AA History -- Nancy O.

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ezdzit247
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AA History -- Nancy O.

Post by ezdzit247 » Thu Jul 09, 2015 11:42 am

Nancy O. entered New York A.A. in 1944 at the age of 31 and helped formulate AA's 12 Traditions

A.A. Grapevine, June 1995 -- "From wagon trains to jets"
A Lifetime of Sobriety

My first real contact with Alcoholics Anonymous was made in Yonkers, New York, where I grew up. I had an asthmatic sister in the hospital; she told me that she was dying and she wanted me to raise her eight children.

We had two other sisters, but for some reason she wanted me to raise these kids. "There's only one thing, Nancy," she said. "You're going to have to stop drinking." "Katharine," I said, "you'll just have to stay alive because I will never stop drinking. Furthermore, if I had never taken a drink in my life and was confronted with raising eight kids -- I'd start!" She began to laugh, and she laughed so hard she coughed up all the congestion, and her lungs cleared up, and she left the hospital. All the nuns (it was a Catholic hospital) were saying, "It's a miracle." "No," I said, "it was me."

I knew I had a drinking problem; I knew drinking in bed wasn't social drinking. But I had an image to maintain. I was a decorator; I had to look good. I put a lot of money into clothes, beauty shops, and massages. I had to look rich and that was some job. I haven't worked so hard since. My husband belonged to three golf courses, I belonged to three bars, and I never let his golf interfere with my drinking. I had terrible hangovers but I'd take care of them with the hair of the dog that bit me. I kept a stash of booze in a roasting pan in the kitchen. I made sure I always had a backup. I couldn't stop drinking and I knew it; I also knew that I'd drink for the rest of my life. I loved to drink. I only felt normal when I drank; when I wasn't drinking, I felt very, very weird. When I came into AA, they asked me if I took a morning drink. "No," I said, "I don't get up in the morning. But I take a drink as soon as I get up."

My sister Katharine tried everything to get me sober. One day she came to my house with a chocolate cake; a doctor had told her that what alcoholics really wanted was sugar not booze. So there I was in bed, about halfway through a bottle, and I couldn't wait to get rid of Katharine and she knew it. "If you'll eat a piece of this cake," she said, "I'll leave you to your drinking." "I can't eat the cake," I said, "but give me the Manhattan telephone directory -- there's an outfit in New York called Alcoholics Anonymous that has a bead on this drinking thing. I'll call them and see what they do." Then Katharine told me that her husband's best friend was an A.A. member, and she asked me if I'd like to see him. I said yes just to get her out of the room.

I don't know how it happened, but I didn't finish that bottle, and somehow I got up, got dressed, and waited for Mr. A.A. He didn't show then and he didn't show the next day. On the third day, I called my sister and said, "Where is this genius who's going to stop my drinking?" She said, "He and his fellow members are discussing whether or not you qualify for AA." I had a short fuse, and I was incensed that anyone would think I wasn't eligible for A.A. Later, the man's ten-year-old son came over with the Big Book in a brown paper bag; he shoved it at me and ran. I liked children, and I was disturbed that he was so scared of me.

I read the book from cover to cover; I couldn't put it down. I saw myself on every page. And the stories: I could see that the way they drank was the way I drank. I could see that it had gone bad on them and I knew it had gone bad on me too. I put the book in the fireplace behind the logs -- it was summertime -- because I didn't want anyone in the house to read it and decide I ought to join. I didn't want to join. I had looked at the Twelve Steps and I didn't think a spiritual way of life was for me.

I continued to drink until the fall of that year. Then one morning I was having a very hard time of it, and I called my brother-in-law's friend, the A.A. member. "You know," I told him, "I read that entire book. I know all there is to know about alcoholism; I'm very well informed. So how come I'm still drinking?" He didn't answer my question, but he asked me if I'd like to go to a meeting that night. I said, "I don't know. What's it like?" He said, "Everyone there will be just like you -- an alcoholic. You'll feel very comfortable." I said , "What do they look like?" and he said, "They look just like you." "Well," I said, "they must be gorgeous!"

