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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.
A good source for the facts and figures can be found in Nell Wings (Bills secretary) book. She states that when Bill had 100 she asked him and he said that by the time it was printed, there would be 100.
I am not sure of the number, but it was around 75.
The way I see it, Bill was a dreamer, and that was good for A A, and Doctor Bob was the realist holding the fellowship together. When the book was written, using the 75 figure, Akron had a little more than 50 members and New York had a little less than 25. Also, most of the stories came out of Akron and a couple from Cleveland. Only a few came from New York.
Thanks for the correction. I hope I-SAY will continue this
dialog. The information from GSO about AA membership is
available upon request. It is a one page list of membership
numbers from 1935 to the present. "It is titled Worldwide
A.A. Individual and Group Membership". It shows continuous
growth until 1992, reaching almost two and a half million.
I an sure you know that today we stand at two million members worldwide.
When I first saw these numbers, my belief that AA is
"alive and well" disappeared. I remembered all of the
changes we had made at the group level over the past four
decades. The list of changes is about ten. In my opinion
they were significant changes (distortions). Those members,
the few who do believe the numbers, can probably come up
with ten reasons for our lack of growth. These reasons for our lack of growth may make sense to them.
Please, Write to GSO for the number and group list. I don't believe you can look at that sheet without viewing
with alarm. Yes I have been called a bleeding deacon several times, but, believe me I have been called much worse.
I have no "axe to grind". Alcoholics Anonymous saved my
life and my brother's life decades ago. But AA at the group
level barely resembles the AA of the 1970's decade. I have
listed the changes over and over on I-SAY. But very few AA
members read these messages, and even less understand them.
I do believe that Alcoholics Anonymous is a "one size
fits all" fellowship. Bill W. wrote in Three Talks to
Medical Societies "The only thing we ask of the alcoholic
approaching us is a desire on his part to get well.
Our AA membership today ought to be eight million.
We have failed a generation of alcoholic sufferers plus
their friends and families. Do we have the wherewithal
to reverse the blunders we have made at the group level?
Or will we fail another generation of alcoholics?
The not to worry, was in regards to members reading your postings. Some where the Web monitor reports 600 - 900 visitors per month. It was not clear as to whether it only accounts for those logged in, and if they come back to the forum a number of times.
Then they might use the I P Address to calculate.
Then you have that Anonymous Guy writing every second post . . . YOU WOULD THINK THAT THIS FORUM IS BEHIND CLOSED DOORS ENOUGH THAT IF YOU HAVE A POINT TO SHARE AT LEAST ADD YOUR HANDLE
Just curious as to the changes you have seen at the group level in your area, I have more questions than answers, most of our mistakes stem from our trying to be all things to all people giving the impression to the world at large that we can help the non-alcoholic, opening up our closed discussion meetings so all can come and now participate.
On average we sell nearly one million Big Books per year and have for many years, yet your membership stays flat. Who the heck is buying our book?! A fellow Bleeding Deacon
We gladly share the twelve steps to the world at large
so that all who want can use them. I believe the true AA
method is also freely given to all. The method or technique
is different from other recovery "programs". You might say
that our recover process is opposite other attempts at
recovery from addiction. Other programs tell their members
what to do. We only tell (share) what we did and what has
happened to us. No one can be left out or pushed away. I
believe that most addictions can be arrested by using the
true AA process. I like to say, "it is not really that
complicated", but it really is complicated and very
difficult to understand. ANONYMOUS
My first reaction to this post is that we cannot possibly
be selling a million books annually. But I think we gave
away the 30 millionth big book at the 75th AA aniversary.
Who IS buying the Big Book? I suppose most AA members bought
a copy when the fourth edition was printed. I just don't
believe that the casual reader who is not an alcoholic would
have much interest in our Big Book. Those million books are
bought by alcoholics or given to alcoholics every year. The
result of a million books in 2010 was 16,499 new AA members.
