Steps 1, 2 & 3

The 12 Steps are the AA program of recovery from alcoholism.
rjr34036
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Steps 1, 2 & 3

Post by rjr34036 »

Hello all, ReAnne, alcoholic. New here. I’ve been kind of hesitant to ask this because there’s prob tons of opinions but I’ve decided to anyway!

Background; when I went through the steps for the first time I was told how the steps are broken down in the book based on chapter (speaking of 1/2/3) and told that each one has a “principle behind it.” I have since traveled outside of my area and got many different takes on the recovery process, along with having done my own searching and research. Anyway, I no longer totally agree with the way I was originally taken through the work and think that things definitely could have been done more efficiently and effectively. Nevertheless, it got the job done. I went back through a second time after being sober for a while to get a more clear understanding of the literature because the truth is that when I arrived I sat with my sponsor every week and read with her, but certainly didn’t comprehend more than 20% of what we read. I knew I was hopeless, I knew I need help, and was ready to get on with the steps to have a new life created for me, cuz I need a new one BADLY.

So fast forwarding to present day, I am currently working with a few people and am not so rigid in taking them through the way I was taken through. After praying on it and listening to them to figure out with what’s best for them, I just go with my gut.

There have been a couple where I don’t find it necessary to read the forewords and preface first, others where I’ve step 1’d without the book, only referring to key passages for identification purposes. For instance I’m working with a woman who I made sure understood the concepts, but could tell she wasn’t comprehending the literature even with discussing it in depth as we read, (she’s new and just all over the place, can hardly focus, stay on track, follow discussion, etc) so I made sure she was clear on 1/2/3 and she’s starting her fourth.

So my question is, has anyone else found a way to get steps 1/2/3 done without having to read Docs Opinion, Bills Story, there is a solution, more about..., and we agnostics? I do make it clear to the person I’m working with that we WILL be going back to read these chapters though.

I personally believe that these steps are things we come to realize via our experience, and information given in the first few chapters, but just don’t see it necessary to sit with someone for 3-4 weeks reading, who clearly isn’t retaining or understanding.
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avaneesh912
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Re: Steps 1, 2 & 3

Post by avaneesh912 »

So my question is, has anyone else found a way to get steps 1/2/3 done without having to read Docs Opinion, Bills Story, there is a solution, more about..., and we agnostics? I do make it clear to the person I’m working with that we WILL be going back to read these chapters though.

I personally believe that these steps are things we come to realize via our experience, and information given in the first few chapters, but just don’t see it necessary to sit with someone for 3-4 weeks reading, who clearly isn’t retaining or understanding.
Yes if they are mildly afflicted, they can go to lot of meeting and spend hours dissecting every sentence in the book. But there are a few who are desperate, for them its better we hit the salient features of the disease and get them convinced that their life depended on working the remaining steps for that they need a thorough understanding of the disease quickly.

I use this visual with a person who is willing to sit about couple of hours initially and go through this vicious cycle chart using the the stories from more about alcoholism to show how the alcoholic "if he doesn't enlarge his/her spiritual life" gets blind sighted just like the man of thirty, carsalesman and the accountant. At the end, he/she is convinced or not.
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Show him the mental twist which leads to the first drink of a spree. We suggest you do this as we have done it in the chapter on alcoholism.(Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)

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Brock
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Re: Steps 1, 2 & 3

Post by Brock »

Thanks for this ReAnne, it put a smile on the old man’s face this morning when I read it.

This forum is somewhere people can go and ask confidentially, for advise regarding how their sponsor is taking them through the steps. The last one I remember, asked us if the sponsor was right, in saying step four could take a year to do. Of course we had many replies, basically the advise was find a new sponsor. But these questions have shown some pretty crazy ideas that sponsors have, and I for one have been very annoyed, to read some of the nonsense sponsors come up with. I often say in replying to these, it’s because of the most deadly words you may be unfortunate enough to hear in AA - “That’s the way my sponsor showed me, it worked for me, it should work for you” - no imagination like you have shown, to maybe modify things to suit different individuals. No desire, or not enough brains, to realize that people are different, it’s the old one size fits all approach.

