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
The way I understand the path is that WE are supposed
to follow the path. If we follow the path WE will seldom
fail, both ourselves and the fellow we are trying to help.
But what is the path? I finally understand that the
technique which works is to simply share my own experience,
strength and hope. We share or talk about exactly what
happened to us. our own story.
We are the ones who are responsible to follow a certain
path; not the newcomer. Confusing?? ANONYMOUS
I believe on page 58 of the big book it says our stories disclose in a GENERAL way..... In the chapter working with others, I think is says something like if they ask, tell them exaclty..... just food for thought.
What a wonderful simple message. Someone else wrote
that we can practice the steps any way we choose, as long
as we are not doing so for someone else. Bill W. offers
us suggestions how to practice them.
I suppose there are some newcomers who need a mentor
to hold the pencil for them, but I believe they are a
small minority. I have become convinced over the past
few years that the title "sponsor" ought to be deleted
from A.A. vocabulary. If we do away with the title, the
real sponsor may reappear. Today's concept of sponsorship
has made Alcoholics Anonymous a cult, in my neck of
the woods. And elsewhere, according to other I-SAY messages.
A long time ago the slogans "Easy Does It" and "First
Things First" meant something. Today it is "Find God and
Find Him NOW". And all the other demands. ANONYMOUS
I suggest you read Chapter 7 of the Big Book.
I would suggest reading the bb chapter working with others for you and chapter 2 & 3 for your sponsee. that's what worked best for me, you will read all the does and don'ts there.
Remember to lay out the spiritual tools for his inspection. There is no timetable for the steps, but you can read Bill's story and se how fast he did it. Try not to forget that BIll W gave Dr Bob his last drink the morning before Bob made his round of amends.
I find there is a lot of myth and misrepresentation of early AA history in outside publications and on the internet which is written by authors who appear to be pushing their own religious evangelical Christian agenda and nonprofit corporations. I have noticed some of this misinformation just gets banded about within AA without much thought being given as to were the information came from. Some of this material only tells a half truth; the authors cherry picking select snippets of factual information from the 1930s and 40s which is out of context with the whole fellowship and the whole historical timescale. This distorts the whole truth and gives a very false picture. Some of the information is from unverified sources and appears to have been made up by the author in order to plug the gaps between the ill fitting pieces of selected factual material. As an alcoholic with Christian religious beliefs I'm well aware that there are a lot of dishonest alcoholic Christians.(Including myself at times). I'm very concerned that the dishonest portrayal of early AA as a Christian fellowship in such outside published material is going to turn many alcoholics away from AA. It think we all have to be very careful to consider where information comes from and whether it is from verified sources before we pass it on.
When you say "BIll W gave Dr Bob his last drink the morning before Bob made his round of amends." Can you tell me where you got this information from? Is it from AA published literature or from an unverified source outside AA?
I believe it is stated in the book Dr Bob and the Good Old Timers.
I should have spelled out Big Book instead of bb. But since you brought it up, look up Bible in the index of AA conference approved literature “AA Comes of Age,” “Pass it on,” and Dr Bob and the Good Oldtimers,” There is a lot of great information you don’t hear much about today. In Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers on page 71 they talk about some readings out of the bible that might interest you. On page 74 Bill talks about giving Bob tomato juice, sauerkraut, and karo syrup. He also gave him some beer to steady his nerves! Then on page 75, Bill talks about giving Dr Bob a bottle of beer just before they stopped at the hospital.
I also like on page 72 how Bill was adamant about keeping a couple big bottles in the kitchen to prove temptation wasn’t there!
Sorry again for the confusion, around here bb usually stands for Big Book, not the bible.
Along with the topic of this post, It’s interesting to read the bottom of page 74 of Dr Bob and the Good Oldtimers, Dr Bob’s statement of how he was now ready to do what it takes to get sober and stay that way. That goes along with what is written in the Big Book about asking if the newcomer wants to get over drinking for good and if they will got to any length to do so. They are also reminded of that in the 9th step in the Big Book, but don’t take my word for it. Look it up for yourself and draw your own conclusions.
On page 75 I also like how that same day after that operation, Dr Bob spent hours going about Akron making restitution to friends and acquataintences.
Thanks for reading
We usually consider twelfth step work as talking one on one with a wet drunk, or working with a newcomer. But How about speaking at an AA meeting? This is twelfth step work, isn't it? It is according to the 12 & 12.
Should we pay alcoholics to speak at our meetings? according to our literature, we do our twelfth step work without expecting or getting any payment except the satisfaction of giving back what we were given.
