Friday, August 22, 2014

Working the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous



Working the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous



My AA website  Recovery Chat room



CLICK ON NUMBERS TO DO THE STEPS:-- 2 -- 3 -- 4 -- 5 -- 6 -- 7 -- 8 -- 9 -- 10 -- 11-- 12--
step 4 worksheets

BBSS groups "spun off" and follow the effective, Big Book Step Study format.

The 1939 first edition AA Big Book was followed by
The 1953 AA book "Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions."
The 12x2 did not repeat vital Big Book directions, but "broadened and deepened the understanding" of those basic directions of "precisely how we recovered."
With this March 2004 update, my experience affirms ever stronger that the 12x12 added a life sustaining essential, "Assets", in step 4. Clear recognition of Assets, that is, positive conditions, maintains emotional balance. The 12x12  states that flaws-only inquiry may cause "wallowing in a messy bog." Some persons wallowed, then drank. Some died. (12x12  step4).
The 12x12  also adds "redoubling our efforts" when listing amends. This includes harms done to persons who did not fit Big Book 4th step categories of resentments, fears and sex episodes.
I suggest studying each step from both books side by side.
While passing on the 12 step program, details presented here were developed from the Big Book, the 12x12 , other AA literature and "other helpful books" as encouraged by AA's founders.

Step details and examples: -- 2 -- 3 -- 4 -- 5 -- 6 -- 7 -- 8 -- 9 -- 10 -- 11-- 12 -

Step 1

"We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable."
The preceeding "short form" of step one appears simple. Gut level permanence of sobriety, however, "develops slowly over a period of time" as the 12 steps treat underlying causes of compulsion to drink, while retraining us for "contented useful" lives.
Five "One Day At a Time" suggestions were passed down by my sponsor.
---- make a statement that I will not drink for one day; ---- attend at least one AA meeting; ---- talk to another alcoholic of sponsor level sobriety. ---- read AA literature. I read the Big Book Step 11 page 86 about "Upon Awakening......to end of chapter" each day, for several years.
Today, December 2001, my morning prayer includes ---- thanks for yesterday's sobriety, --- Please help me stay away from a drink or drug.--- the p86 statement, "Before we begin, we ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be - divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives."I make a statement of thanks before retiring at night and contemplate upon page 86 top paragraph which begins with "On retiring........"

to Steps: -- 2 -- 3 -- 4 -- 5 -- 6 -- 7 -- 8 -- 9 -- 10 -- 11-- 12- -

Step2

"Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity".
About ten years ago I spotted action sentences from the 12x12  about step 2.
"Just resign from the debating society and quit bothering yourself with such deep questions as whether it was the hen or the egg that came first." (about what God and sanity are.)
"The fact is that we had not cleaned house so the Grace of God could enter."
The word sponsor is used about 12 times in 12X12 step 2 . The Big Book, (Alcoholics Anonymous), tells that helper to "walk day by day in the path of spiritual progress" with the new person. Instead of discussing God and insanity in discussion meetings, sane action suggests brief remarks about our use of action tools. "Keep it effectively brief."
Two minutes max in discussion meetings demonstrates sane effective recovery.
Fifteen minutes max in a speaker meeting was suggested by AA's co-founder Bill Wilson.
The Big Book suggests a structured three part story: "What it was like, What happened, and What it is like now."

Steps:-- 2 -- 3 -- 4 -- 5 -- 6 -- 7 -- 8 -- 9 -- 10 -- 11-- 12--

Step3

"Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him."
I don't dwell upon God to a newcomer. Even Atheists can transform their lives with tangible 12 step action to restore rational thinking processes and treat grosser handicaps.
From the 12X12 Step 3 - How to do it,
"We made a beginning by coming to AA."At first this higher power is likely to be our closest AA friend, our sponsor, who points out that coming to meetings is a good beginning but a far cry from a contented useful life. That is just where the remaining steps come in."
From the Big Book Step 4 p64
"Though our decision was 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."
While improving mentally and physically, then, Step 11 suggests improving understanding of whatever external power(s) we choose.

