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! ;)
Thanks for the advice. It did bring a smile after
reading it a couple of times. I am almost done, really.
My wife laughs when I say that. In the evening I promise her that I will give up. But not just yet. ANONYMOUS
My wife once said to me: "There's only one thing worse than an alcoholic - that's an alcoholic who's got religion." Fortunately I took her point. Since then we've been very happily and unhappily married for over twenty years. I find it best for me not to make promises or talk to her about my 'new dawn' resolutions.
Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts. It is much clearer to me now, what I have got to do to get on.
Morten A. Denmark
I like it to say: We do not give directions but a path to follow. I do not like to follow directions of others. I like to go a path that works with another.
I relapse again and again after 4 years sobriety. I think that was because I feel the steps as directions. Now I will try it again, I will DO it again and follow the path. With the help of God.
Path vs Directions or Directions vs Path?
I interpret path and directions as having the same meaning in the excerpts from the Big Book listed below. There are other phrases that use path and directions but they have a different context. I think Bill, just like any other author used several different words to mean the same thing.
Read the following and decide for yourself.
The Twelve Steps that summarize the program may be called los Doce Pasos in one country, les Douze Etapes in another, but they trace exactly the same path to recovery that was blazed by the earliest members of Alcoholics Anonymous. BB xxii, Foreword to Third Edition
Further on, clear-cut directions are given showing how we recovered. BB p.29, There Is A Solution
Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. BB p.58, How It Works
If we have carefully followed directions, we have begun to sense the flow of His Spirit into us. BB p.85, Into Action
On page 58 of the Big Book it says, 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.
At some of these we balked. We thought we could find an easier, softer way. But we could not. With all the earnestness at our command, we beg of you to be fearless and thorough from the very start. Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely.
I have to ask myself if I am willing to go to any length. If I am then I am ready to take those certain steps. If I hold on to my old ideas the result is nil. To me that means thinking I know best. I have to remember my best thinking led me to chronic alcoholism. I also believe nil means nothing!
Thanks for reading,
This whole thread of conversation regarding symmantics is a perfect example of how we as alcoholics can "screw up a free lunch". There is absolutely no reason to complicate a mud puddle. Seriously, sometimes I just have to take a blind leap of faith. I don't worry whether something is a path or a direction. Sometimes the choices that my sponsor suggests sound completely foreign to me. I just have to do it, not think about it and let the results to my higher power. Afterall my best thinking gets me drunk. That is not to say that I shouldn't use my brain. I'm using my brain to choose not to have an issue with path vs. direction.
That slippery slope is hard to get off. I hope you change the things that you did before.
I don't like to play word games. I know a path or directions is the same thing. I do idiotic things when drinking, but I am not an idiot.
I also know AA does not have a monopoly on sobriety. Drunks have been sobering up once in awhile from a variety of methods.
I also know that ounce our spiritual plan of action was developed and printed in the book "Alcoholics Anonymous", millions of hopeless drunks have begun a sober and usefull life.
In 1991 I was dry 9 months going to meetings in AA. I left my homegroup meeting feeling good after talking to my sponsor. Within 3 hours I was drunk. someone passed a drink my way and I took it.
That's when I finally took my 1st step. I finally conceded to my innermost self that I was a hopeless drunkard. In taking that first step, I found the willingness to do those other 11 embarassing steps as outlined in the Big Book.
I have not only not had a drink since, but I have been happily married,father,gainfully employed,and a contributing member to my community.
I owe it all to the "fellowship" and the "program" of AA
No, Corey, you are not an idiot, just uninformed, or
misinformed. There is a great difference in directions and
a path. Our A.A. pioneers left us a path to follow. They also left us directions telling us how to follow the path. If we use the exact directions, following the path is not that difficult. Understanding the directions is the conundrum.
I believe the statement: Rarely have we seen a person fail
who has thoroughly followed our path. We ought to be
sharing our own experience, strength and hope, not giving
directions to anyone. The "program" has diminished the
effectiveness of the fellowship.
When you finally took that first step, you found the
willingness. Then you (and I) became willing to do
whatever is necessary (the rest of the steps), which is
a lifetime process. That is the way it has been for me.
I am also a father; My grown children have never seen me drink. Happy Father's day to you and me, and all fathers, drunk or sober. My father was often a drunk, but he did
the best he could with what he had. He had no solution.
