When I took inventory of my own shortcomings, those (real or imagined) of others became insignicant.
Last night my sponsor and I were talking before the meeting about problems that come up for people like me who have been in the program a long time. Al shared his view of what Bill W. meant by use of the word "recovered," appearing 13 times in the Big Book. This has troubled me from time to time for I consider myself anything but recovered from alcoholism. I'm better (often, a lot better), but not cured.
In summary, Al said that time and effort in the program brings us closer to so-called "Normies," those folks who don't have a compulsion to drink alcohol to solve their problems. Alcoholics have the same day-to-day difficulties as Normies and have learned to deal with the consequences of not drinking. Al and I agree it is with that meaning in mind that Bill writes ..., we have recovered from a hopeless condition of mind and body."
Early in my recovery process, I resented the second step phrase "could restore us to sanity" because at that time I was still afraid I was forever crazy. In truth, my religion did not get me sober, I was profoundly confused, and God gave me the gift of desperation. Other alcoholics helped me understand my crazy behavior by sharing their own stories. During my drinking career, my deeds failed completely to demonstrate what the 12x12 calls "soundness of mind."
This morning, I am grateful I did not drink yesterday and that years ago, I was given the gift of desperation.
AA has changed my life so much so, that I have been restored to sanity and I function normally in society. I am a normal person who happens to be an alcoholic. Sometimes, I think I'm more normal than the normies which is weird or ego. I love my normal life today thanks to AA. I have no debt, wonderful kids in school, friends, nice neighbors, I vote and volunteer not only in AA but, with organizations that help individuals with disabilities. My wife loves me because I show up in life and act responsible. The thought that Alcoholics can never be normal is erroneous unless it only applies to socially drinking which I can never do. I will always be grateful for the hand of AA that was there for me when I was sick. I try and remember I was never abnormal but, a sick person with the disease of alcoholism.
A lot of us trying to recover have been confused by the instructions for an inventory in the big book. Fortunately Bill provided a completely different approach in "Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions". I used it and saw a pattern of behaviors throughout my life that didn't work. Of course I had guilt from a number of dark secrets that the fourth and fifth hit like sunshine on a vampire but the larger benefit was acceptance of a much better set of life skills.
When I was eleven years old I was given twelve tools to face any problem in life"
Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, Reverent. (The Boy Scout Law)
When I employ these, good things follow. People like me; they pick me for their team, they hire me, they loan me money at the bank, they say yes when I ask them for a date, they will loan me a lawnmower, they will vote for me if that’s what I want.
My alcoholism blocked me from using them. Dr Tebot, Bill's psychiatrist, had worked with thousands of alcoholics and found three traits we shared -self-centered, impatient and a low tolerance for frustration. The twelve items of the Boy Scout Law, the Ten Commandments, or avoiding the seven deadly sins all require an investment to achieve results. Exactly what many of us are incapable of. All that enters our minds is "I want it, I want it right now, and all hell is going to break loose if I don't get it." Steps three through nine overcame my "instincts run riot" that blocked my use of much better life skills, as it has done for those AA pioneers and the rest that came before me.
12x12 page 17: “the book Alcoholics Anonymous became the basic text of the fellowship and still is. This present volume proposes to broaden and deepen the understanding of the 12 steps as first written in the earlier work.
With the publication of the book “Alcoholics Anonymous” in 1939, the pioneering period ended and a prodigious chain reaction set in as the recovered alcoholics carried their message to still others (again, 12x12 page 17).
As the fourth page of the 4th edition of the big book says, the 12x12 is an interpretive commentary on the AA program by a cofounder(not anyone else). I believe the 12x12 is basically 24 essays written by Bill W about Bills comments on the steps, not how to take them. I think that’s why he wrote on page 17 of the 12x12 that the big book is still the fellowships basic text.
