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Illustration by Greg S and my friend Photoshop

Great Meeting at the Alamo Heights BB Study

We had a GREAT meeting! Thanks Bob J. and ALL!

Every Tuesday at 7:30 pm, bring your Big Book – No Whining!

AA Camel Prayer

The camel each day goes twice to his knees.

He picks up his load with the greatest of ease.

He walks through the day with his head held high.

And stays for that day, completely dry.

 

 

Modified Serenity Prayer

More Great Exerpts from the Big Book

Pg. xi PREFACE Because this book has become the basic text for our Society and has helped such a large numbers of alcoholic men and women to recovery, there exists a sentiment against any radical changes being made in it.

 Pg. xiii FOREWARD TO FIRST EDITION We of Alcoholics Anonymous, are more than one hundred men and women who have recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. To show other alcoholics precisely how we have recovered is the main purpose of this book. For them, we hope these pages prove so convincing that no further authentication will be necessary.

 Pg. xvi FOREWARD TO SECOND EDITION Prior to his journey to Akron, the broker had worked hard with many alcoholics on the theory that only an alcoholic could help an alcoholic, but he had succeeded only in keeping sober himself.

 Pg. xvi He suddenly realized that in order to save himself he must carry his message to another alcoholic.

 Pg. xvi, xvii This seemed to prove that one alcoholic could affect another as no nonalcoholic could. It also indicated that strenuous work, one alcoholic with another, was vital to permanent recovery.

 Pg. xxii FOREWARD TO THIRD EDITION In spite of the great increase in the size and span of this Fellowship, at its core it remains simple and personal. Each day, somewhere in the world, recovery begins when one alcoholic talks with another alcoholic, sharing experience, strength, and hope.

 Pg. xxvi THE DOCTOR’S OPINION We believe, and so suggested a few years ago, that the action of alcohol on these chronic alcoholics is a manifestation of an allergy; that the phenomenon of craving is limited to this class and never occurs in the average temperate drinker. These allergic types can never safely use alcohol in any form at all; and once having formed the habit and found they cannot break it, once having lost their self-confidence, their reliance upon things human, their problems pile up on them and become astonishingly difficult to solve.

 In nearly all cases, their ideals must be grounded in a power greater than themselves, if they are to re- create their lives.

 We feel, after many years of experience, that we have found nothing which has contributed more to the rehabilitation of these men than the altruistic* movement now growing up among them.

 *altruism–1. unselfish interest in the welfare of others

 Men and women drink essentially because they like the effect produced by alcohol.

 They are restless, irritable and discontented, unless they can again experience the sense of ease and comfort which comes at once by taking a few drinks—-drinks which they see others taking with impunity.

 Pg. xxvii After they have succumbed to the desire again, as so many do, and the phenomenon of craving develops, they pass through the well-known stages of a spree, emerging remorseful, with a firm resolution not to drink again. This is repeated over and over, and unless this person can experience an entire psychic change there is very little hope of his recovery.

 On the other hand–and strange as this may seem to those who do not understand–once a psychic change has occurred, the very same person who seemed doomed, who had so many problems he despaired of ever solving them, suddenly finds himself easily able to control his desire for alcohol, the only effort necessary being that required to follow a few simple rules.

 One feels that something more than human power is needed to produce the essential psychic change.

 Pg. xxviii All these, and many others, have one symptom in common: they cannot start drinking without developing the phenomenon of craving. This phenomenon, as we have suggested, may be the manifestation of an allergy which differentiates these people, and sets them apart as a distinct entity. It has never been, by any treatment with which we are familiar, permanently eradicated. The only relief we have to suggest is entire abstinence.

 I earnestly advise every alcoholic to read this book through, and though perhaps he came to scoff, he may remain to pray.
William D. Silkworth, M.D.

 Pg. 12 BILL’S STORY

 It was only a matter of being willing to believe in a Power greater than myself. Nothing more was required of me to make my beginning. I saw that growth could start from that point.

 Pg. 14,15 My friend had emphasized the absolute necessity of demonstrating these principals in all my affairs. Particularly was it imperative to work with others as he had worked with me. Faith without works was dead, he said. And how appallingly true for the alcoholic! For if an alcoholic failed to perfect and enlarge his spiritual fe through work and self-sacrifice for others, he could not survive the certain trials and low spots ahead. If he did not work, he would surely drink again, and if he drank, he would surely die.

Pg. 17 THERE IS A SOLUTION

The tremendous fact for every one of us is that we have discovered a common solution. We have a way out on which we can absolutely agree, and upon which we can join in brotherly and harmonious action. This is the great news this book carries to those who suffer from alcoholism.

Pg. 18 Highly competent psychiatrists who have dealt with us have found it sometimes impossible to persuade an alcoholic to discuss his situation without reserve. Strangely enough, wives, parents and intimate friends usually find us even more unapproachable than do the psychiatrist and the doctor.

But the ex-problem drinker who has found the solution, who is properly armed with facts about himself, can generally win the entire confidence of another alcoholic in a few hours. Until such an understanding is reached, little or nothing can be accomplished.

Pg. 20 Our very lives, as ex-problem drinkers, depend upon our constant thought of others and how we may help meet their needs.

If you are an alcoholic who wants to get over it, you may already be asking–“What do I have to do?”

It is the purpose of this book to answer such questions specifically.

Pg. 21 But what about the real alcoholic? He may start off as a moderate drinker; he may or may not become a continuous hard drinker; but at some stage of his drinking career he begins to lose all control of his liquor consumption, once he starts to drink.

Pg. 22,23 We know that while the alcoholic keeps away from drink, as he may do for months or years, he reacts much like other men. We are equally positive that once he takes any alcohol whatever into his system, something happens, both in the bodily and mental sense, which makes it virtually impossible for him to stop. The experience of any alcoholic will abundantly confirm this.

Pg. 23 These observations would be academic and pointless if our friend never took the first drink, thereby setting the terrible cycle in motion. Therefore, the main problem of the alcoholic centers in his mind, rather than in his body.

Pg. 24 At a certain point in the drinking of every alcoholic, he passes into a state where the most powerful desire to stop drinking is of absolutely no avail. This tragic situation has already arrived in practically every case long before it is suspected.

The fact is that most alcoholics, for reasons yet obscure, have lost the power of choice in drink. Our so-called will power becomes practically nonexistent. We are unable, at certain times, to bring into our consciousness with sufficient force the memory of the suffering and humiliation of even a week or a month ago. We are without defense against the first drink.

 

The alcoholic may say to himself in the most casual way, “It won’t burn me this time, so here’s how!”

 

When this sort of thinking is fully established in an individual with alcoholic tendencies, he has probably placed himself beyond human aid, and unless locked up, may die or go permanently insane.

 

Pg. 25 There is a solution. Almost none of us liked the self-searching, the leveling of pride, the confession of shortcomings which the process requires for its successful consummation.

 

The great fact is just this, and nothing less: That we have had deep and effective spiritual experiences which have revolutionized our whole attitude toward life, toward our fellows and toward God’s universe. The central fact of our lives today is the absolute certainty that our Creator has entered into our hearts and lives in a way which is indeed miraculous. He has commenced to accomplish those things for us which we could never do by ourselves.

 

We were in a position where life was becoming impossible, and if we had passed into the region from which there is no return through human aid, we had but two alternatives: One was to go on to the bitter end, blotting out the consciousness of our intolerable situation as best we could; and the other, to accept spiritual help.

 

Pg. 29 Further on, clear-cut directions are given showing how we recovered.

 

Each individual, in the personal stories, describes in his own language and from his own point of view the way he established his relationship with God.

 

Pg. 30 MORE ABOUT ALCOHOLISM The idea that somehow, someday he will control and enjoy his drinking is the great obsession of every abnormal drinker. The persistence of this illusion is astonishing. Many pursue it into the gates of insanity or death.

 

We learned that we had to fully concede to our innermost selves that we were alcoholics. This is the first step in recovery. The delusion that we are like other people, or presently may be, has to be smashed.

 

We alcoholics are men and women who have lost the ability to control our drinking. We know that no real alcoholic ever recovers control.

 

We are convinced to a man that alcoholics of our type are in the grip of a progressive illness. Over any considerable period we get worse, never better.

 

Pg. 31 Physicians who are familiar with alcoholism agree there is no such thing as making a normal drinker out of an alcoholic.

 

Despite all we can say, many who are real alcoholics are not going to believe they are in that class. By every form of self-deception and experimentation, they will try to prove themselves exceptions to the rule, therefore nonalcoholic.

 

Pg. 33 To be gravely affected, one does not necessarily have to drink a long time nor take the quantities some of us have.

 

Certain drinkers, who would be greatly insulted if called alcoholics, are astonished at their inability to stop.

 

Pg. 34 As we look back, we feel we had gone on drinking many years beyond the point where we could quit on our will power. If anyone questions whether he has entered this dangerous area, let him try leaving liquor alone for one year. If he is a real alcoholic and very far advanced, there is scant chance of success.

 

Pg. 39 But the actual or potential alcoholic, with hardly an exception, will be absolutely unable to stop drinking on the basis of self-knowledge. This is a point we wish to emphasize and re-emphasize, to smash home upon our alcoholic readers as it has been revealed to us out of bitter experience.

 

Pg. 43 Many doctors and psychiatrists agree with our conclusions.

 

Once more: The alcoholic at certain times has no effective mental defense against the first drink. Except in a few rare cases, neither he nor any other human being can provide such a defense. His defense must come from a Higher Power.

 

Pg. 44 WE AGNOSTICS If, when you honestly want to, you find you cannot quit entirely, or if when drinking, you have little control over the amount you take, you are probably alcoholic. If that be the case, you may be suffering from an illness which only a spiritual experience will conquer.

 

Pg. 45 Lack of power, that was our dilemma. We had to find a power by which we could live, and it had to be a Power greater than ourselves. Obviously. But where and how were we to find this Power?

 

Well, that’s exactly what this book is about. Its main object is to enable you to find a Power greater than yourself which will solve your problem.

 

Pg. 46 We found that as soon as we were able to lay aside prejudice and express even a willingness to believe in a Power greater than ourselves, we commenced to get results, even though it was impossible for any of us to fully define or comprehend that Power, which is God.

 

As soon as we admitted the possible existence of a Creative Intelligence, a Spirit of the Universe underlying the totality of things, we began to be possessed of a new sense of power and direction, provided we took other simple steps. We found that God does not make too hard terms with those who seek Him.

 

Pg. 47 WE AGNOSTICS We needed to ask ourselves but one short question. “Do I now believe or am I even willing to believe, that there is a Power greater than myself?” As soon as a man can say that he does believe, or is willing to believe, we emphatically assure hem that he is on his way.

 

Pg. 50 In our personal stories you will find a wide variation in the way each teller approaches and conceives of the Power which is greater than himself.

 

On one proposition, however, these men and women are strikingly agreed. Every one of them has gained access to, and believes in, a Power greater than himself. This Power has in each case accomplished the miraculous, the humanly impossible.

 

Pg. 52 When we saw others solve their problems by a simple reliance upon the Spirit of the Universe, we had to stop doubting the power of God. Our ideas did not work. But the God idea did.

 

Pg. 53 When we became alcoholics, crushed by a self-imposed crisis we could not postpone or evade, we had to fearlessly face the proposition that either God is everything or else He is nothing. God either is, or He isn’t. What was our choice to be?

 

Pg. 55 Actually we were fooling ourselves, for deep down in every man, woman, and child, is the fundamental idea of God. It may be obscured by calamity, by pomp, by worship of other things, but in some form or other it is there. For faith in a Power greater than ourselves, and miraculous demonstrations of that power in human lives, are facts as old as man himself.

 

Pg. 58, 59, 60 HOW IT WORKS Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves.

 

If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it– then you are ready to take certain steps.

 

With all the earnestness at our command, we beg of you to be fearless and thorough from the very start. Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely.

 

Without help it is too much for us. But there is One who has all power–that One is God. May you find Him now!

 

Half measures availed us nothing.

 

1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.

 

2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

 

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

 

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

 

5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

 

6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

 

7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

 

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

 

9. Made direct amends to such people whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

 

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

 

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us, and the power to carry that out.

 

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principals in all our affairs.

 

Our description of the alcoholic, the chapter to the agnostic, and our personal adventures before and after make clear three pertinent ideas:

 

(a) That we were alcoholic and could not manage our own lives.

 

(b) That probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism.

 

(c) That God could and would if He were sought.

 

The first requirement is that we be convinced that any life run on self-will can hardly be a success. On that basis we are almost always in collision with something or somebody, even though our motives are good.

 

Pg. 62 Selfishness–self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity, we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate. Sometimes they hurt us, seemingly without provocation, but we invariably find that at some time in the past we have made decisions based on self which later placed us in a position to be hurt.

 

So our troubles, we think, are basically of our own making. They arise out of ourselves, and the alcoholic is an extreme example of self-will run riot, though he usually doesn’t think so. Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness. We must, or it kills us! God makes that possible. And there often seems no way of entirely getting rid of self without His aid.

 

We had to have God’s help.

 

This is the how and why of it. First of all, we had to quit playing God. It didn’t work. Next, we decided that hereafter in this drama of life, God was going to be our Director. He is the Principal; we are His agents. He is the Father, and we are His children. Most good ideas are simple, and this concept was the keystone of the new and triumphant arch through which we passed to freedom.

 

Pg. 63 We were now at Step Three. Many of us said to our Maker, as we understood Him: “God, I offer myself to Thee–to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always!”

 

This was only a beginning, though if honestly and humbly made, an effect, sometimes a very great one, was felt at once.

 

Pg. 63, 64 Next we launched out on a course of vigorous action, the first step of which is a personal housecleaning, which many of us had never attempted. Though our decision was a vital and crucial step, it could have little permanent effect unless at once followed by a strenuous effort to face, and to be rid of, the things in ourselves which had been blocking us. Our liquor was but a symptom. So we had to get down to causes and conditions. Therefore, we started upon a personal inventory. This was Step Four.

 

First, we searched out the flaws in our make-up which caused our failure. Being convinced that self, manifested in various ways, was what had defeated us, we considered its common manifestations. Resentment is the “number one” offender. It destroys more alcoholics than anything else. From it stem all forms of spiritual disease, for we have been not only mentally and physically ill, we have been spiritually sick.

 

In dealing with resentments, we set them on paper.

 

Pg. 65 We went back through our lives. Nothing counted but thoroughness and honesty.

 

Pg. 66 HOW IT WORKS It is plain that a life which includes deep resentment leads only to futility and unhappiness. To the precise extent that we permit these, do we squander the hours that might have been worth while. But with the alcoholic, whose hope is the maintenance and growth of a spiritual experience, this business of resentment is infinitely grave. We found that it is fatal. For when harboring such feelings we shut ourselves off from the sunlight of the Spirit. The insanity of alcohol returns and we drink again. And with us, to drink is to die.

 

If we were to live, we had to be free of anger. The grouch and the brainstorm were not for us. They may be the dubious luxury of normal men, but for alcoholics these things are poison.

 

Pg. 67 Referring to our list again. Putting out of our minds the wrongs others had done, we resolutely looked for our own mistakes. Where had we been selfish, dishonest, self-seeking and frightened? Though a situation had not been entirely our fault, we tried to disregard the other person involved entirely. Where were we to blame? The inventory was ours, not the other man’s. When we saw our faults we listed them. We placed them before us in black and white. We admitted our wrongs honestly and were willing to set these matters straight.

 

Pg. 68 We reviewed our fears thoroughly. We put them on paper, even though we had no resentment in connection with them.

 

The verdict of the ages is that faith means courage. All men of faith have courage. They trust their God. We ask Him to remove our fear and direct our attention to what He would have us be. At once, we commence to outgrow fear.

 

Pg. 70 Suppose we fall short of the chosen ideal and stumble? Does this mean we are going to get drunk? Some people tell us so. But this is only a half-truth. It depends on us and our motives. If we are sorry for what we have done, and have the honest desire to let God take us to better things, we believe we will be forgiven and will have learned our lesson. If we are not sorry, and our conduct continues to harm others, we are quite sure to drink. We are not theorizing. These are facts out of our experience.

 

Pg. 70, 71 In this book you read again and again that faith did for us what we could not do for ourselves. We hope you are convinced now that God can remove whatever self-will has blocked you off from Him. If you have already made a decision, and an inventory of your grosser handicaps, you have made a good beginning. That being so you have swallowed and digested some big chunks of truth about yourself.

 

Pg. 72 INTO ACTION We have admitted certain defects; we have ascertained in a rough way what the trouble is; we have put our finger on the weak items in our personal inventory. Now these are about to be cast out. This requires action on our part, which when completed, will mean that we have admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being, the exact nature of our defects. This brings us to the Fifth Step in the program of recovery mentioned in the preceding chapter.

 

In actual practice, we usually find a solitary self-appraisal insufficient. Many of us thought it necessary to go much further. We will be more reconciled to discussing ourselves with another person when we see good reasons why we should do so. The best reason first: If we skip this vital step, we may not overcome drinking. Time after time newcomers have tried to keep to themselves certain facts about their lives. Trying to avoid this humbling experience, they have turned to easier methods. Almost invariably they got drunk.

 

Pg. 73, 74 We must be entirely honest with somebody if we expect to live long or happily in this world.

 

It may be one of our own family, but we cannot disclose anything to our wives or our parents which will hurt them and make them unhappy. We have no right to save our own skin at another person’s expense.

 

The rule is we must be hard on ourselves, but always considerate of others.

 

Pg. 75 Once we have taken this step, withholding nothing, we are delighted. We can look the world in the eye. We can be alone at perfect peace and ease. Our fears fall from us. We begin to feel the nearness of our Creator. We may have had certain spiritual beliefs, but now we begin to have a spiritual experience. The feeling that the drink problem has disappeared will often come strongly. We feel we are on the Broad Highway, walking hand in hand with the Spirit of the Universe.

 

Carefully reading the first five proposals we ask if we have omitted anything, for we are building an arch through which we shall walk a free man at last.

 

Pg. 76 If we can answer to our satisfaction, we then look at Step Six. We have emphasized willingness as being indispensable. Are we now ready to let God remove from us all the things which we have admitted are objectionable?

 

When ready, we say something like this: “My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding. Amen.” We have then completed Step Seven.

 

Now we need more action, without which we find that “Faith without works is dead.” Let’s look at Steps Eight and Nine.

 

Now we go out to our fellows and repair the damage done in the past. We attempt to sweep away the debris which has accumulated out of our effort to live on self-will and run the show ourselves. If we haven’t the will to do this, we ask until it comes. Remember it was agreed at the beginning we would go to any lengths for victory over alcohol.

 

Pg. 77, 78 Our real purpose is to fit ourselves to be of maximum service to God and the people about us.

 

It is harder to go to an enemy than a friend, but we find it much more beneficial to us. We go to him in a helpful and forgiving spirit, confessing our former ill feeling and expressing our regret.

 

Under no condition do we criticize such a person or argue. Simply we tell him that we will never get over drinking until we have done our utmost to straighten out the past. We are there to sweep off our side of the street, realizing that nothing worth while can be accomplished until we do so, never trying to tell him what he should do.

 

Pg. 82 Sometimes we hear an alcoholic say that the only thing he needs to do is to keep sober. Certainly he must keep sober, for there will be no home if he doesn’t. But he is yet a long way from making good to the wife or parents whom for years he has so shockingly treated.

 

Pg. 83 So we clean house with the family, asking each morning in meditation that our Creator show us the way of patience, tolerance, kindliness and love.

 

The spiritual life is not a theory. We have to live it.

 

Pg. 83, 84 If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

 

Pg. 84 Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us–sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them. This thought brings us to Step Ten, which suggests we continue to take personal inventory and continue to set right any new mistakes as we go along.

 

This is not an overnight matter. It should continue for our lifetime. Continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear. When these crop up, we ask God at once to remove them. We discuss them with someone immediately and make amends quickly if we have harmed anyone. Then we resolutely turn our thoughts to someone we can help. Love and tolerance of others is our code.

