Alcoholics Anonymous AA Big Book Study and Discussion.
Site Admin
Posts: 4830
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2005 9:05 pm


Postby Dallas » Thu May 07, 2009 12:36 am

Chapter 4 of the book -- Alcoholics Anonymous


IN THE PRECEDING chapters you have learned something of alcoholism. We hope we have made clear the distinction between the alcoholic and the nonalcoholic. If, when you honestly want to, you find you cannot quit entirely, or if when drinking, you have little control over the amount you take, you are probably alcoholic. If that be the case, you may be suffering from an illness which only a spiritual experience will conquer.

To one who feels he is an atheist or agnostic such an experience seems impossible, but to continue as he is means disaster, especially if he is an alcoholic of the hopeless variety. To be doomed to an alcoholic death or to live on a spiritual basis are not always easy alternatives to face.

But it isn't so difficult. About half our original fellowship were of exactly that type. At first some of us tried to avoid the issue, hoping against hope we were not true alcoholics. But after a while we had to face the fact that we must find a spiritual basis of life-or else. Perhaps it is going to be that way with you. But cheer up, something like half of us thought we were atheists or agnostics. Our experience shows that you need not be disconcerted.

If a mere code of morals or a better philosophy of life were sufficient to overcome alcoholism, many of us would have recovered long ago. But we found that such codes and philosophies did not save us, no matter how much we tried. We could wish to be moral, we could wish to be philosophically comforted, in fact, we could will these things with all our might, but the needed power wasn't there. Our human resources, as marshalled by the will, were not sufficient; they failed utterly.

Lack of power, that was our dilemma. We had to find a power by which we could live, and it had to be a Power greater than ourselves. Obviously. But where and how were we to find this Power?

Well, that's exactly what this book is about. Its main object is to enable you to find a Power greater than yourself which will solve your problem. That means we have written a book which we believe to be spiritual as well as moral. And it means, of course, that we are going to talk about God. Here difficulty arises with agnostics. Many times we talk to a new man and watch his hope rise as we discuss his alcoholic problems and explain our fellowship. But his face falls when we speak of spiritual matters, especially when we mention God, for we have re-opened a subject which our man thought he had neatly evaded or entirely ignored.

We know how he feels. We have shared his honest doubt and prejudice. Some of us have been violently anti-religious. To others, the word "God" brought up a particular idea of Him with which someone had tried to impress them during childhood. Perhaps we rejected this particular conception because it seemed inadequate. With that rejection we imagined we had abandoned the God idea entirely. We were bothered with the thought that faith and dependence upon a Power beyond ourselves was somewhat weak, even cowardly. We looked upon this world of warring individuals, warring theological systems, and inexplicable calamity, with deep skepticism. We looked askance at many individuals who claimed to be godly. How could a Supreme Being have anything to do with it all? And who could comprehend a Supreme Being anyhow? Yet, in other moments, we found ourselves thinking, when enchanted by a starlit night, "Who, then, made all this?" There was a feeling of awe and wonder, but it was fleeting and soon lost.

Yes, we of agnostic temperament have had these thoughts and experiences. Let us make haste to reassure you. We found that as soon as we were able to lay aside prejudice and express even a willingness to believe in a Power greater than ourselves, we commenced to get results, even though it was impossible for any of us to fully define or comprehend that Power, which is God.

Much to our relief, we discovered we did not need to consider another's conception of God. Our own conception, however inadequate, was sufficient to make the approach and to effect a contact with Him. As soon as we admitted the possible existence of a Creative Intelligence, a Spirit of the Universe underlying the totality of things, we began to be possessed of a new sense of power and direction, provided we took other simple steps. We found that God does not make too hard terms with those who seek Him. To us, the Realm of Spirit is broad, roomy, all inclusive; never exclusive or forbidding to those who earnestly seek. It is open, we believe, to all men.