The directions for the 4th step in the big book are short and simple. It’s 8 pages long. Simply read it and do as it says, for example, the second full paragraph on page 64 says “first”(simply do what it says to do 1st). Then at the bottom of page 64 it says “we listed people, institutions, or principles with whom we were angry(that’s the column on page 65 that reads I’m resentful at). A list runs from top to bottom. Make the list! Then it says “we asked ourselves why we were angry”(that’s the “cause list on page 65”, do that next). Make that list next to the I’m resentful at list. And so on.
The self-esteem, security, ambitions, personal and sex relations, fear and pride column (3rd column or “affects my” column on page 65) is exactly what Bill elaborated on the 12x12 with his example of the basic instincts of life.
Now to me the most important column is the 4th column, the what’s my part column. They gave us a list of what may part is. Second paragraph on page 67, either we’ve been selfish, dishonest, self-seeking, or frightened. These are the shortcomings or defects described in steps 6 and 7, and what to continue to look for in steps 10 and 11 on big book pages 84-88. Look for yourself.
It’s very difficult to ask yourself all those questions from the 12x12 on a daily basis. It’s real simple to look for resentments, selfpity, selfish, dishonesty, and fear.
Then the big book continues to look at fear and sex. Resentment is the number 1 offender, fear is second and sex is third. So that’s what the big book focused on.
Anyway, to each his own. We are all free to work or not work the steps as we like. Let alcohol and alcoholism (dry drunk) determine whether we are working the program well enough. This is why I love the what’s on your mind forum, it helps open my mind to what others are doing or not doing in AA around the world.
Good luck and may God bless you,
After a dozen years of experience working with alcoholics, Bill wrote in the 12 & 12 exactly how to do the fourth step. Half measures avail us nothing, and no one else needs to see it, so why not do the inventory thoroughly and
completely. There are about thirty questions Bill writes
to ask of ourselves. Some of them did not pertain to me,
but many I had to claim for my own.
The questions are in the 12 & 12 around page 50. Bill
writes: How do I take an inventory of myself; how do I
go about this. He makes it clear and easy to understand.
Yeah, impatient, self centered, with a low tolerance
for frustration. I want what I want when I want I want it.
And if I don't get it, I'll show you. I will get drunk
and again the world will revolve around me.
And with all the natural instincts gone astray, it is
no wonder our lives were/are a mess. ANONYMOUS
This is from another site:
I believe the following quote is from a 1952 letter from Bill Wilson to Fr. Ed Dowling:
"A few people think that the Traditions aren't covered with enough dignity -- that posterity may not like them for that reason. However, we feel that we are writing for the information of alcoholics who ordinarily have no time to read anything much except as it concerns their own survival. Our idea is to publish the Twelve Steps and these Twelve Traditions in a small book to appear, I hope, by next fall. If we are able to do a fair job on the Steps, that will be helpful and, published along with the Traditions, they may act as a bait for reading the latter. However, we'll see."
Anonymous, who posted "re 4th step confusion? come on man!" has it right. I've noticed over the years that those who use the 12&12 to do the steps manage to find all the loopholes Bill included in it.
I had spent half a lifetime working my way down the food chain, crashing cars, honing my character defects and winning vomiting contests. Somehow that didn’t turn out to be an effective apprenticeship to develop a keen awareness of God’s will for me and knowledge of how to carry that out. Fortunately for me, Alcoholics Anonymous spelled it out for me. “Next we launched out on a course of vigorous action, the first step of which is a personal housecleaning… (Step 4).
Almost every member of AA I’ve had any experience with misses the idea that Step Three says “made a decision…” Three birds are setting on a branch and one decides to fly south. How many are left? Three. Nothing was said of his flying, just making a decision. He may still be setting there frozen solid when spring comes.
So, what is God’s will for me? Not drinking? Spend all of my waking hours visiting jails and institutions carrying AA’s message? Raise a million dollars for the poor? Running for political office to get God’s will made into the law of the land? Wage a holy war against the infidels, or gays or gay-haters? Throughout the ages people have ABSOLUTELY KNOWN that one of these (or the opposite of these) or just about anything that pops into their head is God’s will. According to the last sentence on page 63 of our instruction book, God’s will is for me to do step four followed by five through twelve.
