- Oldtime thinking and the 12 steps

Oldtime thinking and the 12 steps

12 Steps: Discussions related to the 12 Steps and using them as a treatment to recover from alcohol and drug addiction.

Postby Dallas » Mon Sep 04, 2006 2:26 am

Blueangel wrote:Call me whatever you want but I'll take my AA straight from the book, and no other way. It has worked for me and millions of others to lead productive lives and just to stay alive another day.

Ditto on that Kay.

Something that often goes unnoticed is... "Alcoholics Anonymous" and the "A.A. Recovery Plan" is the Big Book.

I would encourage anyone who has a sincere interest in this philosophical discussion to read the Forward to the Second Edition... I know... there are many who don't like the Big Blue Book... and would prefer other books instead... and that's just the point. The Pioneering era was over for Alcoholics Anonymous... when the book was published in 1939. That was when they discovered the formula for treating alcoholism that worked. They authored a book... so that those of us, who would come later... who were interested in changing the formula... wouldn't change the formula.

When I came in to A.A., I got irritated at the old-timers that were set in their ways. One of the differences between me and them was... they were staying sober and I wasn’t. They had already tried all the things that I was thinking about trying and discovered they didn’t work. Being the real sensitive type... it seemed like I was always getting my feelings hurt.... and that they just didn’t understand.

Alcoholics Anonymous is not Codependant's Anonymous... it's not Ala-non, it's not NA... CA, GA, or any of the other A's. A.A. is a recovery plan for alcoholics to treat their alcoholism. I love Alcoholics Anonymous, just like it is. I have no problems with it.

If I'm offering "my version" of the "message"... I'm offering "my version of recovery" to the alcoholic who still suffers. If that alcoholic doesn't make it... or if they end up with a rope around their neck, or a shot gun in their mouth... I can lay down at night, sleep well, and know that I did my best to carry "A.A.'s Message" instead of the "Message According to Dallas." I don't want the responsibility of their life and death situation, to be on my hands.... because I was so much smarter than A.A., and thought I would give them my version instead of "A.A.'s Version."

The great thing about life is, that if we don’t wait too long, we can always change our minds about things. If someone discovers that their new and improved methods have not worked for the long haul... they can go back and try the old-fashioned way in the book, before tightening the knot around their neck! It works... it really does!

No one can force an alcoholic to do anything. Especially in A.A. It’s difficult enough to find an alcoholic who is willing to follow simple directions. If someone tries to shove something down an alcoholics throat and they puke it right back up.

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Postby Dale R. » Mon Sep 04, 2006 9:11 pm

I stand corrected. Sorry if I offended anybody.
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Postby Dallas » Tue Sep 05, 2006 12:27 am

Hopefully, no one was offended... but, just in case...
I'm sorry if I offended anyone, also!

I'm sure that these kinds of questions are healthy to ask. It's good to ask them. It's good to have different opinions. That's healthy, too.

Hopefully, our answers have enough variety to them, to show that "no one really is in charge of anything" when it comes to A.A. Each Group, and each meeting of those in it's fellowship really are autonomous. Each member can believe as they desire to believe. Each group can choose to believe as it believes. One group may only want the Big Book, another Group can have no books, or a library of books, or whatever they choose is best for them. And, regardless of what they do, and how they choose... they are just as much A.A.'s as anyone else, or any other group is A.A.

There are no official A.A. laws, rules, regulations... or anything else that can force any one of us to do anything. There is no person in A.A. that can force us to do or believe anything. There is no human in authority. No rulers. No judges. No A.A. police. And, we can still care for each other, and serve together, in a spirit of love and tolerance towards a common goal... of staying sober and helping other alcoholics to recover... regardless of our differences.

The doors of A.A. open so wide, that each of us can fit into the doors at the same time and no one gets excluded and no one is in front of, or behind another. It's a pretty cool deal!

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Oldtime Thinking and The Twelve Steps

Postby Jim W » Tue Sep 05, 2006 12:56 am

Principles do not change. I am all for keeping up with the times, but I am not in favor of abandoning our singleness of purpose.

