PP 13-15 Bill's Story (Bill's Spiritual Awakening)

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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Karl R
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PP 13-15 Bill's Story (Bill's Spiritual Awakening)

Post by Karl R » Tue Sep 09, 2008 6:20 pm

Good Day,

Running late today. I've posted today's selection from Bill's story below.

When we left Bill yesterday he had started on the program of recovery commended to him by his friend Ebby T.

Ebby promises Bill that "when these things were done I would enter upon a new relationship with my Creator; that I would have the elements of a way of living which answered all my problems."

Anyone want to comment on what 'things' Ebby was talking about?


Anyone want to comment on whether AA is supposed to make all of our problems go away?


The price to be paid for this new way of living is that our self-centeredness must be shattered. Other key components are a belief in the power of God, and the willingness, honesty, and humility to make the whole thing work. Once Bill accepts this he seems to have a sudden drastic experience.

Ebby goes on to enlarge on the idea that if we don't enlarge our spiritual life by working with others like ourself we are doomed to the withering of our own spiritual awakening and drinking again.

Anyone want to summarize in two paragraphs or less the steps, prices and components in Bill's spiritual awakening. Or as an alternative assignment list the steps that Ebby T walked Bill through from start to finish. Answers will be graded according to brevity and clarity. No student will receive a grade less then A-. LOL :wink:

Have a great evening,
Karl



My friend promised when these things were done I would enter upon a new relationship with my Creator; that I would have the elements of a way of living which answered all my problems. Belief in the power of God, plus enough willingness, honesty and humility to establish and maintain the new order of things, were the essential requirements.

Simple, but not easy; a price had to be paid. It meant destruction of self-centeredness. I must turn in all things to the Father of Light who presides over us all.

These were revolutionary and drastic proposals, but the moment I fully accepted them, the effect was electric. There was a sense of victory, followed by such a peace and serenity as I had never known. There was utter confidence. I felt lifted up, as though the great clean wind of a mountain top blew through and through. God comes to most men gradually, but His impact on me was sudden and profound.

For a moment I was alarmed, and called my friend, the doctor, to ask if I were still sane. He listened in wonder as I talked.

Finally he shook his head saying, "Something has happened to you I don't understand. But you had better hang on to it. Anything is better than the way you were." The good doctor now sees many men who have such experiences. He knows that they are real.

While I lay in the hospital the thought came that there were thousands of hopeless alcoholics who might be glad to have what had been so freely given me. Perhaps I could help some of them. They in turn might work with others.

My friend had emphasized the absolute necessity of demonstrating these principles in all my affairs. Particularly was it imperative to work with others as he had worked with me. Faith without works was dead, he said. And how appallingly true for the alcoholic! For if an alcoholic failed to perfect and enlarge his spiritual life through work and self-sacrifice for others, he could not survive the certain trials and low spots ahead. If he did not work, he would surely drink again, and if he drank, he would surely die. Then faith would be dead indeed. With us it is just like that.
Last edited by Karl R on Wed Jul 29, 2009 4:26 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: September 9, 2008 BB Bill's Story pp 13-15

Post by Oliver » Wed Sep 10, 2008 11:05 am

Karl R wrote:My friend had emphasized the absolute necessity of demonstrating these principles in all my affairs. Particularly was it imperative to work with others as he had worked with me. Faith without works was dead, he said. And how appallingly true for the alcoholic! For if an alcoholic failed to perfect and enlarge his spiritual life through work and self-sacrifice for others, he could not survive the certain trials and low spots ahead. If he did not work, he would surely drink again, and if he drank, he would surely die. Then faith would be dead indeed. With us it is just like that.[/color]
I'm glad that this was part of the reading for today. I'm having one of those days where life seems easy and it's easy to let my programme slip. I have some step 10s that are overdue and I haven't done a gratitude list for a while. Sometimes, my mind is quick to forget that this thing will kill me if I don't enlarge my spirituality and get stuck into serving others and being useful, even when I don't feel like it.

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Re: September 9, 2008 BB Bill's Story pp 13-15

Post by martin08 » Wed Sep 10, 2008 6:52 pm

Karl R wrote:


Anyone want to comment on whether AA is supposed to make all of our problems go away?[/b]

...Well, that's exactly what this book is about. Its main object is to enable you to find a Power greater than yourself which will solve your problem.
- p. 45

It was mindblowing to find out that I only had one problem. In step seven, God removed the barrier I had built between myself and Him.

Bill talks of surviving 'certain low spots and trials' but stops short of calling them problems - since there is a definite action available to take me through. Helping others.

