Step One

The 12 Steps are the AA program of recovery from alcoholism.

Re: Step One

Postby Larryp713 » Tue Jun 21, 2016 9:03 am

I do believe writing out a first step is a good idea, but it did not take me 78 pages to share the proof of my powerlessness over alcohol and the unmanageability of my life. I am working with a sponsee who is going through the steps again, and I really contemplated the foundation of my recovery. For me, it is remembering the morning when I realized I could not keep drinking and feel anything but misery and self-hate. I remember laying under a blanket in my living room listening to my wife and children getting ready for church. I was so ashamed. I felt terrible. I hated myself. That was the morning of my first sober day, and I can clearly recall it today. I have written down how I felt that day.

I also considered all the times I tried to moderate my drinking and how I utterly failed. I have never been able to control my drinking, and from the big book's doctor's opinion, I know that is a medical symptom of alcoholism. It is my unarguable qualification for this program.

Next I considered how I felt when I stopped drinking on my own. I felt lost and depressed. I felt uncomfortable in my own skin. I felt lonely but didn't want to talk to people. I had no energy or zest for life. That is how my life was unmanageable - I could not live like that either.

The great dilemma that happens to all of us is my first step - I couldn't live and continue to drink, and I could not live without drinking on my own accord. I needed another option, and that is what I found in alcoholics anonymous. If I ever start to feel like I want to drink, or that I am restless, irritable, or discontent, I know what I have to do. I need to plug back into this program. Surrender my will to God, surrender my defects of character, make any amends as needed, and seek to help others. When I do these things, I ALWAYS feel better. This design for living works, but it is not theoretical. It requires rigorous, honest effort from me. I wish you all the best, and thanks for the topic! Larry
Trudging the Road of Happy Destiny!!!
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Re: Step One

Postby Tosh » Tue Jun 21, 2016 9:21 am

Larryp713 wrote:I do believe writing out a first step is a good idea, but it did not take me 78 pages to share the proof of my powerlessness over alcohol and the unmanageability of my life.


I totally agree; I think we just KNOW when we're beaten by it. It's why I ended up at my first meeting. If I had the power to stop drinking by myself, there's no way I would've went to an A.A. meeting in the first place.

And I believe Dr Bob used to do the first step like this:

Dr Bob "Are you an alcoholic?"

If the answer was yes, they'd move onto Step 2 which was "Do you believe in God?" and if the answer to that was affirmative, they'd move onto Step 3.

I'm not saying that's the way we should do it, but I do think we over-intellectualise the program at times and that can be a kind of procrastination in itself.
Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.” Rumi (No sniggering from the sex addicts)
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Re: Step One

Postby Stepchild » Tue Jun 21, 2016 11:28 am

The first two sentences of chapter four make this claim....

In the preceding chapters you have learned something of alcoholism. We hope we have made clear the distinction between the alcoholic and the nonalcoholic.

The most important thing that Bill W. brought to Dr. Bob...Was that description of the alcoholic. Dr. Bob been in the Oxford Group and couldn't remain sober. He was missing the first step. He may have asked people...."are you alcoholic?"...But I'm willing to bet he went through the description given in the book...Or something close to it beforehand.

The directions in the book only ask us to do one thing for the first two steps....And that is being convinced of this....

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.
Being convinced, we were at Step Three,

pg 60

That's it...Nothing more. If we need to read it again.....Or take em up on the controlled drinking experiment...Do what you have to do. But all that is asked....Is we are convinced...That we honestly believe those three very important ideas are true.
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Re: Step One

Postby Noels » Tue Jun 21, 2016 1:56 pm

The most important thing that Bill W. brought to Dr. Bob...Was that description of the alcoholic. Dr. Bob been in the Oxford Group and couldn't remain sober. He was missing the first step. He may have asked people...."are you alcoholic?"...But I'm willing to bet he went through the description given in the book...Or something close to it beforehand.