Observing our local groups in action, several of the larger ones are pretty consistent in giving a Big Book to every newcomer. I suspect that there is a landfill somewhere with millions of the Big Book, along with copies of "The Bhagavad Gita As It Is" distributed at airports a few decades ago. Not that either is unworthy of study, but neither is going to resonate with the reader unless they are ready for the message. After my second meeting, someone chased me down as I was leaving and thrust a Big Book in my hand, saying I had to read the first 164 pages, had to attend 90 meetings in 90 days. I stuck around in spite of this person. I did read the Big Book, but can't say it resonated with me initially. It was the stories of those in the rooms that made sense, along with the suggestion not to drink today and to keep coming back. I wonder if the "requirements" thrown at newcomers turns them off? Some of that "you have to do this" might be attributable to treatment centers, which I gather pretty much control the lives of their patients for the length of their stay. But I think the pioneers of AA were similarly demanding, so perhaps it is only natural for me as a human being to assume that how I successfully accomplished something is the only way to do it. Fortunately, the longer I am around, the more I realize that while there is only one way to stay sober, by not drinking, there are many ways within and without AA to accomplish that - though AA is the only one that has worked for me.
Quote "I wonder if the "requirements" thrown at newcomers turns them off?"
The Outside sponsorship system in A.A. UNDERMINES A.A's ideas!!!
How? Read A.A's 3 "PERTINENT" ideas.
The Outside sponsorship system in A.A. UNDERMINES Gods promises to A.A's
How? You will intuitively be able to handle situations.
The outside sponsorship system has been around a long time and so has evil
Simply DON'T DRINK is it possible any other way?
Many people believe that not drinking is what keeps you from getting bad feelings. However, changing how we act helps eliminate most bad feelings that made us drink. And changing the way we think helps us from drinking from the bad feelings we allow to cross us by. Don't believe the people who tell you life will be o.k. if you stop drinking. If you don't change as a person simply put you will drink again because you never took care of the bad feelings.
Simply DON'T DRINK alcohol and you won't get drunk. If I could have simply stopped drinking, I would have done so. I
certainly would not have to attend all these dreadful AA
meetings. (smile, I love AA). That was what was so puzzling.
I believed that I could stop. Others believed that I could stop. "If that stuff is causing you so much trouble, why don't you just leave it alone"? I did not realize how very
ill I was, at the edge of the cliff, and still dancing around.
I assume that the writer of this posting is a sober
member of Alcoholics Anonymous. Is this what worked for you?
You simply stopped drinking? How did you end up here? If you are not an alcoholic, and not a sober member of AA, I
don't believe you could have much understanding of why the
simple "DON'T DRINK" method is just not a solution for the alcoholic.
Sure, sobriety starts with never taking that first drink.
And we do that one day at a time. But it is usually a bit
more complicated than simply not drinking. Otherwise, why would we need AA? ANONYMOUS
"DON'T DRINK" method is just not a solution for the alcoholic"
Nor is the outside sponsorship system a solution
But a good SOLUTION not rea-lies-ing it is that we are ALL beyond human aid and need a power greater than OURselfs stated that God could and would if sought.
Subsitute reliance of God for your sponsor is not a smrt idea if you be Alcoholic.
im in serious trouble. I need help getting to meetings. i need support. I made the mistake of starting a serious relationship when I shouldn't have. I cant get to therapy, meetings or anywhere. Icant take much more of myself.
"why would we need AA? ANONYMOUS"
To discover the loving God that was down deep in each and every one of us - unless of course your God, i mean friend is a volunteer hand raising sponsor.
"Simply DON'T DRINK alcohol and you won't get drunk. If I could have simply stopped drinking, I would have done so."
So do it!! Simple Trust in God clean house and find a friend not some sponsor who volunteered.
I was surprised, angry and concerned today when reading The Sac. Bee newspaper about a Priest who says he is in AA and that he is an alcoholic and that he abstains from alcohol except for the sip of wine during Communion. I hope other alcoholics do not look up to this man and think it is ok to have a sip of wine during communion!
Having a sip of wine during communion is not the issue here.
