My Way up the Mountain

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Brock
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Re: My Way up the Mountain

Post by Brock » Thu Oct 08, 2015 1:03 pm

We can also get a hint of how Bill might react to change from the words of someone who knew him. At the 1986 General Service Conference the closing speech by Bob Pearson (G. S. O. senior adviser), which was titled “AA's Greatest Danger – Rigidity,” ended with these words.
And in this trend toward rigidity, we are drifting farther and farther away from our co-founders. Bill, in particular, must be spinning in his grave, for he was perhaps the most permissive person I ever met.

In the body of the speech these were his main points –
I echo those who feel that if this Fellowship ever falters or fails, it will not be because of any outside cause. No, it will not be because of:
treatment centers or
professionals in the field, or
non-Conference-approved literature, or
young people, or
the dually-addicted, or even
the "druggies" trying to come to our closed meetings.
If we stick close to our Traditions, Concepts, and Warranties, and if we keep an open mind and an open heart, we can deal with these and any other problems that we have or ever will have. If we ever falter and fail, it will be simply because of us. It will be because we can't control our own egos or get along well enough with each other. It will be because we have too much fear and rigidity and not enough trust and common sense.
If you were to ask me what is the greatest danger facing A.A. today, I would have to answer:
the growing rigidity;
the increasing demand for absolute answers to nit-picking questions;
pressure for G.S.O. to "enforce" our Traditions;
screening alcoholics at closed meetings;
prohibiting non-Conference-approved literature, i.e., "banning books";
laying more and more rules on groups and members.
I hope nobody will latch on to the one that says our danger is 'absolute answers to nit-picking questions,' and say see we can do this how we wish. In my view someone finding their way up the mountain in any other way than by the directions in our book, opens the very great danger of them spreading a wrong message by telling others 'never mind that book I know the way.' So the hard drinker might find his own way because he is not an alcoholic, but when he tries to pass his message to the real alcoholic, we are in deep trouble indeed.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."

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Re: My Way up the Mountain

Post by leejosepho » Thu Oct 08, 2015 1:31 pm

ezdzit247 wrote:Bill W., ever the visionary, addressed precisely this issue...
No, the idea of "Many Paths To Spirituality" is already well-covered in our book and not as some kind of "visionary" element or expression...but in relation to the fact that we have no monopoly on anything and dare not ever stumble people trying to find their way or ways (not certain which word might be better there).
Newcomers are approaching A.A....[representing] almost every belief and attitude imaginable.
Not a problem.
In A.A. we are supposed to be bound together in the kinship of a common suffering.
That is only one element of our binding, and not enough for the solidarity and unity we need for the long haul...

"The feeling of having shared in a common peril is one element in the powerful cement which binds us. But that in itself would never have held us together as we are now joined." (page 17)
...the full individual liberty to practice any creed or principle or therapy whatever should be a first consideration for us all.
Our Basic Text already covers all of that completely and thoroughly.

To the choir rather than to the yet-to-be-seasoned:
Let us not [even begin to ever]...pressure anyone with our individual or even our collective views. Let us instead [live as suggested in our book and thereby continue to] accord each other the respect and love that is due to every human being as he tries to make his way toward the light. Let us always [continue] to be inclusive rather than exclusive; let us [continue to] remember that each alcoholic among us is a member of A.A., so long as he or she so declares.
Bill had been speaking to people who had yet to fully learn of the "combined knowledge and experience" shared in our Basic Text, not adding to it.
=======================
"We A.A.s do not *stay* away from drinking [one day at a
time] -- we *grow* away from drinking [one day at a time]."
("Lois Remembers", page 168, quoting Bill, emphasis added)
=======================

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ezdzit247
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Re: My Way up the Mountain