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Re: September 9, 2008 BB Bill's Story pp 13-15

Post by Blue Moon » Thu Sep 11, 2008 8:10 am

Karl R wrote:Anyone want to comment on whether AA is supposed to make all of our problems go away?
AA makes no problem go away.

Not even the drinking problem.

AA offered me a program of action and direction which, when I chose to follow the directions, led to a spiritual awakening. Sobriety is one symptom of that outcome.

Curiously, I discovered that a lot of my problems, for which the Big Book was once nowhere thick enough to fix, were either imaginary problems or problems that managed to fix themselves in time without me doing very much about them.

But other problems also arose. For example, the sometimes-knotty question of how to deal with people who don't want to quit drinking, or who want to change how it works, was never a problem for me before I walked into AA.
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Post by dwelling » Thu Sep 11, 2008 3:10 pm

HI,

"If God can solve the age-old riddle of alcoholism, He can solve your problems too."

dwelling,Now we try to put spiritual principles to work in every department of our lives. When we do that, we find it solves our problems too;

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Re: September 9, 2008 BB Bill's Story pp 13-15

Post by rick » Fri Sep 12, 2008 6:17 am

Step 12 Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these Steps...

My friend promised when these things were done I would enter upon a new relationship with my Creator; that I would have the elements of a way of living which answered all my problems. Belief in the power of God, plus enough willingness, honesty and humility to establish and maintain the new order of things, were the essential requirements.

Simple, but not easy; a price had to be paid. It meant destruction of self-centeredness. I must turn in all things to the Father of Light who presides over us all.

These were revolutionary and drastic proposals, but the moment I fully accepted them, the effect was electric. There was a sense of victory, followed by such a peace and serenity as I had never known. There was utter confidence. I felt lifted up, as though the great clean wind of a mountain top blew through and through. God comes to most men gradually, but His impact on me was sudden and profound.

For a moment I was alarmed, and called my friend, the doctor, to ask if I were still sane. He listened in wonder as I talked.

Finally he shook his head saying, "Something has happened to you I don't understand. But you had better hang on to it. Anything is better than the way you were." The good doctor now sees many men who have such experiences. He knows that they are real.

Step 12 ...we tried to carry this message to other alcoholics...

While I lay in the hospital the thought came that there were thousands of hopeless alcoholics who might be glad to have what had been so freely given me. Perhaps I could help some of them. They in turn might work with others.

My friend had emphasized the absolute necessity of demonstrating these principles in all my affairs. Particularly was it imperative to work with others as he had worked with me. Faith without works was dead, he said. And how appallingly true for the alcoholic! For if an alcoholic failed to perfect and enlarge his spiritual life through work and self-sacrifice for others, he could not survive the certain trials and low spots ahead. If he did not work, he would surely drink again, and if he drank, he would surely die. Then faith would be dead indeed. With us it is just like that.[/color][/quote]
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Post by jujub » Tue Oct 21, 2008 3:55 pm

evening all,

it seems on page 13 the "things" ebby referred to are steps 3-11. bill humbly offered himself to god, faced his sins, confessed them to another, became willing to have god remove them, made restitution, and improved his god-consciousness. step 12 is on page 14--passing it on and living the principles of the program of recovery. the price to be paid in all of it was destruction of ego and self.

i don't beleive aa makes all our problems go away--we'd hardly be human without them. but i do believe the path to the other side of any difficulty is through the steps. problems don't disappear, but the solution is available--another paradox?

judi, alcoholic

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Post by ann2 » Wed Oct 22, 2008 8:21 am

"I must turn in all things to the Father of Light who presides over us all.These were revolutionary and drastic proposals . . . ."

Even though I don't feel bound by Bill's description of his Higher Power when conceptualizing my own, I don't really have much problem with his terms, just as I have no trouble with anyone else's terms in a meeting. But I think it's vital to recognize just how revolutionary and drastic Ebby's suggestions were -- or, perhaps, how willing Bill was to see what a change it would be from his usual m.o.

After having done these things, taken the steps as Judi outlines above, things are so much simpler for me. Slowly, out of that simplicity has grown an awareness that this way of life really is better than what I had before. But I can't convince someone else of that. I mean, so what if my decision and the actions that followed it improved my life? Bully for me! But what can another alcoholic take from my experience?

Not a lot, unless I start from the beginning, where I was, what it was like, the bottom I hit. That can make sense to someone just starting out here. He or she hears that, and believes it because no one can kid a kidder or talk about alcohol like an alcoholic.

