11/16/08 BB Working with others pp 90-91 (find out all...)

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

11/16/08 BB Working with others pp 90-91 (find out all...)

Postby Karl R » Sun Nov 16, 2008 7:41 am

Good Morning,

It's another beautiful morning here in eastern oregon with ground fog across the pastures and the daylight beginning to poke through. A prayer for beginning.

"Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace! That where there is hatred, I may bring love. That where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness. That where there is discord, I may bring harmony. That where there is error, I may bring truth. That where there is doubt, I may bring faith. That where there is despair, I may bring hope. That where there are shadows, I may bring light. That where there is sadness, I may bring joy. Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort, than to be comforted. To understand, than to be understood. To love, than to be loved. For it is by self-forgetting that one finds. It is by forgiving that one is forgiven. It is by dying that one awakens to Eternal Life."

Friday's reading spoke of why we are called to work with others. In the sharing our own life takes on new meaning.

Today's reading (below in red) speaks of the first contact with people. It suggests "find out all you can". One of the hardest things I've had to relearn is how to be social and learn about other people through speaking with them. 26 years of drinking had left me without the ability to meet people, learn about them and have a concern for them. Going early to meetings-staying afterwards-even when my inclination is to rush in and rush out is something I work on. Taking a moment to speak to people throughout the day is something else I work on. It boils down to rejoining the world of people-less thought of me and my activities and more thought of those around me. I also always want to remember the principle of attraction-not promotion. If someone doesn't want to stop drinking, wish them a good day and good luck and move on. Don't deprive the next person.

Anyone wish to share anything from today's passage? Or anything else?

thanks everyone,
Karl

When you discover a prospect for Alcoholics Anonymous, find out all you can about him. If he does not want to stop drinking, don't waste time trying to persuade him. You may spoil a later opportunity. This advice is given for his family also. They should be patient, realizing they are dealing with a sick person.
If there is any indication that he wants to stop, have a good talk with the person most interested in him - usually his wife. Get an idea of his behavior, his problems, his background, the seriousness of his condition, and his religious leanings. You need this information to put yourself in his place, to see how you would like him to approach you if the tables were turned.
Sometimes it is wise to wait till he goes on a binge. The family may object to this, but unless he is in a dangerous physical condition, it is better to risk it. Don't deal with him when he is very drunk, unless he is ugly and the family needs your help. Wait for the end of the spree, or at least for a lucid interval. Then let his family or a friend ask him if he wants to quit for good and if he would go to any extreme to do so. If he says yes, then his attention should be drawn to you as a person who has recovered. You should be described to him as one of a fellowship who, as part of their own recovery, try to help others and who will be glad to talk to him if he cares to see you.
If he does not want to see you, never force yourself upon him. Neither should the family hysterically plead with him to do anything, nor should they tell him much about you. They should wait for the end of his next drinking bout. You might place this book where he can see it in the interval. Here no specific rule can be given. The family must decide these
things. But urge them not to be over-anxious, for that might spoil matters.
Usually the family should not try to tell your story. When possible, avoid meeting a man through his family. Approach through a doctor or an institution is a better bet. If your man needs hospitalization, he should have it, but not forcibly unless he is violent. Let the doctor, if he will, tell him he has something in the way of a solution.
When your man is better, the doctor might suggest a visit from you. Though you have talked with the family, leave them out of the first discussion. Under these conditions your prospect will see he is under no pressure. He will feel he can deal with you without being nagged by his family. Call on him while he is still jittery. He may be more receptive when depressed.
See your man alone, if possible. At first engage in general conversation. After a while, turn the talk to some phase of drinking. Tell him enough about your drinking habits, symptoms, and experiences to encourage him to speak of himself. If he wishes to talk, let him do so. You will thus get a better idea of how you ought to proceed. If he is not communicative, give him a sketch of your drinking career up to the time you quit. But say nothing, for the moment, of how that was accomplished. If he is in a serious mood dwell on the troubles liquor has caused you, being careful not to moralize or lecture. If his mood is light, tell him humorous stories of your escapades. Get him to tell some of his.
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Postby avaneesh912 » Thu Nov 20, 2008 12:15 pm

=================================================
Then let his family or a friend ask him if he wants to quit for good and if he would go to any extreme to do so. If he says yes, then his attention should be drawn to you as a person who has recovered. You should be described to him as one of a fellowship who, as part of their own recovery, try to help others and who will be glad to talk to him if he cares to see you.

