Anonymous writes, "We ought not be cramming the
twelve steps down anyone's throat. Bill W explains this
on page 8 in Language of the Heart."
Granted, the first sentence in that paragraph states just that. But it goes on to state that "Yet we powerfully unite behind them because the truth they contain has saved our lives. ....... Our experience tells us these universal truths work."
On page 223 of the same book Bill wrote, "Sobriety - Freedom from alcohol - through the teaching and practice of the Twelve Steps, is the sole purpose of an AA group."
Note "teaching and practice" and "sole purpose".
Big Book, page58:
"If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it - then you are ready to take certain steps."
In other words, if you aren't ready to take the steps you must not be willing to go to any lengths, which means you probably don't really want what we have.
The Washingtonion Society, a movement akin to Alcoholics
Anonymous, almost found a solution to alcoholism. It began
in 1850, over a century and a half ago. Bill W. and Dr.
Silkworth developed a technique (method) which worked for
about fifty years until the alcoholic EGO began to take
it over. Investigate the "cart before the horse IDEA,
offered to Bill W. by Dr. Silkworth in the spring of 1935. ANONYMOUS
I just love revisionist history based on perceived Truth - it is so cute.
The Washingtonian Movement is very much part of AA Tradition. It would only take one AA generation not to pass on the experience of AA history, Traditions and Concepts to the next, a period of perhaps 40-50 years, for AA to diversify and disintegrate like the Washingtonian movement. Maybe this is beginning to happen now, but I believe it’s never too late to turn around.The Washingtonian Movement can be found in the following AA publications:
The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions: Tradition Ten
Pass it On pp 325n 354, 366-7n
The Language of The Heart pp 4-5, 7, 11, 43
Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age pp 77, 124-125
Could you explain exactly which part of this history has
been revised? If I have been in error, I certainly would
like to know. I need to know so I can correct my mistakes.
The Washingtonion movement was studied by Bill W. He
mentions this in one of the traditions. Why would you consider it to be perceived Truth? And I see nothing
to be considered cute. The Washingtonions vanished. The failure of AA is no joke. (at least not to me) ANONYMOUS
Take a closer look at the uninterpreted A.A. version in the 164 pages of the book trusting in God and cleaning house.
Quote: "It is this kind of belief that has caused the near collapse of our fellowship"
Really? "The awareness that every AA member has an individual way of working the program permates the pages of Grapevine ..." (Statement of Purpose) "Every AA the privilege of interpreting the program as he likes." (As Bill Sees It, page 16).
Who besides a sponsor is arrogant enough to say there is only one way and it's with them?
I was told to ask the Higher Power to draw my spirit to the person that was to teach me. I do not need or want a supervisor. My choices on my own didn't work out so well. But that prayer did. I needed someone to teach me how to live and work the steps. That is how I sponsor also.
We can change sponsors whenever we want...even without talking to the one we are leaving if that is how we choose to do it. Just stop calling and go to different meetings.
Running someone else's life is inappropriate and has nothing to do with a sponsor's role in AA. My sponsor has 31 years and I am coming up on 22. I ask her advice from time to time, I do my 5th step with her and we pray together. She has done the same with me on occasion.
This sounds like a simple friendship. I am really happy that you and your sponsor have long term sobriety. I am just wondering who told you to ask the Higher Power, etc.
"Just stop calling and go to different meetings?" That
does not sound very grown-up or practical. The more I see and hear, the more convinced I am that the title "sponsor"
ought to be thoroughly reevaluated or just abolished. I do not believe that proper sponsorship exists in today's A.A.
But perhaps there is a trace. Your relationship sounds close. ANONYMOUS
Sponsorship is not a marriage it's a sick dependency!
A.A. is not something taught it's something you develop inside an inside job.
I have yet to find any reading that insists I should have one and only one sponsor. I find myself very fortunate in that I have more than one sponsor. Several weeks after my first meeting (March 6 2011),and after much "I am going to find a sponsor someday" I hooked up with a gent that I had some grown to respect, who could "tell it like it is". We talked before meetings, after meetings, traded phone numbers. He and my group are very much a part of my daily recovery program.
