12th Step Work
Share experiences and questions around 12th Step work!
RE: I have been sober for over a year but have not completed my steps. I am still working with my own sponsor on my own steps. I am currently out of the United States & a girl who is a new comer needs a sponsor. I had a male tell me to sponsor her even though I have not finished my steps. He says I can help her with the steps I have done. That was my reason for the question about being a sponsor even though I have not finished my steps.
that's what sponses can do. the get YOU into the steps!
Can anyone give me some advice about being a sponsor. Has anyone ever sponsored someone else even though they have not completed the steps.
There is a very important line in our readings.
It says "We can not transmit what we haven't got."
If we don't have experience in working the steps, we can't sponsor someone else through the steps.
Sponsorship is helping someone go through the steps using our own EXPERIENCE in working the 12 steps, We can only share whatever STRENGTH the Higher Power has given us as the result, and the HOPE of gaining a deeper relationship with the Higher Power as we humbly stand by with another Alcoholic seeking the same blessings that we have been given as the result of deep and humble step work.
I hope that you are given the willingness to work the steps with your own sponsor.
"here are the steps WE took which are suggested as a program of recovery "
this is part of the big book chapter "how it works " it's called how it works for a reason, because it is how it works.
if you haven't worked AA 's program of recovery, you don't have AA 's message to carry.
the solution is simple, get a big book and do what it says. then you will no longer have to ask how to carry the message.
sounds like your ready to be part of the solution, great to hear.
there is a reason AA has 2.1 million members in 2013 & had 2.4 million. in 1992. the further we get away from "ho
w it works, the less it works.
good luck and God bless you,
This pamphlet has a nice discussion of sponsorship. http://www.aa.org/pdf/products/p-15_Q&AonSpon.pdf
There are a couple of people I know in AA, whom I trust implicitly, who have not "completed the steps," that is, have not worked the steps. Similarly, there are quite a few folks in AA who indicate they have worked the steps but who I would never trust nor solicit advice from.
Well... Im pretty sure Bill W and the Doctor kept it simple by just working with others
Get a 2 copies of the AA pamphlet "Questions and answers on sponsorship". The answer to your question, yes. I've seen more than once an eager sponsee embarrassing his sponsor enough to get him moving. We stay sober by helping others. That is one of the millions of examples of how it is done.
Most don't recover from alcoholism. If you provide the tried and proven method to the best of your ability that's all you can do. If you don't and he dies...? Many try to pass off some watered-down version that has kept them in remission as AA. They tell us It worked for me. The foreword to the first addition starts - We of Alcoholics Anonymous are more than one hundred... Plus you know that there has been hundreds of thousands since.
Sounds like your life just took a turn for the better.
Step 12 in 12x12 states "It's only where 'boy meets girl on AA campus' and love... many who commit this on newcomers are people who have been aober and are looking for 'fresh meat'. As such, I disagree with the author of the '13th Stepping' article in Grapevine Sept 2013: Newcomers are our life blood, if we allow predators to turn them off to AA (just a bunch of dirty old men) we are wrong. I stand up to these predators and warn newcomers about this threat to them. And it's not just for sex: free labor, money, place to stay, any means to mooch off the newcomer and ultimately drive them away... The Traditions state 'Carry this message to the still suffering alcoholic' the message in the 12x12 is allow the newcomer to work the steps and then let them decide who they want to be in a relationship with...the responsibility declaration!
Hi, nice thread. I am just going to just listen/read today.
Go to meetings and gab the new comer that comes in the door. Or talk with anyone who might need it. Sometimes the old timer needs help as well.I get to take meetings in to a Treatment Center,man it charges my batteries . Man I love bein Sober. What a kick and a lot of fun this life is . SO thank all u sober members for stayin sober for people like me . 10-20-1996
I get to go into a Treatment Center w some friends. Some of the people look and listen.And after the mtg some say thank you to me , And I tell them , thank you for letting me be here.I get some charged up talking about a sober life in AA . And let them know they never have to drink ever again.And the big bonus is we have a lot of fun sober.I myself went thru detox, treatment and half way there in 1996.What a blessing this has been in my life.Thank all you in AA for this great life and thx for letting me b a member.peace
You could pray for guidance to the right person to help you. It usually works!
