Ya know,Bovril, there are people in AA that are referred to as "2-steppers".
These are people who have admitted they are alcoholic and now they want to help others without doing anything in the middle. Here in Jax, some are call "step skippers". (There are several other classifications as well. i.e.: 13-steppers.) Telling someone to do something I haven't done is projecting a lie! I would never presume to be able to help others without being an example of what doing the steps have done for me. Just not drinking is not enough...not for the real alcoholic! For me, just going without a drink left me a liar, cheater, thief, phony,....basically just a drunk minus the alcohol. I personally would not recommend someone to be a sponsor if they haven't done and applying the steps.
I remember when I was new to AA. I was so arrogant! Step one, easy! I can do these by myself. I was an idiot! So phony and the members saw right thru me. Finally I took a guy's suggestion and went to 5 Al-Anon meetings and found that I was trying to boss alcoholics around, tell them what to do and I had not even fixed my own life! Same kind of crap I was doing when I was drinking and claiming to be in control of my life and theirs as well! LOL* A couple of months later, while I was finally working the steps, they noticed a change in me. At last I was able to identify with the fellowship. I found they didn't need me to fix them, and that working on myself was the best way of really helping others thru applying the program to my life, in and out of the rooms! Without me even being aware of the changes, it had become visible to others.
Staying in AA and claiming to be something I'm not, or smarter than I really am does a great disservice to AA as a whole. I need to remind myself that my life might be the only Big Book another ever reads, and what exactly is the message I'm passing on. The program is not, IMO, to be taken lightly. There was a program laid out before us in the BB and it wasn't the book of Sam!
It IS important whether I identify myself as an alcoholic or not. For one, I am NOT credible if I don't identify myself as such. Secondly, why should anyone give a hoot about me in AA if I am not one of them? It is always easy to point out to others their shortcomings, but the solutions I could offer are NOT what is in the BB. I'm a hypocrite! AA doesn't need me to correct or update them/us! If I think I have a better solution, then I will buy a coffeepot and start my own darn meetings, (again, I'd be an idiot). The program is not broken, WE are! The program offers a solution to live life happy, joyous and free. It works!
One last thing, that should actually be the FIRST thing in this posting, is the absolute vital action of having and developing a daily conscious contact with some sort of Higher Power. Even atheists and agnostics in AA find a power greater than themselves. Can be a "Group Of Drunks", or "Good Orderly Direction", whatever one can look to for guidance, inspiration, motivation and acceptance. ALL of the steps play a part in our developing of this contact with our HP. For me, that contact has become paramount to my sobriety. I had trouble at first, religion had failed me, and the only HP I thought back then was mean, judgmental, punishing and a very scary God, sitting on a throne and passing out condemnation. Over the years my views have changed........only because of using the entire program of AA. This isn't a smorgasbord, I can't pick and choose what I want or what I "think" I need, it is a package deal. Still, AA and our HP are very loving and patient and when I am willing to pick up the spiritual took kit and use these tools daily, I have been able to live a life that is acceptable as well as helpful (at times). I can take no credit for any good I do, I'm just the vehicle, delivering only those items that I have in my own stock and trade. For me, having a prayer life, believing in my HP (whom I choose to call GOD) and surrendering to His will daily brings me great peace and harmony both in and out of the rooms of recovery. My beliefs and dedication has gotten stronger over the years, it is sufficient for me at this point, but I know that I'm not 'there' yet and that further spiritual growth is inevitable. Progress no pefection. I don't go to church in the physical sense, but I do worship and acknowledge God, as I understand him/her.
Having been around AA for 3 years, you have already heard this many times. Perhaps in different ways, but the message is the same for all of us who are making an effort to live the AA way of life.