12/5/08 BB The family Afterwards pp 122-123 (The actor)

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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12/5/08 BB The family Afterwards pp 122-123 (The actor)

Post by Karl R »

Good Morning,

"God, I offer myself to Thee--to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life.

May I do Thy will always!"

Yesterday's reading finished the chapter "To Wives" with a conversation about the husband who slips.

Today's reading (below in red) begins the chapter "The family afterwards" As I read the first two pages I was reminded of the story from p. 61 of "The actor" who tries to control the entire show. All in the family have things that we want to get out of our family or friendships. Part of the change that comes into our lives is to live for the giving rather then the getting. I find that when I am in giving mode rather then getting mode, indeed, discord and unhappiness lessen. It is still a work of patience, and the daily practice of 10, 11, and 12 to stay in giving mode. Patience over time seem to be part of the key also.

Anyone care to share of their ES and H concerning learning giving as opposed to getting from family and friends? Reciprocity?

Or...concerning the authorship, point of view, etc. of this chapter "The family afterwards"

have a great Friday,

Chapter 9


Our women folk have suggested certain attitudes a wife may take with the husband who is recovering. Perhaps they created the impression that he is to be wrapped in cotton wool and placed on a pedestal. Successful readjustment means the opposite. All members of the family should meet upon the common ground of tolerance, understanding and love. This involves a process of deflation. The alcoholic, his wife, his children, his "in-laws," each one is likely to have fixed ideas about the family's attitude towards himself or herself. Each is interested in having his or her wishes respected. We find the more one member of the family demands that the others concede to him, the more resentful they become. This makes for discord and unhappiness.
And why? Is it not because each wants to play the lead? Is not each trying to arrange the family show to his liking? Is he not unconsciously trying to see what he can take from the family life rather than give?
Cessation of drinking is but the first step away from a highly strained, abnormal condition. A doctor said to us," Years of living with an alcoholic is almost sure to make any wife or child neurotic. The entire family is, to some extent, ill." Let families realize, as they start their journey, that all will not be fair weather. Each in his turn may be footsore and may straggle.
There will be alluring shortcuts and by-paths down which they may wander and lose their way.
Suppose we tell you some of the obstacles a family will meet; suppose we suggest how they may be avoided - even converted to good use for others. The family of an alcoholic longs for the return of happiness and security. They remember when father was romantic, thoughtful and successful. Today's life is measured against that of other years and, when it falls short, the family may be unhappy.
Family confidence in dad is rising high. The good old days will soon be back, they think. Sometimes they demand that dad bring them back instantly! God, they believe, almost owes this recompense on a long overdue account. But the head of the house has spent years in pulling down the structures of business, romance, friendship, health - these things are now ruined or damaged. It will take time to clear away the wreck. Though old buildings will eventually be replaced by finer ones, the new structures will take years to complete.
Father knows he is to blame; it may take him many seasons of hard work to be restored financially, but he shouldn't be reproached. Perhaps he will never have much money again. But the wise family will admire him for what he is trying to be, rather than for what he is trying to get.
Last edited by Karl R on Sun Dec 07, 2008 10:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by avaneesh912 »

Earlier in my sobriety, i used to be pissed off when I was assigned dish-washing, garbage disposal chores..... After working the program, understanding the 3rd step proposition, I do every thing out of love. That is one of the attitude change I sensed immediately.
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)
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Post by Oliver »

This business of the actor crops up quite frequently, doesn't it :)

In my own life, trying to control everything has been a cause of great distress. When I took Step 3, I handed my will and my life over to God. Since then, there have been times when I've (sometimes sub-consciously) tried to claw it back. It's almost as if, now that God is doing for me what I couldn't do for myself, and my life has got considerably better, I want a refund and want to try and run my life again, even though I know the outcome will be the pitiful and incomprehensible demoralisation that I left behind. For me Step 3, and Step 7, were unconditional acts - I handed everything over without holding back. When I got up off my knees from taking Step 3, my sponsor said to me "Right, that's it! Your life is nothing to do with you anymore..."