My first effort at a sponsor, I was sent a list of prayers, you must say these were the instruction, every day in the order shown. But said I, I have my own prayers, I am quite a religious fellow, and used to be in the church choir. No no no, that won’t work said he, followed by the time tested - ‘that’s the way my sponsor showed me etc etc.’ Long story short, I never had a sponsor, except maybe you tube videos, books, and asking advise from one or two old timers if I felt stuck.

Thank God there are some like yourself, who think the way I am sure the founders intended we should.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."

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Re: Steps 1, 2 & 3

Post by rjr34036 »

avaneesh912 wrote:
Thu Nov 28, 2019 6:58 am

I use this visual with a person who is willing to sit about couple of hours initially and go through this vicious cycle chart using the the stories from more about alcoholism to show how the alcoholic "if he doesn't enlarge his/her spiritual life" gets blind sighted just like the man of thirty, carsalesman and the accountant. At the end, he/she is convinced or not.
Thank you for this!
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Re: Steps 1, 2 & 3

Post by rjr34036 »

Brock wrote:
Thu Nov 28, 2019 12:09 pm
Thanks for this ReAnne, it put a smile on the old man’s face this morning when I read it.

This forum is somewhere people can go and ask confidentially, for advise regarding how their sponsor is taking them through the steps. The last one I remember, asked us if the sponsor was right, in saying step four could take a year to do. Of course we had many replies, basically the advise was find a new sponsor. But these questions have shown some pretty crazy ideas that sponsors have, and I for one have been very annoyed, to read some of the nonsense sponsors come up with. I often say in replying to these, it’s because of the most deadly words you may be unfortunate enough to hear in AA - “That’s the way my sponsor showed me, it worked for me, it should work for you” - no imagination like you have shown, to maybe modify things to suit different individuals. No desire, or not enough brains, to realize that people are different, it’s the old one size fits all approach.

My first effort at a sponsor, I was sent a list of prayers, you must say these were the instruction, every day in the order shown. But said I, I have my own prayers, I am quite a religious fellow, and used to be in the church choir. No no no, that won’t work said he, followed by the time tested crap - ‘that’s the way my sponsor showed me etc etc.’ Long story short, I never had a sponsor, except maybe you tube videos, books, and asking advise from one or two old timers if I felt stuck.

Thank God there are some like yourself, who think the way I am sure the founders intended we should.
Hi Brock! Thank you! Yes I’ve met quite a few this way. I think they get hung up on “precisely how we recovered...” I have many opinions on that lol but won’t get into all of that! Haha! However it’s done, the process tends to work regardless of all the foolishness some sponsors bring, thank goodness!
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Re: Steps 1, 2 & 3

Post by D'oh »

Truly. Step Back and look.

I believe we enter the Doors of AA, on the 3rd Step, Our "Self Centeredness" is just too large to realise this.

If everything was going Good in my Life, the last thing I would be thinking of would be "Not Drinking".

So I walked through the Door's looking for Help. I didn't know "What Help". Just Help getting Life in Order. I was Defeated, I had tried So Many Ways, to get in front, ahead, better while Drinking.

So I couldn't, but maybe AA could. Pretty much the 2nd Step.

At my first Meeting, the Relief I felt, that Maybe, just Maybe there is a Life without Alcohol. Well that's the Basics for "Made a Decision" to come Back. Find out "How".

I did have the 1st Step before my Sponsor reading "Try some Controlled Drinking" part of More about Alcoholism" because I wanted to slug him when he read that.

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Re: Steps 1, 2 & 3

Post by Wiganman »

rjr34036 wrote:
Thu Nov 28, 2019 12:24 am
I personally believe that these steps are things we come to realize via our experience, and information given in the first few chapters, but just don’t see it necessary to sit with someone for 3-4 weeks reading, who clearly isn’t retaining or understanding.
You are absolutely right here. I personally don't use the Big Book when taking someone through the steps. I use some Step Study Sheets which explain the steps in easy to understand language (a bit like Joe and Charlie tapes), then I have a set of questions after each step which is designed to relate your life experience to the step. We read the study sheets together then have a two-way discussion around the questions. Obviously, if there is a step with specific action (inventory, amends etc) then we do that as well.