 

And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone–even alcohol. For by this time sanity will have returned.

 

Pg. 85 It is easy to let up on the spiritual program of action and rest on our laurels. We are headed for trouble if we do, for alcohol is a subtle foe. We are not cured of alcoholism. What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition. Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God’s will into all of our activities. “How can I best serve Thee–Thy will (not mine) be done.” These are thoughts which must go with us constantly. We can exercise our will power along this line all we wish. It is the proper use of the will.

 

Step Eleven suggests prayer and meditation.

 

Pg. 86 It works, if we have the proper attitude and work at it.

 

When we retire at night, we constructively review our day. Were we resentful, selfish, dishonest or afraid? Do we owe an apology?

 

After making our review we ask God’s forgiveness and inquire what corrective measures should be taken.

 

On awakening let us think about the twenty-four hours ahead. We consider our plans for the day. Before we begin, we ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives.

 

Pg. 87 We usually conclude the period of meditation with a prayer that we be shown all through the day what our next step is to be, that we be given whatever we need to take care of such problems. We ask especially for freedom from self-will, and are careful to make no request for ourselves only. We may ask for ourselves however, if others will be helped. We are careful never to pray for our own selfish ends. Many of us have wasted a lot of time doing that and it doesn’t work. You can easily see why.

 

Pg. 87, 88 We constantly remind ourselves we are no longer running the show, humbly saying to ourselves many times each day “Thy will be done.”

 

It works—it really does.

 

We alcoholics are undisciplined. So we let God discipline us in the simple manner we have just outlined.

 

But this is not all. There is action and more action. “Faith without works is dead.”

 

The next chapter is entirely devoted to Step Twelve.

 

Pg. 89 WORKING WITH OTHERS

 

Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics. It works when other activities fail. This is the twelfth suggestion: Carry this message to other alcoholics! You can help when no one else can. You can secure their confidence when others fail. Remember they are very ill.

 

Life will take on new meaning. To watch people recover, to see them help others, to watch loneliness vanish, to see a fellowship grow up about you, to have a host of friends–this is an experience you must not miss.

 

Frequent contact with newcomers and with each other is the bright spot of our lives.

 

Pg. 90 When you discover a prospect for Alcoholics Anonymous, find out all you can about him. If he does not want to stop drinking, don’t waste time trying to persuade him. You may spoil a later opportunity.

 

Don’t deal with him when he is very drunk, unless he is ugly and the family needs your help. Wait for the end of the spree, or at least for a lucid interval. Then let his family or a friend ask him if he wants to quit for good and if he would go to any extreme to do so. If he says yes, then his attention should be drawn to you as a person who has recovered. You should be described to him as one of a fellowship who, as part of their recovery, try to help others and who will be glad to talk to him if he cares to see you.

 

If he does not want to see you, never force yourself upon him. Neither should the family hysterically plead with him to do anything, nor should they tell him much about you.

 

Pg. 92, 93 Even though your protege may not have entirely admitted his condition, he has become very curious to know how you got well. Let him ask you that question, if he will. Tell him what happened to you. Stress the spiritual feature freely. If the man be agnostic or atheist, make it emphatic that he does not have to agree with your conception of God. He can choose any conception he likes, provided it makes sense to him. The main thing is that he be willing to believe in a Power greater than himself and that he live by spiritual principals.

 

Pg. 93 He may be an example of the truth that faith alone is insufficient. To be vital, faith must be accompanied by self sacrifice and unselfish, constructive action.

 

Pg. 94 Outline the program of action, explaining how you made a self-appraisal, how you straightened out your past and why you are now endeavoring to be helpful to him. It is important for him to realize that your attempt to pass this on to him plays a vital part in your own recovery. Actually, he may be helping you more than you are helping him.

 

Suggest how important it is that he place the welfare of other people ahead of his own.

 

Your candidate may give reasons why he need not follow all of the program. He may rebel at the thought of a drastic housecleaning which requires discussion with other people. Do not contradict such views. Tell him you once felt as he does, but you doubt whether you would have made much progress had you not taken action. On your first visit tell him about the Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous. If he shows interest, lend him your copy of this book.

 

Pg. 95 If he is sincerely interested and wants to see you again, ask him to read this book in the interval. After doing that, he must decide for himself whether he wants to go on. He should not be pushed or prodded by you, his wife, or his friends. If he is to find God, the desire must come from within.

 

Pg. 96 Do not be discouraged if your prospect does not respond at once. Search out another alcoholic and try again. You are sure to find someone desperate enough to accept with eagerness what you offer. We find it a waste of time to keep chasing a man who cannot or will not work with you. If you leave such a person alone, he may soon become convinced that he cannot recover by himself. To spend too much time on any one situation is to deny some other alcoholic an opportunity to live and be happy.

 

Pg. 97 Helping others is the foundation stone of your recovery. A kindly act once in a while isn’t enough. You have to act the Good Samaritan every day, if need be.

 

Though an alcoholic does not respond, there is no reason why you should neglect his family. You should continue to be friendly to them. The family should be offered your way of life. Should they accept and practice spiritual principals, there is a much better chance that the head of the family will recover. And even though he continues to drink, the family will find life more bearable.

 

Pg. 98 Some of us have taken very hard knocks to learn this truth: Job or no job–wife or no wife–we simply do not stop drinking so long as we place dependence upon other people ahead of dependence on God.

 

Burn the idea into the consciousness of every man that he can get well regardless of anyone. The only condition is that he trust God and clean house.

 

When your prospect has made such reparation as he can to his family, and has thoroughly explained to them the new principles by which he is living, he should proceed to put those principles into action at home. That is, if he is lucky enough to have a home. Though his family be at fault in many respects, he should not be concerned about that. He should concentrate on his own spiritual demonstration. Argument and fault finding are to be avoided like the plague.

 

Pg. 99, 100 Let no alcoholic say he cannot recover unless he has his family back. This just isn’t so. In some cases the wife will never come back for one reason or another. Remind the prospect that his recovery is not dependent upon people. It is dependent upon his relationship with God.

 

Pg. 101 In our belief any scheme of combating alcoholism which proposes to shield the sick man from temptation is doomed to failure.

 

So our rule is not to avoid a place where there is drinking, if we have a legitimate reason for being there.

 

Pg. 102 Go or stay away, whichever seems best. But be sure you are on solid spiritual ground before you start and that your motive in going is thoroughly good. Do not think of what you will get out of the occasion. Think of what you can bring to it. But if you are shaky, you had better work with another alcoholic instead!

 

Your job now is to be at the place where you may be of maximum helpfulness to others, so never hesitate to go anywhere if you can be helpful. You should not hesitate to visit the most sordid spot on earth on such an errand. Keep on the firing line of life with these motives and God will keep you unharmed.

 

Pg. 103 We are careful never to show intolerance or hatred of drinking as an institution. Experience shows that such an attitude is not helpful to anyone.

 

Some day we hope that Alcoholics Anonymous will help the public to a better realization of the gravity of the alcoholic problem, but we shall be of little use if our attitude is one of bitterness or hostility. Drinkers will not stand for it. After all, our problems were of our own making. Bottles were only a symbol. Besides, we have stopped fighting anybody or anything. We have to!

 

Pg. 108 TO WIVES Perhaps your husband has been living in that strange world of alcoholism where everything is distorted and exaggerated. You can see that he really does love you with his better self. Of course, there is such a thing as incompatibility, but in nearly every instance the alcoholic only seems to be unloving and inconsiderate; it is usually because he is warped and sickened that he says and does these appalling things. Today most of our men are better husbands and fathers than ever before.

 

Pg. 109 He is remorseful after serious drinking bouts and tells you he wants to stop. But when he gets over the spree, he begins to think once more how he can drink moderately next time. We think this person is in danger. These are the earmarks of a real alcoholic.

 

Pg. 117 If you and your husband find a solution for the pressing problem of drink you are, of course, going to be very happy. But all problems will not be solved at once. Seed has started to sprout in a new soil, but growth has only begun. In spite of your new-found happiness, there will be ups and downs. Many of the old problems will still be with you. This is as it should be.

 

Starting from a speck on the domestic horizon, great thunderclouds of dispute may gather. These family dissensions are very dangerous, especially to your husband. Often you must carry the burden of avoiding them or keeping them under control. Never forget that resentment is a deadly hazard to an alcoholic.

 

Pg. 118 Your husband knows he owes you more than sobriety. He wants to make good. Yet you must not expect too much. His ways of thinking and doing are the habits of years. Patience, tolerance, understanding and love are the watchwords. Show him these things in yourself and they will be reflected back to you from him. Live and let live is the rule. If you both show a willingness to remedy your own defects, there will be little need to criticize each other.

 

Pg. 119 We find it a real mistake to dampen his enthusiasm for alcoholic work. You should join in his efforts as much as you possibly can. We suggest that you direct some of your thought to the wives of his new alcoholic friends. They need the counsel and love of a woman who has gone through what you have.

 

Pg. 120 You, as well as your husband, ought to think of what you can put into life instead of how much you can take out. Inevitably your lives will be fuller for doing so.

 

Pg. 122 THE FAMILY AFTERWARD

 

All members of the family should meet upon the common ground of tolerance, understanding and love.

 

Cessation of drinking is but the first step away from a highly strained, abnormal condition. A doctor said to us, “Years of living with an alcoholic is almost sure to make any wife or child neurotic. The entire family is, to some extent, ill.”

 

Pg. 124 Henry Ford once made a wise remark to the effect that experience is the thing of supreme value in life. That is true only if one is willing to turn the past to good account. We grow by our willingness to face and rectify errors and convert them into assets.

 

This painful past may be of infinite value to other families still struggling with their problem. We think each family which has been relieved owes something to those who have not, and when the occasion requires, each member of it should be only too willing to bring former mistakes, no matter how grievous, out of their hiding places. Showing others who suffer how we were given help is the very thing which makes life seem so worth while to us now. Cling to the thought that, in God’s hands, the dark past is the greatest possession you have–the key to life and happiness for others. With it you can avert death and misery for them.

 

Pg. 125 We alcoholics are sensitive people. It takes some of us a long time to outgrow that serious handicap.

 

Pg. 127 The head of the house ought to remember that he is mainly to blame for what befell his home. He can scarcely square the account in his lifetime. But he must see the danger of over-concentration on financial success. Although financial recovery is on the way for many of us, we found we could not place money first. For us, material well-being always followed spiritual progress; it never preceded.

 

Since the home has suffered more than anything else, it is well that a man exert himself there. He is not likely to get far in any direction if he fails to show unselfishness and love under his own roof.

 

Pg. 129 Though the family does not fully agree with dad’s spiritual activities, they should let him have his head. Even if he displays a certain amount of neglect and irresponsibility towards the family, it is well to let him go as far as he likes in helping other alcoholics. During those first days of convalescence, this will do more to insure his sobriety than anything else.

 

Pg. 130 We have come to believe He would like us to keep our heads in the clouds with Him, but that our feet ought to be firmly planted on earth. That is where our fellow travelers are, and that is where our work must be done. These are the realities for us.

 

Nothing will help the man who is off on a spiritual tangent so much as the wife who adopts a sane spiritual program, making a better practical use of it.

 

Pg. 132 We have been speaking to you of serious, sometimes tragic things. We have been dealing with alcohol in its worst aspect. But we aren’t a glum lot. If newcomers could see no joy or fun in our existence, they wouldn’t want it. We absolutely insist on enjoying life. We try not to indulge in cynicism over the state of the nations, nor do we carry the world’s troubles on our shoulders.

 

So we think cheerfulness and laughter make for usefulness. Outsiders are sometimes shocked when we burst into merriment over a seemingly tragic experience out of the past. But why shouldn’t we laugh? We have recovered, and have been given the power to help others.

 

Pg. 133 We are sure God wants us to be happy, joyous, and free. We cannot subscribe to the belief that this life is a vale of tears, though it once was just that for many of us. But it is clear that we made our own misery. God didn’t do it. Avoid then, the deliberate manufacture of misery, but if trouble comes, cheerfully capitalize it as an opportunity to demonstrate His omnipotence.

 

Pg. 135 Whether the family goes on a spiritual basis or not, the alcoholic member has to if he would recover.

 

Pg. 139 TO EMPLOYERS

 

If you desire to help it might be well to disregard your own drinking, or lack of it. Whether you are a hard drinker, a moderate drinker or a teetotaler, you may have some pretty strong opinions, perhaps prejudices. Those who drink moderately may be more annoyed with an alcoholic than a total abstainer would be. Drinking occasionally, and understanding your own reactions, it is possible for you to become quite sure of many things which, so far as the alcoholic is concerned, are not always so. As a moderate drinker, you can take your liquor or leave it alone. Whenever you want to, you control our drinking. Of an evening, you can go on a mild bender, get up in the morning, shake your head and go to business. To you, liquor is no real problem. You cannot see why it should be to anyone else, save the spineless and stupid.

 

Pg. 142 Say that you believe he is a gravely ill person, with this qualification–being perhaps fatally ill, does he want to get well? You ask, because many alcoholics, being warped and drugged, do not want to quit. But does he? Will he take every necessary step, submit to anything to get well, to stop drinking forever?

 

Either you are dealing with a man who can and will get well or you are not. If not, why waste time with him? This may seem severe, but it is usually the best course.

 

Pg. 143 Though you are providing him with the best possible medical attention, he should understand that he must undergo a change of heart. To get over drinking will require a transformation of thought and attitude. We all had to place recovery above everything, for without recovery we would have lost both home and business.

 

To return to the subject matter of this book: It contains full suggestions by which the employee may solve his problem.

 

Pg. 144 As our work spreads and our numbers increase, we hope your employees may be put in personal contact with some of us. Meanwhile, we are sure a great deal can be accomplished by the use of the book alone.

 

Pg. 145 The greatest enemies of us alcoholics are resentment, jealousy, envy, frustration, and fear.

 

Pg. 146 As a class, alcoholics are energetic people. They work hard and they play hard.

 

He may wish to do a lot for other alcoholics and something of the sort may come up during business hours. A reasonable amount of latitude will be helpful. This work is necessary to maintain his sobriety.

 

Pg. 148 It boils right down to this: No man should be fired just because he is alcoholic. If he wants to stop, he should be afforded a real chance. If he cannot or does not want to stop, he should be discharged. The exceptions are few.

 

Pg. 151 A VISION FOR YOU

 

For most normal folks, drinking means conviviality, companionship and colorful imagination. It means release from care, boredom and worry. It is a joyous intimacy with friends and a feeling that life is good. But not so with us in those last days of heavy drinking. The old pleasures were gone. They were but memories. Never could we recapture the great moments of the past. There was an insistent yearning to enjoy life as we once did and a heartbreaking obsession that some new miracle of control would enable us to do it. There was always one more attempt–and one more failure.

 

Pg. 152 Some day he will be unable to imagine life either with alcohol or without it. Then he will know loneliness such as few do. He will be at the jumping-off place. He will wish for the end.

 

We have been shown how we got out from under. You say, “Yes, I’m willing. But am I to be consigned to a life where I shall be stupid, boring and glum, like some righteous people I see? I know I must get along without liquor, but how can I? Have you a sufficient substitute?”

 

Yes, there is a substitute and it is vastly more than that. It is a fellowship in Alcoholics Anonymous. There you will find release from care, boredom and worry. Your imagination will be fired. Life will mean something at last. The most satisfactory years of your existence lie ahead. Thus we find the fellowship, and so will you.

 

You are going to meet these new friends in your own community. Near you, alcoholics are dying helplessly like people in a sinking ship. If you live in a large place, there are hundreds. High and low, rich and poor, these are the future fellows of Alcoholics Anonymous. Among them you will make lifelong friends. You will be bound to them with new and wonderful ties, for you will escape disaster together and you will commence shoulder to shoulder your common journey. Then you will know what it means to give of yourself that others may survive and rediscover life. You will learn the full meaning of “Love thy neighbor as thyself.”

 

Pg. 159 These men had found something brand new in life. Though they knew they must help other alcoholics if they would remain sober, that motive became secondary. It was transcended by the happiness they found in giving themselves for others.

 

Pg. 162 Some day we hope that every alcoholic who journeys will find a Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous at his destination. To some extent this is already true.

 

Thus we grow. And so can you, though you be but one man with this book in your hand. We believe and hope it contains all you will need to begin.

 

Pg. 163 We know what you are thinking. You are saying to yourself: “I’m jittery and alone. I couldn’t do that.” But you can. You forget that you have just now tapped a source of power much greater than yourself. To duplicate, with such backing, what we have accomplished is only a matter of willingness, patience and labor.

 

Pg. 164 Still you may say: “But I will not have the benefit of contact with you who write this book.” We cannot be sure. God will determine that, so you must remember that your real reliance is always upon Him. He will show you how to create the fellowship you crave.

 

Our book is meant to be suggestive only. We realize we know only a little. God will constantly disclose more to you and to us. Ask Him in your morning meditation what you can do each day for the man who is still sick. The answers will come, if your own house is in order. But obviously you cannot transmit something you haven’t got. See to it that your relationship with Him is right, and great events will come to pass for you and countless others. This is the Great Fact for us.

 

Abandon yourself to God as you understand God. Admit your faults to Him and to your fellows. Clear away the wreckage of your past. Give freely of what you find and join us. We shall be with you in the Fellowship of the Spirit, and you will surely meet some of us as you trudge the Road of Happy Destiny.

 

May God bless you and keep you–until then.

 

Pg. 569 II SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE

 

The terms “spiritual experience and “spiritual awakening are used many times in this book which, upon careful reading, shows that the personality change sufficient to bring about recovery from alcoholism has manifested itself among us in many forms.

 

Yet it is true that our first printing gave many readers the impression that these personality changes, or religious experiences, must be in the nature of sudden and spectacular upheavals. Happily for everyone, this conclusion is erroneous.

 

In the first few chapters a number of sudden revolutionary changes are described.

 

Though it was not our intention to create such an impression, many alcoholics have nevertheless concluded that in order to recover they must acquire an immediate and overwhelming “God-consciousness” followed at once by a vast change in feeling and outlook.

 

Among our rapidly growing membership of thousands of alcoholics such transformations, though frequent, are by no means the rule. Most of our experiences are what the psychologist William James calls the “educational variety” because they develop slowly over a period of time. Quite often friends of the newcomer are aware of the difference long before he is himself. He finally realizes that he has undergone a profound alteration in his reaction to life; that such a change could hardly have been brought about by himself alone. What often takes place in a few months could seldom have been accomplished by years of self-discipline. With few exceptions our members find that they have tapped an unsuspected inner resource which they presently identify with their own conception of a Power greater than themselves.

 

Most of us think this awareness of a Power greater than ourselves is the essence of spiritual experience. Our more religious members call it “God-consciousness.”

 

Most emphatically we wish to say that any alcoholic capable of honestly facing his problems in the light of our experience can recover, provided he does not close his mind to all spiritual concepts. He can only be defeated by an attitude of intolerance or belligerent denial.

 

We find that no one need have difficulty with the spirituality of the program.

 

Willingness, honesty and open mindedness are the essentials of recovery. But these are indispensable.

 

 

 

“There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance—that principle is contempt prior to investigation.”

 

—-Herbert Spencer

 

 

 

Pg. 571 III THE MEDICAL VIEW ON A.A.

 

Dr. Foster Kennedy, neurologist: “This organization of Alcoholics Anonymous calls on two of the greatest reservoirs of power known to man, religion and that instinct for association with one’s fellows…the ‘herd’ instinct. I think our profession must take appreciative cognizance of this great therapeutic weapon. If we do not do so, we shall stand convicted of emotional sterility and of having lost faith that moves mountains, without which medicine can do little.”

 

Dr. G. Kirby Collier, psychiatrist: “I have felt that A.A. is a group unto themselves and their best results can be had under their own guidance, as a result of their philosophy. Any therapeutic or philosophic procedure which can prove a recovery rate of 50% to 60% must merit our consideration.”