Why would an article appear in a newspaper about a priest
who is a member of AA. If the priest is local and the newspaper in the same area, it is almost certain that this
is a violation of tradition eleven: anonymity at the level of press, radio and films.
I am aware of at least one priest who is sober for
decades. The only way I know that he takes communion is
that I see it. I also see him at AA meetings. He refers to
himself as Danny, not even Father Dan. Although he does not
put himself on a pedestal, I certainly look up to him as
an elder statesman. ANONYMOUS
A good friend was in Rusty R.'s situation-in prison with no meetings availableuntil he was released. This points out the importance of the Corrections Correspdence Program and its ability to go "where anyone reaches out for help so thhe hand of AA is there
In service Walter G.
W. Palm Beach, FL
An AA friend works "in the field". He holds a low paying job
working with men and women who have been released from
correctional facilities. He informes me that virtuallly
every one of his clients has been to AA meetings,
prior to going to prison. We have pushed them out of our rooms, and further down, by the way we conduct our AA and NA meetings. I believe we have almost 40,000 AA members in correctional facilities today. These are the reversals
which must be made at the group level to restore the
effectiveness of Alcoholics Anonymous: Stop reading How
it Works at meetings. Remove the 24hr book from AA
meetings. Stop all forms of chanting. Hi Joe! is a
chant. Stop all praying at meetings. We are not a prayer group. Eliminate the hierarchy, patriarchy sponsor
system. We all come together in AA as equals. Stop
making a spectacle of newcomers, and stop allowing
newcomers to make spectacles of themselves. Maybe
someone "out there" can add to the list. ANONYMOUS
You don't get it your way. If you don't like the way your group is doing it, all you need is three things to start a group run the way you please. 1. A coffee pot. 2. A Big Book. 3. A resentment.
I will share a little experience at following this advice. The group will probably push you out of the way and do it they way they decipher at their group conscious meetings.
When you get all the answers, let me know.
The AA group of today is composed of strong personalities who control the meeting and the group conscience. All it takes is one ego-driven loud mouth to start chanting, and the whole group starts chanting. One member can demand that
How it Works be read at the beginning of the meeting, and it will be read. If one or two members want to hold hands and pray, closing the meeting, it will be done. New members
and earlytimers simply quietly walk away. I may not have all
the answers, and I do ask some questions. Do you know that
only one group out of four, in the US and Canada could count
ONE new member for the entire year of 2010?. Do you know that our membership doubled about every ten years until
the early 1990's? We had almost TWO AND A HALF MILLION
members in 1992. Today we boast of TWO MILLION STRONG!! That is just appalling. How do we sleep at night? We
should have at least eight million members in Alcoholics
Anonymous today. Soon all who remain in AA will be KINGs.
Your words seem to be awash in fear and judgment. We have members doing all the horrors of which you speak and we have significant numbers of new members-almost all not court referred, as our county, like several district courts, consider AA to be a religion.
You write "The AA group of today is composed of strong personalities who control the meeting and the group conscience." You, like many of us, prove your statement every day, or burn with resentments that you don't have that control.
Relax. Take a deep breath. Don't fight anyone or anything. Try to help the alcoholic who still suffers. Personally. Don't worry about 2 million alcoholics at large. Worry about that newcomer who could use a cup of coffee and an encouraging word. Keep in mind that joy is the theme of AA's 12 steps ....
"as our county, like several district courts consider AA to be a religion". Any concerned AA member ought to be alarmed by that phrase. Bill left us with a stern warning
about turning AA into a religion. We have done just that.
On page 346 Language of the Heart Bill repeats a warning
he had previously written in AACA in 1957 page 232.
Note: I am ever so grateful for this method of expressing my concerns for the future of Alcoholics
Anonymous. I attend an AA meeting almost every day and
am very much concerned with helping the newcomer to feel
welcome. I first offer them "the hand of AA" and show them
the way to the coffee pot. Our coffee is still the best
cup in the world, a quality never before tasted.
