Your Big Book still has directions. If you will read
page 164, you will see that these directions are to be
offered to anyone interested, in a suggestive manner. This
is the most important direction.
Initially, after Bill W.'s "White Light" experience,
Bill also believed that absolute honesty (the truth)
ought to be up front. That approach did not work for
Bill and seldom works for us today. Sure, a few get
the message and get well. Enough alcoholics are saved
to replace those who die or just leave for various
reasons. But if we could have a little less truth and
a lot more grace, the multitudes can be saved. You
actually have to study AA history to understand what
I keep writing about. ANONYMOUS
"If we skip this vital step, we may not overcome drinking."
I don’t see much hesitation in AA Iiterature! I think you should read the big book. If you are a “real alcoholic” you will more than likely die from alcoholism without working step 5. Take a few minutes to read the following from the big book.
Into Action, p.72
“The best reason first: If we skip this vital step, we may not overcome drinking.”
Bill's Story, p.15
“If he did not work, he would surely drink again, and if he drank, he would surely die.”
How It Works, p.66
“And with us, to drink is to die.”
Appendix I, The A.A. Tradition, p.561
“We alcoholics see that we must work together and hang together, else most of us will finally die alone.”
A Vision For You, p.154
“But what about his responsibilities -- his family and the men who would die because they would not know how to get well, ah -- yes, those other alcoholics?”
There Is A Solution, p.24
“When this sort of thinking is fully established in an individual with alcoholic tendencies, he has probably placed himself beyond human aid, and unless locked up, may die or go permanently insane.”
Foreword to Second Edition, p.xix
“But out of this frightening and at first disrupting experience the conviction grew that A.A.'s had to hang together or die separately.”
Two quotes which really irritate the "Steps are only suggestions" type:
"Though our decision was a vital and crucial step, it culd have little permanent effect uless at once followed by a strenuos effort to face, and to be rid of, the things in ourselves which had been blocking us." (Big Book, page 64)
"More sobriety brought about by the admission of alcoholism and by attendance at a few meetings is very good indeed, but it is bound to be a far cry from permanent sobriety and a contented, useful life. That is just where the remaining steps of the A.A. program come in. Nothing short of continuus action upon these as a way of life can bring the much-desired result." (12&12, pages 39 and 40)
There is a big difference between a dozen separatte suggestions and a suggested program. Check a dictionary. The idea that the steps are merely separate suggestions is nothing more than rationalization for not taking any of them.
I am sober 2.5 years now. I know I'm an alcoholic, that I can't just have one drink or be ok walking away from a half full beer. I decided after half a dozen meetings in the very beginning that I can do this on my own. The last years of my drinking life were bitter, lonely and angry. Most of the friends I had made were not friends they were drinking buddies, the lovers not loved but drunken mashed up bodies that I couldn't remember. There was no great bottom for me, I knew I had to change to be better to be worthy of people and love. Being around people drinking doesn't bother me as much any more, but I still find myself falling into the patterns that I had when I was drinking. I spend the majority of my free time in my apartment alone, not interested in spending time outside of myself. I want to begin to go out into the world, but I am afraid of that worlds rejection. I'm sort of all over the place with this I guess. I want to begin at the beginning with the steps that I skipped over, but contacting the first person that I feel I hurt because of my drinking seems selfish with so much time that has passed his life a nice pretty picture from the outside (damn internet) Why should I disrupt his life, especially if I don't know that it will improve my feelings.
I can relate to the isolation. I always told myself that I was a loner and an introvert, that I was not a "people person." But now after three years of sobriety I cannot go a day without some type of meaningful interaction with a member of AA; I also need other people in my daily life. So it seems that I was just justifying being alone by telling myself that I was an introvert.
I had to keep it simple; I took small steps. Through honest interaction with spiritually fit AA's, I moved beyond the fear of rejection. I found out who I am through others. When this process began, as long as I kept trying, the momentum of my recovery was guided along by a power greater than myself. The Steps made more sense to me, I was working the steps--the Steps became a working part of my life; I am having trouble explaining this experience, but I knew it was working because I felt better. I had hope and serenity. I was able to trust others and really hear what they were saying. I tried what they had done and it worked for me despite my doubts.
I have learned not to trust my thoughts. I have learned to be patient in doing a personal inventory and clearing away the wreckage of the past. I have learned to ask others about their experience with these issues and I have become willing and ready to take action.
Like you I tried to think my way out of having a thinking disorder called alcoholism. When the struggeling wore me out, I finally read directions.
“The main object (of our book) is to enable you find a Power greater than yourself which will solve your problem”. Alcoholics Anonymous p45.
It is now several years later my problem was solved and stayed solved.
LOVE THE FEELING OF NOT KNOWING WHAT I IM FEELING AND AT THE SAME TIME I KNOW WHERE IM AT EVEN WHEN IM LOST RHANK GOD I KNOW WHWERE MY NEXT MEETING IS
I love the feeling that I get when I accept that I am right where I am supposed to be at this moment. I don't have to stop and try to figure anything out--just need to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
There is a major controversy happening in my area; The agnostics and atheist have re-writen the steps of AA, to their liking. There is so much division happening right now. It is like everyone wants to be right. People aren't talking to others and they won't go to certain meetings because the person they aren't talking to are going to that meeting. I have a friend that went back out because of this. I had enough controversies going on in my life without them happening in AA. This has been happening since AA was started. I want recovery to continue not divisions.