 

Pg. 572 Dr. W. W. Bauer, broadcasting under the auspices of The American Medical Association in 1946, over the NBC network, said, in part: “Alcoholics Anonymous are no crusaders; not a temperance society. They know that they must never drink. They help others with similar problems…In this atmosphere the alcoholic often overcomes his excessive concentration upon himself. Learning to depend upon a higher power and absorb himself in his work with other alcoholics, he remains sober day by day. The days add up into weeks, the weeks into months and years.”

Pg. 574 V THE RELIGIOUS VIEW ON A.A.

Clergymen of practically every denomination have given A.A. their blessing.

The Episcopal magazine, The Living Church, observes editorially: “The basis of the technique of Alcoholics Anonymous is the truly Christian principle that a man cannot help himself except by helping others. The A.A. plan is described by the members themselves as ‘self-insurance.’ This self-insurance has resulted in the restoration of physical, mental and spiritual health and self-respect to hundreds of men and women who would be hopelessly down and out without its unique but effective therapy.”

Speaking at a dinner given by John D. Rockefeller Jr. to introduce Alcoholics Anonymous to some of his friends, Dr. Harry Emerson Fosdick remarked:

“I think that psychologically speaking there is a point of advantage in the approach that is being made in this movement that cannot be duplicated. I suspect that if it is wisely handled–and it seems to be in wise and prudent hands–there are doors of opportunity ahead of this project that may surpass our capacities to imagine.”

 

Top Big Book Quotations – Great for Meeting Topics

Dr Jung told a patient a deep and effectual spiritual experience is needed to overcome alcoholism.

“….and though perhaps he came to scoff, he may remain to pray” (page 9)

” the remorse, horror and hopelessness of the next morning are unforgettable ” (page 15)

“There is scarcely any form of trouble and misery which has not been overcome among us.” (page 15)

” How dark it is before the dawn! ” (page 17)

” The tremendous fact for every one of us is that we have discovered a common solution. ” (page 17)

“We feel that elimination of our drinking is but a beginning” (page 19)

“Our very lives, as ex-problem drinkers, depend upon our constant thought of others and how we may help meet their needs” (page 20)

“Moderate drinkers have little trouble in giving up liquor entirely if they have good reason for it. they can take it or leave it alone” (page 20)

“He does absurd, incredible, tragic things while drinking. He is a real Dr Jekyl and Mr Hyde.” (page 21)

” It meant destruction of self-centeredness. ” (page 23)

“We are unable, at certain times, to bring into our consciousness with sufficient force the memory of the suffering and humiliation of even a week or a month ago. We are without defense against the first drink.” (page 24)

“The great fact is just this, and nothing less: That we have had deep and effective spiritual experiences which have revolutionized our whole attitude toward life, toward our fellows and toward God’s universe. The central fact of our lives today is the absolute certainty that our Creator has entered into our hearts and lives in a way which is indeed miraculous. He has commenced to accomplish those things for us which we could never do by ourselves.” Page 25

“We have found much of heaven and we have been rocketed into a fourth dimension of existence of which we had not even dreamed” (page 25)

“There is a solution” (page 25)

“An alcoholic in his cups is an unlovely creature” (page 25)

“Ideas, emotions, and attitudes which were once the guiding forces of the lives of these men are suddenly cast to one side, and a completely new set of conceptions and motives begin to dominate them.” (page 27)

“A new life has been given us or, if you prefer, ‘a design for living’ that really works” (page 28)

“The idea that somehow, someday he will control and enjoy his drinking is the great obsession of every abnormal drinker.” (page 30)

“The delusion that we are like other people, or presently may be, has to be smashed” (page 30)

” No person likes to think he is bodily and mentally different from his fellows.” (page 30)

“He does absurd, incredible, tragic things while drinking. ” (page 31)

“If we are planning to stop drinking, there must be no reservation of any kind, nor any lurking notion that someday we will be immune to alcohol.” (page 33)

“To be gravely affected, one does not necessarily have to drink a long time nor take the quantities some of us have” (page 33)

“Whether such a person can quit upon a nonspiritual basis depends upon the extent to which he has already lost the power to choose whether he will drink or not.” (page 34)

“Quite as important was the discovery that spiritual principles would solve all my problems” (page 42)

“Do not let any prejudice you may have against spiritual terms deter you from honestly asking yourself what they mean to you” (page 47)

Bedevilments Page 52
“We had to ask ourselves why we shouldn’t apply to our human problems this same readiness to change our point of view.  We were having trouble with personal relationships, we couldn’t control our emotional natures, we were a prey to misery and depression, we couldn’t make a living, we had a feeling of uselessness, we were full of fear, we were unhappy, we couldn’t seem to be of real help to other people– was not a basic solution of these bedevilments more important than whether we should see newsreels of lunar flight?  Of course it was.” (page 52)

“Here are thousands of men and women, worldly indeed. they flatly declare that since they have come to believe in a power greater than themselves, to take a certain attitude toward that power, and to do certain simple things, there has been a revolutionary change in their way of living and thinking.” p. 50

“The achievement of freedom from fear is a lifetime undertaking, one that can never be wholly completed. When under heavy attack, acute illness, or in other conditions of serious insecurity, we shall all react to this emotion – well or badly, as the case may be. only the self-deceived will claim perfect freedom from fear.” (page 55)

God Blocked
Actually we were fooling ourselves, for deep down in every man, woman, and child, is the fundamental idea of God. It may be obscured by calamity, by pomp, by worship of other things, but in some form or other it is there. For faith in a Power greater than ourselves, and miraculous demonstrations of that power in human lives, are facts as old as man himself. Page 55 c

“There are those too who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest.” (page 58)

“We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection” (page 60)

“Selfishness–self-centeredness! that, we think, is the root of our troubles. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity, we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate.” p.62

“When the spiritual malady is overcome, we straighten out mentally and physically.” (page 64)

” It is plain that a life which includes deep resentment leads only to futility and unhappiness” (page 66)

“If we were to live, we had to be free of anger. The grouch and the brainstorm were not for us” (page 66)

“The inventory was ours, not the other man’s. When we saw our faults we listed them. We placed them before us in black and white.” (page 67)

“We avoid retaliation or argument” (page 67)

“We can laugh at those who think spirituality the way of weakness. Paradoxically, it is the way of strength.” (page 68)

“If we are sorry for what we have done, and have the honest desire to let god take us to better things, we believe we will be forgiven and will have learned our lession” (page 70)

“More than most people, the alcoholic leads a double life. He is very much the actor” (page 73)

“We must be entirely honest with somebody if we expect to live long or happily in this world” (page 73)

“The rule is we must be hard on ourself, but always considerate of others” (page 74)

“If we still cling to something we will not let go….” (page 76)

“We must not shrink at anything” (page 79)

“The spiritual life is not a theory” (page 83)

“As Gods people, we stand on our own feet, we don’t crawl before anyone.” (page 83)

“We feel a man is unthinking when he says that sobriety is enough” (page 84)

“And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone – even alcohol” (page 84)

“We have entered the world of the spirit” (page 84)

“Continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear.” (page 84)

“Be quick to see where religious people are right. Make use of what they offer” (page 87)

“Burn the idea into the consciousness of every man that he can get well regardless of anyone” (page 98)

“Life will take on new meaning.” (page 89)

“You will begin to see that the world and it’s people really dominate you” (?)

“We represent no particular faith or denomination. We are dealing only with general principles common to most denominations.” (page 93)

“After all, our problems were of our own making. Bottles were only a symbol.” (page 103)

“Years of living with an alcoholic is almost sure to make any wife or child neurotic. The entire family is, to some extent, ill.” (page 122)

“Cessation of drinking is but the first step away from a highly strained, abnormal condition.” (page 122)

“Showing others who suffer how we were given help is the very thing which makes life seem so worth while to us now.” (page 124)

“Many alcoholics are enthusiasts. They run to extremes.” (page 125)

“We alcoholics are sensitive people. It takes some of us a long time to outgrow that serious handicap.” (p125)

” We absolutely insist on enjoying life.” (page 132)

“We cannot subscribe to the belief that this life is a vale of tears, though it was just that for many of us.” (page 133)

“The greatest enemies of us alcoholics are resentment, jealousy, envy, frustration, and fear.” (page 145)

“Some day he will be unable to imagine life either with alcohol or without it.” (page 152)

“Yes, there is a substitute and it is vastly more than that.” (page 152)

“The most satisfactory years of your existence lie ahead.” (page 152)

“No one is too discredited or has sunk too low to be welcomed cordially-if he means business. Social distinctions, petty rivalries and jealousies-these are laughed out of countenance.” (page 161)

Quotes from A.A. History

You’ve heard it before. Early A.A. had a seventy-five to ninety-three percent success rate among medically incurable alcoholics who really tried. Where did you hear that? In the Big Book! Third Edition, at pages xx, 11, 307, and DR. BOB and the Good Old-timers, p. 261. The documentation is not difficult. The Akron crew appeared in rosters and pictures. The Cleveland crew appeared in rosters with names and addresses. These names are known. The record is astonishing. And was astonishing to the medical community of the day.

     You have probably also read one or more of the many statements by Bill Wilson that nobody invented A.A. That all its ideas were borrowed As Bill Sees It, p. 57. Now, let’s look at some of the quotes we’ve all seen in the Big Book, the Twelve Steps, and Dr. Bob’s comments. You’ll find the quote, the source or sources, and the documentation with each quote.

The Quotable

     First Things First: Big Book, p. 135. Dr. Bob pointed out many times that this slogan came from the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 6:33 (“But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you“). See DR. BOB and the Good Old-timers, pp. 144, 192. The slogan is also mentioned in the Oxford Group books, Soul Surgery. 6th ed., p. 25; and Seeking and Finding, p. 17.

     One Day at a Time: Again, Dr. Bob pointed to the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 6:34 (“Take therefore no thought [be not anxious] for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof). See DR. BOB and the Good Old-timers, p. 282; The Good Book and The Big Book, p. 87.

     Creator: See the twelve times God Almighty is referred to as the Creator in our Big Book (you look them up in Poe’s Concordance, or just dig out your Third Edition, and go to work). And see Isaiah 40: 28: “Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary?” Also, of course, Genesis 1:1!

     Faith without works is dead: According to Bill Wilson, early AAs so liked the Book of James that many favored calling our society the “James Club.” See Pass it On, p. 147. (You look up the references to “faith without works is dead” in the Big Book. And see James 2:14, 17-18, 20, 22, 26).

     Love thy neighbor as thyself : Plenty of references to this one in the Good Book, but see particularly James 2:8: “If ye fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, ye do well.” And Big Book, p. 153: “”Then you will know what it means to give of yourself that others may survive and rediscover life. You will learn the full meaning of “Love thy neighbor as thyself.””

     Maker: Oh, Oh, there’s God Almighty, our Creator, again. See Psalm 95:6, “O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker.” And Big Book, p. 57: “He humbly offered himself to his Maker-then he knew.” And page 63: “We were now at Step Three. Many of us said to our Maker, as we understood Him: God, I offer myself to Thee. . .”

     Thy will be done: Bill and Dr. Bob each said many times that the Sermon on the Mount contains the underlying philosophy of A.A. You should have no trouble with this source because you hear it in the Lord’s Prayer at the end of most A.A. meetings. And see Matthew 6:10: “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” See also Big Book, pp. 67, 88.

     God either is, or He isn’t. What was our choice to be? Sound familiar? Well it was familiar to AAs and their mentors too. See Big Book, p. 53: “Either God is everything or else He is nothing. God either is, or He isn’t. What was our choice to be?” In Confident Faith (a book owned and circulated by Dr. Bob), Rev. Sam Shoemaker, wrote at p. 187: “God is, or He isn’t. You leap one way or the other.” Sam Shoemaker and many others writers, whose books were read by AAs took that idea from Hebrews 11:6 (“But without faith, it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him“)

     I’ve got religion: The ranting of an alcoholic crackpot? That’s what Bill thought when Ebby used the expression (Big Book, p. 9). But Sam Shoemaker’s disciples used it frequently. See Children of the Second Birth, pp. 118, 165. But Bill used that same expression himself in a letter I found at Stepping Stones when I was doing my research there. It apparently was written by Bill to Dr. Leonard Strong. And the expression was often used the Oxford Group, to which Ebby and Bill both belonged.

     Pass It On: Ever heard that one? It’s in our Big Book at page 94 and is the title of A.A.’s biography of Bill Wilson. Frank Buchman, founder of the Oxford Group, wrote: “The best way to keep an experience of Christ is to pass it on.” See Buchman’s Remaking the World, p. x.

     The Four Absolutes: Honesty, Purity, Unselfishness, and Love: That’s just Oxford Group stuff that was abandoned in 1937? Nope. The Four Absolutes were on the Masthead of the Cleveland Central Bulletin in the 1940’s for a long time; and Dr. Bob mentioned them with praise in his last major address in 1948. See Dr. BOB and the Good Old-timers, pp. 54, 163. Where did they come from? From Dr. Robert E. Speer’s The Principles of Jesus (New York: Fleming H. Revell, 1902), pp. 33-36).Think that’s wrong? Here’s what Rev. Sam Shoemaker (whom Bill called a “co-founder” of A.A.) wrote. How to Become a Christian at pp. 56-57: “One of the simplest and best rules for self-examination that I know is to use the Four Standards which Dr. Robert E. Speer said represented the summary of the Sermon on the Mount-Absolute Honesty, Absolute Purity, Absolute Unselfishness, and Absolute Love.”

     Guarding that erring member the tongue: In his farewell address to AAs, Dr. Bob said: “Let us also remember to guard that erring member the tongue, and if we must use it, let’s use it with kindness and consideration and tolerance.” (See DR. BOB and the Good Old-timers, p. 338). Was that just an expression Dr. Bob dreamed up in his farewell address? No! Anne Smith had mentioned taming the tongue in her journal. And it came from a major part of Chapter Three in the Book of James. Here are a few lines from James 3:1-13: “Even so the tongue is a little member and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. . . . Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be.”

     God as we understood Him: Did this much misunderstood expression come from the atheist Jim Burwell? Jim said so. But Bill Wilson never confirmed that statement and for good reason. Long before there was an A.A. fellowship, Reverend Sam Shoemaker had written: “So they prayed together, opening their minds to as much of God as he understood.” (See Children of the Second Birth, pp. 47 and 25). Sam taught Bill’s sponsor Ebby Thacher and Bill himself. And it is not surprising that, long before Jim Burwell got sober, Ebby told Bill to “Turn my face to God as I understand Him and say to Him. . . that I henceforth place my life at His disposal and direction forever.” (See The Good Book and the Big Book, pp. 65-66). Bill followed that direction and said that at Towns Hospital, long before Jim Burwell got sober, “I humbly offered myself to God, as I then understood Him, to do with me as He would. I placed myself unreservedly under His care and direction.” (See Big Book, First Edition, p. 22; Third edition, p. 13). This simple idea from Sam Shoemaker was set forth in Anne Smith’s Journal and in Oxford Group writings: surrender as much of yourself as you understand to as much of God as you understand. These people (Shoemaker, Ebby, Bill, and Anne Smith) were all referring to our Creator as they understood Him. Not a light bulb, a radiator, or Gertrude.

     Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another being the exact nature of our wrongs: Initially, it came from James 5:16 “Confess your faults one to another and pray for one another that ye may be healed.” See Pass it On, p.128. But the phrase itself was written by Sam Shoemaker and also by Dr. Bob’s wife, Anne Smith, in Anne Smith’s Journal. See Anne Smith’s Journal. One example is at page 32: “I must share to be honest with God, myself & others.”

     Father of lights: AAWS, Inc. spelled it wrong at page 14 of our Third Edition in the Big Book (“Father of Light”). But Bill Wilson spelled it right his First Edition of the Big Book, at page 23, though Bill did like to capitalize references to God. Bill wrote: “I must turn in all things to the Father of Lights who presides over us all.” The name and title come from James 1:17: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”

     Spirit: Bill wasn’t talking about his psychic experiences or spiritualism adventures. Try John 4:24: “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”

More Quotables

     When I was new in sobriety and learning the Big Book, we used to play a game where someone would quote a phrase; and the other person had to locate it in the Big Book. We would know a lot more about our history and sources and words if we spent less time looking in the dictionary and instead turning to the real sources of our basic ideas. Most come from the Bible. Get acquainted with accuracy in talking about the Big Book, the Twelve Steps, and our Slogans. “Let go and let God” refers to our Creator, not Santa Claus. And if you would like to see many more, look them up in The Good Book and The Big Book: A.A.’s Roots in the Bible; The Oxford Group & Alcoholics Anonymous: A Design for Living That Works; and New Light on Alcoholism: God, Sam Shoemaker, and A.A. They can be found on Dick B.’s web site on Alcoholics Anonymous History: www.dickb.com/index.shtml

AA Quotes (continued)

Sobriety is the leading cause of relapse

This is a one-day-at-a-time program. If you are sober today, you are tied for first place

If drinking is interfering with your work, you’re probably a heavy drinker. If work is interfering with your drinking, you’re probably an alcoholic

I often obsessively pursue feeling good … no matter how bad it makes me feel

When I was new, I didn’t think I had any obsessions, until I started thinking about it. Then, it was all I could think about

How come if alcohol kills millions of brain cells, it never killed the ones that made me want to drink?

I never told a lie that wasn’t TRUE!!!

If God were small enough to understand, He wouldn’t be big enough to be God

If you want to quit drinking, you are going to have to quit drinking

Newcomer: How do I know how many meetings I should attend each week?

Old-timer: Gradually cut back until you drink. Then you’ll know.

If you’re looking to have an image in AA, look around at the meetings you go to and take a look at who you’re trying to impress

I would rather go through life sober, believing I am an alcoholic, than go through life drunk, trying to convince myself that I am not

The mind is a great servant … but a lousy master

The secret to the AA program is the first three words on page 112

An alcoholic is a person who wants to be held while isolating

Resentments are like stray cats: if you don’t feed them, they’ll go away

A lot of members criticize newcomers for sharing in their first thirty days; what scares me are those bleeding deacons sharing in their last thirty days

The difference between a problem drinker and an alcoholic is that when the alcohol is taken away from the problem drinker, the problem goes away. When the alcohol is taken away from the alcoholic, the problem begins

Sponsee: When will I get a good job?

Sponsor: When you are ready.

Sponsee: How will I know I am ready?

Sponsor: You’ll have a good job.

It is the great obsession of every Al-Anon, that some day he or she will learn to control and enjoy their drinker

I would rather be a sober ANYTHING than a drunk Somebody

I drank when I was happy. I drank when I was unhappy. Actually, I am a reason to drink

You don’t have to be sick to want to get well. But if you don’t want to get well, you ARE sick

I can’t do God’s will my way

In order to change the way we feel we need to change the way we act

There is only one way to coast, and that is downhill

The good news is you get your emotions back. The bad news is you get your emotions back

All we ask is that you completely change your attitude as soon as possible

Never put people in AA on a pedestal … there’s no room to dance

I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all. But whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that I still possess

Without memory, there is no healing. Without forgiveness, there is no future

Our business is doing God’s business. As long as we do God’s business, whatever happens to us is none of our business. That’s God’s business

It’s not old behavior if I’m still doing it

When you’re home by yourself you’re behind enemy lines.

If you share your pain you cut it in half, if you don’t you double it.

If you don’t want what we have, go back out to what you had.

There’s no elevator, you have to take the steps.

AA is not for people who need it, it’s for people who want it.

Part of compliance is defiance, but you must arrive at acceptance of the disease.

I’m an egomaniac with an inferiority complex.

My head is like a bad neighborhood and I shouldn’t go in there alone.

 Religion is for people who are afraid they’ll go to hell. Spirituality is for people who have been there.

I’m not going to give anybody free rent in my head.

I was hopelessly dopeful…now I’m dopelessly hopeful.

I used to be a hopeless dope fiend, now I’m a dopeless hope fiend.

I need to put  things in perspective because I have a disease of perception.

An alcoholic is chosen to find God.

