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God fearing drunks do not have a monopoly on whining about what is wrong with AA, though at times you wouldn't know that based on the substantial number of complaints on this site about how the "original message" is being watered down. As an aside, I had to laugh when a young man told me about a church-based addiction boot camp, or something like that, he went to. When I asked if it were based on the 12-steps, he replied, in all seriousness, "No, it is a God-based program." But your point about some of the agnostic sites is well-taken. I think patience, acceptance, and tolerance, along with true humility, are the very last things to come in sobriety. I can only hope that while I wait for them to arrive or surface from within me, I do not say something that may harm or offend someone with different (and therefore wrong?) views than mine.
I was told after a meeting tonight that I over-intellectualize AA. I am the first to admit that I've always been a very analytical person. I have a degree in philosophy and can happily pass the time just pondering life's questions. I find AA to be a particularly fertile place for both spiritual AND intellectual growth and I see nothing wrong with "thinking" in AA. Yet I often encounter this belief that using my intellect is somehow dangerous. I hear people say, "my best thinking got me here" and although I understand their point, I would argue that it was my WORST thinking that got me here and that with the help of my HP and AA I am trying each day to improve my thinking. For me, understanding the principles and how they apply to my life is a very important part of my recovery. To suggest that I shouldn't think so much is akin to suggesting that I not breath so much. I am practicing a program of recovery that can and will save my life. I feel I owe it to myself to study it, to understand it, to learn all I can about it as if my life depended on it...after all, it does. I would like to hear what others "think" on the subject of thinking in AA. Is it a dubious luxury? Am I headed down a slippery path by using my noggin'? Do I need to dumb it down in meetings when I share so as not to put others off?
I too am a student of Philosophy. My experience in this program teaches me to be balanced. There are times to think and there are times to quiet the mind. My Higher Power has guided me on this. My higher power works through others, so there may be some validity to the feedback that you received. But, use your own barometer; are you spiritually fit? If I can practice the 3rd, 10th, 11th and 12th steps on a daily basis with no difficulty, the answer is usually yes. I realize that while my mind can move upward to accept new values in my life, my Higher Power can also transcend those morals, understandings and experiences if I allow this to happen. I value the question, so I never stop asking. My Higher Power has given me the courage to accept the answers.
In the first month or so of sobriety, after a meeting, I heard a couple of long-timers talking about me. One commented that she really thought I was going to "get it." Who knows what gibberish I had shared during the meeting, full as I was of non-western philosophies as I struggled with the "god thing." The other, who I later asked to sponsor me, replied: "If he doesn't over-think this thing." That of course was Dr. Bob's last message to Bill W: don't louse this thing up with a lot of Freudian nonsense - keep it simple.
For a time, I studied AA intensely, figuring I was best armed by being best informed. Over time, I have come to realize that all my erudition will not keep me sober, and in fact may lead me to conclude that I have this whole thing figured out and don't need AA, which is a sure road to relapse and worse. I also realize that I am one with the least learned (in a bookish sense)in AA, that I can learn something from everyone. I need to dispense with my intellectual pride inside (and outside) AA, as ultimately of course "intellectual pride" is an oxymoron.
Please don't dumb down. We need all of the variety we can get.
I suffer from a disease with at least three symptoms:
I can't control drinking after drinking a small amount,
Un-aided, I can't stay away from drinking,
and three I deny the first two.
It takes a tremendous amount of learning and experience to combat these consistently. Repetition is part of any learning. I have needed to hear, read, be exposed to the simple lessons of AA scores of times and I needed to hear these things explained scores of ways. Your angle on some part of recovery will be exactly what someone is needing for their Ah-Ha. Stick with it.
study big book pages 84 -88
in particular page 86. BB tells us exactly how to use our brains.
Thanks for your reply. The sort of contemplation I'm talking about is the kind that helps me to better understand and articulate the principles I've come to understand in this program. I enjoy using analogies to convey what it used to be like and what it's like today. I feel it helps me to carry the message. With that said, I will happily continue contemplating and marveling at the spiritual life I'm continually nurturing.
