"Out of respect, I just want to know why you care so much if someone works the steps or not?"
Personally, I feel it's none of my business whether or not someone is working the steps or not. What is my business is whether someone is passing on his/her own version of sobriety and calling it AA. The twelve steps as given to us by the founders and early members via the Big Book are AA's program of recovery.
"If someone is not interested in the suggested 12-step program or reading a book written in the 1930’s, I'm okay with that."
So am I, 100%. My father, an admitted alcoholic, quit drinking and died after thirty-six years without a drink. He never attended a meeting or worked a step and he said he was working the AA program. And he never tried to encourage anyone else to get sober without the steps. He was much more honest than those who call their own brand of sobriety AA.
Jim S. "Here are the steps we took, which are suggested
as a program of recovery." So there it is! The first
100 members took the steps. and now are offering them
to us for our consideration. They are not telling us
that we have to take them, only offering us the
same way out that they had found. It is not really
that complicated. attraction NOT promotion.
A teacher of mine stated that "A little learning
can be a dangerous thing". Trust me, I have been there.
It is comforting that we do agree on several points.
We seem to agree that alcoholics and addicts must be
separated. And some other similar concerns.
We do have a serious difference in understanding
the definition of suggestion. ANONYMOUS
It also takes real arrogance to assume you have the answer(s). There is no wrong way to stay sober, though trying to practice the principles the AA program tries to teach me has made getting and staying sober easier for me. What are those principles? According to Dr. Bob, they are two-fold: love and service. The remainder are just variations on a theme.
Anonymous, If you want to continue to believe as you do, make sure you NEVER read pages 23 and 23 from the 12x12, AA conference approved liturature.
pages 23 and 24 state clearly what the true AA message is in regards to the steps and alcohol consumption.
Like I said, if you want to keep believing what you think you know about AA, don't read pages 23 and 24 from the 12x12. That way you can continue to carry YOUR message instead of AA's.
God Bless you
I love the first three steps as Bill writes them.
To the questions on page 24 I usually add: Who wants to
go out in the middle of the night on a 12 step call so
that someone can puke on our shoes? I heard that from one
of our celebrity speakers.
The message is pure and simple. You and I are looking
at the same solution. Of course the steps are the answer
and have been the solution for you and me, and I believe
they are the answer for most suffering alcoholics.
It is not the message that you and I differ on.
We save a few alcoholics by telling them what to do.
But I think we push most of them away by telling them
what to do. Most alcoholics have a rebellious nature.
We can carry the message to them without giving them
any reason to rebel. If we just share own story, our
own ESH, how can they rebel? We simply lay the tools
at their feet. They can pick up the tools or not. It is
their personal choice. If we tell them to pick up
the tools or they will never make it, we are going
too far. Let them make that decision without ANY
I went to my first A.A. meeting in Dec 1968. I was
still drinking and was drunk at the meeting. I knew
there was something of great value in the room that
night. I stayed sober a week until New Years Eve and
drank about another 14 months. I thought of A.A.
every time I got drunk. Maybe those A.A. have something
which will help. The question in my mind was: "How can
sitting around with a bunch of alcoholics help me to
stop drinking? I am not sure if I can fully answer that
question even today. But I know that it works. If I
don't drink for another month, it will have worked for
me for 43 years. (I did the steps and still practice them)
At about 35 years, I felt that I knew all I needed
to know about Alcoholics Anonymous. Today I know that I
had only scratched the surface. Sometimes I wish I could
return to that state of blissful ignorance. I had the
belief that A.A. is "alive and well". Today I see our
fellowship as folding, barely alive. The "proof" is
in the numbers. We have fewer members in A.A. today
than we had two decades ago. Something is dreadfully
wrong. What happened in the 1980's to cause our
near collapse in the early 1990's. What was the cause
and what can we do about it? Can it be repaired?
You have a passion for A.A. which very few members
ever will have. I am just trying to convince you that
we can save hundreds of thousands more each year by
attraction, with no promotion or coercion of any kind.
What suffering alcoholic could refuse the offer of
a new life? We just have to know how to make it attractive
enough to be desirable, and we must understand this
unique method of delivering the message. ANONYMOUS
I believe the method to 12 stepping is laid out in the book “Alcoholics Anonymous”. The unique technique employed by the founders of AA and the millions to come after is described precisely in chapter 7 “working with others”. I think most of us fail to see the directions on page 92 that say “show him the mental twist which leads to the first drink of a spree. We suggest you do this as we have done in the chapter on alcoholism”. I believe they are referring to chapter 3 “More About Alcoholism”, pages 30-43 in the big book.