Two months into the program I was on my way to my summer vacation spot in a Northern Ontario - Trailer Resort where happy hour is every day at 4:30. My sponsor really help me through this and made sure I had a list of meetings in the Peterborough area and wanted me to make sure I called him "before not after". We kept contact all summer and I made sure I made it to my home meetings when back in town. We joked that we would have to share "signed permission slips " between himself and the norhtern groups, "Dave did not attend the home group because he was attending the northern groups, Or Dave did attend our group meetings on these dates.
As scared as a kid going to a new summer camp - I found that there were all kinds of meetings in the smallest of towns and villages near my summer place. The closest, a tourist town with a general store hardware store and boat ramp was one such meeting local.
My first meeting this "small town village meeting" I was greeted like I was the best thing that ever happened to the group. By the second meeting I felt like I had been a member for weeks. However someone gave me a tip about one member who could be a "bit of straight shooter". Could tend to rub some the wrong way cause he "liked to tell it the way it is" -
Well I truly believe my greater power sent this gentlemen to meet me. Several weeks later I informed him that he is like it or not my "Up north Sponsor". He was forever after me for not calling before, but somehow "calling me" when I needed him the most ( likely because when he asked me what my plans were for the upcoming week - he took note - read the warning flags and knew when I was going to be in need of a ""meeting") We spent a lot of time together. We drove to many meetings sometimes a 40 minute drive each way. Went for coffee - His motto coffee time is any time. He shared CD's. Constantly lectured me, opened up discussions, and most importantly listened real well. We took several trips - did some step twelve work. One particuliar day really opened my mind up to the workings of the fellowship.
W. and I were in the local intergroup office when W read a notice on the bulliten board that Jim ? was in the pallative care ward in the local hospital. He had not (after nearly a month) had a visit from someone in the fellowship. W. read the note out loud and asked If I wanted to do some step twelve- want to go visit this "guy". I didnt know him and I dont think W. knew who he was for sure. What a visit - what a spiritual awakening. Turned out Jim ? remembered W. was that straight shootn guy from 25 years ago. What a great feeling. J. turned to me and looked me straight in the eye - and said " Do you know what you are doing right now - Your doing probably your first step twelve work! Good for you. How's it feel?? (goose bumps,and shivers)
W. called two days later to tell me J's wife called and J had passed away. She thanked us for the visit.
I'll never forget the gift that W. and J. gave me that day
The opportunity to work the steps, the gift of experiencing the fellowship.
Four days after ariving moving north for the summer I attended another group meeting in a nearby city. ( I was living alone and was doing everything to keep myself away from the happy hours at the trailer park). About 4 minutes into sharing a sort of older gruff looking gentleman farmer with a brush cut, who resembled my old grade school principle, looked down the table at me and very tersly informed me, "I want to tell you sir that" "You are an Alcoholic" - Made me feel like the game show where the English Women exclaims" YOU ARE THE MISSING LINK" WHO DOES THIS GUY THINK HE IS!!!
Must be one of those sponsors that could be refered to as "My portable nag"
As it turned out J. is another who tells it like it is, but didn't wait as long as W. did - Whenever J speaks - he speaks with wisdom - and care - and he earned my highest respect as I watched him work with (excuse my early opinionated conception) a real couple from the streets. I watched this man and wife change and accept a two month madalion before I returned to my home town- talk about a spiritual awakening -One evening I shared some serious resentments and dealing with them, I was really angry - This is how I "fell off the wagon last summer" J. opened the Big Book and read a few paragraphs about acceptance and shared about holding grudges, live and let live.
Later in the summer months J. was the first to incourage me to "tell my story". Some thought it was too soon with only 6 months in the program, but J was sure it would be good for me. OH was ever up on my pedalstall - did I ever have a story to tell. I "told" M. and W.what I was about to do - very proud of myself. They both thought it that it was a really good idea.
Thanks to J. It forced me to sit down and begin to put to paper, do the steps, the moral inventory, write it down,list the resentments, I ended up with hours of one very long disertation. The came the best advise of all.
Through the paper away - your not getting paid to tell your story - speak from the heart!!! What happened, How did you get here and what is it like now - ( I climbed down off my pedalstall.