Sometimes it is about staying sober and in contact with my own sponsor and higher power desptie all the craziness going on around me. If I can't get to a better meeting, I look online, call sober serene people and see if I can hang out with them. When people rewrite the program, it is their program...not AA's program. I need AA's program of experience strength and hope that has kept millions sober for many years. An experiment in self will won't keep me sober. I am powerless over other people's actions. They make me crazier and I need God's help with my head.
If you humbly pray for help and guidance to find what you need to stay sober, you will be inspired and guided. All this craziness can be used to bring yourself to deeper reliance on your Higher Power...deeper into serenity and sweetness of the Sacred. But, some days are a series of "What am I supposed to be doing now?" prayers, followed by doing the next right thing.
This is how we get through hard crazy times. "Thank you that with your help, I don't have to drink today!"
And I bet if you connect with the right people, you will find a quiet group of oldtimers drinking coffee and watching for the craziness to run it's course. When you find them, you will be among the people who have a lot to share about powerlessness.
I follow the AA program. However my only job is
to share my experience, strength and hope.
When I offer to chair, read the preamble, or read
from conference approved literature, I read.
In that part of the meeting it is not my job to
interpret. Later if I am asked to share I try to
to focus on my experience with that topic. Bleeding
Elders of any kind, kill meetings. People need AA.
I suggest reading the steps and traditions at
meetings where people are learning to be principled.
I believe AA does not need to clarify its mission or position with these matters. Read the Preamble-It does not take a genius to understand it. To me, the problems fall on its members who lack the ability to adhere to our basic principles and honor our code, “Love and Tolerance.” AA cannot police immaturity and arrested development in its members. The concerned individuals should worry about their side of the street instead of the neighbors. I feel there is no difference between the “god as we understand him” or “the Twelve Steps as we understand them” In AA we have the right to believe in god, nothing or the AA group. Our beliefs should not determine our status in the rooms or how we should be treated. Controversy is created by individual members who lack wisdom and recovery maturity, not AA which is very clear about groups and membership. Striving for recovery adulthood is a good thing in AA. I personally believe in the power of maturity. Individuals who need to control others or peek into their neighbor’s window need to rethink their sobriety strategies because the need to do so only reveals to me an emotional infancy, no matter how much time is boasted as sober. I wish everyone a safe and sober holiday.
Indeed, how many times boasting as sober is a typical introduction for members at some meetings. "My sobriety date is....." followed by some statement.
Do these members really think that the number of years makes them so much better than the new member, or helps the new member just coming out of detox and needing some support.
As a new member I did not need to know how many years you have been sober. Yes, be proud of how many years you have been sober, but think again, will this help a beginner maintain sobriety?
As a new member, I appreciated that there was an AA meeting and indeed many AA meetings in my area. I hope I can repay by just being there to provide a meeting place to new beginners. I don't think they need to know how long I have been sober.
There is a time and a place for about everything. The time to speak about how long ago I received the gift of sobriety is when asked. I’m with you that the scorekeeping is bragging no mater how it’s dressed up. I don’t see how anyone can read How it Works, three pertinent ideas, A, B, and C and be proud rather than grateful for any time sober.
I’m quick to see others faults, now how about mine? AA’s only requirement for membership is that we be crazy. If I get upset that crazy people act crazy, what does that say about me? I think I better stick with trying to straightening out my own act.
I have often been perplexed about announcing my years of
sobriety. Thanks for a simple solution: When someone asks
me how long I have been sober, I ought to tell them. That
is being kind and truthful. I believe the person asking
will be favorably "impressed". To say "a few 24 hours"
seems to be off-putting. Honesty goes a long way. To
say 43 years would not be bragging if I offer the information with an attitude of gratitude. It is all
in the gratitude. I think gratitude rather than pride
is the answer. I am sober and alive only by the grace of God and the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous. Thanks
for the advice: time and place. ANONYMOUS
Giving our sobriety date is an act of gratitude. I was intimidated by oldtimers when I first came in. I had no idea of the richness of their feelings toward me. They understood exactly how I felt about their dang years of sobriety and were just looking for a way to help if they could.
I got over being mad and jealous of them. Now I am one of those...with 24 years plus...And I just want to say that if stay sober, go to meetings, pray, and if you don't take your feelings too seriously, they will pass and better ones will come along.
I don't pretend to know what each and every newcomer wants to hear or what will drive them away. I only know my won experience as a newcomer.
Charlie D. was the first sober member of AA I heard. He introduced himself and stated that he had been sober for fifteen years,
Butch was next to share and said he was seven years from his last drink. Each of the fie remaining members introduced themselves and gave their lengths of sobriety.
Had they said they'd been sober "A few twenty-four hours" my reaction would have been "So What?" I was a patient in a psychiatric ward and hand't had a drink in quite a few twenty-four hours.