I went with him to the meeting. There weren't any women. This was 1944 and there were maybe a total of three or four women in New York, and that was it. There were six men at this meeting -- three lawyers, a butcher, a cop, and a guy who worked in a malt factory who said he couldn't stay sober because the malt went into his pores. That was solved easily enough -- we got him another job. I loved it; they were wonderful men. I decided that they were far too wonderful to have to stay sober. "Give me three months," I told them, "and I'll get us all out of this." I thought that if we had all crossed over this invisible line, I could find that line and we could all cross back again! They knew I was an alcoholic and they just let me go about my business.

Taking it on the road

I decided to do some research, to interview AA members. There weren't many meetings in those days; you had to travel. I covered a radius of about 100 miles, which included Manhattan, Long Island, Westchester County, Albany, and parts of New Jersey and Connecticut. I'd go to meetings, listen to the stories, pick the best one, and interview that person. This was hard work and I was plenty thirsty -- it was nuts. In about three months, I came to the conclusion that:

1. It was the first drink that activated the obsession -- if I took that first drink, I was gone.

2. Alcoholism is progressive -- once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic.

I talked it over with the membership. I told them yes, I knew I would have to quit, but I was only thirty-one and I wanted to wait until I was in my forties. They didn't tell me no. They told me to put my car up on blocks -- don't drive. A fellow who happened to be a guard at a woman's hospital told me that if I landed in jail, he knew someone who could get me out. Meanwhile, this thing kept hammering in my brain: "What are you waiting for? What are you waiting for?"

Suddenly I decided it would be a good idea if I became a member of A.A.. I wrote an acceptance note, like you would do for a wedding invitation: "Nancy O. accepts with pleasure the kind invitation of Alcoholics Anonymous to become a member." Along with the acceptance, I put a clean piece of paper that would be a letter of resignation if I slipped (everyone in those days talked about slips because a lot of us were slipping).

Nobody ever gave me a hard time, nobody tried to reform me. How smart can you get? They knew how it was with me because they knew how it was with themselves. It was love. And all of sudden -- sober now -- there was this tug at my heart, the love of one alcoholic for another. ...

"I'll remember you for the rest of my life"

At three months I had to speak -- everybody did. I had to go over to Jersey. I was sick and nervous, throwing up all day, and I called Lois K., my sponsor, and asked, "Why is this good for alcoholics?" She said, "You're thinking about impressing them tonight -- that's not the purpose. The purpose is to help one other person in the room, if you can." When I spoke that night, I told the group what my sponsor had said and how nervous I felt. After the meeting, a blind woman came up and asked me, "May I feel your face?" She touched my face and she said, "I knew you looked like that. I'll remember you for the rest of my life." I went home and cried for an hour and a half, to think that I could help someone who was blind and in an alcoholic mess. For the first time in my life, I realized I had done something worthwhile. That was my first taste of humility.

Working with others

When I was new, I was the only woman around, so team leaders would call me up to be on their team to speak with them. My family was having fits because I was doing this, and finally they said to me, "Nobody has ever disgraced us like this." I said, "No, we all died, and I want to live." One person said to me, "It's like wearing a sign on your back, Nancy." Well, I took exception to that, so I went out and bought a fire-engine-red dress. Whenever I spoke, I'd say, "The reason I'm wearing this red dress is because there might be a woman around, and I don't want her to miss me in the crowd. I just want her to know I'm here, I'm for her, and I'm with her."

Lois K. had been sober for four years when she became my sponsor. She lived in White Plains, and I lived in Yonkers; I asked her if I could call her and that started the relationship. We were in touch every day, and we did a lot of Twelfth Step work together, helping women in Westchester County, and it was hard. The first women's meeting was at my house. It was Lois who came up with idea for the Grapevine. Lois was also very involved with her sponsor, Marty M., and the National Council on Alcoholism. I could have been, but I never cared for the idea. I liked working with alcoholics in AA better.

My group was very active working with alcoholics in jails and hospitals and mental hospitals. One day I went to see a woman in the hospital, and on my way out, her psychiatrist asked to speak to me. He told me that his parents had spent thousands of dollars on his education, and the woman I'd just seen wouldn't say two words to him. He wanted to know why he was failing and I was succeeding. I told him that I had a story and he didn't. He had the education, but I was an alcoholic with a story that she identified with and understood. I talked to the woman, told her to cooperate with the doctor, and maybe she could be helped by him. I did Twelfth Step work with this doctor for five years; we did a lot of good work with alcoholics. I said to him, "Don't ask them why they drink. They don't know. They expect you to know, and you don't know either -- nobody does. So don't ask them."

