- FOREWORD TO THE FIRST EDITION

FOREWORD TO THE FIRST EDITION




Alcoholics Anonymous AA Big Book Study and Discussion.

FOREWORD TO THE FIRST EDITION

Postby Dallas » Tue Jan 30, 2007 11:33 am

From the Book - Alcoholics Anonymous

FOREWORD TO THE FIRST EDITION


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, we hope these
pages will prove so convincing that no further authentication
will be necessary. We think this account of our
experiences will help everyone to better understand the
alcoholic. Many do not comprehend that the alcoholic is
a very sick person. And besides, we are sure that our
way of living has its advantages for all.

It is important that we remain anonymous because we
are too few, at present to handle the overwhelming number
of personal appeals which may result from this publication.
Being mostly business or professional folk, we
could not well carry on our occupations in such an event.
We would like it understood that our alcoholic work is an
avocation.

When writing or speaking publicly about alcoholism,
we urge each of our Fellowship to omit his personal name,
designating himself instead as “a member of Alcoholics
Anonymous.â€
Last edited by Dallas on Thu May 07, 2009 2:29 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Big Book Study

Postby musicmode » Tue Jan 30, 2007 7:04 pm

"Many do not comprehend that the alcoholic is a very sick person."

My name is Anne, I'm an alcoholic,

It took some time for me to wrap my brain around the idea that I was a very sick person. Sure, I was sick...& my brain..well it was soaked 'nuff so that ya couldn't wrap it 'round anythin', never mind an idea. How sick I was, though...physically incapacitated, at any point and time during the last few months, I'm confident that a breathalizer test would've showed that I should-a been legally dead (.250 for a female, .350 for a male is the amounts the laws here say, that by rights, at these numbers, a person should be dead)...still, here I was, goin' thru the daily motions of runnin' kids to school, banking business, grocery errands, etc., & puttin' on a front of "everything's fine". It's interesting to me how the "legal numbers" actually equate how I felt inside...dyin'/dead inside...how I felt like this anonymous void with a liquid pit in my gut. Something was really wrong with me, and I knew it...but I didn't know what it was, or so I said then...deep down, I knew the answer to what was making me so sick, I just had to stop denying myself of the stark truth. It took no time a'tall for me to say: My name is Anne, I'm an alcoholic...but the further away I got from my last drink, the more the idea sunk in that I was, indeed...a very sick person. An alcoholic? Alcoholism...a disease? I have a disease? That one was really tough to swallow...not just a piece of crow...but the entire bird, man..that's what I felt like I was tryin' to swallow. I felt like this being that was covered in tar & sludge, and I couldn't shake it off. I was sick in all senses of the word, physically, mentally, emotionally & spiritually. This Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous has been provided for me--for us, as a solution...so that I am able to...at first it was comprehend, & then cope, and now--how to live in the solution...of how to deal with this disease that I have. How about that---a tiny group of people back in the 1930's saw it fit to draw up some paperwork, put it in a text book, so that I...many years later, would be able to have what worked for them.

Peace,
Anne M. 8) [/i]
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Postby anniemac » Tue Jan 30, 2007 8:39 pm

I love how they use the word "recovered" twice. Not "recovering". This gives me hope that if I follow the Program of Alcoholics Anonymous, I will be recovered from that hopeless state of mind and body. Of course that does not mean that I can drink again normally, but it does mean to me that I can get well.

I find it interesting that their initial mention of anonymity has nothing to do with humility or a spiritual foundation, as stated in the Traditions, but as common sense so they were not inundated with more inquiries than they could handle. Maybe I'm misinterpreting that?
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Forward To The First Edition

Postby Jim W » Sat Feb 03, 2007 5:35 pm

It was put to me that way as well-"You don't ever have to drink alcohol again, and beyond that, you don't have to stay sick. You can get well. We don't gaurantee you a pain free life, but you don't have to drink again. We can show you precisely how we have recovered."

To show others precisely how I have recovered becomes my primary purpose. I no longer have to wonder what I'm supposed to do with my life. I know every day for the rest of my life what I'm supposed to do. Go find another drunk that doesn't know that he never has to drink again and show him precisely how I've recovered. And since that isn't always possible because I work full-time, go to the supermarket, etc, I'm to give this away to people who don't even know I'm giving it to them. Which leads to...

I used to be arrogant enough to think that the phrase "...we think our way of living has its advantages for all" meant that everyone should live this way. What it means is that me living this way has its advantages for everyone whose life is touched by mine-my mother, my son, my employer and co-workers, etc. Just like when I was in active active alcoholism everyone was affected, so does my recovery touch everyone.
Jim
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Re: Forward To The First Edition

Postby anniemac » Sun Feb 04, 2007 10:12 pm

Jim W wrote:I used to be arrogant enough to think that the phrase "...we think our way of living has its advantages for all" meant that everyone should live this way. Jim


:oops: :oops: Uhhh, that's what I thought it meant!!
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Postby catsup » Wed Mar 14, 2007 9:10 pm

someone suggested this study thread to me, so here i am. it's been about a week since i took one drink . . . just to be sure. it didn't do anything positive for me. although i am still "not sane" and struggle with thoughts of drinking, i am coming awake in some wonderful ways and, therefore, feel more ready to get into the Big Book.

i have an honest desire to stop drinking. what a wonderful and freeing state of mind this is! i am coming to know, once again, how miraculous A.A. can be.

other than this, i have nothing to offer this discussion. i am hear to mainly listen, i guess.

