XV-XVI Forward to the 2nd edition (Silkworth's remedy)

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

XV-XVI Forward to the 2nd edition (Silkworth's remedy)

Postby Karl R » Mon Aug 18, 2008 2:54 am

All,


I've split this foreward to the 2nd edition into only two parts and posted the first below. Forgive me if it's a little bit long. A lot of history here that everyone should read as they start to study the big book. Jim K(jak) has been gracious in his suggestion of books to read and other sources of information about AA history in the previous two day's threads (Aug 16 and 17).

This foreward starts with a restatement of the 1st edition's hope “that every alcoholic who journeys will find the Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous at his destination. Already,” then continues the early text “twos and threes and fives of us have sprung up in other communities.”

I went to a f2f meeting where there were only 3 of us yesterday so not much has changed since those days. A lot of the usual attendees were at the NA picnic in the park. It was okay. Meetings come and meetings go.
The New York stockbroker talked about here is Bill Wilson. His story is on pages 1-16 of the 4th edition where a lot of BB studies start. The Akron Ohio physician is Dr. Bob or Dr. Robert Smith. His story is on pp. 171-181 as Dr. Bob's Nightmare.

On page xvi it is suggested that we at least in part inherited from the Oxford group the following which became AA's twelve steps; 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.

Someone want to take on the task of distinguishing similarities and differences between the Oxford group and AA?

In three places in this short preface it states that "only an alcoholic can help an alcoholic" and "that strenuous work, one alcoholic with another, was vital to permanant recovery" This theme comes back again and again. If we are to move from 'in recovery' to "permanant recovery" we must help others like ourself. This was among the first five questions my sponsor asked me. (I paraphrase)-Are you willing to pass this along?

Dr. Bob tried spiritual means to solve his problem (religion, etc.) but until he coupled this with Dr. Silkworth's description of alcoholism and it's hopelessness he did not have much success. We will look at Dr. Silkworth's description soon when we get to 'The Drs. Opinion"

For bonus points does someone want to take on the task (for those who don't want to read ahead) of giving us all a 1-2 sentence summary of Dr. Silkworth's ideas?

Remember-this is 1955. The members of 1939 were said to be astonished that the message could be passed along by mail. What would they think now when the message is routinely passed along, not just by phone, but by the internet?

Have a great day everyone.
just an actor,
Karl


Foreward to Second Edition

Figures given in this foreword describe the
Fellowship as it was in 1955.

SINCE the original Foreword to this book was written in 1939, a wholesale miracle has taken place. Our earliest printing voiced the hope “that every alcoholic who journeys will find the Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous at his destination. Already,” continues the early text “twos and threes and fives of us have sprung up in other communities.”
Sixteen years have elapsed between our first printing of this book and the presentation in 1955 of our second edition. In that brief space, Alcoholics Anonymous has mushroomed into nearly 6,000 groups whose membership is far above 150,000 recovered alcoholics. Groups are to be found in each of the United States and all of the provinces of Canada. A.A. has flourishing communities in the British Isles, the Scandinavian countries, South Africa, South America, Mexico, Alaska, Australia and Hawaii. All told, promising beginnings have been made in some 50 foreign countries and U. S. possessions. Some are just now taking shape in Asia. Many of our friends encourage us by saying that this is but a beginning, only the augury of a much larger future ahead.
The spark that was to flare into the first A.A. group was struck at Akron, Ohio, in June 1935, during a talk between a New York stockbroker and an Akron physician. Six months earlier, the broker had been relieved of his drink obsession by a sudden spiritual experience, following a meeting with an alcoholic friend who had been in contact with the Oxford Groups of that day. He had also been greatly helped by the late Dr. William D. Silkworth, a New York specialist in alcoholism who is now accounted no less than a medical saint by A.A. members, and whose story of the early days of our Society appears in the next pages. 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.
Prior to his journey to Akron, the broker had worked hard with many alcoholics on the theory that only an alcoholic could help an alcoholic, but he had suc-ceeded only in keeping sober himself. The broker had gone to Akron on a business venture which had collapsed, leaving him greatly in fear that he might start drinking again. He suddenly realized that in order to save himself he must carry his message to another alcoholic. That alcoholic turned out to be the Akron physician.
This physician had repeatedly tried spiritual means to resolve his alcoholic dilemma but had failed. But when the broker gave him Dr. Silkworth’s description of alcoholism and its hopelessness, the physician began to pursue the spiritual remedy for his malady with a willingness he had never before been able to muster. He sobered, never to drink again up to the moment of his death in 1950. This seemed to prove that one alcoholic could affect another as no nonalcoholic could. It also indicated that strenuous work, one alcoholic with another, was vital to permanent recovery.
Hence the two men set to work almost frantically upon alcoholics arriving in the ward of the Akron City Hospital. Their very first case, a desperate one, recovered immediately and became A.A. number three. He never had another drink. This work at Akron contin-ued through the summer of 1935. There were many failures, but there was an occasional heartening success. When the broker returned to New York in the fall of 1935, the first A.A. group had actually been formed, though no one realized it at the time.
A second small group promptly took shape at New York, to be followed in 1937 with the start of a third at Cleveland. Besides these, there were scattered alcoholics who had picked up the basic ideas in Akron or New York who were trying to form groups in other cities. By late 1937, the number of members having substantial sobriety time behind them was sufficient to convince the membership that a new light had entered the dark world of the alcoholic.
It was now time, the struggling groups thought, to place their message and unique experience before the world. This determination bore fruit in the spring of 1939 by the publication of this volume. The membership had then reached about 100 men and women. The fledgling society, which had been nameless, now began to be called Alcoholics Anonymous, from the title of its own book. The flying-blind period ended and A.A. entered a new phase of its pioneering time.
With the appearance of the new book a great deal began to happen. Dr. Harry Emerson Fosdick, the noted clergyman, reviewed it with approval. In the fall of 1939 Fulton Oursler, then editor of Liberty, printed a piece in his magazine, called “Alcoholics and God.” This brought a rush of 800 frantic inquiries into the little New York office which meanwhile had been established. Each inquiry was painstakingly answered; pamphlets and books were sent out. Businessmen, traveling out of existing groups, were referred to these prospective newcomers. New groups started up and it was found, to the astonishment of everyone, that A.A.’s message could be transmitted in the mail as well as by word of mouth. By the end of 1939 it was estimated that 800 alcoholics were on their way to recovery.
Last edited by Karl R on Thu Feb 19, 2009 5:18 am, edited 5 times in total.
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Postby martin08 » Mon Aug 18, 2008 7:42 am