When, therefore, we speak to you of God, we mean your own conception of God. This applies, too, to other spiritual expressions which you find in this book. Do not let any prejudice you may have against spiritual terms deter you from honestly asking yourself what they mean to you. At the start, this was all we needed to commence spiritual growth, to effect our first conscious relation with God as we understood Him. Afterward, we found ourselves accepting many things which then seemed entirely out of reach. That was growth, but if we wished to grow we had to begin somewhere. So we used our own conception, however limited it was.

We needed to ask ourselves but one short question. "Do I now believe, or am I even willing to believe, that there is a Power greater than myself ?" As soon as a man can say that he does believe, or is willing to believe, we emphatically assure him that he is on his way. It has been repeatedly proven among us that upon this simple cornerstone a wonderfully effective spiritual structure can be built.

That was great news to us, for we had assumed we could not make use of spiritual principles unless we accepted many things on faith which seemed difficult to believe. When people presented us with spiritual approaches, how frequently did we all say, "I wish I had what that man has. I'm sure it would work if I could only believe as he believes. But I cannot accept as surely true the many articles of faith which are so plain to him." So it was comforting to learn that we could commence at a simpler level.

Besides a seeming inability to accept much on faith, we often found ourselves handicapped by obstinacy, sensitiveness, and unreasoning prejudice. Many of us have been so touchy that even casual reference to spiritual things made us bristle with antagonism. This sort of thinking had to be abandoned. Though some of us resisted, we found no great difficulty in casting aside such feelings. Faced with alcoholic destruction, we soon became as open minded on spiritual matters as we had tried to be on other questions. In this respect alcohol was a great persuader. It finally beat us into a state of reasonableness. Sometimes this was a tedious process; we hope no one else will be prejudiced for as long as some of us were.

The reader may still ask why he should believe in a Power greater than himself. We think there are good reasons. Let us have a look at some of them.

The practical individual of today is a stickler for facts and results. Nevertheless, the twentieth century readily accepts theories of all kinds, provided they are firmly grounded in fact. We have numerous theories, for example, about electricity. Everybody believes them without a murmur of doubt. Why this ready acceptance? Simply because it is impossible to explain what we see, feel, direct, and use, without a reasonable assumption as a starting point.

Everybody nowadays, believes in scores of assumptions for which there is good evidence, but no perfect visual proof. And does not science demonstrate that visual proof is the weakest proof? It is being constantly revealed, as mankind studies the material world, that outward appearances are not inward reality at all. To illustrate:

The prosaic steel girder is a mass of electrons whirling around each other at incredible speed. These tiny bodies are governed by precise laws, and these laws hold true throughout the material world. Science tells us so. We have no reason to doubt it. When, however, the perfectly logical assumption is suggested that underneath the material world and life as we see it, there is an All Powerful, Guiding, Creative Intelligence, right there our perverse streak comes to the surface and we laboriously set out to convince ourselves it isn't so. We read wordy books and indulge in windy arguments, thinking we believe this universe needs no God to explain it. Were our contentions true, it would follow that life originated out of nothing, means nothing, and proceeds nowhere.

Instead of regarding ourselves as intelligent agents, spearheads of God's ever advancing Creation, we agnostics and atheists chose to believe that our human intelligence was the last word, the alpha and the omega, the beginning and end of all. Rather vain of us, wasn't it?

We, who have traveled this dubious path, beg you to lay aside prejudice, even against organized religion. We have learned that whatever the human frailties of various faiths may be, those faiths have given purpose and direction to millions. People of faith have a logical idea of what life is all about. Actually, we used to have no reasonable conception whatever. We used to amuse ourselves by cynically dissecting spiritual beliefs and practices when we might have observed that many spiritually-minded persons of all races, colors, and creeds were demonstrating a degree of stability, happiness and usefulness which we should have sought ourselves.

Instead, we looked at the human defects of these people, and sometimes used their shortcomings as a basis of wholesale condemnation. We talked of intolerance, while we were intolerant ourselves. We missed the reality and the beauty of the forest because we were diverted by the ugliness of some of its trees. We never gave the spiritual side of life a fair hearing.