For me it very often comes down to trust. It's not enough to just believe that God exists, I have to trust him. So far, trusting God hasn't failed me.

Another thing spoke to me in today's reading:- It will take time to clear away the wreck. Though old buildings will eventually be replaced by finer ones, the new structures will take years to complete. This reminded me of the end of the promises:- "Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us - sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them." (p84).
"In exchange for bottle and hangover, I have been given the keys to the kingdom."
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Post by Sparky »

AA Big Book
page 122

The Family Afterwards

"Years of living with an alcoholic is almost sure to make any wife and child neurotic. The entire family is, to some extent, ill."

I am so glad someone pointed this out to me and the 1958, Bill W. Grapevine article, The Next Frontier, Emotional Sobriety.

The Soul of Sponsorship
by Robert Fitzgerald, S.J

In two letters written in 1956, Bill suggests a
means for the application of psychotherapy to AA principles.

"It may be that someday we shall devise some common denominator of
psychiatry...which neurotics could use on each other. The idea would be
to extend the moral inventory of AA to a deeper level, making it an
inventory of psychic damages...I suppose someday a Neurotics Anonymous will be formed and will actually do all this."

In the second letter Bill suggests:

"an inventory of psychic damages, actual episodes: inferiority, shame,
guilt, anger and relive (them) in our minds to reduce them."

Learning about Bill W's depression has helped me to understand my own depression.

A Letter From Bill W. on Depression

The following excerpts from a letter of Bill W.'s was quoted in the memoirs of Tom P., and early California AA member. Tom did not use the name of the person addressed—perhaps because he was still living.

I kept asking myself, "Why can't the Twelve Steps work to release depression?" By the hour, I stared at the St. Francis prayer ... "It is better to comfort than to be comforted." Here was the formula, all right, but why didn't it work?

I actually thought some of the oldtimers were keeping secrets about Bill and AA. Happy, Joyous and Free? He was a very depressed man for decades in AA recovery.

As I read The Bill W. Story and learned about Bill's parents and his treatment as a child I could understand why my depressions were bad too.

As I read 'Pass It On' and learned more about Bill W. and his depressions I could relate. I always got the feeling around the rooms that I was one of those "such unfortunates"

I am so glad I decided to read more than just the first 164 pages of the Big Book. My program of recovery has benefitted greatly.

Today my depression still exists. I did at one time take medications for my deprerssion but I do not take medications for it today. I use my pain as a tool to motivate me to reach out to others, learning to ask for help and give it when I can. Learning to be human. I am dealing with life on lifes terms One Day At A Time.

I have been abused by many in recovery preaching Happy, Joyous and Free and often being told to "make a gratitude" list when I am sad."white nuckler"

Today I can feel "all" my feelings and stay sober for just this one day. The harder I cry the more I eventually can laugh!

I can't/We can
A man does not die from what he eats or drinks, a man dies from what he thinks.
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Re: 12/5/08 BB The family Afterwards pp 122-123 (The actor)

Post by leejosepho »

Karl R wrote:...to live for the giving rather than the getting...

...learning giving as opposed to getting...
...fixed ideas about the family's attitude toward himself or herself...

...wants to play the lead...each trying to arrange the family show to his liking...what he can take from the family life...

...admire him for what he is trying to be...
There is nothing wrong either with coveting (wanting) admiration or giving it, but it seems we "producers of confusion rather than harmony" (actors, page 61) had often been hoping for admiration without having first become admirable admirals. I used to stand at the docks and bewail the fact that my ships were not coming in...then someone asked whether I had ever sent any out.

Today I am not aware of anyone anywhere who actually admires me, and admiration of others still largely eludes me. But with giving being the guiding principle (page 128), I stand my watches at the family wheel as our small fleet sails on and I do my best to watch the weather ahead so I can try to help make the journey as comfortable as possible for us all...and maybe I have just learned something here while looking back over this post:

...admire the others for what they are trying to be...

Any experience, thoughts or tips from anyone?
"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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