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Joined: 2012-01-18
Re: Big Book "Thumping"

I never heard of any different ways of interpreting the Big Book (Except into foreign languages) Until an operator of a treatment facility and his partner began selling tapes telling what the Big Book really says. Using that as an example, everybody and his brother began writing 'Big Book Study Guides" which, I assume, are supposed to break the secret code hidden in the book.
When I was new nearly every speaker commented that at first he/she was going to rewrite the Big Book but found out that it was fine the way it is. Now anyone who wants to rewrite it does so, then travels around the country, all expenses paid, sharing their wisdom with the unenlightened.
Another thing we used to be told was to "read only the black parts." Now we tell ourselves we can read the white parts too, since they're more interesting.
I can imagine the uproar if a child came home from school and told his parents that his teacher said one and one are two, but it's perfectly all right to interpret it as three if they are so inclined.
When I was a Loner without meetings available a gent suggested I use my Big Book and a Higher Power. He said nothing about simply reading it, or studying it, or discussing it, just use it. That advice has worked for millions of us for many years.


Jim, could you be a little more specific? Just how do you
"use" the Big Book? I believe it is meant to be read,
studied and discussed. I gave a copy to a newcomer years
ago and he used it to hold the window open. How do you use yours, and what do you use it for?
I believe the third edition of the Big Book is the
second greatest book ever written. (for those who suffer
from alcoholism and the families and friends who also
suffer). I could be wrong but I do believe there is
much written "between the lines". Bill explains these in
his later writings. ANONYMOUS

RE: Big Book Thumping

In my opinion, every member of Alcoholics Anonymous ought
to own a copy of the Big Book. I prefer the third edition,
but the first part of the fourth edition is the same and what is now more
available. All members and potential members ought to read,
study and use the Big Book. Every person ought to be
allowed to develop their own relationship with it, keeping
in mind that the entire book is meant to be suggestive.
Also, keep in mind that Bill himself was sober less than
five years when it was written. At five years sober, I
could barely tie my own shoe laces. Bill wrote that more
would be revealed. The Big Book was a good beginning.
I try to remember that the purpose of the BB was to
spread the message that recovery from alcoholism is
possible; the story of how the first alcoholics recovered.
I don't know how it could be described as a work book. If
an individual member considers it a personal workbook, fine.
But we have no right to impose that concept on anyone else.

Big Book Thumping

I agree with you.

one way

I agree with you.

BB thumping

I have the benefit of enough time and practice of the AA program that it is incorporated in my life. Big Book thumpers and cross talkers don’t make me angry. My expectation that people will act halfway decent still does though. I’m in a room full of people who are required to be nuts to be there. I expect them to act not only sane but polite? Who’s nuts now? WE ALL ARE. At meetings (like everywhere else) things happen that I don’t intend to let happen and things that I intend to have happen don’t. It’s called unmanageability. Surprise! So what’s different? I can disconnect my emotions from my thinking and my action. Example: Emotions tell mind “THAT JERK HASN’T GOT ANY BUSINESS….BLA, BLA,BLA… Mind kicks in. “Yea, the guy’s a jerk; it’s probably the best he can do. Glad I’m not him.” EMOTIONS DON’T CARE. Override them. “Body, stay in chair.” Get through it. Go home and regroup with Higher Power and/or sponsor. Do my homework. Write IN AA NO ONE HAS ANY SENORITY ON ME a hundred times on the blackboard and start believing it. Is crosstalk and advice allowed or not? If he’s wrong rehearse my speech for next time. Take the chairperson aside quietly before the next meeting starts. State my problem. Remind him of policy. Get an ally.

Why is it that I was tough enough to live through crashing three cars and one bike but can’t say the words “Would you please shut up, I’m not finished?” We’re funny people aren’t we? I prayed for courage and waited and waited to be made fearless. Eighteen years of education and I needed a grade school dictionary. We will always be given the courage to uphold the highest ideal.

Hang in there and report back. I’ll be looking for you.

re book

Glad to hear you are reading and using the big book. My suggestion would be to have some fun with it. If we all had the same interpretations, this deal would get boring. the steps and book are spiritual in nature. everytime I go through the book and the steps out of the book I see them a little differently. If my interpretations change, how can I be upset with you if yours are different from mine? If they are different, next year they might be the same. I know when yours are wrong, because you die or end up in jail. AA is like show and tell. you say what you do, I say what I do. If you are happier than I am, I'm gonna change and do more of what you do. If you are miserable, I know not to do what you do.
I think this saying fits here, "it's not what you dont know that will kill you in aa, it's what you know for sure that just isn't so.
remember rule 62-let's not take ourselves too damn serious!