Keeping it green

I'd give people the Big Book and tell them to read what I'd underlined because I knew they wouldn't read the whole book at first. I'd underline parts like the jaywalker, the Steps, "no human power," and anything I thought they could identify with. This would prompt them to go on and read the rest of the book, and then they'd call me. It helped me a great deal, and it still helps me. It keeps my sobriety green, it keeps it alive. I'm not one who says, Let the newcomers do it. There's plenty of work for old-timers. I haven't been into jails for a while, but I'm still doing hospital work.

The second woman I ever sponsored was a prostitute. She was always landing in jail, and they would remand her to my custody. I didn't care that she was a prostitute but I did care that she was an alcoholic. One time I called the jail to tell her I'd come and pick her up. "Wait 'til this afternoon," she said, "I'm playing cards with the warden and I have him on the hook for a few dollars." After she got sober and embarked on a spiritual way of life, her life began to change. She got a job, and later she moved to a new place, where nobody knew her, and started a group. Another gal I went to see in jail greeted me with, "St. Paul was in jail, you know." "Yeah," I said, "but not for burning tents." She was in because she had burned her apartment and been labeled a pyromaniac. I explained to her jailers that she was an alcoholic -- possibly a pyromaniac too but definitely an alcoholic. I'd been to her apartment and taken out a bushel basket full of bottles from underneath her mattress. She was a schoolteacher, a very, very quiet woman. I took her to meetings with me, and then she went back home to start a group of her own. That's how AA grew in those days. That's how we helped each other.

Once a man came over from Bronxville to ask our group to help him start a group there. During the discussion that followed, someone said, "There are too many snobs in Bronxville. Nobody will come to a group there." I said, "I don't see why snobbery should carry the death penalty. I think we should give this man our support." Later on the man thanked me, and when I asked why he was thanking me, he said, "Because I'm a Bronxville snob."

Growing through trial and error

At this time, we called AA a loosely-knit organization. I said, "It's so loosely knit we're all going to fall through!" It wasn't an organization because nobody could organize us. We wouldn't accept any outside contributions because we didn't want anyone telling us what to do. There were no leaders, so we had to figure it out for ourselves, and that was mighty difficult.

There were many differences of opinion, and that's the way the Fellowship grew. Let someone get a resentment and we'd have a new group! For instance, there was a woman who baked a cake every week; we called it a nut cake -- good name for it! -- but some people didn't think it was a good idea, so we had a controversy over this foolish cake. Those who wanted the cake stayed, and those who didn't, left and started another group.

I remember I called my first sponsor one time and exclaimed, "I don't know what I'm doing!" "None of us do," she replied. We used to take alcoholics off stools in bars and bring them to meetings drunk. Finally somebody said, "I don't think we're doing the right thing." And then the publicity problems -- alcoholics bragging about how they saved this one and that one. We made a lot of mistakes. On the basis of our mistakes, Bill W. put together the Twelve Traditions. He did it with a whole lot of help from all of us. The early members brought us one Tradition at a time, in the long form -- for our group conscience and vote. We discussed each one, took out anything that we didn't want, made amendments, and then voted. I consider the Twelve Traditions to be the foundation of AA. There were a great many other things that contributed to this foundation, but this was the first really progressive step for our Fellowship.

A twenty-four-hour program

When I was about seven years sober, I started doing Twelfth Step work with alcoholics who were in relapse, and I did this exclusively for the next seven years. The first question I would ask someone was, "Were you on the twenty-four-hour program?" I never got a yes. You work differently with relapsers; they've been around AA, they know people, they know open meetings, they know closed meetings, they know names. Sometimes they're well-known because they used to do a lot of Twelfth Step work themselves. When I was living in Westchester, I'd pick people up and take them into Manhattan to one of the big meetings. This was 1951 or later. I'd say, "We're going to sit in the back; never mind the speaker, just look around the room and tell yourself that all these people are getting sober. They don't know me, they've never seen me before in their lives, they're just getting sober the way I am. And if I practice the AA program, I'll get sober too." I would never talk about anything except getting re-established as a member of A.A. that and the twenty-four-hour program -- and so I was forced to practice it.

