PP 15-16 Bill's Story (Into Service)

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 15-16 Bill's Story (Into Service)

Post by Karl R » Thu Sep 11, 2008 4:09 am

Good Morning all,

Have posted the last selection from Bill's story below.

Thanks Rick for posting on the topic from the 8th connecting the various parts of Bill's story to the specific steps. Today's selection relates how Bill found step 12.

Bill notes that it took time for his old associates to believe the changes in him were real. How true for all of us. He also notes that it took time for healing both physically and spiritually. One of the important things to note is that he didn't sit back waiting for healing one day at a time. He vigorously and quickly worked the steps and began working with others and that brought healing.

Comments on this healing process?

The paragraph speaking of "domestic situations righted" rings true to me in my own life. I have been granted a temporary reprieve from an impossible domestic situation that I couldn't fix myself. There is hope.

Bill closes with some talk of the 'flavor' of the fellowship and working with others-it's ups and it's downs.

In closing Bill's story I would ask that everyone who is willing share one pertinent idea or theme from the chapter Bill's story where they saw themselves or that they thought was important.

Tomorrow we start the chapter "There is a solution"


in peace,
Karl

My wife and I abandoned ourselves with enthusiasm to the idea of helping other alcoholics to a solution of their problems. It was fortunate, for my old business associates remained skeptical for a year and a half, during which I found little work. I was not too well at the time, and was plagued by waves of self-pity and resentment. This sometimes nearly drove me back to drink, but I soon found that when all other measures failed, work with another alcoholic would save the day. Many times I have gone to my old hospital in despair. On talking to a man there, 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 and 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. I have seen hundreds of families set their feet in the path that really goes somewhere; have seen the most impossible domestic situations righted; feuds and bitterness of all sorts wiped out. I have seen men come out of asylums and resume a vital place in the lives of their families and communities. Business and professional men have regained their standing. There is scarcely any form of trouble and misery which has not been overcome among us. In one western city and its environs there are one thousand of us and our families. We meet frequently so that newcomers may find the fellowship they seek. At these informal gatherings one may often see from 50 to 200 persons. We are growing in numbers and power.

An alcoholic in his cups is an unlovely creature. Our struggles with them are variously strenuous, comic, and tragic. One poor chap committed suicide in my home. He could not, or would not, see our way of life.

There is, however a vast amount of fun about it all. I suppose some would be shocked at our seeming worldliness and levity. But just underneath there is deadly earnestness. Faith has to work twenty-four hours a day in and through us, or we perish.

Most of us feel we need look no further for Utopia. We have it with us right here and now. Each day my friend's simple talk in our kitchen multiplies itself in a widening circle of peace on earth and good will to men.
Last edited by Karl R on Wed Jul 29, 2009 4:25 pm, edited 3 times in total.

dwelling
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Post by dwelling » Thu Sep 11, 2008 3:07 pm

Hello,

I like this line. I have experienced this many times.

Bill says ,"I soon found that when all other measures failed, work with another alcoholic would save the day."

and this..

" I have seen hundreds of families set their feet in the path that really goes somewhere; have seen the most impossible domestic situations righted;"

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

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Post by Oliver » Fri Sep 12, 2008 12:20 am

Given my previous post, I rather like the line: "Faith has to work twenty-four hours a day in and through us, or we perish."

I suppose for me the over riding themes are acceptance, action and service.
Oliver
"In exchange for bottle and hangover, I have been given the keys to the kingdom."

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jujub
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Post by jujub » Tue Oct 21, 2008 4:18 pm

hey guys,

the healing process bill experienced is contrary to how my brain thinks it should work. i was waiting to stop drinking until i wanted to stop drinking. truth is, i never really want to stop drinking--i just want to stop the consequences. but i do know the desire to be sober grows the longer i'm sober--as long as i'm trying to live these steps. waiting to call someone when the fear subsides? forget about it. the fear ebbs after the call--not before. duh!

the biggest thing i got out of this chapter was the absolute conviction that self-knowledge or self-will is of no use in combating my alcoholism. they just are not big enough. no human power--and that includes me--can get or keep me sober. a willingness to believe that there was a greater power available to me is the new solution to my dilemma.

thanks for all your insight,
judi--alcoholic

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Post by ann2 » Wed Oct 22, 2008 8:36 am

"my old business associates remained skeptical for a year and a half, during which I found little work. I was not too well at the time, and was plagued by waves of self-pity and resentment." I like this, how human Bill was and always remained. He struggled, he erred, and he laughed at himself because he was able to be honest.

