PP 18-20 There is a Solution (Sharing One with Another)

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

PP 18-20 There is a Solution (Sharing One with Another)

Postby Karl R » Sat Sep 13, 2008 7:05 am

Good Morning,

Another beautiful day because we are sober and can live in service of one another celebrating our common ties.

I've posted today's selection from There is a Solution below.

Yesterday's selection pointed out that not just the alcoholic is affected by the problem of drink-others are affected also. The first sentence points out that the BB may inform and comfort those who are affected.

Anyone with experience to share on family members finding something in the BB?

We move on to the fact that often only an alcoholic can make sense to another alcoholic. I know in my case this was true. Counselors gave me a total pass on my drinking zeroing in on my wife's anger management. Wife, and children could not talk to me about my drinking although they tried.

The rest of this passage is summed up for me by

"Our very lives, as ex-problem drinkers , depend upon our constant thought of others and how we may help meet their needs."

Our first job is to tend our own garden of sobriety and then when we have that job under control to pass along what we have to others like ourself. As it says our very lives depend on this.

Anyone care to share their experience of sobriety without working the steps or serving others like themselves?

cheers for now and have a great weekend,
Karl

We hope this volume will inform and comfort those who are, or who may be affected. There are many.
Highly competent psychiatrists who have dealt with us have found it sometimes impossible to persuade an alcoholic to discuss his situation without reserve. Strangely enough, wives, parents and intimate friends usually find us even more unapproachable than do the psychiatrist and the doctor.
But the ex-problem drinker who has found this solution, who is properly armed with facts about himself, can generally win the entire confidence of another alcoholic in a few hours. Until such an understanding is reached, little or nothing can be accomplished.
That the man who is making the approach has had the same difficulty, that he obviously knows what he is talking about, that his whole deportment shouts at the new prospect that he is a man with a real answer, that he has no attitude of Holier Than Thou, nothing whatever except the sincere desire towe have found most effective. After such an approach many take up their beds and walk again.
None of us makes a sole vocation of this work, nor do we think its effectiveness would be increased if we did. We feel that elimination of our drinking is but a beginning. A much more important demonstration of our principles lies before us in our respective homes, occupations and affairs. All of us spend much of our spare time in the sort of effort which we are going to describe. A few are fortunate enough to be so situated that they can give nearly all their time to the work.
If we keep on the way we are going there is little doubt that much good will result, but the surface of the problem would hardly be scratched. Those of us who live in large cities are overcome by the reflection that close by hundreds are dropping into oblivion every day. Many could recover if they had the opportunity we have enjoyed. How then shall we present that which has been so freely given us?
We have concluded to publish an anonymous volume setting forth the problem as we see it. We shall bring to the task our combined experience and knowledge. This should suggest a useful program for anyone concerned with a drinking problem.
Of necessity there will have to be discussion of matters medical, psychiatric, social, and religious. We are aware that these matters are, from their very nature, controversial. Nothing would please us so much as to write a book which would contain no basis for contention or argument. We shall do our utmost to achieve that ideal. Most of us sense that real tolerance of other people's shortcomings and viewpoints and a respect for their opinions are attitudes which make us be helpful; that there are no fees to pay, no axes to grind, no people to please, no lectures to be endured - these are the conditions more useful to others. Our very lives, as ex-problem drinkers , depend upon our constant thought of others and how we may help meet their needs.
Last edited by Karl R on Tue Sep 08, 2009 8:04 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: September 13, 2008 BB There is a solution pp 18-20

Postby Blue Moon » Sat Sep 13, 2008 4:00 pm

Karl R wrote:Anyone care to share their experience of sobriety without working the steps or serving others like themselves?


Yes.

My experience of a life without working the steps is that I drank. AA meetings didn't keep me sober very long.
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Re: September 13, 2008 BB There is a solution pp 18-20

Postby Oliver » Sun Sep 14, 2008 2:46 pm

Blue Moon wrote:My experience of a life without working the steps is that I drank. AA meetings didn't keep me sober very long.