I bring up my concerns at business and group conscience
meetings. Several meetings have deleted the reading of HIW.,
and the chanting has started to diminish. Some of our groups
do no chanting at all. Members are beginning to realize how
stupid chanting is.
I do not know if meetings outside my limited locale
have begun to make corrections. I hope so. I wish our
leaders would take an interest and get involved. They
come up with themes such as We are responsible for AA's
future; Let it begin with us. And then they come up with
excuses or remain silent. Excuses for our lack of growth,
our loss of effectiveness. The reason for our failure is
that we have become a religion, a strange cultish religion.
Everyone seems to know this except our own members. ANONYMOUS
In Saint Paul, MN, we do not experience the scenario that you are portraying. You are making many judgements on the data alone.
While I think that we can all agree that changes could always be made for the better, and you bring up some very good points, can you possibly tone down the alarmism? Change will take time. We are still helping the sick and suffering alcoholic every day.
Beginners come to this site for hope. Please give them at least that.
May you all find hope, peace and serenity as we trudge this road of happy destiny.
I'm enjoying the latest edition of the Grapevine and it reminded me of what my friend Larry W. used to say over 30 years ago. "Neil he said people will be into your life and out of your life for the rest of your life." Today I realize the truth of that and how precious those relationships are.
Wouldn't imaginative people like Bill W. and Dr. Bob be open to small revisions in the Serenity Prayer every century or so?Here is a "modern" version in 12 lines:
STEP-WISE SERENITY PRAYER:
My higher power,
the things I cannot change,
to change things
as much as I can,
to know the difference,
and the patience
to receive wisdom.
I love the translation. Nothing wrong with the original. Which I also love to hear followed by a whisper of "thy will not mine be done," as it appears in the step book.
I traded in a punishing God for a loving God. My Higher Power does not cause earthquakes or make people sick. My loving God did not give me the disease of alcoholism, but my God has helped me to deal with it...One Day At A Time in AA. God did not give me a teaspoon more than I could handle so that I would turn to him. But, my God has been there for me - helping me to deal with it.
I believe that many alcoholics have been sexually abused
by the time they reach AA. I can understand why they may
find the practice of holding hands and praying repulsive.
An AA friend with 20 years sobriety shared that he went
on cruises in his early sobriety and attended AA meetings
on the cruise liner. He stated that a noted elder conducting
meetings insisted on this ritual before the preamble was
read: Everyone stand in a circle. Hug the person on your
left. Then everyone hug the person on your right. Do you
say: So what? What is your point? These meetings took
place in the mid 1990's, as membership in AA was starting
to decline. I find this practice appalling, and no longer
Hold Hands and Pray. If someone I know wants a hug from
me, that is certainly acceptable. But it is harmful to
the newcomer and to AA to force anyone to Hold Hands and
Pray. Did you ever try to not join in the kindergarten
ring around the rosy circle? I know it is not mandatory.
But how would someone at their first meeting Know this.
In the decade of the 1970's, we simply closed the meeting
with the Lords prayer. No moment of silence was announced.
We did not hold hands forcing everyone to join in. Again,
I personally find it repulsive and no longer take part
in this ritual. If your daughter or sister or wife came
to AA looking for help, would you want old men like me
hugging them? Think about it. Anonymous Please.
When I came to AA at the age of 25, I hadn't said "I love you" to a family member since I was a little boy. None of my 7 member family every showed love or affection. In AA I learned how to express brotherly love. I was off-put the first time my sponsor hugged me 3 years ago, but each time he does gets a little easier. I'm gradually breaking down the protective walls I built to sheild me from the pain of rejection.
Friendship hugs are good. Men with men, women with women. Keep it about recovery!
I believe our primary purpose is to stay sober and to help
other alcoholics to achieve sobriety. Helping other sufferers is the way we maintain our own sobriety. How do we help others? What does the Big Book tell us to do? Does Bill tell us to cram the steps down their throats? No!!!
