Definition of an Alcoholics Anonymous - R U Really READY?

Discussions related to 12 Step Recovery and Treatment
garden variety
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Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 7:39 pm

Postby garden variety » Tue Nov 04, 2008 12:28 pm

Yay! The winner is Sunlight.

The pamphlet came from one of the "original" AA groups in Akron known as "King School". The pamphlet was published and distributed in 1940. The "King School" group had a very active home group member by the name of Robert Smith, and the pamphlet is attributed to him. Robert Smith also happened to be a Medical Doctor who gave away his services to alcoholics in Akron after recovering from alcoholism himself. He is also affectionately known as the one and only "Dr. Bob".

Good guess Sunlight!

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Postby sunlight » Tue Nov 04, 2008 2:59 pm

Thank you, thank you, ladies & gentlepersons,

Actually, I owe it all to my Higher Power,without which I would not be here today.

The answer was given in my prayer & meditation, but since my two brain cells are tied up in personal issues, it was not clear.

Hey, what do I win? :D :D How about more of those fun facts? Because, whatever the prize, you know I need to give it away.

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Postby Tim » Tue Nov 04, 2008 11:28 pm

Holy Guacamole! Whodda thunk it! Dr Bob was a man of few words.

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Joined: Thu Sep 18, 2008 8:50 am

Postby Jools » Wed Nov 05, 2008 8:17 am

Congratulations Sun! Take a bow, take a bow!

Thanx for makin' us think, Paul!

garden variety
Posts: 750
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 7:39 pm

Postby garden variety » Wed Nov 05, 2008 10:25 am

For me, it's really REALLY important to always keep in mind the "slant" that our founders had. It tells me their aims which I believe was inspired by some "Spirit of the Universe" Who chose to work through those people.

Today you hear "percentages" that say 3-6% of people going to AA meetings will actually have a "successful" recovery. How did that change from the early years of 50-75% recovery with over half of 1st time relapsers "getting it" the second time around?

Sure a man ot woman who is "in and out" 7, 8, 9, 10 or more times is welcomed back. But look at the cost. Now this is just my opinion, and please forgive me if I rub anyone the wrong way, but how can a person that relapases this many times and is still "off and running" say they are "sincere in their desire to stay sober for all time" as Dr. Bob said. He relapsed, but it happened only once. Then he lived and died sober "for all time".

The book has a few words that get overlooked. I think about how many times this is spoken at meetings when "How it Works" is read:

"With all the earnestness at our command, we beg of you to be fearless and thorough from the very start."

I think that was the intent of the founders and that first 100 alkies that wrote this book. What do you think it means "With all the earnestness at our command"? If a person works the 12 steps with that kind of "earnestness" which means "everything you have", they probably won't relapse. I don't know anyone who went back out drinking that was giving this program "all the earnestness" at their command.

What about "fearless and thorough from the very start"? That pretty much says to me "do it right the first time".

That sentence which gets reads (and ignored) so many times at meetings is the thing that is supposed to explain what "a sincere desire to stop drinking" really means. It tells me where my desire to stay sober needs to be so I can recover instead of waste time. Yes, I'll get welcomed back if I screw up - many times. But to do it over and over and over again takes its toll on the men and women who are active and sponsoring me, and it puts a new prospect who might be able to "get it" the first time on a "waiting list".

Please forgive me for putting it this way, but continual relapsing is a selfish thing that others in the fellowship have to pay a price for. It's not just a "little slip" or a "thing" to do that becomes a habit because it's "tolerated". Somewhere in the "perennial" relapses that I've seen in prospects, I can't help but wonder if each "try" at this program was honestly made with "all earnestness" or with the "sincere desire" that Dr. Bob speaks about in the pamphlet. Once again, this is only my words and I don't speak for AA as a whole

Can I wonder about these things without "taking somebody else's inventory"? Is it wrong for me to assume that somewhere a "price has to be paid"? If I look at, say, a retail store when someone shoplifts and isn't busted - the remaining shoppers pay a higher price. When I see a prospect "on paper", and I look into his eyes and see that he doesn't really want what I have, that he's just "going through the motions", what I see is price tag which is much higher than the man who has "nothing left".

I see it and "tolerate" it. Why? Because I haven't walked in the fellow's shoes. "I don't know". That's the only thing I can come up with as far as my attitude goes. But I honestly don't think it's asking too much of a "chronic slipper" to sit down and read that sentence and ask him to get serious before I give him the same "gift" of time that I received from so many others in this fellowship.

Am I scolding? Sorry.

I LOVE sobriety! I want everyone in the fellowship to enjoy a life that is as fun and fulfilling as mine or better. What a trip! I just had an "epiphany!" - right now as I'm posting. That sentence just came to life for me. Now I get it! :idea: :idea: :idea:

I'm BEGGING you, WITH ALL THE EARNESTNESS AT MY COMMAND, to be fearless and thorough from the very start! Let's keep the price of recovery down.

God bless each of you, especially those who've relapsed a number of times. See how much you help me?

Thanks again!

PS - Also thanks TIM. You're the first person I've ever seen post "guacamole", and then get the spelling right. I'm totally impressed!

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Postby sunlight » Wed Nov 05, 2008 5:05 pm

This was tricky for me, because when I first came to AA I didn't KNOW if I had a desire to stop drinking & I certainly didn't think I could stay sober for all time!

I read somewhere (I really should keep track of these things :oops: ) where Bill changed the wording of the 3rd tradition from "an honest desire to stop drinking" to "a desire to stop drinking" because he said a newly sober drunk had no clue what it meant to be honest. I sure didn't.

