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Yeah, it happens. My club allows them to stay as long as there is no disruptiion of the meeting. I just remember that was me and now I have let my higher power take over and enjoy a life I NEVER thought I would have.
And sponsored people aren't ?
You never give up do you? Thanks for your observation
and your relentless focus on this topic of sponsorship.
Bill W. wrote about the lack of proper sponsorship.
Today's concept of sponsorship is far from being
proper. Sponsorship of the past 10-20 years has
caused our reputation as a cult.
We must "lose" the title sponsor in A.A. If this
lable "SPONSOR" is deleted, then the real sponsor
or mentor will re-appear, without the hierarchy
or the title.
Thanks for your continued persistance. I have
found a lot of mistakes which have been made, but
I never picked up on this one. You have enlightened
me and many others,I am sure. ANONYMOUS
Ultimately it is up to the group. One of the groups I attend regularly decided at a group conscience to allow the intoxicated to sit in a meeting as long as they are respectful and not disruptive, but does not allow them to share. Thus, if someone is obviously intoxicated, they are told this at the beginning of the meeting. If it only becomes apparent after the meeting is started that they are drunk, then the chairperson or someone else needs to interrupt the meeting to explain the group conscience. When someone started their share by indicating they were drunk, they were interrupted and told of thee group conscience, told they were welcome to stay. They did not. The nice thing about having the policy in place is that there is no room for debate, and debating the intoxicated is a waste of air.
Every person at an meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous ought
to be given equal time to share. If I had been told at
my first meeting: "Be quiet, you are drunk", I doubt that
I would have ever come back. We come to AA meetings as
absolute equals. We need the drunk as much as she/he may
need us. The problem here is not someone being drunk
at an AA meeting. The problem is sharing by a "show of
hands". Asking if anyone has a burning desire is, for
lack of a better word, stupid. Alcoholics always have
burning desires, drunk or sober. Simply going around
the room, allowing each member equal time to share
is the best way. Yes, I have done years of research,
although not scientifically, just observation. I spent
ten years in our AA rooms using what is sometimes
called "round robin". In that ten year period our
membership tripled. We gained about 600,000 new
members in that decade. Then started the "Anyone
new or just coming back?" ritual. We started to
read "How it Works", turning AA into a religion.
We started chanting, turning AA into a cult. With
todays concept of sponsorship, the cult nature of
AA is complete. Holding hands and praying at
meetings completes our religious nature. It really
surprises me that AA has survived as long as it
has. But today we are spinning our wheels, churning,
only holding a few new members. We can continue that
way for decades, actually failing most who come to
us for help. Or we can stop all chanting, stop all
praying at meetings. Stop reading HIW aloud at meetings.
Remove all redundant readings. The preamble says it
all. I just wish it read public controversy, instead
of just controversy. We have always had squabbles in
AA and hopefully we always will. Sorry so doom and
gloom. Sometimes I fear that our fellowship is
doomed. But my delegate says that we may still be
able to "turn this ship around". He says to keep
sounding the alarm, someone might eventually hear.
So obediently I continue. And I am eternally grateful
for the supporting messages. ANONYMOUS
I think you need to call for a group conscience meeting, either after a meeting or at your group business meeting to discuss this. Your guide on this question should be Tradition 1 & 4 in the long form. Tradition 1.- Each member of AA is but a small part of a greater whole. AA must continue to live or most of us will surly die. Hence our common welfare comes first. But individual welfare follows close afterward.
This tradition argues for both sides but I think it comes down on the side of the group survival so if the intoxicated drunk threatens the groups unity then he needs to be dealt with.
The first sentence of Tradition 4.-With respect to its own affairs, each AA group should be responsible to no other authority then its own conscience.
So your group may choose to ignore the problem and hope it doesn’t occur to often.
Your group might ask that the obviously intoxicated not share but listen only
Or if disruptive or threatening a member may be asked to leave.
As you already know these matters can deeply divide a group and any decision needs careful consideration just remember to always place principles before personalities.
I learned awhile back that people generally learn in 3 ways. Some by reading, some by doing, and some by listening and whatching. Usually a combination of the three.
I personally learn mostly by reading. Throughout my life I have had the ability to read a textbook or manual and put into practice what was written.
I have a friend that learns by doing. He learned the aa program by doing what was suggested.
I have another friend who learns by whatching. He would go to meetings and along on 12 step calls and observe what was going on and later apply it.
Some people learn by a combination of the 3. They can study the big book, practice what its says, and observe other AAs trying to practice the program.
In my experience with newcomers, I have found it is important for them to attend a variety of meetings. In doing so they will meet a wide variety of people who learn and work the program in a way that might fit them best.