This keeps it fast-moving and interesting.

Once we have done the steps if a sponsee wants to sit with me and do a detailed Big Book Study then I am more than happy to do that.

Ultimately this is not an academic exercise, we are not studying a PHD. Its a programme of action not study.
"The first requirement is that we be convinced that any life run on self-will can hardly be a success." =ugeek

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Re: Steps 1, 2 & 3

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Wiganman wrote:
Wed Mar 18, 2020 3:41 am
rjr34036 wrote:
Thu Nov 28, 2019 12:24 am
I personally believe that these steps are things we come to realize via our experience, and information given in the first few chapters, but just don’t see it necessary to sit with someone for 3-4 weeks reading, who clearly isn’t retaining or understanding.
Ultimately this is not an academic exercise, we are not studying a PHD. Its a programme of action not study.
Showing up & sitting and reading is ACTION and gives us an EXPERIENCE with the words in the book. It is quite unlike reading it alone quickly. Personally, I found it to be like mining for Gold - once a week. I HAD to slow down. I thought I KNEW too much!
Cling to the thought that, in God's hands, the dark past is the greatest possession you have - the key to life and happiness for others. With it you can avert death and misery for them. page 124 BB

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Re: Steps 1, 2 & 3

Post by Lavender »

Good morning and thank you very much for sharing your thoughts, ways and experience with us.

My experience was different. Yes, right in the beginning I could hardly take in anything let alone understand anything but as my sobriety progressed I found it exceptionally interesting to find out exactly how and where Alcoholics Anonymous started. We used to have Big Book meetings, Big Book weekend workshops etc and we always started with the Index page. Yes at times when I was about three months sober I did arrogantly think "oh my goodness please just not again" however thinking back that was the best way for me to proceed with the steps.

However, because we had the weekend workshops we would do all those chapters and immediately thereafter move into stepwork. On a Friday night for instance we would cover the initial chapters in the Big Book and on Saturday move straight into step 1 up to 3. At Step 3 we would break so we could go home and sit in silence to say our Step 3 prayer and meet with our Higher Power.

On Sunday we would discuss our experiences and thereafter move directly into step 4 where we were advised to go home after the workshop, and discuss step 4 and 5 with our sponsors. We did, however, immediately continue with the explanation of the rest of the steps so by Sunday evening all 12 steps were covered.

Same as Brock I never had a sponsor. I merely did was I was told to do (with a bit of hmm and hahh here and there) but today I am extremely grateful for the way I was introduced to AA and the steps. Once we have knowledge that knowledge can never be erased from our memory again and knowing where and how AA came about, how our disease was diagnosed and knowing our founder/s stories is now a piece of gold to me.

As a newcomer I couldn't wait to just get on with the steps but knowing now what I do I know that I would not have understood the steps even if someone placed it in my brain with a memory stick so I believe in the slowing down process and doing it properly. We are simply not emotionally or mentally matured enough to just walk into the steps as my first six months all I did was killing fires both at home and work from all the stupid things I did whilst I was still drinking. Add to that the continuous concentration on taking life one moment at a time and the occasional helplessness of just wanting that one drink and what you had was a hot mess.

I do, however, like the way you think. Perhaps you could also incorporate a Big Book workshop weekend with your sponsees so they can not only learn how we came about but do the steps at the same time. Thereafter you can obviously sit down with each of them (as you are doing) and work the steps thoroughly with each. Just a suggestion.

Anyways thank you for your post. It brought back many memories of dying for a smoke break (hehehehe) on a Big Book weekend and simultaneously remembering the fun yet also serious thinking I had at that time.