On page 92 of the fourth edition Bill writes in italics:
Tell him exactly what happened to you. Stress the spiritual
feature freely. Again tell the new person about your own
spiritual experience. Don't tell him what to do. Do not make demands disguised as suggestions. Just share your own
personal experience. If the newcomer wants to know more,
let him/her ask the question. If the newcomer does not identify with you, she/he is sure to identify with someone else. Allow them to listen and learn. We push newcomers
away by telling them to find God and find Him now!: At least let them become addicted to our fellowship and AA coffee first. Again I believe that the custom of reading HIW
aloud at meetings has been our worst, most tragic blunder
of the past three decades. What really works is allowing
every AA member to follow our path, not our directions.
The only enforcers needed are great love and great suffering
One of the traditions tells us this. Our membership is
diminishing. What is the solution? Just do away with the
three year survey? Anonymous.
YOUR CONCERN ABOUT WHY THE GROUTH OF AA HAS SLOWED DOWN IS CLEAR TO ME.THE EXAMPLE OF HOW TO GET SOBER AND MAINTAIN SOBRIETY IS FOUND IN THE BEAUTY OF THE STEPS AND THE AND WHEN WE SHOULD BEGIN TO TAKE THEM WITH OUR SPONSOR.BILL WILSON COMPLEATED HIS STEPS IN SIX DAYS.THEY WAS A GREATER URGENCY IN THE 1930S THEN EXIST TODAY FOR MANY SOCIAL REASONS.AA IS A SCOREBOARD REFLECTION OF WHAT IS GOINING ON IN OUR SOCIETY AT LARGE AND AS A ORGIANATION THAT IS GIFTED IN THE ART OF SAVING LIFE THE IMPORTANCE AND VALUE OF THAT LIFE HAS BEEN ERODED TO A DEGREE. AS DRUNKS WE ARE DROPING LIKE FLIES.I BURRIED TO OF MY GOOD FRIENDS LAST YEAR AFTER THEY TOOK THERE LIVES.BAFFLING CUNNING AND POWERFULL IS THE ENEMY OF AA DENIAL IS ITS GREATEST WEPON TRUTH IS ITS GREATEST STRENGTH ROOTED IN HUMILITY ITS ALL IN THE LITITURE OR YOU COULD SAY THE POWER OF WORDS LOV YA. AXIOM JULY 777
AA EXIST TODAY ONLY BEACUSE OF THE SPIRITUAL PRINCIPLE FOUND IN THE FIRST TRADITION WICH GIVES US OUR FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND CHOICE. PLACING ANY PERAMITERS LIMITING OUR FREEDOM INJURS AA AS A WHOLE. REMBER AS LONG AS THE TRUTH WICH IS FOUND IN HIW IS PRESERVED AA WILL CONTINUE AS LONG AS GOD ALLOWS.I CAN NOT ASSUME THAT I KNOW A THING ABOUT WHAT THE NEW COMER BELIEVS AND OR WHAT THEY ARE THINKING. WHAT MADE ME A LITTLE UN EASY WAS THE WORD HIGHER POWER.AS LONG AS THE WORDS WE USE IN THE ROOMS ARE SINCERE FROM THE HART AND ROOTED IN TRUTH NEWCOMERS HAVE NOTHING TO WORRIE ABOUT.THE BIG BOOK CLEARLEY STATES THAT WE ARE GOING TO TALK ABOUT GOD.AA IS A THERAPUTIC COMMUNITY THAT HAS GRASPED THE BEAUTY AND POWER OF THE SPOKEN WORD THEY LIFT OUR SPIRITS AND GIVE US HOPE AS WE GROW SPIRITULLY.THE SPIRITULLY LIFE IS NOT A THEORY WE MUST LIVE IT.OR WE DIE LOVE YA. AXIOMS JULY 777
It is good to see that new members are finding this FORUM. I try to spread the word. But there is so much on line today
about AA, members are reluctant to search for yet another site. I love this method of sharing our opinions, concerns
and joys without any face to face confrontations.