Steps:-- 2 -- 3 -- 4 -- 5 -- 6 -- 7 -- 8 -- 9 -- 10 -- 11-- 12--



Step 4



"Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of 

                     ourselves"M
M
Has 6 parts in this version - The Big Book includes 4 parts. The 12X12 added thoroughness in Step 8 and assets in step 4. Our Life's Names- Resentments - Turnarounds - Fears - Sex - Asset's 5 subject, spiral bound, full size, college ruled binder is most popular in our area for the 4th step writing.
Part One - "Our Life's Names" is a master index which I added in response to a 12X12 step 8 sentence about an amends list.
"To a degree, he has already done this (list) when taking moral inventory, but now the time has come when he ought to redouble his efforts to see how many people he has hurt, and in what ways."
Because both the 12X12 and the Big Book state that the step 8 list begins with step 4, thoroughness is enhanced with this extra measure from the start. (for approx 10 years, this has been well received)
On 3 columns, front and back, of the first 10 pages of our notebook, list names of persons, institutions or principles as they enter our mind. Not necessarily resentments, this unclutters minds and enhances emotional balance for a hundred or more friends during eight years of use.
OUR LIFE'S NAMES - some may eventually qualify for resentment and/or amends work. An R pg _ _ and/or A pg _ _, can be added later for quick finding of that work.
Wife Mary -- R pg11, A1


Judge Wapner -- R pg12


Marriage -- R pg12
Add names whenever

Son Jim -- R pg13
they come to mind.

GMAC -- R pg14 A1
They may not be perceived as

Gas Attendant Joe
resentments or amends

Janice R pg15 A2
Not at this time.

Part Two ; "List of Resentments" a.k.a "Grudge List." from BBp65
From Big Book page 65 on the back of sheet 10 in our notebook, we write headings on the top. Also use section 2 for this. It is not unusual to need another notebook for the resentments -- turnaround process.
Example of listing a resentment (grudge).
I'm resentful at:

The cause:

Affects my:

Mergantha
She's a meanie!
Self Esteem

She got restraining order
Emotional security

She let me spend all our money
Material Security


Ambitions


Personal relations


Sex relations(Note, in the 12x12 , Bill W divided security (BBp65) into Material and Emotional.)
Every Big Book step 4 sentence offers guidance on thinking and acting to overcome the repetition and suffering of resentments. The 4th step prayer paragraph is thought by my friends as particularly effective each time we ponder a newly processed resentment. Big Book page 66 :
This was our course: We realized that the people who wronged us were perhaps spiritually sick. Though we did not like their symptoms and the way these disturbed us, they, like ourselves, were sick too. We asked God to help us show them the same tolerance, pity, and patience that we would cheerfully grant a sick friend. When a person offended we said to ourselves, This is a sick man. How can I be helpful to him? God save me from being angry. Thy will be done. We avoid retaliation or argument.
So far, we have described the resentment.
We frequently contemplate the 4th step prayer.
Next is a structured analysis of the description.
We learn how to perceive and retrain defects in thinking and acting that contributed to the episode.
Called the "Turnarounds" in our East Coast Big Book Step Study groups founded on Cape Cod, the 4 Big Book basic flaws are: Selfish; Dishonest; Self Seeking; Frightened? (BBp67).
The 12x12  added specific manifestations of the BB four.
These are the seven cardinal sins. Note (again) - the 12x12  does not repeat but adds to the AA Big Book.
The 12x12  forward stresses this important point.
The two books are not either/or, but are both-together for the entire AA 12 step process.
In the Turnarounds, we contemplate and write a short phrase about each "Affects my:" that applied in previous description of the resentment. Thoroughness with Turnarounds clearly exposes our flawed thinking and acting.
How to act effectively from now forward relates to 12x12  instructions in step five. "We must be willing to accept guidance and advice." I also try to teach how to research solutions for problems that triggered our past drinking.
As 4th and 5th steppers learn how to research "sane ideals" and to spot "flaws which block us", gradually they become freed of underlying causes of addictions and undesired types of dependence. Next is an example of a "Turnaround" - a name created by the Hyannis BBSS groups for the analysis of each "Affects my" from the resentment description. From the BB p67, Where had we been.....
Turnarounds
Selfish: (our Thinking): I wanted her to act the way I wanted her to act // I wanted her to think I was the greatest// I wanted her to depend on me // I wanted her to work more // wanted her to be a willing partner// I wanted sex only when I wanted it//I wanted............

