What are the principles?

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

Re: What are the principles?

Postby Brock » Sat Jul 23, 2016 11:56 am

...we have recovered from our drink problem yes, but we are still powerless over people, places, things, and situations...I can't stay sober on what I did yesterday all we have is today...as stated all I have is a daily reprieve then my life today goes well...we are not bad people trying to get good we are sick people trying to get better.

Sorry for cherry picking sentences and stringing them together, but your posts I find have a recurring theme of what I call razor edge sobriety. I like to remember when I came in and looked at those scary scrolls, if I had been given an idea like this, 'I can't stay sober on what I did yesterday all we have is today,' I doubt I would have committed to all the writing down and confessing, and might not have been alive to write this. This daily reprieve business is so often taken and floated around, in a way I am sure the founders did not intend, and used to support the stay sober one day at a time theory. Something which the book does not say, live yes, but not stay sober, one day at a time.

If this was true, and I got up this morning and decided not to pray all day, forget the principles, I am going out to cuss and be dishonest act like a real jackass, by this theory I would last one day, then I would get drunk. Well what a crappy program I and every other person would say, I have done the steps and been good for years, but yet all I have is one day. I more agree with one other line you wrote, “for today as stated all I have is a daily reprieve then my life today goes well.” Yes today my life goes well, if I did not seek the understanding of what my higher power would have me do, my day would probably not go very well, and if I continued on this path I don't know how many of those bad days I could take, and have no wish to find out. But those who have found out have been here to report their slip, often a year, and I remember one person said two years, after turning their backs on AA and all it stands for.

Everything in life has a residual effect, when I stop drinking the alcohol takes time to completely leave my system, modern drug tests can detect residue for a long time after stopping most substances, only AA it seems has a one day life spam. This is right up there with the HALT nonsense, I have to work late my relief did not come, no food to eat, me here alone at the guard booth, hungry angry lonely and tired, well that's my sobriety gone I am sure to drink, if I believed AA was such a fragile recovery program I guess I would drink.

We are 'selling' a program of recovery and living to new members, I would not have bought into this if I believed as you say, “we are still powerless over people, places, things, and situations.” And certainly not if I believed “we are sick people trying to get better,” I got better when I recovered, and the book was not lying when it promised me I would no longer be powerless, as it says - “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...We have recovered, and have been given the power to help others.” And the day I start believing that power would evaporate if I were to forget AA for a day or two, is the day I would probably pick up a drink.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."
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Re: What are the principles?

Postby Ksbierman24 » Tue Jul 26, 2016 12:35 pm

Please don't apologize, the program works for the people who work it. That is what matters.

I got sober when I was 14 years old in 1986, my first sobriety date is my only sobriety date. So you see when I say that I only have today it goes back to when I got sober. One day is all I could do. When it came to principals I had none, I had to be taught them one step at a time.

When I say that I can't stay sober on what I did yesterday today I mean just that. All we have is a daily reprieve and it is what I am doing today that matters. What am I doing today to practice the principals? What am I doing today to help the newcomer?

Yes I have recovered my my drink problem but as it states in the book alcohol is subtle foe. If I forget to pray today am I going to get drunk? I don't know, I didn't forget to pray today. All that writing and crying and emotional pain I went through for just that day, for that one day I could do it for a day.

It is really just simple, it is funny how something so simple can be made into something so complicated. If I look at forever, well forever is a really long time I couldn't have gone through everything I went through forever but I could do it for a day.

So yes, I cannot stay sober on what I did yesterday but I can draw from the experience from the days that I have had I practice the simple principals in my life today.

Alcoholics Anonymous is a program of attraction not promotion. I am not trying to sell anything to anyone I am only trying to help the new alcoholic by showing them that there is a different way of living. Where in the Big Book does it say that we are selling the program? No offense but that statement alone is concerning in itself just because we can't make anyone stay sober we can't sell anything to anyone the only we can do is share our experience, strength, and hope with the newcomer by practicing the principals in all of our affairs one day at a time. Just for today.
"Understanding is the key to right principals and attitudes; and right action is the key to good living" pg. 125 12 steps and 12 Traditions
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Re: What are the principles?

Postby Brock » Tue Jul 26, 2016 2:37 pm

Alcoholics Anonymous is a program of attraction not promotion. I am not trying to sell anything to anyone I am only trying to help the new alcoholic by showing them that there is a different way of living. Where in the Big Book does it say that we are selling the program? No offense but that statement alone is concerning in itself just because we can't make anyone stay sober we can't sell anything to anyone the only we can do is share our experience,...

It does not say we are selling the program, this is what I wrote -
We are 'selling' a program of recovery and living to new members, I would not have bought into this if I believed as you say, “we are still powerless over people, places, things, and situations.” And certainly not if I believed “we are sick people trying to get better,” I got better when I recovered,…

By putting the word selling in parenthesis, I thought folks would get the idea, that I did not mean it in the normal sense, but as you say it's attraction not promotion.

