XI-XII Preface (A Textbook for Our Society)

The book Alcoholics Anonymous, aka The Big Book, is the basic text for the AA program of sobriety. "Alcoholics Anonymous" Copyright 2012 AAWS, Inc. All Rights, Reserved. Short excerpts used by permission of AAWS
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Post by leejosepho » Tue Sep 08, 2009 6:00 pm

avaneesh912 wrote:... a Doctor who saw in his own eyes the devastation alcohol can cause and was a key person to talk about the phenomenon of craving, the obsession (1st part of step1) and the spiritual malady (2nd half of Step1).
Yes, much agreed:

"The doctor's theory that we have an allergy to alcohol interests us. As laymen, our opinion as to its soundness may, of course, mean little. But as ex-problem drinkers, we can say that his explanation makes good sense. It explains many things for which we cannot otherwise account." (Bill's comment in "The Doctor's Opinion")

And as to "Part Two" of Step One, I was greatly helped by the insight offered at "(a)" on page 60:

"(a) That we ... could not manage our own lives."

But since I know some folks who refuse to see Step One as having two parts, I sometimes simply speak of the first "part" as being a symptom of the second ...

"After all, our problems were of our own making. Bottles were only a symbol." (page 103)

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Post by Karl R » Tue Sep 08, 2009 7:54 pm

This posted by avaneesh last September on the same topic.


thanks Avaneesh.


Post by samantha » Wed Sep 09, 2009 12:53 pm

Now that is just amazing, thank you Avaneesh and Karl. The way that was all put together makes it so clear and easy to understand - our three fold disease. I would like to keep using that post and referring to it on a regular basis, in fact I will print it off and read it out at my home group next time I am asked to share. I am sure it will help others, too.

I think sometimes there is so much emphasis on not drinking one day at a time at meetings, whatever you do, don't pick up the first drink, and so on. That is as it should be of course. But you do see people who are sober but wretchedly unhappy, and this describes how this can happen and how it can be turned around.

I couldn't help wondering about the step 1 unmanageability exercises referred to by the writer in that September post by Avaneesh. Would it be possible for you to find them and post them here? I need all the help I can get with treating my spiritual malady.

Thank you so much, you guys!!


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Post by avaneesh912 » Thu Sep 10, 2009 6:16 pm


one could just turn these symptoms into questions:

1. being restless, irritable, and discontented (page xxvi)

Am I restless, irritable and discontented at this moment?

2. having trouble with personal relationships,

Am I having trouble with personal relationships? Spouse/Kids/peers.....

3. not being able to control our emotional natures,

Am I not being able to control my emotions?

4. being a prey to (or suffering from) misery and depression,

Am I being a prey to misery and depression?

5. not being able to make a living (or a happy and successful life),

Am I able to make a living?

6. having feelings of uselessness,

Am I feeling of being useless?

7. being full of fear,

Am I full of fear?

8. unhappiness,

Am I un-happy?

9. inability to be of real help to other people (page 52),

Am I able to be of real help to other people?

10. being like "the actor who wants to run the whole show" (pages 60-61),

Am I trying to be the actor who wants to run the whole show?

11. self-will run riot (page 62),

Am i on self-will run riot?

12. leading a double life (page 73),

Am i leading a double life?

and so on.........
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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Post by Ken_the_Geordie » Thu Sep 10, 2009 10:11 pm

If you have a drinking problem, we hope that you may pause in reading one of the forty-two personal stories and think: “Yes, that happened to me”; or, more important, “Yes, I’ve felt like that”; or, most important, “Yes, I believe this program can work for me too.”
I've heard it said that you can always tell a drunk, but you can't tell a drunk anything.

I think the personal stories are a simple, but effective way of communicating with another alcoholic. For example, last night I was explaining to a newcommer how I initially stayed away from the first drink in my first few weeks of sobriety and it felt far more comfortable for me than if I had actually told the guy how to not take that first drink. Hearing someone else's experience is far more interesting than being given a set of instructions, and if something is interesting you'll take more notice of what's being said.

