Great illustration w/ the Japanese & Chapter 5.
I thought: If I were learning Japanese and turned to Chapter 5, it will still be like Greek for me, which I don't know and didn't know when I got to Chapter 5.
I was making the same mistake 24 yrs ago -- that continues to get made by many -- today. And, that's by first turning to Chapter 5, to try and figure it all out -- without starting on the front cover of the Big Book.
The Big Book, refers to itself as "a basic text" book. A textbook in language would probably begin w/ teaching us the alphabet. Then, about spelling simple words, and then, nouns, verbs, adjectives, subjects and composition -- by the time it got to Chapter 5.
Every page from the front cover up to Chapter 5, makes for the foundation for figuring out what to do and why to do it -- in Chapter 5, and beyond.
Sponsor or no sponsor -- my experience has been that if the person doesn't start on the front cover and work up to Chapter 5, they may have some good and/or bad ideas about the AA 12 Steps and the program that's in the book.
I've known of many sponsors -- that had never even read all of the Big Book, let alone, start on the front cover and follow the instructions in the book.
I believe there was a Divine plan, in the writing of the Big Book, that was beyond the intelligence of any of us or any of it's authors. And, that it's a spiritual plan.
My very first AA sponsor made it clear to me that: "Your job is to find our own Higher Power -- and I'm not it."
He went on to tell me, that if I started to depend upon him as my Higher Power, he'd have to dump me, because we'd both end up drunk again.
He used to also tell me, that if he asked me to do something -- that wasn't in the Big Book, or went against something in the book -- that I didn't have to do it and that I should question it.
This, for me, takes the entire responsibility of my sobriety and places it where it belongs -- on my shoulders and my actions -- and not the shoulders or actions of my sponsor.
I've known of a few sober AA's that returned to drinking -- after their sponsor relapsed. They had formed an unhealthy dependance upon their sponsor. I've known of others that relapsed -- and said that "it was AA that failed them" -- because they used something in AA as an excuse to return to drinking. They had an unhealthy dependance upon AA.
As I learned it from the Big Book -- my trust, reliance & dependance must be on God, as I understand Him. I couldn't have learned this -- without the book.
Yes. It's best to have an experienced sponsor. No. A sponsor is not necessar to succeed in recovery. Yes. Part of the program of recovery in the book is: "to become a sponsor." (As a result of following the directions in the book).