The quality of your recovery is proportional to the quality of your surrender.

I’m a W.C.S. person. That’s Worst Case scenario

I’m basically a negative person, that’s why I’m so happy.

Untreated alcoholism without the steps on a daily basis will make my past my future.

Uncover…Discover…Discard.

Those who relapse are attending powerlessness graduate school.

This program changes the way I relate to me.  That’s what I’m trying to do, change the way I relate to me.

If you commit suicide you’re killing the wrong person.

If you’re not moving away from a drink you’re moving closer to it.

I’ve been beating up on myself so much I feel like hitting myself.

A critic is a person who goes onto the battlefield after the battle has been fought and shoots the survivors.

AA is not a program to get sober…it’s a program to live your life successfully and to be happy once you get sober.

I’d never trade my worst day sober for my best day drunk.

Being an alcoholic does not give me the excuse to act alcoholically.

I worked my using hard, so now I want to work my sobriety hard.

The shortest sentence in the Big Book is, It Works. The power behind me is greater than the problem in front of me.

When you’re in fear you’re not in faith.

A fear faced is a fear erased.

Every time I draw a sober breath I’m like a fish out of water.

I was a scream in search of a mouth.

I didn’t make it all the way to the beach to drown in the sand.

Drinking gave me the illusion that I might be alive. (Chekhov, Uncle Vanya)

I am one drink away from never being sober again for the rest of my life.

Praying is asking God for help, meditating is listening for God’s answer.

The reason I’m here is because I’m not all there.

Put your chip under  your tongue and if it dissolves you can take another drink.

My biggest  problem was bottles of the two-legged variety.

My basic problem is that I flee from those who want me and I pursue the rejectors.

When I live in the past, I live in regret. When I live in the future, I live in fear. When I  stay in the NOW, everything’s always okay. (from Joan T.)

If I could drink  socially I’d get drunk every night.

There’s no speeding in the trudging zone.

Having a resentment is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.

Courage is fear in action.

Had the eyes no tears, the soul  would have no rainbow. (from Teresa)

God will heal your broken heart, if you will give Him all the pieces. (from Teresa)

My life hereafter is from this moment on.

We are attracted to people who share in our growth and  progress and lose interest in those who don’t.

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear. (Ambrose Redmoon)

Self will imprisoned me far more than bars ever did.

I’ve definitely got the ism in alcoholism…that’s incredibly short  memory.

I had to learn how to float in this program because I’m a sinker.

On relapse: I never did anything in moderation…except maybe the steps.

Bring the body and the mind follows. It’s not the load that reaks you down…it’s the way you carry it.

When you choose the lesser of two evils, always remember that it is still an evil. (Max Lerner)

If everything is coming your way, you’re in the wrong lane.

Go often to the house of thy friend, for weeds choke the unused path.

(Ralph Waldo Emerson) Life is not so much a matter of position as of disposition.

Seven days without a meeting makes one weak. (from Herb B.)

Regarding hanging out at bars: If you hang out at the barbershop long enough you’re bound to get a haircut. ( from Bill G.)

On relapse: I never did anything in moderation…especially the steps.

Bring the body and the mind follows.

Tomorrow’s a fantasy and yesterday’s gone…there’s only today.

Thank you, God, for the beautiful day I’m going to have if I can just get rid of my fucking attitude.

We’re sick people trying to get better, not bad people trying to be good.

When you’ve got one foot in yesterday and the other in tomorrow, you can only piss on today. (from Steve and Anjanette)

The only way to have gratitude is to live in the now, not in the past or the future.

I didn’t get my life back in this program…I got my life for the first time.

I never had a problem that was worse than the old solution I found for it.

 What other people think of you is none of your business.

If it wasn’t for denial my life would be shit.

Change only happens when the pain of holding on is greater than the fear of letting go.

An expectation is a premeditated resentment.

I used to shoot up and throw up, now I suit up and show up. (David F.)

If you can’t love everybody today, at least try not to hurt anybody.

The reasonable person adapts to society. An unreasonable person adapts society. (Terry M.)

Give us the fortitude to endure the things which cannot be changed, and the courage to change the things which should be changed, and the wisdom to know one from the other. (Oliver J. Hart)

If it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter.

Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but  the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great. (Mark Twain)

My sobriety depends on who God is, not who I am. (Duane M.)

You cannot save your ass and your face at the same time. (Dennis K.)

Cash register honesty is easier than being honest with yourself, because at least you know the rules. (Ginger)

Acceptance without gratitude is bullshit.

You’re not responsible for your disease, but you are responsible for your behavior.

 If you don’t want what we have, we will cheerfully refund your misery.

Have a nice day unless you’ve made other plans.

 If you refuse to accept anything but the best you very often get it.

Now that I’m sober I hit my knees in a different way than I used to. (Jay)

Work to become, not to acquire. (Elbert Hubbard)

Regarding believing in God: Pretend. Act as if.  Fake it until you make it.

Don’t be afraid to take a big step. You can’t cross a chasm in two small jumps. (David Lloyd George)

On the hopelessness of addiction from somebody who is still using: I used to think there was light at the end of the tunnel, but for me today the light is on alocomotive headed right for me.

The value of the average conversation could be enormously improved by the constant use of four simple words: I do not know.

 * One Day at a time

* It works if you work it

* Keep it simple stupid (KISS

* Let go, let God

* First things first

*Easy does it!

* Honesty, Openness, Willingness (HOW)

* My worst day sober is better than my best day high.

* Sick and tired of being sick and tired.

Living our pre-AA active daily lifestyle was akin to switching seats on the Titanic.

You can’t direct the wind, but you can adjust your sails.

Yes, you can be a dreamer and a doer too, if you will remove one word from your vocabulary: impossible. (Robert Schuller)

If triangles had a God, he would have 3 sides. (Montesquieu)

Everyone is kneaded out of the same dough but not baked in the same oven. (Yiddish proverb)

Never cut a tree down in the wintertime. Never make a negative decision in the low time. (Robert Schuller)

Real generosity toward the future lies in giving all to the present. (Albert Camus)

Behaviorism is the art of pulling habits out of rats. (O’Neill)

The greatest good you can do for another is not just share your riches, but reveal to them their own. (Disraeli)

The worst of all deceptions is self-deception. (Plato)

Whenever you fall, pick something up. (Oswald Avery)

If you continually give you will continually have.

He then learns that in going down into the secrets of his own mind he has descended into the secrets of all minds. (Emerson)

It is easier to get forgiveness than permission. (Cecile Stewart)

Fear knocked on my door…I opened it and there was nobody there.

Be careful what you pray for, you just might get it.

The most important word in the Steps is the first one… WE

The world ain’t gonna kiss my butt just because I’m getting sober.

My mind is out to get me.

A recovering alcoholic without a sponsor is much like leaving Dracula in charge of the blood bank.

Relapse starts long before the drink is drunk.

First the man takes a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes the man.

The secret to long term sobriety: Don’t drink, don’t die.

If from the skies fall lemons, make lemonade. (Gabriel G.)

Don’t let the limits of your imagination block you from what God can do for you. (Suzanne)

Angels fly because they take themselves so lightly.

I have a very high pain threshold and a very low fear threshold.

I always look for the hardest way to do the easiest thing. (Jay M.)

If you don’t grow, you go.

If you don’t hear what you need to hear, say what you need to hear.

we shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time… (T.S. Elliot)

Look at everything as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time. Then your time on earth will be filled with glory. (Betty Smith)

Nothing contributes more to peace of soul than having no opinion at all.  (George Christopher Lichtenberg)

We could never learn to be brave and patient, if there were only joy in the world. (Helen Keller)

Fear is a darkroom for developing negatives.

I would rather be able to appreciate things I can not have than to have things I am not able to appreciate.(Elbert Hubbard)

A smooth sea never made a skillful sailor.

When you starve with a tiger, the tiger starves last. (Griffin’s Thought)

While I’m in a meeting, my disease is out in the parking lot doing push-ups. (Mike M.)

When I moved in sobriety, I went to the meetings and thought,’Oh, you do things differently here…i.e., wrong.’ (Mike M.)

Laziness is no more than the habit of resting before you get tired. (Jules Renard)

Democracy is where you can say what you think even if you don’t think.

It is not length of life, but depth of life. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Two step formula for handling stress: 1. Don’t sweat the small stuff. 2. Remember that it’s all small stuff. (Anthony Robbins)

The world is made for people who aren’t cursed with self-awareness. (the character Annie Savoy in the film Bull Durham)

Listen or thy tongue will keep thee deaf. (American Indian

Proverb)

When the only tool you own is a hammer, every problem begins to resemble a nail. (Abraham Maslow)

Deja Fu: The feeling that somehow, somewhere, you’ve been kicked in the head like this before.

A day without sunshine is like night.

He who dies with the most toys, is, nonetheless, still dead. ON

HUMILITY: To err is human, to moo bovine.

ON PROPHECY: The meek shall inherit the earth — they are too weak to refuse.

People that don’t go to meetings, don’t hear about what happens to people that don’t go to meetings. (Phil A.)

You can’t think your way into right living…you have to live your way into right thinking. (Pat H.)

If you’re not enjoying this program, maybe you’re not working it right. (Pat H.)

If you find working the steps  too hard, try living them instead…that’s where the real joy in the program lies. (Pat H.)

If you wanna make God laugh, tell him YOUR plans for the day. (Bob B.)

United we stand; divided we stagger.

Complete is proved only by giving. All you are unable to give possesses you. (Andre Gide)

If you truly want to understand something, try to change it.

(Kurt Lewin)

He who foresees calamities suffers them twice over.

 He who no’s himself is wise. He who knows himself is enlightened.

Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.(Winston Churchill)

There is an easy answer to your problem that is neat, plausible, and wrong.

A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.(Antoine de Saint-Exup’ery)

Confidence is the feeling you have before you understand the situation.

Nervousness is just God trying to shake the truth out of you.

Belief without action is the ruin of the soul.

(Edward Abbey)

He who knows that enough is enough will always have enough.

I have often regretted my speech, never my silence.

Our defects of character are the bars of a cage. The central point is not to study the bars, but to get out of the cage.

Recovery is a journey between two stations. One station represents total chaos, and the other represents total serenity. What is important is not where you are, but what direction you are facing.

Life without recovery: Even roses have thorns. Life in recovery: Even thorns have roses.

If you do not know where you are going, then any road will take

you there. (David L.)

The slogans work much better for me when I decorate my life with them rather than decorating the walls with them. (Jenn K.)

The most natural state of an alcoholic is irritable, restless, and discontented.

We are human BEings, not human DOings.

Recognizing someone else’s  human dignity cannot cost you your own.

I’d rather have a frontal lobotomy than a bottle in front of me.

If you don’t want what we have, your misery can be refunded.

Funny…I ruined my health by drinking to other’s!

Don’t Entertain The Thought.

Progress Not Perfection.

The chains of alcohol are too light to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.

I didn’t get into trouble every time I drank, but every time I got into trouble I was drinking.

Happiness is not a place you arrive at, it is a way you travel.

The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes. (Marcel Proust)

Is it not better to aim your spear at the moon and strike only an eagle, than to aim your spear at the eagle, and strike only a rock?

If your ass falls off, put it in a paper bag and take it to a meeting.

If my brain didn’t need me for transportation, it would have killed me a long time ago! If you’re not a lion tamer, don’t go into the lion’s den.

You can’t speed up your recovery, but you sure can slow it down.

If I don’t let go, I lose my grip.

If God is your co-pilot, SWITCH SEATS!

It’s 11:00, do you know where your brain is?

Talk does not cook rice.

New York Steps 1, 2, and 3: I can’t, He can, so let Him!

If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got.

We’ll love you until you learn to love yourself.

 Don’t give up before the miracle happens.

Unless I accept my virtues, I will be overwhelmed with my faults.

Pray daily, God is easier to talk to than most people.

Willpower tells me I must, but willingness tells me I can.

Emotions aren’t facts.

Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.

If GOD drives you out, BOOZE will bring you back.

You can’t think your way into a new way of living…you have to

live your way into a new way of thinking!

No God, no peace…Know God, know peace.

It’s not the yets we have to worry about, it’s the again’s.

Rejection is God’s protection.

INTIMACY = In-to-me-I-see

ME + U is a power greater than ME. U + US is a power greater than U.

Winners do what they have to do and losers do what they want to do.

It is easier to stay sober than to get sober.

My anxiety is in my indecision.

Whatever you put before your sobriety; you shall surely lose.

Why put off today, what you can put off tomorrow.

He who fails to plan, plans to fail.

Anything worth doing well, is well worth overdoing.

Nothing changes if nothing changes.

Attitudes are contagious. Is yours worth catching?

The only weapon that becomes sharper with constant use is the tongue.

Nothing is so strong as gentleness, and nothing is so gentle as true strength.  (Ralph Sockman)

Boredom is the feeling that everything is a waste of time; serenity, that nothing is. (Thomas Szasz)

To gain that worth having, it may be necessary to lose everything else. (Bernadette Devlin)

The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.

Do not condemn the judgement of another because it differs from your own. You may both be wrong. (Dandemis)

Reputation: what others are not thinking about you. The only time you don’t fail is the last time you try anything – and it works. (William Strong)

It’s not a matter of where you stand but in what direction you’re

headed.

May you live all the days of your life. (Jonathan Swift)

He who foresees calamities suffers them twice over.

When  a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it  is his duty. (George Bernard Shaw)

Don’t mistake pleasure for happiness. They’re a different breed of dog.(Josh Billings)

Modesty is the only sure bait when you angle for praise. (Lord Chesterfield)

Swing hard, in case they throw the ball where you’re swinging. (Duke Snider)

If you judge, investigate. (Seneca)

You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus. (Mark Twain)

*Friendship is like money, easier made than kept. (Samuel Butler)

The only Zen you find on the tops of mountains is the Zen you bring up there. (Robert M. Pirsig)

I’m not much, but I’m all I think about.

Don’t let the urgent get in the way of the important.

People who relapse usually do so because they accepted the things they could have changed.

AA is not for people who need it. AA is not for people who want it. AA is for people who do it.When you’re home by yourself you’re behind enemy lines.

If you share your pain you cut it in half, if you don’t you double it.

If you don’t want what we have, go back out to what you had.

There’s no elevator, you have to take the steps.

AA is not for people who need it, it’s for people who want it.

Part of compliance is defiance, but you must arrive at acceptance of the disease.

I’m an egomaniac with an inferiority complex.

My head is like a bad neighborhood and I shouldn’t go in there alone.

Religion is for people who are afraid they’ll go to hell. Spirituality is for people who have been there.

I’m not going to give anybody free rent in my head.

I was hopelessly dopeful…now I’m dopelessly hopeful.

I used to be a hopeless dope fiend, now I’m a dopeless hope fiend.

I need to put  things in perspective because I have a disease of perception.

An alcoholic is chosen to find God.

The quality of your recovery is proportional to the quality of your surrender.

 I’m a W.C.S. person. That’s Worst Case scenario

I’m basically a negative person, that’s why I’m so happy.

Untreated alcoholism without the steps on a daily basis will make my past my future.

Uncover…Discover…Discard.

Those who relapse are attending powerlessness graduate school.

This program changes the way I relate to me.  That’s what I’m trying to do, change the way I relate to me.

If you commit suicide you’re killing the wrong person.

If you’re not moving away from a drink you’re moving closer to it.

I’ve been beating up on myself so much I feel like hitting myself.

A critic is a person who goes onto the battlefield after the battle has been fought and shoots the survivors.

AA is not a program to get sober…it’s a program to live your life successfully and to be happy once you get sober.

I’d never trade my worst day sober for my best day drunk.

Being an alcoholic does not give me the excuse to act alcoholically.

I worked my using hard, so now I want to work my sobriety hard.

The shortest sentence in the Big Book is, It Works. The power behind me is greater than the problem in front of me.

When you’re in fear you’re not in faith.

A fear faced is a fear erased.

Every time I draw a sober breath I’m like a fish out of water.

I was a scream in search of a mouth.

I didn’t make it all the way to the beach to drown in the sand.

Drinking gave me the illusion that I might be alive. (Chekhov, Uncle Vanya)

I am one drink away from never being sober again for the rest of my life.

Praying is asking God for help, meditating is listening for God’s answer.

The reason I’m here is because I’m not all there.

Put your chip under  your tongue and if it dissolves you can take another drink.

My biggest  problem was bottles of the two-legged variety.

My basic problem is that I flee from those who want me and I pursue the rejectors.

When I live in the past, I live in regret. When I live in the future, I live in fear. When I  stay in the NOW, everything’s always okay. (from Joan T.)

If I could drink  socially I’d get drunk every night.

There’s no speeding in the trudging zone.

Having a resentment is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.

Courage is fear in action.

Had the eyes no tears, the soul  would have no rainbow. (from Teresa)

God will heal your broken heart, if you will give Him all the pieces. (from Teresa)

My life hereafter is from this moment on.

We are attracted to people who share in our growth and  progress and lose interest in those who don’t.

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear. (Ambrose Redmoon)

Self will imprisoned me far more than bars ever did.

I’ve definitely got the ism in alcoholism…that’s incredibly short  memory.

I had to learn how to float in this program because I’m a sinker.

On relapse: I never did anything in moderation…except maybe the steps.

Bring the body and the mind follows. It’s not the load that reaks you down…it’s the way you carry it.

When you choose the lesser of two evils, always remember that it is still an evil. (Max Lerner)

If everything is coming your way, you’re in the wrong lane.

Go often to the house of thy friend, for weeds choke the unused path.

(Ralph Waldo Emerson) Life is not so much a matter of position as of disposition.

Seven days without a meeting makes one weak. (from Herb B.)

Regarding hanging out at bars: If you hang out at the barbershop long enough you’re bound to get a haircut. ( from Bill G.)

On relapse: I never did anything in moderation…especially the steps.

Bring the body and the mind follows.

Tomorrow’s a fantasy and yesterday’s gone…there’s only today.

Thank you, God, for the beautiful day I’m going to have if I can just get rid of my fucking attitude.

We’re sick people trying to get better, not bad people trying to be good.

When you’ve got one foot in yesterday and the other in tomorrow, you can only piss on today. (from Steve and Anjanette)

The only way to have gratitude is to live in the now, not in the past or the future.

I didn’t get my life back in this program…I got my life for the first time.

I never had a problem that was worse than the old solution I found for it.

What other people think of you is none of your business.

If it wasn’t for denial my life would be shit.

Change only happens when the pain of holding on is greater than the fear of letting go.

An expectation is a premeditated resentment.

I used to shoot up and throw up, now I suit up and show up. (David F.)

If you can’t love everybody today, at least try not to hurt anybody.

The reasonable person adapts to society. An unreasonable person adapts society. (Terry M.)

Give us the fortitude to endure the things which cannot be changed, and the courage to change the things which should be changed, and the wisdom to know one from the other. (Oliver J. Hart)

If it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter.

Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but  the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great. (Mark Twain)

My sobriety depends on who God is, not who I am. (Duane M.)

You cannot save your ass and your face at the same time. (Dennis K.)

Cash register honesty is easier than being honest with yourself, because at least you know the rules. (Ginger)

Acceptance without gratitude is bullshit.

You’re not responsible for your disease, but you are responsible for your behavior.

If you don’t want what we have, we will cheerfully refund your misery.

Have a nice day unless you’ve made other plans.

If you refuse to accept anything but the best you very often get it.

Now that I’m sober I hit my knees in a different way than I used to. (Jay)

Work to become, not to acquire. (Elbert Hubbard)

Regarding believing in God: Pretend. Act as if.  Fake it until you make it.

Don’t be afraid to take a big step. You can’t cross a chasm in two small jumps. (David Lloyd George)

On the hopelessness of addiction from somebody who is still using: I used to think there was light at the end of the tunnel, but for me today the light is on alocomotive headed right for me.

The value of the average conversation could be enormously improved by the constant use of four simple words: I do not know.

 * One Day at a time

* It works if you work it

* Keep it simple stupid (KISS

* Let go, let God

* First things first

*Easy does it!

