when someone is completely convinced
of something, it becomes easier. There is no doubt or
nagging questioning. I have also heard it called insanity.
I am convinced that these changes I have seen in AA
at the group level have severely harmed AA. By harm, I
mean that we are failing to help very many alcoholics in
AA today. We have the formula for the wholesale recovery
of men and women who are suffering and dying. We have
distorted this formula to the point where it is barely
effective at all. Sure, some do recover. Some alcoholics
will always recover, some on their own. We ought to have
an eight million head count in AA membership today.
Every AA member knows, or ought to know, that today we
claim two million members. We had almost two and a half
million members two decades ago. Something is seriously
wrong. I have two words I found somewhere: Dogma and distortion. ANONYMOUS
I am dismayed and choked when AA members state they don't know how AA works. Chapter 5 states in detail and very clearly how the AA recovery program works and the chapter is called "How it Works" for those who want to know and take the time to read and study it.
When we read "How it Works" at AA meetings we read the first 2 1/2 pages (58-60) of the 5th chapter which is in essence an abreviated summary of the whole chapter.
"Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path". The path is the 12 steps of recovery. Always has been and I pray will continue to be in the future.
The 12 steps are the most sucessful recovery program for alcoholics in the history of mankind. We have gone from a 75% sucessful recovery rate in the 1950's (read Forward to BB 2nd edition- P xx) to less than 5% of newcomers staying sober more than five years in the last 2 decades.
The reason for our lack of success is the general failure of groups, sponsors and individual members to give the newcomers the hope and direction of our solution in chapter 5... the 12 steps.
Come on folks. Lets keep our message simple as laid out in the BB, 12 and 12 and other AA literature.
I know the english language is tough but a good dictionary, sponsor and home group will guide newcomers through the literature (steps and traditions) and will, in my opinion, almost guarantee success in recovery.
Armed with the facts, most if not all of us, could explain to the still suffering alcoholic, "How AA works".
Why are some folks so heped up about How It Works being read aloud at meetings? Nothing in the BB is going to hurt the newcomer. If it does they aren't ready. If the word God or the 12 steps scares them off then AA isn't for them.
That is really reverent: Writing the name of God, after one
of the worst foul words in the obscene language.. Sure, God is mentioned in the Big Book many times. No I don't know how many times. I have never counted them. But I do care why the 24 hr book was turned down. I think we all need to know.
"Therefore should not be used in an AA meeting unless group
If the group conscience is going to decide, don't you
think it should have as much information as possible? It ought to know why the group conscience of Alcoholics
Anonymous rejected it, not once but twice.
Yes, I sat silent for many years, seeing changes
which I questioned. I had this feeling that they were
wrong, but now I know. I have done the research. Now
I do speak up, mostly here on I-SAY. The most difficult
part is trying to convince you, in a paragraph or two,
what took me 35 years to learn. I just do not want
to lose another generation of alcoholic sufferers.
Read again pages 197, 198, 199 and 200 in Language of the
Heart. Study them. Manny Q.
I don't get it Manny-are you pro or con the 24hr book. One post you say it says God too many times and the next post you are upset because you don't know why it was rejected.
Thanks for taking my inventory on the F.....
I guess you just assumed it was a cuss word. You may want
to check out the first page of the first tradition about judging the way other people talk. Anyway enough about that.
God is mentioned at least 138 times in the big book. That doesn't include Christ, Creator, Power greater than ourselves, Higher Power or all the capitilized pronouns. I think it is a God program but the good news is it is a god of your own understanding.
My psychologist asked me if I had trouble making decisions.
I replied, well, yes and no. #1. I love Hazelden's 24 hour book. But it should never be used in an AA meeting. #2 The first two and a half pages of chapter 5 contain perhaps one of the most important and most beautiful reading in our AA literature. But reading it aloud at AA meetings from the podium to all and sundry has been AA's worst mistake of the past three decades. Some may say, "we don't have a podium".
We are taking up a lot of time and space, but I believe this
is an important topic. I will try to explain this again. These are my conclusions ( for this hour)
The 24 hour book is a wonderful tool which has helped
millions of alcoholic in their spiritual progress. I have
always loved the book and I still do. I am sincerely
grateful to Richmond Walker for writing it. I have often wondered if he wrote the meditation or if it was done by
someone else. The tone seems to be a bit different, but
that is neither here nor there.
I do believe I know why the book has been rejected
by our General Service Conference, not once, but twice.