These statements of selfishness describe our personal thoughts for each "Affects my:" from the left page. We don't put the action on the thought here. We describe the action under Self Seeking.
Dishonest: (Analysis): Illegal to hit her // Was copping out by drinking //Irrational to think I can not be happy if she leaves me // I did not have effective communication skills. // Irrational to think that it was her fault // Not realistic to think I can sleep around without arousing suspicion //..........
Consider all else written on this page as we list:
Conflicts with the law and religious principles of choice.
Indiscreet actions, Self delusion, Irrational thinking, Rationalization, Lack of skills -- particularly communication.
Self Seeking: (action or omission of action)(emotions = feelings in action!): I drank that night // I hit her //I slept with Suzy Q // Now I am sober // I'm putting into action my decision to work the 12 steps // I don't cheat on my beloved bimbo // I take care of the kids first after my sobriety // I treat my wife as if she is a sick Alanon-- (page 452, BB) //
The action or omission of appropriate action. Did we drink, etc, over this resentment?
What would a recovered person do today in a similar event? We probably don't accurately know up to this phase of recovery.
We become willing to accept advice and guidance from others who have surmounted similar difficulties.
Frightened: (Feelings): Fear she won't keep me // Fear I may need to find have another place to live // Fear I will flip out // Fear I will drink // Fear I'll never a healthy relation // Fear I won't get along with people ever // Fear I won't feel sexually full filled //Fear of................//Fear that...........
"We ask God to remove the fear that... (Fear Prayer - AA Big Book p67)
........plug in the specific fears one at a time here.............
and direct my attention to what you would have me be."
"At once we commence to outgrow fear ! "
"FEARS" from BBp67 -- write in notebook section 3
What specifically, were we afraid of ?
As we write the Fears in the preceding section, AA's Big Book suggests the "Fear Prayer" BB p 68.
In the 3rd section of our notebook, we set aside 2 pages to list the general natures of recurring fears from the previous sections. We add known fears which did not relate to resentments.
After the 2 pages above in section 3, we answer BBp68 questions for each fear on one page each.
Fear of people's opinions

Why did we have them? e.g. People criticized me // I felt I was ugly //
When, where and how did the general nature of this recurring fear begin? As a kid, I got bored and noisy // My father then beat me // .....
Wasn't it because self reliance failed us? Yes, I see now that I did not know how to be think and act //I did not know that strong persons utilize affirmation and wisdom of others who are effective.
This fear was irrational due to my lack of understanding.