In our personal stories you will find a wide variation in the way each teller approaches and conceives of the Power which is greater than himself. Whether we agree with a particular approach or conception seems to make little difference. Experience has taught us that these are matters about which, for our purpose, we need not be worried. They are questions for each individual to settle for himself.

On one proposition, however, these men and women are strikingly agreed. Every one of them has gained access to, and believes in, a Power greater than himself. This Power has in each case accomplished the miraculous, the humanly impossible. As a celebrated American statesman put it, "Let's look at the record."

Here are thousands of men and women, worldly indeed. They flatly declare that since they have come to believe in a Power greater than themselves, to take a certain attitude toward that Power, and to do certain simple things, there has been a revolutionary change in their way of living and thinking. In the face of collapse and despair, in the face of the total failure of their human resources, they found that a new power, peace, happiness, and sense of direction flowed into them. This happened soon after they wholeheartedly met a few simple requirements. Once confused and baffled by the seeming futility of existence, they show the underlying reasons why they were making heavy going of life. Leaving aside the drink question, they tell why living was so unsatisfactory. They show how the change came over them. When many hundreds of people are able to say that the consciousness of the Presence of God is today the most important fact of their lives, they present a powerful reason why one should have faith.

This world of ours has made more material progress in the last century than in all the millenniums which went before. Almost everyone knows the reason. Students of ancient history tell us that the intellect of men in those days was equal to the best of today. Yet in ancient times material progress was painfully slow. The spirit of modern scientific inquiry, research and invention was almost unknown. In the realm of the material, men's minds were fettered by superstition, tradition, and all sorts of fixed ideas. Some of the contemporaries of Columbus thought a round earth preposterous. Others came near putting Galileo to death for his astronomical heresies.

We asked ourselves this: Are not some of us just as biased and unreasonable about the realm of the spirit as were the ancients about the realm of the material? Even in the present century, American newspapers were afraid to print an account of the Wright brothers' first successful flight at Kitty Hawk. Had not all efforts at flight failed before? Did not Professor Langley's flying machine go to the bottom of the Potomac River? Was it not true that the best mathematical minds had proved man could never fly? Had not people said God had reserved this privilege to the birds? Only thirty years later the conquest of the air was almost an old story and airplane travel was in full swing.

But in most fields our generation has witnessed complete liberation of our thinking. Show any longshoreman a Sunday supplement describing a proposal to explore the moon by means of a rocket and he will say "I bet they do it - maybe not so long either." Is not our age characterized by the ease with which we discard old ideas for new, by the complete readiness with which we throw away the theory or gadget which does not work for something new which does?

We had to ask ourselves why we shouldn't apply to our human problems this same readiness to change our point of view. We were having trouble with personal relationships, we couldn't control our emotional natures, we were a prey to misery and depression, we couldn't make a living, we had a feeling of uselessness, we were full of fear, we were unhappy, we couldn't seem to be of real help to other people - was not a basic solution of these bedevilments more important than whether we should see newsreels of lunar flight? Of course it was.

When we saw others solve their problems by a simple reliance upon the Spirit of the Universe, we had to stop doubting the power of God. Our ideas did not work. But the God idea did.

The Wright brothers' almost childish faith that they could build a machine which would fly was the main- spring of their accomplishment. Without that, nothing could have happened. We agnostics and atheists were sticking to the idea that self-sufficiency would solve our problems. When others showed us that "God-sufficiency" worked with them, we began to feel like those who had insisted the Wrights would never fly.

Logic is great stuff. We liked it. We still like it. It is not by chance we were given the power to reason, to examine the evidence of our senses, and to draw conclusions. That is one of man's magnificent attributes. We agnostically inclined would not feel satisfied with a proposal which does not lend itself to reasonable approach and interpretation. Hence we are at pains to tell why we think our present faith is reasonable, why we think it more sane and logical to believe than not to believe, why we say our former thinking was soft and mushy when we threw up our hands in doubt and said, "We don't know."

When we became alcoholics, crushed by a self-imposed crisis we could not postpone or evade, we had to fearlessly face the proposition that either God is everything or else He is nothing. God either is, or He isn't. What was our choice to be?