Twelve. Now we are getting somewhere. “practice these principals… carry the message...” Now there’s a glimpse of Gods will. Not so fast. “Having had a spiritual awakening…” Has this happened? Have I checked this box, fulfilled this requirement before setting out practicing and carrying? Once again our instruction book comes through.
“These occurrences are phenomena. They ap¬pear to be in the nature of huge emotional displace¬ments and rearrangements. Ideas, emotions, and attitudes which were once the guiding forces of the lives of these men are suddenly cast to one side, and a completely new set of conceptions and motives begin dominate them.”
Like many AA’s, I didn’t get this for a long time. I was too smart. I didn’t pay any attention to the simple instructions. I lived in an “I want to do this, but I SHOULD do THE RIGHT THING” world. A perfect formula for anger, frustration, rage, depression and I earned them all. Slowly, repeated use of the twelve steps has given me a start on this spiritual awakening, this vital spiritual experience. My wants have been changed. My attitude has been changed. My emotions have been changed.
God’s will? I believe it can be seen if I simply observe what has worked for others and for me. Treat others as I would like to be treated as I experience and enjoy all that life has to offer.
my name is Samuel and I am an alcoholic. I decided to take the stairs on my way out of the building today. When I got to the last few stairs of the last staircase on the first floor, I fell down. I twisted my ankle but got back up and walked to the store. God showed me I have a pattern of doing this when I get scared. When I get scared, it feels like there is a strong wind trying to blow me over and make me fall down. I have felt this way before, but until today I had never fallen down. I have written a fear inventory in the past. I rely on God but that doesn't get rid of my fear. I read in our literature that freedom from fear is more important than freedom from want. Now I believe it is true. I feel that those that have gone before me have achieved freedom from fear. I would like to achieve freedom from fear. God's will be done. Thank you for letting me share. your friend in recovery, Sam, alcoholic
DONT JAIL ME DRINK. SEAL NAVY
A.A. D.A.V. SARASOTA, FL
a bar is a jail. a bar is a courthouse. a law exam is bar. axem
"...as a result of these steps." Bill W. had a spiritual awakening before he even started AA. I think a newcomer should not worry too much about when the spiritual awakening will happen. I had a spiritual awakening before I even knew what a step was. I believe most people have had one already but, they just don't know it yet. The majority of people will have the educational variety. Not all spiritual awakenings come with ecstatic feelings of bliss, bells or lightning bolts. Mine was similar to Bill’s and not the norm. I don't feel it was better than anyone else's or I had sacred powers because of it. The idea of spiritual awakenings has been around since humans developed an ego and needed to escape from it, and because of this need all the gods on earth appeared in the heavens.
My spiritual awakening was not like Bill's grandiose Cecil B. DeMille style or yours but, just a simply awareness I was addicted to a drug and it was possible I could live my life without alcohol and in my case without conforming to God theology. I was nervous at first because I heard negative things about AA. Things like its a Christian brainwashing bait and switch program. How wrong I was. My home group was full of non-believers and believers and no one seemed to care what one's higher power was or was not. When I was told I didn't have to believe in God I was so relieved and that's the moment my recovery started. That's the wonderful thing about AA. I would say the majority of meetings I attend are cool and open-minded. Sure, every group has their know-it-alls and control freaks but, people tolerate them too because they realize and can see the hurt and suffering in those people who need to be like that. Thanks for the post
I've always heard spiritual awakenings come in many shapes and sizes. They mean different things to different people. People usually describe their awakenings using the language that logically follows their belief systems. A spiritual awakening by a Christian might be explained by having a "Divine love through Jesus experience" A Buddhist in AA might say that a spiritual experience will occur by "Changing thoughts and negative beliefs which will lead one to see the peace, love, harmony and balance in all living things." Atheists and agnostics can have spiritual awakenings too. There is no pecking orders in spiritual awakenings. Whether a person has a program "By the Book" or a program that "Beats to their own drum" Spiritual awakenings will touch everyone's lives equally and eventually if they have a desire to stop drinking. That's why we should respect all members in AA. Maturity in AA is a good thing. Having a sense of sober superiority because one things they are doing it the "right way" is not helpful but, immature and this attitude hurts AA as a whole.