After pondering the diversity in AA, I now have a deep appreciation for it. I now embrace it instead of fight it. I have a new attitude toward the whole situation. I guess you could call it a change in feeling and outlook!
I have been in AA for 23 years. I got sober in the San Francisco Bay Area in the AIDS fueled '80s when AIDS treatment seemed to send millions of gays and lesbians into the rooms of AA. The flavor of AA in coastal California reflected the progressive culture of the area and the tolerant feeling of the LGBT community. As politics and culture swung from one polarity to another, during the 90's religious fundamentalism started creeping into the rooms of AA and the Lord's Prayer began making a resurgence in meeting and "Jesus is my Higher Power" seemed to be heard more and more. As an agnostic, I had some tolerance for religiosity, since it is at the root of the AA history. I learned to work my program on the basis of "take what you need and leave the rest." When I approached the 20 year mark, I felt more intolerance at meetings for a message that did not include christian tenants - and I don't just mean the word "god." There is so much more to a christian overlay onto our recovery program. I started a series of "god-free" meetings that we lovingly called "The Godless Heathens." We attracted the buddhists, wickens, crystal worshiping agnostics and athiest that are the core of my program today. It was glorious! Our meetings were deep and profound and amazingly supportive of real transformation and sobriety. We were not trying to "get saved" we were trying to "live sober." Now I am in Maryland and I feel as if I have gone back to the bad old days. Are there any "godless heathens" out there who would be interested in working a non religious AA program with like minded people?? I'll do the legwork if there are other kindred spirits out there?
I have been sober for almost 30 years and I have not perceived any change in the number of discussions involving religion over that period of time. Maybe it is a choice of meetings and I am just fortunate, but on the rare occasion someone "rambles on" about specific religion or relgious practice an elder member of the group usually pulls the person aside after the meeting and has a loving constructive chat with them - explaining what AA is and is not. This usually works for all but the belligerent ones, and there will always be a few of those.
lol i used to live out west and knew alot of people in recovery who were not religiuos thats why i try to leave it out as much as possible even though i am in my first thirty days when i had some time before in the program i learned alot about other people and respecting them and not running the new commer off that may not believe in jesus i must admit i have done it a few times because i do believe in jesus but i try my best to just call my higher power god wheather it be a bible god or a door knob or a shoe lace or anything else so i hope you find someone to help today is my thirty day birthday keep writing and posting love ya
Believe it or not, the Alcoholics Anonymous of the 1970s
was a-religious. But it must have been seen by Bill W. that A.A. was becoming a religion, as early as 1957. Bill
wrote in AACA (bottom of page 232), that nothing could be
so unfortunate to A.A.'s future as an attempt to turn our
fellowship into a religion. Most of us know that has happened. Bill repeated that warning in an April 1963 article to the AAGRAPEVINE. I personally feel that this
was due to the 24hr being introduced into A.A. tradition.
Any alcoholic approaching A.A. anywhere, ought to find
meetings basically the same. The meetings I went to in the
seventies were all basically the same. All members were
treated the same and each was allowed to speak her/his
own monologue. The God-fearing lover of Jesus was
accepted as well as the A.A. member who had no belief in
God at all.
Today's A.A. member believes that in order to get
sober and stay sober an alcoholic has to believe in God.
It can be the God of the individual's own understanding.
And there is plenty in the Big Book to support that
belief. But my understanding today is that the Big Book
is the story of how many thousands of Men and Women have
recovered from alcoholism. That is what I read on the
But the book was meant to be suggestive only and
so much more has been revealed. Numerous changes were
made at the last minute before the Big Book went to press.
The corrected manuscript is available for about $75.00.
I haven't seen it but I believe one of the most important
changes was from directions to path, as in those who follow our path. There is a tremendous difference in following a
path instead of directions.
And many more changes could have been made if there
had been time to do so. But in my opinion, the Big Book
is adequate as it stands. The book offers hope for any
alcoholic who wishes to get well. Even a slight desire,
or even a need to get sober qualifies any drinker for
membership in A.A.
Alcoholics Anonymous offers membership to any
alcoholic, whether they believe in Christ, or no God at
all. Until we return to that belief, alcoholics by the
thousands (millions) will continue to suffer, along
with their friends and families.
True Alcoholics Anonymous as hammered out on the
anvils of years of experience works its best as a non-
Many of the blunders we have made in A.A. have led
to our becoming a religion. The blunders have been listed
on I-SAY many times. Even the simple practice of sharing
by "show of hands" has harmed us severely. The sincere
believer in Christ has to get his/her point across, and
will always have a hand up.
I believe that God (of my own understanding) will
understand if we "Go easy on the God Stuff". I believe He
gave us this technique in the first place, through Bill W.
and Dr. Silkworth.
