How many times did Bill Wilson do the steps?

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adiel
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How many times did Bill Wilson do the steps?

Post by adiel »

I heard in the past multiple times that Bill Wilson only did the steps once, and believed that you only had to do them once, not over and over.

Then tonight at a meeting, a woman shared that Bill did the steps many many times, each time with a different sponsor. That he liked to do the steps with whomever had recovered from the particular character defect he happened to be dealing with at the time.

Does anyone have any information about this?

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Brock
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Re: How many times did Bill Wilson do the steps?

Post by Brock »

Welcome here and thanks for the topic.

We have discussed this in the past, but I believe this is the first time it has been bought up with someone actually saying that Bill also did this.

As you know alcoholics like to try to justify things they do, it’s a common fault of mine and many I have heard speak in meetings or post here, and I feel this lady is just saying that Bill did this to justify her doing it, while it seems jumping from sponsor to sponsor. It’s the first time I have heard of Bill doing this and can’t find any evidence to support it, in fact when we have discussed it in the past, some writers quoted from the big book words that said something like after the steps our work was consummated, which is Bills fancy word for finished. The book says we continue to do them in day to day living just in our head, like this part - “...continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear. When these crop up, we ask God at once to remove them. We discuss them with someone immediately and make amends quickly if we have harmed anyone. Then we resolutely turn our thoughts to someone we can help.” That contains all the steps, but is certainly not doing them over as this lady would have us believe.

This subject gets me upset, and I am trying to hold back on going off on a rant, we have folks here who also speak about doing the steps over, and in my opinion you can do what you want, do them a thousand times. But you have no right to try to justify it by saying it’s in the literature, or that Bill did it that way. And you have absolutely no right to put off a nervous newcomer, who may be looking at the steps and thinking as we all did that it’s going to be difficult, then just when he gets the guts up to try his best to do them, some idiot comes along and says we have to do it over and over.

I hope there were no newcomers at the meeting who were put off by this lady's nonsense, and wish those who believe in doing it over and over would think back to when they were nervous newcomers, it says “at some of these we balked,” and the last thing we wanted to hear was that we would be doing it more than once.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."

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Brock
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Re: How many times did Bill Wilson do the steps?

Post by Brock »

Sorry to double dip on this, but I found more information in the big book which I believe points to doing the steps once, since Bill wrote this I expect he agreed with it.When a newcomer is reading the book and comes to the section ‘There Is A Solution,” he probably like me thinks great let me see this solution, on page 25 he reads this -
Almost none of us liked the self-searching, the leveling of our pride, the confession of shortcomings which the process requires for its successful consummation.
Not sure of the meaning of consummation he might look it up, he finds words like these - “The point at which something is complete or finalized.” He said the process is complete, certainly as far as the confession of shortcomings and leveling of pride, that’s mainly steps 4 & 5 done, complete, amen. Then on page 45 “Here are the steps we took…” yes we took the steps not keep taking them, then on page 60, “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps” As a result of the steps we took, now we have had a spiritual awakening, we had it now we enlarge on it as in step 11, if he felt we should go back and do it over and over he would have said so!
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."

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avaneesh912
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Re: How many times did Bill Wilson do the steps?

Post by avaneesh912 »

Not sure about it. But i have heard Bill was depressed at various point of his life. Even in "Bill Story" he talks about being depressed and going back to the hospital and having a word with a drunk would brighten up his spirit. And have heard about working with a priest who acted as a spiritual master later phase of his journey. Also heard of some glaring character defects where the newcomers especially women had to be protected from him.

In the inventory he talks about its just a beginning and as part of 10th step he talks about "We commenced this way of living" and its a life long task. So lot of pointers. I wouldn't get hung up on who did what, do what is working for you.
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)

adiel
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Re: How many times did Bill Wilson do the steps?

Post by adiel »

This post wasn't asking which was preferable, or 'right,' but which was true in fact. I wasn't looking to start a debate.

I believe that people can do what they feel is right after consulting their heart and their HP, and their sponsor. This is how our program works. I respect a person's decision to do their steps once or multiple times. I respect a person's decision to have multiple sponsors. I am not God and don't know what's best for others.

