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Study Guide book Alcoholics Anonymous t dedicated those who want recovery alcoholism have difficulty with word God Especially as that word gets used by individuals who embrace traditional religious concepts of what it means m Be advised that o r ideas and interpretations which are consistent with basic AA text also have value and usefulness in recovery process
Should you choose follow Study Guide you will be presented ideas which author has found be consistent with basic text of AA However some of those ideas go beyond limitations many traditional religions have in ir interpretation of word God and what that word means for m Readers who are open minded see may discover new thinking about power greater than yourself
three letter word God generally used communicate concept of infinite knowledge and power Concepts o r than those utilized by traditional religion do exist One fundamental idea of God based upon basic text of AA see being offered in Study Guide Some individual alcoholics may find approach useful in ir personal recovery
t self evident that no person qualified speak for God nor for AA as whole vital spiritual experience necessary for recovery alcoholism intensely personal individual alcoholic That precisely point readers concept of God need not follow traditional lines
experience of first successfully sober members of AA tells us
RE S POWER FOR GOOD
AND YOU CAN UT L ZE T N YOUR LiFE
DON’T DRiNK NO MATTER WHAT
Nothing fur r would be required as message of sobriety
Due individual differences in conscious awareness of Great Reality of life on life’s terms re are differences in individual alcoholics What understood by one may not be clear ano r That precisely point Certain mental attitudes repeatedly appear within basic text for recovery alcoholism Comments are made by author about those ideas emotions and attitudes as y repeatedly appear in basic text see Many are repetitious y appear have significance for any alcoholic having difficulty reconciling use of three letter word God in AA Big Book with interpretations of that word commonly offered by traditional religions
Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous company of equals re no second requirement for membership AA gains it’s strength universal acceptance by those who are members on ir own say so
only requirement for AA membership desire stop drinking Tradition
As result issue of human equality in eyes of Creator becomes point of departure between AA program and basic precepts of many traditional religions Where religion defines that which and not God for ir followers AA does not Where most religious belief systems have boundaries define what y believe about God basic text for AA does not
only belief about God author has found within basic text of AA statement which finds universal acceptance for any alcoholic who seeks recovery as ir primary purpose in lifetime
We are sure God wants us be happy joyous and free We cannot subscribe belief that life vale of tears though it once was just that for many of us it clear that we made our own misery God didn’t do it
eyes of God AA does not n fact very beginning of AA was based upon very simple idea
Why don’t you choose your own conception of God?
t was only matter of being willing believe in Power greater than myself Nothing more was required of me make my beginning
demonstrated results of AA have clearly established that alcoholics can and do recover once seemingly hopeless state of mind and body Those who have recovered obviously possess conscious awareness of something which possible
t contention of author in Study Guide of AA basic text that recovered alcoholics have tapped source of power greater than mselves t in form of new knowledge about Great Reality of life on life’s terms see s c
re universal acceptance of three letter word God as being source of all knowledge and power of that knowledge Any such awareness of reality obviously power greater than any individual could acquire during single lifetime Fur rmore re more new knowledge available than has been discovered by entire human race since beginning of time
For practical human purposes available supply of new knowledge about life on life’s terms infinite s Where has application recovery alcoholism basic text of AA clear
Our description of alcoholic chapter agnostic and our personal adventures before and after make clear three pertinent ideas
That we were alcoholic and could not manage our own
lives
b That probably no human power could have relieved our
alcoholism
c That God could and would if He were sought