Thanks for your sincere post. I always gravitated to the members in the rooms who demonstrated the principals through their actions. I couldn't careless what they believed in. I like the diversity in my home group. I was especially grateful for the atheists and non-Christian members because being raised in the Christ church my mind was sure it had all the truths the world would ever hold. I was wrong of course. Although listening to other points of view challenged my beliefs, they strengthened them at the same time. Thanks for you post!
so is "your " way the right way? LOL!
so is "your " way the right way? LOL!
I have been lurking here for a couple of months and have a question. It sounds like about half of the people say to work the steps. The other half says you don't have to but to do what works for them. The freedom sure looks good but what do you do? I'm serious what do you no step guys do? That - just don't drink - doesn't work or why would anybody bother with rehab or AA?
You asked what no-step guys do. There are many things we do, such as, welcoming the new person, joining a group, making coffee, chairing a meeting, volunteering at central office, applying the principals in our lives and taking care of our health. I love the slogans and firmly believe that no matter what happens to me during the day drinking will never solve anything but only drive me to my ruin. Paraphrasing January 6, "The most important decision I have made was my decision to stop drinking. Can I forget this for one minute?" I had to change myself, people, places and things and start a new path. I had to teach myself how to think positive and to follow goodness. I personally, took up bike riding and I lost 55 pounds. I stay away from junk food and excess sugar and avoid negative people. Thanks and just because someone does not choose the steps, doesn't mean they are doing nothing
I just stopped drinking, I was dry! I trained in a gtm alsmost daily. Endorfins pored into my blood stream I felt great. I did not drink, I went to AA, and trained in the gym. I felt fine, so why should I do the steps?
Then I stopped training and I felt flat and down, and the exercise I gave my mind was jumping to conclusions about the faults of others.
I did the Joe and Charlie Big Book Study and got into action on the 12 steps. I am fine now. Page 64 of the BB says "when the spiritual malady is overvome, the mental and physical come right!!" Now I have the promises in my life. I was just desert dry for 22 years, Then I practised the 12 steps as the BB suggestes and I am fine niw, thank God.
IMHO the key is willingness, as long as you are willing to keep an open mind about doing the work at some point and you keep an open mind about what you hear at meetings and of course you stay honest about where that first drink may take you..you are on a good path...If someone is saying they don't need the steps, that is one thing...if they are telling you that you don't need them....I personally would put a little distance between them and look for better support ....remember anybody can find a seat at AA
I quit going to meetings for about 6 years, didn't drink while I was away but I was not a very happy or positive person. There was no emotional or spiritual growth. I went back to meetings got a new sponsor and have been working the steps. I feel much better now, the steps are a blueprint for a much better way of life.
As a friend puts it succinctly, he doesn't drink, goes to meetings regularly and listens, and over time his life has gotten better, in part because he hears some things that apply to him that he can put to use in his own life to make it better. Without any formal steps. He is one of the more serene people I know, a big change from the hopeless drunk he was when he landed in AA 20+ years ago. The 12 steps were fleshed out by Bill W. from the 6 principles followed by the Oxford group (see his Grapevine article, "12 Steps in 30 Minutes," how a publication deadline "divinely inspired" his efforts to spell those principles out more clearly), but those 6 principles can be found in the writings of most if not all of the major religions, the only difference being the means by which we effect those suggested changes in our life.
I attend a detox meeting and a jail meeting weekly. over the last 20 years I have met many in detox or jail that were on the don't drink and go to meetings plan. the insanity of aclohol returned and they drank. I have yet to meet a member of AA in detox or jail that was practicing the 12 steps of AA as a way of life.
It's none of my business what individual members of AA do to stay sober. I'm just posting my 20 years of experience.
