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The purpose of the Big Book. What is the problem? What is the solution?

Posted: Wed Aug 12, 2020 4:25 am
by Seva
What would you define as the purpose of the Big Book. In the forward to the first it states "To show other alcoholics PRECISELY HOW WE HAVE RECOVERED is the main purpose of this book" Then in We Agnostics it states "Well that’s exactly what this book is about. It’s main objective is to enable you to find a power greater than yourself which will solve your problems. Therefore would you say:

The purpose is to show us how to recover
The problem is lack of power
The solution is to find a power greater than ourselves

Someone has also suggested to me that the problem is alcohol & if we never drank in the first place we wouldn't suffer from alcoholism. I see where he is coming from but that is a past event & at some point within our drinking we crossed a line & lost all power. After this point the spiritual malady would lead us back to drinking unless we solved the spiritual malady with a spiritual awakening from the results of working the 12 steps.

Sometimes I feel like I am going round in circles & the Big Book does appear to have a few contradictions & grey areas within it.

What are your thoughts?

Re: The purpose of the Big Book. What is the problem? What is the solution?

Posted: Wed Aug 12, 2020 10:55 am
by dralius
Seva wrote:
Wed Aug 12, 2020 4:25 am
Someone has also suggested to me that the problem is alcohol & if we never drank in the first place we wouldn't suffer from alcoholism.
Too much here to address right now. To the idea that alcohol is the problem I disagree.

If it were not alcohol it would likely be another drug, pornography, shopping or some other addictive behavior that it would manifest itself as.

Re: The purpose of the Big Book. What is the problem? What is the solution?

Posted: Wed Aug 12, 2020 12:43 pm
by Brock
Seva wrote:
Wed Aug 12, 2020 4:25 am
The purpose is to show us how to recover
The problem is lack of power
The solution is to find a power greater than ourselves
I think that is the idea in a nutshell right there.

I agree with dralius, maybe the person who said if we never drank we would not suffer from alcoholism is right, but we would suffer from many other things, and very many people in the world today do. That’s why the program is not just to stop drinking, but to enable a spiritual growth, which leads to a life far better than the ‘normal’ person might have. As the book says in how it works - “Our liquor was but a symptom. So we had to get down to causes and conditions.”
...the Big Book does appear to have a few contradictions & grey areas within it.
This is true, but we should remember it was written by amateur writer(s), who would probably change some of the wording were they given the opportunity today. But most folks in AA feel like it’s sacrilege to suggest changing any of it, we have had many a hot discussion on that topic here in the past.

Re: The purpose of the Big Book. What is the problem? What is the solution?

Posted: Wed Aug 12, 2020 4:46 pm
by D'oh
post_id=169798 wrote:
Wed Aug 12, 2020 10:55 am
Seva wrote:
Wed Aug 12, 2020 4:25 am
Someone has also suggested to me that the problem is alcohol & if we never drank in the first place we wouldn't suffer from alcoholism.
Too much here to address right now. To the idea that alcohol is the problem I disagree.

If it were not alcohol it would likely be another drug, pornography, shopping or some other addictive behavior that it would manifest itself as.
I have to agree here. "Alcohol was but a Symptom"
Though our decision was a vital and crucial step, it could have little permanent effect unless at once followed by a strenuous effort to face, and to be rid of, the things in ourselves which had been blocking us. Our liquor was but a symptom. So we had to get down to causes and conditions.

Therefore, we started upon a personal inventory. This was Step Four. A business which takes no regular inventory usually goes broke. Taking a commercial inventory is a fact-finding and a fact-facing process. It is an effort to discover the truth about the stock-in- trade. One object is to disclose damaged or unsalable goods, to get rid of them promptly and without regret. If the owner of the business is to be successful, he cannot fool himself about values.
At Meetings, the Reading of "How it Works" is cut short, It should be read right to the 3rd Step Prayer. Just to remind Us, Who we Are with Spiritual Guidance.

Re: The purpose of the Big Book. What is the problem? What is the solution?

Posted: Thu Aug 13, 2020 12:01 pm
by Aggiejim
This is a great discussion, let me add my 2 cents.

The first two words following the traditional "How it Works" are "being convinced". I've heard many old timers say if you're not convinced at this point you need to go back through steps one and two. On the other hand I've heard it many times. "if you don't believe, just believe we believe, and proceed on blind faith". My personal story is somewhere between the two.

As far as the authors of the Big Book, I can not wrap my mind around the idea that 100 alcoholics, half from the mid west and half from New York City could agree on every point. There had to be a lot a lot of give and take. Our group conscience can't get 15 alcoholics to agree to spend $27.50 on a new coffeepot.

I don't agree that the Big Book argues with itself. However, I do understand the questions and concerns.
Remember, the Big Book is not a novel, it's a text book.

Re: The purpose of the Big Book. What is the problem? What is the solution?

Posted: Sat Aug 15, 2020 8:09 am
by avaneesh912
Someone has also suggested to me that the problem is alcohol & if we never drank in the first place we wouldn't suffer from alcoholism. I see where he is coming from but that is a past event & at some point within our drinking we crossed a line & lost all power. After this point the spiritual malady would lead us back to drinking unless we solved the spiritual malady with a spiritual awakening from the results of working the 12 steps.

Sometimes I feel like I am going round in circles & the Big Book does appear to have a few contradictions & grey areas within it.
Its dangerous to come to conclusions based on someone else suggestion/opinion. Its important that if our experience matches with majority of the experiences in the big book. This morning there is an article on WSJ "I beat addiction without God". I couldn't read the whole article because it was subscription based. But I wouldn't look down upon the person who claims that. He/she probably did something to "change" they lived their life. Oh you know they did have a teaser and I believe the counselor told after his/her few meetings its either higher power or Relapse. Its mis-guided. Perhaps a counselor who worked the 12 steps could have helped the person in a different way.