Now back at home for the winter with my home group my sponsor and I are planning to organize "meeting trips" group meetings out of town. Some of which a few members would not be able to attend because of the distance. Just a great opportunity to get out and hear another take on sobriety.
And does my home sponsor know whats going on in my life - you bet'cha ! Back at our home group he said "Hey Dave" there is a really great speaker at the Border group why dont you meet me there tommorow. The followng Sunday evening "Hey Dave my brother and I are going to a diffent meeting tonight, Just around the corner from our home group and we would like you to join us. M coached me in the first months especially in handling those early - situations. He knew that I wanted to attend my company retirment party honoring myself and several others. On his advise I took my own soda, in a large bottle, and kept it full - which allowed me to turn away several - already opened offers. And on his advise, it was the first time I took my wife to one of these retirement dues.
I owe so much to these men. I consider the three of them my sponsors, because they are always there for me - They are AA and all it stands for. I respect their opinions and respect their anonymity, as they do mine. I dont play one against the other. I dont have to - they seem to know whats on my mind before I ask the question. There is no need to share their opinions, except to share and pass on that which each teaches me. I look at having sponsors this way -- If you have three coins to stack, there are three ways to stack those coins or "2X3=6 or 3X2=6" "Same ideas, sometime require different ways of expression, to get the same results.
The distance was the necessity, and the solution was given to me by my greater power. I didnt ask for it, He laid it out for me. I felt really volnerable in the earliest months and if it wasnt for these three gentlement, I wouldnt be reading the grapevine today. And for this I am a Gratefull Alcoholic.
It's the outside sponorships job don't you see it?
There are some good commits here. I will not analize the Fellowship and certainly we are slowing in pace. Many have turned away from us and their spirituality may have found a new Fellowship. Of course the Steps and good guidance through those Steps is vital. Myself, I played around for seventeen years before becoming willing. But in God's time I have turned that around with nineteen years of sobriety. My service is best when I am behind the "walls". Willingness takes on a new meaning there.
As for those that think sponsorship is about controlling anothers life, then I suggest ALANON Family Group.
I possibly could point a finger at what I beleive to be AA's failures over the years but in reality AA has stayed the course. Have I changed over the years? Yes, I am no longer without a roof of my own over my head, I have been employed long enough to retire with a good pension,family and friends are near, and most important dependable and trustworthy. Not that way nineteen years ago. broke, homelss, unemployed and afraid.
I did have a man help me understand the Steps and many more that encouraged me to be of Service to preserve AA's ways with a understanding of the Principles we call Traditions.
How can we say that AA has stayed the course? We were certainly successful for the first 57 years until the
early 1990's. Growth was steady and continuous. If we
are truly fulfilling our responsibility of helping other
alcoholics, our membership would always grow. We claim
two million membership today. We had two million members two
decades ago. That is worldwide. We have thirty million
alcoholics in the US today I believe. What happened in the
1980's to cause AA to lose its effectiveness? We started
reading "How it Works" at meetings to all and sundry. This
was our worst blunder, followed closely by the introduction
of chanting. The acceptance of the 24hr book into AA
tradition has been a serious mistake. This book has been
rejected twice by the General Service Conference. It is
simply too religious. Bill w. had great insight in the
rejection of this book. The Hold Hands and Pray closing
makes us look like a religion. Sharing by "show of Hands"
and todays concept of sponsorship have almost finished
destroying our fellowship. Not Fellowship. ANONYMOUS
What's stopping you from starting a meeting with no prayer,or hand holding hands. As far as I know all you would need is one big book and another drunk.Conduct the meeting with whichever manner you choose.Be creative have some fun give away what you have. Open your meeting The Forward and start the disscusion, book study whatever you like KISS
Dr. Bob left us this message: Let's keep it simple. We have
changed that to Keep it simple, stupid. Maybe it should
be: keep it stupid, simple. That is how I would describe
much of what goes on in AA today. Manny Q.
We have 62,873 AA groups reported in the US and Canada. In
2010 we gained 14,802 members. We are responsible for helping other alcoholics recover. Only one out of four
groups could count ONE new member last year. Is this the
course we want to stay on? This is disgraceful.