Welcome to the East Coast. Just don't stop coming
to meetings. I believe that we can return A.A. to a
fellowship of women and men. Be patient, but be persistent.
My area delegate tells me to keep sounding the alarm, and maybe others will hear and we can turn this ship around.
It became a religion in 1976 as the outside sponsorship pamphlet was promoted and administer by the outside system !
it seems to me that meetings which appear to have a religious basis have given up the 'spiritualism' that bill w. and others talked and wrote about. they're mostly about people pushing doctrine. well we have a doctrine. it's called the 12 steps. and we have the traditions. there's no more room in the boat I'm afraid.
I try to read and understand what is written here. I suspect that this message has great meaning. I just don't
understand what it is. Alcoholics Anonymous is one of the
most religious groups that I know. But it was never intended that we form a new religion. Bill wrote that nothing could be as bad for AA's future. Religion requires
belief in something. AA does not. At least that is what
I read at a step meeting last evening.
If we follow the traditions, there will always be
plenty of room in the boat for any problem drinker
with a desire to get well.
Religious and spiritual share the same meaning. My
friends in AA are the most religious and spiritual
people that I know. ANONYMOUS
I sobered up in 1992. most meetings i've attended start the meeting with the serenity prayer,read how it works, and close with the Lords prayer.
I had a close friend who died about ten years ago with 52 years of sobriety. he told me one day that he remembered when they started saying the lords prayer at the end of meetings in the 70's.
Does anyone have information pertaining to when groups started reading how it works, closing with the lords prayer, or other local customs?
Thanks, looking forward to your responses!
The way a group closes its meetings should be decided
by a fully informed group conscience. Of course, members
need to know what a group conscience decision is. This
process has been covered in previous messages and in the
12&12. If the majority of the members of the group
agree to close the meeting with the Lords prayer, that
is certainly acceptable. Holding hands in the "ring around
the rosy circle", practically forcing everyone to join in,
is what we are doing wrong.
If these decisions are made by the majority of the
group's members, each group would naturally operate
according to its local customs. This does require strong
leadership, not just a few power drivers. This same
principle should be used in all group decisions. Special
interest groups would simply evolve, without any formal
lable. If the majority of the members of a group are
young people, then the group would be a young peoples
group, without designating it as such. Unity is our
first tradition. KISS needs to be "Keep it Simple",
without calling anyone stupid. ANONYMOUS
Bill W. wrote How It Works, and Working With Others
in 1939, using experience up to that time. It was not
until 1957 that Bill finally tells us exactly how to carry and not to carry AA's message. This he made clear (at least to me) on page 70
in the History of AA, Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age.
It is only two paragraphs, and soon I will post it for
those who don't have a copy of AACA, and may be interested.
In Dr. Bob's story as afterwards written for the AA book, and years later in his last full-length talk at
Detroit, he made this point very clear: it was not any spiritual teaching of mine, it was those twin orges of madness and death, the allergy plus the obsession, that
triggered him into a new life. It was Dr. Silkworth's
idea, confirmed by William James, that struck him at great
You see our talk was a completely MUTUAL thing. I had
quit preaching. I knew that I needed this alcoholic as
much as he needed me. THIS WAS IT! And this mutual give-and-
take is at the very heart of all of A.A.'s twelfth step
work today. This was how to carry the message. The final
link was located right there in my first talk with Dr.
I copied this from Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age,
A BRIEF HISTORY OF A.A. Page 70. ANONYMOUS
Who cares when it was read, what matters is alcoholics understands it. If not an alcoholic someone else will have to try and explain it to them.
I care! And today I know there are other members who care.
But I have heard a few say "Who Cares?", I've got mine. If
they want it, they will have to do what I did. Bill W. took much care in placing "How It Works" in the fifth chapter. Bill wrote in AACA, that where to place HIW "worried the life out of me". Bill W. disguised the
four absolutes and concealed them in Chapter Five,
trusting that the alcoholic would find them at the
appropriate time. But today we read it to all and sundry,
from the podium (lectern). This was and is the worst
mistake we have made in the history of AA. ANONYMOUS
The outside sponsorship system that is now outside of hospitals and inside A.A. walls
"This was and is the worst
mistake we have made in the history of AA. ANONYMOUS"
We have made a lot of mistakes at the group level in
the past three decades. I did not consider the "outside
sponsorship" until you kept repeating it on the forum. I
attended a traditions workshop where I developed that
understanding. Ironic it was not from the study itself,
but the way the workshop was conducted. It was run by
that element in AA who fight for their positions of
power. I was not too popular at the workshop, due to
my concerns and comments.
These blunders, as Bill W. called them, are costing
human lives, suffering alcoholics who could be saved.
Our blunders at the group level have been covered
over and over on the I-SAY FORUM. We have made serious
mistakes in Alcoholics Anonymous from top to bottom.
