10.20.09

Archive for the ‘the big book’ Category

the doorknob debate

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For millions of addicts around the world, Alcoholics Anonymous’s basic text – informally known as the Big Book – is the Bible. And as they’re about to find out, the Bible was edited.

via AA original manuscript reveals debate on religion.

Well, of course it was edited. It was a book manuscript.   Jesus.

As for purposefully de-emphasizing the “religious” facet of the Program, the directive in the BB to not talk about God too much or share the BB right off the bat is right there in the book.   This is not news. The publishing of the original manuscript is news; that’s awesome and cool.

In my readings I’ve been over all kinds of AA deprogramming/debunking material, looking specifically for  helpful advice about changing one’s attitude and safely steeping out from the AA sphere while continuing to grow and not regress into “white-knuckling it.”   For me, whether or not AA is a “cult” or “religious”  is as stupid a debate as a drunk figuring out if they are “alcoholic” or not.  The name is not the reality, the reality is the reality.

The only part of the “spiritual program” that sits wrong with me, for me, is the sheer bullshitness of stating “god can be whatever you want, god can be a daisy” then presenting steps 3 and 7. Could any rational person easily turn their will over to a daisy, and then pray to the daisy to supernaturally change their personality? Come on. The truth is God can be what you want for a while but the expectation is eventually one will come around to the Real God.  I personally have no problem with God as God or praying to God.  In a beginner meeting last week a new visitor piped up at  discussion open: “I am having trouble with the God part.” The room became home to an award-winning smug expression collection at once.  The woman was then cross-talked over and over about how there was room for all beliefs and non beliefs….but she would eventually see the light.  The obligatory “doorknob” statement made its appearance.  I was struck at how not open -minded the group is.  I saw sanctimonious dismissal and disinterest in a newcomer’s worldview and honest questions, and a blind assertion of The One Truth.  My acceptance of AA as a place of open-mindedness was destroyed. The only open-mindedness in the Program  is admonished upon any who think or act in any deviation from the written instructions or conventional wisdom.

The point is that I don’t care if AA is a religious cult or not. I care about its humanity and honesty.

Written by xty

September 23, 2010 at 09:55

The 12 Suggested Steps and the Set-Aside Prayer

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A woman at the Sunday night meeting referred to “the twelve suggested steps” glibly and comfortably during her share….I inferred from her delivery that this is how she always refers to the steps. I thought “I ought to do that, that’s cool.” but it is a bit pointed, and I already say something other than  “I’m an alcoholic.”  I don’t need to come off like “what a maverick!”  (I say “I am powerless over alcohol.” Because I have to think about it to say it and I hear it when I do.)  I think it’s cool because the Maverick in me wants to remember to lighten up and create my own unique-like-everyone-else Program, as I have often been advised. Then I don’t think I should go there because the Fundamentalist in me hears “How It Works” all the time as well as some Greenville favoritisms such as “the chapter is  not called How It Thinks” to “figuring it out is not one of the steps.”  How can it all be true?

Yes, here is the dilemma:

Part A: “rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path…..some of us sought an easier softer way….we beg of you with all the earnestness at our command to be fearless and thorough from the very start” (from Big Book, How It Works)

Part B:  The Twelve Steps are but “a suggested program of recovery.”  “Take what you want and leave the rest.”

Big sigh. It was recently suggested to me that I forget my omniscience regarding AA and sobriety and just start from here. Ok. Evidently it is just time for that because it makes a lot of sense.  I knit my brow at the conundrum above, but not for too long.  I have decided to do the Twelve Suggested Steps( henceforth TTSS) sooner than planned (i.e. right away) because evidently they work and what am I going to lose? I mean, can it get worse? (This wisdom came from Therapist K last night, sealing the deal on my conviction regarding TTSS).