But what about alcoholics who speak at AA conventions or conferences? We pay them, don't we? No, we don't hand then a check or a wad of bills. But we pay for their transportation to and from the conference and we pay their hotel and restaurant bills. Some of these 'professional' speakers spend more weekends at conventions than they do at home. One, as quoted in the Grapevine seventeen years ago, wouldn't agree to speak unless the committee included his wife, thereby saving the expense of bringing her himself or the inconvenience of spending the weekend without her.
What about those AAs who travel around the country lecturing on how AA worked in the beginning? Or those who explain the Big Book to those of us considered too ignorant to read the printed word?
For the annual convention of young people in AA held in Europe and at the LIM conference when it was still being held, speakers are/were chosen from those who registered. They paid their own way and their own expenses, the way twelfth step work was meant to be done. Shouldn't AA as a whole do the same?
When asking about paying Alcoholics to speak at our meetings, you get into the
Traditions of AA. Specifically Tradition Eight, by my interpretation, that we, as alcoholics, should not get paid for doing 12 step work. That would include telling my story at a speaker meeting, or being invited to a conference to share my experience, strength and hope. I would include travel expenses. I FREELY give what was FREELY given to me.
Thank you for your post about the paying of convention speakers. Speaking at meetings or conventions is Twelve Step work. Twelve Step work is never to be paid for. It is against the spirit of humility in Tradition Twelve. When money mixes with spiritual things it doesn’t work. Spirit talking turns to ego talking when money is around. That t turns into power, money or prestige seeking.
“Through the mid - 1940’s, it was felt that grand titles and flowery introductions might go to an alcoholic’s head.” (Dr. Bob and the Good old Timers page 221)
“We have found it wise policy, too, to hold to no glorification of the individual. Obviously, that is sound.”
(AA Co-Founder Dr. Bob . Extract ‘The Fundamentals in Retrospect’ AA Grapevine September 1948)
“Don’t applaud me. Don’t applaud any alcoholic” (Dr. Bob and the Good Old Timers page 221)
“I was no longer a teacher or a preacher.” (Bill W. extract, A Fragment of History: Origin Of The Twelve Steps, AA Grapevine July 1953, The Language of the Heart p 199)
“Because of the absence of figureheads and the fact there is no formal body of belief to promote, they have no fears that Alcoholics Anonymous will degenerate into a cult.” (The Jack Alexander article about AA, p 23) http://www.aa.org/pdf/products/p-12_theJackAlexArticle.pdf
There’s seems to have been a lot of talk about cult like behaviour on these forums. There is a presence of figureheads in A.A: Joe McQ, Charlie P. Dick B., Wally P., Myers R. Chris R. Wayne B. Cliff B. I don’t think I should know their names. I don’t live near them. It is not good for Alcoholics Anonymous for people seek fame, money or power in A.A. or to encourage them. Unwise to adulate the individual. It is a perversion of Tradition Twelve. Speakers at conventions should not be paid expenses.
“IN as large an organization as ours, we naturally have had our share of those who fail to measure up to certain obvious standards of conduct. They have included schemers for personal gain, petty swindlers and confidence men, crooks of various kinds and other human fallibles. Relatively their number has been small, much smaller than in many religious and social uplift organizations. Yet they have been a problem and not an easy one. They have caused many an A.A. to stop thinking and working constructively for a time. (AA Co-Founder Dr. Bob . Extract ‘The Fundamentals in Retrospect’ AA Grapevine September 1948)
I agree that any and all AA involvement should be pro bono
You can't put a price on sobriety ~ do what keeps you sober, whatever gift you are blessed with needs to be shared so that others may recover free of charge Thanks
How do I write about it unmangeable colunm powerless colunm ?
my experience as out of th big book with the help of a loving sponser was that the first step is an inside job one that i had to decide for myself .the only step she could not help me with...hope that helps ....laura x
I have never read anything in AA literature about an umanageable or powerless column.
To my understanding step one is on page 30 of the book alcoholics anonymous. The second full paragraph states "we learned we had to fully concede to our innermost selves that we were alcoholics. This is the first step in recovery"
I would suggest reading the book Alcoholics Anonymous. It specifically outlines the program of AA.
Good luck and God bless you.
What makes you think you write anything for step one?
"We learned that we had to fully concede to our innermost selves that we were alcoholics. This is the first step in recovery." (Big Book, page 30)
I have yet to find anything in the Big Book, which, by the way, was written "To show other alcoholics precisely how we have recovered..." (Forward to the First Edition)
The fact that you have come to AA and are attempting to take the steps shows that you have already taken the first step. You don't have to write an essay and convince anyone else.