There's probably nothing more important than a home group. I've been going to the same home group since I moved to California, thirteen years ago. I couldn't have gotten sober without a home group. What I like about a home group is this: you never have to make a decision, it's automatic. You know that's where you're going. This is where the Twelfth Step gets fulfilled, in all meetings really, but particularly in the home group. That's where we reach out to newcomers, we greet people. Everything comes out of the home group: invitations to speak, people to sponsor, being active in AA -- it all comes out of the home group.

From wagon trains to jets

I sometimes get asked if AA has changed since I first encountered it, and I think how, when I came in, people were fascinated by the wagon train feeling of AA -- that we were small, and all knew one another, and were close despite our differences. Now it's like the Concorde jet. It's fast. People come in, they get sober or they go out, they get busy with life, they move away, they go to other groups. When I came in, the membership was estimated at 5,000. Today you and I are members of an international Fellowship of more than two million alcoholics. Think about that! When we go to sleep tonight, there will be alcoholics working with each other somewhere in the world. It never stops. That's a long way from 1944, when I came in. One thing will never change, though: I need you just as much as you need me. We need each other -- and our Higher Power. That's where the strength is.

Nancy O., Lafayette, Calif.
Last edited by ezdzit247 on Thu Jul 09, 2015 2:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: AA History -- Nancy O.

Post by avaneesh912 » Thu Jul 09, 2015 11:51 am

1. It was the first drink that activated the obsession -- if I took that first drink, I was gone.

2. Alcoholism is progressive -- once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic.

She says she read the big book cover to cover and arrived at this conclusion? The first drink is the problem? Probably this is the understanding that was passed down to all the people she worked with. Any spiritual text is better studied with the help of people who have a thorough knowledge/undestanding of the text otherwise we could be in a dangerous spot.
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: AA History -- Nancy O.

Post by Tom S » Fri Jul 10, 2015 6:20 am

Wow
What a great read.
Thank you.
Pretty humbling...

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Re: AA History -- Nancy O.

Post by clouds » Fri Jul 10, 2015 7:20 am

avaneesh,

Once an alcoholic always an alcoholic was what they told me too

and it worked. Everyday is a great day if when I go to bed at night I didnt take a drink, no matter what else happened.

Because its a disease that I will always have, that fact is not gonna change.

Some days life is not any better than just being sober, but its the being sober that makes it a great day.

Some other days sre so fantastic and beautiful I can hardly believe they are true. ( No, I have never been diagnosed as manic depressive) :lol:
" Burn the idea into the consciousness of every man that he can get well regardless of anyone. The only condition is that he trust in God and clean house." page 98 A.A.

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Re: AA History -- Nancy O.

Post by avaneesh912 » Fri Jul 10, 2015 7:58 am

I am talking about this.

It was the first drink that activated the obsession -- if I took that first drink, I was gone.


The powerlessness according to her is After she takes the first drink whereas the Powerlessness of an Alcoholic is before we take that first drink. Read page 23 the first full paragraph. And then read couple of paragraph prior to Jeff the accountent story in More about alcoholism.
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: AA History -- Nancy O.

Post by clouds » Fri Jul 10, 2015 8:40 am

Avaneesh,

Well, to be honest, she's talking about a very early impression she got. Possibly that isnt ALL she got at the time either.
She, like a lot of us, saw that she lost allpower to stop after taking a drink, a situation I sure can id with.

We just don't know what else she might have also thought about powerlessness over alcohol.

Its more than probable she would have a lot more to say about powerlessness over drink.

It seems likeyou are scouring around for things to make your point.


No real need to do that friend!

What is it about this lack of understanding you sense on the aspect of powerlessness that threatens you?
" Burn the idea into the consciousness of every man that he can get well regardless of anyone. The only condition is that he trust in God and clean house." page 98 A.A.

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Re: AA History -- Nancy O.