When on a 12th step call or speaking at an AA meeting (I think that’s the way most members of AA do the 12th step), the authors of the big book describing precisely how to carry out a 12th step call. Here is what we are supposed to say according to the chapter on alcoholism - “the idea that somehow, someday he will control and enjoy his drinking……….we learned we had to fully concede………we know no real alcoholic ever recovers control………over any considerable period we get worse, never better………we are like men who have lost their legs……..there is no such thing as making a normal drinker out of an alcoholic………despite all we can say, many who are real alcoholics are not going to believe they are in that class…………..here are some of the methods we have tried………….step over to the nearest barroom and try some controlled drinking………once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic………to be gravely affected, one does not necessarily have to drink a long time…………let him try leaving liquor alone for a year………….so we shall describe some of the mental states that precede a relapse into drinking, for obviously this is the crux of the problem…………. Then the book describes alcoholics putting whiskey in milk……..some insanely trivial excuse for drinking………being absolutely unable to stop drinking on the basis of self-knowledge………….an example of Fred who put up no fight whatever against the first drink….then the prophesy, that if you have an alcoholic mind, the time and place would come-you would drink again……Once more: The alcoholic at certain times has no effective mental defense against the first drink……….His defense must come from a Higher Power. Please read pages 30-43 to fill in the blanks.
This too me is the “idea” Silkworth suggested to Bill W. If this is not the “idea” that is so important, why would Bill refer us back to pages 30-43 in chapter 7? If the description of the “idea” were so critical Bill would surely be clear if it were somewhere else.
My opinion only!
I think the ineffectiveness of certain AA groups is based on poor sponsorship and lack of using AA literature, especially the big book when carrying the message to newcomers. I use the big book and have been very successful. In 1998 I purchased 10 one year medallions at Dr Bob’s home in Akron Ohio. I ran out last spring and purchased more. It hit me then that through using the big book as a basis of personal recovery and directions to carry the AA message, I personally had given away 10 one year medallions to hopeless alcoholics over the past 14 years. I have given out more from my home group,I just don'have the exact number. It had very little to do with me, and a lot to do with the big book. It really works! A sponsee and I just wrapped up working the steps together out of the big book. He had been going to AA meetings since 1980 and had never stayed sober longer that 6 months or worked the steps as described in the big book. He has about two months now and has begun working with other alcoholics. I have already seen the personality change in him. I’ll let you know next year if he gets one of the new one year medallions!
Corey, I ask you again to thoroughly study Dr. Silkworth's
IDEA. Bill wrote several times that without that advice,
A.A. could never have been born. That idea had nothing
to do with the steps.
That advice the "little doctor who loved drunks" gave
Bill W. was in the spring of 1935. All the material you
reference was not printed until 1939.
The advice to Bill was to stop preaching to prospects,
and focus on his (Bill's) own story, exactly what happened
to himself. Bill had been telling drunks to find God and
find Him now. Drunks wanted to get well, but Bill was
pushing them away with that approach.
If we can understand that approach, I believe you
can hand out ten twenty or thirty year medallions on
a regular basis. Very few members remain with us
more than a year. Our growth rate is just not acceptable.
We ought to be doubling ever ten years, as we did in the
1970's and 1980'S. ANONYMOUS
sometimes for me God is a group Of Drunks
For too may years I trusted in a "Group Of Drunks." They had the answers to all my problems, they comforted me when I was sad and rejoiced with me when I was happy.
I could find such a group in any gin mill in town.
I wish there were some simple way to explain my sadness
at reading your message. I believe it could have been written by most of today's A.A. members. I could have written it myself until my closed mind was finally opened
by another tragic death about five years ago. A tragedy
which could have been avoided.
Sure, your friend may sink to a new bottom and become
more "ready". But most die before they get a second
chance to return.
We have closed the door in the face of your friend
and hundreds of thousands like him. The door to freedom
which our founders vowed never to close.
You are an example of those who are "ready to do
anything" when they arrive at our door. Many are not
at that place yet. It is our responsibility to let them
become ready. We do not do that by telling them to
"find God and find him now." If we fellowship with them
and allow every alcoholic approaching us full freedom,
without shame or guilt, to find their own way to
sobriety, they will remain with us. When we display
spiritual pride and an atttitude of "do it my way or
you will never get it", we turn suffering alcoholics
away from what may be their last ray of hope.
Sure our cards ought to be "on the table", but they
must be placed face down. Let the new member turn them
over at their own pace, little by slowly.