If you have been sober since 1977, God has truly
blessed you. Me too. AA was by far the greatest gift of
I well remember my first days as a newcomer. I have
posted some of my concerns here. I was especially sensitive
to criticism (I still am). I still recoil when anyone tells
me what to do. If someone is paying my salary, I readily
say "Yes Sir!", That is why AA works so well. No one is in
charge to tell me what to do. Each AA member just tells
me what they did and what happened to them. And they end
it there, PERIOD!
The traditions assure ever newcomer and every potential
newcomer that the only requirement for membership in AA
is a desire to stop drinking. We don't require that they
pay anything or believe in anything. Bill W., in the pamphlet "Three Talks to Medical Societies simplifies this
even further. Bill writes that the only thing that we ask of the alcoholic approaching us is a desire on
his part to get well. Bill also writes "You might ask,
How does AA work. Bill answers his own question. Bill W. our AA co-founder says that he can not fully answer that question. (If Bill were alive today he could simply order
a copy of HIW from GSO). Bill says that we only share what we do and what seems to happen to us. We follow a "few
simple rules" left for us by Dr Silkworth and the thirst
for alcohol leaves us. For those who do not know, those
simple rules are not the twelve suggested steps. I trust that you have read AACA and language of the Heart. They are loaded with information every AA member ought to know.
Thanks to I-Say for posting your letters in CAPS. ANONYMOUS
The power of the WISDOM to know the difference
Don't fall into the trap of similarities while at the end of the meeting praying for the wisdom to know the difference, guess it all depends on what you listen to - Your sponsor or God
Sure glad everything is not the same today - boy did that get boring
If I were to share exactly what happened to me, that would include the fact that the obsession to drink was completely lifted from me at 3 months of sobriety when I got a sponsor and launched into the steps. Would my sharing of my own experience constitute "cramming" the steps? When many of us share our experience it will include steps & sponsorship. Sorry if that offends some people. Kind of a sad day when one feels the need to apologize for sharing about sponsorship & working steps.
Sad that the outside sponsorship system does not believe the steps in A.A. will work without them administering it to ya, and what is sadder yet they got the weak ones to believe it.
Time to grow up and handle life responsibilities with God given resources rather than the need for a mommy or daddy.
Really embarrassing for A.A.'s big book especially after sobering up.
If we could only share our own recovery with other alcoholics (our experience strength, and hope) without
even implying that anyone else do the same, we would be
following the path left for us. That is why directions
was changed to path, before the Big Book was printed.
Just share how the steps have worked in our lives. Attraction not promotion. We come together in AA as
equals. Today's distorted concept of sponsorship promotes
a system of hierarchy and patriarchy. A suffering alcoholic
does not look for a sponsor, until we tell him/her that
one is necessary for sobriety. I think I am beginning to
understand what you mean by the outside sponsorship
This site is becoming more and more difficult
to access. I find that it takes me forever to find it
at times. I am concerned that many will just give up.
The old origional site is still being opened about seven
hundred times a day, even though it has not been attended
to since Apr.6, 2011. ANONYMOUS
Sad that the outside sponsorship system does not believe the steps in A.A. will work without them administering it to ya, and what is sadder yet they got the weak ones to
believe it. This is what Bill W was telling us on page 8
in Language of the Heart. Why would anyone need a sponsor
to show them how to "work" the steps. Anyone who enters
the rooms looking for help to stop drinking has already
done steps one, two and three. They have admitted that they
cannot stop drinking alone. If they could have they would
have. Hopefully they have come to believe that AA can help
them. They are already surrendering as in step three. How
to do step four and five is described in our 12 & 12.
And it was decided 70 years ago that the steps were only
suggestions available to those of us who want or need to use them. Again on page 8 Lang Bill tells us that the
steps are not to be crammed down anyone's throat. He
explains how important this to our public relations
policy. The prospective AA member must be assured that
if he/she comes to the rooms, the steps will not be
crammed down her/his throat. Yet we do that by reading
How it Works aloud at meetings, telling the newcomer
That One is God! May you find him now! One of our