Joined: 2012-06-24
Using Grapevines in the Prisons

I was wondering what peoples experience is for getting Grapevines, into Prisons.

Does our AA population in Prison find the Grapevine magazine and books useful?
Would people be willing to sponsor a Grapevine subscription if it was being sent into prisons?

confine discussions...

"In keeping with AA's singleness of purpose, we confine discussion as it relates to alcoholism."

I've been an active, successful member of Alcoholics Anonymous for a number of years and I have never been exactly what this means. Say there is a meeting room full of alcoholics with no one wanting to talk about religion, politics, sports, drugs, gambling, overeating, over-sexing, codependency etc.

Is talk about problems with one's spouse, job, finances, car trouble and other living problems that they think are driving them to drink OK?

confine discussions

our traditions state we have no opinion on outside issues.We should not be talking about religion,politics,drugs,gambling,over eating,over sexing,or codependency at an a.a. meeting.Our primary purpose is to carry the message to the next alcoholic.What message?If you have been around a.a for a while you would know all of this is in our big book,it tells us what we talk about at meetings.We share our experience, strength and hope.So we talk about how it was,what happened,and what it is like now.

RE: confine discussions

I understand Tradition one gives every A.A. member the right to talk in whatever manner they choose. At some of our meeting formats we include "please refrain from the use of profanity at the meeting", but if someone uses vulgar language we say nothing. I think the real problem (and
there is a problem), is asking if anyone has a burning
desire. All alcoholics have burning desires IMO. We are
at meetings to talk about drinking and how to stop
drinking, not to talk about the paintings on the wall.
We do use self-control and do not discuss politics or
religion, as they are too divisive. ANONYMOUS

Joined: 2012-05-30
re confine discussions

Could you please elaborate on tradition one? I don't understand how the group comes first allows anyone to talk about anything without violating the unity of a group, or trade 3&5.

RE: confine discussions

"We do use self-control and do not discuss politics or
religion, as they are too divisive."

Don't forget Drugs !!!

re confine

To me, the singleness of purpose is to hyper focus on alcoholism. If we stay focused on sobriety, freedom from alcohol through the teaching and practicing of AA’s 12 steps, we have a good chance of continued sobriety. If we apply the program to our alcoholism and practice the twelve steps, usually our other problems take care of themselves and at least clear our minds enough to seek outside help when needed. In our book “Alcoholics Anonymous” it says selfishness is the root of our troubles. The program of AA, to me is a spiritual program of action, designed to change us from self-centered to God centered. To me, my shortcomings are all variations of my self-centered ego, and left unchecked my shortcomings will lead me back to drinking. In our book, the shortest list of shortcomings are: dishonest, selfish, self-seeking, and fear. All my problems today boil down to one of those four wrongs.
AA’s singleness of purpose is designed to break through our denial of alcoholism. My ego constantly wants me to focus on other mistakes. I think It’s my ego using smoke and mirrors to trick me into thinking alcohol really isn’t my problem. Now if my ego telling me to forget about my self-centered alcoholic mind is coupled with meetings discussing our inner child or flavor of the week psychobabble, yours and my chances of continued sobriety are less. More importantly, the newcomer attending their first few AA meetings doesn’t have a chance at all! I think that’s why we have traditions 1, 3, and 5 so we remember what we are here for. It says in our book, “We meet frequently so newcomers can find the fellowship they seek”.
What really helped me to decide what is appropriate or not for meetings was to use our big book and 12 x12 and try to share along those lines.
Hope that helps?

Parties,alcohol,drunkenness not an issue.

I sincerly want to understand what you are asking.
"alcohol present/drunkdness not an issue", with your self ?
The "Struggle" is what? Do you get a desire to drink?

Very briefly;my experience has been different.
I order what I choose.I don't explain myself. I live and let live.Focusing on others I smile, use eye contact and act socially appropriate. I get out as soon as it is reasonably polite to do so because I find in settings of booze it seems things always deterioate. Like I find they turn stupid and boring often.
I set myself up to call my sponsor and or go to a meeting,something A.A. of my choice.
Initially my Old TIM.suggested I "stay out of slippery places."