Hundreds of thousands of suffering alcoholics are still
approaching us every year. We push them away by the way
our AA meetings are conducted. ANONYMOUS
Any membership statistics for Alcoholics Anonymous are unscientific and completely unreliable. All we can do is take the 12 steps as outlined in the first 164 pages the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, follow the 12 Traditions and 12 Concepts and carry this message to the alcoholic who still suffers.
If the outside sponsorship system could just get out the door and help people in, instead of out, I think A.A. would do better without an outside system inside it's doors.
Our chairman of the board of trustees recently wrote in The
FINAL REPORT NORTHEAST REGIONAL FORUM, concerning the membership numbers: counting numbers is challenging, they
have been developed through scientific based surveys and are
certainly valid for comparison from one year to the next.
He writes that when we look at longer period of time, the
lack of growth in membership is clear.
Even though it is clear that our fellowship has lost
over half a million members worldwide since 1992, and
is stagnant at about two million, most AA members come
up with reasons that satisfy any concern. I find that most
alcoholics are good at denial or justification.
The truth is that Alcoholics Anonymous has changed at
the group level over the past three decades. Unless we
reverse these changes we will continue to spin our wheels,
failing hundreds of thousands of suffering alcoholics
We have 12 steps, 12 traditions, 12 concepts, and
6 warrenties. The BLUNDERS we have made in AA number
about 10. To correct these mistakes would cost us
nothing in real cash. Our pride is what we must give up.
The alcoholic EGO is powerful. I believe it is AA's
greatest enemy. The mistakes (all which are reversable) have been covered on I-SAY over the past two years. I
will not repeat them here. ENOUGH ALREADY!! ANONYMOUS
I had not realized that there were so many practices by AA groups driving people away from AA, nor that anyone had conducted a world-wide study involving detailed interviews with those who came in and left as to what those practices were. Our traditions suggest that if I am unhappy with my local group's practices, I can call a group conscience to see if others share my concerns; and if they do, we can change how we do things, from what is read before meeting, to what is read during meeting, and whether we hold hands and say the Lord's Prayer at the end of the meeting. If the group does not agree with my views on the way a meeting should be conducted, I can vote with my feet. Personally, I am not a fan of chanting, holding hands, or the 24-hours a day book, and take every opportunity to share at meetings that I do not believe in a "god of anyone's understanding," but I recite the Serenity Prayer, the Lord's Prayer, and the Prayer of St. Francis when I find myself back at the center of a universe revolving around me. I might suggest reading the Traditions and a bit of other AA history to anyone who thinks they have "the answer" for themselves or AA.
My Sponors watches me constantly in meetings, she tells me not to wear certain clothes, not to get in my purse, yells at me all the time. She says, I can't trust my thinking or my emotions.she will not let me clean up after meetings or put my name on the new comer's phone list. I try so hard not to make a mistake,but I always do something wrong. I am on the second step and I keep asking her to help me move forward and work/do the 4th step. She tells me no! I have 14 months of soberity and I feel worse everyday...I do not want to drink. Thank god for that!!! I am afraid to call anyone else in the program because I do not want to gossip or say anything that would hurt her or anyone else. I am so isolated...what should I do?
I hope everyone here is ok...today!
We are always free to get a new sponsor. I was told to pick a sponsor who "had what I want". The first one I picked had a solid AA program and he worked and lived the program. He helped me build a strong foundation on the steps. Today, many years later, my sponsor is a bit different. He's not as dogmatic about the program but is a solid member of our group and a great family guy with a well rounded life who practices the principles in all his affairs.
My understanding and experience has been that a sponsor's primary "duty" to a sponsee is to help them learn, practice and pass on the 12 steps of AA. Any other aspect of the relationship is optional. I hope you find a sponsor that is at least putting an effort into this program and is willing to share their journey with you. There is an old saying in AA that we are all sick people and some are sicker than others.
