What is the A.A. Program? -- It's the 12 Steps!
"WE OF Alcoholics Anonymous believe that the reader will be interested in the medical estimate of the -- plan of recovery -- described in this book." ~ pg xvii, Dr.'s Opinion, Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Ed.
The Program -- The 12 Steps -- is a Planned Sequence -- of Time-Sensitive -- Serial Actions -- To Produce A Final Result. The 12 Steps (Program) is a Recipe for Recovery. A recipe does not fail.
Illustration: If I were to give you a recipe to bake a cake, (a planned sequense of time-sensitive, serial actions) and your cake fails -- (the Final Result) -- you don't blame the recipe -- you look for the errors that the cook made (you) in following the instructions for the recipe.
a. Did you follow the WRITTEN instructions precisely?
b. Did you MEASURE the ingredients accurately?
c. Did you use the RIGHT ingredients? Or, did you make SUBSTITUTIONS?
c. Did you ADD the ingredients in the proper SEQUENCE?
d. Did you PRE-HEAT the oven to the SPECIFIC temperature that was called for?
e. Did you leave the cake in the oven for the SPECIFIC TIME that was instructed? Or, did you just guess on the timing? Or, did you decide to leave it in the oven for THE LENGTH OF TIME THAT YOU THOUGHT WAS BEST?
f. Did you consider the RECIPE as simply SUGGESTIONS? And, come up with your own interpretation of suggestions?
g. Did you take the cake out of the oven after it burned? Or, did you take it out of the oven, too soon?
The great thing about baking a cake is: It's not fatal if you fail. You can simply just try it again.
The unfortunate thing about the 12 Steps is: If you are an alcoholic -- and you fail in your recovery, it can be FATAL.
The most unfortunate thing about failing in your recovery is: If and when you "try it again" -- YOU WILL PROBABLY TRY TO DO IT JUST LIKE YOU DID THE LAST TIME -- THAT FAILED!
Based upon my personal experience, and from observing hundreds of alcoholics that failed to recover -- the reason that they didn't recover was: They were unwilling to let go absolutely of all their PREVIOUS IDEAS ABOUT A.A. and about How A.A. Works! Each time they returned to A.A. to "try it again" -- they were unwilling to admit that:
1. What they did the first time didn't work. And,
2. What they knew about A.A. and Recovery was: Wrong.
3. Unwilling to change their mind -- they continued doing the WRONG THING that was not going to work.
Myself, and those that I observed, that finally did recover -- after they returned to A.A., from previously failed attempts, was: They ABSOLUTELY LET GO OF ALL OF THEIR OLD IDEAS -- about A.A.