It's been my experience that those who don't want to hear about a member's length of sobriety are usually those who have been in and out of AA for a number of years but have little or no length of sobriety themselves.
I’ve been reading about explorers in the sixteenth century and can see a parallel to those seeking new solutions for alcoholism. Setting a course for where no one has gone before, risking their own lives and the lives of those who trust them.
Alcoholics Anonymous’ twelve step program of recovery has worked well for me and many friends I have made along the way. Numbers show that a large number of alcoholics won’t join us for some reason. I’ve lost count of those who asked me to sponsor them that I never saw again. If something different stops them from drinking, all the better but I’ll admit I’m skeptical. Experience has taught me to be, but I don’t rule out the possibility that I will be looked upon as a “Flat Earth” man in a few decades or less. Those who lead are welcome to the rewards of discovery or the pain of failure. Sadly those ignoring warnings and harmed by following always seem to be in ample supply.
Those who choose to venture into the unknown are welcome to it. Tradition has it that they are unwelcome to be dishonest about it. If they represent their endeavor as something it is not, they join the snake oil salesman, the medicine show barkers, the miracle cancer cure quacks. Producing and promoting twelve steps that are different from ours and calling it AA or expecting AA to endorse it at any level puts them in that category. These risk-takers have frequently wanted to use AA’s good name and the resulting draw to provide them with recruits through our public information networks, central offices and area meeting schedules. I will continue to resist their efforts. Traditions six and ten prohibit us from supporting them. If they want recruits there as no shortage of alcoholics. With little effort they should be able to find them.
Your friend didn't drink because of the thoughts or actions of others. We drink because we would rather drink than remain sober.
Burn the idea into the consciousness of every man that he can get well regardless of anyone. The only condition is that he trust in God and clean house. Alcoholics Anonymous p98.
I've been reading a lot about this, and it makes me very sad. There are alternate forms of the steps that people talk about, and I heard a great deal about them when I got sober in 1988, as well as about alternative sobriety groups. I ended up going with the traditional steps in the Book. The tolerance, though, was wonderful.
The "wrong" in Toronto was that the majority kicked out the minority, and they now are trying to hide it. The only set of intergroup minutes you cannot access on their website is the one where they voted to "exile" the agnostics and atheists. That was not a "LOVING God as he expresses himself in our group conscience." Rule #62 is the cure here, and I sure hope they figure it out. It's an international controversy, and their actions have affected AA as a whole.
Many years ago a pal of mine joined AA, he got off the drink and after 3 months he felt great, and he told me that he was going to re write the Big Book. HE DRANK AGAIN AND IS STILL DRINKING AFTER 25 YEARS. Prioroities are important. When folk don't talk to others maybe resentments lurk! Good sposnsorshoip is also a helping hand! I looked up to old timers and sensed they knew more than me. I did what they suggested to me. I do not want to re write the AA literature, I write little pieces of my own experience into the Grapevine from time to time!
The ELEVATOR to sobriety, does not WORK. Please try the 12 steps!!!
Thank you Mr. Come on man! Until you your rant about how you couldn’t understand how anyone couldn’t understand the fourth step inventory in the Big Book I hadn’t thought about it for years. The simple text of the Step 4 is the instructions, “Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.” The Big Book outlines some common examples of character defects, self will run riot, instincts gone overboard. Common examples. I couldn’t be happier that I have shed a great deal of my uniqueness after joining AA for a while. I think normal is great. Not so before getting sober. I had no Mr. Brown or Mrs. Jones, no wife, no boss. I lived alone, I worked alone, and I drank alone. I liked my neighbors and they liked me. I had little in common with my family but we were polite each other. That eventually grew into a closer relationship but we still had little in common. I had friends. My finances were headed down the tube but sobriety intervened in time. I had an abundance of character defects keeping me from living a wonderful life I became capable of. The 12 and 12 helped me see them. When I finished my fifth step I knew absolutely what having the scales fall from ones eyes meant. I’ve tuned it up a little since but the change it made never left me and it has worked as promised.
The staff at an AA oriented rehab I went to tried their best to fit my puzzle pieces together to look like picture on their box. They finally gave up. I didn’t have common examples to please them either. If your Big Book has all the answers, more power to you. Mine has a mistake on page one of chapter one. The Hampshire Grenadier died because his small beer didn’t have ENOUGH alcohol in it to kill the germs and he died of a fever. Indeed an “Ominous warning” but different than the author intended. Despite Bill and me getting off on the wrong foot, I have read every word of the Big Book, most more than once and find it a darned good piece of information for drunks wanting to get sober, just not quite perfect. Bill didn’t either. That’s why he kept writing for the rest of his life.
You described the Big Book as a darned good piece of information for drunks wanting to get sober . I warmly agree. By writing that more would be revealed, and that
the entire book was meant to be suggestive, it came
very close to perfection. Bill spent the rest of his
"revealing more". Nobody seems to know the meaning
of suggestive. Bill was no saint, just an alcoholic who
discovered a way out, and was determined to educate us
so the message could be passed on to others who
suffer. We have distorted that message, with dogma
and distortion. ANONYMOUS
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.