12/24/08 BB A Vision for You pp 151-153 (The fellowship)

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

12/24/08 BB A Vision for You pp 151-153 (The fellowship)

Postby Karl R » Wed Dec 24, 2008 9:15 am

Good Morning,

On this fine holiday morning I offer the 11th step prayer, a special thought for the traveler, and for the still suffering alcoholic.

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace! That where there is hatred, I may bring love. That where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness. That where there is discord, I may bring harmony. That where there is error, I may bring truth. That where there is doubt, I may bring faith. That where there is despair, I may bring hope. That where there are shadows, I may bring light. That where there is sadness, I may bring joy. Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort, than to be comforted. To understand, than to be understood. To love, than to be loved. For it is by self-forgetting that one finds. It is by forgiving that one is forgiven. It is by dying that one awakens to Eternal Life.

In our last reading we closed the chapter on "To employers"

In today's reading we see the first mention of something called The fellowship of AA.

"I know I must get along without liquor, but how can I? Have you a sufficient substitute?"
Yes, there is a substitute and it is vastly more than that. It is a fellowship in Alcoholics Anonymous. There you will find release from care, boredom and worry. Your imagination will be fired. Life will mean something at last. The most satisfactory years of your existence lie ahead. Thus we find the fellowship, and so will you."


Just to stimulate thought and discussion-Anyone care to share of their ES and H on the fellowship in it's role of a substitute for liquour?


have a great day everyone,

Karl


Chapter 11


A VISION FOR YOU


For most normal folks, drinking means conviviality, companionship and colorful imagination. It means release from care, boredom and worry. It is joyous intimacy with friends and a feeling that life is good. But not so with us in those last days of heavy drinking. The old pleasures were gone. They were but memories. Never could we recapture the great moments of the past. There was an insistent yearning to enjoy life as we once did and a heartbreaking obsession that some new miracle of control would enable us to do it. There was always one more attempt - and one more failure.
The less people tolerated us, the more we withdrew from society, from life itself. As we became subjects of King Alcohol, shivering denizens of his mad realm, the chilling vapor that is loneliness settled down. It thickened, ever becoming blacker. Some of us sought out sordid places, hoping to find understanding companionship and approval. Momentarily we did - then would come oblivion and the awful awakening to face the hideous Four Horsemen - Terror, Bewilderment, Frustration, Despair. Unhappy drinkers who read this page will understand!
Now and then a serious drinker, being dry at the moment says, "I don't miss it at all. Feel better. Work better. Having a better time." As ex-problem drinkers, we smile at such a sally. We know our friend is like a boy whistling in the dark to keep up his spirits. He fools himself. Inwardly he would give anything to take half a dozen drinks and get away with them. He will presently try the old game again, for he isn't happy about his sobriety. He cannot picture life without alcohol. Some day he will be unable to imagine life either with alcohol or without it. Then he will know loneliness such as few do. He will be at the jumping-off place. He will wish for the end.
We have shown how we got out from under. You say, "Yes, I'm willing. But am I to be consigned to a life where I shall be stupid, boring and glum, like some righteous people I see? I know I must get along without liquor, but how can I? Have you a sufficient substitute?"
Yes, there is a substitute and it is vastly more than that. It is a fellowship in Alcoholics Anonymous. There you will find release from care, boredom and worry. Your imagination will be fired. Life will mean something at last. The most satisfactory years of your existence lie ahead. Thus we find the fellowship, and so will you.
"How is that to come about?" you ask. "Where am I to find these people?"
You are going to meet these new friends in your own community. Near you, alcoholics are dying helplessly like people in a sinking ship. If you live in a large place, there are hundreds. High and low, rich and poor, these are future fellows of Alcoholics Anonymous. Among them you will make lifelong friends. You will be bound to them with new and wonderful ties, for you will escape disaster together and you will commence shoulder to shoulder your common journey. Then you will know what it means to give of yourself that others may survive and rediscover life. You will learn the full meaning of "Love thy neighbor as thyself."
Last edited by Karl R on Thu Dec 25, 2008 10:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby jak » Wed Dec 24, 2008 11:46 am