The six steps of the Oxford Group (found in the story "He Sold Himelf Short) were the building blocks of AA's Twelve Steps.

The Oxford Group sought to influence community and regional politics while AA moved toward a focus on individual recovery.
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Postby avaneesh912 » Mon Aug 18, 2008 8:19 am

Alcoholism is one vicious cycle: Mental obsession that leads a person to take a drink and the Physical Craving that develops once he takes the 1st drink. The spiritual malady: restless, irritable and discontented when not drinking.
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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Postby jak » Mon Aug 18, 2008 10:12 am

Dang it :!: Nari gets the bonus points. :(
I was gonna say that! :cry:
Didn't you see my hand up :?: ...Way in the back...
over by the coffee... :roll:
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Postby avaneesh912 » Mon Aug 18, 2008 12:45 pm

Sorry Brother, i came in late and only front row seats were available. Its difficult to see the fellows at the back. :wink:
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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Postby Karl R » Mon Aug 18, 2008 12:45 pm

There's always tomorrow for a consolation round. That's the great thing about AA. We'll still be alcoholics tomorrow and the fellowship and BB will still be there.

in peace,
Karl


jak wrote:Dang it :!: Nari gets the bonus points. :(
I was gonna say that! :cry:
Didn't you see my hand up :?: ...Way in the back...
over by the coffee... :roll:
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Postby Karl R » Mon Aug 18, 2008 12:49 pm

A consolation prize for jak.

:D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D
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Postby Karl R » Thu Jan 22, 2009 6:13 am

The grave nature of alcoholism

finding the fellowship at our destination

relief from the drink obsession following a spiritual experience

the solution hinted at here

All good topics for this thread today.

Karl
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Postby samantha » Sat Sep 05, 2009 8:57 am

Remember-this is 1955. The members of 1939 were said to be astonished that the message could be passed along by mail. What would they think now when the message is routinely passed along, not just by phone, but by the internet?


And the internet medium is able to reach so many people and the message is accessible in print and over time.
samantha
 

Re: XV-XVI Forward to the 2nd edition (Silkworth's remedy)

Postby leejosepho » Mon Sep 07, 2009 6:53 pm

Our earliest printing voiced the hope “that every alcoholic who journeys will find the Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous at his destination."


Is anyone else here aware that is not a true statement?

Here is what is actually "voiced" in our Basic Text:

"Some day we hope that every alcoholic who journeys will find *a* Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous (anonymous alcoholics) at his destination." (page 162, emphasis added)

Our earliest members hoped the rest of us would find autonomous A.A. fellowships or "A.A. groups" at our destinations, not "the Fellowship of A.A."

Being new here at e-AA, I ask whether the difference is something folks here might like to discuss.

Joseph "Lee" O.
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Postby Ken_the_Geordie » Tue Sep 08, 2009 12:37 am

Hi Leejosepho,

I'm not only new to e-AA I'm new to AA and I'd be interested to know why you think the differences are important? They both sound fairly similar to me, but there must be something I can't see hidden in the similarity if you know what I mean.