I have been sober 23 yrs, 7 months, and 20 days with the generous help of my Higher Power. During that time, I have not once wanted a drink or a sedative. I have stood by and helped many women through the steps, the Big Book way, as far as they were willing to go. I have given rides to meetings, spent a gazillion hours on the phone, answered it no matter the time day or night. I am thinking now that is is time for me to go to the sidelines with some of the other old timers and let younger people do the sponsoring of new comers.
I just am tired of giving and giving, and getting dumped on when they balk. I will still be in the prayer brigade of course.
Just this week,someone called me for help after a relapse. I have been available and supportive in every way I can. But I was working this morning, got a call, and couldn't give that person a ride to a meeting. Mt. Vesuvius erupted and I got sprayed with hot acid. Then the person called after work to do it again.
It is always a challenge to feel hurt without lapsing into self pity or covering it with anger. So I sit here feeling sad and knowing that at this time of my life, when so many family are newly passed on, I sometimes just feel sad anyway. I've had to rededicate myself to my own step work and step prayers just to stay out of despair.
That caller today wasn't the first balker who has dumped on me, and I don't expect anybody to stay sober from the work but me. I am grateful for all the times I have felt the Higher Power in my heart as a woman did her first 3rd step beside me.
But now I understand the AA elders who do not sponsor. I have a couple long time sober sponsees who could and do sometimes listen to my 5th step. But for today, and tomorrow, I'm a bit too vulnerable. And I'm not stupid.
That's why they call them pigeons.
Seriously, it's a real problem, particularly if you take on the unsponsorables because somebody has to sponsor them.
If you take too much of their baloney you're enabling them but I guess you have to give everyone a chance. I tell sponsees that tantrums are not acceptable and that I won't sponsor anyone who acts like a two year old; I give them one chance and move on.
I would not know were to begin. on my 4th step. I know I am ready to do it.
my sponsor is always busy for me.
Doing a fourth step does take a considerable amount of time
and effort. I found that it was worth it. But you
do not need a "sponsor" to do the fourth step. Bill W. left
us the instructions in the 12 + 12. Look on page 50. Bill
writes: "Just how do I go about this? HOW do I take an inventory of myself?" There are about thirty questions
to be considered. Not all of them pertained to me, but
many I had to claim for my own. Answer the questions as
honestly as you can. Keep your work secure. The only
person who will see it is you.
Take great care in choosing the individual to share
the fourth step, when you decide to do the fifth step.
A priest may be the best bet. Or maybe an early timer,
whom you totally trust.
This process may not help you at all. Not every
alcoholic benefits from writing an inventory. But I
found that it helped me personally. The steps are
offered to benefit us, not as penitence. Note: When
we get sober, most of us ARE busy. So don't be
Get yourself a copy of AA’s text book, “Alcoholics Anonymous”. Start with the Dr.’s Opinion. If you are having trouble with step 4, you probably haven’t done step 3, and so forth. Working the steps can be confusing with all the different advice given in meetings from members with a lot of treatment center smarts. Some even think the first 5 steps some treatment centers put patients through are the same as AA’s. In my opinion they are not even close. I know because I have done them both ways.
Anyway, AA’s 4th step begins on page 64 of the big book, but you really should work through the first 3 steps out of the book first. If you are like me, nothing but the best should do for your sobriety. If someone suggests using the 12x12, tell them to read the preface of the 12x12. The 12x12 is not a replacement for the big book, it is simply essays about the steps by one of our founders.
Now about your sponsor. Fire him/her. Any sponsor that avoids a sponsee trying to do their 4 step is killing their sponsee. That is the danger of not working AA’s steps and not having a working knowledge of how to work our steps. Go to different meetings and ask for someone to take you through the steps in the big book. If you can’t find someone, the book was written for you to do the steps using that book as a guide. If you still have trouble or have questions, ask them here and I will answer them to the best of my ability through my experience with working AA’s steps out of the big book with my sponsor and sponrsees.