Again, I wish there were some simple way to explain
my concerns. I believe if we could just develop some
self-control, and simply share our own experience, without
telling anyone else what to do, we could return Alcoholics
Anonymous to an acceptable degree of effectiveness. A
negative growth for two decades is appalling. ANONYMOUS
Your discussion of your friend's reaction to AA lends some credence to those that argue that reading "How It Works" from Chapter 5 of the big book can turn a newcomer off. I was desperate to get sober, and was concerned that if it took belief in god to do so, I was in trouble, but in time came to realize that sobriety was possible in AA without "the god thing." In fact, there are countless folks in AA in my area and around the world who do not share the rather narrow conception of god initially described in the big book, and the "lip service" paid by Dr. Bob and other early AA members to the "of your understanding language. Bill's view on the topic softened over the years after seeing atheists and agnostics embrace the AA program and become whole and useful again, and perhaps Dr. Bob would have had he survived another 10 years or so. Today I read "How it works" and recite the Lord's prayer more as a universal appeal for sanity in me and others as opposed to as an effort to engage a deity. But that is just how it works for me today.
I have been into AA since 15 years and a half...and Iam just starting to make my 4th step. I found a pryest for a help, I will let you know how it will help me to be a better person.
One of the things I have been wondering about is the focus of the 12 steps on 'character flaws'.
I wonder how helpful this really is. By speculating on how the person was before they became addicted to alcohol - self assessing for many 'character flaws' - I wonder how the reality of how the addiction changes behavior really should be addressed. Alcoholicism is still has a social stigma, as do most addictive behaviours. And yet they are treatable, as most on this forum will attest.
There is a danger of course in using the crutch of 'I was destined for this..etc.".
So complex. Do we do ourselves a disservice by beating ourselves up? Do we discourage others from trying to gain sobriety by telling them they have to abase themselves even more?
I like doing inventories of myself from time to time usually 4th steps because in the process of figuring out what my character defects are, I can keep working the steps and have my character defects removed. I'm grateful for that. Does it put me in a good light? Usually becoming aware of my character defects puts me in a bad light I feel. But for me that's part of the process of getting honest. Then God removes the defect and it's a bright and clear new day. I am grateful.
"Do we discourage others from trying to gain sobriety
by telling them they have to abase themselves even more?"
Of course we do, and by the hundreds of thousands every
year. We have completely turned away from the final advice
left by Dr. Bob to keep this thing simple.
Bill W. and Dr. Bob left us a unique technique (method)
of getting sober and staying sober. We get sober by
following the suggestions in the Big Book. We stay sober
by trying to pass this message on to others. We pass
the recovery message on to others by sharing our
own experience, EXACTLY. We don't tell anyone what to
do. We only tell them what we did and what happened to
us. How much more simple can it be?
But like some of the other important things in
life, if we do not know the technique, and are too
stubborn and unwilling to learn, we will seldom get
the desired results. If we learn the technique, and
follow it to the letter, we will rarely fail.
Study Bill W.'s first six months of trying to
help other alcoholics, and the approach he used. He
describes results as being spectacularly unsuccessful.
No alcoholic responded to that approach. Following the
technique, method, offered by Dr. Silkworth, Alcoholics
Anonymous was born.
Yes Friend, I have a lot of thoughts. I think every
day of the hundreds of thousands of suffering alcoholics
who approach A.A. every year. They still come to us
desperate for that last chance of hope. We tell them
at almost every meeting "That One Is God, May you find
Him NOW"! We read the steps to them over and over, even
though Bill W. warns us about this numerous times in our
literature. Page 8 in Language Of the Heart is a good
place to start. We must learn what suggestion means. The
steps are but suggestions. The Big Book was meant to
be suggestive only. We have made the BB a second bible.
This was never meant to be.
We have continued to push suffering human beings from
the A.A. rooms by the way our meetings are conducted.
Soon only the Pushers will remain as A.A. members.
Bill W. wanted Alcoholics Anonymous to be around for
another thousand years. Bill and Dr. Silkworth left us
the means to make this happen. ANONYMOUS
I would suggest reading the book “Alcoholics Anonymous”, particularly page 64. It describes perfectly why AA suggests taking inventory. You will find there no mention of beating oneself up.
If that doesn’t blow your hair back try reading pages 84-88, those pages also suggests how to take inventory in AA.
If you are not a fan of taking inventory, join the club. I wouldn’t have done it if I thought I could stay sober and grow spiritually without it. Just like anything, once I practiced the inventory for awhile, it got easier and easier to take.