Joined: 2013-03-12
living sober is a using world

I would love to hear from those of us who honestly struggle in group settings and parties when alcohol is present, and drunkenness isn't the issue,

Joined: 2013-02-26
Living sober in a using world

To bc1976....16 mths sober here and honestly could not wait to go to a Christmas party at a beautiful home knowing alcohol would be there. Of course my husband did not drink so he was my support. If someone was drunk I did not notice for amazingly I found some old friends who were drinking bottled water just like me.Wow...what a blessing.
What I have an issue with now is going out w/family members who always drink. So, am starting to NOT go out w/them. I just don't enjoy being around people who drink. A waste of my time.

living sober in a using world

I dont really know what you are asking either.First,not everyone in the world drinks and uses.There are alot of people not in recovery that dont drink and use.How long have you been sober?The big book covers this topic in detail,you might want to ask your sponsor where it is in the book and read it.I have been sober 20 years and go to family functions and go out to eat with family at restaurants and sometimes bars.I choose most of the time to not be around people who drink because it is not part of my life.I got married in sobriety and had children in sobriety so my wife and i do not choose to subject our children to a drinking life style because that is not part of our lives.If you are not comfortable being around people who drink stay away from them.It took me many years to be ok around people who drink,i still dont like to be around them but it is part of life.We do not allow liquor in our home and people who are drunk are also not allowed in our home.It is our home so it is our choice.My friends understand this and respect this,it has never really been an issue.My family and in laws also understand this and have never had an issue with it. So it is really a choice on your part,again if you are not comfortable that is ok,stay away from those situations until you are more comfortable in them.Hope that was some help,dont drink and go to meetings!

Joined: 2013-03-12
struggling on sobriety in a using world around me

I am committed to sobriety. I have been sober for decades, going to AA religiously, have divorced my birth family because they are so dysfunctional and still recovering emotionally myself. I am a survived of rape and have bouts of PTSD. I would love to hear from other sober women like me

Joined: 2012-10-26

I, too, have been sober for going on 3 decades. I am dealing with a mother who will be moving on to the next part of her journey. This has involved a great deal of family interaction with my brother and sister who are caught up in their own greif. A great many feelings from my past are arising. Lots of anger, self doubt, fear.
I find myself going back to pick up the tools I used in early soberity to deal with things that are occurring at present.
One thing my mother use to say to me when I was trying to flush a lot of toxic throughts from my head was "Most people suffer in silence".
I was not silent then and won't be now.
No this doesn't mean whining or feeling sorry for myself.
It is all about transformation and growth.
Stay stong, stay sane.

Lettng everybody participate

When I came to AA in 1981, at most of the discussion meetings I went to the person chairing the meeting sat in front and when someone finished talking they picked the next person to talk. They usually thought to focused on making sure everybody got to talk once in awhile. Sometimes we sat in a circle and after one shared on the topic the person next to one had their turn. Being that I am a shy person even if I was sort of reluctant to talk being called on gave me opportunities to share and seemed to help a lot with getting over my shyness.

A few years later maybe in the mid 1980s I noticed that at all my meetings the chair did a thing of asking the person who just talked to pick the next person to share. Around that time I had some group therapy where I noticed that that therapist in charge did the same thing.

I think that when I first came to AA the percentage of AA folks who came to AA after being in a treatment center was less. It maybe that the idea of having the person who last spoke call on someone else was learned in treatment. There are probably advantages to it. I would think that for one thing to be asked by a therapist to speak represents approval of what you are likely to say. The therapist may want to avoid that and asking the patients to do that instead solves that problem. When I was first in AA and the chair called on the next person, there was no feeling he or she was supposed to discriminate in that way. The only requirement for participation was a desire to stay sober it seemed like to me.

The change that seemed to occur a few years later seemed to include having the ask if anyone had a burning desire to share but normally I would not call what I had to to share that special. I went to a noon meeting that had lots of folks there and the same few people called on each other all the time. I was not one of them. There was not time for everybody to say something. Some talked a long time and some went on about if you do not go to meetings and do not share at meetings you cannot have very good sobriety and are likely to get drunk. They tended to be very eloquent and convincing and what they said seemed true but the same guys always got to participate and others seldom did.