WOW. If I had a sponser like that I would ask two questions. Do I want to be like her and is what sobriety is ALL about. NO. We have sought the rooms of AA because Alcohol didnt work for us anymore. If it did we wouldnt be in the rooms of AA. I always say if you want to see who has been to hell come to an AA meeting. We are not always going to be happy , joyeous and free. Yet we want a different way of life. I pray for you and your controlling sponser. The fellowship is progress not perfections. There are no rules. Only a desire to stop drinking. I found sobriety through the doors of AA. I seek serenity on a daily basis, which without I am back to square 1. MISERY
I was told to choose a sponsor because I admire their sobriety- their way of life. please find another woman to talk to about your situation. i had a similar experience in 1995,(my first meeting/sponsor) After many confused and tearful conversations, i finally lost it and fired her. That Saturday at homegroup, the other ladies told me they wished they had warned me about my ex-sponsor's personality disorder. I wish they had too- by the grace of God, I didn't drink but sobriety is so much more than mere abstinence. You deserve a helping hand, not a scolding. i hope you find happiness ASAP!
It sounds like your sponsor is trying to give you tough love. It would not be my way of sponsoring but I guess everyone is different. I would suggest you sit down and talk with your sponsor in a private setting, describing how the things she does make you feel. Then you can evaluate the answers you hear back.
You are not obliged to stay with the same sponsor forever. The idea is that your sponsor has something you want (a good program, a good working knowledge of the steps, serenity, etc.) and can help you get there. If you have a sponsor who does not seem to have those things, then perhaps it is time to find a sponsor who does. I would recommend not dropping your current sponsor though until you find another one. If you go to an assortment of meetings, it shouldn't be too difficult to find another woman who you respect and who has something positive and helpful to offer.
Take care and all the best!
Where does it say you need a sponsor to take the steps? If you can read and write well enough to share here, you can read well enough to use the Big Book. (USE, nut just read)
Dump that so called sponsor before you get drunk.
This is not proper sponsorship. This is dictatorship. Get
away from her and all others like her. You are fortunate
to have more than a year sober. Hopefully yout head is
clear enough to make your own decisions. "Sponsors"
like this are a big cause of the lack of growth in AA
today. We push members, new and old, back out into the
darkness, using this approach. With 14 months sobriety,
find a newer person to help. You have learned what not
to do. Remember, you need that newcomer, as much as she
could possibly need you. Yes, try to stay away from gossip.
But speak up when necessary. God grant us the courage.
I am so grateful for the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. I was deserate for help as a newcomer and the directions for the 12 steps in the first 164 pages saved my life. I'm thankful that the first 100 men and women gave me a path to follow and I will continue to follow that path today.
I want to thank you for your simple message of gratitude. I too am so grateful to have in my life the program that was outlined in the Big Book by the original members. I often think of that moment described in "Chapter 11 - A Vision for You" when Bill was wavering in that hotel lobby, wondering whether to go into the bar and sit with a ginger ale or perhaps a few drinks. I see him standing there wondering, and often feel that all our fates hung in the balance at that moment. Then the Higher Power took him to that church directory and here we stand today, sober and hopefully to some level happy, joyous and free.
Thanks for the gratitude reminder. Have a great day!
Cheers / Love.
I believe it was the fear of drinking again and the deep
desire to live, that brought Bill to that church directory.
He needed another alcoholic to talk to in order to preserve
his own sobriety. Call It Higher Power if you wish. ANONYMOUS
The first 100 members left us a path to follow, not
directions. This vital decision was made just before the
Big Book went to print. And that technique will work again
when and if we ever return to it. We are failing hundreds
of thousands of alcoholics every year because of our refusal to study the history of AA. We pay to have surveys
done. Then we ignore the numbers. The membership numbers are available from our General Service Office. Study the
numbers from 1935 to the present. What happened in the
1980's to cause our collapse in the 1990's? Surely there
are others who have remained in AA, who saw the blunders
being made. ANONYMOUS
Our Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous describes the path in specific, precise, exact, clear-cut directions. While there may be ways to get an estimate of the numbers of people who attend A.A. meetings at certain times, it would be close to impossible to discover how many are actually practicing the program of Alcoholics Anonymous. The treatment center boom in the 1970's-1980's contributed to the numbers of people who attended meetings at that time. Also, we have shared our 12 steps with other fellowships who continue to grow at a rapid pace. I had a spiritual awakening as the result of the 12 steps and love the A.A. of 2011.
