By reading the Forwards to each of the new editions of the Big Book, I think that answers the question. Right after the book was first published there have been attempts and rationalizations as to "why we should change it."
One of the things that I've noticed, that seems comical with often tragic results... is how alcoholics have a tendency to stop doing or want to change what they're doing that has worked for them.
The 12 Steps are a formula. They are spiritual principles. They are not difficult to understand. Actually, they are so simple... that a complicated person like me, when I first saw them, said "that's so simple that it's stupid."
I didn't get sober, stay sober, get happy joyous, free, living a life with meaning and purpose, with peace of mind, serenity, and practicing the presence of a Higher Power in my daily life... by driving a car... New or old. I got that way by taking 12 simple Steps... following the instructions on how to take them.
The only complicated thing about the 12 Steps... is thinking about the 12 Steps rather than taking them. They are all complicated... as long as I'm just thinking about them. Kind of like the 4th Step... the 4th Step is pretty easy... the only difficult thing about the 4th Step is thinking about it.
The 12 Steps are a Design For Living that works. Living that Design For Living... will Change Your Thinking... and... if you Change Your Thinking... you'll Change Your Life.
How would you propose to change it to make it easier?
If you do want to change it... why not just invent a new way, for 2006, and just call it "Dale's New and Improved and Simplified Two Step Approach to Sobriety in 2006" and write a new book...then, start a new fellowship that reads that book, and start some new groups and meetings, and call the new program something like "Simplified Sobriety Anonymous"... and those who think that A.A. is too old fashioned and too complicated, can leave A.A. and join you in S.S.A.? And, for those who are in A.A., and A.A. works perfectly well, and sensible, and simple for them... they can stay in A.A.?
We see this stuff all the time anyway. The problem is when those who desire "new and improved methods, techniques and ideas"... want to introduce that into A.A., rather than just doing what others have done, and that is "If you don't like it.... just go start your own program and write your own book."
I'm not saying this in a sarcastic way. Nor am I intentionally personalizing it towards you as a person.
You are not the first person who has thought this way... I thought about it also. It irritated the heck out of me to see a bunch of hard-nosed old timers... insisting on using a book that was authored in 1939.
My thoughts were "Phoey... that crap is for idiots... I'm smarter than that! It's 1985! I drive new cars... and I do new things... I'm not going to hang around here doing some old stupid stuff that can't possibly work for anyone anyway!"
And... I pursued an easier, simpler, softer, more modern, up to date way... "Just go to meetings... don't drink... use the fellowship like a support group and stay sober!" I was actually entertaining the idea of starting a Dallas Anonymous... and my program would have been better than A.A.'s... in my program, instead of $1 in the basket to not drink, I was going to charge $5 for my baskets... but, I had one great benefit to offer that A.A. couldn't offer! I was going to show you how to drink and enjoy and control your drinking... without getting drunk... so to me, it would be worth the extra $4 that I was asking you to put in my basket!
Well... I got drunk with my new and improved ideas. Then, I couldn't get sober again... even with the help of A.A.!!!!
Finally, I did get a second chance to get sober... and that was in November of 1986.... I was afraid that A.A. was not going to work for me for the long haul, so I enrolled in a University in Los Angeles, and took their Alcoholism Study classes, that they were providing for doctors and professionals, and for certification for counsellors. I wanted to know the new and modern and improved methods and information about alcoholism and long term recovery. Yep. I did this selfishly. I wasn't going to be any kind of professional... I just valued my life so much that I wanted to be sure!
If you think that A.A., or the 12 Steps or the Big Book are out of date, complicated, or too hard on new people... I would suggest you send them to those Alcoholism Studies! It's way more complicated. But, guess what? Their bottom line is: "We can hospitalize them and dry them out, and sometimes give psychiatric treatment to some who need it... but the only thing that has worked the best, and for long term results... send them to A.A."
Why would a modern world-recognized University, with studies in Alcoholism, and Treating Alcoholics and Drug Addicts"... conclude, in 1986, that A.A., was by far, the most successful deal around?
And, guess what again.... (I still read a lot)... the recent college text books and medical practice reference books that I've read, published as late as 2005 and 2006... still have the same answer? Dry them out and send them to A.A.
It's not just that some of us are old, hard-nose, not modern, and not even read technological idiot books written for dummies.... Many of us do read, do continue to study, are well versed in academia and the latest scientific breath throughs.... and many of us would be willing to change in a heart beat, if we saw something that would be more effective for the long term... than what we have now.
Just because we are getting old... we're not dummys!
We're smart enough to stick with what's working for us... staying sober, living longer, and continuing to help ourselves and suffering alcoholics.
I'm not sure if you're aware of this or not... but, a few of the finest, world-class, professors, scientist, medical and psychiatric researchers, deans, and physicians.... are members in A.A. I know that... because I've met them, and continue to meet with many of them. If there was some new medical, technological or scientific breakthrough.... don't you think they would be using that... for themselves... instead?
That's my take on it.