The 12 steps and 12 promises

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

Re: The 12 steps and 12 promises

Postby ezdzit247 » Fri Jul 08, 2016 10:28 am

What is a an AA guru? Is that someone that understands the directions? Like a Big Book thumper?


What a coincidence! I was just reading a Grapevine article last night entitled "The Real Thing", an interview with Louis M., a New York AA member who got sober in 1956. He addressed and answered your question in the interview.


K.W.: Do you have any fear about the direction in which AA is going?

Lou M.: Only to some extent. I fear the kind of thing where lecturers come around and say they know the real program. You see, I haven't really done the Steps right, so I don't count. But they have, and they can tell you the real program. That's the very antithesis of what AA stands for. We don't have one big leader. Even in Bill W.'s day, we didn't. And we don't have one clear program despite what some people say about the Big Book.

You know, there are three little sentences on page 164 of the Big Book that the Big Book thumpers never quote: The first two are, "Our book is meant to be suggestive only. We realize we know only a little." The book's writers don't say they know all the answers for getting and staying sober. They don't even say they know most of the answers. They say they know "only a little." Then in the next sentence they say, "God will constantly disclose more to you and to us," which means that as time goes by in sobriety and by talking with one another, we might learn more about staying sober, about ourselves, and so forth. So all the answers in my opinion are not in the Big Book. Far from it.

Was that a great book and a great beginning? Yes, it was. But all the answers are not there, just as all the answers are not in an individual. It's a constant staying sober and talking to one another in this language that Bill talked about - the language of the heart...."


Several websites have published the entire GV article which can be found by googling "The Real Thing" and "Louis M.". Good read. Can't post the link but I found it while browsing Silkworth's AA history pages.
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Re: The 12 steps and 12 promises

Postby Stepchild » Fri Jul 08, 2016 10:59 am

And we don't have one clear program despite what some people say about the Big Book.


I guess we could carry Loius M.'s message....Or we could use the words Bill W. wrote himself.

To show other alcoholics PRECISELY HOW WE HAVE RECOVERED is the main purpose of this book.

Foreward

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.

pg 20

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 45

There are three sentences that use the words...Precisely....Specifically and....exactly.

So you do have the right to carry Louis M's message...He may be a big believer of the 24 hour plan you speak so often of...I'm not a big proponent of that either.
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Re: The 12 steps and 12 promises

Postby ezdzit247 » Fri Jul 08, 2016 12:46 pm

...So you do have the right to carry Louis M's message...He may be a big believer of the 24 hour plan you speak so often of...I'm not a big proponent of that either.


I liked and identified with everything Louis M. shared in his GV interview, especially this:

....You know, I learned more about AA and about myself from AA Comes of Age than all the other books put together, except the meeting list. And in it, Bill says that the reason the Third and Fourth Tradition are important is to prevent AA from becoming a frozen set of dogmatic principles, which is like what some of these people say is the real AA. They have a frozen set of dogmatic principles.

When I heard Bill W. speak at his anniversary dinner in the New York Hilton in 1968, he talked about a Buddhist from Japan who asked if he had to understand God the way it was described in the literature. And in effect Bill said no. It didn't make any difference whether the Higher Power was a he, she, it, a cosmic force, or greater humanity.

He also said that there were tens of thousands of alcoholics out there drinking that night, who weren't at an AA meeting because they thought AA was some sort of a cult. They thought they had to come in and become do-gooders. He called on us and he called on me (because when I get involved with a speaker I think the speaker is talking to me) he called on me not to build what he called barriers of arrogance - barriers of arrogance to keep these people out. We have to tell that person, No, you don't have to do what we do. You're welcome here anyway. The rituals can become replacements for the real thing and the real thing is us talking, one alcoholic to another, in the language of the heart.