Our entire AA structure has been distorted and is
seriously flawed. My immediate concern is at the group
level. That is the point where the suffering human
being is accepted or rejected; at the meeting. Most
newcomers today are rejected due to the conditions we
present to them. Are you ready to do anything? Are
you willing to go to any lengths? Why ask them those
questions if the only requirement for AA membership
is the desire to stop drinking? ANONYMOUS
A great deal of information has been posted over the past
year. Thanks to the I-SAY team, these messages remain for
AA members to read. And we can make further comments on
almost any topic or concern. Welcome aboard! ANONYMOUS
The reading of a portion of chapter five from the Big Book
was first started by an AA member, Mort J. a Denver resident who had bought the Big Book in Sept. 1939. Mort then went on a spree that lasted several weeks. He finally came to himself at Palm Springs and discovered the AA book in his luggage. Shaking violently, he began to read. This was sometime in November 1939, and Mort never drank again.
Bill W. writes : Mort was a book convert pure and simple.
In March,1940, Mort moved to Los Angeles.
At his own expense, Mort hired a meeting place at
Los Angeles' Cecil Hotel. (This information is found in
our AA history book, Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of age
Page 93.) I beg you to get a copy of this History Book
available from AA World Services. It is loaded with vital,
critical details about the origin of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Mort insisted on a reading from Chapter Five at the start of every meeting. The rest of this posting is my
"opinion". The Preamble had not yet been written.
Mort used readings from Chapter Five to open his meetings.
The reading of a portion of the fifth chapter began in
1940 in Los Angeles. It took forty years for this custon
to evolve to reading the first two and a half pages at
meetings on the East Coast. We red it and still reed it in addition to the preamble, serenity prayer, the 24 hr book, and sometimes the promises.
Upon investigation, I have found that reading HIW from the podium is in direct conflict with Dr. Silkworth's
"cart before the horse idea" offered to Bill W. in the spring of 1935. Bill wrote that without this IDEA, AA
could not have been born. I believe that this reading
at AA meetings to all members, new and old, was and is
one of our worst most tragic mistakes in the life
of AA. Chapter Five must be returned to its proper
position, after Chapters one, two, three and four.
I have been caterwalling about this blunder for
about five years now, since I found that AA lost
half a million members in the early 1990's and
membership continues to stagnate at around two
million members. Take the time and investigate. Read
the other postings on I-SAY about this concern.
Just dug out my AACA book and found the part about Mort. This got me thinking about what may have happend around 1992 to cause the decline on membership in aa.
the first thing that comes to mind is the daily reflections hit the scene in 1990. Maybe aa members began to think a daily reflection alone would keep them sober.
The second explanation would be the deaths of many oldtimers. If you sobered up during the boom of the 50's at the age of 40, you would be in your early 80's in the 90's.
So maybe since then, as old timers die they are replaced with a newcomer, contrasting to prior to the 90's when less old timers were passing away.
Just a thought.
Our primary purpose is to help others to recover. And of course to help each other stay sober. No one is going to
live forever. But living sober and living a sober life
is giving me many more years of productive. In my
opinion, Daily Reflections is a watered down, conference approved version of the 24hr book which our pioneers rejected. I don't believe Bill and His friends would have accepted Daily Reflections in its entirety. Most of today's
AA members probably think that is a stupid opinion.
Look at the numbers this way: If each member of AA
helped save another's life every year, our membership
would double every year. Let us make adjustments for deaths and dropouts and help save one every ten years, which I think would be a reasonable rate of effectiveness. That
was our rate for the first 57 years. Our membership
doubled about every ten years. AA has been altered over
the past three decades, distorted. The changes at the
group level have been posted on I-SAY many times.
Members and our leaders who believe the numbers
(there are very few) come up with all kind of excuses
for our lack of growth. These excuses satisfy and justify. I believe that is just easier to blame causes we can do
nothing about. It is "their" fault. Not our own fault.
Bill W. was always concerned about AA's future. I think
it was Bill who said if AA is ever destroyed it will be
from within. When I finally understood why the 24 hr book
was not considered appropriate for our fellowship, then
I understood why the reading of How It Works has been
so devestating to our fellowship. A full explanation can be found in Dr. Silkworth's cart before the horse IDEA. Keep
You still ain't said where the cart b4 the horse idea can be found. I think openmindedness is important, to put blame on one thing for AA fails is silly. Bill W did say that about AA destroy from within and I think he based that on the Washingtonians.
People can get sober on a spiritual awakening only but very few is sober on medical cure only!
Open up that good mind you have!