Arrived at this point, we were squarely confronted with the question of faith. We couldn't duck the issue. Some of us had already walked far over the Bridge of Reason toward the desired shore of faith. The outlines and the promise of the New Land had brought lustre to tired eyes and fresh courage to flagging spirits. Friendly hands had stretched out in welcome. We were grateful that Reason had brought us so far. But somehow, we couldn't quite step ashore. Perhaps we had been leaning too heavily on Reason that last mile and we did not like to lose our support.

That was natural, but let us think a little more closely. Without knowing it, had we not been brought to where we stood by a certain kind of faith? For did we not believe in our own reasoning? Did we not have confidence in our ability to think? What was that but a sort of faith? Yes, we had been faithful, abjectly faithful to the God of Reason. So, in one way or another, we discovered that faith had been involved all the time!

We found, too, that we had been worshippers. What a state of mental goose-flesh that used to bring on! Had we not variously worshipped people, sentiment, things, money, and ourselves? And then, with a better motive, had we not worshipfully beheld the sunset, the sea, or a flower? Who of us had not loved something or somebody? How much did these feelings, these loves, these worships, have to do with pure reason? Little or nothing, we saw at last. Were not these things the tissue out of which our lives were constructed? Did not these feelings, after all, determine the course of our existence? It was impossible to say we had no capacity for faith, or love, or worship. In one form or another we had been living by faith and little else.

Imagine life without faith! Were nothing left but pure reason, it wouldn't be life. But we believed in life - of course we did. We could not prove life in the sense that you can prove a straight line is the shortest distance between two points, yet, there it was. Could we still say the whole thing was nothing but a mass of electrons, created out of nothing, meaning nothing, whirling on to a destiny of nothingness? Of course we couldn't. The electrons themselves seemed more intelligent than that. At least, so the chemist said.

Hence, we saw that reason isn't everything. Neither is reason, as most of us use it, entirely dependable, though it emanate from our best minds. What about people who proved that man could never fly?

Yet we had been seeing another kind of flight, a spiritual liberation from this world, people who rose above their problems. They said God made these things possible, and we only smiled. We had seen spiritual release, but liked to tell ourselves it wasn't true.

Actually we were fooling ourselves, for deep down in every man, woman, and child, is the fundamental idea of God. It may be obscured by calamity, by pomp, by worship of other things, but in some form or other it is there. For faith in a Power greater than ourselves, and miraculous demonstrations of that power in human lives, are facts as old as man himself.

We finally saw that faith in some kind of God was a part of our make-up, just as much as the feeling we have for a friend. Sometimes we had to search fearlessly, but He was there. He was as much a fact as we were. We found the Great Reality deep down within us. In the last analysis it is only there that He may be found. It was so with us.

We can only clear the ground a bit. If our testimony helps sweep away prejudice, enables you to think honestly, encourages you to search diligently within yourself, then, if you wish, you can join us on the Broad Highway. With this attitude you cannot fail. The consciousness of your belief is sure to come to you.

In this book you will read the experience of a man who thought he was an atheist. His story is so interesting that some of it should be told now. His change of heart was dramatic, convincing, and moving.

Our friend was a minister's son. He attended church school, where he became rebellious at what he thought an overdose of religious education. For years thereafter he was dogged by trouble and frustration. Business failure, insanity, fatal illness, suicide - these calamities in his immediate family embittered and depressed him. Post-war disillusionment, ever more serious alcoholism, impending mental and physical collapse, brought him to the point of self-destruction.

One night, when confined in a hospital, he was approached by an alcoholic who had known a spiritual experience. Our friend's gorge rose as he bitterly cried out: "If there is a God, He certainly hasn't done anything for me!" But later, alone in his room, he asked himself this question: "Is it possible that all the religious people I have known are wrong?" While pondering the answer he felt as though he lived in hell. Then, like a thunderbolt, a great thought came. It crowded out all else:

"Who are you to say there is no God?"