Bill W. refused it in 1954. In 1972, after Bill died,
many who had wanted it approved, tried again to get it
passed. Note: In 1972 I personally would have
strongly supported accepting this book as Conference
Approved Literature. I simply did not understand why
it had been rejected.
Today I understand why this book was not approved
as appropriate for Alcoholics Anonymous. It is too
religious, too demanding, loaded with themes of shame
and guilt. To have welcomed this book into AA
would have made AA look like a religion. In my opinion
the religious approach sends the still suffering
alcoholic for a stiff drink.
But the sad part is that AA members and AA groups
through much of the country have welcomed this book
into our AA rooms. AA has become a religion at the
group level. You probably already know that. I suspect
that most of the two million members in AA see nothing
wrong with that.
The religious approach to helping the suffering
alcoholic has been around for a long time, centuries
before the Washingtonions. It does work for some alcoholics.
But Dr William Silkworth developed a method, technique,
which almost always works. Treating Bill W. and working
with Bill after his recovery, Dr Silkworth developed this
IDEA. Bill wrote some years later that without this idea,
AA could never been born. It is the "cart before the horse
IDEA." I would tell you where it can be found but I am just
too tired to look it up. If you counted the number of
times God is mentioned in the Big Book, you will find it.
Sobriety for me was a gift from God. All I had to do
was ask. He was the only One that when I asked to help me,
He helped me. There only seemed to be one important
condition: That I try to help other alcoholics. Bill W.,
obeying the advice of Dr. Silkworth, discovered an approach
which seldom fails. Explain the allergy, obsession theory
describing what an alcoholic is, Share how I got sober and
share this exactly. Do not even imply that the prospect
has to accept anything, or do as I did. Leave that decision
entirely up to the new individual. Attraction, not promotion
is still the key. Make sure he/she knows how to reach AA
and exit. And thank God for my own sobriety given to me
as a gift by His Grace.
I do hope that I-Say will post this explanation. It
is the best I can do today. I am sober today through the
Grace of God and Alcoholics Anonymous. I hope to die sober,
just not today. I am concerned about my children and their
children of future generations. This disease is not going
away. We have an epidemic of alcoholism and drug addiction
in the world today. If we stay with our primary purpose,
alcoholics helping alcoholics, drug addicts helping other
drug addicts, great numbers can be saved from suffering
Most AA members including our leaders, cosider AA
to be "alive and well". I see AA as near death, on life
support. We could "spin our wheels" for several more
decades, helping and holding enough suffering alcoholics
to keep "two million strong". We are only helping ourselves
and very few others. We have the ability and knowledge for
the wholesale recovery of alcoholic sufferers. Almost all
of our mistakes over the past three decades have been
posted on I-SAY. ANONYMOUS
Thanks for the nice explanation. I know there were many factors involved in the birth of AA. Before Dr. Silkworth, Rowland H went to Europe for the purpose of seeking sobriety. He visited Dr. Carl Jung a former student of Sigmund Freud. Jung believed in God and Freud didn't a big reason for their split. Rowland was told that the only thing that could get an alcoholic of his type sober was a spritual "makeover". It worked for him and he carried it to the US to the Oxford members in particular to Ebby who took the idea to bill. The spirtual angle came before the physical angle. Probably Dr. Silkworth's greatest contribution was telling Bill W to quit preaching and give the drunks the physical aspect first.
If you had fifty people in a room and told them to think about God you would most likely get fifty different thoughts, ideas, conceptions or visions, whatever word you like, about what God is. This is spiritual not religious. When a person says "religious", what do they mean? Probably something from their past or upbringing. I believe you are your family of origin.
If you say the program has become religious what do you mean?
The chanting? I hate it. People sharing about their God without qualifying that it is the god of their own understanding or what? I wish people would quailify this.
Are the meetings in foreign countries religious?
I just wish people with good sobriety under their belts, (those who study the BB, follow the steps and traditions, work with others), would get to more meetings and not be afraid of a little controversy and speak up!
We have a morning group, where the chanting has almost
been eliminated. I am so grateful to be able to go to a meeting and make this statement: My name is Joe and I
am an alcoholic, without the group chanting, shouting,
yelling HI Joe! My name is Joe and I am an alcoholic,
is the first half of Step one and the beginning of step
five. It was never meant to be a greeting or salutation.