* Honesty, Openness, Willingness (HOW)

* My worst day sober is better than my best day high.

* Sick and tired of being sick and tired.

Living our pre-AA active daily lifestyle was akin to switching seats on the Titanic.

You can’t direct the wind, but you can adjust your sails.

Yes, you can be a dreamer and a doer too, if you will remove one word from your vocabulary: impossible. (Robert Schuller)

If triangles had a God, he would have 3 sides. (Montesquieu)

Everyone is kneaded out of the same dough but not baked in the same oven. (Yiddish proverb)

Never cut a tree down in the wintertime. Never make a negative decision in the low time. (Robert Schuller)

Real generosity toward the future lies in giving all to the present. (Albert Camus)

Behaviorism is the art of pulling habits out of rats. (O’Neill)

The greatest good you can do for another is not just share your riches, but reveal to them their own. (Disraeli)

The worst of all deceptions is self-deception. (Plato)

Whenever you fall, pick something up. (Oswald Avery)

If you continually give you will continually have.

He then learns that in going down into the secrets of his own mind he has descended into the secrets of all minds. (Emerson)

It is easier to get forgiveness than permission. (Cecile Stewart)

Fear knocked on my door…I opened it and there was nobody there.

Be careful what you pray for, you just might get it.

The most important word in the Steps is the first one… WE

The world ain’t gonna kiss my butt just because I’m getting sober.

My mind is out to get me.

A recovering alcoholic without a sponsor is much like leaving Dracula in charge of the blood bank.

Relapse starts long before the drink is drunk.

First the man takes a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes the man.

The secret to long term sobriety: Don’t drink, don’t die.

If from the skies fall lemons, make lemonade. (Gabriel G.)

Don’t let the limits of your imagination block you from what God can do for you. (Suzanne)

Angels fly because they take themselves so lightly.

I have a very high pain threshold and a very low fear threshold.

I always look for the hardest way to do the easiest thing. (Jay M.)

If you don’t grow, you go.

If you don’t hear what you need to hear, say what you need to hear.

we shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time… (T.S. Elliot)

Look at everything as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time. Then your time on earth will be filled with glory. (Betty Smith)

Nothing contributes more to peace of soul than having no opinion at all.  (George Christopher Lichtenberg)

We could never learn to be brave and patient, if there were only joy in the world. (Helen Keller)

Fear is a darkroom for developing negatives.

I would rather be able to appreciate things I can not have than to have things I am not able to appreciate.(Elbert Hubbard)

A smooth sea never made a skillful sailor.

When you starve with a tiger, the tiger starves last. (Griffin’s Thought)

While I’m in a meeting, my disease is out in the parking lot doing push-ups. (Mike M.)

When I moved in sobriety, I went to the meetings and thought,’Oh, you do things differently here…i.e., wrong.’ (Mike M.)

Laziness is no more than the habit of resting before you get tired. (Jules Renard)

Democracy is where you can say what you think even if you don’t think.

It is not length of life, but depth of life. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Two step formula for handling stress: 1. Don’t sweat the small stuff. 2. Remember that it’s all small stuff. (Anthony Robbins)

The world is made for people who aren’t cursed with self-awareness. (the character Annie Savoy in the film Bull Durham)

Listen or thy tongue will keep thee deaf. (American Indian

Proverb)

When the only tool you own is a hammer, every problem begins to resemble a nail. (Abraham Maslow)

Deja Fu: The feeling that somehow, somewhere, you’ve been kicked in the head like this before.

A day without sunshine is like night.

He who dies with the most toys, is, nonetheless, still dead. ON

HUMILITY: To err is human, to moo bovine.

ON PROPHECY: The meek shall inherit the earth — they are too weak to refuse.

 People that don’t go to meetings, don’t hear about what happens to people that don’t go to meetings. (Phil A.)

You can’t think your way into right living…you have to live your way into right thinking. (Pat H.)

If you’re not enjoying this program, maybe you’re not working it right. (Pat H.)

If you find working the steps  too hard, try living them instead…that’s where the real joy in the program lies. (Pat H.)

If you wanna make God laugh, tell him YOUR plans for the day. (Bob B.)

United we stand; divided we stagger.

Complete is proved only by giving. All you are unable to give possesses you. (Andre Gide)

If you truly want to understand something, try to change it.

(Kurt Lewin)

He who foresees calamities suffers them twice over.

He who no’s himself is wise. He who knows himself is enlightened.

Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.(Winston Churchill)

There is an easy answer to your problem that is neat, plausible, and wrong.

A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.(Antoine de Saint-Exup’ery)

Confidence is the feeling you have before you understand the situation.

Nervousness is just God trying to shake the truth out of you.

Belief without action is the ruin of the soul.

(Edward Abbey)

He who knows that enough is enough will always have enough.

I have often regretted my speech, never my silence.

Our defects of character are the bars of a cage. The central point is not to study the bars, but to get out of the cage.

Recovery is a journey between two stations. One station represents total chaos, and the other represents total serenity. What is important is not where you are, but what direction you are facing.

Life without recovery: Even roses have thorns. Life in recovery: Even thorns have roses.

If you do not know where you are going, then any road will take

you there. (David L.)

The slogans work much better for me when I decorate my life with them rather than decorating the walls with them. (Jenn K.)

The most natural state of an alcoholic is irritable, restless, and discontented.

We are human BEings, not human DOings.

Recognizing someone else’s  human dignity cannot cost you your own.

I’d rather have a frontal lobotomy than a bottle in front of me.

If you don’t want what we have, your misery can be refunded.

Funny…I ruined my health by drinking to other’s!

Don’t Entertain The Thought.

Progress Not Perfection.

The chains of alcohol are too light to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.

I didn’t get into trouble every time I drank, but every time I got into trouble I was drinking.

Happiness is not a place you arrive at, it is a way you travel.

The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes. (Marcel Proust)

Is it not better to aim your spear at the moon and strike only an eagle, than to aim your spear at the eagle, and strike only a rock?

If your ass falls off, put it in a paper bag and take it to a meeting.

If my brain didn’t need me for transportation, it would have killed me a long time ago! If you’re not a lion tamer, don’t go into the lion’s den.

You can’t speed up your recovery, but you sure can slow it down.

If I don’t let go, I lose my grip.

If God is your co-pilot, SWITCH SEATS!

It’s 11:00, do you know where your brain is?

Talk does not cook rice.

New York Steps 1, 2, and 3: I can’t, He can, so let Him!

If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got.

We’ll love you until you learn to love yourself.

Don’t give up before the miracle happens.

Unless I accept my virtues, I will be overwhelmed with my faults.

Pray daily, God is easier to talk to than most people.

Willpower tells me I must, but willingness tells me I can.

Emotions aren’t facts.

Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.

If GOD drives you out, BOOZE will bring you back.

You can’t think your way into a new way of living…you have to live your way into a new way of thinking!

No God, no peace…Know God, know peace.

It’s not the yets we have to worry about, it’s the again’s.

Rejection is God’s protection.

INTIMACY = In-to-me-I-see

ME + U is a power greater than ME. U + US is a power greater than U.

Winners do what they have to do and losers do what they want to do.

It is easier to stay sober than to get sober.

My anxiety is in my indecision.

Whatever you put before your sobriety; you shall surely lose.

Why put off today, what you can put off tomorrow.

He who fails to plan, plans to fail.

Anything worth doing well, is well worth overdoing.

Nothing changes if nothing changes.

Attitudes are contagious. Is yours worth catching?

The only weapon that becomes sharper with constant use is the tongue.

Nothing is so strong as gentleness, and nothing is so gentle as true strength.  (Ralph Sockman)

Boredom is the feeling that everything is a waste of time; serenity, that nothing is. (Thomas Szasz)

To gain that worth having, it may be necessary to lose everything else. (Bernadette Devlin)

The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.

Do not condemn the judgement of another because it differs from your own. You may both be wrong. (Dandemis)

Reputation: what others are not thinking about you. The only time you don’t fail is the last time you try anything – and it works. (William Strong)

It’s not a matter of where you stand but in what direction you’re headed.

May you live all the days of your life. (Jonathan Swift)

He who foresees calamities suffers them twice over.

When  a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it  is his duty. (George Bernard Shaw)

Don’t mistake pleasure for happiness. They’re a different breed of dog.(Josh Billings)

Modesty is the only sure bait when you angle for praise. (Lord Chesterfield)

Swing hard, in case they throw the ball where you’re swinging. (Duke Snider)

If you judge, investigate. (Seneca)

You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus. (Mark Twain)

*Friendship is like money, easier made than kept. (Samuel Butler)

The only Zen you find on the tops of mountains is the Zen you bring up there. (Robert M. Pirsig)

I’m not much, but I’m all I think about.

Don’t let the urgent get in the way of the important.

People who relapse usually do so because they accepted the things they could have changed.

AA is not for people who need it. AA is not for people who want it. AA is for people who do it.

A more few good quotes:

  1. “Provided we strenuously avoid turning these realistic surveys of the facts of life into unrealistic alibis for apathy or defeatism, they can be the sure foundation upon which increased emotional health and therefore spiritual progress can be built.” – Reprinted from As Bill Sees It p. 44 with permission of A.A. World Services, Inc.
  2. “We’re not cured of alcoholism. What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition.” – Reprinted from Alcoholics Anonymous p. 85 with permission of A.A. World Services, Inc.
  3. “With few exceptions our members find that they have tapped on an unsuspected inner resource which they presently identify with their own conception of a power greater than themselves.” – Reprinted from Alcoholics Anonymous pp. 569 and 70 with permission of A.A. World Services, Inc.
  4. “With few exceptions our members find that they have tapped on an unsuspected inner resource which they presently identify with their own conception of a power greater than themselves.” – Reprinted from Alcoholics Anonymous pp. 569 and 70 with permission of A.A. World Services, Inc.
  5. “Why all this insistence that every AA must hit bottom first? The answer is that few people will sincerely tried to practice the AA program unless they have hit bottom. For practicing AA’s remaining eleven steps means the adoption of attitudes and actions that almost no alcoholic who is still drinking can dream of taking.” – Reprinted from 12 Steps and 12 Traditions page 24 with permission of A.A. World Services, Inc.
  6. “The trouble with us alcoholics was this: We demanded that the world give us happiness and peace of mind in just the particular order we wanted to get it– by the alcohol route. And we weren’t successful. But when we take the time to find out some of the spiritual laws, and familiarize ourselves with them, and put them into practice, then do we get happiness and peace of mind….. There seem to be some rules that we have to follow, but happiness and peace of mind are always here, open and free to anyone” – Reprinted from Dr. Bob and the Good Old-timers, p. 308 with permission of A.A. World Services, Inc.
  7. “By going back in our own drinking histories, we could show that years before we realized it we were out of control, that our drinking even then was no mere habit, that it was indeed the beginning of a fatal progression.”- Reprinted fromTwelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 23 with permission of A.A. World Services, Inc.
  8. “Faith has to work twenty-four hours a day in and through us, or we perish.” – Reprinted from Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 16 with permission of A.A. World Services, Inc.
  9. “The primary fact that we fail to recognize is our total inability to form a true partnership with another human being.” – Reprinted from Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 53 with permission of A.A. World Services, Inc.
  10. No words can tell of the loneliness and despair I found in that bitter morass of self-pity. Quicksand stretched around me in all directions. I had met my match. I had been overwhelmed. Alcohol was my master. – Reprinted from Alcoholics Anonymous , p.8 with permission of A.A. World Services, Inc.
  11. “When working with a man and his family, you should take care not to participate in their quarrels. You may spoil your chance of being helpful if you do.” — – Reprinted from Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 100 with permission of A.A. World Services, Inc.,
  12. “As we felt new power flow in, as we enjoyed peace of mind, as we discovered we could face life successfully, as we became conscious of His presence, we began to lose our fear of today, tomorrow or the hereafter. We were reborn. – Reprinted from Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 63 with permission of A.A. World Services, Inc.
  13. You may already have asked yourself why it is that all of us became so very ill from drinking. Doubtless you are curious to discover how and why, in the face of expert opinion to the contrary, we have recovered from a hopeless condition of mind and body. If you are an alcoholic who wants to get over it, you may already be asking–“What do I have to do?” Reprinted from Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 20 with permission of A.A. World Services, Inc.

Inspirational Video – The Don’t Quit Poem

The Serenity Prayer Song

Meeting Topics II

Whether you’re looking for a topic for your next A.A. meeting, or you would simply enjoy checking out a few topics in the Big Book, here is a Little Big Book Guide to Topics in the Big Book.

All references to the topics will be found in the first 164 pages of the book, Alcoholics Anonymous

ACCEPTANCE page 14

ANGER page 64, 66, 111

COMPASSION page 108

DISEASE 21, 23

EASY DOES IT page 135

FEAR pages 67, 68, 115, 116

FREEDOM page 62,

HONESTY pages 58, 115

HUMILITY pages 12, 13,63, 73

INVENTORY pages 64-71

INSANITY pages 24, 37, 38, 57

JEALOUSY pages 82, 119, 131

MEDITATION pages 86-88

PATIENCE pages 67, 82, 90, 111, 118, 123, 125, 127

PRAYER pages 63, 67, 70, 75, 76, 79, 80, 82-87

RESENTMENT pages 64-66, 117-119

RECOVERY pages 1-164

SELF-WILL pages 60-62

SELF KNOWLEDGE pages 7, 36-39

SERENITY page 68

SEX 68-70, 124, 134

SLIPS pages 35, 120, 139

SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE pages 25, 27, 44, 47, 128, 130, 157

STEPS pages 59-60

WILLINGNESS pages 12-14, 26, 28, 46, 47, 53, 57, 58, 60, 69, 70, 76, 79, 93, 118, 124, 152, 153, 158, 159, 162

AA Slogans


Easy Does It
First Things First
Live and let Live
Think……Think…….Think
One Day At a Time
But for the Grace of God
Principles before Personalities

Exhaustive List of AA Slogans (400+)

1) Easy does it.

2) First things first.

3) Live and let live.

4) But for the grace of God.

5) Think think think.

6) One day at time.

7) Let go and let God.

8.) K.I.S.S.—Keep It Simple Stupid.

9) Act as if.

10) This, too, shall pass.

Read the rest of this entry »

AA Truths and Sayings

“This manner of living adds years to my life, AND it adds life to my years!”

“Pain is the touchstone of spiritual growth.”

“Happiness is appreciating what you have, not getting what you want.”

“If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.”

“Remember: It’s ok to look back but don’t stare. “

“Alcoholic drinking’s three stages: fun, fun with problems, and PROBLEMS.”

“Those who abandon their dreams will discourage yours.”

“We can no longer be content with just getting by.”

“I spent a lifetime in hell and it only took me twelve steps to get to heaven.”

“Would you like to be right or happy?”

“When I came to recovery I realized that being a child for 28 years nearly killed me”

“We came to these rooms not because we drank a lot, but because we drank too much.”

“Serenity is not the absence of conflict, but the ability to cope with it.”

“Minds are like parachutes. They only function when they are open. “

“Remember, don’t run so fast that your guardian angel can’t keep up”

“The longer I’m sober, the drunker I was.”

Meeting Topics

Adjusting …. Five As to adjust yourself for a productive sober life.


Taking the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous brings about change in the person taking the steps. Changing ourselves (more correctly, seeking to be changed by the Spirit) is precisely what is required. After all, we were the problem, and the defects in our character which cause our problem plagued existence need to be removed.
No matter what the defect requiring removal is, there is a pattern in the corrective process. We observed this pattern, or process, or formula as an adaptation of a selection of Steps four through twelve. Before we delve into these, however, it will be useful to examine the causes of our getting all messed up.
We are going to discuss seven layers of our behavioral makeup. We are not psychiatrists, and there may be far superior ways to describe all this. However, these 7 can still be a useful framework for analysis until you help us with a better route.
1. Our wretched state of being brings us to Alcoholics Anonymous. We come to A.A. in a wretched state. The conditions or description of our pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization are physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. We don’t usually think of ourselves in those terms, however. We just know we have horrible problems in the world, we cannot stand it any more and we are desperate for a way out. We are transfixed on the consequences or results of our lives. We want our state of being to be changed. We came into A.A. thinking that when the courts, our families, our bosses, our doctors, and the crooks in Washington, D.C. get changed by A.A., we will be OK again.
2. Our own actions created our wretched state. Where we are when we get to A.A. is the result of actions we have taken. Sure, the courts might be terrorizing us, but who committed the crime? Our spouse and family might have left or kicked us out, but who made them feel that way? Our doctor may have dire predictions about our health, but who did the drinking in the first place? We could continue this into our possessions, the workplace, our friends, and just about everything else. Therefore, instead of focusing on the results, we need to discover and change our actions which caused those results.
3. Our actions came from our decisions. Actions are the result of decisions we make. It is chic to think that we manage our lives, that we consciously choose based upon some kind of rational cost-benefit analysis. Sure, there is some of this. However, our decisions come from conscious, unconscious or habitual sources. As is turns out, very few decisions that we make are conscious.
4. Our decisions come primarily from our habits. Most of our lives are driven by habits and associated impulse. Habits, of course, are simply the actions we take when we don’t think about what we are doing. Good habits can be very useful. They can execute skillful tasks skillfully and without occupying the mind with repetitive material. They make sure our teeth get brushed every night before we retire, and they bring unconscious smiles to our faces when we see acquaintances. We are simply following the engrained mind-patterns that come from repeated reinforcement. Bad or harmful habits, though, can cause us to spiral downward into destitution or destruction. Any attempt to retrain the mind requires conscious intervention into our habit patterns until old habits begin to atrophy through disuse as they are overlaid with new ones. This is the difficult task of the alcoholic recovering from habitual drinking.
5. Habits originated in beliefs. Conscious actions come from conscious beliefs that an action is desirable. As the action is repeated it might become habitual. Even though the original belief is displaced with a different belief, our actions are usually still driven by the old habit. So, we jump to the conclusion that we can prevent the beginning of bad habits by having only valid belief systems. But, there is more.
6. Beliefs come from teaching, experience and motivation. When we were younger, much of what we believed came from what we were taught. For example, about 85% of all persons who go to church in the U.S. attend the same church that their parents attended. Religious beliefs can be very profound, and teachings about them can be intensive. In addition, as we grow, we have experiences that mold our thinking. If we are attacked by Mr. Smith’s dog every time we go down Elm Street, we probably come to think that Elm street is dangerous. In addition, we might be suspicious of persons named Smith. Obviously, some of our beliefs are incorrect or delusional. But, our old teachings and experiences are still in our heads, even if they are in hiding. They might still try to manage our lives unless they are contradicted by new teaching and experience. Sometimes psychotherapy is needed to help us migrate into adjusted beliefs.
7. Motivations underlie our beliefs. At the origin of our behavioral trail are motivations. These are the drivers of what we retain as beliefs and the perpetuation of actions that gratify our desires. We know a fellow who ran away from home at the age of 13 to join the carnival. There were times when he just didn’t have enough to eat. This experience, coupled perhaps by a high metabolism or hypoglycemia, leads him to feel panic when he hasn’t eaten recently. He is never without snacks at home, in his car, at work or at social functions. His motive is to avoid even the slightest hint of hunger. Some other motives one can have are a need for constant social approval, saving everything for a future need, having sex all the time, getting obliterated on booze, etc.
So, why not just deal with motivational adjustment to bring about constructive actions? This just does not seem to work with alcoholics. We seem to need to change the last of the seven links in the chain of behavioral events until we hurt. Then, we find out what hurts, and we fix that until the prior link acts up, and so it goes until we can eventually work on our motives.
You have probably heard in a meeting:
We don’t think our way into right actions,
we act our way into right thinking.
Why did we lay our the seven layers of behavior above? Because they provide a framework to understand the nature of defects in character better and to grasp the role of the 12 steps in bringing about change in us.
But, there is another reason for all this wonderful psychobabel. You might now appreciate a wiser and more lucid statement about cause and effect:

Anger… We must be rid of anger or it kills us.