I remember in one of your posts you mentioned your sponsor of 25 years passing away, so I assume you are at least 25 years sober, congratulations. In part of the opening quote I like when you say “I am only trying to help the new alcoholic by showing them that there is a different way of living.” Yes I said that as well after my original 'selling' comment, but this 'different' way of living, surely must be put over in such a way to attract new people, that's the whole point.

I repeat the problem I have with your one day reprieve generalizations, let's say I am the new man at my first meeting, nervous like hell probably can't even hold my coffee steady. The chairman says 'let's hear from Ksbierman' and up you go, evening folks I am 25 years sober, clap clap clap, then you proceed with the still powerless over people places and things, can't stay sober on what I did yesterday, we are not bad just sick etc etc. Now keep in mind he is hearing and digesting these negative sounding things, even if you offer positive points in between, the new man registers the negatives like bold print on his mind. Then you end by saying, if you want what we have willing and lengths etc, don't be surprised if you see the new fellow heading for the door, mumbling 'bugger this I am not going to any lengths for a life of powerlessness and one day reprieves,'- and another one bites the dust.

The speaker Chris R pounds this point from time to time, the word powerless is mentioned in the book ONCE, the word power THIRTY NINE times, we are selling something hope and more hope, and speaking about one day reprieves and powerlessness, is the opposite of hope in my opinion. Yes it can be mentioned, but followed immediately by pointing to the scrolls and saying 'when you do those steps you will find the power,' both myself and Stepchild have quoted the very many passages in our book which explain that.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."
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Re: What are the principles?

Postby PuppyEars » Tue Jul 26, 2016 3:09 pm

Ksbierman24 wrote:When I say that I can't stay sober on what I did yesterday today I mean just that.

Hello ksbierman24. This sounds like white knuckle sobriety and I was taught (and apply) the exact opposite. The easiest way for me to explain it is by giving an example.
We create a spiritual bank account. And with each good deed we are making deposits. Good deeds are of course subjective, but it's easy to compare what we used to be like and what we are like now to get a decent list going. The object is to not over draw your spiritual bank because one of the penalties could be to pick up.
But me personally, I have and will stay sober on what I did yesterday.
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Re: What are the principles?

Postby Ksbierman24 » Tue Jul 26, 2016 7:38 pm

Thank you both for your response. This is a simple program and alcoholics are complicated people. How something so simple can be made so complicated.

Brock, in the Doctor's Opinion it states that a man's brain should be clear before he is approached with our way of life rest assured that I am not in meetings sharing in meetings what I am sharing here.

When I share in meetings I share about the feelings of what it was like when i got sober and how I don't feel that way today. I share about how I only had to not drink for just that one day. I share about the hope the I found here, so gentleman, I am going to agree to disagree with you both on this point as I appreciate your opinion but to criticize my recovery which I have worked so hard for and to demean (To demean someone is to insult them. To demean is to degrade or put down a person or thing) my recovery in which I have managed to stay sober one day at time for over 30 years certainly not by white knuckling it.

I thank God and Alcoholics Anonymous for everything that I am today and everything that I have today. So yes I have a daily reprieve. Like any meeting I should be take what I need and leave the rest.
Thank You for the conversation. :)
"Understanding is the key to right principals and attitudes; and right action is the key to good living" pg. 125 12 steps and 12 Traditions
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Re: What are the principles?

Postby ezdzit247 » Tue Jul 26, 2016 8:10 pm

Hi Ksbierman

Congratulations on over 30 years of sobriety--one day at a time! Works for me too!

Have really enjoyed reading your posts on this topic. I totally agree on all points. Look forward to reading your contributions on other topics too.

You got sober at age 14! Outstanding! My original sponsor got sober in California in the 50's and had over 25 years of sobriety when she introduced me to the AA program. I was 29 (felt more like 59)--a youngster to her. I fondly remember that she would often remark as she gazed over the new faces in the meetings we attended: "They're coming in younger and smarter all the time!" Over the years I've met quite a few other AA members who joined AA while still in their teens and I catch myself saying the same thing in my head: "They're coming in younger and smarter all the time!".... :D Our AA founders would be thrilled beyond words and moved to tears to be able to gaze at the faces showing up at YPAA conferences and conventions all across the country these days. I love it!
“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: What are the principles?

Postby PaigeB » Wed Jul 27, 2016 10:36 am

I am going to agree to disagree with you both on this point as I appreciate your opinion but to criticize my recovery which I have worked so hard for and to demean (To demean someone is to insult them. To demean is to degrade or put down a person or thing) my recovery in which I have managed to stay sober one day at time for over 30 years certainly not by white knuckling it.

Sorry about that my friend. It is also contrary to our guidelines! As with any group, there will be folks that have a different slant - the internet might be even more diverse. I appreciate your willingness to accept that difference in others.

Congrats on long term sobriety! I sat next to a fella who had 35 years last night! He has been sober one more year than he was old when he got here (34) is anniversary date is coming up soon. He is a serene fella, who loves to talk about his gardening before the meeting and during the meeting he never fails to encourage the newcomer and speak his gratitude for this program.