At issue fundamental idea of God which author suggests will be different within each and every alcoholic Every alcoholic will have differences in ir personal awareness of that which and not Great Reality of life on life’s terms refore it belief in ir own equality in eyes of ir Creator which becomes focal point of concern
word ethnocentric describes that mental attitude Many traditional religions hold such belief system for ir followers see Alcoholics who desire retain belief that our group superior o r groups should not be reading material Not unless y are open minded enough consider o r ideas which can be found within AA basic text for recovery
Having been issued fair warning reader of Study Guide material should be prepared encounter challenges many well established old ideas about disease of alcoholism will include observations about power which has produced recovery for countless thousands of men and women all segments of humanity y should be evaluated with inherent intelligence which can be found within every man woman and child see s
Before AA no second hand belief system had been able produce any results equivalent what AA program has demonstrated possible for any alcoholic with desire stop drinking
We find that no one need have difficulty with spirituality of program Willingness honesty and open mindedness are essentials of recovery se are indispensable
With that mental approach material contained in Study Guide of basic text for Alcoholics Anonymous some specific suggestions follow
Remember that no individual member of AA qualified speak for Fellowship except with endorsement of General Services Offices of Alcoholics Anonymous
Rely upon Twelve Traditions Long Form for clarification of what AA and what AA not see
Consider viewpoint of any individual member as just that view of member of Alcoholics Anonymous specifically includes any comments by author of Study Guide of basic text see Foreword First Edition
Recovery alcoholism something which requires continued effort perfect and enlarge spiritual life see s When evaluating Study Guide material it suggested that reader proceed at ir own pace Valid new knowledge will always displace and rearrange erroneous old ideas and false beliefs
only measure of validity for ideas emotions and attitudes which are guiding forces in lives of alcoholics be found in how well y work Do y produce satisfactory results? Are y principles with application anyone anyplace and at any time? see
improvement of an established belief system not an overnight matter see Steps With thought in mind study material of each individual Section carefully in light of your own intelligence
Scan rapidly through material first without paying any particular attention paren tical references o r portions of AA basic text f points being made are not clearly understood n review references for additional clarification re no o r authority intended be used than basic text itself
For alcoholic who defiant individualist re value in building personal belief system on foundation of AA basic text for recovery approach recovery has produced demonstrated results which remain unequaled by any o r thus far However Be quick see where religious people are right Make use of what y offer Just remember that ir discovery of truth not same as having knowledge of all truth
With mental attitude of willingness honesty and open mindedness give thoughtful intelligent consideration ideas emotions and attitudes of any alcoholic who has achieved successful results in ir life Especially those which you would like have included in your own While no two individuals will ever be happy joyous and free in an identical manner anyone can acquire new knowledge of Great Reality almost anyone
Any improvement in your own conscious contact with God will allow for spiritual progress in cooperating with life on life’s terms t will occur as you understand more about power greater than yourself spiritual growth be found by constantly seeking new knowledge infinite source of all knowledge That source some intelligence referred by use of three letter word God
individual alcoholic seeking recovery will quickly recognize need for reliance upon conception of God that produces practical results fundamental idea of God as source of all new knowledge simple approach which has worked well for many see
approach recovery has been particularly valuable those alcoholics who have difficulty believing versions of power greater than ourselves offered by and available spokesmen for many traditional religious ideas of God
What author has found by way of support for fundamental idea of God basic text of AA being freely offered in Study Guide material those who are interested
Cover Frontispiece