Post by ezdzit247 » Thu Oct 08, 2015 1:51 pm

leejosepho wrote:
ezdzit247 wrote:Bill W., ever the visionary, addressed precisely this issue...
No, the idea of "Many Paths To Spirituality" is already well-covered in our book and not as some kind of "visionary" element or expression...but in relation to the fact that we have no monopoly on anything and dare not ever stumble people trying to find their way or ways (not certain which word might be better there).....etc etc etc...
Your interpretation of the AA program, the BB, the 12 & 12, and what Bill wrote in the posted 1965 Grapevine article is simply your opinion, your conclusions based on your own interpretation of the material as filtered through your own mental construct of reality....and that's okay. Thanks for sharing....
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children...to leave the world a better place...to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Re: My Way up the Mountain

Post by leejosepho » Thu Oct 08, 2015 1:59 pm

No, I have no interpretation and I almost never share opinion, and there is nowhere else I could have learned those things than from simply reading, studying, absorbing and doing what is shared in the book.
=======================
"We A.A.s do not *stay* away from drinking [one day at a
time] -- we *grow* away from drinking [one day at a time]."
("Lois Remembers", page 168, quoting Bill, emphasis added)
=======================

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ezdzit247
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Re: My Way up the Mountain

Post by ezdzit247 » Thu Oct 08, 2015 2:14 pm

Brock wrote: I hope nobody will latch on to the one that says our danger is 'absolute answers to nit-picking questions,' and say see we can do this how we wish. In my view someone finding their way up the mountain in any other way than by the directions in our book, opens the very great danger of them spreading a wrong message by telling others 'never mind that book I know the way.' So the hard drinker might find his own way because he is not an alcoholic, but when he tries to pass his message to the real alcoholic, we are in deep trouble indeed.
Every social movement in the history of civilization has been composed of a flexible, mellow mainstream majority and a rigid, dissident fringe minority. Both of those elements have always been a part of the AA fellowship, and probably always will be, but it has never caused any significant damage to the AA program or the fellowship. Saner minds always prevail...
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children...to leave the world a better place...to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Re: My Way up the Mountain

Post by leejosepho » Thu Oct 08, 2015 5:00 pm

ezdzit247 wrote:Saner minds...
That would be a different topic.
Brock wrote:In my view someone finding their way up the mountain in any other way than by the directions in our book, opens the very great danger of them spreading a wrong message by telling others 'never mind that book I know the way.' So the hard drinker might find his own way because he is not an alcoholic, but when he tries to pass his message to the real alcoholic, we are in deep trouble indeed.

That is the bottom line. A young man with a desire to stop drinking once came to our meetings and quickly discovered he wanted what we have. Someone began helping him and he did as well as anyone I had ever watched take the Steps. Ultimately his shares were helpful, insightful and straight from the heart. Then whenever he had a question or problem he would state it clearly and listen attentively while asking more questions, if necessary, and never arguing in any kind of combative manner. As I recall, he met with us for over a year...and then I was quite surprised one evening when he came into a meeting and said he was not an alcoholic and would no longer be meeting with us. Believing I already knew him well, I asked whether we might talk about that a bit to be certain! We did talk, but his own "bottom line" had come from our group's recent discussion of Tradition Three...and he wanted to be certain he could/would never even inadvertently divert or distract a real alcoholic away from hearing nothing but "real A.A." from a real alcoholic.
Last edited by leejosepho on Fri Oct 09, 2015 2:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
=======================
"We A.A.s do not *stay* away from drinking [one day at a
time] -- we *grow* away from drinking [one day at a time]."
("Lois Remembers", page 168, quoting Bill, emphasis added)
=======================

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Re: My Way up the Mountain

Post by avaneesh912 » Thu Oct 08, 2015 7:47 pm

That the stories in the meetings have changed?
What stories are you talking about? People staying sober by depending on meetings and sponsors?

