Concerning "gurus" and "guides"

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Concerning "gurus" and "guides"

Post by leejosepho » Sun Nov 01, 2015 1:53 pm

ezdzit247 wrote:My issue with this latest generation of AA gurus and their "step guides" is that they place far too much emphasis on working Step 4 in general and working it according to their interpretation of Step 4 in particular. None of them seems to comprehend that the Steps are a package deal and that no single Step is more important or more critical than any of the other Steps. My experience is that newcomers who are recruited by these gurus and their followers tend to view the AA program as dogmatic, mechanical, cognitive behavioral therapy rather than the spiritual path to "happy, joyous, and free sobriety" the AA founders found and shared in the BB. I prefer the founders version of the AA program. That's what what was passed on to me and what I try to pass on to newcomers.
We agree completely, I believe the problem includes much more than just Step Four and I think at least some newcomers need to be cautioned a bit about this kind of thing. However, I will be the first to ask for this thread to be locked and even removed from sight if anyone even comes close to turning it into any kind of bash-fest. The issues here are many, and all of this can be discussed in ways that can be helpful as long as we stick to nothing but A.A. facts and principles.
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"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: Concerning "gurus" and "guides"

Post by Spirit Flower » Sun Nov 01, 2015 2:15 pm

Bill himself is a good teacher for me. However, I prefer his later writings like in As Bill Sees It, or the 12x12. With 30 years of sobriety, I don't focus so much on drinking.

And on another note. When I was young in sobriety, I had cassette tapes of Joe and Charlie and I remember them as helpful. But I didn't do things their way even then. Nowadays, perhaps since many people on this forum do not go to f2f meetings, much reliance is on speakers. When I was young, I heard speakers twice a year at Roundups. We purchased tapes for listening to in the car on long trips. But I didn't get my program from them.

fwiw, I did not use the table in the BB for my first, or any, 4th step. I wrote long hand of various incidents and various resentments, fears, etc. And I told it to someone. Yes, Hazelden had published pamphlets and I had read them. I read the Little Red Book too. It is content not form which matters. Intent matters.
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Re: Concerning "gurus" and "guides"

Post by leejosepho » Sun Nov 01, 2015 3:26 pm

Accepting Bill as a teacher or "sponsor in print", I began reading our book because I had been told it contains everything needed for recovery from alcoholism and I knew I needed that. Then I was also told there is a lot of "bad information" or mis-information or at least mis-understanding or whatever floating around in meetings and that I should always check everything I hear against the book in order to know what to actually do. Mere beliefs or opinions never mattered much to me since I knew even my own were mostly useless, but I did pay attention to things in our book such as "We have come to believe" or "In our opinion" since I knew those were coming from all as one and that I would be shown precisely how they got there.

The reality of my permanent recovery and things as I today know them to be true have come in bits and pieces from a variety of sources in conjunction with our book, but only and always with the above principles as my only "guide" and only as long as they are not in conflict with *any* part of our book and are not mere excerpts having been extrapolated or manipulated into something else. I had read this in our book early-on:

"We could wish to be moral, we could wish to be philosophically comforted, in fact, we could will these things with all our might, but the needed power wasn't there. Our human resources, as marshalled by the will, were not sufficient; they failed utterly." (page 45)

It would be wrong to say all "guides" are typically little more than that, but I always open any "guide" very cautiously with that in mind.
=======================
"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: Concerning "gurus" and "guides"

Post by Brock » Mon Nov 02, 2015 5:42 am

My issue with this latest generation of AA gurus and their "step guides" is that they place far too much emphasis on working Step 4 in general and working it according to their interpretation of Step 4 in particular.
I believe two 'step guides' were mentioned in the thread which encouraged the above response, one was from the site of Barefoot Bill and the other from the site of one Dallas something, whose site I looked at during the discussion. It seems that since Barefoot's guide was the main point of reference he has joined the ranks of “AA gurus,” but the very person putting him there has in the past spoken of him and his site in such glowing terms. If he is not of the “latest generation” as mentioned, perhaps the writer can be more specific of who is.
My experience is that newcomers who are recruited by these gurus and their followers tend to view the AA program as dogmatic, mechanical, cognitive behavioral therapy rather than the spiritual path to "happy, joyous, and free sobriety" the AA founders found and shared in the BB.
I am not really sure who these 'gurus' are, but they are some speakers who are a little controversial like Chris R, perhaps he is the type the writer speaks of, I have heard those wishing to 'bash' his message call him guru with derogatory intent. The thing is he never fails to speak about his early struggles with AA groups, where nobody told him how important the steps were. His entire message hinges around the big book and God, happy joyous and free is something he preaches with a passion.
Nowadays, perhaps since many people on this forum do not go to f2f meetings, much reliance is on speakers.
This is a little misleading in my opinion. To my knowledge apart from newcomers who ask if they can do it without meetings, because of shyness and so forth, only one member has said that due to their profession they don't attend. I believe it is to the credit of this site that all members seem to tell new folks that come here about the importance of meetings. Some like myself mention from time to time little misgivings about things like 90 in 90, and have even said we don't go to meetings to stay sober once we are on the right path, but we do go to assist others. Also it is the same new members who we usually advise to check out the speakers, most who have been around a while say they no longer listen to them very often.
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Re: Concerning "gurus" and "guides"