My ESH is the BB is an amazing piece of literature, especially considering that Bill W. was only 3 years sober and had never written anything prior to that point, drunk or sober, when he began to write it. I think as literature, it deserves to share the same rank as other "wisdom literature" like the Upanishads, Bible, Koran, etc. Mainly because even though its target audience, i.e. alcoholics, is a very small portion of the human population, the ideas it discusses, such as learning to live one day at a time, certainly has applications for all humans and all human problems. I love the book but it's not a "sacred cow" to me and I don't worship it as the alpha and omega on alcohol recovery. Those three little sentences on page 164, i.e. "Our book is meant to be suggestive only.", "We realize we know only a little." and "God will constantly disclose more to you and to us." was put there by AA's founders to caution me against erecting "barriers of arrogance" by adopting or embracing any kind of a dogmatic ideology about AA.

What Bill W. wrote 15 years later on page 15 of the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions is the message that really resonates with my ESH and what I've learned in my recovery journey:

A.A.’s Twelve Steps are a group of principles, spiritual in their nature, which, if practiced as a way of life, can expel the obsession to drink and enable the sufferer to become happily and usefully whole.


Bill's message has been paraphrased in this popular AA slogan:

"The MIRACLE happens when we get sober. The MAGIC happens when we apply the principles to all our affairs."


As Bill wrote in the 12&12, the "magic" doesn't come from working the Steps, the "magic" comes when we begin to apply and actually LIVE the principles to all our affairs, one day at a time. Works for me!
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children...to leave the world a better place...to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” -- Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Re: The 12 steps and 12 promises

Postby Stepchild » Fri Jul 08, 2016 1:00 pm

....You know, I learned more about AA and about myself from AA Comes of Age than all the other books put together, except the meeting list.


It's great that he can say that...But only one book says this....

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

So it sounds like....He didn't need that. He had his meeting list. I'll stick with the directions ez.....I'm guessing they put them in that book for a reason.
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Re: The 12 steps and 12 promises

Postby Brock » Fri Jul 08, 2016 2:07 pm

We have an awful lot of quoting from an interview done in 2001, and the opinion of one individual, Louis M of New York. It started in response to the question - “What is a an AA guru? Is that someone that understands the directions? Like a Big Book thumper?” And the answer - “What a coincidence! I was just reading a Grapevine article last night entitled "The Real Thing", an interview with Louis M., a New York AA member who got sober in 1956. He addressed and answered your question in the interview.” In fact the only time he mentions the word is when he says this - “So if a great guru comes along and thousands of people follow him, I don't have to pay attention to it.” And that is one part that wasn't quoted, (until now).

It is unfortunate if we start referring to people who are passionate about the message as a guru, because it's not meant in a complementary way. This fellow who is quoted as if he is an expert on the matter, is nothing more than anyone of us who is passionate about the AA program, so if we are going to call anyone here a guru, he fits the bill as well.
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Re: The 12 steps and 12 promises

Postby PuppyEars » Fri Jul 08, 2016 6:42 pm

ezdzit247 wrote:I love the book but it's not a "sacred cow" to me and I don't worship it as the alpha and omega on alcohol recovery.

Perhaps you did not reach the pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization feeling from absolutely crushing everything and smashing every heart that ever came into your life. Your statement might hold true for the moderate or hard drinker.

A lesser known gem is found on page 275 that I would like to share since everyone is quoting :lol: :

AA is not a plan for recovery that can be finished and done with. It is a way of life, and the challenge contained in its principles is great enough to keep any human being striving for as long as he lives. We do not, cannot, outgrow this plan. As arrested alcoholics, we must have a program for living that allows for limitless expansion. Keeping one foot in front of the other is essential for maintaining our arrestment. Others may idle in a retrogressive groove without too much danger, but retrogression can spell death for us. However, this isn't as rough as it sounds, as we do become grateful for the necessity that makes us toe the line, and we find that we are compensated for a consistent effort by the countless dividends we receive.
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Re: The 12 steps and 12 promises

Postby avaneesh912 » Fri Jul 08, 2016 7:28 pm

It is unfortunate if we start referring to people who are passionate about the message as a guru, because it's not meant in a complementary way.