This man recounts that he tumbled out of bed to his knees. In a few seconds he was overwhelmed by a conviction of the Presence of God. It poured over and through him with the certainty and majesty of a great tide at flood. The barriers he had built through the years were swept away. He stood in the Presence of Infinite Power and Love. He had stepped from bridge to shore. For the first time, he lived in conscious companionship with his Creator.

Thus was our friend's cornerstone fixed in place. No later vicissitude has shaken it. His alcoholic problem was taken away. That very night, years ago, it disappeared. Save for a few brief moments of temptation the thought of drink has never returned; and at such times a great revulsion has risen up in him. Seemingly he could not drink even if he would. God had restored his sanity.

What is this but a miracle of healing? Yet its elements are simple. Circumstances made him willing to believe. He humbly offered himself to his Maker - then he knew.

Even so has God restored us all to our right minds. To this man, the revelation was sudden. Some of us grow into it more slowly. But He has come to all who have honestly sought Him.

When we drew near to Him He disclosed Himself to us!

Posts: 33
Joined: Sun Aug 02, 2009 3:51 pm

Postby leejosepho » Wed Aug 05, 2009 8:25 pm

This chapter, Dallas, is the part of the book I actually *refused* to read when I first got here! After all, I had once been far more than a nominal churchman (page 42), and I had never been accustomed to having my intellectual pride challenged. But then someone firmly insisted I come read this chapter ... and I actually did learn something the very first time I tried:

IN THE PRECEDING chapters you have learned something of alcoholism.

Oops. I had learned nothing so far. So, the first thing this chapter ever did for me was to send me back to the beginning of our book!

Site Admin
Posts: 4830
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2005 9:05 pm

Postby Dallas » Wed Aug 05, 2009 8:46 pm

Some times when I read what you post... I feel like I'm reading about "the man in the mirror!" :lol:

I remember the first time around, being newly sober, I first saw the title of Chapter 4, and I thought it would be very short with something like "You'll burn in hell!" :lol: :lol: :lol:

I figured... Hey, I'm going there anyway -- why read about it ahead of time! Want to see some of my vacation pictures of on the way to hell??? :lol:

So... I didn't read it.

Then, after I started drinking again, and couldn't get sober, even -- with AA's help -- ... I started reading and drinking together... to see if that would help me figure out why I couldn't get sober!

The things that made the most sense to me while I was drinking and reading... was the Dr.'s Opinion, Bill's Story, and Chapter 3. I liked the top part of the first page of Chapter 2 and Chapter 4, (just that one part of the pages)... but I figured "hey! This is beyond me... I just want to find out how to get sober first!"

So, the next time I read Chapter 4, I thought it would be about "This is how the sinners and unbelievers can stay sober without God!" :lol: :lol:

And, I still wasn't interested... I figured "Hey! I've got to get sober first!!!"

Little did I know... or understand... that I was one of those that would "have to have a spiritual experience"... just so that I could get sober!

So, for those that say "well the guy really does need to be cleared of alcohol -- for a while, before he takes the steps"... I'd like to say "that wasn't the way it was in my case!"

I didn't know it then -- but, I was taking Steps to "get sober"! Then, I took them again, after I was able to get sober and stay sober long enough to take them!


Posts: 33
Joined: Sun Aug 02, 2009 3:51 pm

Postby leejosepho » Wed Aug 05, 2009 9:56 pm

Agnostic, n. (Greek /agnostos/ unknown, unknowable)
1: a person who holds the view that any ultimate reality (as God) is unknown and probably unknowable;
one who is not committed to believing in either the existence or the nonexistence of God or a god
2: a person unwilling to commit to an opinion about something
(Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary)