You may be referring to all the other chants and not
the Hi Joe! chant, but that is where it all started. It
came from the cults and from the Bob Newhart show, I
I wish Bill had written "public controversy" in the
preamble instead of just "controversy". We need to stand
up and speak out at times. But it wasn't Bill who wrote
the preamble. It appeared in the AA Grapevine around 1946, if I am not mistaken.
I regret not making more of an effort to prevent the
reading of "How it Works" aloud at meetings. I had this
ominous feeling that it was a serious mistake, right from the start around 1980. But I had no evidence of my
opinion. I honestly did not understand my own negative
feeling. But I have done the research and I am satisfied
and convinved that I am correct.
Bill W was a complete failure during his first six
months of sobriety. He was unsuccessful with alcoholics
he tried to help. And he worked with lots of them. In a nutshell, Bill was using the "How it Works" and the 24 hr book approach. It was Dr. Silkworth's advice which Bill
said "straightened him out". Bill's fear of drinking again
drove him to seek out Dr. Bob.
Sure, Ebby got sober in the Oxford Groups. But something
was missing. Ebby did not attain permanent sobriety. I
don't know if Roland H. remained sober. I think he did.
That missing link I believe had to do with the suffering
alcoholics need for each other. We come together as
absolutely complete equals. (in theory).
Did you know that religious and spiritual share the
same meaning? I believe that AA is deeply religious, but
we are not a religion (in theory).
I keep trying to come up with an explanation of what
works and what doesn't work when trying to help another
sufferer. I understand that to be effective, we need to
share our experience, strength and hope, not TEACH our
experience,strength and hope. The newcomer learns from the group, not from the individual. Individual reduction of
the EGO and humility are involved here.
I do believe that I should share exactly how I got sober
and that if God was involved, I ought to share that. The
problem arrives when I try to push my beliefs on anyone
else. I should not, in any way, imply that anyone else
should do it the way which worked for me. I should not say
piously, "If you want what I have, then you have to do what I did." Let the newcomer come to that decision all by
himself/himself. attraction not promotion.
In the final analysis I think what Dr Silkworth told
Bill was to stop preaching to the alcoholics, you are
pushing them away with all that religious, spiritual
stuff. He told Bill to quit preaching and give the drunks the physical aspect and to just share his own personal experience ONLY. Most of this message I guess is paraphrasing. Much of it is just my own feelings, beliefs
Try to understand that I do believe the membership
numbers provided by our GSO. We have 20% less members than we had two decades ago. Our fellowship grew continuously
for the first 57 years, and if we are really effective at
helping others, our numbers would always increase.
The tragedy is that these are suffering alcoholics
(human beings) we could be saving. Eventually AA will
have to change or die. By change, all we have to do is
to go back to the AA of the seventies decade, minus
the ash trays. ANONYMOUS
I have not looked the meanings up in a modern dictionary and don't care to as they probably do have the same meaning today. Like many words that have been destroyed. People don't seem to speak the English lanquage anymore!
A religion is something that is man made. I believe there are only so many "religions" recognized. The rest are considered sects. Spirtuality, to me, denotes a one on one or a personal relationship with my HP.
Again, like the word god it probably has as many meanings as there are people!
After your coment and suggestion to read pages 197-200, I fished the language of the heart out of the book shelf. Thank you!
after reading those pages, i also read tradition four from the same book. on page 81 is says "Nor could it assume to represent the whole of alcoholics anonymous by printing and distributing anything purporting to be AA literature.
This is very interesting to me, since the 24 hour day book begins each day with AA thought for the day!
Thank you for posting your comment.
Bill W. made many mistakes. And would have made many others if he had not been willing to listen to his friends.
Rejecting the 24hr book was one of his, and his friends best, most thought out decisions. This book is just not
true AA material. But the AA membership of today would
overwhelmingly vote for approval of this book for use
in AA meetings. This tide of approval shows how far off
track we are in AA today. The tide must be turned.
This per "Barefoot Bill":
"The second most popular A.A. author in total book sales, second only to Bill W. himself, was Richmond Walker. He was a man from the Boston area who managed to get sober in 1939 in the old Oxford Group. There was no AA group in Boston yet at that time. He stayed sober in the Oxford Group for two and a half years, before going back to drinking in 1941. After a year and a half of drinking, he joined the newly founded Boston AA group in May 1942, and finally found lasting sobriety there, never to drink again for the rest of his life. Rich died on Mar. 25, 1965 (72 years old) with 22 years of sobriety in AA.