Yes, there is a substitute and it is vastly more than that. It is a fellowship in Alcoholics Anonymous. There you will find release from care, boredom and worry. Your imagination will be fired. Life will mean something at last. The most satisfactory years of your existence lie ahead. Thus we find the fellowship, and so will you.
"How is that to come about?" you ask. "Where am I to find these people?"
You are going to meet these new friends in your own community. Near you, alcoholics are dying helplessly like people in a sinking ship. If you live in a large place, there are hundreds. High and low, rich and poor, these are future fellows of Alcoholics Anonymous. Among them you will make lifelong friends. You will be bound to them with new and wonderful ties, for you will escape disaster together and you will commence shoulder to shoulder your common journey. Then you will know what it means to give of yourself that others may survive and rediscover life. You will learn the full meaning of "Love thy neighbor as thyself."


Thanks Karl,

I have been encouraged to notice the word "in" in the passage above. We are not the fellowship OF Alcoholics Anonymous. We are a fellowship that resides within the larger movement called Alcoholics Anonymous. There is more to A.A. than the members in it.

Yet the fellowship (the people) are a key to my experience and my 'practice' of the Steps and Traditions of A.A. I estimate that the fellowship and the activities of that body is one third of the movement. The writings of Bill W. and the Conference and W.S.O. are another third.

The final third (according to jim k) is prayer and the answers to those prayers. There is a real Power greater than us. That power is at the core of this movement. How can I be as willing as St Francis to pray for my escape from self?

Notice the description of the fellowship we are directed to seek...
future fellows of Alcoholics Anonymous We are to seek the fellowship of new members for our release. Along side the lifelong friends I already have been given I must do all I can to assure that all aspects of A.A. are there for those that are yet to come. And to pull this off we are going to need to continue to study the books, work the Steps, guard the Traditions and pray for Help that is bigger than anything human.

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Re: 12/24/08 BB A Vision for You pp 151-153 (The fellowship)

Postby leejosepho » Fri Oct 30, 2015 2:07 am

Karl R wrote:Anyone care to share of their ES and H on the fellowship in its role of a substitute for liquour?

The spiritual fellowship shared within an autonomous A.A. fellowship within the overall society of alcoholics known as Alcoholics Anonymous is the power of God as you understand God at work in human transformation in substitution for what I had previously continued to seek from alcohol even after it had stopped working for me. Or as my mother had once observed: I have traded one addiction or "crutch" for another and I am now "addicted to spirituality". My own words would be a bit different there, but she and I were still looking at the same elephant and I see no need to quibble over mere perceptions.

When I was new to A.A. and even still today this description of alcohol no longer working as it had fits my case perfectly:

...conviviality, companionship and colorful imagination...release from care, boredom and worry...joyous intimacy...a feeling that life is good...not so with us in those last days of heavy drinking. The old pleasures were gone...an insistent yearning...a heartbreaking obsession...always one more attempt - and one more failure.
...withdrew from society, from life itself...subjects of King Alcohol, shivering denizens...loneliness...sordid places...oblivion... Unhappy drinkers who read this page will understand!

Somehow I had often missed the fact that the good ol' days had always been followed by bad ones.

The first part of this next part of our book always brings to mind for me a certain story told by a comedian from years past:

Now and then a serious drinker, being dry at the moment says, "I don't miss it at all..." ...like a boy whistling in the dark to keep up his spirits...

Yes, there is a substitute...

...learn the full meaning of "Love thy neighbor as thyself."

"Some of us had already walked far over the Bridge of Reason toward the desired shore of faith. The outlines and the promise of the New Land had brought lustre to tired eyes and fresh courage to flagging spirits. Friendly hands had stretched out in welcome. We were grateful that Reason had brought us so far. But somehow, we couldn't quite step ashore..."
"...overwhelmed by a conviction of the Presence of God. It poured over and through him with the certainty and majesty of a great tide at flood. The barriers he had built through the years were swept away. He stood in the Presence of Infinite Power and Love. He had stepped from bridge to shore. For the first time, he lived in conscious companionship with his Creator." (pages 53, 56)
=======================
"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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