Post by leejosepho » Mon Nov 02, 2015 6:42 am

Guru: a Sanskrit term that connotes someone who is a "teacher, guide or master" of certain knowledge.
In pan-Indian traditions, guru is...traditionally a reverential figure to the student, with the guru serving as a "counselor, who helps mold values, shares experiential knowledge as much as literal knowledge, an exemplar in life, an inspirational source and who helps in the spiritual evolution of a student."
The term also refers to someone who primarily is one's spiritual guide, who helps one to discover the same potentialities that the guru has already realized.
Just as with the term "cult", the term "guru" is often grossly mis-used in a derogatory manner by religionists holding higher regard for their own preferences such as minister, priest, rabbi, congregation, denomination, sect or whatever. Here in A.A., we typically just use terms such as "sponsor" and "group" to denote roles and gatherings or assemblies that are otherwise essentially identical.

Bill "knew his stuff" and made no bones about sharing and even declaring it, and I have also learned some useful things even from some seeming self-declared "gurus" or whatever while still maintaining what I perceive to be a safe distance.

The difference in all of that?

"We found that God does not make too hard terms with those who seek Him. To us, the Realm of Spirit is broad, roomy, all inclusive; never exclusive or forbidding to those who earnestly seek. It is open, we believe, to all men." (page 46)

I have heard (but do not know for certain) there are A.A. meetings where you are not allowed to speak unless you are wearing a coat and tie (or some kind of equivalent for females, I would assume). Okay, whatever. I still have Clancy as one of my very-few FB friends while attending my own autonomous home group's online-only meetings in my own comfortable attire (at least respectfully covered) right here in my living room while still carrying the A.A. message.

Some people believe they want or even need the seeming "security" or "protection" of a given dynamic including one or another form of discrimination -- discernment is an entirely different matter -- and I am fairly certain even Bill would not be terribly critical of that while still just being sure "broad, roomy, all inclusive; never exclusive or forbidding to those who earnestly seek" remained available on God's terms rather than those of any mere man or group, cult, denomination, sect or whatever.
=======================
"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: Concerning "gurus" and "guides"

Post by avaneesh912 » Mon Nov 02, 2015 8:27 am

I am not really sure who these 'gurus' are, but they are some speakers who are a little controversial like Chris R, perhaps he is the type the writer speaks of, I have heard those wishing to 'bash' his message call him guru with derogatory intent. The thing is he never fails to speak about his early struggles with AA groups, where nobody told him how important the steps were. His entire message hinges around the big book and God, happy joyous and free is something he preaches with a passion.
We need to understand that the egoic mind is at play. The moment you say something, the egoic minds job is to attack, defend, throw these lables "cultish".... they can't see the truth in what the other person is saying. Just like someone pointed out "its not in the book" when it was.

When you point this, they will vehemently deny that its happening. Look at the topic on the inventory columns. The first 5 pages happened in just few days/hours??? And it didn't end there, few more pages..already on Part 2.. LOL.

And this is where I see Eckhart Tolle teachings in play:

Egoic mind has become like a sinking ship. If you don't get off, you will go down with it. The collective egoic mind is the most dangerously insane and destructive entity ever to inhabit this planet. What do you think will happen on this planet if human consciousness remains unchanged?

So, I try not to chime in and add more to the pshycic polution.

We aim for spiritual progress.....lol.
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Re: Concerning "gurus" and "guides"

Post by D'oh » Mon Nov 02, 2015 5:12 pm

IMO the biggest obstacle in the way of doing an Open and Honest 4th Step, is knowing that the 5th Step is next.

Other than that it is just writing down Resentments, Fears, and Sexual Relations. Things that are rolling around in our heads anyways.