Some people play it real well by using somebody elses material. So and so said that, as though that person is the authority over everybody else. Thats what Mark H calls it as "tragedy of the ego".
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)
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Re: The 12 steps and 12 promises

Postby Dan2000 » Fri Jul 08, 2016 8:25 pm

Hi All

I didn't mean to stir up the pot, perhaps I may have been better off saying

"Progress not Perfection"

There are many things I've heard or read about concerning AA some are fact, some are not.

Just seems the more I go to AA, the more that is revealed or perhaps the wiser I get and/or a better understanding of what I should believe or not comes to mind.
(The wisdom to know the difference)<<<<<<<<As anyone is aware, this part of the prayer, is easier said, than done.

>>>>>>A simple program, for complicated people.....I can relate to this, absolutely.

I could probably have an argument about any AA subject for hours, however I'm not into hours of argumentative discussion these days, if I get stuck on something I cannot solve, I call my sponsor and/or I try and ask myself, "What would God do" ......or I try to put it out of my head with "Let go and Let God"
or perhaps it's an "Acceptance" issue and so forth.

I have found a lot of helpful postings from this group and thank everyone for being part of this group.

Take Care and God Bless
Remember in all we do, it's Progress,not perfection.
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Re: The 12 steps and 12 promises

Postby Brock » Sat Jul 09, 2016 5:28 am

Yes we got into a little to and fro about different things, and went from steps and promises to discussing what a 'guru' was, but there is no harm in that surely.

I respect those who introduce new topics, I try to do so myself now and then, and sometimes they don't come off as well as I might have hoped. New topics give especially the more experienced ones here food for thought, and as demonstrated a little research and quoting is usually done, they are often quite educational.

We all stand by ready for the primary purpose of passing the message, when a new person comes inquiring about a solution, but no harm in lively discussion on various topics, among those who have found a solution, and wish to expand on it, even if it does seem argumentative at times.
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Re: The 12 steps and 12 promises

Postby Stepchild » Sat Jul 09, 2016 5:42 am

ezdzit247 wrote:
I liked and identified with everything Louis M. shared in his GV interview...


Since I can't ask Louis M....I guess I'll ask you. Since you identify with it. Do you think this is a fair statement to tell an alcoholic that is at the end of his rope? Someone grasping for a way out?

The book's writers don't say they know all the answers for getting and staying sober. They don't even say they know most of the answers. They say they know "only a little."


Or would it be a more hopeful approach to use the book writers own words?

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.

pg 20

It's pretty clear the authors didn't spend 164 pages describing our problem and giving clear cut directions that they used to recover...Just to end it with...We know only a little. And that maybe that line refers to the spiritual experience?...God's will for us?...Since it reads in total like this?

We realize we know only a little. God will constantly disclose more to you and to us.
pg 164

That line has nothing to do with getting and staying sober as Louis M, states and you agree with. It's almost criminal telling people new to AA that it does.
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Re: The 12 steps and 12 promises

Postby Stepchild » Sat Jul 09, 2016 6:15 am

Brock wrote:We all stand by ready for the primary purpose of passing the message, when a new person comes inquiring about a solution, but no harm in lively discussion on various topics, among those who have found a solution, and wish to expand on it, even if it does seem argumentative at times.


It's funny you mention that. You can start a thread (I think it's been done more than once here)
on what is the message we should carry?...And you'll end up with a five page debate...That ends in deadlock.

I like reading Bill W.'s older stuff and ran across this artcle he wrote for a publication called Guideposts...Titled: Is AA for alcoholics only?.... It was written in 1947 and was his first nationally published magazine article...Here is a taste...Enjoy!