Post by avaneesh912 » Fri Jul 10, 2015 9:15 am

What is it about this lack of understanding you sense on the aspect of powerlessness that threatens you?
This is the problem with the world today. Why do you think its threatening me? Why can't I genuinely be sharing the fact that the main problem of the alcoholic is not the first drink? Its the preceding state of the mind that we need to watch for. We hear the first step is the most important step that we need to work. But I have a different take on it. Its the realization of the powerlessness that is important and that what is it we are powerless over is the key. Is it the mind or the 1st drink? It makes a big difference.
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: AA History -- Nancy O.

Post by Tosh » Fri Jul 10, 2015 9:33 am

Avaneesh, I agree with you, "Bottles were only a symbol" (BB p103). But teachings have to be appropriate to the stage of spiritual growth. On page 84, following the 9th Step promises and into the 10th Step it says:
We will seldom be interested in liquor. If tempted, we recoil from it as from a hot flame.
Another way of saying that would be 'Don't pick up the first drink!'

Of course, being tempted doesn't mean the obsession is back. I've been out-and-about on a hot Summer's day, down by a river and seen people drinking cool booze with impunity and thought, "I'd like one of them!", but now I can smile at the thought. I've never had 'ONE of them'. :lol: I'm not even recoiling from the booze; I've dumped that raft. I don't need it anymore.

Some teachings aren't the 'whole truth', they're like rafts to get you from A to B. When people suggest to newcomers that they do 90 meetings in 90 days, I very much doubt they're saying that as a solution to alcoholism, they're suggesting that as a raft to get someone to a lot of different meetings, to hear about our program, find a sponsor, and hopefully follow our path. 90x90 is just the raft.

There are times when we need the 'rafts' to cross difficult rivers, but once we're across them we can then dump the raft.

'Don't pick up the first drink' is good advice. I couldn't do that forever, but I could tough it out long enough to have a spiritual awakening and have the obsession removed.
Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.” Rumi (No sniggering from the sex addicts)

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Re: AA History -- Nancy O.

Post by avaneesh912 » Fri Jul 10, 2015 9:58 am

Another way of saying that would be 'Don't pick up the first drink!'
There is a big difference between a person who is working the 12 steps and those who arent. May be 10 times a person not working the steps may be able to do it but like the book says at times he gets into a blind spot and loses his/her will-power.

Wanted to add, for the person working the 12 steps, its given. Thats what I wanted to share and I created a thread the other day.
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: AA History -- Nancy O.

Post by clouds » Fri Jul 10, 2015 10:44 am

avaneesh912 wrote:
What is it about this lack of understanding you sense on the aspect of powerlessness that threatens you?
This is the problem with the world today. Why do you think its threatening me? Why can't I genuinely be sharing the fact that the main problem of the alcoholic is not the first drink? Its the preceding state of the mind that we need to watch for. We hear the first step is the most important step that we need to work. But I have a different take on it. Its the realization of the powerlessness that is important and that what is it we are powerless over is the key. Is it the mind or the 1st drink? It makes a big difference.
I believe the first step is the most important step. Without it, no other steps will be worked.

I feel like you are a little bit obsessed about this point of the mind being powerless. Its not that I disagree with you on this point. I justdidnt understand why its such a big topic with you. But now I understand you, because you wrote this: "Why cant I be genuinly sharing the fact that the main problem of the alcoholic is not the first drink." I can see this is the message you are carrying. Sorry.

I believe drunkalogues work because when I hear them I can also hear how insane their thinking is before the alcoholic takesthe first drink. They dont have to tell me, its so obvious. Its important they hear that in themselves though. In my opinion it wont help to keep blasting people with an idea they dont understand yet.

I'm sorry to have come across in such a rude way, implying you feel threatened. I didnt realize how this sounded until you cut it from what i said and put it out there on its own. I apologize, you have every right to all of your own opinions on AA and anything elso of course, and dont let anyone tell you you otherwise!
" Burn the idea into the consciousness of every man that he can get well regardless of anyone. The only condition is that he trust in God and clean house." page 98 A.A.

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Re: AA History -- Nancy O.