Preface Study Guide

How Use Study Guide

Table of Contents

Foreword Study Guide
Comments on Sponsorship

Serious Student of AA Big Book

About Author by Author

Getting Started with AA’s Big Book

Doctor’s Opinion
About Basic Text of AA Chapters

About Personal Stories


AA Tradition
Short Form
Long Form
Spiritual Experience
Medical View of AA
Lasker Award
Religious View on AA
Big Book Study Guide

B Chapter Bills Story

STEP ONE
Ba Chapter there Solution


S T E P T W O
Ba Chapter More about Alcoholism

Ba Chapter We Agnostics

Ba Chapter How it Works
Bb
S T E P T H R E E


S T E P F O U R



Chapter into Action

S T E P Si X


S T E P S E V E N

S T E P E G H T


S T E P NiNiE

PROM SES

S T E P T E N

S T E P E L E V E N

S T E P T W E L V E
Chapter Working with Others
Chapter Wives
Chapter Family Afterward
Ba Chapter Employers
Ba Chapter Vision for You
Comments on prayer and meditation
Disagreement with traditional religious beliefs need not block recovery alcoholism re can be both value and limitations some of those old ideas and ir belief systems However power of new knowledge infinite see
Knowledge power and it provides additional freedom with power of increased choice re always more know Any knowledge you do NOT possess power greater than yourself
Seeking new knowledge equivalent seeking improved power make choices that were not previously available due personal ignorance As you understand new knowledge you are free use it see Steps
ability of alcoholics recover seemingly hopeless state of mind and body was new knowledge for many when book Alcoholics Anonymous was first written That new knowledge provided alcoholics new power make new choices With those new choices y were able enjoy new freedom and new happiness see s
re no limit upon how much additional new knowledge ie power of God anyone can acquire More new knowledge hence more power available anyone any place at any time if it sought see s c
By seeking more new knowledge seeker taps into an infinite source of power syn God see That source power greater than yourself
That message reflects basic view of AA Big Book which will be found in Study Guide t has been prepared for sole purpose of sharing what has been found in basic text with alcoholics who have problems with traditional religious interpretations of word God and what that word means ir mind book Alcoholics Anonymous offers path of recovery which extends beyond any requirement conform traditional religious ideas or practices
Many alcoholics find personal fulfillment within traditional religious belief system Such readers may not be interested in seeking any additional improvements in ir life see For m read on could expose ir minds o r ideas and new knowledge which might disturb what y now believe about life
Those who have found peace of mind and personal contentment with ir faith are advised stop reading here and set book aside now
Those who have continued read Study Guide material will recognize that many alcoholics have problems with traditional religious interpretations of word God Some of those problems are aggravated by exposure militantly religious and highly vocal AA members who insist ir way only way experience vital spiritual experience necessary for recovery basic text on recovery alcoholism does not support that claim see s
Some religious groups of alcoholics insist it necessary shave your head or meditate in certain position O rs believe it important don yellow robe and chant in order find spiritual enlightenment Large numbers of o r alcoholics emotionally insist that engaging in rituals symbolic of being like vampire and cannibal only valid way of communion with ir deity How much intelligence involved in any of different belief systems becomes matter of personal choice see
Though useful many alcoholics religious practices merely reflect personally chosen beliefs by individual alcoholics Fortunately none of those religious belief systems are necessary requirements for recovery f y were necessary n no one could or would recover without m AA experience has indicated only requirement for recovery desire stop drinking see
Principles of recovery found in AA Big Book have universal application
Those principles will work for anyone with desire stop drinking re no second requirement for membership Similarly re no difference between an alcoholic with Buddhist hang over or Baptist hang over AA program works equally well in producing recovery for m both
Fur rmore only assumption about what God wants for alcoholic
We are sure God wants us be happy joyous and free
Some individuals prefer having ano r human being ie equal in eyes of God tell m if and when y are happy joyous or free f so different approach recovery may produce what y want most Study Guide emphasizes spirit of human equality as concept which has been found consistently throughout basic AA text for recovery alcoholism
n regard reader may wish consider author of Study Guide be like sponsor Someone like safari guide which you have chosen Someone who willing point out what y have found in basic text Alcoholics Anonymous Someone willing take reader on guided tour of basic text while emphasizing points of interest personal perspective with personal bias built into all comments which get made Such an approach can be anticipated by anyone who continues reading material
Comments made by author of Study Guide are offered freely alcoholics who are interested in m O rs may prefer taking different approach basic text for recovery alcoholism only important approach sobriety for any alcoholic one that works best
t suggested reader utilize whatever new knowledge helpful m regardless of how or where it acquired f some of those ideas emotions or attitudes have broader application in life than sobriety alone n consider m bonus benefit y will be power of new knowledge you will be free use as you trudge Road of Happy Destiny
COMMENTS ON SPONSORSHiP
AA Pamphlet P Questions Answers on Sponsorship
COMMENTS
t common recommendation newcomers in AA Fellowship that y get sponsor who will help m understand what in basic text for recovery Study Guide was written with that consideration in mind f reader desires use author as sponsor it worthwhile establish clear understanding of what that relationship Specifically in regard interpreting basic text for recovery that found in first pages of AA Big Book
Where reader chooses use author of Study Guide as sponsor it recommended that anything which cannot be confirmed with that basic text be considered suspect of error