I tried some smaller meetings and found that because I was not an important newcomer and not friends with them yet, I did not get called on much. I worried they what I had to say was not very good. I got depressed about it. I felt rejected.

It made me feel better to observe that those who did the most talking at meetings were not the necessarily the winners. Many were people who had been around AA for years but had slipped many times. Some of what they had to say was influenced by anxiety about what they were doing wrong that caused the most recent slip. They attributed their slips to things they did not do that I seemed to not be doing either. They were for example not sponsoring a lot of people. They were not telling their stories to other groups at speaker meetings. I have a panic disorder that acted up if I tried to get behind the podium to speak. Not only that but now that I can do that folks find me hard to understand and don't ask me to. I should have had speech therapy in kindergarten to help with my pronunciation I was once told.

Either those who say it makes one sick to not share at meetings should pipe down about such talk or they should make sure everybody gets to participate. Also the fact that the same folks get called on a lot can seem to elevate what they have to say to the kind of professional status that the group therapy professionals in treatment centers are avoiding when they get the patients to choose who talks next. When I was in school I do not think that being popular with your peers always meant you understood your lessons too

I've been sober since 1981. 32 1/2 years.

RE: Letting everyone participate.

Thanks for a warm informative message. We are certainly
of like opinions. When I came in in 1970 almost all the
meetings I attended were speaker discussion meetings. The
long smoke breaks annoyed me, but after the break we
simply went around the room for sharing. Recently I have
heard it called "Round Robin". The meetings were almost
all one and a half hours. We sat in complete silence as
each person shared. It was reverence at its finest.
It was around 1980 when I first heard a chairperson
state that we will go by "show of hands". I was more
than a bit puzzled. Why are we doing this?
I have had many discussions about this topic here
on the forum and in personal contact with friends.
Bill W. often said "Sometimes the good can be the
enemy of the best. He also said that sometimes the
temporary SEEMING good can be the deadly enemy of
the permanent best. When it comes to A.A. only the best
will do.
Every person present at an AA meeting is of equal
importance to everyone else. We need the new person
as much as they may need us. Every one is treated as
an equal. (in theory). Some of us just got here sooner.
At a recent district meeting about 80 members were
present. We had a "Round Robin" sharing session, and
every member had the chance to share. We still ended
the meeting on time.
Going by "show of hands" creates all kinds of EGO
problems. And members like us are likely to feel left
out. I still HATE having to raise my hand to share, after
over thirty years. I feel like I am back in grade school,
asking the teacher for permission to speak.
I am trying to write shorter messages. Lengthy messages
are often ignored. I do think this issue ought to be
discussed at a group conscience meeting. But that takes
a lot of courage. I always wanted someone else to speak
up. Be that someone. We need to be the very best we can
be. A.A. is different from group therapy. Let us keep
it that way. Again, thanks for the message. ANONYMOUS

Joined: 2013-01-08
Everyone Shares

I began sobriety in a big meeting in a big city that did the round robin format. It amazed me that no matter how many people were in the room, we always seemed to end on the hour. If someone shared a bit long, others kept it short. I live in a small town in the west now and have never seen that format used out here. I sometimes wonder if it would work.

Lunchbunch Everyone Shares

Love and Tolerance. One is not much good without the
other. Together they are of great value in the life of
the alcoholic. We understand if someone needs to share
at length. After five minutes they take a deep breath
trying to find another topic, saying "I will end with this".
and ramble on another five minutes. We get no resentment.
We acquire more tolerance. We love each other enough to
continue listening. I Have come to believe that the "cure"
for alcoholism is found in the listening that takes place
Round Robin is best, I am convinced. Everyone gets to
share, whether they want to or not. And I believe that everyone
ought to at least identify "I am Joe and I am an alcoholic".
I have found that some chairpersons think they have to
comment on everyone else's share. I was told firmly by an
A.A. friend: As chair, you only share once like everyone
else. Don't try to give advice to others. That is not your
job. Keep your mouth closed, not matter how burning the
desire is to share again. ANONYMOUS

re; Lettng everybody participate

I'm puzzled by someone with three decades in AA talking about what "They" do. Concerns such as yours (all valid to me at least) are regularly brought at group conscience meetings, tuned up, brought back on course and announced at meetings. On-line meetings are an excellent place for those of us with communication problems to share.

re: Let everybody participate

I would not approach the business meeting of the AA group about not being called upon at meetings to share because it would cause me more problems than it would solve. The person who suggested it probably would succeed at getting support for that it is a problem but I do not seem to have that kind of charisma to my personality or the gift of gab or friends in the group who will maybe get mad if my concerns are not handled with respect. .