My sponsor Gordy G., got me going on audio tapes by Dr. Paul (Big Book, "Acceptance was the Answer (p.407)." He closes his story with ".....my serenity is inversely proportional to my expectations." That is certainly true for me, especially when what Dr. Paul calls his "magic magnifying mind" takes over.
I do best in the morning when I start out with readings followed by as much silence as I can tolerate. This practice keeps me centered on God's will rather than my own, driven by over-thinking my problems and my agenda. Only then, am I free to pray.
Dr. Bob was a thinker, he read up on just about every philosophy and religion including the Koran, Confucius and voodooism (Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers pp. 309-311) Bill W. was a thinker too. The next time you bump into the alcoholic who told you that you over intellectualize, maybe you could think about saying to them that Step Two says “..humility and intellect could be compatible, provided we placed humility first.” (The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions p. 30 http://www.aa.org/twelveandtwelve/en_pdfs/en_step2.pdf )
And, “Those words of old time, ‘judge not,’ we observe most literally.”- Bill W. (“Tradition One,” The Language of the Heart p. 76, AA Grapevine December 1947 http://da.aagrapevine.org/ )
Then ask them if they have ever read the AA Service Manual Combined with Twelve Concepts for World Service. Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard medical school George E Valliant described it as “…a great piece of world literature, like the American Constitution. It is a great contribution to human thought.” (“A Doctor Speaks” AA Grapevine May 2001).
Here’s a bit from Concept IX:
“As individuals and as a fellowship, we shall surely suffer if we cast the whole job of planning for tomorrow onto a fatuous idea of Providence. God’s real providence is that he has endowed us human beings with a considerable capacity for foresight, and He evidently expects us to use it. Therefore we must distinguish between a wishful fantasy about a happy tomorrow and the present use of our powers for thoughtful estimate. This can spell the difference between future progress and unforeseen woe.
Vision is therefore the very essence of prudence, an essential virtue if ever there was one. Of course we shall often miscalculate the future in whole or in part, but that is better than to refuse to think at all.”
– Bill W.
(Concept IX, The AA Service Manual Combined with Twelve Concepts for World Service p 38 http://www.aa.org/pdf/products/en_bm-31.pdf )
I have to throw a sober bachelor party for a sponsee and I am looking for suggestions
Well...simply make it clear on the invites that "it's a no booze party". Let's see who the real friends are then? Have fun..you can still hire a bikini lady to jump out of a cake.
I have recently relapsed and the after effects both mentally and physically are so extreme and different than I have ever felt before. I feel great despair and doom inside me, it so horrible that it is giving me panic attacks (severe), I have never in my life had one of those. How do I get rid of this, can someone help me? I'm really desperate and scared this time. Please share with me on how some of you went through. I feel worthless and useless like never before. Its tearing me up. Thank you...
i been sober 11 and half month,and i am learning patience and clairity..my daughter just got locked up tonight at age 17 for assult and i was not mad or upset, my husband was so mad i was so calm and didn,t jump to go get her...i had some coffee and then called the OPP back..i am not responsible for her actions and i have choices in life and i don't need anyone to guilt me into doing what i think is right...and i belive everything will work out..
You have to pick yourself up and get back on the wagon. I was in AA 20 years ago and kept myself sober, going to meetings, social interaction with AA crowd, when slowly I started to slip away and eventually fell off the wagon completely. Since then I fought it and tried to convince myself that I am not an alcoholic, even though it was all getting crazy again. I felt like I'll never get it back again. Things got bad for me and I was not living my life - I was living for the next drink every other damn day. Now, as of today, I have eight days of sobriety and am starting over again after 20 years! I have to for me, my health, and my family.Yes , I have felt and still do feel anxious and depressed but the fog is starting to clear and I know I've got a long road once again. If I can do it, you can, too, my friend. Anyone of us can fall off the wagon, and anyone of us can climb back on again if we just take it one day at a time. That's my motto for this past week and everyday. Good luck.
I have heard comments like: It is easier to stay sober
than it is to get sober. I have also heard that the first
time is a gift; the second time is very difficult. It may
even seem impossible, but sobriety is still possible.