Be assured that author has made every effort reconcile personal comments with AA Big Book While se and o r outside views may provide value and usefulness it not recommended that any alcoholic bet ir life and ir freedom on something which y cannot confirm with AA’s basic text for successful recovery
Consider anyone you select as sponsor be like safari guide you have chosen lead you through territory which new for you familiar m n process of your journey you will inescapably be exposed personality of your guide as part of process What y consider of significance or importance may not have same value you
When reading material in Study Guide be aware that understanding personality of author not essential your own recovery alcoholism However improving conscious understanding of principles of recovery required for vital spiritual experience Step
We find that no one need have difficulty with spirituality of program Willingness honesty and open mindedness are essentials of recovery se are indispensable Because no one has all answers in AA individual members share ir experience strength and hope with each o r No individual member qualified speak for AA as whole refore when selecting sponsor as safari guide lead you through unfamiliar territory of basic text use of your own intelligence will be helpfulAny observations offered in Study Guide by author are personal While y have worked well it should be recognized that o r views exist objective help reader improve ways become increasingly happy joyous and free occurs by enlarging conscious understanding of power greater than yourself as presented in AA’s basic text for recovery
Different individuals seek different approaches obtaining fulfillment of ir desires ie answers ir prayers No one else really knows what y want for mselves Because author failed mind reading alcoholic reader must make decision concerning what new knowledge y are seeking for mselves Part of that desire syn prayer may be answered comments provided in Study Guide f so utilize those ideas freely and leave what not suitable for someone who may find m helpful
Be aware that some alcoholics are or believe y are unable make decisions in ir own best interests f so y may require conservator caretaker or keeper protect m mselves AA places emphasis upon human equality particularly in eyes of creator For that reason participation in AA may not be ir best personal approach recovery Established AA members are not necessarily qualified run lives of o r alcoholics Beyond personal success with ir own recovery re room for doubt concerning ir expertise in o r areas of living AA most established members have admitted ir inability successfully manage ir own lives Most also believe that in past some power greater than mselves had been lacking see How y have tapped source of power that has restored m sanity may vary value of ir choice will vary according whomever renders judgment on ir mental condition refore reader would be wise utilize ir own intelligence and exercise caution when making selection of someone provide m with guidance Should an alcoholic desire sponsor run ir life for m y would require non revocable Power of Attorney in order be effective Remember that any alcoholic always free rebel and y would likely try outsmart sponsor any time y disagreed None less within AA re still exists an ample supply of o r alcoholics who are willing run your life for you reason that it ir own personal best interests share secrets of ir own success reader should be aware that any happiness joy or freedom will be ir version ra r than your own see refore caution recommended Because no two alcoholics are precisely same any second hand version of happiness will ultimately conflict with unique and individual personality refore it recommended place priority importance upon principles before personalitiesProfessional help for alcoholics available fields of medicine religion and psychiatry Each professional specialist who has been trained in ir specific discipline re no challenge ir expertise or competence in ir chosen field of study However recognize that alcoholism impacts every major area in life of alcoholic refore no single discipline embraces entire problem Because of ir limited effectiveness professional community has not been able offer significant demonstrations of success in producing recoveries alcoholism Those which do usually have developed close connections with or reliance upon AA program of recovery However AA program not allied nor affiliated with any of m AA Preamble Tradition Historically reformed drunk known drinking society with zealous religious outlook upon life Experience indicates such emotional upheavals are usually temporary in nature and hold little long term appeal most alcoholics author believes that it difficult if not impossible maintain that strong emotional intensity over any extended period of time Eventually intelligence of alcoholic and reality of life on life’s terms will interject disrupt that high emotional pitch n emotional pendulum swings depths of depression and despair
All of us felt at times that we were regaining control such intervals—usually brief—were inevitably followed by still less control which led in time pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization
Accordingly when considering any religious or o r professional approach recovery alcoholism it recommended that interested alcoholic apply an old familiar nursery rhyme by asking Pie man Pie man let me taste your wares May speak with some alcoholics who have recovered by using your methods please? considered an intelligent request before spending substantial amounts of time and money on solution First consider results being offered n decide if those results are what you want for yourself n San Francisco California in May surviving co founder of AA related his earlier encounter with John D Rockefeller Foundation obtain financing for facilities deal with recovery alcoholism man who had provided much money for humanitarian purposes wisely declined saying workings of good will of one human being for ano r and money would louse it up Human nature has changed little since n Money power and prestige can be an alluring diversion primary purpose of Alcoholics Anonymous With tradition of being self supporting AA escapes those distractions recovery produced by allure of o r people’s money Our primary purpose stay sober and help o r alcoholics achieve sobriety AA Preamble
blind acceptance that close minded belief particular religious concept of God alone sufficient produce recovery alcoholism yet ano r distraction While many religions may offer useful ideas emotions and attitudes about life on life’s terms none complete Many newcomers have difficulty with when seeking improve understanding of power greater than ourselves see s