I find personalizing the Steps is a way to "own" them and make them mine. I put them in the first person. 1. I admit I am powerless over alcohol and my life is unmanageable. 2. I believe that God can restore me to sanity. 3. I turn my life and my will over to the care of God. 4. I made a fearless and searching moral inventory of myself. 5. I have admitted to God, to myself, and to another human being the exact nature of my wrongs. 6. I am willing to have God remove these defects of character. 7. I continue to humbly ask God to remove my shortcomings. 8. I made a list of all persons I have harmed and am willing to make amends to them all. 9. I have made direct amends whenever possible without hurting anyone. 10. I continue to take personal inventory and when I am wrong, I promptly admit it. 11. I seek through prayer and meditation to improve my conscious contact with God. I pray only for God's will for me and the power to carry that out. 12. Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, I try to carry this message to alcoholics and practice these principles in all my affairs.
It works for me.
i done the steps in 12 weeks and i take the newcomer frow them in 10 weeks godbless
"Like a Hangnail in a Pickle Factory", printed in April 1995 was chosen as The Story of the Day for July 4, 2011.
What a disgrace! Members like this "sponsor" are the direct
cause of our loss of effectiveness in the 1990's. The mind
set of whomever chose this story to be Story of the day is
one of the main reasons for our continued loss of effectiveness today. How to do the 4th step inventory is explained in the 12&12, beginning on page 50. It is of no surprise to me that our fellowship is near death. Step five
ought to be done with a priest or someone sworn to secrecy.
I certainly would not want a "sponsor" such as this to listen to my step 5. We have discarded Dr Bob's final advice to us to keep it simple. Even that we have distorted into Keep It Simple Stupid. How deplorable! Bill W explained exactly how to do Steps 4 & 5 in the 12 & 12,
for those members who wish to use them. If you haven't
noticed, they ARE suggestions. God Help Us!!
We have found a cure for insanity - Yet to come close and find one for stupidity. Some people only look for an example but most can't find one - themselves.
I am sure the medical society will be pleased that we have
found a cure for insanity. Our educational institutions may
be disappointed that studying and learning is not a cure for
ignorance. Manny Q.
When Bill W was working with other alcoholics in the spring
of 1935, during the nearly six months of what he called "violent exertion", his success was dismal. Dr.
Silkworth advised him: These alcoholics want to get well
but they just can't swallow all this God Stuff. Bill
wrote that some would fly "high as geese" and then flop
dismally. Speed does kill. At a beginners meeting recently
out of 35 members, I counted fifteen chronic relapers. They
are very obedient. We chant to them "Keep coming back" it works if you work it, so work it you're worth it, I die if I don't work it etc, etc, etc. So they keep coming. anonymous
It was helpful to me to attend Big Book studies and workshops so that I could understand the directions. Working With Others tells us that the only time we do not stress the spiritual feature freely is when we have a prospect in the context of a 12th step call. The message we carry in a meeting is that we've had a spiritual experience as a result of these steps.
Relapse is a part of recovery.
It's not part of Recovery it's part of the illness...
Would take one true serenity pray than all the sponsor nuts one can find
Why not take the steps and let God do the work instead of have someone tell you to work them and when they fail they clam it's better you than them.
I saw a sticker that said
Dr. Bob's Rx:
take 2 steps and call me in the morning.
More than half of the spiritual experiences in the steps are in the daily step prayers. Especially the 4th step prayers and the 9th step prayer have grown me up in my relationships. Often the prayers are just a few words of suggestion..We ask God to......
I used to feel bad because I worked steps very, very slowly. Now I realized that is my way, one step for year..
If you broke your leg and a orthopedic surgeon wanted to perform emergency surgery to save your leg, would you say, "I don't want to rush into anything Doc. Why don't you get back to me in a few months and we'll discuss different surgical options."
Taking the steps slowly is no different. The spiritual awakening is THE RESULT of the 12 steps. It's not the result of not drinking and going to meetings. Why would you choose to not do everything within your power to ensure recovery, i.e. the steps.
In the early days of AA, all 12 steps were taken within the first few days of sobriety - sometimes the first day of sobriety. You've got the rest of your life to work them again over and over but for your own sake, do it soon.
this isnt the early days if your working them thats great to much to soon not 4 evrybody this is for a lifetime and it is your program both ways ok keep it simple