Great question! I truly don't know what some individuals do for sobriety. From what I have experienced over the years, an alcoholic of my type seems to try every method besides working the steps to solve their drink problem. After I failed repeatedly, alcohol beat me into a state of willingness. With that willingness I admitted compete defeat (step 1). Came to believe that God could solve my problem (step 2). Decided to let him (step 3). Took an honest inventory of my resentments, fears, and sex (step 4). Admitted what I found to God and another human being (step 5). Became willing to have God remove the defects I found in my inventory (step 6). Asked God to remove them (step 7). Looked at my inventory and became willing to make amends for my past wrongs (step 8). Began making those amends wherever I could, unless it would injure someone else (step 9). As I made my amends I continued practicing a daily inventory and practicing daily prayer and meditation (step 10 and 11, big book pages 84-88). Finally after having a spiritual awakening as a result of the first 11 steps, I started carrying the message of how I practice the AA program of recovery to other alcoholics who want it and applying the steps in my daily life.
Simple but not easy. It’s a formula that works for all alcoholics who are willing and honest enough to try. If you are truly an alcoholic and have found a happy sobriety by some other way, by all means continue what you are doing. If you are an alcoholic who as yet has not found a happy sobriety, try AA’s program of action (12 steps). The directions for our suggested program are found in the first 164 pages of our book, “Alcoholics Anonymous. The choice of working AA’s steps are up to each member of AA. As it was put by our cofounder, there are only two authorities in AA. God who is waiting for you to do his will and Alcohol who will kill you if you don’t.
Good luck to you and God bless you,
Hi you said, "an alcoholic of my type" What exactly is your type? How many types are there? I thought the definition of alcoholism was quite clear. Are there different types of alcoholics? Are we talking about alcohol abuse or alcohol dependence? A person who is a Binge drinker or Blackout drinker are not types to me. I know there are different economic, mental, emotional, intellectual social types attached to an alcoholic but, I didn't know alcoholics are rated on a type scale. I thought if you cross the invisible line you cross it. It doesn't say how far one crosses it dictates a type which places the person who crosses it in position above or below others. We are all equals in AA is what I have come to understand. Ego likes types.
You also mentioned, "As it was put by our cofounder, there are only two authorities in AA. God who is waiting for you to do his will and Alcohol who will kill you if you don’t." That of course was Bill's opinion. This opinion is not necessary based on fact, because we know its not true today. Members live fruitful, loving and meaningful lives without God's help while at the same time are positive members in home groups around the country. I'm one of them. Been in my home group happily sober for over 30 years. Thanks
doing it wrong for thirty years doesn't make it right. i should know, i did it wrong for 15 years.
Yes there are types of alcoholics. google 5 types of alcoholics.
Hi, I read the article you looked at on WebMD. I agree with the person who mentioned there is only one type of alcoholic. The "Invisible Line" analogy is very common in AA. There are stages of alcoholism sure but, types no. To me, what the article was talking about was subtypes of a alcoholic which are different. It doesn't matter what subtype one is; one is still alcoholic. Should we have 5 different AA programs for each subtype? I like the one program for alcoholics who may be at different stages of the disease. If you really want to be technical, no one really knows much about alcoholism for sure. Science is still researching the issue and learning more. Some people believe there is no such thing as alcoholism but, people prone to addiction have a mental illness or brain disorder and one day medication will cure the brain disorder and allow people to drink again. I won't be standing in line at the drug store for that pill anytime soon. Looking for the differences between people instead of the commonalities is not a winning strategy for peace of mind. Do we only offer the hand of AA to the subtype that matches our subtype?
Types/subtypes, sounds like semantics to me. If we are in AA and talking about alcoholics as AA sees it, there is definitely types of alcoholics. Here is a list types of alcoholics from AA’s textbook “Alcoholics Anonymous”.