Bill W. wrote about Dr. Silkworth's cart before the horse IDEA, several times. I will have to make another study and
provide the list for you. One location is in an AAGRAPEVINE
article by Bill written for the July 1953 issue. It appears
in Language of the Heart on page 199. Read pages 197,198 and
199. On page 197 Lang. I will copy a sentence Bill wrote
regarding Dr. Silkworth: It was he who was soon to contribute a very great idea without which AA could never
have succeeded. Read the entire article. Bill covers this
a number of times in our literature. The conclusion I have reached is that Silky told Bill to "Go easy on the God Stuff.
Save that for a later time." That is the source of my belief
that reading How It Works and the 24hr book at meetings
from the podium is harmful. I look forward to your understanding of the readings. Someone out there may have
a list of the places in our literature where Bill describes
the "cart before the horse IDEA." Or maybe my understanding
is just "mule muffins." ANONYMOUS
You still ain't said where the cart b4 the horse idea can be found. I think openmindedness is important, to put blame on one thing for AA fails is silly. Bill W did say that about AA destroy from within and I think he based that on the Washingtonians.
People can get sober on a spiritual awakening only but very few is sober on medical cure only!
Open up that good mind you have!
One explanation appears in The Language of the Heart book
pages 197,198 and 199. This article was written by Bill W.
for the July 1953 issue of the AAGRAPEVINE. Bill also writes about Dr. Silkworth's idea on page 90 in Alcoholics
Anonymous Comes of Age, page 70. Bill writes on page 70: THIS WAS IT. THIS WAS HOW TO CARRY THE MESSAGE. Bill
called it the final missing link.
The "cart before the horse IDEA" advice from Dr.
Silkworth is simply: Go Easy on the God Stuff. This was
printed on The cover of an AAGRAPEVINE about 10 years ago, in the form of a question: SHOULD WE GO EASY ON THE GOD STUFF? Trial and error tells us yes.
Personally, I understand the IDEA repeatedly, written
by Bill W., is his warning to never start an AA meeting
with the reading of material such as How It Works or
the 24 hr book. We do not want it to appear that AA is
some kind of religion. We do not want to push new suffering
alcoholics from our rooms by pushing religion on them.
We don't want to have a reputation as twelve step pushers.
This may prevent potential members from even approaching
us in the first place.
To put the blame on this one thing may be silly. But
I believe that this was our worst blunder. We have made
several other mistakes in the past three decades. These
are posted numerous times on I-SAY. In today's AA we are
only saving enough drunks to replace those who die or leave.
Something is horribly wrong. Sincere thanks! ANONYMOUS
So HIW has been read at the opening of meetins since 1940 but it took until the 1990's for AA to start losing members!
I don't think anything read from the BB will hurt anyone who is in an AA meeting and has the desire to stop drinking.
Refresh my memory on the Cart Befor the Horse. Does this refer to giving the drunks the physical aspect of alcoholism befor the spiritual? Maybe we should read something from the AMA befor the meetings!
If newcomers would read the BB they would learn about the physical aspects of alcoholism. Doesn't anyone read the book anymore? All these other books are fine as a supplement to a person's program but the BB was written to carry the message!
The custom of using a reading from chapter five reached
the East coast in the form of reading the first two and a
half pages in today's How it Works. From its beginning in
1940 to nationwide in 1980. I only hope and pray that it
doesn't take four decades to send it back where it came
from. This reading from the podium is killing us. ANONYMOUS
Please do not underestimate the value of Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, and Language of the Heart and the others: Pass it On, Dr bob and the Good Oldtimers. These
books are as important to our fellowship's survival as the
Big Book and 12+12 are to our personal recovery.
You will have to read and study Dr. Silkworth's cart before the horse IDEA in these books.
In Lang on page 199 Bill wrote in a letter to the Grapevine July 1953: In the middle of the page Bill writes
the words of Dr silkworth: Quote The point is that alcoholics won't buy all this moral exhortation until THEY CONVINCE THEMSELVES THEY MUST. (CAPITALS ARE MINE). END QUOTE. I believe this is important: We can seldom convince
the newcomer, nor ought we try. They have to convince themselves. Attraction, not promotion. Buy and study those
books. But I have no way of making you buy
those books, any more than I can make a newcomer read the
Big Book. Let liquor be the enforcer. We need no others. I
think it says that great love and great suffering are
to be our only discipliarians in 12+12. ANONYMOUS
I checked out the Traditions forum , and found little discussion about our principals contained in our Traditions.Most of the conversations were about local customs in nearby meetings. How about our principal of Anonymity in the digital Age or how we can cooperate in our communities so that people understand what A.A. is and what we are not.
As members of our groups we need to take responsibility to insure that newcomers have the same chance we had when we wondered in from the cold.
I like the 12x12 description of how if the steps are practiced as a way of life they will expel the compulsion to drink and make you happily and usefully whole. Thats pretty much all I ever wanted!