Our Big Book tells us that “…resentment is the number one offender”, and “If we were to live, we had to be free of anger”. It assures us that unless anger and resentment are removed from our minds, that we shall surely drink again. Hopefully we get the point and take action as directed.
This little paper talks about synonyms of resentment, discusses their relationships, and quotes some 34 instances in which they appear in the Big Book or the 12 &12.
Anger, resent, resentment.
All of these words, to put it mildly, describe negative feelings the alcoholic might have toward other people, ideas, or institutions. They range from high intensity (hate) to low intensity (displeasure). Some of them are outwardly observable (rage) and others smolder inside (resentment). These distinctions make no difference in the long run. This negativity will corrode our very beings—spiritual(shutting out the sunlight of the Spirit), mental and physical (The medical profession knows well the impact of negative thinking upon common diseases such as stress, arthritis and ulcers.)
But, when we discuss with fellow AA’s the need to get rid of anger, we hear a number of contradictory remarks, such as:
• Anger is a natural human emotion. Everybody gets angry sometimes.
• You tell us to get rid of anger, but we know that stuffing it inside of ourselves is not healthy.
• What is important is the manner in which we deal with our anger.
• Anger can stimulate a person to great deeds that they would not otherwise perform.
These contradictions have much to be said for them. Yet they can lull us into a comfort with our anger, and we might try to live with rather than eradicate anger.
If we are to be true to the directions of AA, then:
1. The first task is to set the right goal, which is not accommodation with anger. The necessary objective is its removal.
2. Next, we must learn to recognize our anger when it arises. An unmistakable flag needs to pop up at the onset of resentment or anger, which says, “Whoa. I am getting angry. This must be stopped right now.”
3. The first damage control task is to prevent acting out of anger. Our good judgment, even if painful, needs to take charge to assure that none of our words or actions will injure others or ourselves. We avoid adding to our 8th step list at any emotional cost. In addition, some folks believe a non-destructive release—such as counting to 10 or punching a bag—can be helpful.
4. Now, we go to work trying to understand why we began to get angry or resentful. The format of the 4th step matrix on page 65 can be helpful here. Who or what triggered my anger? What did another person do (or not do) which made me angry? Which of my buttons, or triggers, got pushed? In what way was I frustrated? Which of my character defects again got in the way of my useful living?
5. Finally, we take further action in cleaning up our act. Do I need to make an amend? Am I ready for my character defect to be removed? Meditation might help in answering these question. I then go to the source of all power, asking again that I be made free of resentment and anger and become whole to be of service to my Creator and my fellow man.
It does not matter what we think the therapists say. Anger is an intolerable ingredient in the psyche of the recovered alcoholic.
QUOTATIONS
1. They sound like the philosophy of the man who, having a headache, beats himself on the head with a hammer so that he can’t feel the ache. If you draw this fallacious reasoning to the attention of an alcoholic, he will laugh it off, or become irritated and refuse to talk. [Big Book, page 23, line 16]
2. In some circumstances we have gone out deliberately to get drunk, feeling ourselves justified by nervousness, anger, worry, depression, jealousy or the like. But even in this type of beginning we are obliged to admit that our justification for a spree was insanely insufficient in the light of what always happened. [Big Book, page 37, line 20]
3. It is plain that a life which includes deep resentment leads only to futility and unhappiness. To the precise extent that we permit these, do we squander the hours that might have been worth while. But with the alcoholic , whose hope is the maintenance and growth of a spiritual experience, this business of resentment is infinitely grave. We found that it is fatal. For when harboring such feelings we shut ourselves off from the sunlight of the Spirit. The insanity of alcohol returns and we drink again. And with us, to drink is to die. If we were to live, we had to be free of anger. The grouch and the brainstorm were not for us. They may be the dubious luxury of normal men, but for alcoholics these things are poison. [Big Book, page 66, line 20]
4. The question of how to approach the man we hated will arise. It may be he had done us more harm than we have done him and, though we may have acquired a better attitude toward him, we are still not too keen about admitting our faults. Nevertheless, with a person we dislike, we take the bit in our teeth. It is harder to go to an enemy than to a friend, but we find it much more beneficial to us. We go to him in a helpful and forgiving spirit, confessing our former ill feeling and expressing our regret. [Big Book, page 77, line 19]
5. As we go through the day we pause, when agitated or doubtful, and ask for the right thought or action. We constantly remind ourselves we are no longer running the show, humbly saying to ourselves many times each day “Thy will be done.” We are then in much less danger of excitement, fear, anger, worry, self-pity, or foolish decisions. We become much more efficient. We do not tire so easily, for we are not burning up energy foolishly as we did when we were trying to arrange life to suit ourselves. It works—it really does. [Big Book, page 88, line 4]
6. Try not to condemn your alcoholic husband no matter what he says or does. He is just another very sick, unreasonable person. Treat him, when you can, as though he had pneumonia. When he angers you, remember that he is very ill. [Big Book, page 108, line 14]
7. Resentment is the “number one” offender. It destroys more alcoholics than anything else. From it stem all forms of spiritual disease, for we have been not only mentally and physically ill, we have been spiritually sick. When the spiritual malady is overcome, we straighten out mentally and physically. In dealing with resentments, we set them on paper. We listed people, institutions or principles with whom we were angry. We asked ourselves why we were angry. In most cases it was found that our self-esteem, our pocketbooks, our ambitions, our personal (including sex) were hurt or threatened. So we were sore. We were “burned up.” [Big Book, page 64, line 31]
8. When a person offended we said to ourselves, “This is a sick man. How can I be helpful to him? God save me from being angry. Thy will be done.” [Big Book, page 67, line 7]
9. The first principle of success [for the wife] is that you should never be angry .” [Big Book, page 111, line 2]
10. We made a list of people I had hurt or toward whom I felt resentment . I expressed my entire willingness to approach these individuals, admitting my wrong. Never was I to be critical of them. I was to right all such matters to the utmost of my ability.” [Big Book, page 13, line 16]
11. I was not too well at the time, and was plagued by waves of self pity and resentment. This sometimes nearly drove me back to drink, but I soon found that when all other measures failed, work with another alcoholic would save the day. [Big Book, page 15, line 12]
12. It [alcoholism] brings misunderstanding, fierce resentment, financial insecurity, disgusted friends and employers, warped lives of blameless children, sad wives and parents—anyone can increase the list. [Big Book, page 18, line 7]
13. Whatever our protestations, are not most of us concerned with ourselves, our resentments, or our self-pity? Selfishness—self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity, we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate. Sometimes they hurt us, seemingly without provocation, but we invariably find that at some time in the past we have made decisions based on self which later placed us in a position to be hurt. So our troubles, we think, are basically of our own making. They arise out of ourselves, and the alcoholic is an extreme example of self-will run riot, though he usually doesn’t think so. [Big Book, page 62, line 7]
14. We began to see that the world and its people really dominated us. In that state, the wrong-doing of others, fancied or real, had power to actually kill. How could we escape? We saw that these resentments must be mastered, but how? We could not wish them away any more than alcohol. This was our course: We realized that the people who wronged us were perhaps spiritually sick. [Big Book, page 66, line 30]
15. If we have been thorough about our personal inventory, we have written down a lot. We have listed and analyzed our resentments. We have begun to comprehend their futility and their fatality. We have commenced to see their terrible destructiveness. We have begun to learn tolerance, patience and good will toward all men, even our enemies, for we look on them as sick people. [Big Book, page 70, line 23]
16. We have entered the world of the Spirit. Our next function is to grow in understanding and effectiveness. This is not an overnight matter. It should continue for our lifetime. Continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear. When these crop up, we ask God at once to remove them. We discuss them with someone immediately and make amends quickly if we have harmed anyone. Then we resolutely turn our thoughts to someone we can help. Love and tolerance of others is our code. And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone—even alcohol. [Big Book, page 84, line 24]
17. When we retire at night, we constructively review our day. Were we resentful, selfish, dishonest or afraid? [Big Book, page 84, line 24]
18. Never forget that resentment is a deadly hazard to an alcoholic. [Big Book, page 117, line 29]
19. As each member of a resentful family begins to see his shortcomings and admits them to the others, he lays a basis for helpful discussion. These family talks will be constructive if they can be carried on without heated argument, self-pity, self-justification or resentful criticism. [Big Book, page 127, line 26]
20. The greatest enemies of us alcoholics are resentment, jealousy, envy, frustration, and fear. [Big Book, page 145, line 18]
21. Common symptoms of emotional insecurity are worry, anger, self-pity, and depression. [12&12, page 6, line 12]
22. Anger, resentments, jealousy, envy, self-pity, hurt pride–all led to the bottle. [12&12, page 8, line 11]
23. In A.A. we slowly learned that something had to be done about our vengeful resentments, self-pity, and unwarranted pride. We had to see that every time we played the big shot, we turned people against us. We had to see that when we harbored grudges and planned revenge for such defeats, we were really beating ourselves with the club of anger we had intended to use on others. We learned that if we were seriously disturbed, our first need was to quiet that disturbance, regardless of who or what we thought caused it. [12&12, page 47, line 13]
24. To avoid falling into confusion over the names these defects should be called, let’s take a universally recognized list of major human failings–the Seven Deadly Sins of pride, greed, lust, anger, gluttony, envy, and sloth. [12&12, page 48, line 24]
25. When the satisfaction of our instincts for sex, security, and society becomes the sole object of our lives, then pride steps in to justify our excesses. All these failings generate fear, a soul-sickness in its own right. Then fear, in turn, generates more character defects. Unreasonable fear that our instincts will not be satisfied drives us to covet the possessions of others, to lust for sex and power, to become angry when our instinctive demands are threatened, to be envious when the ambitions of others seem to be realized while ours are not. We eat, drink, and grab for more of everything than we need, fearing we shall never have enough. And with genuine alarm at the prospect of work, we stay lazy. We loaf and procrastinate, or at best work grudgingly and under half steam. These fears are the termites that ceaselessly devour the foundations of whatever sort of life we try to build. [12&12, page 49, line 5]
26. The most common symptoms of emotional insecurity are worry, anger, self-pity, and depression. These stem from causes which sometimes seem to be within us, and at other times to come from without. To take inventory in this respect we ought to consider carefully all personal relationships which bring continuous or recurring trouble. It should be remembered that this kind of insecurity may arise in any area where instincts are threatened.[12&12, page 52, line 4]
27. Practically everybody wishes to be rid of his most glaring and destructive handicaps. No one wants to be so proud that he is scorned as a braggart, nor so greedy that he is labeled a thief. No one wants to be angry enough to murder, lustful enough to rape, gluttonous enough to ruin his health. No one wants to be agonized by the chronic pain of envy or to be paralyzed by sloth. [12&12, page 66, line 9]
28. Self-righteous anger also can be very enjoyable. In a perverse way we can actually take satisfaction from the fact that many people annoy us, for it brings a comfortable feeling of superiority. Gossip barbed with our anger, a polite form of murder by character assassination, has its satisfactions for us, too. Here we are not trying to help those we criticize; we are trying to proclaim our own righteousness. [12&12, page 67, line 7]
29. It is a spiritual axiom that every time we are disturbed, no matter what the cause, there is something wrong with us. If somebody hurts us and we are sore, we are in the wrong also. But are there no exceptions to this rule? What about “justifiable” anger? If somebody cheats us, aren’t we entitled to be mad? Can’t we be properly angry with self-righteous folk? For us of A.A. these are dangerous exceptions. We have found that justified anger ought to be left to those better qualified to handle it.
30. Few people have been more victimized by resentments than have we alcoholics. It mattered little whether our resentments were justified or not. A burst of temper could spoil a day, and a well-nursed grudge could make us miserably ineffective. Nor were we ever skillful in separating justified from unjustified anger. As we saw it, our wrath was always justified. Anger, that occasional luxury of more balanced people, could keep us on an emotional jag indefinitely. These emotional “dry benders” often led straight to the bottle. Other kinds of disturbances–jealousy, envy, self-pity, or hurt pride–did the same thing. [12&12, page 90, line 6]
31. Finally, we begin to see that all people, including ourselves, are to some extent emotionally ill as well as frequently wrong, and then we approach true tolerance and see what real love for our fellows actually means. It will become more and more evident as we go forward that it is pointless to become angry, or to get hurt by people who, like us, are suffering from the pains of growing up. Such a radical change in our outlook will take time, maybe a lot of time. [12&12, page 92, line 13]
32. As we glance down the debit side of the day’s ledger, we should carefully examine our motives in each thought or act that appears to be wrong. In most cases our motives won’t be hard to see and understand. When prideful, angry, jealous, anxious, or fearful, we acted accordingly, and that was that. Here we need only recognize that we did act or think badly, try to visualize how we might have done better, and resolve with God’s help to carry these lessons over into tomorrow, making, of course, any amends still neglected. [12&12, page 94, line 4]
33. As the day goes on, we can pause where situations must be met and decisions made, and renew the simple request: “Thy will, not mine, be done.” If at these points our emotional disturbance happens to be great, we will more surely keep our balance, provided we remember, and repeat to ourselves, a particular prayer or phrase that has appealed to us in our reading or meditation. Just saying it over and over will often enable us to clear a channel choked up with anger, fear, frustration, or misunderstanding, and permit us to return to the surest help of all–our search for God’s will, not our own, in the moment of stress. At these critical moments, if we remind ourselves that “it is better to comfort than to be comforted, to understand than to be understood, to love than to be loved,” we will be following the intent of Step Eleven. [12&12, page 102, line 19

Before Drinking … Tempted to take a drink? Take these actions first.


BEFORE YOU TAKE THAT NEXT DRINK OF ALCOHOL:
1) POSTPONE THE DRINK. You have undoubtedly had character defects such as procrastination, sloth, laziness, denial and fear. So, USE THEM right now in a constructive way by postponing that drink. You know you can hold off for 10 minutes, an hour, or even more. And, while you are delaying the destroyer, take the remedies listed below:2) STAY AWAY FROM ALCOHOL. If you are in a bar or a place where liquor is available to you, go somewhere else where there is no booze for a while, at least.3) PRAY. Ask God to keep alcohol from entering your body and to remove the obsession to drink. This action can and should be done repeatedly while you are following the rest of this survival plan.4) CALL SOBER PEOPLE. Tell them that you want to take a drink. Give your sponsor a chance to relieve the insanity of taking a drink. Or, call anybody who can help, even Central Office (818) 988-3001. In anticipation of finding a lifeguard, hopefully you have been collecting phone numbers and saving phone lists from meetings. If you are in a strange town, Alcoholics Anonymous is usually listed in the white pages of the phone book.5) GO TO AN A.A. PLACE. Head for a meeting or an A.A. gathering place, such as a clubhouse, a sober living house, or an after-meeting hangout. Sometimes a church or a parish will help.6) READ A.A. LITERATURE. Try the Big Book (Alcoholics Anonymous) chapter 2, the 12&12, pamphlets or other material.7) VISIT SOBER.ORG. Download and read step guides. Visit sobriety chat rooms. Go to Google.Com and search on “stay sober” (107K hits), “sobriety” (97.5K hits), or “sober” (344K hits), for example.8) WRITE A GRATITUDE LIST. We get so hung up on what we don’t have or want to get rid of, we fail to “count our blessings”, which we have in abundance.9) WRITE A HARMS PREDICTION. If you drink, who is going to get hurt? Besides yourself, how about your family, your work, and those who depend upon or respect you?10) WRITE A “REWARDS” FROM RELAPSE LIST. If you are or might be alcoholic, you have reasons to not drink alcohol. If you are gripped by the desire to drink, put the burden of proof on that drink. What is it going to do for you that is worthwhile? How long will that benefit last? How much are those desired moments of ease and comfort worth? Are you really ready to throw away your sobriety for a drink?

11) DO AN ANONYMOUS KINDNESS.

12) [your sponsor’s custom action]

All of the diversions above can be done within a short time of having a serious thought about drinking alcohol. On the reverse side are some things to do that will take a little longer, but they will reduce and eventually eliminate the desire to drink.

SOME LONGER TERM ACTIONS TO PREVENT RELAPSE:

a. LEARN TO PRAY AND MEDITATE. Pray a minimum of three times each day, upon awakening, upon retiring, and before eating. Ask others how they pray. Experiment. Ask your Higher Power how you should pray. Become a student of meditation techniques. Practice the one(s) that work for you.

b. TAKE THE TWELVE STEPS. Make the 12 steps an integral part of your life. Take steps 10, 11 and 12 every day. Take steps 1 through 9 in order. Try to be well into step nine for your first sober birthday.

c. LEARN TO TAKE DIRECTION. You got yourself into your drinking pickle. Doing your very best on your own will probably not get yourself out of it and into a quality sober life. Pick a person to take you through the steps and follow their suggestions.

d. ENJOY THE FELLOWSHIP OF A.A. We have lots of fun in A.A. Introduce yourself to the winners who are making it. Join up with them before and after meetings.

e. FULFILL A.A. COMMITMENTS. Get to meetings early. Leave late. Take on obligations to do something for A.A., such as bring supplies, setting up/cleaning up the meeting place, making coffee, taking care of literature, greeting at the door, introducing yourself to newcomers, etc.

f. STUDY THE BIG BOOK, ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS. Weekly membership in a Big Book Study or a Step Study is essential.

g. SPONSOR SOMEBODY. Get out of your own problems and into those of somebody else. Develop a deep understanding of the A.A. message by carrying it.

h. GET A JOB. Sometimes we have too much idle time on our hands. The truly sober alcoholic is not a burden upon others.

i. VISIT THE SICK. An alcoholism ward in a public hospital will show you where you might wind up.

j. PRACTICE THESE PRINCIPLES IN ALL YOUR AFFAIRS. Your family, friends, employer, neighbors and all those you meet should be better off because of you.

Forgiveness …Forgiveness – The missing step.


This is a discussion of forgiveness. First we point out, as if you didn’t already know, that alcoholics tend to feel victimized by people, places, things, and the cosmos in general. As if this were not enough, we alcoholics also carry a grudge about what has been done to us or not done for us.
In the paragraphs that follow, we explore the implications of carrying resentments around with us. If we cannot get rid of our resentments any other way, we are sometimes faced with the ultimate resentment eradication tool – to forgive those whom we resent. The nature of forgiveness is investigated, and, finally techniques to achieve forgiveness are presented. Our discussion of forgiveness is elaborated upon through links into four additional pages below. It is best, we think, that they be viewed in the order listed.ALCOHOLICS ARE RESENTMENT-PRONE.Most alcoholics have a deep—almost pathological—sense of justice. If we are wronged (meaning often that we did not get what we wanted), or we even conjure up the notion that we might have been wronged, we find full justification to express anger or harbor resentment. It then seems almost a duty to carry a justified resentment. Otherwise, those who have wronged us would get off scot-free. And that wouldn’t be right, would it? So, we waste our God-given lives judging and punishing our fellows. Relinquishing a justified resentment is one of the most difficult experiences known to the alcoholic.If you explore the origins of the resentment word in our dictionary your will find:
Resent has also been used in other senses that seem strange to us, such as ” to feel pain ” or ” to perceive by smell. ” The thread that ties the senses together is the notion of feeling or perceiving…again.For the alcoholic, resentment is a reliving of the offense that injured us in the first place. Think about it. We perceive that we are punishing that person for their wrong when, in fact, we are simply willing ourselves to feel the hurt again, and again, and again – get the point? Resenting makes no more sense than our drinking did. Something is twisted in brainsville, we think.METHODS OF RESENTMENT REMOVAL.How are resentments removed? Here are the customary methods, and they are presented in increasing order of difficulty (to the alcoholic, that is):

Neglect. Yes, benign neglect removes most of our thoughts of the day. We simply forget about things that are not important to us. As we grow in our sobriety we are less interested in harboring resentments, and they follow a natural order of elimination unless they are captured by our perverse habits.

Reflection. If we are aware of our resentment, and if we wish to get rid of it, we are wise to think about it. Did we really hear what the other person said? Did they really say what they meant? Was what we heard just a rumor? Does the offending action fit a pattern, or might it have been a fluke? Was the offender in distress? Are we giving this person the benefit of the doubt? If not, why are we better off carrying a resentment?