I post the problem on this anonymously because I do not want it to be about me specifically. I feel there maybe others who have left AA because the sort of thing I experienced upset was something they were not emotionally up to either.

I could not help but worry I was not asked to share because folks disapproved of me or did not like me or thought me dumb. I experienced similar problems during my childhood and had low self esteem because of thinking I was not as good as the popular kids.

There has been an opinion in the air and back when i was growing up it was a belief in psychology I read about that introverts are inferior to extroverts. My Mom was an outgoing natural leader who looked down on me for it.

I dealt all my life with an expectation that it would be just as easy for me to be like more outgoing siblings if I would just pull myself up by the bootstraps and start doing it. My shyness and nervousness was something I was powerless to change instead. It is a panic disorder and according to some statistics I have read found in 20% of the population. It is considered to be an instinct and not to be associated with such things as being too dumb to not know there is not reason to feel shy or not having an AA program that is as good as more smooth talking folks. .

It is not a type of insanity. People who imagine that get a frightened expression on their face when I start to say something and cut in before I get a chance to say anything. They then do not get to know better.

When I am around folks who accept me as I am I seem to get over a lot of it.

RE: re: Let everyone participate.

At a business/group conscience meeting I made a motion that
we stop chanting at the meeting. I don't think it was even
seconded, but we discussed the topic anyway. Out of the 10
members present, I was the only one who thinks it is stupid.
But we have to start somewhere. Today I find a lot of members who do not think we ought to chant at meetings.
The minority opinion is of great value. Bill often said
we must pay attention to the minority opinion.
You may not be a great speaker. But you have the ability
to write to express yourself. At the next group conscience
meeting (you are fortunate if you even have one), take a
three by five card and write exactly what you want to say.
And say it or read it. Air the concern. There are others
who will agree with you. They may remain silent, for the same reason you remain silent. There are just too many
of us who are afraid to speak up. The power driven personality will try to silence you. Refuse to be silenced.
This condition is connected to my own EGO. I am so concerned about what others think of me, that I am willing
to sacrifice my own beliefs just to be liked. I am so
afraid of making a fool of myself. Today I am willing to take the chance appearing as a turkey if I have to.
Today at meetings I sometimes will chant as loud or louder than the loudest of them. If I have to look like
an idiot to get my point across, so be it.
20 % of the population may suffer from the fears
you describe (your estimate). I had to become an alcoholic
and come into Alcoholics Anonymous, to even begin to
recover. I am nowhere near perfect, but each time I take
a chance and speak out I feel stronger. Try it. We have
to start somewhere.
I believe that hundreds of thousands of alcolics have
left A.A. for the reasons you write about. Many who could have been saved have died. Others may just stay dry and
miserable. So stand up and speak out. No one is going to
strike you. Believe me, it will become easier. ALSO ANONYMOUS

re: let everybody..

"I would not approach the business meeting of the AA group about not being called upon at meetings to share because it would cause me more problems than it would solve. The person who suggested it probably would succeed at getting support for that "

Sorry, I'm the guy that posted it and I RARELY get what I want at business meetings. I have thrown out ideas that I KNEW and still KNOW are good and might as well have thrown a dead skunk on the table for the reception it got. Any time I dust off my crystal ball and decide ahead of time "what i'll say - what they'll say - so what I'll say..." it has always proved wrong. ALWAYS.

I used the serenity prayer for years and waited to be made fearless. Wait a minute, I didn't ask to be made fearless, I asked for courage - taking action even if I feared the outcome. I tried it. It worked. My Higher Power thinks it's a slap in the face to be asked for courage and assume He won't provide it. He does provide it. He cannot not provide it. He's God. Sometimes I feel anger when I don't get my way. Sometimes its rage. God didn't make me a robot, he made me a human. But I've learned something about feelings. Although they aren't wrong they aren't right either. They aren't any reason to take unproductive action, they don't control me. They go away sooner or later. The fact that I tried to do a better thing, improve our group, remains. When I was drinking I lived in a would have, should have, could have world and had a long list of why I didn't, couldn't, shouldn't. With the help of the Alcoholics Anonymous program I have had a lot of that garbage removed and the promises that seemed past impossible are part of my normal life today.