That is also my experience. Meeting makers don't always make it - I nearly didn't make it back alive.
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Postby jujub » Sat Oct 25, 2008 8:02 pm

hey all,

i've had a lot of experience working the 1st and 12th step. i've had a bit of difficulty with 2-11. i've put the plug in the jug many times, did some service work (usually when there were a few pats on the back as a reward), went to a lot of meetings over the years. but as the reading says, "We feel that elimination of our drinking is but a beginning." i never got that part before.

today i believe meetings are an integral piece of my recovery, but working the steps around the tables and out in the real world is key. i'm an alcoholic of the type that can't get by with half measures. tried that many times--doesn't work for me. i need to do a thorough housecleaning, make restitution, and develop a relationship with my higher power in order to have a chance at the freedom this way of life promises.

a couple weeks ago i was convinced this would never work for me. i knew there was no higher power that gave a care about me. i knew i was doomed. and welcomed it to be honest. but i was wrong (haven't said that too often). for some reason i saw some events with a greater and more personal clarity than i ever had before. and the gift of willingness fell into my lap. i'm glad i was wrong.

judi, alcoholic
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Postby avaneesh912 » Sun Oct 26, 2008 3:07 am

amazing Judi. like Karl you are one of the new-comers who got lit with the idea that fellowship alone is not going to make our life happy. its interesting, the fellowship is never mentioned until we reach "Vision for you" Chapter.

faith without works is dead. as a real alcoholic, i need to work the steps and see the miracle of the program each day.

thanks for being here and sharing your experience strength and hope. there is power everywhere.
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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Postby ann2 » Sun Oct 26, 2008 12:35 pm

I had a 25% completion rating on the steps for 17 years. I stayed away from the drink, but my unchanged behavior -- unexamined, unseen, unimproved -- had me almost wrecking the gifts that sobriety had brought.

My husband and child and child-to-be would have had to suffer the consequences of my alcoholic thinking if I hadn't found e-AA and gotten my nose rubbed in the fact that the remaining 75% of the steps were awaiting my attention.

I'm pretty sure it was the will of my HP that it worked out this way - I was recovering from a mental illness as well as trying to find a life that would be something to fight for. When the pieces fell together -- when I had a family to care about, when my head was somewhat clear -- I, uh, "coincidentally" managed to get involved in this online group, and get some education in what the program I wanted to pass along really was.

I figured I'd better experience this method of recovery before trying to pass it on, or at least, wanting to do real 12 step work was certainly one of the reasons that i picked up a pen and paper and started in on the 4th step. I was deeply concentrated on it and the steps that followed for months.

When I poked my nose up, everything had changed. Or, well, I had. And I was suddenly able to live this beautiful life just the way it had been handed to me.

Ann
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Postby jujub » Sun Oct 26, 2008 7:18 pm

hey ann,

i can relate to trying to find that life worth fighting for. i've been blessed with the ability to see the difference in my life after only a short period of not drinking and working the 1st 3 steps. and i don't want to give that up. someone at a meeting said today that having a higher power in their life is the "new pair of glasses" chuck c. spoke of. nothing has changed, yet everything has changed.

thank you guys,
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Postby Karl R » Tue Sep 08, 2009 8:14 pm

Good Evening everyone,

We feel that elimination of our drinking is but a beginning. A much more important demonstration of our principles lies before us in our respective homes, occupations and affairs.

I'm reminded by this little passage not to get complacent by the elimination of drinking. Demonstrating the principles in my home, occupation and all my affairs is a much more important thing. Complacency in these matters can create problems in my life and result in unmanageability.

The Big Book question of the day is "what principles do you demonstrate in your home, occupation, and other affairs?"

cheers and good night everyone,
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Postby ann2 » Tue Sep 08, 2009 10:34 pm

Acceptance
Tolerance
Patience
Gratitude
Compassion
Service
Lack of self-centeredness
Seeking God's direction
Understanding
Forgiveness
Action orientation
One Day At A Time
Easy Does It
Let Go Let God
Appreciating the gifts that are all around me
Listening


Ann
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Postby samantha » Wed Sep 09, 2009 1:27 pm

I always remember this passage from the Big Book, something along the lines of our thought life will be placed on a much higher plane when our thinking is cleared of wrong motives (from memory, not exact quote).

I like the concept of thinking about our 'thought life', after all, we spend so much time in our own heads, thinking. Sometimes I catch myself about to do something for reasons of ego, and I can backtrack and think again and not do that thing. I am trying to learn to look at my motives, but I think sometimes in the hurly and burly of life I get caught up in things and it is not until later I realise my motives were suspect.

Self centredness is the big one that I have worked on some, but have a long way to go. Self centredness in my 'thought life' drives me to distractions sometimes.