Investigation. Maybe we need more substantiation or facts? Is there independent verification of what happened? Have we mentioned to the potentially offending person that we we taken aback by their possible action, and we would like to see if we understood correctly? Do the facts substantiate that we were really harmed on purpose? If not, why not just drop the whole thing?

Benefit/Cost Analysis. If there was a real harm, especially an intentional one, what is the benefit to us of carrying a resentment? Should it be a big resentment? What should be its ranking among the other justified resentments we already have? Will its insertion into our resentment inventory mean we should discard a resentment of lesser injury? How long should we carry this resentment? Does it justify vengeance? Are we willing to suffer loss of friendship, destruction of property, expense, arrest, or social disfavor as a consequence of being judge, jury and executioner? Would it not be nicer to simply be rid of the resentment?

Forgiveness. Yes, it is possible to be rid of residual resentments through forgiveness. The reference links below will describe how this can be done. Here are a few pointers, though:

Anonymity. The person you resent need not know of your resentment. In fact, it is much better and simpler if they do not know. A grudge nurtured in secret is much sweeter anyway.
Privacy. Unless the person whom you resent has asked for your forgiveness, or if you are absolutely certain that they will cherish your forgiveness, you should keep your forgiving private. It can be a gross form of arrogance to approach another person in order to tell them that they are forgiven. Usually they will have no idea of having committed an offense, and they will wonder who the dickens you think you are forgiving them – God, perhaps?
Finality. Once you have forgiven another person, the act is final. It need never be repeated, nor should you permit the resentment to recur.

And, of course, there is the old standby, prayer. After the discussion of each step in the Big Book, a number of methods to alleviate or remove problems are set forth. The persistent and fundamental tool “suggested” to us is prayer. Prayer should have been in the list above, but we didn’t know how to rank it in order of difficulty. For some of us, prayer is the easy and natural tool for straightening out our lives. For others, it is an alien, even hostile prospect. Whatever one’s feeling about prayer might be, there should be steady effort to make it a primary ingredient in consciousness.

WHAT IS FORGIVENESS?

The Dictionary on FORGIVE
for-give (fuhr giv’) v.
1. to grant pardon for or remission of (an offense, sin, etc.); absolve.
2. to cancel or remit (a debt, obligation, etc.): to forgive the interest owed on a loan.
3. to grant pardon to (a person).
4. to cease to feel resentment against: to forgive one’s enemies.
5. to pardon an offense or an offender.

WHO IS THE KEEPER OF OUR WRONGS?

There may be a bit of our personal theology here. If yours is different, please don’t be offended. You might just be right.

When we commit an offense (or fail to fulfill and obligation) the wrong is recorded. The party(s) we have offended, if any, might keep score — most people do. We also add to the bag of guilt, shame, remorse and self-loathing that we haul around with us.

But, the real recorder has been built into the system of the universe by its Creator. It is automatic and inevitable that all wrongs are recorded. And, the one and only thing that can remove them is amendment (correction or repair) of the wrong. Period.

In the East, they call this system Karma. In metaphysics they might call it the Akasha. Whatever it is called and where ever it is located (most likely within us), it works, and it always works without fail, especially for we alcoholics, it seems (joke).

OBJECTS OF FORGIVENESS.

Just who is being forgiven, and by whom?

Forgiving others. If an act of courtesy on our part will help others feel better about themselves, then perhaps we should let them know we have no negative feelings about their actions. But we should never believe that we can, in fact, interfere in their being forgiven in accordance with God’s plan for them. Our beliefs and actions are not part of that plan.

Being forgiven by others. The same logic applies as with forgiving others. Cosmetic forgiveness between humans can be a compassionate act. However, genuine forgiveness is a very personal matter.

Being forgiven by God. God does not keep records, nor does He carry grudges. The universal system of justice He has created takes care of correction and forgiveness automatically. He does not intervene. He simply loves us all the time.

Forgiving ourselves. Just as humans cannot truly forgive each other, self-forgiveness is not possible, either. There is more to be said here, however. We assuredly agree that many, if not most, alcoholics know guilt, shame, remorse and self-loathing to excess. We MUST be rid of these before we can truly see the perfection of the Creator within ourselves as we are intended to do. We must also be enabled to look into the mirror and smile at the creature emerging from the slime of self-centered assertion into the service of the Father through his fellows. Knowing that we are forgiven is a requirement for the sober life.

The first thing to do is to clear away the false crimes of which we have convicted ourselves. A solid Step Five will produce a list of our defects of character and a preliminary list of persons we have harmed. If we feel bad about ourselves for anything not on these lists, the lists are either incomplete or we are caught up in the defect of senseless self-condemnation. Feeling bad about oneself, which might have been justified when we were doing our damage, is often an emotional hangover that needs to be discarded. You can create a self respect (not pride) list. It might be next to the mirror, and it might say, “I have cause to respect myself today because I have … (list of good deeds, steps taken, persons helped, prayers, etc.).” But, be sure never to put yourself on your Step Eight list.

The second thing to do is to take Step Nine (after one through eight with your sponsor, of course). Why? Because amendment is the only means of gaining forgiveness.

OUR “RIGHT” TO FORGIVE.

We feel that when a wrong is committed there is an immediate creation of a record of the act. This record cannot be prevented NOR can it be eradicated through forgiveness. The injured party cannot remove the record, and God will not do so, either, because He created the system of records in the first place. It works just fine for Him.

So, how are you and others absolved from our wrongs? You guessed it, Step Nine. Amendment (repair/correction) of the offense removes the record automatically. Forgiveness plays no part whatsoever in absolution.

Why all this talk about forgiveness, then? The fact is that we are not forgiving offenses against ourselves in the sense of removing the need for amendment on the part of the offender. That we cannot do. Only amendment can do that. Our act of forgiving is to clean out ourselves. That’s right. We remove from ourselves the curse we have imposed upon ourselves to punish the offender. Our forgiveness absolves not their act but removes our own personal reaction to it.

Wow, what a concept. It is not their karma we correct, but our own!

Here are some additional sources we have found genuinely helpful. You might notice that some of them don’t agree completely with what we have said. That doesn’t make them or us wrong. It does make it necessary for you to dwell deeply upon your own convictions.

 

 

Meetings … Reasons why A.A. meetings are good for your sobriety.

ATTENDING A.A. MEETINGS IS GOOD FOR SOBRIETY
© All rights reserved by the Big Book Bunch, webmaster@sober.org

It seems easy to take some of the statements we hear in meetings as trite or superficial. For example:

We hear this in meetings:

There are three ways we stay sober in A.A. They are meetings, meetings, and meetings.

You gotta go to these meetings until you wanna go to these meetings, and then you don’t gotta go anymore.

I go to meetings to see what happens to folks who don’t go to these meetings.

I recently relapsed because I stopped coming to meetings.

When you are new, go to 90 meetings in 90 days.

If you drank every day, then you should go to a meeting every day.

Etc., etc., etc.

We have learned, though, that these slogans just might save our lives.

Our Big Book does not encourage “meetings” as a necessary activity to retain sobriety. Of course, there were not that many meetings around in 1939. On the contrary, it emphasizes cleaning house (via the steps), trusting God and working with other alcoholics. But even though “meetings” are not a common word, the Big Book does say:

I know I must get along without liquor, but how can I? Have you a sufficient substitute?” Yes, there is a substitute and it is vastly more than that. It is a fellowship in Alcoholics Anonymous. There you will find release from care, boredom and worry. Your imagination will be fired. Life will mean something at last. The most satisfactory years of your existence lie ahead. Thus we find the fellowship and so will you. “How is that to come about?” you ask. “Where am I to find these people?” You are going to meet these new friends in your own community. …..Among them you will make lifelong friends. You will be bound to them with new and wonderful ties, for you will escape disaster together and you will commence shoulder to shoulder your common journey. Then you will know what it means to give of yourself that others may survive and rediscover life. You will learn the full meaning of “Love thy neighbor as thy self.” [Big Book page 152]

Today, in just Los Angeles, there are thousands of meetings a week. Most of us had our first direct encounter with A.A. at an A.A. meeting.

Elsewhere, we (the Big Book Bunch) point out that the A.A. program is like a tripod (or, a three legged bar stool, if that is more familiar) of three essential components:

The 12 steps of recovery, which define the “process”.

A fellowship of recovered alcoholics (meetings are a primary manifestation)

The presence and direction of God.

We have put our heads together to figure out just why meetings can and should play an essential part in our recovery and that of newcomers. Here are the primary reasons we identified.

SANCTUARY. We rarely encounter demons in A.A. meetings, except, of course, for the ones we bring with us in our heads. We can be free of the pressures of family, work, and the streets for a while.

ABSTINENCE. (For at least and hour). We have heard stories about folks who bring a pint with them into a meeting for medication in the rest room, or who tipple from a bottle in the car during the break. None of us have witnessed these foolish actions.

SOBER COMPANIONS. Instead of hanging out with the old drinking cronies, we have adopted new associates. We have in common at least two things: we are alcoholics, and we are recovering from the disease of alcoholism.

SCHOOLING. A.A. meetings are like the old country school house. The more advanced students teach the newer ones what they have learned. We have a common text, our Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous (and 12 Steps and 12 Traditions), as well as pamphlets and meeting directories. But, during the meeting our primary means of learning is from the experience of our fellows. We identify. Both their successes and failures are laid out for our inspection. We can adjust our own lives from their experience. It has been said that experience is a dear(expensive) teacher. And it is a fool who learns by no other. We discover we no longer need to be fools.

EXAMPLES. From our learning we observe the winners and the losers. Our basis for discerning success changes slowly from the physical to the spiritual.

CONTACTS. One aspect of sobriety is an evolution to successful living.

Sponsors. From those we deem winners we select guides to take us through the steps. With them we also can have a private partner with whom we can discuss just about anything. If we are open to change, we incorporate their suggestions into our thoughts and actions, and we learn to take their direction.

Pigeons. We also find others, newer to recovery, with whom we can share our own experience, hope and strength. These folks have been called sponsees or babies. We prefer the old A.A. term, pigeon, though.

Sober friends. People offer us rides to meetings, and we might go out for a bite after the meeting. From some of these encounters deep friendships can arise. A common distress of alcoholics is loneliness. What a joy we find in acceptance.

Sober professionals. All sorts of professions and skills are encountered in A.A. Even though some of our members continue to exercise their character defects even into sobriety, many of us prefer to patronize and enjoy the personal attention of other A.A. members in our outside lives.

Sober “relationships”. Yes, few of us refuse to notice that many A.A.s are very attractive people. Some of us even habituate meetings where those who “turn us on” are likely to attend. We even knew a fellow who hit three meetings every night – at the first he watched which ladies would arrive in the first 10 minutes, then he scooted over to another place, and he wound up with the Lord’s Prayer in a third. Some of us used to go to the bars in much the same manner. The last we heard, this guy was still dry, but we never did notice if he “scored”, so to speak.

More on relationships. Another member we knew used to say, “Beneath every skirt you might find a slip”. His wife (who had 10 years on him) often followed with, “Behind every zipper there lurks a slipper”.

Relationships — the final word. Without fail, we never ever fool around with persons new to A.A. or who are too young or clearly not competent to have physical experiences. To do so not only invites censure and condemnation, but it might drive a newcomer away from recovery, and we will experience a very obvious sense of shame, guilt, remorse and self-loathing. There is no step thirteen. Period.

Well, almost. In any event, A.A. is a good place for us to meet enduring friends and to find intimacy. It is necessary, however, that we remember to keep our (and their) sobriety uppermost in our priorities.

SERVICE. Every meeting needs its coffee, setup, tear down and leadership. For some of us, meeting service provided an early opportunity to feel accepted, useful, and necessary. A few continue into Intergroup, General Service and the speaker circuit. Don’t miss this chance for constructive growth. Also, don’t pass up the chance to carry the message to other alcoholics. This is done in our overall example, statements in meetings, in one-on-one discussions and sponsorship.

REPUTATION. Having some semblance of pride is not always a defect of character. We are supposed to develop a sense of our own dignity, to have self-respect, and to be grateful for our sobriety and our achievements. These are a natural, proper and necessary consequence of taking the 12 steps. Once we feel pretty good about our progress, we don’t want to throw it away. We don’t want to be the butt of gossip or to envision ourselves describing a relapse in a meeting. Having a reputation to cherish happens in A.A. Keeping it untarnished is a healthy practice.

EXPERIENCING THE SPIRIT. Our Big Book explains in at least three places that God is to be found deep within ourselves. Whenever two or more persons are gathered for the purposes of recovery in Alcoholics Anonymous, the amount of Godness present is multiplied over that within any one individual. If the meeting is one of those which is obviously spiritual, we sense the power of the Spirit. It can be almost electric during the final prayer. We have all felt this. We cannot get enough!

So, here are ten or more reasons to attend A.A. meetings – to get INTO A.A. instead of just ON A.A.

For those who stay home to watch Monday Night Football, we ask, “Is there really any TV program that that can compare with an A.A. meeting?” In fact, A.A. members quite often display their mechanical ineptitude when it comes to the revelation that they cannot figure out how to operate their TV recorders. Just think of the advantages: You can replay the exciting moments of the ball game and fast forward through the dull moments. Commercials can be made less obnoxious, and the total time consumed by watching a tape can be less than half that of watching in real time. Now that we don’t drink beer and we go easy on the snacks it is never an excuse to miss a meeting for the telly, we say with a grin.

 

 

Prayer … For the person with no God.

A Prayer from one who is willing, but does not yet believe.

I want desperately to refrain from using alcohol and drugs.
I am willing to follow the path taken by those who are already sober.
They say I must come to believe in a Spiritual Power.
I would like to do that.
So, here I go…..

Dear Spirit,
It is not for me to say there is no God, but
I do not know of your existence. Please reveal yourself to me.
I do not know your name. Please tell me what to call You.
I do not know your nature. Please help me to not worry about that right now.
I do not know your church.
Please help me not to be concerned with theology
until, if ever, You think it is important to me.

I do not know how to pray.
Please teach me.

I ask that my prejudice about things spiritual be removed.
I ask that I be willing to be willing to accept the reality that is You.
Help me to learn from those who already know You.
Above all, though, at this time, keep me sober.

May this beginning be the beginning of my knowing You.
Help me to be willing always to see and know You.
Let me see Your works.
Let me be open to Your working within me.
I invite You to be alive within me.

Please show me Your path for me.
Please help me to climb onto Your path.
Please turn me in the right direction, and
Please prod me gently to move toward You.

Help me to pray better next time, and
Let that be soon.
Thank You.

 

 

Preamble … An alternative meeting preamble.


An Alternative Meeting Preamble
[This is the text of a preamble that is purported to have been used in prior years at AA Meetings. It was found floating around USENET. From what we can tell it was never “official” AA literature. If anyone has a better idea of where it came from, please E-mail us (at bottom of Table of Contents page) and skg@ncw.net, who will pass it along to their other readers.]******************************************************************************************

We are gathered here because we are faced with the fact that we are powerless over alcohol and unable to do anything about it without the help of a Power greater than ourselves. We feel that each person’s religious views, if any, are his own affair. The simple purpose of the program of Alcoholics Anonymous is to show what may be done to enlist the aid of a Power greater than ourselves regardless of what our individual conception of that Power may be.

In order to form a habit of depending upon and referring all we do to that Power, we must at first apply ourselves with some diligence. By often repeating these acts, they become habitual and the help rendered becomes natural to us.

We have all come to know that as alcoholics we are suffering from a serious illness for which medicine has no cure. Our condition may be the result of an allergy which makes us different from other people. It has never been by any treatment with which we are familiar, permanently cured. The only relief we have to offer is absolute abstinence, the second meaning of A.A.

There are no dues or fees. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. Each member squares his debt by helping others to recover. An Alcoholics Anonymous is an alcoholic who through application and adherence to the A.A. program has forsworn the use of any and all alcoholic beverage in any form. The moment he takes so much as one drop of beer, wine, spirits or any other alcoholic beverage he automatically loses all status as a member of Alcoholics Anonymous. A.A. is not interested in sobering up drunks who are not sincere in their desire to remain sober for all time. Not being reformers, we offer our experience only to those who want it.

We have a way out on which we can absolutely agree and on which we can join in harmonious action. Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our program. Those who do not recover are people who will not or simply cannot give themselves to this simple program. Now you may like this program or you may not, but the fact remains, it works. It is our only chance to recover.

There is a vast amount of fun in the A.A. fellowship. Some people might be shocked at our seeming worldliness and levity but just underneath there lies a deadly earnestness and a full realization that we must put first things first and with each of us the first thing is our alcoholic problem. To drink is to die. Faith must work twenty-four hours a day in and through us or we perish.

In order to set our tone for this meeting I ask that we bow our heads in a few moments of silent prayer and meditation.

I wish to remind you that whatever is said at this meeting expresses our own individual opinion as of today and as of up to this moment. We do not speak for A.A. as a whole and you are free to agree or disagree as you see fit, in fact, it is suggested that you pay no attention to anything which might not be reconciled with what is in the A.A. Big Book.

If you don’t have a Big Book, it’s time you bought you one. Read it, study it, live with it, loan it, scatter it, and then learn from it what it means to be an A.A.

Principles … The principles of recovery.

 

Principles of the 12 Steps:

STEP: (The steps are printed on pages 59 & 60 of the Big Book.)

1. Surrender. (Capitulation to hopelessness.)

2. Hope. (Step 2 is the mirror image or opposite of step 1. In step 1 we admit that alcohol is our higher power, and that our lives are unmanageable. In step 2, we find a different Higher Power who we hope will bring about a return to sanity in management of our lives.)

3. Commitment. (The key word in step 3 is decision.)

4. Honesty. (An inventory of self.)

5. Truth. (Candid confession to God and another human being.)

6. Willingness. (Choosing to abandon defects of character.)

7. Humility. (Standing naked before God, with nothing to hide, and asking that our flaws—in His eyes—be removed.)

8. Reflection. (Who have we harmed? Are we ready to amend?)

9. Amendment. (Making direct amends/restitution/correction, etc..)

10. Vigilance. (Exercising self-discovery, honesty, abandonment, humility, reflection and amendment on a momentary, daily, and periodic basis.)

11. Attunement. (Becoming as one with our Father.)

12. Service. (Awakening into sober usefulness.)

 

 

Promises … Over 100 Big Book Promises.

 

How many promises await us as we trudge this road of happy destiny? Some folks think they are limited to those following Step 9 on page 83. There are 20 there (not the 12 often mentioned). But, you will find promises for each step and in many other places as well. We are sure you want to know what they are.

Here are well over 100 presented as of today:

Big Book page #25

[PROMISES OF STEP TWO]

1) There is a solution. Almost none of us likes the self-searching, the leveling of our pride, the confession of shortcomings which the process requires for its successful consummation. But we saw that it really worked in others, and we had come to believe in the hopelessness and futility of life as we had been living it. When, therefore, we were approached by those in whom the problem had been solved, there was nothing left for us but to pick up the simple kit of spiritual tools laid at our feet.
2) We have found much of heaven and
3) we have been rocketed into a fourth dimension of existence of which we had not even dreamed.
4) The great fact is just this, and nothing less: That we have had deep and effective spiritual experiences which have revolutionized our whole attitude toward life, toward our fellows and toward God’s universe.
5) The central fact of our lives today is the absolute certainty that our Creator has entered into our hearts and lives in a way which is indeed miraculous.
6) He has commenced to accomplish those things for us which we could never do by ourselves.

Big Book page #27:

7) Here and there, once in a while, alcoholics have had what are called vital spiritual experiences. To me these occurrences are phenomena. They appear to be in the nature of huge emotional displacements and rearrangements.
8 ) Ideas, emotions, and attitudes which were once the guiding forces of the lives of these men are suddenly cast to one side,
9) and a completely new set of conceptions and motives begin to dominate them.