He originally wrote this material on small cards which he carried in his pocket, to aid him in his own sobriety. In 1948, he put it together in the little meditation book called "Twenty-Four Hours a Day, " at the request of the AA group in Daytona Beach, Florida, which they printed on the printing press at the county courthouse and began distributing all over the country under the sponsorship of their A.A. group. For many years it was the basic meditation book for all A.A.'s.
The book sold over 80,000 copies during the first ten years alone, which means that over 10,000 copies a year were eventually having to be packaged and shipped out year after year, just to keep up with the demand. It did not take long for Rich to become totally overwhelmed by the task. In 1953, he asked the New York A.A. office if they would take over this job, but his request was turned down.
In their defense, New York was desperately short on money, staff, and space; they also already had their hands full with the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, which came out in April of that same year. They only just barely managed to cobble together a financial deal to get that vital book published.
Hazelden offered to publish and distribute the book in 1954. It is still widely used by A.A. members and groups today, with over eight million copies sold.
The little book became the second most popular book in AA history (exceeded only by the Big Book). It explained how to carry out the eleventh step, how to practice the presence of God, and how to attain soul-balance and inner calm. It explained how to practice meditation by quieting the mind and entering the Divine Silence in order to enter the divine peace and calm and restore our souls.
At the top of each page Rich lays out basic meat-and-potatoes information about how we used to behave when we were drinking, how we need to change our lives, and what we need to do in order to keep the A.A. fellowship together.
Then at the bottom of each page he tells us how to pray and meditate. This part of the book forms one of the ten greatest practical works on learning to live the spiritual life that have ever been written, in any century, including both the western world and the world of Asian religions. The eleventh step says "Sought through prayer and meditation (a) to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for (b) knowledge of His will for us and (c) the power to carry that out." Rich's little black book tells us how to actually do that.
His experience in the Oxford Group in 1939-1941 comes out strongly in "Twenty-Four Hours a Day," coming partly from Rich's own experience in the group, and coming partly from his use of an Oxford Group work on prayer and meditation, "God Calling," by Two Listeners. For those who would like to bring modern AA back closer to Oxford Group beliefs and practices, "Twenty-Four Hours a Day" is the most strongly Oxford-Group-oriented work written by an early AA author."
A little research will show that the reason AA turned down Richmond Walker's book was its heavy religious content.
Yes, it is a good book, and yes, it has and still does help a great number of AAs in their daily life. And yes, I did use it for many years, even though I was uncomfortable with it's Christian overtones.
GSO does not try to control what any individual member reads. It does, however, strongly suggest that groups not use outside material, in keeping with our Traditions.
By the way, I don't know how many times the word "God" is mentioned in the Big Book, but according to a Big Book concordance it is mentioned on fifty-nine out of the one hundred sixty-four pages which constitute the basic text.
should be "Barefoot Bob" not "Barefoot Bill."
When I came into AA, it seemed that every other new member
was Bob or Bill. The information about the 24 Hr bood is
easily available for anyone who is computer savy. I often
wondered if Hazelden paid Richmond Walker for the publishing
rights for book, which was already a good seller.
Richmond Walker seems to have been a very spiritual and
dedicated sober alcoholic, but the book rights must have
been worth a lot of money. It was already selling by the
thousands. I sincerely believe that Bill W. and his
friends refused the offer of the 24 hour book because of
its religious content. Bill knew from his own experience
that most alcoholics just do not respond well to the
religious approach. Bill did not want to see AA evolve into
a religion, as he explained in AACA page 232 in 1957 and
in Lang. page 345 in 1963. But as most of us know, that
has happened despite Bill's warning. I believe the 24 hr.
book contributed greatly to that slow drawn-out evolution.
We have become a religion, a strange cult-like religion.
Accepting the 24 hr book into AA tradition by AA members
and groups has proven to be a tragic mistake. The only
real evidence is in the membership numbers. Otherwise this
is just my opinion. ANONYMOUS
Bill's last book was to be a replacement for the 24 hr book.
It was to be a daily reader, titled: The AA Way of life. I believe Bill was tired and it was never finished. He ended
it after about 330 messages and each day was not dated. It
did not sell very well and the title was changed to As
Bill Sees It, just before Bill died. Anyone with any interest, please write to Rick W. at GSO. I believe
this book could be completed by dating the pages and
adding enough messages to make 366 days. But this is
just another of my minority opinions. Some posters call
it B/S. Anonymous
No need to finish ABSI it is a great book as is, plus we now have the new AA meditation book. I read ABSI, the 24hr and the new AA book every morning during my prayer and meditation. I can get something from each. The 24hr is a great book but it is slanted. Where do you draw the line with approving these books! What about Stool and Bottles, The Holey Bible, (this one outsold 24hrs.!) etc., etc., etc., I don't think you can just start approving these books willy nilly. There is a long process to go through and who is to ultimately decide? The next wave of Alky's may have a whole new opinion and change everything again!