Also I am not very popular in my AA community right now. At a closed meeting last friday someone introduced themselves with there name only. I explained it was a closed meeting and it was limited to alcoholics or people with a desire to stop drinking. I don't enjoy making that statement, but felt someone should since the meeting chair didn't. The attendee said he was sober for seven months.
Yesterday after a meeting a lady called me some names and said anyone can go to meetings(refering to what i said last week). after she finished yelling i said again only alcoholics or people with a desire to stop drinking are allowed at closed meetings.
In the town i recently moved to there are meetings usually twice a day and all but two are open so everyone in the recovery community can attend. I guess we need to start reading the blue card at each meeting so everyone knows alcoholics anonymous if for alcoholics. Hopefully we can slowly get back to our primary purpose.
If you want everyone in AA to like you, try being a
chameleon or what Bill W. called a politico. I read an
article in the grapevine a few years ago where the
writer of the article wrote that most AA members adored
Bill W., but there are some who despised him.
I have found that AA members can react with hostility,
when their basic beliefs are questioned. I believe wars
have been fought.
I have lost favor with many in my effort to inform our
membership that we are losing or have lost most of our
effectiveness in helping suffering alcoholics. I did not know this until a decade after it began to happen. I believe our leaders and trusted servants just did not
want to give us that bad news. Politicos just give
people what they want, or tell them what they want to hear.
Asking attendees if they are alcoholic can be a very
delicate subject. Suppose a new member is an alcoholic
and is just not certain enough to call himself/herself an alcoholic?
Do we demand that the new member conform? When a member
states "I am Joe and I am an addict, do we ask her/him to
leave the room, even if there is no addict's meeting
nearby? I personally know several addicts who attend AA
meetings stating they are alcoholics. They share about
drinking, not drugging.
It just seems that on the District, Area and GSO level
they find all kinds of other topics to fill in the time
allotted. No meaningful discussion is allowed as to the
real reasons for our lack of growth. Our traditions are
ignored. I don't believe any effort is being made to
reach our goal of self support. Our two traditions on
anonymity are being watered down. Two thirds of our fourth
tradition are ignored. Many believe it reads: "An AA group
can do anything it pleases".
So welcome to the club. I am called many names, bleeding
deacon is one of the kinder ones. Caterwalling or Caterwauler and relentlessly negative are others. I have kind of
gotten used to it. I like to think I may be gaining a
glimpse of humility. ANONYMOUS
Is the outside sponsorship system killing A.A through there personalities - Personality is simply another persons reality not always Gods.
Does the outside system undermined the 3 pertinent ideas of A.A. itself? LOUD YES
Does the outside system undermined the promises of A.A. to intuitively handle situations? LOUD YES
Is the outside system miss used inside A.A - Take a closer look victims.
Does it get any uglier? Do you think it's the part of yourself that you just can't forgive? Shouldn't we lend extra support to anyone that shares the same affliction?
So many questions...but, there's one thing I know -
When you join hands and repeat "Keep coming back",
there are NO time or condition limits.
The only righteous alcoholic around is called a sponsor, the rest humbly understand only for the grace of God there go I. There is no humility in an outside sponsorship system here in A.A and that's the CHEIF reason many leave. Personality = another persons reality = a sponsor!!!!
So many questions... There's one thing I know- I don't understand your questions.
There were no time or condition limits on "Hold hands
and chanting", until "It works if you work it, was added.
Find God and find Him NOW! certainly has a time limit.
Chanting has harmed the public image of AA. Prayer is
a wonderful practice, but the AA group is not a prayer group
Pray in church and on your own time. ANONYMOUS
It might be worthwhile getting a discussion going on the subject matter contained in this report. (It has not been accepted in its current form for this year but the Conference Question committee concerned have asked for it to be resubmitted in an amended form for 2013 (primarily because it contains references to outside organisations)). It deals with quite a few of the issues raised in other parts of the I-Say forum. Unfortunately I can't include the link to the document directly (I-Say policy) but if you are interested you can find it easily enough by using the search terms: AA Minority Report 2012 (in any combination and in any search engine).
It is indeed good to know that there are many others who share my concern about the present state of Alcoholics
Anonymous and fear for our future. I have read much of Bill
W's writings and concern for AA's future is often expressed.
To sum it up, AA has morphed from a fellowship of men and
women, to a TWELVE STEP PROGRAM, only one of many. The changes at the group level have been subtle. I was aware
of the changes, which today I call distortions, but was not
aware of the grave consequences. The price has been human
suffering, unnecessary suffering. We are failing the very
population we are supposed to help, alcoholics and their
friends and families.
Despite our failings, much of the general public still
recommends AA for their alcoholic patients. Almost everyone
in America has heard of AA. The alternate programs are not
that well known. Although many have heard of our dismal
success record, they are aware that AA does work for a few.