Good luck to you and God bless you!
I want to preface this comment with knowing that this path has worked for me and may not work for all alcoholics who have recovered from a hopeless state of body and mind. I'm coming up on 19 years sober. For the most part I stopped going to meetings at 5 years though I make a dozen or so meetings a year. I support my local Alano Club. I still read the BB and do meditation. My niche has been 12-step work in the community...at bars, at homeless shelters, in the streets, at recovery homes and hospitals. I still present myself as a member of A.A. and know that my face may be the only face of A.A. that any one person may see. I also explain that what I believe espouse derived from the BB and the practice of the steps in my life. I know of several instances in which people got sober or at least attempted it. But that has never been the point of 12-step work in my mind. The point is that I stay sober.....and that has worked for six thousand and some odd days.
I’m likely one of the few who doesn’t have a problem with your meeting schedule. I spent several years attending regularly and have gone through several changes since. The program is my program not meetings. To me it’s an unusual occasion to carry the message to someone who hasn’t asked for it, not wrong, just unusual. A question of “attraction not promotion” went through my mind. Most of my carrying the message is done at meetings. Courts, probation and parole, treatment centers, counselors, angry wives get people to us, bodily at least. Humility in working with others does not come natural to me. I highlighted 13 items in Working With Others in my Big Book that are perfectly appropriate for meetings. I review it frequently. I'm old and I don't need to do any thinking on the subject, it has already been thought out and written down. I just need to read and follow label directions, as usual.
Thanks for sharing, AA needs as much successful diversity as it can muster.
Hello. I am keenly interested in learning more about the 13 items in the Working with Others chapter of the Big Book that are appropriate for meetings. Do you mean appropriate in terms of as a replacement for, or instead of meetings but still appropriate for carrying the message? I absolutely agree with you that the thinking has already been done for us; in this case, however, I am not seeing it. Can you help me see it, please. Many thanks.
Thanks for the interest.
"...because of your own drinking experience you can be uniquely useful..." p89
"...find out all you can about him." p90
"If he sticks to the idea..."p92
Some of the 13 I found, yours may be different or more.
Hope this is helpful.
Before I went out of town last week we had a noon meeting on 12 step work. Good meeting. We talked about many ways to carry out 12 step work. Some members thought they were too new or didn’t have the time.
I was about 3 hours from home that night when I got a call from the local detox. An AA member from out of town was there looking for a meeting. The detox was out of meeting lists but called me since we have a meeting there. I got the guys number. Called a guy from the noon meeting who was 2 weeks sober since I know he was going to meetings every day. I asked him if he would take the out of towner to a meeting and he said he was game, so I had him call another AA member to go with. Last night All 4 of us showed up for our Monday night big book meeting. The out of towner is 25 years sober and the guys that 12 stepped him where 2 weeks and 3 months! I’m not sure who really 12 stepped who, I am just glad I was another link in Gods chain!
I recently joined an AA program and after the first few months of meetings I realized there were different kinds of alkies. listening to some of the worst shares that people have gone through under the influence made me understand I was pretty much a light weight but yet again we all had the same sickness. I don't have the urge to drink and found giving up cigarettes 1000 times harder. I go to 1-2 meetings a week with a very upbeat and happy attitude which is not put on by any means, but the women all around me are extremely negative and with much self pity. I have a great listening ear, and try to share with my positive thinking. I almost hate to share about the bad times of my black outs and every day happy hour, but i know this is the part of AA I have to give up to. I don't feel I need a sponsor but I do read the BB for continued support. The question is does everyone have to grow in sobriety in the same way?
It's been my experience that over the last 3 1/2 years of trying to 'work' my program these are suggestions that were suggested of which several I ignored or thought I had an 'easier, softer way':
* Get a homegroup and DO SERVICE WORK at that homegroup
* Get a sponsor
* Jump right into the STEPS WITH (not self-taught), WITH a sponsor
* Do 90 meetings in 90 days
* Pray daily asking God to keep me sober TODAY and Thanking Your Higher Power for keeping you sober at the end of the day
* Try to call at least 2 alcoholics a day
* CALL someone, EVEN AFTER ATTEMPTING MY SPONSOR, if I have the desire to drink
* Don't get into relationships or make any MAJOR Life-Changing events in the 1st year.