In perfect solidarity I was reminded this week of the set-aside prayer, which I will make an effort to say before essentially anything from here on out:

God,
Please help me set aside
Everything I think I know
About myself, my disease,
These steps, and especially You;
For an open mind
And a new experience
With myself, my disease,
These steps and especially You

Written by xty

August 25, 2010 at 00:21

golden text

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Yesterday I reread my notes from when I was in detox a couple of weeks ago.  I also re-read most of the AA Number 3 story in the Book, which is what these particular notes were on.  Page 191: “Bill looked across at my wife and said to her:  ‘ Henrietta, the Lord has been so wonderful to me, curing me of this terrible disease, that I just want to keep talking about it and telling it to people.’ …This has been sort of a golden text to me.”

From that I took most note of two points:  Bill attributed his sobriety strictly to a supernatural act, curing at that, and the emphasis on sharing with others. The fact that AA #3 considers these points a “golden text” feels like something I should always bear in mind.

I heard a new AA cliche: oldtimer to relapser: “I hope you’re out of good ideas.”  Again and again I am drawn to the texts and pick up messages  that underscore the spiritual and service based nature of real sobriety.

Written by xty

July 14, 2010 at 07:19

I drank.

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I drank. For a few days, last week. I’m sober now, and kinda pretty much ok. More later. Just checking in, as I am sure all both my loyal readers have been waiting with bated breath. Uh oh..will I change the blog name? Hm. I’m thinking no….

the doctor’s opinion

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I re-read “the Dr’s opinion” just now per sponsor S directions. The passage that always blows my mind was still there, of course (“They are restless, irritable, and discontent….and unless [they] can experience an entire psychic change there is little hope of recovery”). What I took special notice of for the first time was where Dr. Silkworth first mentions Bill, “a hopeless patient,” who “acquired certain ideas regarding” his recovery, and “as part of his rehabilitation he comnmenced to present his conceptions to other alcoholics, impressing upon them that they must do likewise with other alcoholics. This has become the basis of a rapidly growing fellowship….”

My thinking fell to the bible-study tactic, also used fairly often in 12 step land: “it does NOT say he filled notebooks with his resentments and fears and self-beratement for months on end….” “it does NOT say he went to 90 meetings in 90 days not speaking or was shunned….” and “it does NOT say he waited a year or two before he asked permission to be able to help others…”

(Yeah, I get on my own nerves sometimes.) I also exaggerate and love to push boundaries playing devil’s advocate….. I think I may have irked sponsor S yesterday as a discussion led to to the order in which Big Book Step Study procedure, well, proceeds, which, as the steps do, leads up to and end with step 12. “Because that comes after all the other stuff, right?” Well, yes and no. Bill didn’t do that; I think any old old-timers would shake their heads at sobriety requirements for taking meetings to detoxes or even making coffee, and protracted step-a-year methods. Her point was that one must have something to share something; Granted, but how much something? Mustard seed? Sweet little residential organic garden with cute koi pond? Redwood forest?

I get a lot more out of the detox meeting where i was once a client than analyzing and rehashing my relationships and history over and over. And I am certain my presence and words are far more relevant there than in yet another notebook. Just sayin’.

Written by xty

April 19, 2010 at 19:27

Posted in the big book

how it’s going

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I made more meetings this past week.  I went to a new one in the city I work in (an hour away) and it seemed like a pretty nice one.  I’ll go back.  My days are long, but I enjoy them.  I see that this arrangement could be isolating…but I am not going to worry about that right now. It doesn’t matter.   All that matters is not drinking and going to work.

I have begun reading the Big Book the official Big Book Step Study Meeting (I affectionately refer to it as the “school supplies group”) way.  This consists of highlighting directions or suggestions in yellow, warnings or ominous stuff in pink, and promises and positive statements in green.   It’s causing me to read more slowly and that’s a fine thing.  I read a little at a time – I’m just starting Into Action.  (At the beginning I was continuously bothered that Pink wasn’t Positive,  Warnings weren’t Yellow,  Directions Green, but life on life’s terms. Acceptance is the answer to all my problems.)

This is unsanctioned or renegade BBSS reading – sponsor S goes and has a BBSS sponsor, and is passing suggestions along to me.  I wonder if it matters that my activity has no community affiliation.  It feels kind of flat – but I often experience reading the book that way, just because I’ve read it probably more than any other book on earth, except maybe the Rock and Roll Encyclopedia I had when I was in junior high.

Written by xty

March 28, 2010 at 10:02