For All of Us

By Anonymous

I was in a meeting this morning where the topic was taken from today’s Daily Reflections.

December 1: “SUGGESTED” STEPS

Our Twelfth Step also says that as a result of practicing all the Steps, we have each found something called a spiritual awakening. . . . A.A.’s manner of making ready to receive this gift lies in the practice of the Twelve Steps in our program.

— TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, pp. 106-07

I remember my sponsor’s answer when I told him that the Steps were “suggested.” He replied that they are “suggested” in the same way that, if you were to jump out of an airplane with a parachute, it is “suggested” that you pull the ripcord to save your life. He pointed out that it was “suggested” I practice the Twelve Steps, if I wanted to save my life. So I try to remember daily that I have a whole program of recovery based on all Twelve of the “suggested” Steps.

Normally it doesn’t bother me when something is read from our literature with which I disagree, but this really got my goat! If I was the newcomer in the room, and this was my first meeting, what I would hear would be ,”You have to work the steps” … period!. That’s the message this reading suggests.

Then I would look up at the Steps on the wall, and I would see “Turn your will and your life over to God”. Now, this may seem trite, but at that point I would have left AA, and most likely have died or worse, continued living in that state of incomprehensible demoralization that the other conference approved literature describes.

Ironically, I treat the Big Book like most religious people treat their holy books. I ignore the bullshit and just use what works for me. That’s great for me, but think about the newcomer, someone who is desperate and hopeless, and at the complete pit of her existence; and then she hears this reading and thinks the only way to escape this hell she’s living in, is to turn her will and her life over to a god she is quite sure doesn’t exist. You know how they say that every bottom has a trap door? At the lowest point in her life, at the exact moment she is ready to do anything, she falls even lower than she thought possible. I can’t believe that this reading was approved by A.A.

Here is my opinion on some other “Conference Approved” gems. In the 12&12 this jumped out at me (coincidentally in the same meeting):

So, practicing these Steps, we had a spiritual awakening about which finally there was no question. Looking at those who were only beginning and still doubted themselves, the rest of us were able to see the change setting in. From great numbers of such experiences, we could predict that the doubter who still claimed that he hadn’t got the “spiritual angle,” and who still considered his well-loved A.A. group the higher power, would presently love God and call Him by name.”

— TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, page 109

Really? So what’s his name? Christ? Allah? Vishnu? Ganesh (which is actually the deity I like the best)? Which “higher power” are they talking about here? Well, if I look at some other conference approved literature…

Daily Reflections, November 24th

A UNIVERSAL SEARCH

Be quick to see where religious people are right Make use of what they offer.

— ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, page 87

I do not claim to have all   the answers in spiritual matters, anymore than I claim to have all the answers about alcoholism. There are others who are also engaged in a spiritual search. If I keep an open mind about what others have to say, I have much to gain. My sobriety is greatly enriched, and my practice of the Eleventh Step more fruitful, when I use both the literature and practices of my Judeo-Christian tradition, and the resources of other religions. Thus, I receive support from many sources in staying away from the first drink.

Hmmm… the resources of “other religions”, presumably the wrong ones. Maybe I’m getting silly with this (a character defect o’ mine) but it does strike a nerve, and I don’t think I have to remind you of the condescending bullshit the Chapter to the Agnostics suggests.

With all that said, I do believe in the spirit of the reading I heard this morning. When I came into AA the first time, I thought I had all the answers. It took years and years of hitting bottom after bottom until I was willing to do, as my sponsor puts it, things I knew wouldn’t work. I did them anyway because I was willing to go to any lengths to stay sober.

I asked for AA’s help with complete abandon. You asked me to be fearless and thorough, and I did what you told me. Yes, I even put my shoes under my bed and ‘prayed’ every morning and every night, even though I knew I was just talking to my bedspread, and I’m sober today because of it.

I realize now that my way didn’t work and the only way I was going to get sober was to make a “complete psychic change”. I get that, but it wasn’t prayer that did the trick. Magic didn’t solve my drinking problem. We did, together, and that’s my point. When we approve these pieces of literature at the Conference, we need to think of us, all of us!

Because, I am responsible. When anyone, anywhere, reaches out for help, I want the hand of AA always to be there. And for that, I am responsible!

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Michael SaundersMark C. "Mark In Texas"Lance B.Doug L.Meg Recent comment authors

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Michael Saunders
Michael Saunders

My remarks concern yet another example of the AA process of endless self-recrimination. penance, obedience, conformity, and self-admonishment as a path towards peace. Today’s quote from “Daily Reflections” below: 25 February THE CHALLENGE OF FAILURE In God’s economy, nothing is wasted. Through failure, we learn a lesson in humility which is probably needed, painful though it is. — AS BILL SEES IT, p. 31 ‘How thankful I am today, to know that all my past failures were necessary for me to be where I am now. Through much pain came experience and, in suffering, I became obedient. When I sought… Read more »

Mark C. "Mark In Texas"
Mark C. "Mark In Texas"

Went to a Noon meeting yesterday.   The default “reading material” for our meetings is the Daily Reflections.  I posted this on a Facebook “recovery” page. Noon meeting now. Let’s start the New Year with ardent Supernaturalism, Protestant style via “Daily Reflections.” Or should it be titled “Daily Rejections?” Jan 1: Daily Reflections “”I AM A MIRACLE” The central fact of our lives today is the absolute certainty that our Creator has entered into our hearts and lives in a way which is indeed miraculous. He has commenced to accomplish those things for us which we could never do by ourselves.… Read more »

John S

This is truly the worse book in the AAWS arsenal. I remember hating it when it came out and I didn’t even consider myself an atheist at the time. I kind of think it was put out in response to the Hazelden “24 Hours a Day book” which was dripping with religion. The group I used to attend never used the Hazelden book but instead used “As Bill See’s It”, which I liked. Then this book came out and they stopped using As Bill See’s It. Who knows though, maybe it was the “Daily Rejections” that finally pushed me over… Read more »

Doug L.
Doug L.

That December 1st quote you open with is a real humdinger: we have to work the steps because…it says so right in Step 12! That reminds of the people who claim that the Christian Bible is the word of god because it says so, right in the Bible! Now, I actually DO believe the steps are a critical component of my recovery, and maybe even everyone’s. But by that I mean the principles they convey (turn it over, clean house, help others). It is abundantly clear to me that we must all find a particular wording that speaks to us.… Read more »

Meg
Meg

I was raised in Akron and took my father in 1968 to King School. I went to a rehab in 1991 and have been in AA most of the time except when I tried to do consciousness raising programs in which case I would forget after a few years and drink again. Looking back over the years of sitting in the rooms, I realized that I tried to be obedient, tried to shift my beliefs to have God appear, tried to saturate my life with the program but some of the new ideas in consciousness seemed more appealing such as… Read more »

Manoel H
Manoel H

I was at a meeting at lunchtime today in which one of these gems that are frequently echoed in the traditional group I attend (there are no AAA groups in Brasília, by the way ) nearly made me leave the room. It goes: “Esse é um programa para gente OBEDIENTE, não para gente INTELIGENTE!!!”, announced this guy, authoritatively sober for 22 years.”This is a program for the obedient, not for the inteligent ones !” Making the rhyme obediente-inteligente made the person sound to himself smart and funny. I´ve heard oldtimers saying this creepy sentence more than once, and everytime  I… Read more »