Be aware re no Official God Club for AA re no difference between Buddhist hangover and Christian hangover reasons why AA has not stamped itself as Christian movement are clearly defined in writings of AA’s co founder Some specific comments can be located on page of AA publication As Bill Sees t avoid emotional confusion between objectives of AA and o r outside activities it recommended those comments be read with an open mind ndividual AA members frequently comment on what in basic text for recovery Before relying upon what y say it useful consider why y say it Those statements may not be correct and are still only personal interpretations which sometimes are inaccurate f it important n check it out first with basic text and decide if it means same you
re can be difference between what text says and personal belief of what text means Because AA accepts anyone who claims have desire stop drinking your own intelligence will confirm that you are apt find wide variety of people in any AA meeting Unless you know precisely what and not included in AA’s basic text for recovery re no intelligent means of separating solid foundation for recovery personal views of individual members
Be cautious about relying upon second hand information t can be perilous when it comes an equal human being who capable of being mistaken Obviously you cannot know difference without first enlarging your own understanding s Steps
Where Sponsorship concerned author suggests that you first read AA’s basic text for recovery Pages n read world wide experience of AA set forth in pamphlet Questions and Answers on Sponsorship P One provides minimum essential requirements for recovery alcoholism o r contains variety of different approaches which will be helpful in selecting kind of sponsor you want for yourself before blindly selecting someone you wish label as your sponsor author makes following suggestions and recommendations
Get personal copy of basic text Alcoholics Anonymous highlight comments about Sponsorship
Open your book Frontispiece and highlight portion that reads How Many Thousands of Men and Women Have Recovered Alcoholism Underline word Recovered Read basic text through page and carefully highlight each and every comment on sponsorship so you will know with certainty what and not contained in basic text for recovery
Review AA pamphlet noting various approaches sponsorship and decide what kind of sponsor you want
Study Guide can serve as sponsor walk you through some things found by author within basic text reader welcomed and encouraged do so Like safari guide author will point out some areas considered worth noting during your journey y reflect value judgment of author You may or may not place same value or importance on what you are being shown t inescapable that you will be exposed personality of person you choose be your sponsor Be aware that agreement with ir personality not essential for your recovery Acceptance of principles of recovery in AA indispensable Tradition Most members of AA are willing honest and open minded about ir desire be happy joyous and free see Most alcoholics are willing trade up something better if it can be intelligently established that it an improvement see Step refore if you believe that your own success story already has elements of value o rs n sharing that new knowledge may have mutual value and usefulness Hopefully re will be some personal enrichment gained use of Study Guide of AA basic text for recovery reader encouraged accept utilize and share anything which provides value in personal recovery process for any alcoholic t being freely offered for that purpose
Just remember that what offered here comes only single member of AA see Forward First Edition And never forget that it your own choice accept or reject observations of any o r individual t use of your own intelligence which decides what has validity and acceptable for you author suggests your own successful methods for recovery be offered o rs cafeteria style with recommendation that y take what y like and leave rest Not everyone able use same information effectively in same manner only real measure of value of any approach sobriety in how well information works for individual alcoholic seeking recovery As equals re always more be learned s early AA members acquired power of new knowledge by seeking learn secrets of successful recovery Steps
LET GO AND LET GOD
becomes
LET GO OF YOUR OLD DEAS AND LET
WHAT S GOOD FOR YOU HAPPEN
As first members discovered solution ir seemingly hopeless state of mind and body y recognized it was result of doing certain things What y did was break ir actions down into small steps which ultimately became program of recovery Here are steps we took which are suggested as program of recovery Evaluate what your primary purpose see Steps Are you trying be good rather than get well? Are you trying please someone or something? should be noted that AA’s steps of recovery are based upon principles which work for any alcoholic y are not limited in ir application some select group of personalities which has been specially chosen exclusion of o r alcoholics Came believe that Power greater than ourselves could restore us sanity RESULTS ARE NOT CHANGED BY REASONS FOR ACTiONS f an alcoholic believes y have any freedom of choice n ir chosen actions are ir own responsibility t does not matter if what y do was divinely inspired or simply self will run riot consequences on life’s terms will be same Those who use ir god given brains will consciously make choices which are compatible with Ultimate Reality of Life as it understood syn God see Step
When working with o rs remember that any decision pick up bottle of booze will be ir own choice t will also be will of God if it ir version of being happy joyous and free t rarity someone or something will sit on chest of an alcoholic and force drink down ir throat while y scream for help seWhen dealing with drinking world every alcoholic has choices re principle for survival that embodied in deadly game called Russian Roulette principle for survival exceedingly simple When you are certain of safety you are free fire or not fire as you prefer
When you are certain of danger you must not pull trigger if you want survive
WHEN N DOUBT MAKE ALL YOUR M STAKES N D RECT ON OF SURV VAL