* a few other minor ones
My point...I'm approaching 8 months sobriety (you do the math)...it has been a 'rocky' 3 1/2 years but THANK GOD I now have SURRENDERED...Have WILLINGNESS (sometimes have to pray for even this)...and an Open Mind...
It's been my experience that NOW following ALL the suggestions...I've had a Spiritual Experience and find Maintaining Sobriety is a heck of a lot easier than GETTING SOBER! Keep Coming Back...It Works If You Work It!
I read your post and I actually felt sad that you do not have a sponsor. Sharing at an AA meeting doesn't always mean that we are just sharing the bad stuff, in fact, sharing where we came from, how we got here and what its like now through our experience, strength and hope with the 12 steps is what an AA meeting is about, its for sharing the good stuff as well.
"Sobriety—the freedom from alcohol—through the teaching and practicing of the twelve steps is the sole purpose of an AA group." — Bill Wilson
A sponsor is someone who is sober, belongs to an AA homegroup, attends face to face AA meetings regularly, she will be smiling, reaching out to newcomers, and will have been through the 12 steps with a sponsor of her own. She will be passing on what was passed to her, how to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety through the 12 steps.
I can't imagine being new and trying to navigate through the Big Book by myself. When I was new, I completely misunderstood many things in the Big Book and I was very grateful that I had a sponsor who I could call and talk with, meet for coffee and be taken through the Big Book explaining to me what things meant.
Without a good sponsor to take me through the 12 steps of recovery and to show me the way through the Big Book, I would have been left to my own devices.
And left to my own devices always meant doing things My Way, running on self-will with "stinking thinking" and that has a name...its called Untreated Alcoholism. And Untreated Alcoholism Kills, whether we drink or not.
I would strongly suggest joining an AA homegroup closest to where you live, and getting a good sponsor to take you through the 12 steps of recovery. Ask your HP in your morning prayers to put a good sponsor in your life, then Let Go and keep an eye out for who shows up :)
Thanks for sharing. Your thinking is very common. After 33 years it's still difficult for me to remember that everyone in a meeting got there based on his or her liabilities, not assets. So why should I expect them to all act sane? There is an old adage that eagles don't flock. I've found it in AA as well as anywhere else in life. But there are some. They found that when they let go they didn't fall, they soared. The ones I have run across and try to emulate use the steps and a sponsor. At the other end of the scale, I've seen many disappear, a few die and in between are those still held back by the negative thinking,self pity and all the rest that you have seen.
I had had the wrecks, tickets, thousands of hangovers, work problems bombed relationships like everyone else from the beginning. I walked into Alcoholics Anonymous when I was thirty years old and couldn’t break the habit of going home from work thinking I could drink a beer, turning it into at least six or eight and falling asleep in front of the TV. No family pressure, no crisis. A good inventory using the steps showed me I was as sick as anybody on skid row. The drinking is only a symptom it says somewhere. I had plenty of others.
There are numerous sites with recorded AA speakers online. Have a listen and see if they "have what you want..." and get ready to be motivated.
When I get to Alcoholics Anonymous, nobody gave me the Twelveth Step; they gave me some brochures and schedule group. Fortunately for me it was like that, if they had been saying silly things maybe I would not have stayed. I made four Twelveth Steps, three AA explain that it was achieved. When I was attending a lady entered a "buddy" was watching us and the first thing he said was that here was one important thing that was the First Tradition, had to behave well. The lady did not stay because of the things he said. When I went to meet a man entered two companions saying I had no right to do what I just step twelve in discussion. The man was not due to the show we gave.
All we say is that there is a new solution, we did it, the program worked out and the best way is with our behavior. I can spend two hours I saying nonsense but that is not carrying the message. when a newcomer get and improved look and recover physically and mentally is when they give me the twelveth step, after many years.
I am having problems with the 4th step and need help. Anyone have advice they can share?