Good luck to you and God bless you,
With over a decade of experience working with other
alcoholics, our co-founder tells us how to do the fourth
step. How do I take an inventory of myself? How do I go
about this? Page 50 in the 12 & 12 asks these questions.
This page and the following pages tell us how to do the
Bill wrote pages 84-88 in 1939. I would go with the
later version. Surely, Bill learned much in the
following decade. ANONYMOUS
When reading the introduction to the 12x12 (pg 14) it says AA published the 12x12 in 1953 to share 18 years of collective experience within the Fellowship on how AA members recover and how AA functions.
On page 17 of the 12x12, towards the end of the first full paragraph it states: “The book Alcoholics Anonymous became the basic text of the Fellowship, and it still is. This present volume proposes to broaden and deepen the understanding of the 12 steps as first written in the earlier work”.
That statement as written on page 17 in the 12x12 leads me to believe that the 12x12 was not intended to be a stand alone step study, workbook or replacement for the big book. Possibly the 12x12 is meant to be used after working the 12 steps out of the big book. Although each member has a right to work the steps as they so choose, I believe the 12x12 should be used after having a working knowledge of the program as outlined in the big book (obviously my opinion).
Also your reference to big book pages 84-88 is the location of steps 10 and 11. (which I use daily to guide my practice of steps 10 & 11). In the big book step 4 is located on pages 63-71 (8 pages) In the 12x12, step for is 42-54 (12 pages). So as you can see, the 12x12 uses 50% more paper than the simpler version in the big book (obviously my opinion).
There is much hearsay in AA as to why the 12x12 was even written. Some say because the little red book was popular, some say Bill wrote it to get the traditions out to the groups, knowing he needed more than just the traditions in the book. I really don’t know for sure what is true. I have just emailed GSO to get some archive information on the 12x12.
Thanks for your post, I just wanted to share my experience.
For me, these character flaws were some of the reasons over which I drank. One of the most enlightening aspects of the fourth step for me was the realization that I had a part in all of the resentments I harbored. This is taking responsibility and this part was generally based on a character flaw - like fear. I do not beat myself up, but I recognize this, try to improve and do not drink over it.
So, this is not speculation - it is my history and reality. I know that one of the other benefits that people find is patterns which yield insight into how to change behavior.
I try to focus on the "how" rather than the "why". It does not matter to me whether I was destined for this or not. The fact is that over 25 years, I drank progressively more to the point where my life was out of control endangering myself and others. My experience is that when I drank, it often kicked off a process whereby I kept drinking to the point of blackout or chaos. This is because I am an alcoholic.
So, I try to keep it simple. This is not about abasement, it is about freedom and serenity. By taking an honest look at myself in the mirror, admitting my character defects, asking for their removal and making amends where appropriate, I free myself from guilt and have a shot at serenity. I am very far from perfect and I need to work this on a daily basis because not doing so may lead me to think that escaping from reality through alcohol is a good idea. If I do that, my experience is that I put myself and others at risk of death.
"Our liquor was but a symptom." (Big Book,page 64)
Drinking does not cause alcoholism. If it did more heavy drinkers would become alcoholic. As an example look at the heavy drinking done my college students. After graduation the greater percentage of them go on to lead normal lives without binge drinking at every opportunity.
In my own case I showed the main symptom of alcoholism with my very first drink - the phenomenon of craving. My companion had two drinks and stopped.
While I have been prescribed various addictive drugs over the years I used them as prescribed, not to get high, and haven't become addicted. However I began using another addictive drug to which I became addicted through continued use.
During all but the final year or two of my drinking, the physical craving for alcohol didn't start until I took a drink., and got stronger with every drink I took. During my use of the other substance, the craving disappeared when I used and didn't reappear until the effects had worn off.
C’mon man…to say drinking doesn’t cause alcoholism. Do you have egg on your face? At least give in to the fact it can lead to alcoholism. What made me an alcoholic? Let’s see, I became an alcoholic because I stole money from father when I was seven. No, it must have happened when I drew a mustache on the Virgin Mary when I was an altar boy. Wait, I know, I lied to my high school sweetheart proclaiming I loved her so she would sleep with me. Yes, there is a difference between alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence. The medical community states that Alcohol abuse means having unhealthy or dangerous drinking habits, such as drinking every day or drinking too much at a time. Alcohol abuse can harm your relationships, cause you to miss work, and lead to legal problems such as driving while drunk (intoxicated). When you abuse alcohol, you continue to drink even though you know your drinking is causing problems. This does not mean you are an alcoholic but, if you continue to abuse alcohol, it can lead to alcohol dependence. Alcohol dependence is also called alcoholism. You are physically or mentally addicted to alcohol. You have a strong need, or craving, to drink. You feel like you must drink just to get by. If drinking alcohol does not lead to alcoholism what does? Water?