=================================================

The big book back in the forward states that we could recover from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. And having recovered that hopeless state, we are to give those who are still powerless over alcohol some hope so that they could come to believe they could too.

Later it suggest that we are to be convinced that the new-comer is a real-alcoholic and then initiate the 12 step work and also to introduce the fellowship of AA.
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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Re: 11/16/08 BB Working with others pp 90-91 (find out all..

Postby leejosepho » Sat May 26, 2012 12:15 pm

When you discover a prospect for Alcoholics Anonymous, find out all you can about him. If he does not want to stop drinking, don't waste time trying to persuade him. You may spoil a later opportunity. This advice is given for his family also. They should be patient, realizing they are dealing with a sick person.

"No A.A. group or member should ever ... express any opinion ... particularly ... (such as on) alcohol reform ..." (Tradition Ten)

Specifically: "We are careful never to show intolerance or hatred of drinking as an institution. Experience shows that such an attitude is not helpful to anyone. Every new alcoholic looks for this spirit among us and is immensely relieved when he finds we are not witch-burners. A spirit of intolerance might repel alcoholics whose lives could have been saved, had it not been for such stupidity. We would not even do the cause of temperate drinking any good, for not one drinker in a thousand likes to be told anything about alcohol by one who hates it." (page 103)

"Stupidity" is quite a strong word, but we should clearly understand its use here. We are looking for people who *want* to stop drinking and need our help in order to recover ... and that is all. Other than that, we have nothing whatsoever to say about alcohol or anyone's drinking or even whether or not anyone anywhere should ever even drink at all.

If there is any indication that (a prospect for Alcoholics Anonymous) wants to stop, have a good talk with the person most interested in him ... an idea of his behavior, his problems, his background, the seriousness of his condition, and his religious leanings ...

1) foreknowledge of his or her behavior ...
2) foreknowledge of his or her problems ...
3) foreknowledge of his or her background ...
4) foreknowledge of the seriousness of his or her condition ...
5) foreknowledge of his or her religious leanings (including atheism, agnosticism or whatever else) ...
You need this information to put yourself in his (or her) place, to see how you would like him (or her) to approach you if the tables were turned.

Do we see the tremendous difference between being well-prepared to approach a fellow alcoholic as we would like to be approached ourselves rather than merely preparing a cut-and-dried speech of whatever kind (typically moral or philosophical) to foolishly try to motivate a powerless individual to stop drinking?

"That the man who is making the approach has had the same difficulty, that he obviously knows what he is talking about (the living experience of chronic alcoholism), that his whole deportment shouts at the new prospect that he is a man with a real answer (permanent recovery), that he has no attitude of Holier Than Thou (no moralizing about drinking and/or abstinence), nothing whatever except the sincere desire to be helpful (where virtually no one else can); that there are no fees to pay, no axes to grind, no people to please, no lectures to be endured ..." (page 18)

We could spend hours discussing all of that!

Sometimes it is wise to wait till he goes on a binge. The family may object to this, but unless he is in a dangerous physical condition, it is better to risk it.

In the earliest days of A.A., Bill and Bob would have an intoxicated "A.A. prospect" placed in a private room because everyone there already knew that is what doctors typically did whenever a patient of any kind was expected to soon die. So, and unless absolutely necessary, the deal here is for us to try to never interrupt the suffering we alcoholics need to drive us toward the willingness we need in order to recover.

Don't deal with him when he is very drunk, unless he is ugly and the family needs your help.

One situation comes to mind where getting involved gave the family a little hope that we A.A.s truly do understand the alcoholic and can deal with others like ourselves without being distracted by emotions or his or her antics.

Wait for the end of the spree, or at least for a lucid interval. Then let his family or a friend ask him if he wants to quit for good and if he would go to any extreme to do so.