Here is a count of a person who ditched AA and now struggling, unwilling to come back to AA, because of all these diluted messages:

I'll be honest and tell you that when I was much younger I went to AA and stayed sober for 15 years. 10 of it was with the help of AA and the last 5 was on my own. I've been drinking again for just over 11 years and it was going alright until the last year or two. I don't really want to go back to AA if possible. I found it stifling and over dramatic and very guilt ridden in many ways. In all the time I was there I was being made to feel guilty about something I was doing. Whether it was not going to enough meetings (I was raising my 18 month old son alone and made my own meeting each week and maybe one other) . I really felt that being a good mother to my son and being home with him was important to me, but I was constantly harassed by members who thought I should be going to more meetings. That was just one of the issues. I recall how guilty I constantly was for the time I associated with AA. Having said that, I know I'm in a bit of trouble here, and I have to do something but I'm not sure what. I mean, are there options? Is AA the ONLY answer? Is there anyone out there who can weigh in on this discussion?
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)

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PaigeB
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Re: My Way up the Mountain

Post by PaigeB » Fri Oct 09, 2015 1:16 am

Good stuff!
Step 6 is "AA's way of stating, the best possible attitude one can take in order to make a beginning on this lifetime job... with most of them we shall have to be content with patient improvement." 12&12 Step Six, p.65

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Re: My Way up the Mountain

Post by leejosepho » Fri Oct 09, 2015 2:43 am

...I found it stifling and over dramatic and very guilt ridden...being made to feel guilty about something I was doing...not going to enough meetings...
Anecdotes can be a bit dangerous in this kind of discussion, but even Bill and Bob had occasionally put a little "pressure" on someone such as the time nobody returned the calls of a certain man who had ended up drunk. If I have my stories straight, that was the man who had much to do with "as you understand Him" being added to our references to "God"...and then that man ultimately asked to join Bill and/or Dr. Bob and the others for their morning meditation where he already knew their daily devotionals were being drawn from Scripture. It is sad that a woman with children needing care seems to have been pressured about how many meetings she was attending, but I would doubt Bill's occasional provision of a few dollars so Ebby could get the booze he needed were about trying to encourage Ebby to "keep coming back".

The issue here is really a very simple one for each of us to consider individually and then let our combined efforts be the face of A.A. for the next guy or gal: "What can I do right here and now to let the person beside me know he or she is welcomed cordially and to set the example of not feeling threatened by anything he or she might do or say?" One of the old-timer stories that impressed me the most when I first got here was that of "Wino Joe" or "Texas Joe" (Tyler) who said an A.A. member had come to see him, completely unsolicited, while he was still in jail at the end of a jag. He said he rained on that man, but the man was completely unscathed and unshaken by anything he said or did and just kept right on standing there quietly talking about himself as an alcoholic. Let us be like that.
=======================
"We A.A.s do not *stay* away from drinking [one day at a
time] -- we *grow* away from drinking [one day at a time]."
("Lois Remembers", page 168, quoting Bill, emphasis added)
=======================

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Re: My Way up the Mountain

Post by leejosepho » Fri Oct 09, 2015 3:25 am

ezdzit247 wrote:Every social movement in the history of civilization has been composed of a flexible, mellow mainstream majority and a rigid, dissident fringe minority. Both of those elements have always been a part of the AA fellowship...
If so, only circumstantially and not by design, and my own (even if somewhat limited) experience here on the inside -- I have only ever lived within three separate "A.A. communities" -- is that the seeming "mainstream majority" typically wants less to do with the actual content of our book -- how to learn, live and properly share "trust in God and clean house" -- than the accused-as-being-rigid few who freely share that together with no demand for return. The influence there comes from society overall, of course, where pluralism is now the global order-of-the-age and anyone with a differing view is at least at times alleged to be a terrorist.

"Unity in diversity" and "unity amidst diversity" are not the same thing, and neither can exist apart from an expense, elimination or concession somewhere.

In any case, good thing we are more like a monarchy...