Bill's a real person -- he lives on in this chapter and all his other writings where he shares about the struggles particularly blessed on the alcoholic.

Because of Bill the pressure's off, as far as I'm concerned. I'm not saying it's enough to be sober a day at a time -- that's not going to work in the long run -- but it'll be hard to keep practicing my 10th step if I don't make any mistakes. And I don't intend to be better than Bill.

The healing I've experienced has been just about constant over the past 21 years away from the drink. Hard to believe so much has been needed to be fixed, but then again if you knew me 22 years ago I don't think you'd be surprised :-)

Thanks to A.A. I know I just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other, without being afraid of imperfection, and I'll at least get a lot of amusement out of my attempts if nothing else :oops:

Thanks everyone for your shares,

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

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Re: PP 15-16 Bill's Story (Into Service)

Post by leejosepho » Sun Mar 18, 2012 7:50 am

Karl R wrote:... One of the important things to note is that [Bill] didn't sit back waiting for healing one day at a time. He vigorously and quickly worked the steps and began working with others and that brought healing.
Yes, one-day-at-a-time recovery produces sobriety where one-day-at-a-time sobriety can often lead right back to misery!
My wife and I abandoned ourselves with enthusiasm to the idea of helping other alcoholics to a solution of their problems.
Tongue-in-cheek, I like to call these "the fractured promises" of A.A., and it seems Bill and the others knew them well:

"... A kindly act once in a while isn't enough. You have to act the Good Samaritan every day, if need be. It may mean the loss of many nights' sleep, great interference with your pleasures, interruptions to your business. It may mean sharing your money and your home, counseling frantic wives and relatives, innumerable trips to police courts, sanitariums, hospitals, jails and asylums. Your telephone may jangle at any time of the day or night. Your wife may sometimes say she is neglected. A drunk may smash the furniture in your home, or burn a mattress. You may have to fight with him if he is violent. Sometimes you will have to call a doctor and administer sedatives under his direction. Another time you may have to send for the police or an ambulance. Occasionally you will have to meet such conditions." (page 97)

Were it not for A.A., I never would have had the opportunity to voluntarily ride in the back of a squad car while accompanying a fellow alcoholic on his way to detox ... and today that man is my son-in-law!
... a design for living that works in rough going.
"Our very lives, as ex-problem drinkers, depend upon our constant thought of others and how we may help meet their needs." (page 20)
... a fellowship has grown up among us of which it is a wonderful thing to feel a part.
"Life will take on new meaning. To watch people recover, to see them help others, to watch loneliness vanish, to see a fellowship grow up about you, to have a host of friends - this is an experience you must not miss. We know you will not want to miss it. Frequent contact with newcomers and with each other is the bright spot of our lives." (page 89)
An alcoholic in his cups is an unlovely creature. Our struggles with them are variously strenuous, comic, and tragic. One poor chap committed suicide in my home. He could not, or would not, see our way of life.
"Either you are dealing with a man who can and will get well or you are not." (page 142)

One man from years ago comes to mind for me here. "Gary" was very regular in attending our group's meetings for over a year while always acknowledging the beauty of what we have here, yet he either could not or would not bring himself to taking the actions required to have it for himself. Sometimes in meetings and sometimes privately, several of us talked with him at length about that ... and I still do not know whether he was a "cannot" or a "will not". Either way, however, we never judged him as anything different than the rest of us: a person in need ... and we all did our very best to offer him our very best.
Most of us feel we need look no further for Utopia. We have it with us right here and now. Each day my friend's simple talk in our kitchen multiplies itself in a widening circle of peace on earth and good will to men.
===========================
Let there be peace on earth
and let it begin with me
Let There Be Peace on Earth
The peace that was meant to be