AA has changed-for the worse. One reason is that our service structure is infected with unrecovered alcoholics and non-alcoholics, who for one reason or another seem to want to blatantly disregard vital principles. People who haven't taken the steps and recovered shouldn't be involved in general service.
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Postby cinderbobble » Wed Sep 06, 2006 4:12 pm

8) Dallas - you are really sweet, and I thank you for your patient regard to those of us who fall off the beam every now and then, as I am sure, it is possible you have too!! :wink:

My take on what you are saying, is like the mother hen, or maybe even possibly the den mother of a wolf family - who must, I mean MUST teach the young the right, and the only principles of survival... which in our case are the 12 and 12, topped with the legacy of service, recovery and unity (?)... When we ignore these, we place ourselves in danger of self will run riot. I rightfully applaud you, for your arduous pursuit of safety for those sick and dying alcoholics who may not know just which way to turn, as they stumble in the doors and meet confusion and chaos. You, you and so many BB Thumpers like you do not wish them to stare into the eyes of the predator (wrong principles,... such as 'take what you like and leave the rest... we all know what that would mean to a newly sober member here I think). It is this shooing away of p...poor behavior which ultimately has dire consequences for unsuspecting and still wrong-thinking drunks newly sober. I, for one, was not in a position to think for myself or to find a sponsor. Fortunately I looked for a sponsor who was (I thought as far from me as the devel from the deep blue... Fortunately I have hung tight to that relationship, even though others thought she should have been 'tougher' on me!

We are, truly, like children sometimes, and I think that is good. It is children who seek ways off the beaten path, and it is that which makes us grow. However, a newly sober, still reeking of alcohol, sick alcoholic would need something strong to look to, and that is what the 12X12 program of alcoholic presents to such a person.
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Postby garden variety » Mon Sep 11, 2006 7:59 pm

Hey Dallas?

You said name one thing that could make AA more modernized. Now I aint much for changing anything that works this good, but I do got one thing.

I love that Big Book, but it really should be brought up to date because there are one heck of a lot more ladies that are alcoholics. And when we read it, its saying "your man this", and "when you make contact with your man", and "he's so and so, so you have to be careful not to evangelize", and so on. They talk like women and wifes are some backwoods barefoot dummies putting up with a drunkard man because its her duty. You read in the chapter Working with Others like the only ones that have alcoholism are men. That just is too backwards even for someone as simple-minded as me.

You might think this is funny, but when I read out loud at Big Book meetings, I say "he or she", and "person" or "persons" instead of "man" or "men". (I know you might be surprised, but I can read too!).

The way I see it is that by talking so much like alcoholism is a man's problem is disrespectful in today's terms. I know they was trying and doing what they did at the time, and that Big Book is one God-inspired piece of work. But they did the last revision in the 70's, they could have made the writing more "woman-friendly".

Well that the one thing you asked for. I'll leave it at that.
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Oldtime thinking and the 12 Steps

Postby Jim W » Tue Sep 12, 2006 12:47 am

I agree to a point. With some minor exceptions, the basic text hasn't been changed since first printing. I could be wrong, but I believe that would take a two-thirds majority vote from the whole fellowship for any major changes to be made in the basic text.

I do believe that the language in "To Wives" is stilted and rather condescing. That's because Bill asked Ann Smith to write it and she declined. He should have asked Lois to write it but never did and wrote it himself. It's on the record that Lois was very hurt by Bill's not asking her to write it.

I have no problem when someone changes "he" To "she" when reading the book, if it applies. I do it myself when reading to a woman.

As far as using "He" to describe God, I use it as a non-genderized term for the simple reason that God is beyond gender. Beyond comprehension, for that matter. But we use words as symbols to describe the undescribable.
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Postby anniemac » Tue Sep 12, 2006 5:19 pm

When I first came in to the rooms, and probably for about 3 years thereafter, I was a big advocate of modernizing the BB. I hated that book with a passion - it seemed outdated and masculine and only for the lowest of low-bottom drunks.

