I love the 12 & 12. For me, it has some of the most profound spiritual insights of any book that I have ever read.
Having said that, as I look back on my first time into AA... I took to reading the 12 & 12, instead of the Big Book. I wanted the "greater understandings" that Bill would have had... years after he made progress and understood things better!"
Then, I ended up drunk... and couldn't get sober. No matter how much 12 & 12 I read, nor how many AA meetings I forced myself to attend... I would be drunk in the meetings and couldn't get sober.
When my attempts to get sober became desparate enough... I'd drink and read the Big Book, trying to find out why and how "If this Bill Wilson character was able to get sober -- why couldn't I get sober?"
So, even while drinking... and without a glimmer of hope nor an expectation of myself ever being able to achieve sobriety again... I began to emulate that actions, while drinking... that Bill was doing while he was sober... and the next thing I knew... I got sober! And, I've been able to stay sober since then -- repeating what Bill did when he first got sober.
Later on, I fell in love with AA history, and Bill's personal history. I read the book "Pass it on" that Bill wrote about himself, and also "AA Comes of Age."
One of the first lessons in sobriety that had been passed on to me was: "Try to find someone in AA that has the kind of life that you want to have. Then, learn all you can about what and how they think, and the actions they take... and you, too, can experience what they experience."
As I looked over Bill Wilson's history... I noticed that there was a profound change in his life at the time he was writing the 12 & 12, compared to his life, when he was writing the Big Book.
When Bill was writing the Big Book, and living the instructions that he was writing in the Big Book, he made numerous references to his feelings, such as "feeling as though he had been rocketed into the 4th diminsion of life" and "feeling as though he was walking hand-in-hand with his Creator."
The odd thing that I observed was: When Bill, was writing the 12 & 12, he was going through severe manic episodes of depression. He felt that he was at the jumping off place. He would lock himself in his house and not want to come out. He sought psychiatric treatment and this was where they were experimenting with LSD, to see if it would help Bill... and if it helped Bill... they could pass on the LSD to the rest of the Fellowship!
That would have been enough to get me into AA when I was a teenager!!!
In my own experience in sobriety... I went through a time similar to what Bill experienced... severe depression. Major manic depression. I was 10 years sober. Active in AA. Yet, here I was with such horrible depression that I felt that I had to turn to psychiatric help for a solution. The docs told me that they were going to prescribe some high-powered stuff for me, because my brain wasn't creating a balance of chemicals that it needed to create -- and, that it was a physiological problem.
I had known many AA's that had been locked up in nut houses before sobriety -- and they were able to achieve the good life -- without the high powered drugs and psychiatrists. My sponsor was one of them, and his sponsor had been another one of them. My sponsor had even tried to kill himself after getting out of the nut house and they gave him electric shock treatments in addition to the high powered drugs... and he was in and out of AA for years... and not able to get sober or stay sober.
Now, my sponsor is 51 years sober in AA. He doesn't take medication and hasn't taken medication or had psychiatric treatment since he got sober 51 years ago.... and, he has had a pretty good life and still, in his 80's... he has more energy and more activity than most people in their 30's have!
His sponsor had the same experience. After sobriety... and taking certain actions.. he never took another pill.
I'm not writing to convince anyone of anything... Just sharing my own personal story, my experiences... good and bad, like we do in AA.
When I started having the severe manic depression attacks at 10 years sober... hearing voices... seeing things... wanting to pull the blanket over my head, shaking and trembling, and wanting to lock myself in a closet and never come out... sober... I was at the jumping off place. And, I would have rather had a lobotomy... than go on the medication shuffle to the psyciatrist for the rest of my life.
That was when I made another important and major discovery about myself. Guess which book I was reading and which book I had gotten away from living????
No. The book didn't do it to me... but, there is one book, that I have found that will "do for me"... what no other book has ever done for me! And, it's the Big Book.
When I make a conscious effort to precisely follow the extremely clear-cut instructions in the Big Book... my life changes for the better. No depression. No need to see head doctors. Reasonably healthy, sane, sober, happy, joyous, and free... most of the time.
I like what I found in the BB. When I follow those instructions as closely to the letter as I can... I feel as though I have been rocketed into the 4th diminsion... and that I, too, am walking hand-in-hand, with my Creator!