Can you give me your thoughts on this?

Regards,

Tosh
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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Postby leejosepho » Tue Sep 08, 2009 3:11 am

Here is what is actually "voiced" in our Basic Text:
"Some day we hope that every alcoholic who journeys will find *a* Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous (anonymous alcoholics) at his destination." (page 162, emphasis added)


Ken_the_Geordie wrote: I'd be interested to know why you think the differences are important?


Greetings, Tosh, and I hope you find this useful!

First, I discovered the "the Fellowship" versus "a Fellowship" error several years ago while spending a lot of time trying to understand this from page 152:

"'I know I must get along without liquor, but how can I? Have you a sufficient substitute?'
"Yes, there is a substitute and it is vastly more than that. It is a fellowship in Alcoholics Anonymous. There you will find release from care, boredom and worry. Your imagination will be fired. Life will mean something at last. The most satisfactory years of your existence lie ahead. Thus we find the fellowship [we share within our autonomous fellowships], and so will you."

I must be off to work at the moment, but I will come back with details this evening. Said simply: "The Fellowship" cannot in the same way and to the same degree provide the above.
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Postby martin08 » Tue Sep 08, 2009 3:49 am

Interesting.

Finding 'a' fellowhip, for myself, meant that I began to trust that something had happened to a few men to whom I was drawn toward, and I sought to develop a relationship that might build that 'something' within me.

Finding 'the' Fellowship was not as difficult, dynamic or moving... I simply had to get the correct address to the meeting.
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Postby avaneesh912 » Tue Sep 08, 2009 6:07 am

Still you may say: "But I will not have the benefit of contact with you who wrote this book." We cannot be sure. God will determine that, so you must remember that your real reliance is always upon Him. He will show you how to create the fellowship you crave.


The book goes on to say, your HP will show you how to create THE fellowship you crave.

They knew pretty well there will be lot of squabbles, today i see many groups being formed to focus just on the Big Book which is very assuring. To carry the common message of Alcoholics Anonymous which is to attain a spiritual awakening thru the working the 12 steps of AA and getting connected to the POWER of your own understanding.
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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Postby leejosepho » Tue Sep 08, 2009 3:01 pm

In my own experience, there is a tremendous difference between "a Fellowship in A.A." and "the Fellowship of A.A." ... and please know I do not share this to be argumentative or to find fault. Rather, I share this only for the sake of anyone like myself who might both need and want nothing more, less or other than that which is so freely shared from within "Alcoholics Anonymous", the book.

martin08 wrote:Finding 'a' fellowship, for myself, meant that I began to trust that something had happened to a few men to whom I was drawn toward, and I sought to develop a relationship that might build that 'something' within me.


We could certainly see that as "join us ... in the Fellowship of the Spirit", a very good thing, but that would not make someone a member of an autonomous A.A. fellowship where one did not exist and s/he had yet to get one started.

martin08 wrote:Finding 'the' Fellowship was not as difficult, dynamic or moving... I simply had to get the correct address to the meeting.


In my own experience, that could go either way. Most "A.A. meetings" I have ever attended were actually only meetings somehow registered *as* groups, and with those "registered 'groups'" not actually having "Any two or three alcoholics gathered together for sobriety [calling] *themselves* an A.A. group" (Tradition Three, emphasis added). In many places, people are essentially “members-at-large” attending, moving around between and “serving” in meetings that are actually being overseen and run by Central Committees.

avaneesh912 wrote:
Still you may say: "But I will not have the benefit of contact with you who wrote this book." We cannot be sure. God will determine that, so you must remember that your real reliance is always upon Him. He will show you how to create the fellowship you crave.


The book goes on to say, your HP will show you how to create THE fellowship you crave.


Yes, and that is specifically referring to "a Fellowship in" our society of anonymous alcoholics gathering themselves together in their autonomous A.A. fellowships, respectively.

avaneesh912 wrote:today i see many groups being formed to focus just on the Big Book which is very assuring. To carry the common message of Alcoholics Anonymous which is to attain a spiritual awakening thru the working the 12 steps of AA and getting connected to the POWER of your own understanding.


Please allow me to again say I do not share this to be argumentative or to find fault. Rather, I share this only for the sake of anyone like myself who might both need and want nothing more, less or other than that which is so freely shared from within "Alcoholics Anonymous", the book ...

"... the common message of Alcoholics Anonymous which is ..."

"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)

Or, "to attain a spiritual awakening thru [taking (page 58)] the 12 steps and getting connected to ‘God as you understand God’ (page 164)."

The ideas of "working" the Steps (utilitarianism) and "a god of your own understanding" (pantheism) cannot be found anywhere within "Alcoholics Anonymous", the book. Nevertheless, such ideas are today rampant throughout "the Fellowship of A.A."
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