Don't make a motion that "You" be called on. Make a motion that the system be changed so that everyone has a chance to share sometime - draw straws or numbers for 3 minute time slots, divide the meeting, chair the meeting. Alcoholics, drunk or sober, are the most self centered people on earth. Left to their own thinking they are incapable of behaving fairly. With a desire to stay sober and trainer wheels we can do better. Meetings need those trainer wheels.
Good Luck.

A group therapy therapists

A group therapy therapists defence if someone complains they do not get to participate would be that he or she always asked is anyone had a burning need to share.

That does not solve the problem of feeling not included and seemingly not supported about what one has together by the group as a whole.

Sober and omniscient

I am continually amazed at the wisdom shared on this forum and in meetings: the same folks that only a short time ago could not distinguish their heads from their hinders now have the answer for the newcomer, as well as for AA worldwide. Last night a newer person came back to our small meeting of what I would call "laid-back" members, and said he had been to several other meetings, but was turned off by all the people telling him what he "had to do" (the usual: 90 in 90, get a sponsor, find THE God, work the steps, read the 1st 164 pp, etc.). It wasn't so bad during the meeting itself, he said, but afterwards he was literally beset by well-intentioned but misguided AA's who were quite convinced that he needed to do exactly what they did in order to stay sober. Personally, if asked, I tell people what I did when I came in, and what I am doing now, quickly adding that my program remains fluid, meaning what kept me sober yesterday may not kept me sober today, so I need to remain open-minded enough so I hear or see whatever it is that is going to keep me sober today.

Make amends to myself?

At a meeting earlier this week the topic of resentments came up. quickly the meeting turned to forgiving yourself for the resentments against yourself. I have seen this from time to time and usually use it as an example of what not to do. From my experience with AA literature what comes to mind is selfishness is the root of our troubles. It seems contrary to the AA program to be self centered enough to focus on forgiving myself instead of how I set the ball rolling with my resentments to others and the amends I need to make to those I have caused harm. I feel I have always put my needs ahead of others during my alcoholism, wet or dry. I think that was really my problem.
My suggested topic is this, can anyone find or suggest a source in any AA conference approved literature( besides a Grapevine article) That suggests making amends to or forgiving oneself? I can’t seem to think of or find any. I have always felt my main problem in life was really too much self thinking.
Looking forward to some great suggested reading!

Joined: 2013-06-27
? Making amends to myself / self forgiveness

Hi, Corey! I really 'listened' to what you wrote. In the 12&12 8th Step there is mention of asking forgiveness for ourselves. It seems to me that if it were vital to my recovery, there would be a Step directly dealing with it. Still, I believe that each Step taken is another step in self forgiveness. There is no better proof than the Promises coming true.

Like you,I have not yet found the mention of self forgiveness in any AA literature authored by Bill W. Thanks for sharing.

Forgiving Myself?

I have always questioned the "putting myself at the top
of the list" in Step Eight. Did not Christ get into serious
trouble by claiming to have the power to forgive sinners.
The belief was that only God can forgive sins. The only
thing I can do is to accept that forgiveness. We forgive
each other but we do not usually forget. I believe that
God wipes the slate clean, when we come to Him.
I appreciate the (Besides a Grapevine article). That
would be only the opinion of the writer and the person
who selected the article.
My goal is to become more concerned about the feeling
and comfort of others than of my "poor self". To become more honest, pure, unselfish and loving. I think these
are the principles Alcoholics Anonymous is built upon.
Thanks for your devotion to our fellowship. ANONYMOUS

Joined: 2013-02-26
AA Grapevine Online User Group

Topic for help, support, tricks, etc...


