12/6/08 BB The family afterwards pp 123-125 (our assets)

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

12/6/08 BB The family afterwards pp 123-125 (our assets)

Postby Karl R » Sat Dec 06, 2008 10:52 am

Good Day,

Thanks to all who come here to read and to share.

" HP, help me to understand my past as my greatest asset in helping the still suffering alcoholic and their families."

Yesterday's reading considered patience and the mutual giving which begins to occur among our family and friends as we recover.

Today's reading (below in red) talks about what our greatest assets are as alcoholics and families of alcoholics. Our greatest asset in AA is our experiences. I've often heard people say that they are "grateful" alcoholics. What they mean is that they are grateful to have had the experiences which allow them to share with still suffering alcoholics. We identify with those that have had the same experience. It took me a bit to understand that. Don't dwell in the past but don't forget it either. It was placed there for me to use in helping others.

Anyone care to share their ES and H concerning gratitude and/or our principle assets?

Have a great weekend everyone,

Now and then the family will be plagued by spectres from the past, for the drinking career of almost every alcoholic has been marked by escapades, funny, humiliating, shameful or tragic. The first impulse will be to bury these skeletons in a dark closet and padlock the door. The family may be possessed by the idea that future happiness can be based only upon forgetfulness of the past. We think that such a view is self-centered and in direct conflict with the new way of living.
Henry Ford once made a wise remark to the effect that experience is the thing of supreme value in life. That is true only if one is willing to turn the past to good account. We grow by our willingness to face and rectify errors and convert them into assets. The alcoholic's past thus becomes the principal asset of the family and frequently it is almost the only one!
This painful past may be of infinite value to other families still struggling with their problem. We think each family which has been relieved owes something to those who have not, and when the occasion requires, each member of it should be only too willing to bring former mistakes, no matter how grievous, out of their hiding places. Showing others who suffer how we were given help is the very thing which makes life seem so worth while to us now. Cling to the thought that, in God's hands, the dark past is the greatest possession you have - the key to life and happiness for others. With it you can avert death and misery for them.
It is possible to dig up past misdeeds so they become a blight, a veritable plague. For example, we know of situations in which the alcoholic or his wife have had love affairs. In the first flush of spiritual experience they forgave each other and drew closer together. The miracle of reconciliation was at hand. Then, under one provocation or another, the aggrieved one would unearth the old affair and angrily cast its ashes about. A few of us have had these growing pains and they hurt a great deal. Husbands and wives have sometimes been obliged to separate for a time until new perspective, new victory over hurt pride could be re-won. In most cases, the alcoholic survived this ordeal without relapse, but not always. So we think that unless some good and useful purpose is to be served, past occurrences should not be discussed.
Last edited by Karl R on Sun Dec 07, 2008 10:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Oliver » Sat Dec 06, 2008 5:17 pm

Again this reminds me of something from the promises:- "We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. [..] No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others." (p83-4).

When I came in and read that statement I point black refused to believe that it would ever become a reality in my life. Basically, I was rooted in self-centredness and selfishness. I was so selfish that I wouldn't have cared about how my experience could have helped somebody else, it was (I felt) so disgusting that I wouldn't ever want to share about it.

My view has changed and today this promise is in my life. I am in some ways glad of my drinking past as the basis of my identification with AA, and I hope that somebody will (or already has) identified with something in my life. My experience now encompasses not only the dark disgusting depths of alcoholism, but also the grace of recovery and the struggles that I have had in the programme. In short my experience is that there is a solution to the problem.
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Re: 12/6/08 BB The family afterwards pp 123-125 (our assets)

Postby leejosepho » Sat Oct 17, 2015 2:30 am

Henry Ford once made a wise remark to the effect that experience is the thing of supreme value in life...[turning] the past to good account.

Edison essentially said he eventually stumbled upon a working light bulb while discovering materials and assembly processes that did *not* work!

Experience seems to be a very-patient teacher: We are allowed to repeat each lesson in life just as often as necessary while learning what does not work as well as what does. Then in turning our past to good account, we share with others what we have learned for their considerations while affording them the same option even we have always had of being the wiser man who learns from the experiments and experiences of others.
"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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