Change people, places & things
Do not have any relationships for a year
90 meetings in 90 days
Do not make any major changes in your life for a year
Do not go into bars
Women are women’s sponsors & men are men’s sponsors
I have a little prejudice against these terms used in our program. I agree there is nothing wrong with giving this type of advice except they do not represent the spiritual message we are carrying. They have some religious overtones to them that I think a newcomer might reject as rules. Also following these “rules” makes no promise of recovery. To insure our recovery we must follow the spiritual steps, not a bunch of rules that are suppose to separate us from alcohol and shield us from our basic instincts.
The mere fact that these statements are being made, are proof that we are relying on secular efforts to relieve the alcoholic of his dilemma. We are well aware the attempts to keep alcohol away from alcoholics has failed for 6000 years. We have proved the past 74 plus years that alcoholics can recover from alcoholism and do anything non alcoholics can do.
Some of these statements say that an alcoholic cannot control his/her basic instincts and we must avoid temptations or we will be doomed. Stating such does not make our fellowship very attractive.
Next time you think of one these statements please go to page 101 of The Big Book and read these two paragraphs
In our belief any scheme of combating alcoholism which proposes to shield the sick man from temptation is doomed to failure. If the alcoholic tries to shield himself he may succeed for a time, but usually winds up with a bigger explosion than ever. We have tried these methods. These attempts to do the impossible have always failed.
So our rule is not to avoid a place where there is drinking, if we have a legitimate reason for being there. That includes bars, nightclubs, dances, receptions, weddings, even plain ordinary whoopee parties. To a person who has had experience with an alcoholic, this may seem like tempting Providence, but it isn’t.
Bill spends 14 and one half pages on the subject of “Working With Others”. Some may say this is the first writing about sponsorship and their thinking may be correct. All may approach this area of our sobriety in a different manner. I found so much hope in the fellowship that I rarely bothered my sponsor, except at the meeting before the meeting. I may have been a lackey at working the steps. As I learned about fellowship, its primary purpose, its structure and its personal freedom given to its members, I was positive I had found the place I could find real hope, possible the hope I was looking for in the bottle. Being a perfectionist, I had never found an organization that looked so appealing to me.
I set upon a path to work the steps though the fellowship, maybe they were developed by osmosis. However my gold was to review my religious teachings of my mother and my old childhood Baptist Church. I found that most all my mother’s religious training was on track and should be used as spiritual tool whenever applicable, but with the Baptist Church I found the language used was mythical and confusing to my perfectionist ideas. Much of this I have long discarded. If I share with my friends in this faith of my findings they may not understand and become offended, so when I am with these folks I stay on guard not offend. My mother’s words and the fellowship are essential to my spiritual well being.
This is my experience and I share that experience as I go forth to sponsors others. I always keep in mind some principles when carrying the message.
1. Personal freedom
2. Adult to adult relationships
3. Remember the the ABCs:
(a) 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.** From Page 60 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous
A thought on Tradition #3
When sharing my experience of our fellowship’s singleness of purpose, I am reminded of a meeting I attended in midwinter at St. Cloud, MN, in the East Side Club.
I was chairman. I had 3 years of sobriety and same in program. After the schedule openings, I asked if anyone had a problem they would like to discuss. One young man spoke up, stating he was getting too much sex. Being the good novice, I remained silent as did 20 Norwegians in St. Cloud, but one salesman opened up stating, this is a meeting for people who wish to stop drinking. It is very doubtful that we can be of help to anyone else. If this problem with sex is a part of drinking then we suggest that he deal with the drinking and possibly the other problem go away. However if he was done with his address book please pass around many of us would be pleased to use for a while.
Our 12th Tradition
Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.
To paraphrase, I hear in meetings that anonymity is the absence of gossip. I think this is like saying the Atlantic Ocean is a little bay of water East of Bath, ME. Anonymity tames the beast of Pride. It gives the opportunity to serve without praise, to trust where no trust has been before. It teaches us, unity within our fellowship is more important that cash, property and prominence. It also teaches us, with our pride in check, we can live a life without alcohol, then be a servant to God’s will, not a King among men.
Now, I do not intend to belittle the brain disease of the suffering that thinks if he admits to being an alcoholic, everybody will believe he is a pervert and nobody will hire or like him anymore. This problem is real and I had it myself. We must take this as real to help the suffering. At the same time we must guide the suffering through the steps of recovery, by sharing our experience, strength, and hope. At the same time, we encourage them to take part in the fellowship and lay before them the spiritual principle of anonymity.
Three Big Lies the Alcoholic Should Address
- I do not have any resentments and I will kill anybody that says I do.
- Bubba says, “ I ain’t afraid of nuting”
- I will still respect you in the morning
Failure to correct these character flaws might result in a
SLIP: Sobriety Loses Its Priority