"Follow the dictates of a Higher Power and you will presently live in a new and wonderful world, no matter what your present circumstances!" (page 100)
"...one ultimate authority - a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience." (Tradition Two)

...than any kind of "mob rule", eh?! ;)

Also, I have just now recalled this and added it here (an excerpt) from the Appendix to the first printing of our book:
...a Trust has been created known as The Alcoholic Foundation. Three Trustees are members of Alcoholics Anonymous, the other four are well-known business and professional men who have volunteered their services. The trust states these four (who are not of Alcoholics Anonymous) or their successors, shall always constitute a majority of the Board of Trustees.
That is simply about others we trust being in the majority for the handling of our finances to help us avoid internal troubles over "matters of money, property and prestige" and not about "governing A.A.", of course, yet recognition of the underlying principle of relying upon something or someone other than ourselves is still present, apparent and practiced.
Last edited by leejosepho on Fri Oct 09, 2015 3:59 am, edited 2 times in total.
=======================
"We A.A.s do not *stay* away from drinking [one day at a
time] -- we *grow* away from drinking [one day at a time]."
("Lois Remembers", page 168, quoting Bill, emphasis added)
=======================

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Re: My Way up the Mountain

Post by avaneesh912 » Fri Oct 09, 2015 3:46 am

There are lot of great recovery stories out there, but the problem is, first of all we don't know if they are really alcoholics. People with 10, 20, 30 years going to meetings and having a great life. Playing Bingo and other stuff and tell the new comers to go to 90 in 90 meetings. "You will go to any lengths to get it". For them its about immersing yourself with AA. Changing people places and things. New years eve, they will shield them with AAers, do marathon meetings, other holidays same thing. For them working the 12 steps is going to meetings. But people like I posted above, don't get relief just going to meetings, have family commitment. When we look down upon them for not making 90 in 90 without giving them the "common solution" they get cranky (RID) and then go out.

From this doctor, the broker had learned the grave nature of alcoholism. Though he could not accept all the tenets of the Oxford Groups, he was convinced of the need for moral inventory, confession of personality defects, restitution to those harmed, helpfulness to others, and the necessity of belief in and dependence upon God.

This is what we need to talk about in meetings, in forums and everywhere. The common solution.
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)

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Our Way up the Mountain

Post by leejosepho » Fri Oct 09, 2015 5:17 am

"...swayed dizzily before an open window, or the medicine cabinet where there was poison, cursing myself for a weakling." (page 6)

"...in alcoholics the will is amazingly weakened when it comes to combating liquor, though it often remains strong in other respects." (page 7)

"How many times people have said to us: ... 'His will power must be weak.'" (page 20)

"...bothered with the thought that faith and dependence upon a Power beyond ourselves was somewhat weak, even cowardly." (page 46)

"We never apologize to anyone for depending upon our Creator...those who think spirituality the way of weakness. Paradoxically, it is the way of strength." (page 68)

"We know [as fact from hard-won experience] that little good can come to any alcoholic who joins A.A. unless he has first accepted his devastating weakness and all its consequences. Until he so humbles himself, his sobriety — if any — will be precarious. Of real happiness he will find none at all. Proved beyond doubt by an immense experience, this is one of the facts of A.A. life. The principle that we shall find no enduring strength until we first admit complete defeat is the main taproot from which our whole Society has sprung and flowered.
"When first challenged to admit defeat, most of us revolted. We had approached A.A. expecting to be taught self-confidence. Then we had been told that so far as alcohol is concerned, self-confidence was no good whatever; in fact, it was a total liability." (12&12, Step One)

"If anyone who is showing inability to control his drinking can do the right-about-face and drink like a gentleman, our hats are off to him. Heaven knows, we have tried hard enough and long enough to drink like other people!" (page 31)

If we wish, we might also tip our hats to people who can stay sober forever by concentrating on not taking the first drink one-day-at-a-time while getting some "support" from wherever. However, our deal as real alcoholics is a much different one requiring much more. So for those of our fellows needing more, we share this "matching calamity with serenity" experience of ours:

"...those who are downright defiant because God has failed to fulfill their demands. Can A.A. experience tell all these they may still find a faith that works?" (12&12, Step Two)

"...those who have lost or rejected faith...think they have tried faith and found it wanting...tried the way of faith and the way of no faith...concluded there is no place whatever for them to go...roadblocks of indifference, fancied self-sufficiency, prejudice, and defiance often more solid and formidable than any erected by the unconvinced agnostic or even the militant atheist."