How do I take an inventory of myself? How do I go
about this? See page 50 in the 12 & 12. Rose
I would suggest consulting your sponsor..
I was writing for two years when my emotional problems were coming to my mind, but in mexico in 1993 someone could advise me run the 4th. the 5th step. step in writing a single session, lasting three days, not if you live there but the service is related to the second blue book appendix (spiritual experience). Here in mexico more than 1 million people have practiced that way and I think that with 99 percent of effectiveness, I know that in Las Vegas there are about 30 such groups help and running this job. I hope to be of much help and you can help others
If you are interested in going the " old school " route for your 4th Step, I suggest listening to or downloading a talk or guide by Paul F which can be found at
xa-speakers.org and type in Paul F in the search box. From the list look for 432 I think that is the talk / workshop for the 4th Step.
At the same site there are workshops on the steps by Joe & Charlie and others.
The Paul F goes thru the 4th Step right out of the book and adds his experiences also.
Great to hear you’re thinking of beginning your 4th step. How did steps 1, 2, and 3 go? In the book “Alcoholics Anonymous”, pages 64-71 in the chapter “how it works” contains the directions for step four. Ask your sponsor how to do a 4th in the big book. I would guess you don’t have a sponsor if you’re asking for help online. I suggest you go to several meetings asking for someone to help you work step 4 out of the big book. If you are like me, you will feel great security in taking step 4 out of our basic text.
If someone suggests you work your 4th step out of the 12x12 ask them to read the last two sentences of the first full paragraph on page 17 of the 12x12. Those two sentences state,” The book “Alcoholics Anonymous” became the basic text of the Fellowship, and it still is. This present volume (the 12x12) proposes to broaden and deepen the understanding of the 12 steps as first written in the earlier work.
We all know what a text book is. As far as using the 12x12, how do you broaden and deepen your understanding of something you have never done? It’s like coming back from somewhere you have never been. However there is great information for sponsors on step 4 in the 12x12.
Another reason for using the format from the big book is that when you continue to do steps 10 and 11 on pages 84-88 in the big book, it refers to the same format that you continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear and so on.
I wish you luck with your 4th step, the big hurdle is just getting over the reluctance to do it.
The guy who put Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill W. tells us
exactly how to do the fourth step. See page 50 in the 12 & 12. He makes it simple, though not easy, to "do". ANONYMOUS
The last 24 hours:
5-6 am considered my plans for the day. Asked God to direct my thinking and to divorce my thinking of self pity, dishonest, and selfish motives. Asked God to show me the way of patience, tolerance, kindliness, and love. Asked God to help me be in a position to help those who still suffer. Read pages 84-88 in the big book for inspiration to do step 10 & 11. Read part of a story from big book, a little in the 12x12, and the daily reflections.
6:30-3 worked, talked to Steve and Mike (AA members), left message for Chris (sponsee), Bill (sponsor who moved), and Ole an old timer in AA.
3-7:30 picked up kids from school, played with them, talked to wife for while making supper, played with kids and dog again. Ole called back and talked to him about AA.
7:30-9 big book study. Read steps 5-8 in big book. Two members still hadn’t done 5th step. Group member who did his 5 step convinced the last two to do theirs.
9-10:30 listened to 5th step. Welcomed him to the human race.
10:30-11:30 reviewed my day to see where I had been selfish, dishonest, inconsiderate, or frightened. Thought of who I might owe amends too. Read texts from two AA members and made plans for today. Thanked God for another day of sobriety and for putting me in a position to be of service.
5-6 am considered my plans for the day…………..
My last drink was Aug 13 1992. Ole’s last drink was in 1972. He taught me how to live 24 hours at a time like I just described. It’s a design for living that works! I know because I have been sober and HAPPY the last 20 years.
Cause and effects, I don't beleive much in big book. God's been taking care me for a long time. I don't have to keep asking him. The world i live in, and influenced by, is the the world i was born with and lives
with in me. PARoxdes the truth verses what seems like the truth, but don't last. West Virginia.
"There is a principle which is a bar against all information,
which is proof against all arguments, and which cannot fail
to keep a man in everlasting ignorance—that principle is
contempt prior to investigation."