"Drinking does not cause alcoholism". My alcoholism
was caused by drinking. I doubt that I would have become
an alcoholic if I did not drink alcohol. Enough heavy
drinkers develop alcoholism to relate the two. Rose
It don't matter! You are only an alcoholic if you say you are. Whether it was the chicken or the egg that came first, is not important...the were both to be. You may not be have become one but the ISM is what we have to look out for. My prayer is that whomever you are you address them.
Tell me something, Rose, please. When you take a drink, does it start a craving for more?
When you drink can you stop of you feel like it?
If taking a drink starts a craving, did this happen from the time you started drinking?
If the answers are yes, no, yes, then you fit the description of an alcoholic given in "The Doctor's Opinion" and in Chapter Three.
If you answers are no, yes, no, then you fit the description of the problem drinker given in Chapter Three.
I took my first drink, the small glass of liquor,
with a "chaser". As it settled, I was asked if I wanted
another. I said "sure, why not". I took the second drink.
I don't think I "craved" it. So my answer to your questions would be yes, no and no, in that order.
I do not believe that many A.A. members are alcoholics
or problem drinkers when they are first introduced to alcohol.
Any other questions? Rose
Over the years I have heard a some talk in AA meetings and some posts on web pages that you don’t have to work AA’s 12 steps. On occasion I suppose alcoholics can somehow stay dry by not working the steps. I have witnessed many more that drink by not working the steps. I have yet to see an AA member drink while practicing the 12 steps of AA.
If you think about it, after you work the first 9 to clear up you past and get current. You practice step 10 and 11 to live in 24 hour blocks and to develop a relationship with the power that keeps you sober. Finally when working step 12 you take out insurance against a drink, or when you feel disturbed, find another drunk to work with and that relieves the craving.
I know for me I couldn’t stay sober more than 2 weeks without working AA’s steps as best I could. I am still not very good at it. I just know from personal experience that I would never had made the progress I have without them.
So if you find you cannot seem to stay sober, give those steps a try. I did and it’s worked for me. If you haven’t worked the 12 steps, ask yourself if you are happy with the progress you have made. If your good, just keep doing what you are doing. If your not happy, try to apply those steps as a way of life.
Good luck to you and God bless you,
Corey in MN
Have you ever been to meetings in NYC, LA, Jersey City, Chicago, Philadelphia etc? Here you might experience a more diverse brand of AA and not make statements such as, "On occasion I suppose alcoholics can somehow stay dry by not working the steps." I think you are assuming people who do not work the steps are "dry" This is not good logic. Or, "I have witnessed many more that drink by not working the steps. I have yet to see an AA member drink while practicing the 12 steps of AA." Well, not to break you heart but, I have seen people work the steps and still drink. Alcoholism is a complex disease and brain disorder. The solution is not the same for everyone. We should not focus on who does this or who does that. It's not up to me to sit around and tally up who drinks and who doesn't. Working the steps might make one feel secure but, this approach is not the cure-all. People who are threatened by other members recovery probably have a weak foundation. I never sit with my head held high at meetings and think, "My sobriety is better than his or her sobriety because I do this and they do that" Doesn't that sound like kindergarten talk? It does to me. If you find comfort in the steps more power to you but, please let others have the freedom and right to find their own path in AA too.
You're missing the point. How can anyone carry the message of AA if he/she hasn't worked the program of AA? Certainly there are many ways to get and stay sober other than the Twelve Steps. My own father, and admitted alcoholic, died with thirty-nine happy, useful years sober. He never attended AA meetings and didn't take any of AA's steps. Most importantly, he never tried to pass off his program as the AA program. And when I came to AA and he learned about the program, he never tried to tell me I didn't have to take the Steps, believe in God or any of the other things the AA program suggests.
Those who refuse to pray, take any Steps, etc. are certainly free to do what they want. But they are lying to themselves and everyone else when they try to pass off their program as AA.
Oh, by the way, I was introduced to AA in Philadelphia. I've attended meetings several Ohio cities, A few in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Virginia, California, Singapore, Hong Kong and the Phillipine Islands. Those backward places still seem to get by with the Twelve Steps.
