Hi Jason, it may not appear that way... but I agree with 99.8 percent of what you're referring to.
I identify as being in the class of who I think might be some of your favorite speakers on the topic... "I came to AA and went back out again and nearly died of alcoholism... listening and learning from the BS crap in discussion meetings that has nothing to do with the Plan of Recovery described in the book!" I was going to those smorgasboard meetings of "you make up your own program. Take what you want leave the rest. Just don't drink... 90/90, 120/120......... the meeting makers make it (crap), and just go to meetings!" etceteras, etceteras, etceteras... all opinions from untreated alcoholics that ... unfortunately were fatal and they don't work!" No real alcoholic that I know of -- has ever remained physically sober forever by... and definetly they did not get better by... sitting in a chair in an AA meeting... sharing their disease..
See... I really am more in agreement with you, than you might imagine!
After my first failed attempt in AA, I was desparate. I didn't believe AA would work for me. I was of the screwed-variety... of alcoholics. I tried again, and again, and again, and again, and again... with and without AA help... to no avail. I couldn't get sober or stay sober in AA.
After I got my second chance at sobriety... I was desparate to hang on to what I had... and I still didn't believe AA was going to work for an alcoholic of my type.
Not only did I cram my nose into AA history, I enrolled in university classes to learn more about alcoholism... and treating it... figuring I could use the knowledge along with AA (if AA wasn't just a bunch of crap for problem drinkers)... and POSSIBLY have a chance to remain sober... longer than I did the first time.
What I discovered in the University level classes on Alcoholism, and the treatment of alcoholism was... the Professors of the classes were in 100 percent agreement... that AA was the only known solution that was available and successful at treating alcoholics and for the alcoholic to have any chance of achieving long term sobriety. These classes were for doctors... that were treating alcoholic patients... and they agreed, no amount of therapy or treatment or anything else will do as good -- for the long-haul, as "getting your patient actively involved in Alcoholics Anonymous" (not just attending... but actively involved).
I still wouldn't believe it would work for me... even after studying everything I could find on Bill W., and talking to Old-timers that personally knew him, and some of the Old Timers, who's stories were in the First Edition, BB, that were still living and sober. I also researched every archive I could find to listen to the early stories of the founders and pioneers.
All that knowledge still wasn't making things better for me. I was going nuts every day. Doctors wanted to put me on medication -- and I wouldn't go for it. I was convinced... that I would die sober... without drinking... and it was going to kill me.
In around 1987, while contemplating ending it all -- sober -- I came across the very first set of recordings from a BB Study, given by Charlie P and Joe McQuanny. (I later spent much time with Charlie and Joe. Joe was like a second sponsor to me, my BB sponsor... and I believe that Joe McQ... knew more about the BB, than Bill W. (who wrote it, knew). Page 164... "more will be revealed".
Originally, I followed along with the recordings and the BB, going line-by-line, front to back. Following the instructions and taking the actions that I read. I experienced the Spiritual Awakening that the book referred to... and it literally rocketed me into the 4th diminsion!
I finally found what they were talking about when they wrote the lines... "if you want what we have and are willing to go to any lengths to get it". They were referring to a series of spiritual experiences that would remove the obsession to drink, and remove the alcoholic insanity... provided that... we didn't rest on our laurels... and we kept actively pursuing spiritual fitness and spiritual growth. (Not just maintenance. Nothing is ever maintained in life. It's either growing or dieing).
I got hung up on the "Recover, Recovery, Recovered" ideas... Recovered sounded particularly dangerous to me -- the way I understood it -- with my best understanding! The way I heard it being presented was: "I wouldn't be able to drink -- even if I wanted to -- it's all a God deal, and God's will is for me to never drink... and He will keep me sober!"
That sounds wonderful... but, based on everything I had learned in the book, and by the founders and Pioneers, and Charlie and Joe, and my sponsors... there was something wrong with the idea.
Then, I found out, what I wrote in another post or a few of them here on the site... "Recover, recovery, and RECOVERED..." in the "as more will be revealed" understanding of the founders... that it meant simply one thing: "the alcoholic is not drinking."
Early in AA, the Founders believed that they really had discovered a "cure" for alcoholism... then, their experiences leading up to the writing of the first edition... proved them wrong. That's when they learned that it was a "daily repreive" that they were getting... as long as they continued to "treat their alcoholism" with the spiritual tool-kit of recovery AND EQUALLY AS IMPORTANT
... continued to stay acive in attempting to help another alcoholic -- to achieve and maintain their sobriety..
This is what they learned that would work... when ALL ELSE FAILS!
(And, perhaps it's one of the mystery answers as to ... "how do those alcoholics in AA... that have not experienced the Spritual Awakening... through the 12 Steps... stay physically sober? They are sober. And, many are not getting any better. They're staying sick in their disease... but... they are not drinking?" How is it? Perhaps... one part of the equation that they are doing... is at least trying... to help another alcoholic... even when their methods don't work. It's kind of like the Law of Attraction (a spiritual principle)... They are receiving what they are giving.... physical sobriety (but not treatment)... that most often ends up as "sobriety on the installment plan!")
I've seen scores of RECOVERED... and the DELIVERED... that have returned to drinking and died... because they thought they had been "cured" and had been granted a state of "permanent abstinance."
Thanks for letting my share. I hope it wasn't boring or offensive to anyone.
BTW: I am sharing MY experience, and not attempting to admonish or correct anyone. We have no authorities in AA... other than a "loving God" that expresses Himself in and through our Group Conscience.
My only dog in the race is me. I seek no followers and do not desire to convince anyone of anything. I'm simply a sober memeber of AA, that is grateful for the sobriety and the good life that I experience... today, and the days that have led up to today!
Yesterday is history, tomorrow is mystery... and all that I have is right now. And, look out if you depend on anything I say... I change my mind in seconds and inches! That for me, is spiritual growth. The daily willingness of letting go of my old ideas... about life, good, God, love, and AA. Starting a new day. Fresh and green. And, keeping an open mind, and asking God to help me to keep it that way.