Page xxv describes the type of alcoholic that is hopeless. Page xxv also talks of types with whom other methods had failed completely. Page xxix talks of the type that does not respond to the ordinary psychological approach. Big book page xxx lists 5 types of alcoholics. The author of that chapter was a neurologist and had worked with over 40,000 alcoholics, I trust his opinion. Page 34 describes a stage or type of alcoholic that can recover on a nonspiritual basis. Page 44 talks about the atheist and agnostic types. Page 30 talks about alcoholics of our type are in the grip of a progressive illness. 97 is the type that is able and willing to get well. Page 108 describes the type of alcoholic a wife had better leave.
These are the types I found in 5 minutes that actually say “types”. You can believe whatever you want. I have faith in God, AA, and AA conference approved literature.
You shared, "I have faith in God, AA, and AA conference approved literature." Does this statement serve AA or your ego? It is important to have humility in recovery. We should not feel a sense of superiority over others or a hold a belief that we are more sober than others because of the way we get sober. We are all equals in AA. "By the book" members relapse too especially when misfortune touches them. Talk is cheap, the real stuff is in our actions.
i heard this said once and i believe it to be true, "humility is something you have right up to the moment you think you have it. I'm sorry that my faith in God, AA, and AA liturature disturbs you, get over yourself and move on.
You learn something new every day!
The BB states the program is meant to be suggestive only. In my limited time (13 years) it appears to me those who follow the suggestions are happy, joyous and free from the bondage of self. So I try to follow the suggestions and live the program daily. I live today with out regret of something I did yesterday, most of the time.
Find a person that lives the program and you will find a person that will be honest with you.
Hang in there, it really does get a lot better everyday.
I came to the rooms of ‘Alcoholics Anonymous’ and unfortunately for me, an atheist, found it to be ‘God Unanimous’!!! I understand the program of AA is spiritually based, but I did not realize the spirituality of AA’ers is for the most part based on a strong belief in God or some Higher Power. Oh well, so much for my ‘peace of mind’ in my meetings. I do have thick skin and am able to handle this most challenging exercise in patience and tolerance.
In part, the word 'spiritual' means relating to the soul. In part, the 'soul' is defined as a person's emotional or moral nature. If you are really an atheist you understand these definitions and should have no quarrel with them. When you apply the 12 Steps around these definitions there shouldn't be any problem with a term such as 'higher nature'...used often by atheist members of A.A. AND if any A.A. member at your meetings is having a problem with the idea that you can prove there is no god then it's their problem, isn't it.
Remember, the most important thing is to not pick up that first drink.
You said, "Remember, the most important thing is to not pick up that first drink." So true! It's the bottom line. No matter what happens to us throughout our recoveries we must not pick up the first drink one day at a time. Some members like to be spiritual giants in AA, solving the answers to the great cosmic questions or chasing spiritual highs, while others find fulfillment with paying their bills on time and experiencing the joys in the world, For me, waking up next to my wife, chatting about day to day things, seeing my daughter graduate college or just enjoying that first cup of coffee is fulfilling. Why does anyone need anything more than this in sobriety? This is something I don't understand but, I don't need too either.
Technically your post is in the wrong comment section being this is for the STEPS, however that said, I'm glad you have thick skin because it will come in handy. If you live in the states, AA meetings usually reflect the demographics of its areas. Like in the south you can get collard greens at McDonalds or in New Mexico you can get Green Chili on your cheeseburger. Same true in AA. In the cities or progressive states you can find agnostic and atheist AA groups. Being an atheist won't raise an eyebrow. In the bible belt you may encounter hearing the name Jesus. In an upper middle class suburban AA meeting you might hear therapy talk or quotes from new age gurus. I lived in an area where I was told I didn't belong in AA because I didn't mention god or the steps in my lead at the podium. In another area the plug was pulled on me being I said the word "pot" Love and tolerance are our code but, some people can't see the forest sitting in the middle of the trees.
There ought not be special interest groups in Alcoholics
Anonymous. Anyone entering A.A. anywhere would find the
same general format. The meeting would follow a natural course and would become a specialized group, without being
labeled as such.
I remember in the mid seventies when the "young people
in A.A." wanted to separate from the mainstream. And they
did that, violating the first tradition. I feel that if
most of the members are young people the group could be
a young peoples meeting without it being labeled as such.