The question is: How's it working for you? Are you at peace in your emotional nature? Are you of REAL help to others (creating good in the world, or chaos)? Are you suffering and prey to depression or misery, or are you generally at peace? Are your personal relationships successful? Can you show up in the world as the person God would have you be?

If you can answer yes, then whatever you're doing -- KEEP DOING IT!! And if you can't answer yes, then maybe ask God to help you have an open mind so you can have a new experience. And maybe that might be a new experience with the steps, or a new sponsor. Or maybe that's deepening your spirituality, or going back to school. Or seeing a therapist. You know, we are all allowed to fail and make mistakes in this program. Just like Bill.

Now, if anyone actually knows the truth about whether Bill did his steps once, or multiple times, I would be grateful for the answer! xoxo

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Brock
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Re: How many times did Bill Wilson do the steps?

Post by Brock »

Perhaps you should have asked the lady who said he did them multiple times. And I realized you weren’t trying to start a debate, but as you asked ...”Are you of REAL help to others (creating good in the world, or chaos)?

I am afraid there are some like myself that find it difficult to keep our mouths shut in a situation like this, to live and let live, when we nearly lost our lives turning away from AA due to members saying things which put us off. If you don’t agree that that lady saying in front of newcomers, that the steps are to be done over and over would scare some off, fair enough. But I prefer to at least speak out about it here, so newcomers reading it might know what the book says, and if I was in that meeting I would have told the lady the same thing.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."

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PaigeB
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Re: How many times did Bill Wilson do the steps?

Post by PaigeB »

adiel wrote:
Fri Jul 10, 2020 9:40 pm
I heard in the past multiple times that Bill Wilson only did the steps once, and believed that you only had to do them once, not over and over.

Then tonight at a meeting, a woman shared that Bill did the steps many many times, each time with a different sponsor. That he liked to do the steps with whomever had recovered from the particular character defect he happened to be dealing with at the time.

Does anyone have any information about this?
I was part of a sponsorship line that had traced it's roots back to Clancey. This line only did the Steps once and every deep dive after that was a 10th Step endeavor.

Now I am part of a line that does them as many times as they want even holding a large retreat for the line where they do all 12 in a 3 day weekend.

I have heard if you do them once and then take another person through them, you are actually going through all 12 again that way too!

Also that if there is a certain issue, you can apply the Steps to that!

I'm not sure that it matters. Do what's in your hands right now and try to imagine what you HP would have you do.

**EDIT I hadn't read you last post about which was the truth. THAT I do not know. Maybe in is in the historical book called AA Comes of Age?
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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Spirit Flower
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Re: How many times did Bill Wilson do the steps?

Post by Spirit Flower »

Maybe there is confusion between Bill doing the steps vs helping others do the steps; and your friend thinks that helping others counted a doing the steps.
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D'oh
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Re: How many times did Bill Wilson do the steps?

Post by D'oh »

Spirit Flower wrote:
Sun Jul 12, 2020 2:18 pm
Maybe there is confusion between Bill doing the steps vs helping others do the steps; and your friend thinks that helping others counted a doing the steps.
A Great Point, I know I learn something every Commitment Group that I have been in. Either as a Chair/Co Chair person, or just a Member.

What ever number of Time Bill, went through the Steps. what does it matter to My Sobriety?

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Re: How many times did Bill Wilson do the steps?

Post by Aggiejim »

This whole discussion reminds me of the question "How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?" What difference does it make if you take action as part of another trip trough the steps (2nd 3rd or 415th time) or take the action as a result of something you identified in step 10 or 11. Tomayto/Tomahto.

tomsteve
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Re: How many times did Bill Wilson do the steps?

Post by tomsteve »

Spirit Flower wrote:
Sun Jul 12, 2020 2:18 pm
Maybe there is confusion between Bill doing the steps vs helping others do the steps; and your friend thinks that helping others counted a doing the steps.
or maybe confusing practicing steps 10-12 daily as going through the steps.

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