Alcoholics Anonymous in its pure form, offers hope for
wholesale recovery of alcoholic sufferers. Even as a strange religious cult it still works occasionally. Some
alcoholics respond to that approach, get sober and stay
sober. I believe that "trying to help other alcoholics"
keeps many alcoholics sober, even if they are spectacularly
unsuccessful, as Bill W. was in his first six months. Bill
called his effort "violent exertion".
Once again I will list the blunders we have made in
AA at the group level. Our worst mistake was the start of
reading "How it Works" aloud at meetings to all and sundry.
This may be a little more difficult to understand than our
second worst blunder, the introduction of chanting. This is
the "Hi Joe! chant, and for lack of a better word, this is just plain stupid. Chanting of any kind is a cult ritual,
and has no place in AA.
The acceptance of the 24hr book at the group level has
been a mistake. This book has been rejected twice by our
general service conference as being inappropriate for AA.
Yet in many parts of the country this book has made it to
the AA podium. The theme is still ingrained in regions even
where the book itself has been "banned". Many of our leaders
have no idea why the 24hr book was rejected by Bill W. and his friends in the early 1950's.
The simple custom of sharing by "show of hands" has been
another mistake. Until the early 1980's, we simply went "around the room". I have heard this called "round
robin". This is asking for all kind of EGO problems. Making
a spectacle of newcomers or allowing new members to make a spectacle of themselves is also an EGO issue. For anyone
who doesn't know, EGO deflation is key in recovery from
addiction. Allow each member to enter and exist in AA on
an absolutely equal basis. No one is "more important" than
anyone else. THAT WAS IT! Dr Bob wrote about his first
connection with Bill W.
Another grave mistake was the introduction of praying
at AA meetings. In the 1970s we opened the meetings with
the preamble. We cited the serenity prayer for "those who
wished to join. We closed the meetings, standing by our
chairs, without holding hands forcing everyone to join in.
No one was made a spectacle of if they did not join citing
the Lords prayer. Most of us joined in but it was not
mandatory, as many meetings are today.
Today's concept of sponsorship is another reason that
AA is considered a cult. Taking control and running another's life, basically without taking any personal
responsibility for the person, is one indication that AA
has become a cult. Combined with the chanting, which is
shouting, yelling, hooting and hollering in many parts of the country, sponsorship and chanting, makes us a cult in
the eyes of the public. It is imperative that the general
public look on AA favorably.(public relations).
The "Hold Hands and Pray" closing has already been
mentioned, as an indication that we have become "too religious" in AA meetings today. This was accepted by the general service conference, upon approval of the fourth edition of the Big Book. I wonder how many who voted for it had actually read it.
Most of this material has been posted over and over on
the I-SAY FORUM. I am ever so grateful for this method of
reaching others who are concerned for AA's future. Much of
our loss of effectiveness is due to our lack of true
understanding the "cart before the horse" advice given to
Bill W. By Dr. Silkworth in the spring of 1935, just prior
to Bill's trip to Akron. If we can somehow understand that
vital ingredient we may be able to "turn this ship around"
using the words of a trusted servant, my area delegate.
These concerns may eventually be discussed at the
conference level, but the ultimate responsibility for AA's
future lies with the AA group and the individual AA member.
We must somehow develop the courage to stand up and speak
out. Trial and error has ended. AA is diminishing. I
just yesterday picked up a 2002 issue of box 459, listing
our membership at over 2,200,000. We have fewer members than
that today, a decade later. ANONYMOUS
I love A.A. and yes we had lost quite a lot. but why?
A.A. is simple clear and precise in the 3 pertinent Ideas
not pert-in -near ideas - Why cannot people understand B and C? as they are conned through fear into running to an outside sponsor instead of A.A.'s ideas? why do people fall for fear and are so easily diverted by people, places and things instead of Easy does it.
why isn't there a meeting where we can go to socialize, play cards, etc without drinking instead of just listening to a sad story we all have!!!!! What the hell?????Here just trying to help someone not kill themselves & yes it is all the same!!!!!
I felt ill at ease and out of place, as far back as my
memory will reach. Initially I was very fearful, but eventually it turned into anger. I found out early in life that "people" would hurt me, so I avoided them as much as possible. Living life alone is not really living.
Liquor was the answer for me. I was no longer fearful
and I found others like myself, so I was no longer alone.
After attending her first AA meeting at Bill W.s home
these were the words spoken by Marty M. to her drinking
friend, "Grenny, we are not alone any more"
Yes, it is much the same. I need a place to mingle with
friends without alcohol being involved. Many AA members
play cards, go bowling and socialize outside of AA
meetings. I doubt that these activities can take the
place of AA meetings. AA is like the iceing on the
cake. I have gone to thousands of AA meetings, but the
meeting last night was the best ever. How often I
sincerely feel that way.