Hey, Gods been taking care of me too. God was waiting for me as I was running my alcoholic life. when I finally ran out of options, I tried to work the program of AA as close to how the big book describes it. I found God and began to develope a conscience contact with God through working the 12 steps of AA.
My question is this, If you don't believe much in the big book, which "is" the program of AA and after which the fellowship of AA is named, what are you doing here and how do you carry the message of AA if you don't believe in it? It sounds as silly as someone who joins a football team, but doesn't want to play offense,defence,special teams, practice, or run the plays as laid out in the huddle. maybe that person should be playing cards or bowling.
It sounds like you are making a mockery of our third tradition. A lot of work went into developing our traditions. Maybe you could at least read them. Maybe this
writer lets the A.A. group, in which he participates,
carry the message. That is the purpose of the group, to
carry the message. My understanding of the message may
be limited. I believe the A.A. Group is more qualified
to carry the message. ANONYMOUS
I suggest reading chapter 7,working with others from the big book. It explains how YOU carry the message. Take note of how many times. "You "is written instead of we like the rest of the big book.
I was talking to a newcomer at a meeting recently. I offered a lift to the meetings I attend. He said sure and that his family was living in his uncles basement. I got his number and made plans to pick him up. On meeting night I called to get his address. He gave it to me. He was living in my neighbor's basement! He is new to AA and wants to go to the big book meetings my group has twice a week. Imagine that, an alcoholic being interested in the book alcoholics anonymous and big book meetings!
Share, Encourage or Move on...as the Spirit of the Lord Leads.
At 6am this morning, I was wrapping up my morning meditation with the words found on page 164 of the big book. I asked to be shown what I could do for the man who is still sick today. Then I heard a text message on my phone, so I looked at it. It said, I’ll pick you up at 5:45 to go talk at the treatment center at 6 and 7 pm.
My next thought was, the answer will come if your own house is in order. But you obviously can’t transmit something you haven’t got. See to it that your relationship with Him is right and great events will come to pass for you and countless others. This is the Great Fact for us.
Thank you to AA for guiding me through the 12 steps so I could experience the Great Fact again today!
God, as we understand Him, bless us all!
"the hilarious life"is a phrase I read once in an AA story from the Big Book years ago.Forget which edition.It conjured-up memories of the end of my drinking career when I desperately tried to escape the "loneliness and despair" of solo drinking and frequented bars.My toothy grin and exaggerated foot-stomping to the music would draw stares.But at least the bartender called me Sir-"Sir,you're bothering the other customers.""Sir,you can't sleep here.""Sir,the police have been notified!"........If only I had joined AA earlier.All these Bleeding Deacons are quarreling over how many angels can dance on the head of a pin:"You aint talking to the poor Newcomer right!"....HILARIOUS!
I have printed out a list of meetings. I will attend one tomorrow. How do I find a good sponsor? I want to work the steps and make it work this time. I'm so tired of my messed up life. Today is day one.. I have kept myself busy. Had to go to a work function and as soon as I got there I gave away my "drink" tickets and brought no money with me. I had a good time. I know there will be hard days to come and I need to find a home meeting and people who I can reach out to. any suggestions on home meetings? I'm in Gilbert Arizona.
thanks in advance
Take the steps let God work them and stay close to the fellowship not a follow-ship take a closer look if your sober
if not someone will need to help you but you sound sober.
There are book studies everywhere you don't have to wait for someone take them.
For the time being, use the group as your sponsor. As time
passes you will be drawn to certain members of the group,
who may very well become lifelong friends. If you decide to
formally do the steps (they are suggested) you will need
someone to listen to your step five. I highly recommend
a priest or someone sworn to secrecy.
I attended meetings in Flagstaff AZ. a few years ago.
We had meetings at the train station where the only
"moment of silence" was when the train whistles blew.
Morning meetings held elsewhere were very reverent, but
we could still hear the trains. I would use the word
endearing to describe all the meetings I attended while
there on vacation.
