12th Step Work
"Bill then spent six months "sponsoring others until he found a receptive audience in Dr. Bob." Bill W. calls that six months of "violent exertion." No alcoholic responded
because of Bill's approach. Just before leaving for Akron,
Dr Silkworth advised Bill to change his approach. The "little doctor" said to Bill "you've got the cart before the horse". "These alcoholics want to get well but
you are pushing them away". Bill W. wrote several times in our literature that without that advice, Alcoholics Anonymous could never have been born. Bill followed that
advice and our wonderful fellowship began.
My own understanding is that we share exactly what we
were like, what happened, and what we are like now. Not
so much on what we are like now. Newcomers can see for
themselves what we are like now. We ought not tell any alcoholic what to do. Only if they ask, and even then we
only again tell them what we did. We do that without even
implying that they do the same. If they identify with me
that is fine. If not they are sure to find someone they
can identify with if they look and listen.
I believe that steps one, two and three are being
practiced if we are approaching AA for help. "My name is
Joe and I'm an alcoholic", is the part of step one, and
part of step five. Anyone who can read and write ought to be able to follow the guideline on page 50 in the 12&12.
Just how do I take an inventory of myself? How do I go about this? I believe that Bill usually used "practice
these steps", as in all our affairs. I believe that proper
sponsorship has very little to do with telling a newcomer
to work the steps, and then telling him/her how to do them.
This probably seems strange to AA members who have joined us in the past two decades. Before that, we were a fellowship of men and women. Today's AA is a TWELVE STEP
PROGRAM, only one of many.
I know this is very difficult to understand. It is only
in the past decade in AA that I found out that our membership was diminishing. I thought AA was "alive and well". For readers who don't know, we doubled in membership
about every ten years, reaching almost two and a half million in 1992. Today we boast of TWO MILLION STRONG.
Alcoholics are still approaching us, hundreds of thousands every year. We can help them if we return to the technique offerred to Bill by Dr Silkworth in the spring of 1935. As with some other special things in life, if we do not know the technique, and fail or refuse to learn, we will
seldom get the desired results. In the pamphlet "three talks to American Medical Societies", Bill calls this
technique a "gadget". This simple technique is really how
it works. INVESTIGATE, STUDY. please. ANONYMOUS.
All that was said in the second response
Question: Do you understand they are referring to people not in A.A ?
I wonder if anyone posting on these topics has ever bothered reading the chapters on the traditions in the 12 & 12. I also wonder if they have ever read the AA pamphlets printed by the GSO on various topics, including sponsorship. I highly recommend these readings before jumping on the bandwagon bent on diagnosing all that is wrong with AA. The 12 & 12 in particular has a wonderful account of all of the well-intentioned errors committed in the early years of AA by would be "pure and respectable" alcoholics, and the response: not rules against non-conformity, rather rules protecting each groups autonomy, which include that groups "right to be wrong." But don't take my word for it -- read it and look for proof that I am wrong!
Quote "I wonder if anyone posting on these topics has ever bothered reading the chapters on the traditions in the 12 & 12. I also wonder if they have ever read the AA pamphlets printed by the GSO on various topics, including sponsorship."
Yes - and without listening to someone take them out of order
Are you referring to the outside sponsorship pamphlet written in 1976? or the new one written in 2010?
Each AA group is autonomous, and can operate in any manner
it chooses, except when its actions affect other groups or
AA as a whole. If something is wrong, it is my opinion that
it ought to be corrected. Most, if not all, of the well-intentioned errors were explained and corrected, many
after years of hammering out on the anvils of experience.
The truly informed group conscience decisions have a greater
chance of being correct. Every group member has the right
and the responsibility to voice opinions and concerns,
without pressure from group personalities. How many AA groups today actually have group conscience meetings? I
believe that most are run by personalities. ANONYMOUS
Who is so arrogant to even say someone does not have the right to be wrong?
THE OUTSIDE SPONSORSHIP SYSTEM. AKA, Another persons reality a personality.
I have traveled around the country going to AA meetings where ever I find them. I love when I say my name to a bunch of AA strangers and they say 'Hi Susie!" I like saying the serenity prayer at the end holding hands in a circle...and saying" "keep coming back it works if you work it!"
Being a real alkie, I do sometimes think the out of towners are doing it wrong. But I just bless them and ask HP to help me to be as tolerant as I need to be to be doing HP's will for me. I'm in the wrong if I think I'm right and they are wrong and they can be right if they do it my way.
I'm in the wrong if I think I'm right. ?? That just does not make any sense to me. Am I wrong? "Hi Susie!" and "keep coming back ,it works if you work it!" are chants of a cult nature and have no place in AA. Next comes "Hi Susie!", thanks for coming; and thanks for sharing Susie,
with a little jingle and loud applause. Many years ago
individual members acquired the habit of saying to newcomers: Keep coming. That slowly evolved into the group chanting Keep
coming back! Then it was added: It works if you work it!