Big Book page #28:

10) We, in our turn, sought the same escape with all the desperation of drowning men. What seemed at first a flimsy reed, has proved to be the loving and powerful hand of God.
11) A new life has been given us or, if you prefer, “a design for living” that really works.

Big Book page #46:

Much to our relief, we discovered we did not need to consider another’s conception of God.
12) Our own conception, however inadequate, was sufficient to make the approach
13) and to effect a contact with Him.
14) As soon as we admitted the possible existence of a Creative Intelligence, a Spirit of the Universe underlying the totality of things, we began to be possessed of a new sense of power and direction, provided we took other simple steps.
15) We found that God does not make too hard terms with those who seek Him.
16) To us, the Realm of Spirit is broad, roomy, all inclusive; never exclusive or forbidding to those who earnestly seek.
17) It is open, we believe, to all men.

Big Book page #47:

18) Do not let any prejudice you may have against spiritual terms deter you from honestly asking yourself what they mean to you. At the start, this was all we needed to commence spiritual growth, to effect our first conscious relation with God as we understood Him.
19) Afterward, we found ourselves accepting many things which then seemed entirely out of reach.

20) That was growth, but if we wished to grow we had to begin somewhere. So we used our own conception, however limited it was. We needed to ask ourselves but one short question. “Do I now believe, or am I even willing to believe, that there is a Power greater than myself?” As soon as a man can say that he does believe, or is willing to believe, we emphatically assure him that he is on his way.
21) It has been repeatedly proven among us that upon this simple cornerstone a wonderfully effective spiritual structure can be built.

Big Book page #48:
22) Faced with alcoholic destruction, we soon became as open minded on spiritual matters as we had tried to be on other questions. In this respect alcohol was a great persuader.
23) It finally beat us into a state of reasonableness. Sometimes this was a tedious process; we hope no one else will be prejudiced for as long as some of us were.

Big Book page #50:
24) Here are thousands of men and women, worldly indeed. They flatly declare that since they have come to believe in a Power greater than themselves, to take a certain attitude toward the Power, and to do certain simple things, there has been a revolutionary change in their way of living and thinking.
25) In the face of collapse and despair, in the face of the total failure of their human resources, they found that a new power, peace, happiness, and sense of direction flowed into them.
26) This happened soon after they whole-heartedly met a few simple requirements. Once confused and baffled by the seeming futility of existence, they show the underlying reasons why they were making heavy going of life. Leaving aside the drink question, they tell why living was so unsatisfactory. They show how the change came over them. When many hundreds of people are able to say that the consciousness of the Presence of God is today the most important fact of their lives, they present a powerful reason why one should have faith.

Big Book page #55:

27) We finally saw that faith in some kind of God was a part of our make-up, just as much as the feeling we have for a friend. Sometimes we had to search fearlessly, but He was there. He was as much a fact as we were. We found the Great Reality deep down within us. In the last analysis it is only there that He may be found. It was so with us.

Big Book page #57:

28) Even so has God restored us all to our right minds. To this man, the revelation was sudden. Some of us grow into it more slowly.
29) But He has come to all who have honestly sought Him.
30) When we drew near to Him He disclosed Himself to us! [contributed by Joe Mc.]

Big Book page #63. [contributed by Kay G. and Jon T.]

[PROMISES OF STEP THREE]
31) When we sincerely took such a position, all sort of remarkable things followed.
32) We had a new Employer.
33) He provided what we needed, if we kept close to Him and performed His work well.
34) Established on such a footing we became less and less interested in ourselves, our little plans and designs.
35) More and more we became interested in seeing what we could contribute to life.
36) As we felt new power flow in,
37) as we enjoyed peace of mind,
38) as we discovered we could face life successfully,
39) as we became conscious of His presence,
40) we began to lose our fear of today, tomorrow or the hereafter.
41) We were reborn.
42) an effect, sometimes a very great one, was felt at once.

Big Book page #68. [ contributed by Kay G.]

43) At once, we commence to outgrow fear.

Big Book page #70. [ contributed by Tom T. of Omaha.]

43a) We have begun to learn tolerance, patience and good will toward all men, even our enemies, for we look on the them as sick people.

Big Book page #75:

[PROMISES OF STEP FIVE]
Once we have taken this step, withholding nothing,
44) we are delighted.
45) We can look the world in the eye.
46) We can be alone at perfect peace and ease.
47) Our fears fall from us.
48) We begin to feel the nearness of our Creator.
49) We may have had certain spiritual beliefs, but now we begin to have a spiritual experience.
50) The feeling that the drink problem has disappeared will often come strongly.
51) We feel we are on the Broad Highway, walking hand in hand with the Spirit of the Universe.

Big Book page #78:

[PROMISES OF STEP EIGHT]
52) If our manner is calm, frank, and open, we will be gratified with the result.
53) In nine cases out of ten the unexpected happens. Sometimes the man we are calling upon admits his own faults,
54) so feuds of years’ standing melt away in an hour.
55) Rarely do we fail to make satisfactory progress. Our
56) former enemies sometimes praise what we are doing and wish us well.
57) Occasionally, they will offer assistance.

Big Book page #83:
[ PROMISES OF STEP NINE]
If we are painstaking about this phase of our development,
58) we will be amazed before we are half way through.
59) We are going to know a new freedom
60) and a new happiness.
61) We will not regret the past
62) nor wish to shut the door on it.
63) We will comprehend the word serenity and
64) we will know peace.
65) No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.
66) That feeling of uselessness (will disappear)
67) and self-pity will disappear.
68) We will lose interest in selfish things and
69) (We will) gain interest in our fellows.
70) Self-seeking will slip away.
71) Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.
72) Fear of people (will leave us) and
73) (fear) of economic insecurity will leave us.
74) We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.
75) We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.
76) Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us—sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly.
77) They will always materialize if we work for them.

Big Book page #84 :

[PROMISES OF STEP TEN]
64) And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone —even alcohol.

65) For by this time sanity will have returned.

66) We will seldom be interested in liquor.

67) If tempted, we recoil from it as from a hot flame.

68) We react sanely and normally, and

69) we will find that this has happened automatically.

70 We will see that our new attitude toward liquor has been given us without any thought or effort on our part. It just comes! That is the miracle of it.

71) We are not fighting it,

72) neither are we avoiding temptation.

73) We feel as though we had been places in a position of neutrality—safe and protected.

74) We have not even sworn off. Instead, the problem has been removed. It does not exist for us.

75) We are neither cocky nor are we afraid.

76) That is our experience. That is how we react so long as we keep in fit spiritual condition.

Big Book page #86:

[PROMISES OF STEP ELEVEN]

On awakening let us think about the twenty-four hours ahead. We consider our plans for the day. Before we begin, we ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives. Under these conditions
77) we can employ our mental faculties with assurance, for after all God gave us brains to use.
78) Our thought-life will be placed on a much higher plane when our thinking is cleared of wrong motives.
79) In thinking about our day we may face indecision. We may not be able to determine which course to take. Here we ask God for inspiration, an intuitive thought or a decision. We relax and take it easy. We don’t struggle. We are often surprised how the right answers come after we have tried this for a while.

Big Book page #87 :

80) What used to be the hunch or the occasional inspiration gradually becomes a working part of the mind.

81) Being still inexperienced and having just made conscious contact with God, it is not probable that we are going to be inspired at all times. We might pay for this presumption in all sorts of absurd actions and ideas. Nevertheless, we find that our thinking will, as time passes, be more and more on the plane of inspiration.
82) We come to rely upon it.
83) We are careful never to pray for our own selfish ends. Many of us have wasted a lot of time doing that and it doesn’t work. You can easily see why.

As we go through the day we pause, when agitated or doubtful, and ask for the right thought or action. We constantly remind ourselves we are no longer running the show, humbly saying to ourselves many times each day “Thy will be done.”
84) We are then in much less danger of excitement,
85) fear,
86) anger,
87) worry,
88) self-pity,
89) or foolish decisions.
90) We become much more efficient.
91 We do not tire so easily, for we are not burning up energy foolishly as we did when we were trying to arrange life to suit ourselves.
92) It works—it really does.

Big Book page #97 :

93) PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics. It works when other activities fail.
94) You can help when no one else can.
95) You can secure their confidence when others fail.
96) Life will take on new meaning.
97) To watch people recover, to see them help others, to watch loneliness vanish, to see a fellowship grow up about you, to have a host of friends—this is an experience you must not miss. We know you will not want to miss it. Frequent contact with newcomers and with each other is the bright spot of our lives.

Big Book page #100 :

[PROMISES OF STEP TWELVE]

98) Both you and the new man must walk day by day in the path of spiritual progress. If you persist, remarkable things will happen. [contributed by Kate O.]
99) When we look back, we realize that the things which came to us when we put ourselves in God’s hands were better than anything we could have planned. [contributed by Kate O.]
100) Follow the dictates of a Higher Power and you will presently live in a new and wonderful world, no matter what your present circumstances! [contributed by Beth]
101) Assuming we are spiritually fit, we can do all sorts of things alcoholics are not supposed to do. [contributed by Kate O.]

Big Book page #102 :

102) Your job now is to be at the place where you may be of maximum helpfulness to others, so never hesitate to go anywhere if you can be helpful. You should not hesitate to visit the most sordid spot on earth on such an errand. Keep on the firing line of life with these motives and God will keep you unharmed. (contributed by Beth)
103) The power of God goes deep! [contributed by Kate O.]

Big Book page #114:

104) But sometimes you must start life anew. We know women who have done it. If such women adopt a spiritual way of life their road will be smoother. [contributed by Kate O.]

Big Book page #116:

105) how much better life is when lived on a spiritual plane. [contributed by Kate O.]

Big Book page #117:

106) These work-outs should be regarded as part of your education, for thus you will be learning to live. [contributed by Kate O.]
107) You will make mistakes, but if you are in earnest they will not drag you down. [contributed by Kate O.]
108) Instead, you will capitalize them. [contributed by Kate O.]
109) A better way of life will emerge when they are overcome. [contributed by Kate O.]

 

 

Purpose … of the Big Book.

 

It is common to hear in a meeting what the purpose of the Big Book is when the enlightening member reads a quote setting forth the purpose he has in mind. The purpose we usually hear is number 1 or 5 below. By now, you will note that we have found not one, but eight purposes the authors of the Big Book had in mind for it.

It is likely that the authors were sincere in all of these objectives. So, have fun, and achieve the purpose, too, if you will, please.

To show other alcoholics precisely how we have recovered is the main purpose of this book. [Big Book, page xiii, line 5]

We of Alcoholics Anonymous believe that the reader will be interested in the medical estimate of the plan of recovery described in this book. [Big Book, page xxiii, line 1]

We have concluded to publish an anonymous volume setting forth the problem as we see it. We shall bring to the task our combined experience and knowledge. This should suggest a useful program for anyone concerned with a drinking problem. [Big Book, page 19, line 20]

You may already have asked yourself why it is that all of us become so very ill from drinking. Doubtless you are curious to discover how and why, in the face of expert opinion to the contrary, we have recovered from a hopeless condition of mind and body. If you are an alcoholic who wants to get over it, you may already be asking—”What do I have to do?” It is the purpose of this book to answer such questions specifically. We shall tell you what we have done. [Big Book, page 20, line 11]

Lack of power, that was our dilemma. We had to find a power by which we could live, and it had to be a Power greater than ourselves. Obviously. But where and how were we to find this Power? Well, that’s exactly what this book is about. Its main object is to enable you to find a Power greater than yourself which will solve your problem. That means we have written a book which we believe to be spiritual as well as moral. [Big Book, page 49, line 9]

In the following chapter, there appears an explanation of alcoholism, as we understand it, then a chapter addressed to the agnostic. Many who once were in this class are now among our members. Surprisingly enough, we find such convictions no great obstacle to a spiritual experience. Further on, clear-cut directions are given showing how we recovered. These are followed by forty-three personal experiences. [Big Book, page 29, line 3]

To return to the subject matter of this book: It contains full suggestions by which the employee may solve his problem . [Big Book, page 143, line 32]

We have shown how we got out from under. [Big Book, page 152, line 11]

 

 

Relapse …. Causes.



Causes of RELAPSE (according to the Big Book)

Count
7 .. a. Failure to grow spiritually
4 .. b. Fighting with or harming others.
3 …c. Failure to work with other alcoholics
2 .. d Failure to take step 5.
2 .. e. Attempt to shield from alcohol.
2 .. f. Failure to make amends.
1 .. g. Selfishness.
1 .. h. Resentment.
Causes of RELAPSE (as offered in AA meetings)
1. Failure to go to AA meetings.
2. Failure to take the 12 steps.
3. Involvement in an emotional relationship.
4. Association with the old crowd.
5. Failure to get a sponsor.
6. Failure to read the Big Book.
7. Failure to get a job.
8. Desire to achieve oblivion.  

 

Selfish … AA is NOT a selfish program.

 

How Bill W. refuted that ‘A.A. is a SELFISH program.’

…. Another correspondent complained directly that he had been “disturbed to hear some A.A. speakers say, ‘A.A. is a selfish program.'” The co-founder’s response was eventually published in “The A.A. Way of Life”:

I can see why you are disturbed…. The word “selfish” ordinarily implies that one is acquisitive, demanding, and thoughtless of the welfare of others. Of course, the A.A. way of life does not at all imply such undesirable traits.

What do these speakers mean? Well, any theologian will tell you that the salvation of his own soul is the highest vocation that a man can have. Without salvation – however we may define this – he will have little or nothing. For us in A.A. there is even more urgency.

If we cannot or will not achieve sobriety, then we become truly lost, right in the here and now. We are of no value to anyone, including ourselves, until we find salvation from alcohol. Therefore, our own recovery and spiritual growth have to come first – a right and necessary kind of self-concern.
From “Not-God, A History of Alcoholics Anonymous”, pp. 243-244, by Ernest Kurtz.

If they then persist in their error or want to argue with you, the explanation may fall into one of these categories:

They simply do not know what the word “selfish” really means, and they don’t want to find out.
They are mentally deficient
They are uneducated and unwilling to use words correctly
They are terribly stubborn
They are preoccupied with other things
They are in the habit of saying it, and they just haven’t thought it through
They hadn’t realized they could make their point without lying
They are attention-starved, and they need the opportunity to explain themselves
They really need a justification for selfish behavior.

 

 

Virtues … in a sound relationship.

 

The Suggested Virtues of sound Relationships:

Kind
Considerate
Patient
Generous
Modest
Self-sacrificing
Sensible
Tactful
Humble
Loving
Tolerant
Sober
Helpful
Understanding
Honest

 

 

 

What is alcoholism?

If, when you honestly want to, you find you cannot quit entirely, or if when drinking, you have little control over the amount you take, you are probably alcoholic. If that be the case, you may be suffering from an illness which only a spiritual experience will conquer.

Do you think you have problems with your drinking?
If anyone who is showing inability to control his drinking can do the right­about­face and drink like a gentleman, our hats are off to him. Heaven knows, we have tried hard enough and long enough to drink like other people!

Here are some of the methods we have tried: Drinking beer only, limiting the number of drinks, never drinking alone, never drinking in the morning, drinking only at home, never having it in the house, never drinking during business hours, drinking only at parties, switching from scotch to brandy, drinking only natural wines, agreeing to resign if ever drunk on the job, taking a trip, not taking a trip, swearing off forever (with and without a solemn oath), taking more physical exercise, reading inspirational books, going to health farms and sanitariums, accepting voluntary commitment to asylums, we could increase the list ad infinitum.

We do not like to pronounce any individual as alcoholic, but you can quickly diagnose yourself, step over to the nearest barroom and try some controlled drinking. Try to drink and stop abruptly. Try it more than once. It will not take long for you to decide, if you are honest with yourself about it. It may be worth a bad case of jitters if you get a full knowledge of your condition.

Though there is no way of proving it, we believe that early in our drinking careers most of us could have stopped drinking. But the difficulty is that few alcoholics have enough desire to stop while there is yet time. We have heard of a few instances where people, who showed definite signs of alcoholism, were able to stop for a long period because of an overpowering desire to do so.
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AA Acronyms

AA = Absolute Abstinence
AA = Adventurers Anonymous
AA = Altered Attitudes
AA = Altruistic action
AA = Attitude Adjustment
ABC = Acceptance, Belief, Change
ABC = Ashtrays, Broom, Coffee
ABC = Ashtrays, Broom, Chairs
ACTION = Any Change Toward Improving One’s Nature
ALCOHOLICS = A Life Centered On Helping Others Live In Complete Sobriety
ANONYMOUS = Actions Not Our Names Yield Maintenance Of Unity and Service
ARK = Addiction Recovery Kit (Wings Of Eagles Tool)
BAR = Beware Alcohol, Run
BAR = Beware Alcoholic Ruin
BIG BOOK = Believing In God Beats Our Old Knowledge
DEAD = Drinking Ends All Dreams
DENIAL = Don’t Even Notice I Am Lying
DETACH = Don’t Even Think About Changing Him/Her
DUES = Desperately Using Everything but Sobriety
EGO = Easing God Out
EGO = Edging God Out
FAILURE = Fearful, Arrogant, Insecure, Lonely, Uncertain, Resentful, Empty
FAITH = Fear Ain’t In This House
FEAR = Few Ever Arrive Rejoicing
FEAR = Failure Expected And Received
FEAR = False Evidence Appearing Real
FEAR = False Expectations Appearing Real
FEAR = Fear Expressed Allows Relief
FEAR = Feelings Every Alcoholic Rejects
FEAR = Fighting Ego Against Reality
FEAR = Forget Everything and Run (polite version)
FEAR = Face Everything and Recover! (definitely recommended)
FEAR = Forgetting Everything’s All Right (not really!)
FEAR = Frantic Effort to Appear Real
FEAR = Frantic Efforts to Appear Recovered
FINE = Faithful, Involved, kNowledgeable and Experienced
FINE = Feeling Insecure, Numb and Empty
FINE = Frantic, Insane, Nuts and Egotistical
FINE = Freaked out, Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional
FINE = Frustrated, Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional
GAYS = Go Ask Your Sponsor
GIFT = God Is Forever There
GOD = Good Orderly Direction
GOD = Group of Drunks
GUT = God’s Undeniable Truths
HALT = Honestly, Actively, Lovingly Tolerant
HALT = Hope, Acceptance, Love and Tolerance
HALT = Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired: Fix these situations before you make any decisions.
HALTS = Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired and Stupid
HALTS FEAR = Hope, Acceptance, Love and Tolerance Stops Forgetting that Everything’s All Right
HELP = His Ever Loving Presence
HELP = Her Ever Loving Presence
HELP = Hope, Encouragement, Love and Patience
HOPE = Happy Our Program Exists
HOPE = Hearing Other Peoples’ Experience
HOPE = Hang On! Peace Exists…
HOW = Honesty, Open-mindedness, Willingness: that’s how we do it
HOW = Honest, Open-minded and Willing
ISM = I, Self, Me
ISM = Incredibly Short Memory
ISM = InSide Me
ISM = I Sabotage Myself
KISS = Keep It Simple, Stupid
KISS = Keep It Simple, Sugar
KISS = Keep It Simple, Sweetheart
KISS = Keeping It Simple, Spiritually
NUTS = Not Using The Steps
OUR = Openly Using Recovery
PACE = Positive Attitudes Change Everything
PAID = Pitiful And Incomprehensible Demoralization
PMS = Poor Me Syndrome
PMS = Pour More Scotch
PROGRAM = People Relying on God Relaying a Message
RELATIONSHIP = Real Exciting Love Affair Turns Into Outrageous Nightmare, Sobriety Hangs In Peril
RID = Restless, Irritable and Discontented
SLIP = Sobriety Loses Its Priority
SPONSOR = Sober Person Offering Newcomers Suggestions On Recovery
STEPS = Solutions To Every Problem in Sobriety
STEPS = Solutions To Every Problem, Sober
STOP = Sicker Than Other People
TIME = Things I Must Earn
WILLING = When I Live Life, I Need God
YET = You’re Eligible Too