From the June 1999 magazine.

Does the Tail Wag the Dog?

Three articles look into how AA is holding up after all these years.

For me, AA, for more than fifty years has been like a happy healthy dog wagging its tail. The tail wag reminds me of a soft sell program existing through members sharing experience, strength, and hope. "What I used to be like, what happened, and what I'm like now" was always the solid basis for individual sharing. If it works for me, it may not work for you, so take only what you think might work for you was always the underlying suggestion.

This is what Bill W. saw in pre-Big Book days during AA's infancy. From one hundred individual stories, he had heard individual triumphs--one day at a time--over the disease of alcoholism. From these assorted experiences and strengths came the foundation for what Bill saw as Twelve Suggestions that others might want to follow. But, they were not to be cast in concrete as dogma because the secret to AA success was that spiritual sharing--without dogma. Here was displayed the basic difference between a fellowship and a religion emphasizing the underlying reason why, historically, dogmatic religions held scant hope for alcoholics.

-- Al B.

Gold Canyon, Arizona

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