The overall goal here is to be sure we do our best to only ever be the people with the solution, and ...

If he says yes, then his attention should be drawn to you as a person who has recovered ... one of a fellowship who, as part of their own recovery, try to help others and who will be glad to talk to him if he cares to see you.

"We have recovered, and have been given the power to help others." (page 132)

There are many things going on within that kind of dynamic, and the most-important might seem to be that we never push or prod anyone into anything against his or her own will:
If he does not want to see you, never force yourself upon him. Neither should the family hysterically plead with him to do anything, nor should they tell him much about you. They should wait for the end of his next drinking bout. You might place this book where he can see it in the interval. Here no specific rule can be given. The family must decide these things. But urge them not to be over-anxious, for that might spoil matters.

Usually the family should not try to tell your story.

Again, we should simply be introduced as someone who has recovered and who tries try to help others and will be glad to talk if he or she cares to see us:
... your prospect will see he is under no pressure. He will feel he can deal with you without being nagged ...

See your man alone, if possible. At first engage in general conversation. After a while, turn the talk to some phase of drinking. Tell him enough about your drinking habits, symptoms, and experiences to encourage him to speak of himself. If he wishes to talk, let him do so. You will thus get a better idea of how you ought to proceed.

The question we need to try to answer in each-and-every case is always the same: "How would I want to be approached if I were in his or her place?"

Until we learn to do that, the best we can do is to just make another speech the alcoholic will most-likely never hear.

If he is not communicative, give him a sketch of your drinking career up to the time you quit. But say nothing, for the moment, of how that was accomplished.

There is simply no need to mention Step Two until we see one of our fellows actually willing to take Step One.

If he is in a serious mood dwell on the troubles liquor has caused you, being careful not to moralize or lecture. If his mood is light, tell him humorous stories of your escapades. Get him to tell some of his.

Again: "How would I want to be approached if I were in his or her place?"

Some of the stuff I hear some people call "12th-Step Work" -- typically a list of questions prepared ahead of time for drilling-and-grilling the recovery prospect -- truly makes me grieve for the still-suffering alcoholic.
=======================
"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: 11/16/08 BB Working with others pp 90-91 (find out all..

Postby PaigeB » Sat May 26, 2012 1:00 pm

Joe said:
Some of the stuff I hear some people call "12th-Step Work" -- typically a list of questions prepared ahead of time for drilling-and-grilling the recovery prospect -- truly makes me grieve for the still-suffering alcoholic.


Even so, I feel this detailed, step by step/what if dissertation on exactly how to approach the still suffering is a bit calculated. At points in the reading is does say to use your ES&H... to approach in a manner appropriate to how you would wish to be approached.

Don't deal with him when he is very drunk, unless he is ugly and the family needs your help.


Joe said: One situation comes to mind where getting involved gave the family a little hope that we A.A.s truly do understand the alcoholic and can deal with others like ourselves without being distracted by emotions or his or her antics.


I have called on AA to assist with a family member whose antics were very distracting. Now, this family member did not stay sober, but had about 4 months of sober living in AA before they returned to their old ways of coping. I have no doubt that my family member knows AA now. And the people who did the 12 Step call are still sober.
If I'm not able to say how I'm working my program today, then I'm not working my program.
The e-AA Group's 7th Tradition link: www.e-aa.org/group_seventh.php
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Re: 11/16/08 BB Working with others pp 90-91 (find out all..

Postby leejosepho » Sat May 26, 2012 1:45 pm

PaigeB wrote:
Joe said:
Some of the stuff I hear some people call "12th-Step Work" -- typically a list of questions prepared ahead of time for drilling-and-grilling the recovery prospect -- truly makes me grieve for the still-suffering alcoholic.

Even so, I feel this detailed, step by step/what if dissertation on exactly how to approach the still suffering is a bit calculated.

Definitely, and for good reason!

PaigeB wrote:At points in the reading is does say to use your ES&H... to approach in a manner appropriate to how you would wish to be approached.

Exactly, and there is where the idea of "Give it away the way you got it" can lead to alleged justification of drilling-and-grilling others with questions even though we never would have wanted that for ourselves.
=======================
"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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