"As psychiatrists have often observed, defiance is the outstanding characteristic of many an alcoholic...lots of us have had our day at defying God Himself...
"When we encountered A.A., the fallacy of our defiance was revealed...
"In A.A. we saw...men and women spared from alcohol’s final catastrophe...saw them meet and transcend their other pains and trials...calmly accept impossible situations, seeking neither to run nor to recriminate...faith that worked under all conditions. We soon concluded that whatever price in humility we must pay, we would pay."

That would be a tough sell anywhere, but the contrasting lash of alcoholism can make it quite attractive as we freely share it.
=======================
"We A.A.s do not *stay* away from drinking [one day at a
time] -- we *grow* away from drinking [one day at a time]."
("Lois Remembers", page 168, quoting Bill, emphasis added)
=======================

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ezdzit247
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Re: My Way up the Mountain

Post by ezdzit247 » Fri Oct 09, 2015 9:35 am

leejosepho wrote:
In any case, good thing we are more like a monarchy...

"Follow the dictates of a Higher Power and you will presently live in a new and wonderful world, no matter what your present circumstances!" (page 100)
"...one ultimate authority - a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience." (Tradition Two)

...than any kind of "mob rule", eh?! ;)
Again, this is simply your opinion, a conclusion you've embraced as "fact" based on your own interpretation of what AA "is" as filtered through your own mental construct of reality. Most people see what they want to see, hear what they want to hear, and "understand" everything through their own individual mental construct of reality. You see AA as "more like a monarchy" because that's the way you want to see AA. AA's 12 Traditions ensure that AA will always operate like a benign anarchy and never fall prey to either monarchists or mob rule.


Quote from Bill W.:
"...When we come into AA we find a greater personal freedom than any other society knows. We cannot be compelled to do anything. In that sense our society is a benign anarchy. The word 'anarchy' has a bad meaning to most of us.... But I think that the gentle Russian prince who so strongly advocated the idea felt that if men were granted absolute liberty, and were compelled to obey no one in person, they would voluntarily associate themselves in the common interest. AA is an association of the benign sort the prince envisioned."

- Bill Wilson, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, 1957
There's an excellent paper you can google on the net entitled: "The effects of anarchism on cross-cultural community building in Alcoholics Anonymous" by Amy Levinson and Dean Worgan. It's a great read--not too long--that provides a really interesting perspective on Bill's sociopolitical views and his vision for leadership roles within the AA fellowship. It helped me to understand why Huxley would say Bill W. was "the greatest social architect of the 20th century".
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children...to leave the world a better place...to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Re: My Way up the Mountain

Post by leejosepho » Fri Oct 09, 2015 11:02 am

ezdzit247 wrote:Again, this is simply your opinion...
And again, that would be a different topic. We are not here to discuss each other.
Quote from Bill W.:
"...When we come into AA we find a greater personal freedom than any other society knows. We cannot be compelled to do anything. In that sense our society is a benign anarchy...absolute liberty...
Sure beats "mob rule"! :)
=======================
"We A.A.s do not *stay* away from drinking [one day at a
time] -- we *grow* away from drinking [one day at a time]."
("Lois Remembers", page 168, quoting Bill, emphasis added)
=======================

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Re: My Way up the Mountain

Post by Layne » Fri Oct 09, 2015 5:25 pm

leejosepho wrote:[quote
just kept right on standing there quietly talking about himself as an alcoholic. Let us be like that.
Yes, yes, yes.
leejosepho wrote: We are not here to discuss each other.
and this.

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