Today, we know "There is a solution". We need to dig it
out and start using it again. It worked before and will
work again, if we follow the "few simple rules". The
simple rules are not the twelve steps. I don't think
anyone would consider the twelve steps to be "simple".
Rules,path,directions,steps, suggestions & requirements.
When i came to AA & got serious about sobriety, those six words all meant the same thing to me.
There is a lot of sobriety around here. Can anyone define those six words in AA language without playing word games?
Webster's Random House College Dictionary may be able to
help you. I can assure you that each word has a distinct
and different meaning. Check them out. That I would
surely recommend. You can also look up recommend. ANONYMOUS
I came to AA and stayed because I wanted to recover from alcoholism, not to play word games. Untreated alcoholics will go to any lengths to keep from taking the steps, including nitpicking about definitions.
I hope you do not consider this forum to be an AA
meeting. This is more like a group conscience meeting,
where everyone has the opportunity and responsibility
to share feelings, thoughts and opinions.
"Follow our directions" was changed to "follow our
path", just before the Big Book went to print. Today's AA has reversed that decision. A path
is not the same as directions. There is no one on
that path. God may be there, but you probably won't
see Him. Who would you consider to be untreated
alcoholics, other those who do not take the steps?
The last time I looked, the steps were still suggestions,
not a requirement for membership or sobriety. ANONYMOUS
It is very difficult to regain sobriety after relapse.
I have heard that the first time is a gift. The second
time is hard. But it can be done. Of course the deadly
enemy is that next first drink. With four years around
AA, you probably know what you have to do. If your spouse
is an alcoholic who still drinks, get away from that.
Make whatever changes which need to be made.
I wish I could tell you to sit down with a sponsor
and work the steps and you will be well. Many will
tell you that is "How it Works". They will read that
message over and over. But that is not the path
written in the Big Book. A path is just that: a path.
There is no one there on the path to direct you. God
may be there, but you won't see Him. The path which
worked for Bill W. was trying to help other suffering
alcoholics. Dr. Silkworth told Bill the best way to
help others, by sharing his own story. Bill had to search
for alcoholics to help. You know where to find them;
at meetings. You can best help others by listening to
them. Listen to all who share, without distraction or
judgement. You can help other alcoholics by listening,
and also will help yourself by what Bill called self-forgetting. You may have to do a little research to
find an AA group where you fit. Some meetings are just
social gatherings and some are just "off the wall". It
should not be that way but it is what it is.
You may know that just before the Big Book went to
the printers, the word directions was changed to path.
Alcoholics like me do not respond positively to
directions or instructions. An attractive path is almost
always followed by an alcoholic sufferer. Be that path
for another sufferer. Avoid that first drink as if it
were the worst poison. It is! ANONYMOUS
Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscience contact with God as we understood him, praying only for knowledge of his will for us and the power to carry that out.
This is my experience with step 11:
In the big book, on page 86 it says “When we retire at night, we constructively review our day. Were we resentful, selfish, dishonest or afraid?(just like step 4) Do we owe an apology? (just like step 9) Have we kept something to ourselves which should be discussed with another person at once? (just like step 5) Were we kind and loving toward all? What could we have done better? Were we thinking of ourselves most of the time? ( self-centeredness like in step 3) or were we thinking of what we could do for others………( like step 12)……….
On awakening lets us think of about the 24 hours ahead. We consider our plans for the day. (I take time to ponder may days plans) Before we begin, we ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be divorced form self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives. Under these conditions we can employ our mental faculties with assurance, for after all God gave us brains to use. Our thought-life will be placed on a much higher plane when our thinking is cleared of wrong motives. ( I believe how I think is how I act, so if my thinking is good, my actions will be good)
If circumstances warrant, we ask our wives or friends to join us in morning meditation…………….there are many helpful books also……….be quick to see where religious people are right. Make use of what they offer.
As we go through the day we pause, when agitated or doubtful, and ask for the right thought or action. We constantly remind ourselves we are no longer running the show, humbly saying to ourselves many times each day “Thy will be done.” We are then in much less danger or excitement, fear, anger, worry, self-pity, or foolish decision. We become much more efficient. We do not tire so easily, for we are not burning up energy foolishly as we did when we were trying to arrange life to suit ourselves…………………
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 twelve.”
Step 11 gives me a precise plan of attack for each day. It tells me what to do at night, in the morning, and for what comes up in between. This is what I try to practice daily as my 11 step. It truly taught me how to live a day at a time.
Thanks for reading.