And then I present this truly unbelievable conundrum -- I have been where you are, I know what it's like, and yet today I'm obviously totally different.

This is the only convincer I have that works. I can talk till I'm blue in the face about what the steps have done for me, and there's nothing but eyes glazing over. But I can present the result of the things Ebby talked about, in person, while owning obvious familiarity with the depths we all have come to.

That's what did it to me . . . all you people throwing yourselves, sober, in my face. Not what you said, but how you said it.

My problems don't last very long. They used to go on forever. Nowadays, all but the most life-changing situations get handled in a 10th step and conversation with you all. And for the real tough ones, being around you all and being sober is a huge comfort.

Thanks from me,

Ann (ann2)
"If I don't take twenty walks, Billy Beane send me to Mexico" -- Miguel Tejada

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Re: PP 13-15 Bill's Story (Bill's Spiritual Awakening)

Post by leejosepho » Sat Mar 17, 2012 8:24 am

My friend promised when these things were done I would enter upon a new relationship with my Creator; that I would have the elements of a way of living which answered all my problems. Belief in the power of God, plus enough willingness, honesty and humility to establish and maintain the new order of things, were the essential requirements.
Karl R wrote:Anyone want to comment on what 'things' Ebby was talking about?
The "things" Ebby had mentioned are what we now know as the Steps, of course, and here is Bill's later wording of what Ebby had promised as the result:

"When we sincerely took such a position ('God ... our Director ... the Principal ... the Father ...'), all sorts of remarkable things followed. We had a new Employer. Being all powerful, He provided what we needed, if we kept close to Him and performed His work well. Established on such a footing we became less and less interested in ourselves, our little plans and designs. More and more we became interested in seeing what we could contribute to life. As we felt new power flow in, as we enjoyed peace of mind, as we discovered we could face life successfully, as we became conscious of His presence, we began to lose our fear of today, tomorrow or the hereafter. We were reborn." (pages 62-63)
Simple, but not easy; a price had to be paid ...

... God comes to most men gradually, but His impact on me was sudden and profound.

For a moment I was alarmed, and called my friend, the doctor, to ask if I were still sane. He listened in wonder as I talked.

Finally he shook his head saying, "Something has happened to you I don't understand. But you had better hang on to it. Anything is better than the way you were." The good doctor now sees many men who have such experiences. He knows that they are real.
Step Two seemed quite dramatic for Bill, and I find it interesting that he had checked back with his doctor. Bill had become convinced he (Bill) had been "down for the count" (page 23), and I suspect he did not want to foolish here.

Dr. Silkworth (as now shared in our book) is not alone in suggesting spiritual means to resolve the alcoholic dilemma, and here (from Dr. Karl Jung) is a bit of the origin of that idea for him:

" ... Exceptions to cases such as yours have been occurring since early times. Here and there, once in a while, alcoholics have had what are called vital spiritual experiences. To me these occurrences are phenomena. They appear to be in the nature of huge emotional displacements and rearrangements. Ideas, emotions, and attitudes which were once the guiding forces of the lives of these men are suddenly cast to one side, and a completely new set of conceptions and motives begin to dominate them. In fact, I have been trying to produce some such emotional rearrangement within you. With many individuals the methods which I employed are successful, but I have never been successful with an alcoholic of your description." (page 26)

How great it is that medicine (science) and religion do not compete here in A.A., eh?!
While I lay in the hospital the thought came that there were thousands of hopeless alcoholics who might be glad to have what had been so freely given me. Perhaps I could help some of them. They in turn might work with others.

My friend had emphasized the absolute necessity of demonstrating these principles in all my affairs. Particularly was it imperative to work with others as he had worked with me. Faith without works was dead, he said. And how appallingly true for the alcoholic! For if an alcoholic failed to perfect and enlarge his spiritual life through work and self-sacrifice for others, he could not survive the certain trials and low spots ahead. If he did not work, he would surely drink again, and if he drank, he would surely die. Then faith would be dead indeed. With us it is just like that.
For whatever reason or reasons, that seems to be where Ebby later fell short.
=======================
"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: PP 13-15 Bill's Story (Bill's Spiritual Awakening)

Post by PaigeB » Sat Mar 17, 2012 1:57 pm

Karl R wrote: Anyone want to comment on what 'things' Ebby was talking about?
Having already known Bill experienced the absolute hopelessness of this condition (Step1) and his example of sanity restored, Ebby goes through Step 3 to Step 12.
My friend had emphasized the absolute necessity of demonstrating these principles in all my affairs. Particularly was it imperative to work with others as he had worked with me.
My sponsor pointed out these steps in Bill's story and their relationship to the Steps as list in Chapter 5. I was SO worried about getting to the 12 Step (absolute necessity...imperative) so I could be sure I wouldn't drink. I am grateful now that my sponsor told me, "One Step at a time, in order." I have learned so much and changed so much since we first read Bill's story. I was deluded back then that I had what it took to pass it on. But she also said sharing my experience, strength & hope in meetings was akin to Step 12 and that service to the group would help me practice "practicing these principles in all {my} our affairs."