Mistakes are always possible unless alcoholic sufficiently informed enough believe y have no additional room for spiritual progress review s Few if any alcoholics will qualify for that degree of omniscience Because few if any alcoholics have achieved that level of spiritual perfection re always room for error
Errors are possible for any alcoholic when y are interpreting how principles govern reality For many it shock discover Great Reality ie God can be different way y believe it be
Some of contemporaries of Columbus thought round earth preposterous O rs came near putting Galileo death for his astronomical heresies introduction of new knowledge of reality ie God can force changes erroneous belief systems re always more be understood about power greater than yourself see Step re always exists potential for error in what believed about meaning of that three letter word God Any mistaken fundamental idea of God will affect ideas emotions and attitudes guiding life of any alcoholic see Do you believe you are an exception? For alcoholic any erroneous beliefs about fundamental idea of God can have life and death implications Gambling with beliefs about Creative ntelligence gambling with life see only prize for winning personal survival refore when playing Russian Roulette with your own life you may wish consider HOW SAFE DO YOU WANT BE? Universal principles provide most intelligent basis for choosing personal belief system Reality certainly more stable than emotional wishful thinking fundamental idea of God as being Great Reality may have value newcomer AA because power of new knowledge endless s approach power of new knowledge can be understood by anyone s Seeking improve understanding of universal principles Step an idea of God which understandable any finite mind of any alcoholic utilize such an approach fundamental idea of God requires alcoholic be sufficiently open minded recognize that anyone may eventually discover more reality syn more God see Steps # # You will note that conception of God includes human equality for individual alcoholic see leads certain conclusions As we have vital spiritual experience re improved understanding of principles which apply anyone anyplace at any time Step As that understanding expands alcoholic becomes increasingly able effectively deal with life on life’s terms result improvement in personal happiness joy and freedom over that which was available within old belief system We will intuitively know how handle situations which used baffle us When your relationship with Him right great events will come pass for you and countless o rs Notice that fear touches every aspect of life of an alcoholic When working with newcomers note that use of fear primary element of many traditional religions
author finds it difficult place trust in something which feared Many newcomers will feel that same way refore it odd that some alcoholics in AA claim be God fearing and still trust infinite God at same time see
Any God fearing alcoholic may discover that what y fear wrath of an old idea of God Some assume develop and n adopt Holier than Thou attitude about ir religious belief system as if y had somehow risen above ir humanity not particularly productive when trying help ano r alcoholic recover alcoholism reason simple it emphasizes separation o r alcoholics t belief in separation reality hence belief in separation God see s Any close minded attitude which discourages alcoholics thinking outside of ir traditional belief system will restrict spiritual growth simply because it limited and that creates an obstacle spiritual progress Although many beneficial aspects are often included old belief system may still need be displaced and rearranged in order trade up Those alcoholics who choose hold on ir old ideas of God will find it matter of personal preference do so see Applying Step # an old idea of God beneficial in recovery alcoholism Those who adopt restrictive belief systems often discover y are like man who stood on his right foot with his left foot while complaining he cannot run
Herein lies critical difference between AA and religious approach recovery When an alcoholic accepts proposition that God everything re nothing accept or reject which not God see f fundamental idea of God excludes any person place or thing n some portion of reality left out At that point closed mind of an alcoholic denying that more can be revealed see Recognition of that fundamental difference may have value newcomers AA if y are experiencing problems with traditional belief systems about God Most religions define what y believe establishes ir unique individual and ethnocentric belief system Despite some of ir o r values portion of Great Reality has been omitted see Fortunately by inescapable introduction of new knowledge more will be revealed as y are obliged improve ir conscious contact with God see Step Any choice of belief system by alcoholic reader establishes path y desire follow t ir own responsibility So are consequences degree of intelligence used when choosing personal belief system will be measured in terms of personal happiness joy and freedom only valid measure evaluate any success in how well belief system works for individual alcoholic Someone else may have different and equally valid idea of what constitutes happiness joy and freedom for m As equals ie in eyes of God y are equally entitled pursue ir own beliefs and evaluate how well y produce desired results ie answer prayer After all our problems were of our own making Bottles were only symbol Besides we have stopped fighting anybody or anything We have ! entire Chapter beginning on page With few exceptions our book thus far has spoken of men through end of Chapter on Page ending with Good Luck and God bless you! significant shift in emphasis in basic text for recovery at point Until now message of recovery has been directed alcoholic t reflected experience of first members who were successful in achieving recovery Now reader presented with experience of wives of alcohol message for wives of alcoholics has application nearly everyone who bound by ties of blood or affection an alcoholic n addition it can be useful when one alcoholic working with ano r toward common goal of recovery Remember that when book Alcoholics Anonymous was written social conditions were that male head of household was predominately bread winner prevailing social attitude reflected in basic text Admittedly re were also women who were alcoholics as well However at that time drinking wife mo r or maiden aunt was often kept out of sight whenever possible polite and civilized thing do was avoid mentioning her drinking problem Social conditions and traditional family values have changed with time n basic text for recovery emphasis now shifts away alcoholic and his problem with alcohol spouse and her problem with an alcoholic None less basic message remains same AN ALCOHOL C CAN RECOVER recovery process has now entered broader arena of consideration previous message was about self preservation for alcoholic Now message concerns understanding recovery possible Some special attention also given matters of family and employment