I have developed a relationship with my higher power, and I have seen the positive effect on my daughter, who has, from her comments, begun to embrace the concept of 'God'. This is a huge gift from the program.

Gratitude is something that I think I now have, and I am truly grateful for the little things, like having running hot water so that I can enjoy a relaxing bath, a roof over my head, the beauty of nature, a warm bed to sleep in ... lots of things. But I know I can lose this if I don't continue to focus on the positive and the spiritual each day.

Sorry, this is a very rambling post. Just want to say how much I appreciate all these posts on this Big Book forum, it is just wonderful.


(Rambling) Sam :)
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Re: PP 18-20 There is a Solution (Sharing One with Another)

Postby leejosepho » Tue Mar 20, 2012 11:50 am

Highly competent psychiatrists who have dealt with us have found it sometimes impossible to persuade an alcoholic to discuss his situation without reserve. Strangely enough, wives, parents and intimate friends usually find us even more unapproachable than do the psychiatrist and the doctor.
But the ex-problem drinker who has found this solution, who is properly armed with facts about himself, can generally win the entire confidence of another alcoholic in a few hours. Until such an understanding is reached, little or nothing can be accomplished.

So true in my own case, and I will always be amazed by how that all played out for me. A therapist I had begun seeing early in my drinking later discovered himself to be alcoholic also ... and that changed everything for both of us. Where neither of us had previously said anything about anyone's drinking, he ultimately became the one who answered my question as to why I could not stop!

That the man who is making the approach has had the same difficulty, that he obviously knows what he is talking about, that his whole deportment shouts at the new prospect that he is a man with a real answer, that he has no attitude of Holier Than Thou, nothing whatever except the sincere desire to be helpful; that there are no fees to pay, no axes to grind, no people to please, no lectures to be endured - these are the conditions we have found most effective. After such an approach many take up their beds and walk again.

After that man had helped me see I was alcoholic, he sent me to A.A. and told me I did not need to come back.

None of us makes a sole vocation of this work, nor do we think its effectiveness would be increased if we did.

I never saw that man in any of the meetings I attended, but I do know he ultimately moved to a different type of work at the professional level in order to avoid being a so-called "two-hatter".

... All of us spend much of our spare time in the sort of effort which we are going to describe. A few are fortunate enough to be so situated that they can give nearly all their time to the work.

Today I am grateful for the time I can spend here at e-AA.

If we keep on the way we are going there is little doubt that much good will result, but the surface of the problem would hardly be scratched ...

Word-of-mouth was "the way we [were] going" when this following question arose:

How then shall we [more-broadly] present that which has been so freely given us?
We have concluded to publish an anonymous volume setting forth the problem as we see it.

Other folks might see things differently, but we see alcoholism as a two-fold condition -- mental obsession plus physical allergy -- amongst spiritually-sick people in need of a spiritual solution.

Note: I say "two-fold" there because spiritual sickness is common to all of mankind and is not exclusively-unique to alcoholics.

We shall bring to the task our combined experience and knowledge ...

No mere theories or useless opinions in our book ...

This should suggest a useful program for anyone concerned with a drinking problem.

Dr. Silkworth seems to agree:

"All [alcoholics] have one symptom in common: they cannot start drinking without developing the phenomenon of craving ...
"The only relief we have to suggest is entire abstinence ...
"What is the solution? ...
"I earnestly advise every alcoholic to read this book through, and though perhaps he came to scoff, he may remain to pray." (William D. Silkworth, M.D., emphasis added)

Of necessity there will have to be discussion of matters medical, psychiatric, social, and religious. We are aware that these matters are, from their very nature, controversial. Nothing would please us so much as to write a book which would contain no basis for contention or argument. We shall do our utmost to achieve that ideal.

We could possibly have some really good discussion about all of that! While we A.A.s have no A.A. opinions to state on matters medical, psychiatric, social, or religious outside of A.A., we surely do have much experience to share in relation to them here on the inside!

Most of us sense that real tolerance of other people's shortcomings and viewpoints and a respect for their opinions are attitudes which make us be helpful ...

... and we say that without ever suggesting those actual shortcomings, viewpoints or opinions are helpful. Rather, we have simply found this to be true:

... no fees to pay, no axes to grind, no people to please, no lectures to be endured - these are the conditions more useful to others. Our very lives, as ex-problem drinkers, depend upon our constant thought of others and how we may help meet their needs.