tricks: The method that we use to carry the A.A. message
is a trick, of sorts. We do it by word of mouth. In a
group of like-minded individuals, we each share exactly
what we were like while we were drinking, the good the bad
ant the ugly. We each share the struggles we had while
trying to stop drinking.(I don't think for most of us A.A.
was our first attempt to stop). We share exactly how we
were able to stop drinking and what we are like now. This
is how we got sober. The way we stay sober is to try to
help others, in any way we can. Alcoholics Anonymous has
been called an altruistic society. This is a real fellowship. We do all this to make our fellowship
attractive and acceptable. Then we push the prospect away
by the demands we make of them: We read "How it Works".
If you got a sponsor right away, share in your
talk that you did so. But in no way are you to imply
that the prospect has to do so. If you worked the steps
share in your talk how you worked the steps. Do not imply
in any way that the prospect has to work the steps to
join us. He/She is doing us a great service by their
presense. If you understand what I am talking about that
is great. Attraction, not Promotion. Absolutely no
promotion of any kind. The real trick is keeping our
own EGO deflated. Faith without works may be dead. But
works without faith can also be dead. ANONYMOUS

re anonymous

your post was helpful until the sermon started with "then we push the prospect away".

RE: re anonymous

Obviously you are one who does not understand what I am talking about. Most of today's A.A. members would consider
the whole message nonsense. At least you got part of it.
We push hundreds of thousands of suffering alcoholics
from our fellowship, due to this lack of understanding.
We are trying to promote A.A. instead of making it more
attractive. I don't know how that could be a sermon. I suppose it could be called an opinion. ANONYMOUS

re sermon

A sermon is an oration by a prophet or member of the clergy. Sermons address a Biblical, theological, religious, or moral topic, usually expounding on a type of belief, law or behavior within both past and present contexts. Elements of preaching include exposition, exhortation and practical application

I apologize. I should have said preaching.

1. transitive and intransitive verb religion give sermon: to give a talk on a religious or moral subject, especially in church
2. intransitive verb give advice in irritating way: to give advice on morality or behavior in an irritatingly tedious or overbearing way
3. transitive verb urge people to accept idea: to make an opinion or attitude known to others and urge others to share it

primary purpose

in reading a lot of the subjects on this entire board,i find most of them very interesting.Our traditions and concepts are very clear what our primary purpose is.I dont think there is any debate at all about addicts,people with the disease of addiction,over eaters,gamblers or anything else that is discussed here.A.A. is for alcoholics,and that is all.We have many pamphlets and literature on problems other than alcohol.We are not affiliated with any outside organization.We are not therapists,lawyers,doctors or marriage counselors.If we follow what was put down from the start of A.A. and do not deviate or try to change our original purpose we really have no issues.This is not complicated,it is very simple and does not need to be reinvented.I will be curious to see if this post is allowed on this board,the last one I tried to put up was not put up.

Primary Purpose

Well put, I share your feelings, if we do not standguard for AA's principals the selfish dysfunctions of others will destroy AA. I would never go to a N.A., C.A., G.A., O.A., or any other eeting and disrespect that felowship and share about my alcoholism.
Stand Strong, we "alcoholics" are with you.

Joined: 2013-01-08
Primary Purpose

Dear Anon,

I agree with you completely that our primary purpose is clear, simple,unambiguous and in some ways sacred. I believe that staying focused on our primary purpose has helped AA survive. However, the devil is in the details. Today's new members seem to be much more aware of and willing to share about drugs, sex and food. At jail or prison meetings (especially jails for some reason)I listen to people whose drug related problems, especially meth, are so severe that they don't see alcohol as the problem. And maybe it isn't for some of them. Over time, however, many learn that when they drink, they crave meth. Some of these end up in AA with "a desire to stop drinking". Do we turn them away? Do we insist they only talk about alcohol?

In my home group, we would explain our primary purpose ask that they limit their sharing to the role alcohol played in their addiction. It takes leadership and group support to make this approach work.

primary purpose

If we again follow our steps and traditions,yes we tell them to speak about there problems with alcohol.Food,sex,gambling,issues do not belong being discussed in an a.a. meeting.Again if we follow our guidelines this is not up for debate.In the world there are g.a.,s.a.,o.a.and a.a meetings.These other programs deal with other issues.We also have n.a. meetings available for people.I have in the time I have been sober seen many groups fail and close up because of people thinking we should have meetings with everyone with every addiction in the same is a very touchy subject but our program is set up the way it is for a reason.

RE: primary purpose

primary purpose is to 1: go ask a sponsor and have it administered to you? or 2: Trust God and clean house.

98% use choice 1 and only 2% survive ever wonder why?