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BB foreword - recovered/anonymity/anonymous

Postby Vickie V » Sat Aug 18, 2007 9:07 pm

I just learned a different meaning this year about the saying "recovered " from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body.

I still dont get that all the way. I guess the hopeless state of mind is that I have hope - the body part means I don't have the cravings any longer?

I feel like I am missing something yet for years I have heard people say it and in my ignorance I would say to friends that my view was that it was a matter of semantics and the writers were giving people hope in the beginning of the book.

What did I think I was a carrying to others? Who knows .
The more I am around here - this program - The more I feel like I dont know this book very well that I have been reading for thirteen years.

Not to say , I haven't recovered because believe me -- I dont drink or desire to drink. I just feel like I read the book and things keep changing as I am reading.

Even the importance of anonymity and its meaning to me is changing. I always believed it was talking about anonymity of myself to others yet I now live in a small town and started sponsoring a women that has a powerful husband politically.

I almost feels like I am threatened by people knowing my AA purpose and they are more open to judge me out of not understanding my motives. I want to yell wait I have worked with many alcoholics I dont care who they are yet I must keep myself on my knees about this situation.

I am learning a different value in anonymity- I dont have clarity on it yet but I welcome any feedback about it or perhaps I am not keeping it simple.



vlv



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Re: BB foreword - recovered/anonymity/anonymous

Postby garden variety » Sun Aug 19, 2007 10:13 pm

Vickie V wrote:I just learned a different meaning this year about the saying "recovered " from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body.

I still dont get that all the way. I guess the hopeless state of mind is that I have hope - the body part means I don't have the cravings any longer?

I feel like I am missing something yet for years I have heard people say it and in my ignorance I would say to friends that my view was that it was a matter of semantics and the writers were giving people hope in the beginning of the book.


Hi Vickie,

I know there is a lot of talk - some folks say "controversy" about being "recovered" or "in recovery". I try to keep it simple too. In the book it says recovered more times then it says in recovery. There are some semantics things that I find drunks will argue about, too this is one of them. But the way it's been taught to me, and also the way I've been seeing it is like this. I'm recovered from the malady of alcoholism at that point in time where I work through the first eleven steps and am at the beginning of step 12. It says specifically "Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps..."

That's when I have made a complete "recovery". I'm no longer "in recovery", but I'm recovered. The book says it on page 44, that we suffer from an illness that only a spiritual experience can "conquer". So after I undergo that "profound alteration in my reaction to life which I could have hardly done on my own (from the appendix on spiritual experiences)" - then I am recovered for all intents and purposes. I no longer have the physical craving or the mental obsession. My illness has been "arrested". I am a completely different person as the result of the steps. The spiritual experience is a change in my innermost being, and I become connected to a Power greater than me, and that Power shows me that the "real me" is created in His image. My "dependency" has now found its true "home" - I'm reliant on God and not the substance.

Now it is up to me to "perfect and enlarge my spiritual spiritual life through work and self-sacrifice for others". If I don't do that, and that boils down to living each day by the spiritual principles of the steps, then things will happen in my life that I won't be able to handle without picking up a drink. So being recovered means that I don't quit working the steps and principles - it doesn't mean I graduate or retire. My malady of alcoholism is "arrested" and not cured.

It's like if I have diabetes. I do the same thing. I recover from the hopeless state of mind that is induced by the blood sugar imbalance, and the physical problems. I follow the direction and advice of my MD, and I get to a state of well-being as though I never had the illness or episodes of it. Then as long as I "prefect and enlarge" a manner of living which is mainly nutrition and exercise, the illness of diabetes is "arrested" but not really cured - just like alcoholism. If I stop living the way I've been directed by the medical and nutrition world, the illness returns. I think I could say I'm recovered from diabetes in the same way. It's not like I'll be "in recovery" all my life - I just adopt the changes and live by them.

So if I'm still "in recovery", I take that to mean that I'm somewhere between step one and step eleven because I haven't worked all the way through the steps. That also means that I might be a changed person before I do step 11, but the change is not strong enough to keep me sober for a day. The way I read step 12 is that I have to work all eleven steps to have a "spiritual awakening" strong enough to keep me sober one day at a time. It also means that I have to have a daily personal working relationship with a Power greater than myself because the book says that living by the spiritual principles is a lifelong process.
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Recovered vs. recovering

Postby Jim W » Mon Aug 20, 2007 8:16 pm

I was recovering at one time. Don't want to do that again. To say that I will always be recovering means that I'll always be suffering. I've recovered-all that means is that I don't suffer from active alcoholism at this time. No big deal.

I believe that most who say they are recovering aren't. I also believe the book is either true or it is not. The ones who say that they can never recover, that they will always be recovering, are just expressing their own agnosticism, doubting the power of God.
Jim
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Postby carol1017 » Mon Aug 20, 2007 10:36 pm

Well said, Paul and Jim.

This is probably one of the most controversial topics in AA -- the use of the word "recovered" vs. "recovering". Personally, I would hate to think of myself as perpetually "recovering" -- that sounds to me like I am still in the process. I am recovered from that hopeless state of mind and body, but my recovery is a "daily reprieve based on my spiritual condition". If I don't maintain my spiritual condition, the mental obsession and physical craving will return.

I think the problem is one of semantics -- people tend to think of "recovered" as "cured". I think of it as being recovered from a snake bite -- I recovered from that episode, but I may not recover from a second snake bite. One doesn't become immune to venom or alcohol, but one can recover.
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12 Step Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery | - FOREWORD TO THE FIRST EDITION