I know old timers who call the 12/12 BS!
You can use anything you want in your program but let's keep AA meetings AA!
The waves of alkies who came into AA in the 1980's were
responsible for our DAILY REFLECTIONS book. Upon close
examination, this book is a slighly watered down version of
the 24 hr book. And it is Conference approved. To me it
appears to be a Conference Approved copy of the 24 hr.
book. By 1990 the AA as a religion had already made an
appearance. I will go way out on a limb and state that in
my opinion, Bill W. and his friends would have had trouble
approving the Daily Reflections. ANONYMOUS
I have heard that As Bill Sees It is under consideration
for a revision to include the 12 concepts. I would love to see it extended to 366 readings, with the traditions and
concepts woven into the readings. Maybe the origional title
could be returned: The AA Way of Life, with the nice
grey color. It will be a best seller.(all my opinion).
Do you have a position in your community where you
are in contact with all of the newcomers coming into AA.
ALL AA meetings should be appropriate to all newcomers.
No suffering alcoholic anywhere should be excluded. Rose
Is there any value or purpose for the conference approval process. Certain literature is approved as
appropriate for Alcoholics Anonymous. Many have
the belief that no book or literature is non-approved.
This just does not make sense to me. I see material as
appropriate or non-appropriate. If it is approved by
our conference it is deemed appropriate. If our conference
rejects an item it ought to be considered inappropriate.
The mistaken belief that "Each group can do as it pleases"
invalidates the conference process.
The 24 hour book was rejected in 1954 by Bill W.
and his friends. On page 57 of ADVISORY ACTIONS OF THE
GENERAL SERVICE CONFERENCE OF ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS
1951-2009 is written: 1954 It was recommended that: The
publication rights of Twenty-Four Hours a Day not be accepted. (Floor Action). In the same book on page 61
in 1972 It was recommended that: The Twenty-Four Hour
Book not be confirmed as Conference-approved literature.
The book has been rejected twice by our pioneers, and
yet we have brought it to the podium of AA.
Personally I love this little black book. I have
carried it in my back pocket for over four decades.
I was critical of Bill W. for not accepting it. It certainly would have been a money maker for AA. I
thought Bill didn't want it because it was not his
own work. Let this be my public apology to Bill W. Today
I understand clearly why this book was deemed inappropriate
for Alcoholics Anonymous. The reason, and this will shock
many AA members. IT SIMPLY HAS TOO MUCH GOD IN IT. How can
that be! Isn't God the core of AA. That would be like having a girl too pretty or a car too fast. To understand
this, a true understanding of Dr. Silkworth's "cart before
the horse IDEA is essential.
The first printing of the 12+12 was in April 1953. I
do not believe this had anything to do with Bill's rejection
of the 24 hr book in 1954. Although the 24 hr book was and
still is used widely by individual members, it has in fact
been wisely rejected as proper for Alcoholics Anonymous.
With the direction of AA as a religion, todays General
Service Conference would probably accept the 24 hr book
as approved literature. If not today, it will happen in
the near future. Add that to our list of blunders.
Personally, I am not a fan of "24-hour a day," for I find it to be too preachy, too western protestant theology based. However, I do take issue with the suggestion here and elsewhere that "AA conference approved" designation has anything to do with whether literature is or is not "approved for use at meetings." The General Service Conference does not, and it would be antithetical to the traditions for it to, screen literature for its doctrinal inerrancy. Rather, "conference approved" merely designates those few books AA has chosen to publish. My personal feelings about the 24 hours a day book apply as well to portions of the Big Book, the 12 & 12, As Bill Sees It, etc. The reason AA chose in the early 50's not to publish that book has nothing to do with its content. I have read books directed towards other 12-step groups at meetings I chaired that were well-received, particularly when those present were focused on the message rather than the messenger, the moon rather than the finger pointing to the moon. Admittedly, I did not pick readings from a book for Overeaters Anonymous that discussed their specific challenges, rather I chose readings dealing with the same struggles we all have living life on life's terms. MHO.