Post by avaneesh912 » Fri Jul 10, 2015 10:54 am

Clouds,
I am obsessed because wrong understanding could be fatal. And the whole debate of when to work the steps and how quick to work the steps will drop if people realize tha the problem centers in the mind and therefore we need a psyshic change as quick as possible. I am so appalled by people accussing people of being Nazis/thumpers and what not while they stubbornly deny where we are coming from. I realized that my mind is the culprit, I realized I needed a new mind hence I dove into the steps quickly. People who dont argue, procrastinate and then take a cheap shot at people who are trying to do their best with changing their lives.
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: AA History -- Nancy O.

Post by clouds » Fri Jul 10, 2015 11:31 am

To be perfectly honest I was incapable of working the steps in the firstdays or weeks in AA.

I must not have been too smart, I was in a big fog and even as that lifted, I needed people to explain the simplest terms in the BB to me. I dont think I could have understood what you say about the powerlessness for quite a while after beginning inAA. The slogans and the fellowship and my sponsor helped me a lot and bit by bit the steps as given in the BB sunk in and I found myself at step three at about three months in. I honestly know I could not have taken that step a minute before I did. Just my experience.
" Burn the idea into the consciousness of every man that he can get well regardless of anyone. The only condition is that he trust in God and clean house." page 98 A.A.

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Re: AA History -- Nancy O.

Post by Stepchild » Fri Jul 10, 2015 11:41 am

Tosh wrote: On page 84, following the 9th Step promises and into the 10th Step it says:
We will seldom be interested in liquor. If tempted, we recoil from it as from a hot flame.
Another way of saying that would be 'Don't pick up the first drink!'.
That's not what that means...Sorry. Another way of saying that would be. We react sanely and normally....The problem has been removed....It does not exist for us. That is promise....Not an instruction.

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Re: AA History -- Nancy O.

Post by Tosh » Fri Jul 10, 2015 11:51 am

avaneesh912 wrote:Clouds,
I am obsessed because wrong understanding could be fatal.
I think there's two parts to this step (Step 1). There's the intellectual part, the allergy, the obsession, and the queer mental twist. Anyone who I sponsor will get a good grounding in this. My Victorian sponsor has even quizzed a sponsee over his understanding of this. :lol:

But then there's the other part, the 'Step 1 experience'. Espistemology is the study of knowledge, how we know stuff. From an epistemological view point, no-one can transmit a Step 1 experience to us; that's learnt on our own. It's heart knowledge. It's knowing (not understanding) that I cannot live with drinking, yet I cannot live sober. It's four horseman time.

The problem is that intellectual knowledge can often produce what a spiritual teacher I know calls the 'So what? effect'. Knowledge of this kind is no big deal. Heart knowledge is; we can't force that on someone.

I kind of suspect that you're trying to transmit a kind of knowledge (heart knowledge) that no human is capable of transmitting to another directly.
Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.” Rumi (No sniggering from the sex addicts)

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Re: AA History -- Nancy O.

Post by Tosh » Fri Jul 10, 2015 11:55 am

Stepchild wrote:
Tosh wrote: On page 84, following the 9th Step promises and into the 10th Step it says:
We will seldom be interested in liquor. If tempted, we recoil from it as from a hot flame.
Another way of saying that would be 'Don't pick up the first drink!'.
That's not what that means...Sorry. Another way of saying that would be. We react sanely and normally....The problem has been removed....It does not exist for us. That is promise....Not an instruction.
No, Stepchild, read the thing.
And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone--even alcohol. For by this time sanity will have returned. We will seldom be interested in liquor. If tempted, we recoil from it as from a hot flame. We react sanely and normally, and we will find that this has happened automatically. We will see that our new attitude toward liquor has been given us without any thought or effort on our part. It just comes! That is the miracle of it. We are not fighting it, neither are we avoiding temptation. We feel as though we had been placed in a position of neutrality--safe and protected. We have not even sworn off. Instead, the problem has been removed. It does not exist for us. We are neither cocky nor are we afraid. That is our experience. That is how we react so long as we keep in fit spiritual condition.
The bit you quoted follows, therefore it means something different. The whole paragraph infers that it's okay to be tempted by alcohol, but we will recoil from it if we're in a fit spiritual condition. Recoiling from alcohol is the sane and normal thing for an alcoholic who has recovered from their alcoholism.

Are we disagreeing anywhere?
Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.” Rumi (No sniggering from the sex addicts)

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