The next obstacle is we ourselves trying to determine or own Character defects before anyone else including God hears them. Like "Oh ya Jack, well that was just selfish on my part. Or Sam, Why was I even Pissed at Sam in the first place?

Just some thoughts I have. I try to start my 4th Steps, not thinking about the 5th. Just about what is going on in my head at the time and past.

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Re: Concerning "gurus" and "guides"

Post by leejosepho » Tue Nov 03, 2015 4:33 am

D'oh wrote:IMO the biggest obstacle in the way of doing an Open and Honest 4th Step, is knowing that the 5th Step is next.
Understood, and that kind of fear, anxiety or concern can come in a variety of forms. My youngest brother stopped altogether out of fear of writing anything down that a prosecutor might ever be able to use against him in court and nothing we could say could convince him to at least write other stuff down since he knew the meaning of "fearless and thorough" and frankly admitted he was not willing to take any kind of risk. At one point he almost seemed to understand any form of self-reliance for his well-being would eventually fail him even there, but we could only observe as he nevertheless began his next pursuit of that particular lesson. Many years later, however, he did eventually come to terms with much of that.
Other than that it is just writing down Resentments, Fears, and Sexual Relations. Things that are rolling around in our heads anyways.

The next obstacle is we ourselves trying to determine or own Character defects before anyone else including God hears them. Like "Oh ya Jack, well that was just selfish on my part. Or Sam, Why was I even Pissed at Sam in the first place?
There is where I had to learn the differences between instincts and defects, and that had to be done within a moral context beyond my own ideas of right and wrong and so on. God as anyone might understand or misunderstand God has already established those things and I had to learn to come into agreement with them.
=======================
"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: Concerning "gurus" and "guides"

Post by avaneesh912 » Tue Nov 03, 2015 5:39 am

IMO the biggest obstacle in the way of doing an Open and Honest 4th Step, is knowing that the 5th Step is next.
What you stated is of course the fear of every guy walking into the rooms of AA. The responsibility of the Guru/Teacher/Sponsor is to drive home the futility (powerlessness and un-manageability) of continuing without cleaning the debries. Thats where we are failing. We are allowing the new-comer to sit in rooms for years without them taking a look at the character defects. I heard Paul F (the guy who has those 4 1 hour segments) early in my sobriety. The first 43 pages are to show the alcoholic he is f'ed! So would Joe and Charlie, in different terms. Each day the alcoholic procrastinates, its a day closer to drink. Today we just scare the new-comer with all the consequences the number duis we got, jail terms, divorces...there is no power in the rooms. Its either this or I know if I take a drink "such a such thing will happen". Where the book over and over tells us Knowledge is not going to fix us, fear is not going to fix us, only a spiritual awakening will fix us.
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Re: Concerning "gurus" and "guides"

Post by Spirit Flower » Tue Nov 03, 2015 6:33 am

Today we just scare the new-comer with all the consequences the number duis we got, jail terms, divorces...there is no power in the rooms.
This not true where I go to meetings. "Work the steps" is very strong. But new people are encouraged to work the steps with a sponsor outside the rooms. When we have a new comer, that person is swamped at the end of the meeting with people of their gender who will help.
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Re: Concerning "gurus" and "guides"

Post by PaigeB » Tue Nov 03, 2015 9:01 am

Ditto that Spirit! :D
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Re: Concerning "gurus" and "guides"

Post by Chelle » Tue Nov 03, 2015 11:29 am

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Re: Concerning "gurus" and "guides"

Post by ezdzit247 » Tue Nov 03, 2015 11:37 am

Spirit Flower wrote:
Today we just scare the new-comer with all the consequences the number duis we got, jail terms, divorces...there is no power in the rooms.
This not true where I go to meetings. "Work the steps" is very strong. But new people are encouraged to work the steps with a sponsor outside the rooms. When we have a new comer, that person is swamped at the end of the meeting with people of their gender who will help.
Ditto for me too, Spirit!
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Re: Concerning "gurus" and "guides"

Post by Db1105 » Wed Nov 04, 2015 3:40 pm

I never knew AA was screwed up until I read it here on the internet. There is a trend of some to tear others and other groups down to build themselves up.

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Re: Concerning "gurus" and "guides"

Post by leejosepho » Wed Nov 04, 2015 4:29 pm

Db1105 wrote:I never knew AA was screwed up until I read it here on the internet.
Consider yourself fortunate, if you wish. I certainly would. In my own case, God as you understand God seemed to make certain I got started in a setting where I would be shown how to survive and recover even in spite of the state of today's AA.
=======================
"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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