I get hope from you guys and whether you did it the way I did or not is irrelevant. It is possible. The skinny scared 30 year old who was at his first meeting last night needed to see that we do not live in yesterday or tomorrow because if we do we end up pizzing all over today. :) Keep coming back!
If I'm not able to say how I'm working my program today, then I'm not working my program.
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Re: What are the principles?

Postby Stepchild » Thu Jul 28, 2016 8:37 am

I don't think anyone it is trying to degrade your sobriety Ksbierman....I think it's vitally important we carry a message that we have found a way out and one that we can absolutely agree on. According to our literature....That is a tremendous fact for us.

I hope you don't take this personally...But I would like to comment on a few things you have shared...For the sake of someone new that may be reading.

Alcoholics Anonymous is a program of attraction not promotion. I am not trying to sell anything to anyone I am only trying to help the new alcoholic by showing them that there is a different way of living. Where in the Big Book does it say that we are selling the program?


You often hear that AA is a program of attraction rather than promotion in meetings or on websites....And you'll see many nodding their heads in agreement. That description actually has nothing to do with the AA program and is referring to our public relations policy and our 11th tradition.

It's also interesting to note....Before the final changes were made...The original manuscript was worded like this...

Our description of the alcoholic, the chapter to the agnostic, and our personal adventures before and after, have been designed to sell you three pertinent ideas:

They sold me.

Another thing that will get the heads nodding in meetings...And you hear quite a bit ...Is that we are powerless over people, places and things. This is not something I believe in nor is it ever suggested in our literature. I'm not real sure where that one came from. I may not have the power to keep someone sober....But I do have the power to help them get there...The book told me that.

As far as what I like to share to someone new...Trying to find that way out....I tend to talk more of this new freedom I have found...Of the problem being removed....Of not existing for us. I don't wake up each day with a plan to remain sober...The thought never even comes up. I follow a simple three step outline for living...Something that has become a working part of my mind. I guess I could promote that all I have is a daily reprieve......But that doesn't give the freedom I have found a fair shake.
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Re: What are the principles?

Postby PaigeB » Thu Jul 28, 2016 10:31 am

I tend to agree that sometimes the feeling of Freedom is not given a fair shake by the "daily reprieve" idea... reprieve from a death sentence ~ so THAT is important to keep in mind. I want to do all I can and use all the tools I have ever used lest I miss the one thing that worked!

And I think you know that I really have a problem with people quoting the words that were changed in the original manuscript like they are more important than the ones that made it into the final draft... Seriously, words that were DROPPED are of particular note only because they were WRONG enough to change!
It's also interesting to note....Before the final changes were made...The original manuscript was worded like this...
Our description of the alcoholic, the chapter to the agnostic, and our personal adventures before and after, have been designed to sell you three pertinent ideas:

This is a program of personal choices. Make your choices and talk about them to others. Then let them make their choices and so on.

The BB makes "suggestions". I can tell you precisely how I recovered without insisting that my sponsees or anyone else follow me precisely. "Let me know how that works for you!" helped me more than I can articulate in a short time - I would have to give numerous examples where my sponsor likely had to pray and have Faith!
If I'm not able to say how I'm working my program today, then I'm not working my program.
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Re: What are the principles?

Postby Stepchild » Thu Jul 28, 2016 11:01 am

PaigeB wrote: The BB makes "suggestions". I can tell you precisely how I recovered without insisting that my sponsees or anyone else follow me precisely. "Let me know how that works for you!" helped me more than I can articulate in a short time - I would have to give numerous examples where my sponsor likely had to pray and have Faith!


I like AA history Paige...Sorry. Just thought it was interesting. But I can't say the wording was changed in some cases because the words were wrong...More like it was done to make them easier to swallow. My opinion.

As far as telling someone new how I recovered...I do like to stress this passage from page 85...Right after we have completed the first 9 steps....

If we have carefully followed directions, we have begun to sense the flow of His Spirit into us. To some extent we have become God-conscious. We have begun to develop this vital sixth sense.

That does carry weight.
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Re: What are the principles?

Postby franciscopasquale » Tue Aug 16, 2016 3:10 am

soul wrote:Hi,

and thank you for the topic on the Principles.

I too have read (several) version of the 12 Principles as Dean wrote it.......and i too, rely on the HOW. I know that even some old AA coing have the H the O and the W in each corner of the triangle.

I personally believe that these phenq reviews are based on the 4 absolutes, Honesty, Unselfishness, Love and Purity -- : Honesty:It is true of false?......... Unselfishness: How will it affect the other fellow?......... Love: Is it ugly or beautiful?........ Purity: Is it right or wrong? --

I often ask myself those four questions to get to the root of my motives in any actions or reactions. I believe that the co-founders relied on the 4 absolutes (originally from the Oxford Group) to write the Big Book and all that followed to convey the message to the still suffering alcoholic.

What do you think?

soul

Totally agree to your principals. Until now I would believed them in this order. But recently in a tv program I saw transformation of a suffering human back to famous celebrity, and it was based on pure love and dedication of his life partner. It touched my heart and everybody watching that program. It changed the sequence in my belief.
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