Have fun, and help others to a life of joy. "The
joy of living".... ANONYMOUS
I have read through many of the posts on various topics, some of which I agree with, some of which I don't, many of which I have no idea what the writer is talking about. One keeps writing about an "outside sponsorship system." I honestly have no idea what he/she is talking about. What does come through loud and clear is that most of the posters have never read the 12 & 12, in particular the 12 traditions and their accompanying text, as many of the comments about what AA is and isn't are ones that were pretty much specifically rejected after they had been tried and failed in AA's early years, as recounted in the 12 & 12. Just as my personal history is a vital part of the story of how I came to be sober and how I stay sober, so too does AA's colorful history provide insight into how AA came to be, how it has developed, and how it stays vital for so many of us. And when I say "AA's history," I am not speaking to those made up bits of it, including the aa membership numbers, which are about as accurate now as they were when Bill W. wrote in 1939 that "we number hundreds," which at that time was a gross exaggeration.
Understand the ideas of A.A. and you will understand what how the outside system learn to operate inside A.A. instead of bring them in from the outside? This may be to simple of fact for a sponsor in themself.
I think you’ll find all the information you need to explain what people are talking about when they say “outside sponsorship” if you follow the suggestion in the "Minority report(GB)2012" post above. The minority report is titled “A call for moral inventory and leadership in AA”. There’s some interesting bits of AA history in it too. As mentioned in the above post, it can be searched on any search engine by using the search terms: “AA minority report 2012”
I am sure you can tell me where Bill W. wrote in 1939 that
"we number hundreds" which you consider to be a gross exaggeration. On page 180 AACA Bill writes : By early 1940
we could estimate that about 800 recoveries had been made.
He writes: This number was a big jump from the figure of 100 at the time the book was published in April of the year before. end writes. Do you believe the estimates on page 310 AACA contain any truth? Do you really think that the aa membership numbers are "made up bits" of AA"s history?
Bill wrote AACA in the mid 1950's, I personally have read and believe most of it.
Do you think that 2,000,000 AA members are about all we can expect? "TWO MILLION STRONG" was part of a Grapevine article. These membership numbers mean something! I ask you to write to GSO for the list of our head count from 1935
to the present. It is clear that we are "churning", helping very few new alcoholics to recover. Self centered we are
only helping ourselves, only enough to replace those members
who die or drop out.
Personally I think it is just easier to deny the evidence
contained in the numbers, than to face the real truth. The
truth is that we are failing hundreds of thousands of suffering men and women, plus their friends and families
every year by the way our AA meetings are conducted. The blunders I keep repeating here. I finally understand what
the poster of "outside sponsorship" is trying to tell us.
It took a traditions workshop for me to understand it. We
don't need a sponsor to practice the steps. They are God's
free gift to us. We only share exactly what happened to us.
No more, unless a question is asked. Even then we only share our own experience. Trust God, as each individual
understands, to do his miracle. Yes, make sure the new
member has a Big Book. Let her/him read it. Bill W.
explains the program of recovery. Give the new member a
copy of 12&12. Yes, I have read every word in the 12&12
"hundreds" times, at a regular weekly step
meeting and a regular weekly traditions meeting. "Hundreds"
is not an exaggeration. ANONYMOUS
I misquoted Bill - he did not say "hundreds" in 1939, rather he said "more than a hundred." (see Preface to 1st edition) One AA history buff puts the number at around 75, and of those probably 15 failed to achieve long-term sobriety, while the success of many others is unknown. So Bill's exaggeration may have been slight rather than gross. What is interesting to note is that some of those pioneers also chose the harder, more painful route (the old "in-out") before achieving any length of sobriety.
But I do take issue with this statement by you and others for which no empirical evidence exists, that "The truth is that we are failing hundreds of thousands of suffering men and women… every year by the way our AA meetings are conducted." Sounds like the rant of a bleeding deacon. Not only are the AA membership numbers folks cite very rough estimates (though probably as accurate as are possible given the nature of our organization as reflected in 3rd & 12th traditions), but your conclusion that lack of growth is due to how meetings are conducted is without any basis. Nearly every day I hear someone's story about being introduced to AA a decade or two earlier before finally making their way back and getting serious. Rarely have I heard anyone complain that "you people were too religious" or "I was turned off by the chanting and holding hands," rather the comment is invariably "I wasn't ready" or "I wasn't as bad as I thought you people were – yet." That they find their way back tells me we were not failing them then, nor are we now. But as this isn't a "one size fits all" program, and there is not "one right way" to sobriety, that some people don't want what we have is inevitable.