With conscious understanding that recovery for alcoholic possible re broader principle which prevails author suggests that Efforts coerce threaten intimidate or bribe conformity an alcoholic may produce temporary results t something akin painting house hide termites However when alcoholic truly free make choices y will do what it y most want do ie ir prayer On premise of human equality ie in eyes of God it re emphasized that
alcoholic will drink if y want Many pursue it into gates of insanity or death before y consciously understand life threatening nature of ir malady Step However self preservation fundamental law of life followed closely by sex drive preserve species Those two primitive forces for preservation can easily become entangled in lives of alcoholics Keeping ir priorities straight of critical importance mistake in judgment can have potentially fatal consequences for an alcoholic Drinking alcohol does provide temporary relief those feelings of fear shame and guilt acquired many religious belief systems review refore word of caution offered about getting m confused with God’s will in AA recovery pro observation does not deny possibility of some o r life which no one has yet been able confirm Because no one has ability demonstrate existence of such condition it an intelligent choice take care of life while opportunity at hand When seeking obtain best benefits lifetime re only one observation about God’s will for alcoholic in basic text We are sure God wants us be happy joyous and free We cannot subscribe belief that life vale of tears though it once was just that for many of us it clear that we made our own misery God didn’t do it refore be cautious about more religious AA members trying interpret will of God for you alcoholic reader may dare ask of m How would you know? Most often it will become apparent that y are merely parroting dogma of ir chosen belief system
Some self appointed experts on your life may even state with great self assurance that God wants you sober may or may not be correct However intelligence indicates that if were true n you are more powerful than God because you have capacity get smashing drunk any time you want do so That option drink sufficient establish that Physicians who are familiar with alcoholism agree re no such thing as making normal drinker out of an alcoholic Science may one day accomplish it hasn’t done so yet Some alcoholics require new knowledge before making an intelligent decision stop drinking O r people ie equal in eyes of God may try help only alcoholic decides what lengths y are willing go stop s problem drinker may wish weigh benefits gained drinking against risks involved answers if given honestly may indicate just how important alcohol has become s refore main problem of alcoholic centers in his mind ra r than in his body Study Guide reader has been provided with comments about experience of first members of AA y were alcoholics whose experiences produced program of recovery outline in basic text Alcoholics Anonymous Study Guide only supplemental information offering personal perspective of one single member for consideration O r AA members ie equals in eyes of God express different views When y are made available it recommended y be evaluated intelligently with an open mind review When writing or speaking publicly about alcoholism we urge each of our Fellowship omit his personal name designating himself instead as member of Alcoholics Anonymous see Foreword First Edition Each alcoholic decides what has validity in ir own life however that decision may get made by distorted mind Although well meaning people may try be helpful no one else can decide what alcoholic wants most ie ir personal prayer Accordingly no one else controls results author believes that intelligent decisions produce superior results those made with distorted mind Because anyone can believe anything y want believe answer any prayer occurs on life’s terms ie according God’s will see desire of an alcoholic believe something does not determine it reality or valid on life’s terms author believes that life on life’s terms ie fundamental idea of God see has already provided alcoholics with what y want most ie answer ir prayers t may be sobriety it may be oblivion reality Both are equally available Spokesmen for traditional religions may disagree By improving conscious understanding of reality ie God see Step intelligent access power have prayer answered gets improved see s c Some power which part of Great Reality ie God capable of fulfilling that desire First however what wanted must be clearly defined in mind of alcoholic n it must be desired above all o r options which are available see Step author believes such personal fulfillment available t can be claimed by any alcoholic who clearly understands what y want most see Step
With freedom of choice comes inescapable responsibility for consequences of choices made Due ignorance of reality syn ignorance of God those consequences may not be recognized author suggests any oversight due lack of understanding of life on life’s terms ie God review Step Correction may require new knowledge before being able let go of old ideas see When an alcoholic seeks become social drinker it like asking for fat free chicken fat Life on life’s terms syn God’s will does not provide for such contradictions of terms phenomenon of craving part of what makes alcoholic unique individual ie none less equal in eyes of God disappointment and frustration of many re still no such thing as making normal drinker out of an alcoholic Or as one sober member of AA comment Like it or not some individuals have physical craving coupled with mental obsession drink more alcohol once y take first drink Thus far no one knows why condition exists However it self evident it that way for some individuals term alcoholic has been applied drinkers who are in that class see Doctor’s Opinion When that condition recognized individuals can be identified and labeled as being alcoholic However AA re basic premise that if left ir own devices some drinkers cannot start drinking and n intelligently control when y will stop drinking author believes anyone with drinking problem has need know if y fit that description of an alcoholic t essential information for making intelligent changes has importance when choosing moral values and beliefs as guides for life see s O rs will believe y are victims of life and y may be right review y may also just be victims of ir own ignorance of reality ie God choices of any alcoholic will reflect ir beliefs about life For problem drinker that belief system ultimately will require answers following questions