Avaneesh was kind enough to have found an absolutely AMAZING piece for me from the Language of the Heart, November 1972, by Bill W in response to my request in the post " Relapse " which was closed before he could post it for us. I will start a 2nd thread under Relapse 2 in due course but have found a paragraph in this exceptional writing that relates to the above post from Stephchild. I'll type it out :

My meeting with Dr Bob in Akron was my first successful rapport with another alcoholic. I followed Dr. Silkworth's advice to the letter. Doctor Bob did not, need spiritual instruction. He already had more of that than I did. What he did need was the deflation at depth and the understanding that only one drunk can give another. What I needed was the humility of self-forgetfulness and the kinship with another human being of my own kind. I thank God for providing it.
One of the first insights Doctor Bob and I shared was that all true communication must be founded on mutual need. Never could we talk down to anyone, certainly not to a brother alcoholic. We saw that each sponsor would have to humbly admit his own needs as clearly as those of his prospect. Here was the foundation for AA's Twelfth Step to recovery, the Step in which we carry the message."


The piece that Avaneesh sent me contains so much of everything. Love, relapse, recovery, a part of Bill's bright light experience and how that affected his work with other alcoholics ..... a truly awesome and inspiring yet understanding read. I ordered this book from our library at meeting tonight and cant wait to start reading it.

Love and Light
Noels xxx
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Re: Step One

Postby Ron27 » Mon Sep 26, 2016 5:15 pm

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.


May I put this differently

(a) That we were alcoholic and did not know how to manage our own lives.
(b) That the human power in spirituality that is in us all could have relieved our alcoholism.
(c) That Spirituality could and would if it were sought.

We are all individuals with our own purpose in life. We can choose to follow another instead but what then of purpose?

Ours is more and more a material society so the task gets harder.
It is better to have tried and failed rather than never have tried at all.
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Re: Step One

Postby D'oh » Mon Sep 26, 2016 8:00 pm

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.


May I put this differently

(a) That we were alcoholic and did not know how to manage our own lives.
(b) That the human power in spirituality that is in us all could have relieved our alcoholism.
(c) That Spirituality could and would if it were sought.

We are all individuals with our own purpose in life. We can choose to follow another instead but what then of purpose?

Ours is more and more a material society so the task gets harder.
It is better to have tried and failed rather than never have tried at all.

I recall a member saying, rather than "Being convinced we are at Step 3" it should read "If we cannot answer yes to these 3 statements, reread the Book or throw it away."

A/B/and C/ are the Foundation to my Program. I did not understand that until I was struggling on my 4th Step, but it did come to "It" when I was Open Honest and Willing. To this day I wouldn't change a word of the A,B,C's. Except maybe less of "We were" and more of "We are". May I never forget that again.

But that is just me.
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Re: Step One

Postby Ron27 » Mon Sep 26, 2016 8:45 pm

D'oh wrote:
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.


May I put this differently

(a) That we were alcoholic and did not know how to manage our own lives.
(b) That the human power in spirituality that is in us all could have relieved our alcoholism.
(c) That Spirituality could and would if it were sought.

We are all individuals with our own purpose in life. We can choose to follow another instead but what then of purpose?

Ours is more and more a material society so the task gets harder.
It is better to have tried and failed rather than never have tried at all.



I recall a member saying, rather than "Being convinced we are at Step 3" it should read "If we cannot answer yes to these 3 statements, reread the Book or throw it away."

A/B/and C/ are the Foundation to my Program. I did not understand that until I was struggling on my 4th Step, but it did come to "It" when I was Open Honest and Willing. To this day I wouldn't change a word of the A,B,C's. Except maybe less of "We were" and more of "We are". May I never forget that again.

But that is just me.


I would suggest that the quoted member was religious and had ceased to think for themselves, moreover had no idea of spirituality being more than a notion. AA is not religious, but so many comments tend to say otherwise.
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Re: Step One

Postby D'oh » Tue Sep 27, 2016 4:18 am

I would suggest that the quoted member was religious and had ceased to think for themselves, moreover had no idea of spirituality being more than a notion. AA is not religious, but so many comments tend to say otherwise.


Nothing Religious about the Statement. I am not in the least bit Religious. In fact I was almost kicked out of my Pre marriage course for my views of a Power Greater than Myself.

I found that the Door was open farther than it appeared, once I was Open Minded enough to see it that way. Once through the Door, I could see the power of those words.
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Re: Step One

Postby Layne » Tue Sep 27, 2016 8:04 am

AA is not religious, but so many comments tend to say otherwise.

Take the word "not" out of the above statement and it holds equally true. Comments are just comments. Comments don't make anything true or not true. Validity of the ideas expressed in comments is up to the individual to determine for themselves.
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