If you can "go away" for a 28 day drying out period,
you may have a better chance. You are fighting for your
life, so stay away from the first drink at whatever the
cost. Use every ounce of willpower you can muster. Find
some meetings which make sense. I find today that many
meetings are just nonsense. You may have to search.
Many have gained sobriety. You can too. ANONYMOUS
The Fellowship alone will not keep you sober, the program of recovery is in the Twelve Steps. Find a group member who has taken the Steps and ask them to take you through them . Half measures avail us nothing, and I'm not judging, I relapsed multiple times before I made a commitment to do the!work and it saved my life and led me to a new freedom and a new happiness! Don't give up good luck and God bless.
I saw the play "Bill W. and Dr. Bob" last night, it's playing here in NYC... and it was such an amazing experience. For the first time I really understood that Bill W....is not the star of AA. I thought of him as the leader, the main man. But I realized while watching the play that without Dr. Bob... we would have no program. That this is truly a WE program. I went with my 2 sponsees, and one of their sponsees. I'm in my 40s. My sponsees are in their 20. My grandsponsee, as it were, is 18 years old. 3 generations of people, who are sober today because of this program and the people that came before us. What an amazing gift. Has anyone seen this play? It made me pick up the book "Pass it On" so I could learn even more....
I hope I'm not interrupting, but I am bothered by a sentence in the book Daily Reflections, that I came upon while attending a Daily Reflections Meeting not long ago . From that book on pg. 162, from June 2, THE UPWARD PATH. Without spelling out the whole passage, "These words do not imply that I should walk the well-trodden path of those who went before, but rather that there is a way for me to become sober and that it is a way I shall have to find". I never read such bunk coming from any A.A. literature. I understand that the A.A. GENERAL SERVICE CONFERENCE APPROVED THIS LITERATURE. I have to ask, Did this passage come up so late that every one at the Conference was so tired they all said 'Yaa', so they could rest up for the next days agenda? Look, I speak from experience when I say that sentence does not work. I tried it my self and thanks to those who came before me that showed me the correct path I have forty two years of continuous sobriety. I would be dead long ago if I had not "walked the well-trodden path of those who went before me." Oh, by the way, the handful of people in all those forty two years I was sober who adhered to that philosophy to my recollection, were not around very long.
So, who am I? I'm James and I am a real Alcoholic! And I hope the A.A. GENERAL SERVICE CONFERENCE gets it right and Disapproves that sentence. Its all yours now!
I am convinced that Bill W. and his friends would never
have approved our conference approved Daily Reflections
book. It would have been rejected just like the 24 hr.
book was rejected. And for the same reasons. It reeks
of religion. It has too much God in it. You might ask
how could too much God be a bad thing. That would be
like having a girl too pretty or a car too fast.
Bill W. often writes about the IDEA offered by Dr.
Silkworth in the spring of 1935. Bill stated that
without this idea, AA could never have been born. Most
AA members today have no idea what this IDEA is all
about. A thorough study of Chapter 1 Verse 17 in the
gospel of John is called for. It has to do with
the subject of Grace and Truth, and how important it
is to balance the two. Too much truth without the
proper amount of grace has all but destroyed our
fellowship. If we can restore the equality every
AA member ought to be offered, we can restore the
effectiveness of the fellowship our founders left for
us. But our members keep on insisting: "Nothing the
matter here." That is the big lie. ANONYMOUS
Perhaps you should consider the passage to be a koan, to be meditated upon until its true meaning is attained.
The "truth" of what he said "has been revealed"??
The passage is just something believed by one member of AA.
Maybe its "true meaning" has been revealed to the the writer of the comment (and me BTW) and it's been revealed as being misguided and dangerously untrue.