The fact that you know yu can't quit on your own and believe the AA program can relieve your alcoholism shows that at least AA is a power greater than yourself. And the fact that you are willing and ready to take the steps shows that you've turned your will and life over to something, even if it's a sponsor who wants you to practice his/her version of the steps.
Your only referring to the first part of step one What about writing down what you lost with your unmangeaged life
"Your only referring to the first part of step one What about writing down what you lost with your unmangeaged life"
An alcoholic is free to write whatever he or she wishes to write down, providing it's not being required by someone else.
Those who read the Big Book and identify with the "Doctor's Opinion", "There Is a Solution" "More About Alcoholism will see how their lives had become unmanageable.
Years ago many speakers used to say that when they were knew they decided they could rewrite the Big Book. That usually drew a lot of knowing chuckles from the audience.
Today untreated alcoholics call themselves sponsors, rewrite the Big Book and con newcomers into believing they are passing on the AA program of recovery. I challenge anyone to show me where the Big Book or the 12 & 12 says we write anything on our first step, or any step except the fourth and eighth. The practice of writing something for the other steps was born from the ego of someone who believed he/she knew more than the author of Chapter Seven.
Any alcoholic is free to write whatever they wish, as long as it is NOT REQUIRED BY SOMEONE ELSE. On page 8 in Language of the Heart Bill W. writes about the most powerful
authority known. Bill calls the most powerful authority
known as THE AUTHORITY OF HIS FULL CONSENT, WILLFULLY
GIVEN. I believe this to mean that we only share our own
experience, strength and hope, without giving directions
There were numerous changes to the Big Book just before
it went to print. Bill was concerned that the publisher would make him re write the whole thing, it was so marked up. Bill and his friends were desperate to get the book
published as quickly as possible, for two reasons: They
wanted to "get the message out", and they needed the
money from sale of the book. Numerous changes were made,
and I believe more changes would have been made if time
had allowed. But Bill did cover this by writing that
the book was meant to be suggestive only, and writing
that more will be revealed. Keeping that in mind, I
have found very little fault with our first, second,
and third edition of our Big Book. I would never have
accepted the "hold hands and pray" story in the Fourth
Edition. By the time the fourth edition was accepted,
the custom of holding hands and praying had been
accepted by most of the AA membership.
I have a friend who called me his sponsor when he
came in 30 years ago. He sponsors newcomers today.
His first requirement of the new person is to read
the first step in the 12 & 12 every day for five
days, meet with him and discuss it. I asked him
if that was the way I sponsored him. He just looks
at me puzzled. He has stayed sober, but doesn't
have much success with new members. I am looking
for the order to "Get a sponsor and work those steps"
in any of the origional literature. ANONYMOUS
Jim S. That is a great message, right up to the second
half of the last sentence: something, even if it's a sponsor who wants you to practice his/her version of
the steps. Why do you suggest that a new person turn
Her/his will and life over to another human being. Why
not suggest that the newcomer rely on the group for the
present? Bill tells us how to do the fourth step beginning
on page 50 in the 12 & 12. Someone will be needed to
do the fifth step. Bill explains that also. Your sponsor
walked you through the steps and that worked for you. And
you have been sober a long time. But I do question the
suggestion that an AA member turn his/her life over
to another human being. The group is the safe way to
go. I believe that most alcoholics do come to believe
in God, but not all do so. And it ought not be an implied
requirement for membership in AA. I do believe that we
don't have to write anything until step four. But
remember that ALL the steps are but suggestions. ANONYMOUS
I did not suggest that a new person turn his/ her will and life over to a sponsor. If you'll read that sentence again you'll see that I said, "And the fact that you are willing and ready to take the steps shows that you've turned your will and life over to something, even if it's a sponsor who wants you to practice his/her version of the steps." In other words, that person has already turned his/her will and life over to something or someone else.
I pass on Leo R.'s suggestion to newcomers: When a sponsor tells you to do something ask to see it in the literature.
Step 12, Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principals in all our affairs.
On page 88 of the big book, it says, We alcoholics are undisciplined. So we let God discipline us in the simple way we have just outlined.
But this is not all. There is action and more action. “Faith without works is dead.” The next chapter is entirely devoted to step 12.
I know there is a lot more to 12 step work than what is listed on pages 89 through 103 in the big book. I just want to list a few words from this chapter that stick out at me at this time in my recovery from a hopeless state of mind and body.
PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics. I have been studying this book for over 20 years and have just now noticed the first two words of that paragraph are capitalized!
Frequent contact with newcomers and with each other is the bright spot of our lives. I relate to what Bill is writing here!