Have an awesome day.
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Re: Steps 1, 2 & 3

Post by Mike O »

It’s worth bearing in mind the fact that there were no 12 steps when the first guys got sober. They summarised what they did in 12 steps, subsequently.
Having a deeper knowledge of what is achieved by the steps and how the steps achieve this allows us to gauge each person we help individually. With some, 1,2 and 3 need take 10 minutes. Others may need a bit longer to understand.
Some of the shite that sponsors put people through is beyond me. A year for step 4??? I would have to question the basic understanding of anybody who doesn’t take a newcomer through the steps as quickly (but thoroughly) as possible.

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Re: Steps 1, 2 & 3

Post by avaneesh912 »

A year for step 4???
Yeah its crazy. Many dont understand the need for a quick inventory so the person can start working on it, so they dont hit the blind spots. I heard one person share that their sponsor asked them to read the 12 and 12 to have a thorough understanding of step 6 and 7 because their was only 2 paragraph in the basic text, before moving to next steps. As my mentor says keep doing it. Maybe next time they will get a better understanding.
Show him the mental twist which leads to the first drink of a spree. We suggest you do this as we have done it in the chapter on alcoholism.(Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)

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Re: Steps 1, 2 & 3

Post by D'oh »

Having a deeper knowledge of what is achieved by the steps and how the steps achieve this allows us to gauge each person we help individually. With some, 1,2 and 3 need take 10 minutes. Others may need a bit longer to understand.
Honestly, I was 1/2 way through the 3rd Step when I walked through the Doors. I was just TOO SELF ABSORBED to realize it.

Once I got out of the Way, I completed my 4th and 5th in a week of Truly getting the 2nd and 3rd Step.

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Re: Steps 1, 2 & 3

Post by rjr34036 »

Lavender wrote:
Fri Mar 20, 2020 12:04 am

As a newcomer I couldn't wait to just get on with the steps but knowing now what I do I know that I would not have understood the steps even if someone placed it in my brain with a memory stick so I believe in the slowing down process and doing it properly. We are simply not emotionally or mentally matured enough to just walk into the steps as my first six months all I did was killing fires both at home and work from all the stupid things I did whilst I was still drinking. Add to that the continuous concentration on taking life one moment at a time and the occasional helplessness of just wanting that one drink and what you had was a hot mess.

I do, however, like the way you think. Perhaps you could also incorporate a Big Book workshop weekend with your sponsees so they can not only learn how we came about but do the steps at the same time. Thereafter you can obviously sit down with each of them (as you are doing) and work the steps thoroughly with each. Just a suggestion.
ABSOLUTELY! I totally agree with not being mentally emotionally or spiritually matured as a newcomer. I always think about step ten where it says our objective now is to grow in UNDERSTANDING and effectiveness. So much in the program and on this path comes with time and progression. It’s cool how things continue to unfold. And thank you for the suggestion! I actually proposed a big book workshop with the group I facilitate but it wasn’t readily accepted (they’re worried about what their “sponsors” will think and that it’ll be a conflict of interest). I could get on my soap box about that BS lol but I will not. So for now I’m just working with people individually at their own pace, and going back to the literature for those who I didn’t dive deep into the book with for the first few steps.
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Re: Steps 1, 2 & 3

Post by Mike O »

rjr34036 wrote:
Fri Mar 27, 2020 4:06 pm
I actually proposed a big book workshop with the group I facilitate but it wasn’t readily accepted (they’re worried about what their “sponsors” will think and that it’ll be a conflict of interest).
Oh dear! This is so wrong. A “conflict of interest”!!!???

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Re: Steps 1, 2 & 3

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Wiganman wrote:
Wed Mar 18, 2020 3:41 am


Once we have done the steps if a sponsee wants to sit with me and do a detailed Big Book Study then I am more than happy to do that.

Ultimately this is not an academic exercise, we are not studying a PHD. Its a programme of action not study.
Yeh, the book made a whole lot of sense after the steps, beforehand I was guided because I had no idea.

The timeline is made clear by the words, "NEXT we started out on a course of vigorous action"
It doesn't say first we studied it and talked about it . It says NEXT I am to DO it. (step 4).

After its completed, I find another timeline for step 5.
"We are very anxious that we talk to the right person"

My sponser said "take your time, your ass is on fire".

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