After all, even "Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely." (page 58) So today, we just try to do for others as others have done for us ... and even as the good doctor had first suggested:

"... ask him to read this book ... he must decide for himself whether he wants to go on." (page 95)
=======================
"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)
=======================
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Re: PP 18-20 There is a Solution (Sharing One with Another)

Postby PaigeB » Thu Mar 22, 2012 12:05 am

Early in my recovery I went to meetings where I often saw a guy who introduced himself saying, "I have proven to myself that I am an alcoholic." He was also known for saying, "I have never known someone who was actively working a step to go out and get drunk."

I make sure that I make it to meetings - I also make sure that I am working a Step. And it seems that whatever Step I am on it works right into resolving the problems at hand. Just the thought of working the Steps inspiring humility and gratitude in me.

.. no fees to pay, no axes to grind, no people to please, no lectures to be endured - these are the conditions more useful to others. Our very lives, as ex-problem drinkers, depend upon our constant thought of others and how we may help meet their needs.


Humbling to know that I can help them.
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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Re: PP 18-20 There is a Solution (Sharing One with Another)

Postby leejosepho » Sun Oct 11, 2015 3:25 am

PaigeB wrote:Early in my recovery I went to meetings where I often saw a guy who introduced himself saying, "I have proven to myself that I am an alcoholic."

It would be interesting to hear more about how that member had proven to himself that he is an alcoholic, but I can imagine that realization had come about in much the same way as for many of us: We could not control our drinking while drinking, and neither could we stay sober after we had stopped. And of course, today we even have two "tests" or "checks" we can suggest in relation to that:

allergy: "...try some controlled drinking...to drink and stop abruptly...more than once...get a full knowledge of your condition." (pages 31-32)

obsession: "...try leaving liquor alone for one year. If he is a real alcoholic and very far advanced, there is scant chance of success." (page 34)

In my own case, I had "fully conceded to my innermost self" (page 30) that both of those were true about myself before I had ever even heard of A.A. -- in essence, I had already taken Step One -- but I had no idea as to why those things were happening since neither had I ever heard about their being symptoms of alcoholism. Whenever I had heard the term "alcoholic", the only thing ever coming to mind for me was that I never drank cheap wine from a bottle in a paper bag at the end of an alley. In and of itself, my own mind or brain was incapable of "grasping and developing" anything beyond the obvious fact that dealing with my inability to avoid the first drink that always led to more drinking was beyond the ability of my own mind or brain. I was powerless, defeated, seemingly hopeless and could not manage my own way of out my mess.

I eventually came to A.A. after a former therapist of mine -- a recent "two-hatter", by his own definition -- had answered a question of mine by saying the reason I could not stay sober after stopping was because I was alcoholic...and then he answered my next question by saying A.A. is where something could be done about that. We never talked about the allergy, but that did not matter since I had no desire to even try doing anything about that anyway.

PaigeB wrote:Humbling to know that I can help them.

Yes, and there is where some in-depth study of our book has since proved helpful to me. For example:

"...the ex-problem drinker who has found this solution, who is properly armed with facts about himself, can generally win the entire confidence of another alcoholic in a few hours. Until such an understanding (inter-personal identification by sharing our experiences with the symptoms) is reached, little or nothing can be accomplished." (page 18)

In a comparison format, here is part of that as from the first draft of our book:

"...the ex-problem drinker who...is properly armed with certain medical information..." (first draft)
"...the ex-problem drinker who...is properly armed with facts about himself..." (as our book reads today)

And for perspective:

"Doctors are rightly loath to tell alcoholic patients the whole story unless it will serve some good purpose. But you may talk to him about the hopelessness of alcoholism because you offer a solution." (page 92)

And so...

"...the ex-problem drinker who has found this solution, who is properly armed with facts about himself, can generally win the entire confidence of another alcoholic..."

How all of that fits together can be quite obvious today, and we can, if we wish, thank Bill, Bob and the others for sorting it all out!
=======================
"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)
=======================
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Re: PP 18-20 There is a Solution (Sharing One with Another)

Postby ann2 » Sun Oct 11, 2015 4:18 am

It's a truth that still has meaning for me 28 years along in this journey, constantly rediscovering the action of illness and applying the treatment. I think it's eternally meaningful for me because I'm alcoholic, and I need to realize over and over again the reality of my condition in order to live sober.

Am
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