Religion and AA Meeting Protocol

New to AA? Got questions? Here's the place to ask. Note that no one person speaks "officially" for AA. AA meetings in your local area are always the best source of information. Note that anyone may post and reply to messages in this forum.
NinjaThroatChop
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Re: Religion and AA Meeting Protocol

Post by NinjaThroatChop » Fri Nov 18, 2011 8:47 am

leejosepho wrote:We just had a great online meeting here about this.

A.A. does not in any way deal with the matter of who and/or what God might actually be, and never are we to suggest any particular idea of God. Rather, and to the prospect or newcomer, we essentially say:

It is "God as *you* understand God" (p. 164) who has brought about our personal recoveries, and we believe the same is possible for you.

"... make it emphatic that [the prospect or newcomer] does not have to agree with your conception of God ..." (A.A.", the book, page 43)

And of course, it is best to not even mention it at all. Rather, "He can choose any conception he likes, provided it makes sense to him ... [while] willing to ... live by spiritual principles."
I know some others have suggested that I read the book in it's entirety, but your post has been the nudge I needed I think to actually do so. The quotes, especially the last one has motivated me to pick up the book again, quit avoiding it, and see what I can come up with. Thank you!!
"Only the dead have seen the end of war" Not only does this quote pertain to my brothers and fellow Marines who lost their lives in combat, but now also to the war I wage against my alcoholism.

Jaywalker Steve
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Re: Religion and AA Meeting Protocol

Post by Jaywalker Steve » Fri Nov 18, 2011 8:53 am

NinjaThroatChop wrote:What exactly are the principles or recovery? Is there actually a list like the 12 S&T? The second part about my life DEPENDING on obedience to spiritual principles just sounds hokey. How does one even define spiritual principles? Are they different for everyone?
Many of them are found in the Big Book/Twelve and Twelve and are revealed as we embrace the 12 Steps of recovery. A complete list would be quite difficult to compile. The 'essentials' of Honesty, Open-mindedness and Willingness found in Appendix II of the Big Book (Spiritual Experience) are a life's work. We also have love, tolerance, patience and forgiveness among countless others. It's not so much a matter of defining them as it is seeking and practicing. I'm sorry for not being able to answer your question completely. You ask great questions that may not have precise answers.
Every group has men and women who put too much thought and effort into their daily sobriety and not enough of themselves into their daily living. - Ed B., Akron, OH

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PaigeB
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Re: Religion and AA Meeting Protocol

Post by PaigeB » Fri Nov 18, 2011 8:57 am

Ninja said: Perhaps I'm not as OPEN MINDED as I need to be
Hope you don't mind, but saying that IS open-minded. :wink:
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. page 124 BB

NinjaThroatChop
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Re: Religion and AA Meeting Protocol

Post by NinjaThroatChop » Fri Nov 18, 2011 9:00 am

PaigeB wrote:
Ninja said: Perhaps I'm not as OPEN MINDED as I need to be
Hope you don't mind, but saying that IS open-minded. :wink:
A step in the right direction then eh?
"Only the dead have seen the end of war" Not only does this quote pertain to my brothers and fellow Marines who lost their lives in combat, but now also to the war I wage against my alcoholism.

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leejosepho
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Re: Religion and AA Meeting Protocol

Post by leejosepho » Fri Nov 18, 2011 9:01 am

Well, it is certainly a fine bit of honest candor ... ;)
=======================
"We A.A.s do not *stay* away from drinking [one day at a
time] -- we *grow* away from drinking [one day at a time]."
("Lois Remembers", page 168, quoting Bill, emphasis added)
=======================

Steven F
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Re: Religion and AA Meeting Protocol

Post by Steven F » Fri Nov 18, 2011 9:09 am

Good to see you back!
NinjaThroatChop wrote:
Steven F wrote:
Our description of the alcoholic, the chapter to the
agnostic, and our personal adventure 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 re-
lieved our alcoholism.

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

I agree with (a) fully. I cannot bring myself (at this point at least) to believe (b) at all. And as long as I haven't worked out the whole HP/God issue, I can't say whether or not I believe (c).
Fair enough - let's take it one thing at a time. The human power question then (point b). I guess you need to figure out for yourself if you have tried to quit on your own, and to get in touch with that on a gut level. A good idea is to make a list of the things you have tried, and a list of the things you haven't tried yet but think might work. You can hang that second list on your fridge door and try these things one by one, scratching them out as you go. If you find something that works for you, great! And if you notice that the first few things don't work, you don't need to get to the bottom of the list to find the truth for you. Only you can figure out if you have become powerless over alcohol = if you can control and enjoy drinking or not.

The other question is the human power of others. Ask yourself, did anyone ever try to help you (even if they didn't know drinking was an issue)? Doctors helping you with depression? Psychologists helping you with "issues"? Counsellors helping you to figure out a career? Basically, people trying to help you find your spot in the world? And then the honest answers to the questions "how did that go" and "what do you think happened"?

I hope this doesn't sound too much as "have to do this" - but in a sense, you do need to figure out what your own story is. I'll tell you where I'm coming from with this. For most people I meet in AA, the programme of AA is not just one of the things on their list of things to try. Mostly, they get to AA because they have tried other things and it didn't work. I didn't come in here dancing either, even if I found so much joy and reward in this new way of living I wouldn't give it up anymore for anything. Even if they would invent a pill that would allow me to drink safely, I still don't think I would give up AA. It just gave me so much more than sobriety. There is a whole thing in there that allows me to deal with living, and I realise that was the problem from the start: a big inability to be comfortable with life itself.

The programme is not too hard to follow, but there are some tough spots in there. There are moments where you might think "I don't really want to do that". If you get to these moments with the idea that there are some easier methods that might also work but that you haven't tried yet, I can't imagine you'll be very enthused to carry on. In fact, chances are that you'll chicken out and then you and a bunch of other people will just have a big disappointment on your hands.

YOU need to figure this out, Rion. There is no right or wrong answer, and not a thing you "get" or "not get". It is your own personal story, how you feel inside with all this; the drinking and the alcoholism (which are different things). Let me say I am kind of happy that you pause here. Many just fly over this and then are prompted to re-visit their views when they hit that tough moment. Do, if you can, ask someone face to face to change thoughts on this whole thing (feel free to show this post if you would want to). It will be much more beneficial for you to have some private conversations about this with another member of AA (pick one whose sobriety you like and ask him for a chat and a coffee). Besides, if you try to dig deeper in a full meeting, you'll get so many angles it will make your head spin. Better to take the time with a few people you can see privately and report your findings to the meeting instead of asking them to help figure it out in a group session.

I can also recommend tapes by two guys named Joe and Charlie. Maybe there is something on there that makes the whole thing more accessible and helps you discover how it all ties in for you personally. PM me if you would like a link to those files (they are in mp3, so you can listen to them on your player, computer or your phone).

There is lots of joy in this programme, Rion, but it isn't for everybody. Better get to the bottom of all this before you make the commitment of the steps.

Jaywalker Steve
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Re: Religion and AA Meeting Protocol

Post by Jaywalker Steve » Fri Nov 18, 2011 9:13 am

PaigeB wrote:Hope you don't mind, but saying that IS open-minded. :wink:
leejosepho wrote:Well, it is certainly a fine bit of honest candor ... ;)
Simply awesome!
Every group has men and women who put too much thought and effort into their daily sobriety and not enough of themselves into their daily living. - Ed B., Akron, OH

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