My problem here was not on the matter of believing “Godâ€

Posts: 141
Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2009 1:51 pm

Postby gunner48 » Wed Aug 05, 2009 10:15 pm

Been working with a new man and guess where we are. Yes Chapter 4.
When I came to AA I had a great desire to have God in my life. Problem was I DID NOT. When reading this chapter I came across the truth for me.'
WE had to find a power by which we could live, and it had to be a power greater than ourselves. Obviously. But where were we to find this power?
My answer was held in this book.
No I didn't have a sudden flash of light, instead I was willing to believe that by working these steps I would find this power. I didn't have to have God in my life to work these steps. I started as stated on page 47 DO I NOW BELIEVE. or AM I WILLING TO BELIEVE, THAT THERE IS A POWER GREATER THAN MYSELF? I was able to say with conviction that I was willing to believe. The remainder of this chapter addressed several of my blocks/prejudices. God either is or he isn't. What was my choice to be pg 53? I was confronted with the question of faith pg 53. wasn't I a worshipper pg 54? Wasn't a belief in some type of God part of my make-up? pg 55. Was the last sentence true for me? When I drew near to him ,would he disclosed himself to me? At this point I made the best decision of my life. I would let AA work in my life. Step 2 was taken
Today as a results of doing the steps I can say with conviction that I DO BELIEVE IN A POWER GREATER THAN MYSELF.

Site Admin
Posts: 4830
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2005 9:05 pm

Postby Dallas » Thu Aug 06, 2009 12:18 am

The idea that I would have to have anything to do with God, I thought... in the beginning... was my seal of doom.

I was full of a lot of toxic religious idea and toxic ideas about God and religion.

My thoughts were "If God is involved in this deal... I'm screwed!"

I enjoy working with new people that have "God problems."

I've never met an alcoholic yet -- that, when faced with facts... did not have a God problem! :wink:

For those who were as I was, or with different "God problems" I'm able to relate and identify with them and be able to share how I solved my own problems -- usually, in a way that will often make sense to them.

That's one of the joys of working with others. To watch an impossible situation begin to evaporate -- and the lights come on. It might start with a match, or a scratch of flint... or something as simple but complicated like magnets and a compass. A bicycle. Wheels and pulleys can can lift a piano to the second story of a building by two little drunk men. Of course, now-a-days, I also use my "pocket sponsor"... My GPS device!

All -- through the application of applied principles -- allow us to connect with a Power greater than ourselves.

The book says we only need a starting point and a willingness to believe to take Step 2. With the willingness in place, and the application of 3 through 12... everything else falls into place!

Once I was working with a new guy, and I asked him "Are you willing to believe?" He said (like I did in my beginning) "I don't think I can do that!"

So, I turned it around and asked him "Are you willing to not believe?"

When he couldn't answer that question -- I knew we were making progress!


Posts: 33
Joined: Sun Aug 02, 2009 3:51 pm

Postby leejosepho » Sat Aug 08, 2009 1:49 pm

Dallas wrote:I've never met an alcoholic yet -- that, when faced with facts... did not have a God problem! :wink:

I had never thought about that before just now, but yes, I would say the same ... and for myself and for many of the stuck-in-religion people I try to help, the problem is that we think we already know all about "God". We either thought we already knew who He is, or we thought we already knew who He is not.

But for either category of sufferer, and as you have shared ...

The book says we only need a starting point and a willingness to believe to take Step 2. With the willingness in place, and the application of 3 through 12... everything else falls into place!

Or in different words:

"When we drew near to Him (by taking the Steps) He disclosed Himself to us!" (page 57)

And of course, we can experience that even without ever completely knowing for certain exactly who or what "God" actually is:

"We found that as soon as we were able to lay aside prejudice and express even a willingness to believe in a Power greater than ourselves, we commenced to get results, even though it was impossible for any of us to fully define or comprehend that Power, which is God." (page 46)

Site Admin
Posts: 4830
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2005 9:05 pm

Postby Dallas » Sat Aug 08, 2009 7:04 pm


I think a lot of the problems start when man, with a finite mind, trys to describe something that's infinite. Kind of like an ant trying to describe a bull dozer. (Well, maybe I shouldn't say ant... they are smarter than me! They keep coming back no matter what I do!) :wink:

The definitions and descriptions begin to mold thoughts, attitudes, beliefs and perceptions.

The thoughts, attitudes, beliefs and perceptions can be accurate but they're still only a representation of what we think.... and what we think is only a representation of what we think we understand about God (like looking at a map... the map is not the reality, it's a representation of the reality)... and they are limited by our own limitations. It's like we're only seeing one piece of a huge puzzle... and trying to build a belief system of understanding on the one piece of the puzzle. And, that often causes an internal conflict.