I do not have a copy of Daily Reflections in front of me. However, I believe that for every 100 AA members, there are 100 different paths to sobriety, and that I must find my own path even within AA. There are those I know in AA with 50+ years of sobriety who would never recommend their path, other than to the extent that it has involved not drinking and working the steps "as they understand the steps" to the best of their ability. But glad to have you and others out there concerned with ferreting out doctrinal errancy. You might next direct your efforts to the book "Alcoholics Anonymous," where there are many passages I would consider "misguided and dangerously untrue," as evidenced by Bill W's later writings, including the 12 x 12. For him, at least, more was in fact revealed.
forward to the first edition of "the Big Book" contains comments "We of Alcoholics Anonymous who have
RECOVERED from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body...(have published this)..to show other alcoholics
precisely HOW WE HAVE RECOVERED. fOR DISCUSSION:
(1) Do you believe that YOU have RECOVERED and if so when did you come to this conclusion,
and why, and how?
(2) Do you believe that YOU have NOT yet recovered, and if so, when did you come to this conclusion,
and why, and how?
this forward appeared in the first printing of the first ediion, 1939. how much sober time did Bill W
have in 1939?
We recover from a "hopeless state of mind and body." to one of hope for mind and body.
We don't (fully) recover from alcoholism - in its physical (we retain the 'allergy'), mental or spiritual manifestations.
Or else we wouldn't need the continued maintenance of our spiritual condition.
21 mth sober and feel great, but after seeing so many people relapse in the AA rooms and in treatment....I think it's best for ME to know that I can never be fully recovered. The minute I start to think that I may slip.
So...I am happy to know simply that I am in recovery every day. Is really OK for am alive, sober and slowly my life is changing for the BEST. Thank God & fell free to comment.
Bill left Towns Hospital for the 3rd time in December of 1934-- he remained free of alcohol for the rest of his life.
LoisJean, Bill left Towns Hospital for the third time in
the summer of 1934. He picked up a drink again on Nov 11th
and had his last drink on Dec 11. He entered Towns Hospital
on Dec 11, 1934 for the last time as a patient. I read this
in "Pass It On". (from the horse's mouth). ANONYMOUS
If I went to an A.A. meeting today and these questions
were asked, I would head for the nearest exit door. This
topic is controversial and divisive. Years ago I did attend
an A.A. meeting, an hour meeting and the topic was recovered
or recovering. What a waste of an hour, plus considerable
travel time. Not worth a "hill of beans" as my Dad used
to say. Note: My name is Joe and I am an alcoholic. An
ANONYMOUS alcoholic. 1939 was a long year. Bill got sober
mid Dec 1934. Do the math.
While recently re-reading the AA pamphlet “3 talks to medical societies by bill w”, I was once again reminded of why AA has the book “Alcoholics Anonymous”, our 12 steps as a program of recovery, and how grateful I am for them.
Bill sobered up in 1934. After 6 months they had been using Ebby T’s six step program for recovery. In substance, here they are:
1. Ebby admitted that he was powerless to
manage his own life.
2. He became honest with himself as never
before; made an “examination of conscience.”
3. He made a rigorous confession of his personal
defects and thus quit living alone with his
4. He surveyed his distorted relations with
other people, visiting them to make what amends
5. He resolved to devote himself to helping
others in need, without the usual demand for
personal prestige or material gain.
6. By meditation, he sought God’s direction
for his life and the help to practice these principles
of conduct at all times.
By 1937 they had around 40 solid recoveries, so they thought it was time to put their word of mouth program on paper. Bill writes,
“By the spring of 1939, our Society had produced
a book which was called “Alcoholics
Anonymous.” In this volume, our methods were
carefully described. For the sake of greater clarity
and thoroughness, the word-of-mouth program
which my friend Ebby had given to me was
enlarged into what we now call A.A.’s “Twelve
Suggested Steps for recovery.” This
was the backbone of our book”
I find it interesting Bill is still referring to the Big Book in 1958, 5 years after he wrote the 12x12, that the Big Book is where our methods were carefully described. He also mentions the case histories in the back of the book. I am still amazed that after all these years I have witnessed alcoholic after alcoholic follow the Big Books suggestions and apply those steps to their daily life and recover from a hopeless state of mind and body. Just think in 1935 there were just a handful of chronic drunkards sober and today AA has around 2.4 million worldwide. Thank God I was born in this era and not when there were no answer to alcoholism.
Much prefer the original 6 steps, that's my programme and in fact I just work the first 5 of those as I am an atheist.
It would have been far better for Bill W to have stuck with the original 6 steps.
Try saying it in a meeting though.....the "do it the Big Book way else become a dry drunk mafia" get very hot under the collar...yet tell them to go and read some AA history and they go into denial
Thanks for the reminder of the 6 step program. After many years of sobriety and having made the steps part of the way I live, I've come to the conclusion that ultimately it's not the steps but what is contained in them that is important - the principles.
Now, don't get me wrong, the numbered 12 steps provide a useful framework for working and studying the steps and learning the principles. In time though, it's not so much that I'm "working my 4th step, or 11th step" as that I regularly take my own inventory and know what to do with it, I pray, I meditate, I make amends, I'm of service....as a way of life.
The 6 step program contained the essence of these principles and Bill & early AA's chose to flesh them out. At the root of this endeavor was a spirit of humility. The program was built on what came before and what worked. We know only a little. More will be revealed.
In addition to the steps, there are other amazing things that make AA special and have saved it from destruction...
Singleness of purpose - focus on recovery from alcoholism
Identification - one alcoholic helping another
No money, property or prestige (position, leaders)
Service - Helping others
There are more but you get the idea.
Please do an investigation of those first six month
when Bill was using Ebby's six steps. Bill writes that
they did not work at all. His success was nil.
Bill changed his approach, using the "cart before the
horse idea" offered by Dr. Silkworth. His next "prospect",
Dr. Bob, responded to this approach and A.A. was
born. Bill wrote several times that if he had not
changed his approach, AA would never have been born.
When the Big Book was written Bill was less than five years
sober. I would hate to think what would have happened
to me if I had stopped there. At five years sober I
could barely tie my own shoe laces.
Bill W. actually spent the rest of his life explaining
and clarifying (and IMO correcting) the meaning of the
Big Book. When I look at all the corrections which were
made at the last minute, I believe there were other
corrections to be made but time was up. But Bill did
cover all, when he wrote that the entire book was to
be suggestive only. Today most A.A. members are experts and insist
on their own interpretations, ignoring Bill's further
writings and his warnings.
There are those who believe that the BB was divinely
inspired, and have made it a second Bible. I once held
this belief myself. I thought of Bill as being some kind
Today I understand that Bill W. was just a man much
like most men. In a moment of desperation, he
reached out for help from God. I don't think Bill ever
gave the credit to Christ. But the spiritual awakening
Bill experienced was not something new. Bill's grandfather
had a similar conversion years earlier.
The miracle which Bill found was a successful method of
passing this miracle on to other suffering alcoholics. This
method has been lost in today's Alcoholics Anonymous.
Today we preach, or teach the method instead of carrying it. Sure,
some alcoholics do respond and get well. But today we
push the masses away from what may be their last chance
I know this message is difficult to understand. It
took me over 35 years to "figure this out". Hopefully
some of you will care enough about A.A. and the future
of A.A. to do your own investigation. A good place to
begin is page 70 in Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age.
Our persistent lack of growth over the past two
decades is just appalling. ANONYMOUS
Interesting comments about bill w 's sober time.
Approximately 2.3 billion people are Christian. JESUS was 30 when he started his ministry. He was killed around the age of 33 1/2, so he had 3 1/2 years. He made such an impact that 30% of the world believes in him in 2013. In fact we base our year on Jesus.
I don't Think it's A stretch that bill could write a book with the help of 40 sober alcoholics describing A program of recovery for alcoholism. Fyi, bill was around 3 years sober when the began writing the big book, a book with 33 million copies in circulation!
Personally I consider it a real stretch to compare Bill W.
to Jesus Christ. And you don't even capitalize Bill's name.
In doing my second step I looked at various religions of the world. God has sent lots of messengers, I don't think it is a stretch.
Bill W. was not the gift. The gift of A.A. and sobriety
was the method in which the message is transferred from
one alcoholic to another. This IDEA came from Dr. Silkworth.
Bill W. gives this credit to "silky" many times in our literature. I
believe that in his later years Bill's EGO erased that
memory. He seems to have started thinking that he was indeed the gift, that he was some kind of spiritual leader
That ought to be a warning to the rest of us. Bill W.
was no saint, and stated that in chapter five. ANONYMOUS
It is really not that important what I think. But in
reality the book ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS is a story book. It
is a story of how many thousands of men and women have
recovered from alcoholism. Bill wrote on page 164 that
"Our book is meant to be suggested only".
It seems that Ebby worked all of the steps. He was not
very successful, although I understand he was sober a
couple of years at the end of his life.
"Don't Drink and Go to Meetings", will work 100% for
any alcoholic. Never will that fail.
Study Bill W's absolute failure of those six months
you mention. Cramming the steps down prospects throats
pushes them away. Big Book thumpers do the same thing.
We have a method which will work with most alcoholics
approaching us. How does it work? Bill wrote in that
pamphlet that even he could not fully explain how A.A.
works. Yet we think we can explain it. ANONYMOUS
Don't drink and go to meetings works exactly 0% with alcoholics of my type. I'm the alcoholic that halfmeasures avail nothing. By AA 's definition, an alcoholic is someone who has Lost the ability to control their drinking. I went on a 12 step call Wed night to an alcoholic of my type who made it 10 months not drinking and going to meetings. The insanity of alcohol returned and he drank. Being an alcoholic didn't even come to mind. He had a mental blank spot when it came to alcohol, exactly the way the big book describes it.
From reading about Ebby T, it appears he didn't continue working with others after 12 step
ping Bill W.
Reasonable to me ! And I also reference the book "As Bill Sees It,page 16, first pargraph, final sentence,as
"....It is really a matter of personal choice;every AA
has the privilege of interpreting the program as he likes."
I am very reluctant to get a new sponsor. My last one decided it would be in my best interest if she went to everyone I had ever discussed with her and tell them everything I had said about them. Every gripe, rant, frustration. All of it. Is this what a sponsor is supposed to do? She said she did it so there would be no secrets. But was it her call? I have trust issues and this didnt help!
Agreed..chose carefully...must have mutual trust..and..
"If you like everyone you meet in AA, you have
not been to enough meetings.
No, this is not what a sponsor is supposed to do. By breaking your confidentiality I think your sponsor’s behavior was an appalling betrayal of trust. I would have felt very angry and extremely let down if such thing had happened to me. There is no requirement in AA to have a sponsor, and as you have found out, a bad sponsor might be detrimental to your recovery. You can take the steps without having a sponsor. It is best to lean on the AA program rather than on a sponsor. A good sponsor will encourage you to do that. So choose your next sponsor with care, and take your time; if, that is, you decide to have one at all. In the meantime, just knock around with a few AA friends that you feel are trustworthy. But treat all AA members with normal caution and precaution. Remember also, that in Step Five as stated in the 'Big Book' and the 'Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions', there is no requirement to disclose anything private to a sponsor or any other AA member for that matter. For some, a moral inventory and understanding of their shortcomings might best be done with someone outside the fellowship. Such things can be done with a trustworthy non-alcoholic person outside the fellowship, such as a friend, clergyman, psychologist or counselor of your choice. The following AA literature may help you find a good sponsor. Good luck, I hope you stick around.
“The member talks to the newcomer not in a spirit of power but in a spirit of humility and weakness. He does not speak of how misguided the still suffering alcoholic is; he speaks of how misguided he once was. He does not sit in judgement of another but in judgment of himself as he had been”.
(Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age p 279)
Living Sober: chapter 11, ‘-Availing yourself of a sponsor,’ pages 26-30
As Bill Sees It: page 144:‘Blind Trust?’ (something to avoid), page 14:‘Newcomer Problems.’ Pages in index under ‘Sponsorship; see Twelfth- stepping’.
Questions and answers on sponsorship http://www.aa.org/pdf/products/p-15_Q&AonSpon.pdf
A.A. At a Glance: “What A.A. Does Not Do.” http://www.aa.org/pdf/products/f-1_AAataGlance.pdf
A Brief Guide to Alcoholic Anonymous page 10, “What A.A. does NOT do?” http://www.aa.org/pdf/products/p-42_abriefguidetoaa.pdf
Members of the Clergy ask about A.A, page 18 “What Does A.A. Not Do?” http://www.aa.org/pdf/products/P-25_membersoftheclergyaskaboutaa.pdf
AA Tradition How it developed pamphlet p 12
Offline: Thanks for an intelligent, informative message.