What then, is this message whose power can restore the alcoholic his sanity and thenceforth enable him to live soberly, happily and usefully in a very confused world? The A.A. Recovery Program relates it as follows:

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 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 wherever 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 understand 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 principles in all of our affairs.

Simple, these principles, yet a large order indeed. When one tries to apply them he is bound to collide with a most heavy obstacle. That obstacle is one's own pride.

Who, for example, cares to admit complete defeat? Who wishes to admit to himself and others his serious defects of character? Who relishes forgiving his enemies and making amends to people he has harmed? Who would like to give freely of himself without ever demanding reward? How many can really bow before "the God of their own understanding" in real faith that a Higher Power will do for them what they cannot do for themselves?

Yet A.A.'s find that if we go "all out" in daily practice of our 12 Steps we soon commence to live in a new, unbelievable world. Our pride yields to humility and our cynicism to faith. We begin to know serenity. We learn enough patience, tolerance, honesty and service to subdue our former masters - insecurity, resentment and unsatisfied dreams of power. We find that God can be relied upon; that our strength can come out of weakness; that perhaps only those who have tasted the fruits of dependence on a Higher Power can understand the true meaning of personal liberty, freedom of the human spirit.
Last edited by Stepchild on Sat Jul 09, 2016 9:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The 12 steps and 12 promises

Postby ezdzit247 » Sat Jul 09, 2016 9:49 am

Dan2000 wrote:Just want to say one thing, I don't take offense to any feedback, I get from my postings ....I welcome it.

I don't proclaim to be an AA guru, however if I ever become one, someone please shoot me!!!!!

Thx Dan


LIVE and LET LIVE



LOL..... :lol: Amen to all of the above!

I'm a total pragmatist. Whatever works. Anything and everything that cheats the hospitals, mental institutions, jails, prisons, or morgues out of one more drunk is a good thing.
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Re: The 12 steps and 12 promises

Postby PaigeB » Sat Jul 09, 2016 11:08 am

I think Bill knew that it takes all kinds of people because we have all kinds of newcomers.

I use the Big Book and the 12 & 12 when I sponsor women. They are both approved by the General Service Board. I do not hold to the idea that only the Big Book is the answer. I am a big believer in meetings.

I do not wish to see this degenerate into a discussion on how best to do this program. Any of you can refer back to the multitude of threads where these same folks have already had these discussions to no agreement. So no arguing please. UNITY FIRST.
Tradition One, Long Form: Each member of Alcoholics Anonymous is but a small part of a great whole. AA must continue to live or most of us will surely die. Hence our common welfare should come first. But individual welfare follows close afterwards.

Here is a Grapevine checklist from viewtopic.php?f=13&t=10317
Tradition One: Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon AA unity.

1. Am I in my group a healing, mending, integrating person, or am I divisive? What about gossip and taking other members’ inventories?

2. Am I a peacemaker? Or do I, with pious preludes such as “just for the sake of discussion,” plunge into argument?

3. Am I gentle with those who rub me the wrong way, or am I abrasive?

4. Do I make competitive AA remarks, such as comparing one group with another or contrasting AA in one place with AA in another?

5. Do I put down some AA activities as if I were superior for not participating in this or that aspect of AA?

6. Am I informed about AA as a whole? Do I support, in every way I can, AA as a whole, or just the parts I understand and approve of?

7. Am I as considerate of AA members as I want them to be of me?

8. Do I spout platitudes about love while indulging in and secretly justifying behavior that bristles with hostility?

9. Do I go to enough AA meetings or read enough AA literature to really keep in touch?

10. Do I share with AA all of me, the bad and the good, accepting as well as giving the help of fellowship?

Let us all go there and discuss how E-aa and us individuals are doing with it, rather than call names and repeat arguments that have been shown to be unhelpful.
If I'm not able to say how I'm working my program today, then I'm not working my program.
The e-AA Group's 7th Tradition link: www.e-aa.org/group_seventh.php
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