I’d like to join in and add a few thoughts to this stream. My sponsor was an old atheist cowboy sober 39 years and he carried the message quite well. He actually started our group and recommended a 12-step meeting too boot! He accepted all points of view and was loved by all. I am so grateful for that man who is long gone dead. At his funeral there must have been over 200 people in AA. My doctor didn't have to have cancer to help me when I was stricken with cancer as I stood with one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel. My sponsor assisted me in laying a strong foundation which has kept me sober for many 24’s. So much so, my hair has turned completely grey. Even though I have a higher power, in a strange way I am grateful he didn't. Because the last thing I wanted to hear about was god when I was arrived in the rooms. The glory in AA is our salvation may come from where we least expect it. He said once, “Do me a favor and try and keep an open mind and don’t get knotted up with AA politics. You have no enemies in AA. All your enemies live inside you. If you can understand that; then you will stay sober for one day.” By following humble suggestions like these I have love, freedom and a real joy in my life today. What world do I live in where my wife adores me; I show up to work on time; my daughter comes to me for advice and my granddaughter loves her papa-papa? A sober one day at a time world. Even my horse doesn’t kick in the stall upon seeing me. Sobriety can be a thin red line because the fact is I’m one drink away from driving my truck into the canyon or putting a bullet through my head. I haven’t forgotten my last drunk for a minute. Many thanks, Jack P. Arizona
Thank you Jack! I am greatful for your experience!
yes, i have been to meetings in other parts of the country. yes east coast from boston down to florida,colorado, arizona, and akron ohio. my experience is still the same. alcoholics that practice the 12 steps as a way of life do not drink. if and when they do, they have stopped working the 12 steps.
like it or not the 12 steps are the foundation of personal recovery in AA (the aa pamphlet "the group")
on page 34 of the big book it says, whether such a person can quit upon a nonspiritual basis depends upon the extent to which has has already lost the power to choose whether he wil drink or not.
the 12 steps are spiritual in nature and if worked as a way of life can expell the cumpulsion to drink......
i think whether you can stay sober by working the steps or not depends on how far advanced your alcoholism is.
finally, we can discuss or argue theories all day, but you can't dispute my experience that didn't stay sober and achieve emotional sobriety until i started practicing the 12 steps as a way of life.
try it, you might get over your sensitivity.
Thank you and God bless,
Corey, thanks for you persistence. Again, I believe
that we share the same goal: to help as many suffering
human beings as possible. That said; I have been to thousands of A.A. meetings and have read and posted hundreds of messages posted here on I-Say.
Where are the messages which say that you don't have
to work A.A.'s 12 steps? I must have missed them. To tell
any alcoholic that that they do not have to practice the
steps could cause serious harm. But to tell an alcoholic
approaching us that he/she has to work the 12 steps in
order to get sober can cause equal harm. Try to understand
what I am saying.
When you work with another alcoholic do you ask: Well,
are you ready yet? Or do you share your own story and
then thank the new person for their time and for listening
to you? On page 70 in AACA Bill tells us how to carry the
A.A. message. Read it please. Read it again.
Let the new person decide for themselves if they
want to join us in this new life that we have described.
No pushing or prodding. Leave the pushing and prodding
to the alcoholic's spouse.
I have found that by trying to help other alcoholics
on a continuing basis, the desire for a drink seems to
just not be there. It works; It really does. ANONYMOUS
If you have time please read the 12x12 starting on page 39 last paragraph and post your thoughts for further comments.
"If you have time please read the 12x12 starting on page 39 last paragraph and post your thoughts for further comments."
Or read the third paragraph of the foreword: "...if practiced as a way of life..."
Or the first paragraph in chapter 5 of the Big Book.
Perhaps your sponsor
Perhaps your sponsor saw through your 4th step that pride was one of your character defects. I would suggest you ask her to explain what she meant by what she said, as only she can interpret what she meant by her words.
Often in AA meetings you'll hear people, such as myself, say we are ego-maniacs with an inferiority complex. On the outside we appear arrogant and full of ourselves, though on the inside we feel inferior and less than others. It is a common contradiction within many of us.
Peace will come as you continue to work the steps, often it comes after our ninth step. Keep up the good work & don't get discouraged... it will all make sense eventually! May your Higher Power smile on you!
I was at a meeting recently when a member said they were on their 17th fourth step. I thought wow, I never did a fourth step. My last drink was in 1983. I was never one to follow the crowd although I see value in it at times. I'm glad there are diverse AA recovery experiences and lots of it too available for the newcomer. Our fellowship is big enough for everyone.
Another one who mistakes the fellowship for the program. Not one to follow the crowd? The "Just don't drink"
program has a large crowd of drunks following it. The honest ones don't try to pass themselves off as practicing the AA program.