I've come to a place, though, after much soul-searching as to why I hated the book so much, where I see that once again I just wanted things to conform for and to me. As I learn a bit about humility, I learn that I can attempt to conform much more easily than I can force others to conform for me ~ LOL!
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Postby Dallas » Tue Sep 12, 2006 6:30 pm

I've noticed that with many of the ancient texts on Spiritual Principles... even the one's that the language was perhaps "modernized" to remove the thees, thous, begats, and the like... they pretty much stuck with the words as they were written, rather than trying to make them politically and socially correct. (Or, so that I've read).

I also enjoy noticing the errors... for me, it just goes to show how awesome it is, that a few drunks with not a whole bunch of years sobriety ... got together and got a book published that has changed millions of lives all over the world... in numerous languages, and allowed so many people to be set free, and on a path to happy, joyous, and purposeful living. To me, it makes me think that very possibly, a Power greater than themselves... left it's fingerprints all over it! And, I sure wouldn't want to mess with those finger prints!

Perhaps, that's why the old-fashioned, politically incorrect Big Book doesn't bother me with it's grammatical errors, etceteras. Heck, I never did do too well in English, spelling or grammar! And, I sure the heck never have been too politically correct!

And, like other of the old books that I've read and continue to read... I enjoy reading them while trying to understand their historical settings at the time that they were written... and asking myself things like "how are things pretty much the same today?" or... "what has changed?" and... "how can I use this to further my own understanding, and conscious contact."

Sometimes I've noticed that "theory" often goes full circle.... changes, and then often changes back to what it was when it was first expressed.

One thing is for sure....

"The spiritual life is not a theory. We have to live it." Page 83, the Old-fashioned Big Book, of Alcoholics Anonymous. :wink:

I have been told by reliable people who are well versed in multiple languages, that in some of the other languages that the Big Book was interpreted in, the text has been significantly changed to the point that someone who is familiar with our original Big Book would swear they are reading a totally different book! I'll never know for sure... because I don't plan on learning to read in any other languages. But, perhaps one of our friends out there who is multi-lingual will be able to shed some light on this for me.

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Postby garden variety » Tue Sep 12, 2006 7:27 pm

Well I'm not much into calling something that makes me different than someone else "political correctness" because they want to be treated the same. You got people calling things "political correctness" as a put-down cause somebody got took advantage of and now things should be made right. But somebody pays the price because they didn't have to when the tables were turned, and "political correctness" wasnt there to take away the advantage they had over the "woman" or the colored people for example.

You can say what you want about "political correctness", I just don't use the word because its just a cover up of somebodies prejudice, plain and simple. Now its supposed to be a funny thing to make a joke out of it. You tell me what led to political correctness?

Didnt enough colored people get lynched before that little joking saying became popular these days? I mean there was still lynchings less than 50 years ago - still long after the Big Book was wrote. You go into the rooms and still see men taking advantage of women just because they think to hell with "political correctness."

I'm of the firm believing that God did create a man and a woman basically to be treated with the same respect. I don't make no distinction with my dogs. You can't look at two turtles and tell which one is the boy and which one is the girl. Then why the hell are you gonna treat women differently in black and white when it comes to recovery? If you treat them different in the Big Book guess what? You treat them different in the rooms too. Thats been what I seen time and time again.

Now you got me rolling. What about the "AA slogan" that says "theres a slip before every fall"? A "slip" meaning its the womans underwear that caused the fella to go back out. You listen to the drunkalogs and tell me how many men have got beat up by their wifes or girlfriends. But then how many girls are still getting beat up because men think its still OK to be "politically incorrect"?

Hogwash I tell you. Treat men and women the same in recovery and make it start at the top. If it means changing the Big Book then maybe there are some things that should change. Now don't read me wrong either. I'm not saying change the steps or the "basic text".

You can keep "politically correct"...I'll hang onto "right" and "wrong"...its a lot simpler for me.
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