From Susan Sheever's My Name is Bill
The two mean [Bill and Bob], both understood that no one can tell an alcoholic what to do, but that another alcoholic could tell his own story and that sometimes this reached even the most desperate cases.
Being an ex soldier I guess I'm in the habit of 'telling' people what to do; family members included and that often causes resentments (I guess) particularly with a daughter on the verge of her teen-age years.

I think I shall try 'sharing' in life in general, and not just with alcoholics, and see how that works for me.

And thank you guys for this section and your comments. Being new to AA I still have much to learn.
I'm more commonly known as Tosh (it's a nick name, but everyone I know in real life calls me it); just in case there's any confusion; I tend to use Tosh or Ken interchangeably and it confuses some; including me. ;-)

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Post by Karl R » Fri Sep 11, 2009 3:51 am

I think I shall try 'sharing' in life in general, and not just with alcoholics, and see how that works for me.
You may be on to something Ken......I shall have to think about that one.


Jim 725

Post by Jim 725 » Fri Sep 11, 2009 5:19 am

In A New Pair of Glasses Chuck C. states that in AA we 'share,' we don't 'tell.'
Jim S.

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Re: XI-XII Preface (A Textbook for Our Society)

Post by leejosepho » Sun Mar 04, 2012 7:06 am

Karl R wrote:What of the twelve traditions-they are read at each f2f meeting I go to but are talked about little?
Our Traditions were not read in the first A.A. meetings I attended, but I did hear them mentioned occasionally. In my own experience, taking the Steps and becoming recovered put me well-in-line with the unity mentioned in Tradition One:

"The tremendous fact for every one of us is that we have discovered a common solution. We have a way out on which we can absolutely agree, and upon which we can join in brotherly and harmonious action. This is the great news this book carries to those who suffer from alcoholism." (page 17)

"Being wrecked in the same vessel, being restored and united under one God, with hearts and minds attuned to the welfare of others ..." (page 161)

And of course, Tradition Three had been made apparent to me long before I had ever heard it read:

"... we may refuse none who wish to recover."
"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: XI-XII Preface (A Textbook for Our Society)

Post by WHO » Sun Mar 04, 2012 1:35 pm

This is what my sponsor set out for me, he wrote out questions and I had to find the answer in the specific page, I got to see what the big book was saying to me, not my interpretation. The italics are my answers

PREFACE: This is more than a book designed to transmit information, it’s a book designed to transmit an experience sufficient enough to recover. I need more than knowledge to stay sober for good.
Pg. xi: This tells me that the first part of this book is where the AA Recovery Program is.
What has this book become? The basic text for our society
What type of men and women have been helped, the alcoholic and what have they been helped to? To recovery
What does the first portion of this book describe? Describing the AA recovery program (the first portion is to page 164).
What tense is the AA recovery program in this book described, singular or plural? Singular
Pg. xii.: Describes how we go through the book and three questions that we should ask ourselves as we go through the book.
Is the first portion of the Big Book a story? (See Title Page.) The story of
What are the personal stories in the first portion of the Big Book? Bill W Page 1, Fred, Page 39 & Jim Page 35 minister’s son page 56 and the guy who drank after 25 years
c) What do they hope I do while reading the Big Book? We hope that you may pause
d) What is important, Yes that happened to me - more important, Yes I felt like that - and most important Yes I believe this program can work for me - to do while reading the Big Book?
Suggestion: I pay close attention to the ‘musts’, ‘required’, necessary’s, ‘truth’s’, facts’, ‘have to’s’, ‘has to’s’, ‘had to’s’, ‘we hope’, ‘we find’, ‘we ask’, ‘we write’, ‘we believe’, etc., and ask myself do I believe if I accept and apply the precise directions of these kinds of statement that I will experience the AA recovery program working for me too? Yes

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