BBS (10/21/17) continued - BILL'S STORY

The book Alcoholics Anonymous, aka The Big Book, is the basic text for the AA program of sobriety. "Alcoholics Anonymous" Copyright 2012 AAWS, Inc. All Rights, Reserved. Short excerpts used by permission of AAWS

BBS (10/21/17) continued - BILL'S STORY

Postby odat12 » Sat Oct 21, 2017 5:23 am

As a continuation from BBS (10/18/17) - The Doctor's Opinion, we will continue with Bill's Story...
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Re: BBS (10/21/17) continued - BILL'S STORY

Postby jenko » Thu Nov 02, 2017 3:18 pm

In many ways, I am very different from Bill - I wasn’t alive in the 1920’s, I’m a woman, I’m not a stockbroker, I suck at golf, and I didn’t fight in a war. However, I can still relate to much of what Bill felt.

As I reread this chapter today, what struck me was how I could relate to how Bill ran his life on self-will, never considering the greater good or anyone else in his decisions. This changed, of course, after his spiritual experience. But it’s very evident that Bill was like many alcoholics who have what is called “self-will run riot”

I fancied myself a leader, for had not the men of my battery given me a special token of appreciation? My talent for leadership, I imagined, would place me at the head of vast enterprises which I would manage with the utmost assurance.

I'd prove to the world I was important.

Though my drinking was not yet continuous, it disturbed my wife. We had long talks when I would still her forebodings by telling her that men of genius conceived their best projects when drunk; that the most majestic constructions of philosophic thought were so derived.

Living modestly, my wife and I saved $1,000. It went into certain securities, then cheap and rather unpopular.

I failed to persuade my broker friends to send me out looking over factories and managements, but my wife and I decided to go anyway. 

For the next few years fortune threw money and applause my way. I had arrived. My judgment and ideas were followed by many to the tune of paper millions. 

The remonstrances of my friends terminated in a row and I became a lone wolf.

As I drank, the old fierce determination to win came back.

The turning point is when his friend visits and talks about a spiritual solution, and the idea that Bill can choose his own conception of God. That is when Bill realizes how much self-will has dictated his life and blocked him from God:

The real significance of my experience in the Cathedral burst upon me. For a brief moment, I had needed and wanted God. There had been a humble willingness to have Him with me - and He came. But soon the sense of His presence had been blotted out by worldly clamors, mostly those within myself. And so it had been ever since. How blind I had been.

I really like how this circles back to the opening of the story and the doggerel on the tombstone.
Jennifer K. :)
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Re: BBS (10/21/17) continued - BILL'S STORY

Postby avaneesh912 » Tue Nov 07, 2017 4:19 pm

This statement really resonated with my belief system until I drove my ass to aground:

We had long talks when I would still her forebodings by telling her that men of genius conceived their best projects when drunk; that the most majestic constructions philosophic thought were so derived.

In fact, had a conversation with my immediate supervisor and the VP standing the hallway about having beer and working from home I was more productive. Until it slowly turned into almost a entire day of engaging in drinking and eventually not being able to be on conference calls in the afternoon, because I will be so drunk.

Also the way he conveys the inability to stay stopped on his own will. Its such an amazing story how he portrays the progressive nature of the disease and how he first relies on his will and eventually giving up and realizing that he has been run by alcohol.
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: BBS (10/21/17) continued - BILL'S STORY

Postby Mickholic » Wed Sep 19, 2018 5:34 am

Like the OP I was considerably different to Bill in my life story. I didn't ahcove anything, my life crashed on take off, and I came into AA an uneducated child. Yet his story is compelling when I look at how he drank and how he recovered. It is pretty interesting how Ebby was taking him through the steps while he was still in Towns Hospital, just a few days sober, and he has his spiritual experience.

But the part that really cae home to me much later in the journey was page 14 (I think) where Ebby is letting Bill know what is required for permanent sobriety:

"My friend had emphasized the absolute necessity of demonstrating these principles in all my affairs. Particularly was it imperative to work with others as he had worked with me. Faith without works was dead, he said. And how appallingly true for the alcoholic! For if an alcoholic failed to perfect and enlarge his spiritual life through work and self-sacrifice for others, he could not survive the certain trials and low spots ahead. If he did not work, he would surely drink again, and if he drank, he would surely die. Then faith would be dead indeed. With us it is just like that."

This came home to me after the death of my wife. I was 27 years sober at that point, 25 at the start of her illness, and the miraculous thing that I realised after she had passed on, was that it never once occured to me to take a drink. Strangel another friend of similar sobriety got the same bad news about her husband and drank immediately.

Why did we react so differently? I couldn't find a better explanation than what Ebby told Bill, all those years ago. When I looked at my spiritual life through that period, I had solid foundations in place through the steps, I was regular at my home group, and I was sponsoring a couple of guys. Nothing earth shattering, not setting any records.

My friend had been to way more meetings than me and had not found it too difficult to stay sober. She hadn't really felt any need to take the steps, and didn't feel she could sponsor anyone. In all fairness, her approach had worked well for a very long period of time, while things were going OK, but when the bad thing happened, as Ebby told Bill it was certain to, having not found the new solution, she naturally reverted to the old.

I have found over the years, as my experience has grown, so has the common ground with the Big Book. I didn't relate to Bill at the start, but now, in the light of experience, his story rings absolutely true for me.
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