I was also sick and tired of my messed up life,
although to all outward appearances I had it all
together. I may have once had it all together but I
forgot where I put it. I used to sit on the barstool
at a local bar, dreaming of the life I wanted. It was
Alcoholics Anonymous who made that dream come true.
In the town I recently relocated to, we now have 4 meetings that no longer read Hazeldon’s 24 hour meditation book as part of the AA meeting format. The 4th changed it’s format last Tuesday. It has taken a little over a year to go from zero to 4. I now feel comfortable to communicate with local doctors and ministers to do 12 step work. Until now I was uncomfortable bringing newcomers to the local AA meetings because of the 24 hour books religious tone. The 4 meetings mentioned have gotten back to AA’s primary purpose as stated in tradition 5.
After talking with a local minister, he thinks he has a few parishioners that might be interested in AA. I am looking forward to carrying the message to them with the help of our AA group. If they have problems other than alcohol, we will steer them in the right direction. It feels good to have some unity back in our local AA world. If we get and stay unified that AA is for Alcoholism, we stand a much greater chance of breaking through the denial that all alcoholics have. I believe that denial, as one of our trustees said is the single greatest obstacle to recovery form alcohol.
Thanks for reading
I was given a 24hr book by an A.A. member (not the group)
at my second meeting in Oct 1969. I loved that little book
and I still do. I remember that I bought a box of them in
my early sobriety and sold them at cost, or gave them away.
The price was $2.00. I used my own money and kept them
separate from A.A. conference approved literature. I really
did not understand why it could not be displayed at A.A.
meetings. But there were some members who understood, and
they were vocal about it.
Fast forward thirty-five years and the book has been
accepted as A.A. material. We not only used the book as
a topic for meetings, it became a regular reading in
addition to the preamble. I could see no reason for
not using the book and always voted to use it.
I never truly understood why the book was rejected
in the first place. The fact that it is very religious
never bothered me. Too much God in it? Absurd! God is the
core of Alcoholics Anonymous. And A.A. is religious or
spiritual at its core. So WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?
The problem is that we are reading this religious
material to the newcomer at their first exposure to
A.A. This and other religious material is read along
with the preamble, disregarding the fact that A.A.
is not allied with any sect or denomination. It confuses
the newcomer and other alcoholics who have no interest
in religion. They just do not "Keep coming back". Our
membership numbers show that we are not growing.
There is no wrong way to get sober. We each find our
own path to recovery. Most of us find sobriety by
following the guidelines in our Big Book. And we have
a special unique method of allowing that to be transferred
from one alcoholic to another. We share our own stories,
exactly what happened to us, without telling anyone that
they must do the same. When we tell another alcoholic,
Well this is what I did, and if you want to get sober,
you have to do the same thing, we are way out of bounds.
Sure, it was/is the Big Book which told me what to do.
So why not also let the Big Book tell them what to do?
I can read it in the book. That is not the same as
having someone standing over me telling me what I have to do.
We can remove the 24hr book from A.A. meetings just
because it is not conference approved literature. But
I believe it is of greater importance to understand why
it was rejected in the first place. It ignores the advice
given to Bill W. by Dr William Silkworth in the spring
of 1935. This is the "cart before the horse idea". Bill
writes several times of the importance of this "IDEA".
Bill emphasizes that without this idea, A.A. could
never have been born. It has to do with the way we
carry the message. We talk about ourselves, not telling
anyone what they have to do. Simple, but difficult to
We go contrary to this IDEA when we read the 24hr. book
and "How It Works" aloud at A.A. meetings. That light
went on for me about five years ago, when I investigated
our lack of growth in the past twenty years. There are
numerous reasons/excuses for our stagnation. Some of these
reasons we can do nothing about. But we can remove the
24hr book from our A.A. rooms (you are doing that). But
we must also stop reading HIW to all and sundry. We must
stop the strange chanting, and the "hold hands and pray"
closing. Other mistakes are posted in previous messages.
But we must admit these mistakes, acknowledge them and
take action to correct them. They are not going to just
go away. It will take a lot of sustained exertion on our
part. You are certainly doing your part. I like to think
that I am doing mine. ANONYMOUS