Like Ann said:
But what can another alcoholic take from my experience? Not a lot, unless I start from the beginning, where I was, what it was like, the bottom I hit. That can make sense to someone just starting out here. He or she hears that, and believes it because no one can kid a kidder or talk about alcohol like an alcoholic.
My dad, a sober alkie, used to say, "No one can kid a kidder" !!! This is what I can share - the absolute hopelessness of my prior condition. And some of what I have done might also resonate with the newcomer who still suffers.
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: PP 13-15 Bill's Story (Bill's Spiritual Awakening)

Post by WHO » Fri Mar 23, 2012 3:04 pm

14) Pg. 14
a) What are the essential requirements to establish and maintain the new order of things? Belief in God Plus enough willingness honesty and humility to establish and maintain the new order of things, were the essential requirements
b) What price had to be paid? Destruction of self-centeredness
c) Do we work on self-centeredness or is it destroyed? Destruction - destroyed
d) What do we turn in and to who? I must turn in all things to the Father of Light who presides over us
e) What kind of proposals? Revoluntary & Drastic proposals
f) What seven results did Bill experience? Electric, sense of victory. Peace, serenity, utter confidence, I felt lifted up, sudden and profound /
g) What does Bill’s experience show those that say not to make any major changes in your first year of sobriety? False idea
h) What did the doctor advise to Bill? Something has happened to you I don’t understand. But you had better hang onto it anything is better than the way you were
i) What did the doctor know was real? The good doctor now sees many men who have such experiences; He knows that they are real
j) What thought came to Bill? That there were thousands of hopeless alcoholics who might be glad to have what had been so freely given me
k) What did Ebby emphasize to Bill? My friend emphasized the absolute necessity of demonstrating these principles in all my affairs.
l) What did Ebby tell Bill was particularly imperative? Particularly was it imperative to work with others as he had worked with me
m) What was true for the alcoholic? Faith without works is dead. And how appallingly true for the alcoholic


PERSONAL QUESTIONS

1) Am I willing to pay the price of turning all things to God for the destruction of self-centeredness? Yes
2) Am I willing to fully accept these revolutionary and drastic proposals? Yes
3) Am I willing to believe I will have an effect that is electric, a sense of victory, peace and serenity, and utter confidence? Yes
4) Did God come to me gradually and/or was His impact sudden and profound? Gradually Sobriety date
5) Am I willing to meet the absolute necessity of demonstrating these principles in all of my affairs? Yes
6) Am I willing to work with others as my sponsor has worked with me? Yes
7) Do I believe that Faith without works is dead? Yes

* …to establish and maintain the new order of things.
* …the effect was electric.
* There was a sense of victory,…
* …followed by such a peace and serenity as I had never known.
* There was utter confidence.”
* I felt lifted up,…
* God comes to most men gradually,…

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Re: PP 13-15 Bill's Story (Bill's Spiritual Awakening)

Post by Tommy-S » Fri Mar 23, 2012 4:07 pm

Delete
Last edited by Tommy-S on Sun May 06, 2012 8:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: PP 13-15 Bill's Story (Bill's Spiritual Awakening)

Post by WHO » Sat Mar 24, 2012 1:08 pm

15) Pg.15
a) What happens if we fail to perfect and enlarge our spiritual life? He could not survive certain trials and low spots ahead
b) How do we perfect and enlarge our spiritual life? Through work and self-sacrifice for others
c) Does the twelfth step involve a life with trials and low spots? Yes
d) What determines survival of trials and low spots? work and self-sacrifice for others
e) What will surely happen if we don’t do this twelfth step work? If he did not work (taking someone through the big book) , he would surely drink and again,
f) What happens if we drink? and if he drank he would surely die
g) What idea did Bill and Lois abandon themselves to? The idea of helping other alcoholics
h) Could Bill rely on his profession, finances, emotions, or feelings to keep him sober? No
i) What did Bill’s false-dependencies nearly do? This sometimes nearly drove me back to drink /anything other than God
j) What measures failed to keep Bill from taking a drink? All other measures failed
k) What would save the day for Bill? Work with another alcoholic
l) What is the design for living that works? Work with another alcoholic
m) How often do they meet? We meet frequently
n) Why do they meet? So that newcomers may find the fellowship they seek