When asked what is considered "young", I am told "anyone
with more growing to do". So why separate the "young"
from the "not so young"? I feel that some of the "sponsor
types" stay with the young people's groups to maintain
If we allow each group to evolve according to the
area or region, fewer alcoholics will be left out. But
groups must obey the second tradition and follow a
true, fully informed group conscience, not just the
wishes of a few.
Good, I love atheists. They're thinkers. Think you are a thinker? Think about this. Visualize a pie chart. The circle represents all human knowledge. A small slice at the top represents all of it that I know that I know. Clear so far? Beside it is another slice which contains everything that I know that I don’t know. A little tougher but no, it’s not a joke or a word game. I can’t speak Russian for example so that goes in the second slice, OK? Something I know that I don’t know. So what’s the rest of the circle? What I don’t know that I don’t know. No, it’s still not a game. I’m not particularly clever and I got it. An area where I don’t even know what the questions are let alone what the answers are. An area of information that I don’t even know that there are questions, let alone what they are. The amount of information in it is very real and it’s huge. If you haven’t gotten it yet, perhaps it’s easy to see an infant in this picture. His two slices are tiny but they have grown a little by the time he reaches my age. Recovery occurs in the third part of the pie, what I don’t know that I don’t know. It can only be seen looking back into it. That is because recovery occurs experientially. By experiencing. It is a result of doing not by thinking. I had 16 years of education and couldn’t read the 201 word instruction sheet hanging on the wall either. I finally learned and the rewards have been extraordinary.
I too love atheists & agnostics. They think, talk and argue more about "god" than any other group of people I know. I learn a lot by reading and listening to their posts and conversations.
I agree with you. Some of the most spiritual people I have met in AA are atheists and agnostics. I think in a way its because they have to fight for their sobriety. Believer's like myself don't have to worry about being attacked and threatened at meetings. We shouldn't treat anyone as a second or third class AA member because they think differently. Its awful the way we treat people who aren't interested in reading the Big Book or don't find it necessary to believe in God to stay sober. I'm sure Bill and Bob are out there somewhere shaking their heads. We had a countdown at our home group the other night. The first five members that stood up were all atheists and agnostics. The first man to stand up had 42 years, followed by 39, 36, 29, and 25 years. I was the first believer to stand up with 24 years. I'm grateful those members are in our group. They really set an open-minded positive tone that everyone picks up on. The majority of members in my group are believers but, its ludicrous to treat any member as inferior.
You said, "...its ludicrous to treat any member as inferior." Thanks man. So true. My sponsor died an atheist sober 37 years. He was the most spiritual man I had ever met. He never once criticized mainstream AA or discouraged me from reading the big book or working the steps. He encouraged me to follow the path that made the most sense to me. Being a Christian it was easy to follow Bill and Bob's path. This is what works with me to this day. I remember when my head would get all scrambled up from time to time he'd asked me what step I was on because he new that was my language in recovery in which I was comfortable with. He was a humanist and believed in love and the power that people have when they follow goodness and truth. I never met a more humble man in my life. He didn't believe in an afterlife but I do and in my afterlife we will meet again. Grateful to those on this site who share even if I see things differently.
I've checked and tried joining atheist recovery sites online and found exactly the same. It is an absolute desert for information about staying sober.
One problem with them seems to be that there aren't any atheists there. If I absolutely don't believe something I don't tell you "There absolutely couldn't be something" followed immediately by "and if there is it has to be like this.."
Try it. There is absolutely is no way there is human life on Mars and if there is...
After joining AA I changed from trying desperately to disbelieve in God to admitting there was a God and I was really angry with the mess he had made of my life. Then I started getting some feedback and a glimpse of who had made the mess.
SNR (Spiritual, Not Religious)
Your post demonstrates on the contrary that you do not love atheists and your thinking is very close-minded to anyone who does not get sober like you. We are free to accept AA's path or find our own. The suggested one is not a rule. We must remain open and diverse for the newcomer at all costs. I will never force anything on anyone in the rooms. Appearing rigid, hostile and dogmatic will only remind the newcomer of the very things that most likely drove them to drink in the first place.