My father, and admitted alcoholic, died with thirty-six years sobriety. He was got sober without ever coming to AA. He never hung around AA telling others that they didn't have to work the steps and he didn't try to pass himself off as an AA member.
I just finished the 5th step with my sponsor yesterday. I am in a foreign country and although she speaks very good english...I am a bit confused. She said I exhibit high self esteem and pride issues. She said I may not actually feel that behind my "wall" but that is how I behave. So...what does that mean? I do honestly feel I have very low self esteem but I believe what she is saying. How do I understand my exterior to my interior with this to find peace? Help please!
During the drinking days and early recovery, my "wall" kept others from seeing my self image. Inside, I was full of shame and self-hate. Outside I projected superiority (You can often tell an engineer, you just can't tell him much).
We learn to be good actors to cover our fear and worry is more socially acceptable than fear. With sobriety comes acceptance of our character defects and knowledge that God will remove them. Our job is simply to do the next good thing.
Since you are already confused, I ask you to read the
June 1961 Grapevine article written by Bill W. The article
"Humility for Today" can also be found in "Language of the
Heart", page 254. Bill writes a rambling allegory, about
pride and fool's gold. I think that Bill is repeating his
message that sometimes the good is the enemy of the best.
Bill goes further and writes that sometimes the seeming
temporary good can be the deadly enemy of the permanent
best. When it comes to A.A. only the very best will be
I question the diagnosis coming from an A.A. sponsor.
Is she a professional? I feel you ought to be comfortable
enough with a "sponsor" to ask these questions of her.
If she is qualified, she will be able to explain in
terms you will understand. ANONYMOUS
Keep reading the big book, keep listening to and talking with your Sponsor. Language Barrier bothers me, so much could be mis-understood....like she may have meant you need to work on getting high self-esteem....also, false pride is something you should ask about at a meeting. That is surely what she meant. Pride is good, if healthy and modest. You will feel it if you stay sober. Best, Beth
recovering sence 1986 may 12th soberity date from arid club flint michigan
I am seeking some advice. I was asked by a member who was living in a Recovery House to sponsor him about 5 months ago. Initially, he was both eager, and appeared to be approaching his recovery with honesty and a willingness to get well. He became antsy at the Recovery Home when he started to feel better, and against my suggestion that he stay put, he left the house after a far too brief time.
We had made it to step 4, he provided a detailed and once again, very honest step 4 from all I read but again, he was insistent that he was leaving the home and that he was ready in spite of him not really cleaning up much of his side of the street before he did this. Sure enough within 2 weeks, he focused on work and the money, stopped calling me, and stopped going to meetings then a relapse immediately followed.
Within this 3 day relapse, he lost his job, his apartment, things some may identify with here as I do. He moved back into his parents home and called me (after about 3 weeks of not calling me). He started to go to meeting every day but again, one evening, had 3 drinks, a night or two after that, 4 drinks. He now says he`s ready to commit. My question is this, is doing the steps right this minute the best thing for him???
I am under the impression that his absolute and immediate need is to go to meeting every day, call me every day, and WHEN he gets a bit of a clearer head, THEN we`ll tackle the steps. Right at this moment, I`m not of the opinion, based solely on how he is talking to me, and his actions, that he is even capable of step work.
An example from our conversation last evening, he stated that his parents have now decided to NOT keep any alcohol around while he is there which he stated is "huge" for his recovery. They aren`t in need of this program, they have absolutely no addiction issues. My response to him was, although this is nice of them to do for you, your recovery is NOT dependant on other people.
Anyways, having a long talk with my sponsor, and a few other long timers, they too seem to agree, until he shows he`s committed, the steps, right now, just aren`t the way to go for him????
It has been my experience (26 yrs sober) that the Higher Power is where the answers lie. My job as a sponsor is simply to guide a sponsee through the steps by taking them through our basic text, the Big Book to hook them up consciously with the Power that has kept them alive long enough to even consider AA as a doorway out of Hell. You don't have to question, plan or strategize someone else's sobriety you simply need to be willing to do your job as a sponsor. I trust the Book and the Steps that they will show both of you "where you are" at any given time. Maybe you will begin to take this person through the steps and they stop and get drunk - but this is a success because you carried the message and maybe sometime in the future that person will be ready
I sit in meetings with folks that have worked through the steps with sponsors multiple times but have multiple relapses. Others relate that they took years to really work the steps (substitute your own definition of "really"), yet stayed sober. And still others have decades of sobriety and profess they have never formally worked the steps, have never read the big book. I guess my point is that there is no wrong way to stay sober, each person must figure out what they have to do to go a day without a drink. Early on I went to meetings daily, and tried not to drink between them. I remember people telling me all the things I had to do - get a sponsor, read this or that, ad infinitum. The only thing I HAD to do was not drink. With passing of time I was finally ready to tackle the steps when I ready to do so, not because a sponsor or anyone else told me I was ready. I will never "complete" the steps, rather my hope is that I am able to work them daily to the best of my ability at each moment. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't, but so far I have stayed sober.