Don’t start out as an evangelist or reformer. Good advice!
So cooperate; never criticize. To be helpful is our only aim. I wish I could remember that line!
If He does not want to stop drinking, don’t waste time trying to persuade him…………Ask him if he wants to quit for good and if he would go to any extreme to do so. If he says yes, then his attention should be drawn to you as a person who has recovered. You should be described to him as one of a fellowship who, as part of their own recovery, try to help others……..
They should wait for the end of his next drinking bout. You might place this book where he can see it in the interval. There Bill goes again, talking about this book!
When he sees you know all about the drinking game, commence to describe yourself as an alcoholic……Show him the mental twist which leads to the first drink of a spree. We suggest you do this as we have done it in the chapter on alcoholism. I think Bill is talking about pages 30-43 in the 4th addition.
You may talk about the hopelessness of alcoholism because you offer a solution…….
He may be an example of the truth that faith alone is insufficient. To be vital, faith must be accompanied by self-sacrifice and unselfish, constructive action. Is Bill saying that faith is not enough? Bad news for drunks with no faith. Well I guess that’s why AA is described as a spiritual program of action!
Outline the program of action, explaining how you made a self-appraisal, how you straightened out your past and why you are now endeavoring to be helpful to him. It is important for him to realize that your attempt to pass this on to him plays a vital part in your own recovery……
On your first visit tell him about the Fellowship of AA. If he shows interest, lend him your copy of this book. There goes Bill again talking about this book!
If he is sincerely interested and wants to see you again, ask him to read this book in the interval. After doing that, he must decide for himself whether he wants to go on. Is Bill saying have the newcomer read this whole book before he joins AA!
Suppose now you are making your 2nd visit to a man. He has read this volume and says he is prepared to go through with the 12 steps of the program of recovery. Having had the experience yourself, you can give him much practical advice. Let him know you are available if he wishes to make a decision and tell his story…… Sounds to me like Bill is suggesting that I work the 12 steps of AA before I carry the message of working the 12 steps. It also sounds like he expects the newcomer to have read the big book before deciding to continue with this program.
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. Sounds like Bill is putting conditions on my recovery!
Argument and fault-finding are to be avoided like the plague. Try to have a fight without arguing and fault-finding, and please let me know how it went!
…………These things will come to pass naturally and in good time provided, however, the alcoholic continues to demonstrate that he can be sober, considerate, and helpful, regardless of what anyone says or does.
Your job now is to be at the place where you may be of maximum helpfulness to others……… Good to hear what my new job is!
After all, our problems were of our own making. Bottles were only a symbol. Besides, we have stopped fighting anybody or anything. We have to!
Turns out alcohol wasn’t my problem after all. It was my solution to feeling a conscious separation from God and the people around me. It worked until it didn’t work anymore.
However I am feeling today, when I read this chapter, what’s listed above is what stood out at me today. I know from my own PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE, that the next time I read this I will see it a little clearer.
Thanks for reading.
Don't start out as an evangelist or reformer. And do not
become one. If you decide to become a preacher or
teacher, do it outside our AA rooms. Stop preaching and
praying in AA. We are a fellowship, not a religion. ANONYMOUS
When I read your posting, it sounds like you are an evangelist, preacher, and a teacher! Read what you are asking others to do and apply it to yourself.
Sorry to take your inventory. I always say that. Sorry to but do it anyway. Looks like I have some growing up to do!
I suggest reading the pamphlet "The AA Group"
It states the sole purpose of an AA group is the teaching and practicing of the 12 steps.
There is also a great article by Bill W about why the serenity prayer and the Lords prayer is OK to use in AA.
Good luck and God bless you.
Why does Bill write that the sole purpose of an
AA GROUP is teaching and practicing the 12 steps? Why
doesn't he say that it is the purpose of each member
of the group? I think it means what it says, exactly
as it is written.
Where is the article by Bill W. about why the serenity
prayer and the Lords Prayer are OK to use in AA?
The decision on how to close an AA meeting ought to
be determined by a fully informed group conscience. The
requirement to "hold hands and pray" is unconscionable.
Leave holding hands to the romantics. ANONYMOUS
First, i feel if u and i are sharing on how we work the steps, we are "as a group" teaching the steps. newcomers can decide for themselves who to listen to and what to do.
Second, if u google "bill wilson lords prayer origins" a letter to Russ from the sixties explains the origin of the prayer in meetings and why we have used it since 1935.
Third, if you look up lords prayer in the "dr bob and the good oldtimers" index you will find 4 examples of using the lords prayer to close meetings.
I hope you enjoy the reading,
Good advice! you should try your suggestion! ;)