Primary purpose

I completely agree. Please continue to carry the torch of AA as AA is mandated not as those who would want to minipulate it to suite everyone for every problem than alcoholisem.

I see references to declining

I see references to declining AA membership. I haven’t seen the numbers from the source but for the sake of this discussion, I’ll assume that numbers have declined or growth has slowed at least. I’ve seen the culprit identified as chanting, too much prayer, wasting time reading How it Works ad infinitum. I haven’t seen any, what I would consider facts connecting these causes with the result. I would think that it would be really difficult, if not impossible, to compile the necessary information.

In my own experience and by my own observation I see another factor which would cause membership to decline - the timing of recreational drug use in society. In 1967 I was a senior in a rural high school in the middle of America. I am quite sure that only two people had tried marijuana and, of course, I was one of them and I didn’t happen to like it. But, of course I liked alcohol. Liked it a lot. A number of others did too. We had at age 18 legal access and an infinite supply of cheap beer in nearby Kansas and, of course, countless illegal sources.

One of my classmates attended 4 years of college and returned to teach at the same school. She easily saw that drug use had become prevalent in those 4 years. Soon Kansas raised the drinking age to 21. I don’t know what determines our choice, alcohol or other drugs but I would think that a ready supply for early experimentation and use would be a strong factor. Around the world people eat strange food and produce strange booze that no one else would touch, so early conditioning must be an influence. At age 18, given the choice between hashish and fermented horse milk would likely make me a candidate for NA instead of AA. The number of teenagers from grades nine through twelve that have used marijuana in the last month has grown from virtually zero when I was that age to 27 percent last year. That doesn’t count others who use other drugs instead. Dope and booze compete for the same customers. Do you suppose this has any influence on AA’s numbers?


I ask you to get the numbers from the source (GSO),
examine them, and then start discussion. ANONYMOUS

Joined: 2011-10-24
References to declining

I'm not so sure about declining membership. See AA Pamplet p-48 for membership survey.
32% of members are coming in through treatment facility according to the survey. I wonder if sponsors are aware of GSO pamphlet P35 when their new sponsee's come from rehab and introduce themselves as addicts alcoholics. "through the teaching and practice of the Twelve Steps is the sole purpose of an A.A. group. Groups have repeatedly tried other activities, and they have always failed. It has also been learned that there is no possible way to make nonalcoholics into A.A. members. We have to confine our membership to alcoholics, and we have to confine our A.A. groups to a single purpose. If we don’t stick to these principles, we shall almost surely collapse. And if we collapse, we cannot help anyone."

I for one want AA to be here for my grandchildren. Lets keep to our primary purpose. It all begins with sponsorship.


Ever wonder why Bill wrote so many times that the teaching
of the steps and traditions is the sole purpose of the A.A. Group? It
has something to do with our singleness of purpose: to help
other alcoholics recover. But I see an even more important
element of that statement. It is the GROUP which does the
teaching, the GROUP is responsible to carry the message.
Yet in today's A.A. individual so-called leaders and
sponsors carry their own message to those who suffer.
Sometimes the one-on-one works, but the group can be
effective almost all of the time. ANONYMOUS


We just started a new women's meeting and we named it the Women of Principals yet I am trying to find if each month has a certain one each month. Like Feb we share about the 2nd . came to believe that a power greater then ourselves could restore us to sanity. So this month was HOPE.. I couldn't find anywhere if the principals for each month were listed..


I was sober (some may say dry) for 10 years (87-98) I had sponsors (in name only) and rarely called them. I would see them at meetings, shake hands, shae a bit about my day, my life and that was it. I worked the steps in a half hearted way, read all the literatire, and was somewhat active (coffee, group leader, and a few speaking commitments.) After 10 years I went out and stayed there for 13 years. I feel that the primary reason I went out is becasue I did not develop a spiritual program. I was doing it all on my own. I am now back 70 days in AA. I am doing a 90 in 90. What I would like to ask is how do you use a sponsor? How do you select a sponsor. Can someone tell me about their relationship with a sponsor. I find it hard to call someone every day and share whats going on. I can do meetings everyday, but call someone everyday, this is hard. What was everyoen elses experience with this part of the program. I hear about these friendships and how some AA's entire life (social life) is all about AA. AA people, AA events, everything AA. I have trouble with this also. how did it work for you?

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