But I WANTED to want to stop. That feeble attempt at willingness gave me enough of a connection to a Power that kept me sober for the first night in years! It scared me to not want to drink that night - I drank EVERY night - so I hurried up & went to bed, then went to another meeting the next day.

It really got to me that they were "begging" me to be fearless & thorough from the start. Was I? Hardly!
But I wanted to be. I prayed to be. It must be pretty serious if they were begging me!

So you're saying that by the time you begin the steps, you should have this sincere desire to stay sober for all time? Should the steps not be started till this desire is clear?

I understand. I just told a woman I couldn't work with her because I didn't think she wanted to stay sober. It wasn't taking her inventory, it was her BEHAVIOR that said it all.

Guess I'm just asking for more feedback on this. Thanks!

garden variety
Posts: 750
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 7:39 pm

Postby garden variety » Thu Nov 06, 2008 12:19 am

I don't know about "should" or "shouldn't".

I'd say yes indeed - a sincere desire to at least be willing. The questions I need answered about a prospect, especially one that's been in and out over and again, have to do with "earnestness" which can be said as a willingness to do EVERYTHING (note: not ANYTHING or WHATEVER) it takes. But I also need to somehow "sense" desperation - which is also demonstrated with words and actions. And I also want to know if "there is nothing left". Is this fellowship the last house on the block? Is there nowhere else to turn? If there is no "backup plan" or "reservations", then I will probably "watchfully proceed" keeping my ears and eyes alert.

Did I also mention that talking to a sponsor, or praying are also things I do when I have doubt?

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Postby Jools » Thu Nov 06, 2008 9:36 am

Things that come to mind are..........

Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average. There are those, too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest.

There is a lady that goes to one of the meetings I go to and who, like me, has relapsed several times over. God knows I have absolutely nothing to give her right now because I haven't worked the steps, but I call her nonetheless. I talked to her this morning, in fact. She was so happy to hear from me! We discussed where we're at and where we want to be. When I got off the phone I felt good inside for having reached out to another alcoholic. The anger was gone for a while and the pain was gone for a while.

You see, it matters to me whether or not she drinks again, I care about her. I've heard it said at meetings we can't keep anyone sober nor can we get anyone drunk. If she does get drunk again and comes back I will call her regardless, because I'm the one who receives the gift. That's what the book tells me anyway.

Our very lives, as ex-problem drinkers, depend upon our constant thought of others and how we may help meet their needs.

I AM one of those people you're referring to, Paul, and I'm not offended in the least. I was hurt tho when my former sponsor told me I wasn't ready. I thought, how the h-ell does SHE know when I'm ready? She didn't return my last two calls and that's ok today because God put someone else in my life to help me work the program. I'm thankful my former sponsor was there for the time she was. Maybe she's free to help someone SHE thinks is ready. :) I feel like saying someone is hopeless (or not ready) is saying God is helpless. Don't give up on um b4 the miracle happens.

Love to you all,

garden variety
Posts: 750
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 7:39 pm

Postby garden variety » Thu Nov 06, 2008 11:08 am

I've mentioned before that there was a lady-friend I dated a while back - actually a few years back now. It reached a point where I had to let her go because she kept on going back out and drinking. It's hard to love somebody when they're unavailable. There would be times when we would be so close, then she would "disappear" for several weeks. Then she'd call back as if nothing happened.

Well guess who I heard from this weekend? She called me again. We talked, and I found out that she has a very serious disease, and she has to now take a medication that recommends she not drink. I mean serious and deadly. This is besides her alcoholism.

She called me Monday morning at 3:00AM. She had an "attack" and started getting life-threatening symptoms, so she reported to the ER. They observed and the condition passed. She went home. She said this disease really limits her ability to get drunk.

I asked her are you still drinking.

"I only had one beer tonight. I couldn't drink any more because..."

And she went off into the medical reasons why she stopped at one. It's 3:00 AM and of course she woke me up - and I'm listening to this "only one beer" bull she-it!

I can hang up her, but I love her, so I didn't hang up.

Isn't that the same insanity? I keep thinking she's "going to get it", she has a disease that can become terminal, and her doctors and her medicine tell her to stay away from alcohol. "But I only had one beer."

She just doesn't get it, right?

This is the real fact: I'm the one who doesn't get it. I'm the one who is hoping to see "different results" from the same "experiment".

I'm powerless over alcohol - but now it's her drinking that I'm powerless over.

I think maybe it's time for me to also go to Al-anon?

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Postby sunlight » Thu Nov 06, 2008 1:41 pm

I got the answer to my question last night: If, And, Then.

"IF you've decided you want what we have, AND are willing to go to any length to get it, THEN you are ready to take certain steps."

Pretty simple. I tend to dress it up & take it out to lunch. :lol:

Al-Anon teaches us to detatch from the problem but not the person. Takes practice!

My son called me from the hospital & says he wants nothing more to do with me. He had his dad return to me all the birthday gifts I got him. It hurt a lot.
But I tried to reach out to him yesterday & called the hospital. He hung up on me.
My sponsor said it was time to "turn it over". OK.

Last night the phone rings & it's my son! He says, "Mom! My nurse just came to Denver 3 weeks ago from Buffalo. I told her my mom is from Buffalo. Turns out her boyfriend is the son of your brother's ex-girlfriend!"
He was so excited that he forgot all about hating me. :shock:

I'm telling this because only a loving God could think of something like this! There is a much bigger plan going on than I can comprehend & it reminded me to never give up hope.

I'm at a loss for words right now, and the people who know me would say: That is a miracle!" :lol:

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