A common AA idiom that everyone nods there head to without thinking is "My best thinking got me here" To me, this could mean "If I made a decision to come to AA that is my best thinking" However as it is regularly interpreted "I am stupid" which is false because having the disease of alcoholism has nothing to do with being smart or stupid. It's a brain disorder that requires medical attention.
Why does anyone really care how anyone else is getting sober? The only thing I can get from it is the person who spends more time minding everyone's business has a fragile recovery and is insecure about it. Live and Let Live
Original poster (of the pie chart) here. So you think I leave atheist unloved? In addition to alcoholism I also have heart disease. What would I tell somebody I loved that found out that they also have this disease? “This is what I did. This was the results I got. If it hurts your little feelings to hear that I gave up supersize the fries and wings, too bad.” I’m not going to tell them just do whatever you think will work and you’ll be fine.
"We are free to accept AA's path or find our own."
Absolutely true. However, if one chooses to follow a path other than that suggested by AA, why stay with AA?
Every day people who are unsatisfied with their particular church leave that one and find another. Folks who become dissatisfied with their political party leave it and tie in with another. I know a number of people who changed colleges because they didn't agree with the policies of the one they started out with.
I believe that anyone who stays in AA when he/she is convinced that AA's path is the wrong one is showing definite signs of insanity.
Hi you shared this, "I believe that anyone who stays in AA when he/she is convinced that AA's path is the wrong one is showing definite signs of insanity." That's an unfortunate and harsh position to take because you are assuming people who do not accept the suggested path are against the path. This is not true. There's a lot more flexibility and open-mindedness then you think in the rooms. Try a little love and see where it takes you because that power will definitely change your life. Whether one works the suggested path or not if they love they can do no wrong in my book.
You said, "However, if one chooses to follow a path other than that suggested by AA, why stay with AA?" And I would ask you with that line of thinking, "Why do people who believe in God in AA just go to church?" That should answer your question. If it doesn't let me spell it out for you FELLOWSHIP. Read the Preamble and you will understand AA better. Each member shares what helps them. Not all members share the same experiences in recovery. Not every bit of AA wisdom was discovered in 1935. The founders would agreed with me on that. Where is it written in AA that if someone does not work the suggested path they should be kicked out? No where.
This is what you wrote about the FELLOWSHIP of AA:
"Each member shares what helps them. Not all members share the same experiences in recovery. Not every bit of AA wisdom was discovered in 1935. The founders would agreed with me on that. Where is it written in AA that if someone does not work the suggested path they should be kicked out? No where."
Indeed everything you wrote is correct. Every bit of AA wisdom was discovered BEFORE 1935. Nothing, absolutely nothing was added after 1935. As Bill W. wrote (see Appendix II of the Big Book Fourth Edition, 2001) his inspiration was from the book by William James published in 1902: The Varieties of Religious Experiences. As also clearly stated by Bill W. in his article of July 1953, Volume 10, No. 2. of the Grapevine, "12 Steps in 30 Minutes".
Bill W. followed excatly the format presented by William James for the alcoholic recovery experiences, religious or not so religious stories, in the first edition of the Big Book. But where did William James get his ideas about drunkards helping other drunkards by relating their experiences, religious or not, of how they stopped drinking?. As he stated in his book, William James obtained them from an article by James H. Leuba published in the Journal of Psychology, Volume 7, No. 2, 1896, containing one story after another of recovery from drinking. Yes, 1896.
There is nothing more to the AA Fellowship than it takes one alcoholic to help another and that by helping another it helps the alcoholic remain sober. This is what Bill W. did. He never followed the 12 steps. NEVER. A sponsor? He NEVER had one. The word SPONSOR is not even in the first 164 pages of the Big Book.
So, with membership meetings (and also now online meetings) AA is providing a venue for alcoholics to come and share, with the hope that such will bring beneficial results, as such hope was already described in 1896, and maybe even prior to this.