PERSONAL QUESTIONS

1) Do I believe if I fail to perfect and enlarge my spiritual life through work and self-sacrifice for others, I can’t survive the certain trials and low spots ahead? Yes
2) Do I believe if I do not do this work with others I will surely drink again? Yes
3) Do I believe if I drink, I will surely die? Yes (now)
4) Am I willing to abandon myself with enthusiasm to the idea of helping other alcoholics to a solution of their problem? Yes The Big Book
5) Do I believe that when all other measures fail, work with another alcoholic will save me? Yes
6) Am I willing to go to where newcomers are and begin talking to them and be amazingly lifted up and set on my feet? Yes
7) Do I believe this is a design for living that will work in the rough going? Yes
8) Do I believe I will make many fast friends? Willing to believe
9) Do I believe a fellowship will grow around me? Willing to believe
10) Do I believe I can have the joy of living, even under pressure and difficulty? Willing to believe
11) Do I believe my family will have their feet set in a path that really goes somewhere? Willing to believe
12) Do I believe that my most impossible domestic situations will be righted? Yes
13) Do I believe feuds and bitterness of all sorts will be wiped out? Willing to believe
14) Do I believe I can resume a vital place in the lives of my family and community? Yes
15) Do I believe I can regain my professional/business standing? Yes
16) Do I believe there is scarcely any form of trouble and that can’t be overcome? Yes
17) Am I willing to attend meetings frequently so that newcomers may find the fellowship they crave? Yes
(I am in a blind spot here I am trying to live by the new principles)

* …would save the day
* …I would be amazingly lifted up and set on my feet.
* It is a design for living that works in rough going.
* We commenced to make many fast friends…
*…a fellowship has grown up among us, of which it is a wonderful thing to feel a part.
* The joy of living we really have, even under pressure and difficulty.
* …families set their feet in the path that really goes somewhere;
* …the most impossible domestic situations righted;
*…feuds and bitterness of all sorts wiped out.
*…resume a vital place in the lives of their families and communities.
*…have regained their standing.

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Re: PP 13-15 Bill's Story (Bill's Spiritual Awakening)

Post by Tommy-S » Mon Nov 19, 2012 11:35 am

(Thanks for the effort it took to post these, Karl)
My friend had emphasized the absolute necessity of demonstrating these principles in all my affairs. Particularly was it imperative to work with others as he had worked with me. Faith without works was dead, he said. And how appallingly true for the alcoholic! For if an alcoholic failed to perfect and enlarge his spiritual life through work and self-sacrifice for others, he could not survive the certain trials and low spots ahead. If he did not work, he would surely drink again, and if he drank, he would surely die. Then faith would be dead indeed. With us it is just like that.
This passage was one of the first I was introduced to in our book by the AA's on ship. They called it "the Fail-Safe".

Being a combat ship, all vital systems were equipped with fail safes.... measures designed to allow us to reroute & divert systems in the event of damage in order to keep a bare minimum of operations going, ensuring the survival of the ship & crew.

So I got it... Imperative to work with others... (echoed further down page 15 with Bill's declaration "when all other measures failed work with another alcoholic would save the day" and again on page 20's "Our very lives, as ex-problem drinkers, depend on our Constant Thought of Others and how we can help meet their needs")

But besides being Just an Emergency measure, they made it clear that Helping Others was the essence of AA.

Bill W got sober Dec 1934, six months before he met Dr. Bob and the birth of AA. Bill didn't sit on his butt with a sign in the window that read "Will help drunks for free", but spent his time finding and trying to help others... He wasn't successful with them, but discovered he had stayed sober.

The lesson they passed down is AA may be the only form of 'therapy' wherein if I want to feel better, I need to help someone else.

It's a Divine Irony that I suffer from a 'disease' of Self, and the Cure is Others :)

Thanks... Tommy
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Re: PP 13-15 Bill's Story (Bill's Spiritual Awakening)

Post by Marc L » Fri Nov 23, 2012 4:00 pm

Being concerned about others takes us out of self.
It's selfless(altruistic) action which helps keep us sober.
Intensive work with other drunks when all else fails. :D

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