To solve the conflict... of something that we can't describe or fully understand, we adopt someone elses understanding... but, that understanding doesn't work for us... because it creates more conflicts in our thinking... but, we're told "don't think about it... just accept it as truth." Then, we become afraid to question the truth that we've become partially comfortable accepting and afraid to dig deeper to see if we've got it right or wrong. Besides... we were taught, or somehow acquired the idea that God might get ticked off at us for asking questions! :lol:

I personally believe that God wants us to ask questions. That's the a.b.c.'s. and, it's Step 11.

This is why I love the concept that was passed on of "try to come up with your own conception of God" ... "as a God, of YOUR OWN understanding."

Many religious people, devout believers, good people of unquestionable character, motives and intentions, and very spiritual, too -- have hidden questions of conflict. "Why did God do this?" Or, "why does God allow that?"

Those hidden conflicts, that we want to hide from the world, because we would feel shameful expressing them -- get repressed. And, after they are repressed -- it creates an infection, like a sickness in our consciousness... that is too unbearable to bear... so we press it deeper and deeper, until the infection begins to move from our unconscious-ness, into our body and into our actions.

And, for people like me... we love God... and we believe God is there, but we're confused... and our confusion leads to conflicts. Spiritual conflicts... that get quieted by drinking the liquid spirits! And, unknowingly... I gradually begin to turn my will and my life over to the guidance of the liquid spirits.... getting spiritually sicker and sicker and sicker.

Looking fine on the outside! But, torn up with things that I can't talk about on the inside! :wink:

Then, when those like me, get as lucky as I get, we wind up in AA... where we have tools to uncover those hidden things and hidden thoughts of the past. And, by uncovering and talking about it and confessing the truth of ourselves (getting honest with ourself and with another person)... -- we achieve freedom. We learn that it's okay to talk about things that bother us. And, then, we are encouraged to talk, because someone, unjudgingly, is willing to listen to us.

You shall know the Truth -- and the Truth shall set you free. But, we have to take effort to discover the truth, and we have to work to acquire wisdom and understanding. Spiritual progress... rather than spiritual perfection. :wink:


Posts: 33
Joined: Sun Aug 02, 2009 3:51 pm

Postby leejosepho » Sat Aug 08, 2009 7:43 pm

Dallas wrote:Yep.

I think a lot of the problems start when man, with a finite mind, trys to describe something that's infinite ...

Yes, and to resolve that, some folks like to believe nothing is infinite ... and there we are with a finite mind attempting to be infinite!

Dallas wrote:... I love the concept that was passed on of "try to come up with your own conception of God" ... "as a God, of YOUR OWN understanding."

Apart from extrapolative conjecture, I have yet to find the idea of "a god of your own understanding" anywhere within our Basic Text. Rather, we are simply told we can begin wherever we wish, and then we can let God reveal Himself in any way He wishes ... and oh, how that can be exciting!

Site Admin
Posts: 4830
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2005 9:05 pm

Postby Dallas » Sun Aug 09, 2009 2:22 am

I found it in Bill's Story, where Ebby was talking with Bill. That's where I got the idea. And, I figured that if it would work for Bill, it would work for me.

Years later, I listened to Jimmy B. (Jim Burwell), who fought so hard to get "God, as you understood Him" included... because he was totally against having God in it at all -- (in the BB) -- and he compromised with "God, as you understand Him", so that the writing of the book could go on.

In NY they were doing things a bit different than they were in Akron and Cleveland. In Akron they were more religious minded -- and NY prefered the psychological approach. They didn't have the kind of experience with the Hot Flash like Bill did, so when he was writing about God, the NY AA's fought with it, because they said "well... you might of had the God experience, but we didn't!" So, I noticed we've had controversy and different ideas about AA since the beginning.

Last edited by Dallas on Sun Aug 09, 2009 2:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

Return to “Big Book Study”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests