Buck, I would suggest you keep doing what your doing... and learning from the research and mistakes of others... and taking the advice of your sponsor. As I said before... failure to stay sober the first time in AA, is not mandatory for recovery in AA. The statistics that were kept by the early AA's is documented proof... that many early members in AA were making it, the first time around. And, a high percentage of those who did return to drinking after their first visit to AA returned... and stayed sober.
The Forward to First Edition: Alcoholics Anonymous
"We, of Alcoholics Anonymous, are more than one hundred men and women who have recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. To show other alcoholics precisely how we have recovered is the main purpose of this book. For them, (i.e. those who will be reading this book) we hope these pages will prove so convincing that no further authentication will be necessary." .... In other words... experimental research and developent is over!!! Here's the Deal that Works!
Preface to the book, Alcoholics Anonymous:
"Because THIS BOOK has become the BASIC TEXT for our Society (meaning the AA Fellowship) and has helped such large numbers of alcoholic men and women to recovery, there exists a sentiment against any radical changes being made in it. Therefore, the FIRST PORTION of this volume, DESCRIBING THE AA PROGRAM OF RECOVERY, has been left untouched in the course of revisions made for both the second and third editions. (this same statement is also in the latest 4th Edition)... The section called "The Doctor's Opinion" has been kept intact, just as it was originally written in 1939 by the late Dr. William D. Silkworth, our Society's great medical benefactor."
If Bill W. wrote something about slips... in such a way as to help the alcoholic escape the feelings of guilt and shame... because it would impede their progress... I'm sure glad that I never read it!!! And, if I ever did read it... it wouldn't make sense for him to do that.
The feelings of guilt, remorse, shame, embarrassment, terror, bewilderment, and utter failure are what influenced me to put down the shovel, stop digging and seek help. I think the Big Book also refers to it as "pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization." My sponsor called it "hitting bottom."
I've seen more than a few alcoholics who have come to AA, all beat up and ready to take the Steps, and ready to go to any lengths to be free from alcohol... when a few sweet talkers slide up to them and try to comfort their feelings with sweet kind words of encouragement to "help them not feel so badly...." and the ones that I've seen, who bought in to the damaging work of the sweet talkers... invariably went back to drinking.
(Like I did... after my feelings of guilt and shame and remorse had been comforted).
When I was new in AA, I was concerned with how it appeared to me that the Old Timer's were harsh on newcomers... because they didn't seem to want to comfort their feelings... I was told then... (I didn't believe it then... but I do now, based on my own personal experience of more than a few hundred 12 Step calls... ) "you'll kill the alcoholic with the sweet kind words of comfort when you're trying to ease the pain of what they are feeling and you become more concerned about their feelings than you are concerned about their alcoholism and recovery." I was told... "if they leave because they think we're too tough on them... the bottle will beat them back in, and when they do return, they'll be ready to surrender." I didn't understand that then... but I sure understand it now.
Pain, defeat and failure... is the great motivators that convince the alcoholic to search for a solution to their problem. If you remove the pain, defeat and failure... realistically... what alcoholic would want to stop drinking and do what is necessary to recover once the pain is gone? "Who cares to admit complete defeat?" Until complete defeat has been admitted... I would suggest that the person who wants to feel good and not admit it... should be the one who should be taking another look at the First Step!
I would suggest they read the entire Big Book... starting with the front cover and the blank pages... and pay particular attention to the Forwards, and the Prefaces, and the Dr.'s Opinion, and Chapter 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. 7, 8, 9, 10, & 11....
The Big Book "IS" the text book for Alcoholics Anonymous, and "IS" the precise instructions for recovery in Alcoholics Anonymous. The Big Book was not written by Bill W..... ALONE. It was a group effort... and not just the ideas and opinions of Bill W. Yes, Bill W. was our Co-founder, and it's easily recognizable in Bill's other writings... which in many places would appear different from the "Group Conscious" instructions and efforts that produced the Big Book...
I wouldn't care who wrote what... even if Bill wrote it... and it didn't line up with what is in the Big Book.... Some of his ideas expressed in some of his writings, in more difficult times of his own sobriety and mental health... are contrary and different than the instructions in the Big Book.
For me, what creates the Spiritual value of the Big Book... is the fact that it was not the works of just one man. For me, then, as it is now in AA... God was working through the Group.
Once, I heard a famous preacher say that... "What creates the significant Spiritual value of the Bible... is the fact that it is not the work of one man... it is the work of many men that God was working through."
I use that reference only as a metaphor... and not in such a way as to push the Bible or religion... even though, they also.... are a spiritual path.
Again... I'm not demeaning or degrading the value of anything that was authored soley by Bill W. .... I do value his writings immensely... and naturally, I have a tremendous gratitude, respect and honor for Bill W. I'm just saying that I have a higher regard, to the combined work of the Group, which produced our precise instructions on recovery in AA... that are contained in the Big Book.
Thanks for letting me share!
P.S. Of course, my recovery experience has been in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) I have no experience in recovering in "Bill W. Anonymous" (BA) or... Dr. Bob Anonymous, or Clarence Anonymous... so the experience I've related will probably only make sense to someone who has recovered in "Alcoholics Anonymous"