Then So work it you're worth it was added. Today some
members add I die if I don't work IT! At some groups this
is chanted while they hold on to you, pumping arms up and down. I could be wrong, but I think much of the general
public today view Alcoholics Anonymous as some kind of
freakish joke. Chanting is harmful to our growth. The
reading of How It Works and the 24hr book at meetings
also harm our public relations policy. Add the "hold hands
and pray closing and we become viewed as some kind of
strange religious cult. We drive alcoholics away even before they approach us. To most AA members this message
makes no sense at all. Maybe someday it will, when we study
the history of AA and admit our blunders. Maybe then we can
turn this ship around and become effective again. ANONYMOUS
Brilliant. Thank you for taking the time to write the article.
However I do believe in the reading of how it works. It is my opinion that the media ( movies) in particular have added to the "freakish" cult like view of our fellowship.
Especially when the celebrities become involved.
Our fellowship is a tremendous one, especially when those wonderful traditions are followed, in their entirety.When we vary we will become sick and die.
The reading of the first two and a half pages of
Chapter Five as part of the format is one of the
worst mistakes we have ever made in A.A. It is
followed closely by the incessant chanting.
Reading HIW to newcomers is in stark contrast
to the "cart before the horse idea" advice given to
Bill W. in the spring of 1935. Bill wrote several
times that without that advice A.A. could never
have been born. Dr. Silkworth advised Bill to stop
his preaching to the alcoholics. Bill was pushing
them away with spiritual pride.
Chapter Five, in my opinion, is one of the most
important writings in A.A. But it was never meant
to be the first thing an alcoholic to be exposed
to. It is a critical matter of timing.
Why do you suppose that Bill placed HIW in chapter
five? If it were the first thing an alcoholic is
supposed to hear, wouldn't Bill have placed it
in chapter one. Bill even explains where he placed
it and why he placed it there. If you would only
investigate. A.A.C.A. and Language of the Heart are
the sources of information.
The "freakish cult" view of the media and general
public are reality. Our reputation is no longer
better than our actual character. ANONYMOUS
One thing for sure is the outside sponsorship system has a hard time getting accustomed to A.A.
Time to look at A.A. Tradition and have A.A. take it's own inventory again like it did in 1964. What do you say A.A.'s or do you have to ask your sponsor, Lol
All sponsors are Bad and sick that's why they sponsor nowhere in the 164 pages of the PROGRAM does it say the word sponsor!
God brought you to a good place get a friends list up you can have as many as you want as long as they are not someones sponsor - this is not a need a mommy or daddy program it's about growing up not some I got you don't outside sponsorship follow-ship bull but a fellowship between you and God and then LASTLY another human being not just a human get it?
I've recently stopped responding to a simple identification,but do say thank you after a share. And I notice others following suit.
The chairperson is the only member who ought to say thank you. When the members respond as a group, that is chanting.
Chanting is a cult ritual and has no place in AA. We do not want to further the suspicion from the general public that
AA is some kind of cult.
When I share, I am not doing anything to be thanked
(applauded) for. I actually thank the group for listening
to me, because it helps me.
And you are right, it only takes one person to get a
ritual like this started. That is how the HI JOE! chant was
started in the 1980's. ANONYMOUS
To help someone to the door of A.A.and introduce them to the people in the fellowship is more important than helping them out.
Helping an alcoholic wherever u find them is paramount to staying sober in AA. That said, I can't decide between the two.
Neverthless, 12th step work, being service work, can happen (a) in district, area, or ad hoc activities; (b) in meetings silently with my butt in a chair; (c) in setting up chairs, making coffee, going to business meetings;etc.
To carry the message rather than the Alcoholic should be clear to anyone - Even someone not able to sit up in their seat is a strong message and only in A.A. can bad examples be good ones and have a need to celebrate something we should of been doing long ago . LOL
How do we best help the suffering alcoholic entering our rooms. Please endulge me a moment while I explain this to anyone who cares to listen. A dozen alcoholics are sitting
around a table. At the listed time a member who has been
chosen by the group rings the bell. My name is Bill and I
am an alcoholic. No one responds Hi Bill! or any other chant. Bill is simply admitting he is an alcoholic, with
a tinge of the fifth step, admitting it to others. The
preamble is read explaining what AA is. Bill speakes
about his experience with alcohol: the good, the bad
and the ugly, and explains in simple terms how he got
sober. No one applauds as he concludes his monologue. Bill
simply guides the sharing around the room, after explaining
that the meeting is an hour and everyone ought to be
given the opportunity to share. The meeting will end on time. The meeting is closed with a custom which has
been chosen by the group conscience. you will notice that
all members are treated equal, without any pidgeon status.
No one is made a spectacle of, or allowed to make a spectacle of themselves. No coins: No applause. Oldtimers
and newcomers come together as equals, totally. We need
the new member as much as he/she needs us, equally. This is
how Bill W. met with Dr Bob. And that is what worked. It
will still work that way. We don't have to fully understand
the process. We only need to be obedient. Follow the path
of our co-founders. Sure, each group is autonomous. There
are no AA police. We are responsible to police ourselves.
Are we willing to sacrifice our clamors and desires to
read, read and read: chant, shout, hoot and holler, and
distort our AA meetings into prayer groups, for the sake of
the alcoholic who still suffers? I hope and pray yes. God
can turn the tide, but we must help Him. Anonymous