Those capable of being honest with mselves will find ir own answers are limited by ir personal knowledge and understanding of reality ie God Step power of that knowledge comes source of all power syn God see Fortunately re more power available see s c When power lacking some alcoholics place ir trust in second hand belief system provided by o rs ie equal in eyes of God see ir belief system may include emotional satisfaction wishful thinking and hoping However unknown reality can also be filled with fear author believes that an idea emotion or attitude of fear not most intelligent way approach recovery alcoholism nstead of being happy joyous and free ie God’s will alcoholic running scared ie self will run riot Seeking new knowledge which compatible with reality ie God often preferred choice of those who desire ie pray recover at all costs see For m it self evident required power has been lacking Alcoholics seeking new knowledge with an open mind soon discover re always more review s c author recommends alcoholics use ir own intelligence when y evaluate what gained or lost by drinking thinking person will consider statistical odds of getting what y want most That would be intelligent approach for someone who cares what happens cannot control outcome once y start drinking An alcoholic who using intelligence will quickly recognize y are gambling with ir own life and freedom s Regardless of any philosophical or moral convictions found in o r approaches fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous still provides best practical long term odds in favor of recovery review s
Notice that AA does not attempt offer last and final word on any power required for recovery alcoholism significant departure most traditional religious approaches moral issues basic AA text provides alcoholic with practical approach very real physical and mental problem Your attention directed AA Big Book Frontispiece t points out direction where success has been achieved and results are being demonstrated
AA program of recovery does not claim have final answer for alcoholism nor for any o r problem affecting lives of alcoholics Our book meant be suggestive only We realize we know only little God will constantly disclose more you and us author suggests reader utilize ir own God given brains when choosing belief system as guiding force in ir life s Of necessity spokesmen for any second hand version of God will be using ir own limited intelligence Some of m may claim have only answer instead of just having answer for alcoholism By using your own intelligence ie as an equal in eyes of God you reader are free choose results you most desire ie pray for freedom of choice especially important when selecting someone as an authority on life s Ask yourself why you believe ano r person might be better qualified run your life than you are see c Could it be because y have power of knowledge you do not yet possess? For some more intelligent choice might be seek new knowledge by going directly same source chosen authorities got ir power and knowledge Some people believe y already know everything worth knowing about reality ie God Not everyone agrees author believes re more be understood than has yet been discovered by entire human race s Step Admittedly continued spiritual progress does not conveniently fit into many traditional religious concepts of power of God re have been some successful recoveries produced within limited scope of those belief systems author suggests that nei r y nor AA have all answersWe have no monopoly on God we merely have an approach that worked with us Professionals in scientific community also have demonstrated some limited success helping alcoholics y tend have different ideas about power responsible for any of ir results review re no attempt here establish that only science or religion has access source of all new knowledge ie God obviously you cannot transmit something you haven’t got For alcoholic it results which are of primary concern Any alcoholic with strong desire ie prayer stay alive and carry ir own keys more interested in results than second hand ories or wishful thinking Many become willing go any lengths for survival author considers letting go of old ideas in favor of something that works be more intelligent choice for those seeking successful results c Many individuals find value in using prayer and meditation enrich ir daily lives However re are some alcoholics who have difficulty in reconciling concept of God as it presented by many traditional religions with ir own natural intelligence nstead of blindly accepting second hand belief system which has been developed by o r equal human beings re are some alcoholics who prefer concept of God which makes intelligent sense ir own min For m author of Study Guide offers morning meditation or daily prayer which may be of value t seems qualify as prayer because it originates in mind of individual and reflects dominant desire for that which good accept gift of life for day by opening my mind endless flow of new knowledge which comes Source of All Knowledge and Power seek improve my conscious understanding of that Great Reality of Life which God by enlarging my spiritual life cooperate with life on life’s terms know that God all and everything and should lose something have not lost anything that was really mine refore freely and willingly let go of any and all old ideas or false beliefs which are blocks barriers or obstacles my greatest Good and highest Happiness being provided me as gift God during day
choose live day with an attitude of gratitude for that constant flow of new lessons which improve my personal understanding of that Ultimate Reality which God joyfully end day with quiet mind knowing have done my best according my understanding of infinite options life has provided during day give thanks that tomorrow will offer new opportunities fur r improve cooperation with life on life’s terms accept that it my responsibility decide what ask for in prayer and learn accept answers my prayers when given me on life’s terms my prayer for my life for day And so it