Thanks for your simple message. At the end of the day
Dr. Bob concluded that love and tolerance was the answer
to the alcoholic's dilemma. Imagine what our fellowship
could be like today, if we absolutely allowed every suffering soul approaching A.A. the free will that God
(as I understand Him) gives us all.
Attraction not promotion is the bottom line answer. We
push alcoholics away from A.A. and further down, by the
way we conduct ourselves in A.A. today. "what an order"
becomes "let me out of here!!". Most of the members
attending meetings today have no idea what suggestion
It is very difficult to unlearn something I spent
three decades teaching. So I try to have patience today
with members who think the way I used to think. That
is what I taught them. It was not until I saw the
membership numbers showing our stagnation, that I started
investigating with an open mind.
The topics had been in the back of my mind for many
years, the slow changes in our fellowship I had observed.
We have become a strange religious cult. It evolved
so very slowly, dogma and distortion.
But our blunders can be reversed: Stop the incessant
chanting, Stop praying at meetings, Stop cramming the
steps down every members throats, Stop the "hold hands
and pray" closing, Lose the "sponsor" lable, Stop
sharing by "show of hands".
On the service level, Tradition Seven must be honored.
Fully self supporting at all levels, using only money
from our own members. Cut off all sources of income other
than member donations. At the GSO level "Spend what we Send".Not a penny more. And I keep repeating myself.
Thanks again for your message. I hope you share these
"opinions" at meetings, especially Group Conscience
meetings. Don't be silenced by "personalities". ANONYMOUS
In reading this post I am disturbed at the content, which means there is something wrong with me not what was written. I had my last drink In Aug of 1992. I floundered around AA for a couple of years prior to that last drink. In the last 22 years I have yet to meet anyone in AA who took a drink while having a sponsor and working the 12 steps of AA. We all have heard you cannot keep it unless you give it away. I learned when I am close to drinking or emotionally out of balance to get out of myself and work with another alcoholic. Working the 12 step has helped me stay sober. In my experience anyone who drinks is NOT working the steps, If they were, they would be practicing self-examination, meditation, prayer, and carrying the message of AA. That would then relieve them of the obsession to drink and therefore not be compelled to take the first drink.
I have met many who have never worked any steps nor had a sponsor, some do stay sober for awhile, but most seem to drink after about 3 months or so. It seems if they went to some kind of treatment they seem to stay dry a little less then a year before the drinking starts. That’s just my observations over the years, and believe me I do listen and watch to see who is doing what and if it is working for them.
As you stated in your post I have also met some who worked the steps at one time and had some kind of sponsor. They forget that they really have a daily reprieve contingent on their spiritual condition. They stop working the steps and eventually they drink.
Having had this experience myself, I know for me, today I keep a steady dose of AA meetings, keep my nose in the big book daily and try to do what it says, I keep in contact with newcomers to work the 12 step, and in contact with oldtimers and my sponsor because they are further along then I am.
So in closing I would like to relate a reading from the chapter “How It Works,” “Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path.” I heard an oldtimer say recently, and I believe it to be true, “rarely have we seen a person follow our path”.
Thanks for reading
I would think that if an "oldtimer" "rarely sees a
person who follows our path" he/she would start asking
some questions beginning with WHY? Is the example of
life as an A.A. member so unattractive that few want
what we have? Few of today's A.A. members understand
what a path is. And most have changed the definition
of suggestion. Corey, do you really think that
every time you are disturbed, there is something is
wrong with you? Really, did not God give us a brain
and our emotions? The chapter on acceptance was only
one man's opinion. Manny Q.
I was refering to page 90 in the 12x12, It is a spiritual axiom that every time we are disturbed, no matter what the cause, there is something wrong with us.
I was not refering to the story in the big book you refered to.
I am also aware that Bill W wrote the 12x12, however it did go through the conference approval process.
I do believe that when I am disturbed that something is wrong with me. That is why your bleeding deacon ways don't upset me. I greatly appreciate the comments, they help me inventory. I know from experience today, that I can be right or happy. I choose happy!
Thank you and God bless you