The poster who kept harping on how harmful today's "sponsor concept"
can be, finally got my attention. Practicing the steps,
the only step requiring another person is step five. Dr.
Bob advised us to "keep it simple". We seem to be
complicating the mud puddle. ANONYMOUS
Please read "Dr Bob and the good oldtimers ". You will find Dr Bob was far more involved than step 5.
I agree, Dr. Bob was far more involved than step five. These days though, I think AA sponsors and newcomers might do well to be more mindful of what Dr.Bob actually wrote instead of being diverted away from the AA program by various outside enterprises publishing sponsor guides and histories of dubious authenticity. Among other things, Dr. Bob wrote the following:
“..We have found it wise policy, too, to hold to no glorification of the individual. Obviously, that is sound…”
“….WE'VE all seen the new member who stays sober for a time, largely through sponsor-worship. Then maybe the sponsor gets drunk and you know what usually happens. Left without a human prop, the new member gets drunk too. He has been glorifying an individual instead of following the Program….”
“..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.
We cannot condone their actions, yet we must concede that when we have used normal caution and precaution in dealing with such cases, we may safely leave them to that Higher Power…”
(Extracts from The Fundamentals in Retrospect by Dr. Bob, AA Grapevine September 1948. This article can be read in full in the digital archive http://da.aagrapevine.org/ )
Sponsors and newcomers might also do well to read The Jack Alexander Article About AA http://www.aa.org/pdf/products/p-12_theJackAlexArticle.pdf ). It was first published in the Saturday Evening Post, March 1941, and describes how AA members did step five then.
“….He is asked to believe in a Power that is greater than himself, or at least to keep an open mind on that subject while he goes on with the rest of the program. Any concept of the Higher Power is acceptable. A skeptic or agnostic may choose to think of his Inner Self, the miracle of growth, a tree, man’s wonderment at the physical universe,
the structure of the atom, or mere mathematical infinity. Whatever form is visualized, the neophyte is taught that he must rely upon it and, in his own way, to pray to the Power for strength. He next makes a sort of moral inventory of himself with the private aid of another person—one of his A.A. sponsors, a priest, a minister, a psychiatrist, or anyone else he fancies. (pp.19-20)
“..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…” (p 23)
Apparently in conflict with other women in your group you took inventory of their character defects to share with your sponsor. Now you are seeking our help in defining character defects in her. Most of us have failed miserably getting the world to clean up their act in order to keep our sorry butts sober. On the other hand allowing change in ourselves through the steps gave us the tools to rise above the ill feelings of petty conflicts. Enjoy the ride.
I used to drive keeping my eyes glued to the rear view mirror. Now that I’m sober I spend more time watching where I’m going and seem to have less trouble. Perhaps a better question than “Was she wrong?” would be “Where do I go from here?”
I would be reluctant too.
I was crazy when I started AA so I picked a crazy sponsor. What's not to understand about that? He broke a confidence in a big way. The end of sponsorship with him. He died of alcoholism a few years later. I went to his service. He had done more good for me than bad to me. I had needed all of the good to keep me alive and the bad didn't kill me. The offending gossip meant nothing after a few months.
The words we choose to use shape our thinking. I've just heard "trust issues" one too many times. If I keep my life secret from everyone (I guess that would only be the bad secrets wouldn't it?) then I am distrustful. Distrustful. That is the character defect, the shortcoming. That is the word that goes into my inventory. Like other behavior it comes in shades of grey. Reasonable caution is important in what we say and to whom we say it. If I am willing to dance near the cliff of alcoholic disaster because I'm afraid of what could possibly happen if I share something then it's way beyond reasonable caution.
I usually just say look it up but I feel generous today. The answer to your current problem is in "Freedom From Bondage" in your big book. And of course p449 (417 in Fourth addition)
When you get another sponsor get her to commit to anonymity, don't assume.
You sound like a fighter, just aim that fight at your alcoholism and you'll be fine.