With God as our Father
Brothers all are we
Let me walk with my brother
In perfect harmony

Let peace begin with me
Let this be the moment now
With ev'ry step I take
Let this be my solemn vow

To take each moment and live
Each moment in peace eternally
Let there be peace on earth
and let it begin with me
===========================
=======================
"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 15-16 Bill's Story (Into Service)

Post by PaigeB » Sun Mar 18, 2012 12:28 pm

... a fellowship has grown up among us of which it is a wonderful thing to feel a part...Frequent contact with newcomers and with each other is the bright spot of our lives.
Another thing I think is a common experience, even for the newcomer who doesn't quite want to get sober. Going to a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous, where "our seeming worldliness and levity" mixed with a "deadly earnestness" is quite apparent, newcomers and old-timers alike feel the desire to be there. Sometimes they do not even know why. I have had a struggling sponsee tell me they didn't want to quit drinking but they didn't want to stop going to meetings either. Eventually, King Alcohol won the battle. I do hope however that this woman will be like me and, even 17 years down the road, remain alive to remember that the last house on the block is full of friends and understanding.
He could not, or would not, see our way of life...Either you are dealing with a man who can and will get well or you are not.
Listening to Bill's story gave me relief when I thought about sponsees that went back to drinking. At first I was ready to take on all the blame for their "slip" - until my sponsor set me straight. A perfect expression of my ego!

I got a few things from Bill's story - it takes us from hopelessness to hope and beyond. First an understanding alcoholism as a disease of the mind and body (hopelessness) and second, that this new way of living can restore us to sanity if we do the things Bill did (hope). There is the final reassurance that not everyone we help we will get or stay sober ie, progress not perfection.

(As an aside, when I think perfection - I start to fight everyone and everything = ego again).
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 15-16 Bill's Story (Into Service)

Post by Tommy-S » Sun Mar 18, 2012 6:19 pm

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Last edited by Tommy-S on Sun May 06, 2012 8:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: PP 15-16 Bill's Story (Into Service)

Post by WHO » Sat Mar 24, 2012 1:13 pm

16) Pg. 16
a) What kind of gathering? Informal gatherings
b) How are we growing? We are growing in numbers and power
c) What kind of struggles may we have with alcoholics? Our struggles with them are variously strenuous comic and tragic
d) What did happen with the alcoholic that could not or would not see our way of life? Committed suicide
e) What “has to” work twenty-four hours a day in and through us? Faith has to work
f) What happens if we don’t have the twenty-four hour faith? We perish
g) What do we have with us right here and now? Utopia
h) What multiplies itself in a widening circle encompassing? Each day my friend’s simple talk in our kitchen multiplies itself in a widening circle of peace on earth and good will to all men

PERSONAL QUESTIONS

1) Am I willing to go to informal gatherings? Yes
2) Am I when drinking, an unlovely creature? Yes
3) Were my struggles variously strenuous, comic, and tragic? Yes
4) Am I willing to have struggles with alcoholics that are strenuous, comic, and tragic? Yes
5) Do I believe that I could commit suicide if I cannot or will not see this way of life? Yes
6) Do I believe I could have a vast amount of fun about it all? Yes
7) Do I have a deadly earnestness? Yes
8) Can I make Faith Work twenty-four hours a day in and through me like it has to? Yes
9) Do I see I will perish if it doesn’t? Yes
10) Do I feel I need look no further for Utopia? Yes
11) Do I believe I can have it (Utopia) with me right here and now? Willing to believe
12) Am I willing and do I believe that I can be the starting point of a growing fellowship, a source of Utopia now for other alcoholics and myself? Yes
13) Do I believe my simple talk with my sponsor will multiply itself in a widening circle of peace on earth and good will? Yes

* We are growing in numbers and power
* …a vast amount of fun about it all.
* …we need look no further for Utopia.
* We have it with us right here and now.
* multiplies itself in a widening circle of peace on earth and good will to men.

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