-Sex Inventory
Part four t; "Now about sex." from BBp68 - write in Notebook section 4
In section 4 of our 5 section notebook , some of us answer questions on Big Book page 68-70 3rd ed and the 12x12  page 119 for each episode.
Suzy Q
Where had we been selfish, dishonest, or inconsiderate? I only saw her after drinking with my friends // I told her I was working late // I did not call //...........
Whom had we hurt? I caused her and her parents much anguish //............
Did we unjustifiably arouse jealousy, suspicion or bitterness? Yes, I would not recognize my alcoholism //I was short tempered // ..............
We got this all down on paper and looked at it.
Where were we at fault, what should we have done instead? I should have called her // I should have left her //...................
We subjected each relation to this test -was it selfish or not? Yep // I only used her for a feel-real-good rush // ..................
Was compatibility at spiritual, emotional and mental levels a fact and not wishful thinking? I am a mental health client with meds, she is not . // I am hyperactive, she is calm //..............
I have just begun step 4, she has been through the steps at least once and helps others do the steps - hmm?
update 3/21/03 - An AA emailed his concern that I ignored part of the 4th step. The following quote from the Big Book includes prayers and directions how to think and act about sex.
"In this way (above writing) we tried to shape a sane and sound ideal for our future sex life. - We subjected each relation to this test -was it selfish or not? - We asked God to mould our ideals and help us to live up to them. - We remembered always that our sex powers were God-given and therefore good, neither to be used lightly or selfishly nor to be despised and loathed.
Whatever our ideal turns out to be, we must be willing to grow toward it.
-We must be willing to make amends where we have done harm, provided that we do not bring about still more harm in so doing. In other words, we treat sex as we would any other problem. - In meditation, we ask God what we should do about each specific matter. The right answer will come, if we want it.
God alone can judge our sex situation. Counsel with persons is often desirable, but we let God be the final judge. We realize that some people are as fanatical about sex as others are loose. We avoid hysterical thinking or advice.
Suppose we fall short of the chosen ideal and stumble? Does this mean we are going to get drunk. Some people tell us so. But this is only a half-truth. It depends on us and on our motives. If we are sorry for what we have done, and have the honest desire to let God take us to better things, we believe we will be forgiven and will have learned our lesson. If we are not sorry, and our conduct continues to harm others, we are quite sure to drink. We are not theorizing. These are facts out of our experience.
To sum up about sex: We earnestly pray for the right ideal, for guidance in each questionable situation, for sanity, and for the strength to do the right thing. If sex is very troublesome, we throw ourselves the harder into helping others. We think of their needs and work for them. This takes us out of ourselves. It quiets the imperious urge, when to yield would mean heartache."
"ASSETS (12x12  p46), and other status."
NOTE - March 14, 2003 - This updatable assessment of our condition is similar to the various inventories described in the 12x12  Step 10.

Recovery_Main_Page ,Print Format Step4

-OurLife'sNames - Resentments - Fears - Sex - Assets.


Steps -- 2 -- 3 -- 4 -- 5 -- 6 -- 7 -- 8 -- 9 -- 10 -- 11-- 12-- - step 4 worksheets

Step 5

"Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another 

human being the exact nature of our wrongs"

- Dec 2001 - From AA's Big Book " We must be entirely honest with somebody if we expect to live long or happily in this world." to BB Step 5.
Since discussing my first 4th step with a Psychologist -- (one Big Book option for a 5th step helper), my perception of the 5th step has widened. Grasping the "Exact nature of wrongs" is much more than unloading moral defects. Flawed and omitted actions written in the 4th step under Self Seeking trigger the Big Book question, "What should we have done instead?"
I can not over emphasize the value of every sentence about step five in both the book Alcoholics Anonymous, (Big Book) and it's broadening and deepening, The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, (12x12 ). Several excerpts from the 12x12  suggest a widened scope of effective 5th stepping additional to the Big Book's "precise" clearest directions.
"The benefit of talking to another person is that we can get his direct comment and counsel on our situation, and there can be no doubt in our minds what that advice is."
"Only by discussing ourselves, holding back nothing, only by being willing to take advice and accept direction could we set foot on the road to straight thinking, solid honesty, and genuine humility."
-Added February 25, 2002 For my first 5th step, I literally followed a Big Book option from the sentences,
"If we cannot or would rather not do this, we search our acquaintance for a close-mouthed, understanding friend. Perhaps our doctor or psychologist will be the person. It may be one of our own family, but we cannot disclose anything to our wives or our parents which will hurt them and make them unhappy."
Looking back, I am grateful for that decision for myself. I sought a new psychologist for me for that task. First visit, I gave him a Big Book in order that he could read about steps 4 and 5.
The next five visits, we read my notebooks, one resentment at a time down through the "Referring to our list again............" analysis, then fears that had not revealed during the resentment part, then the sex episodes with answers to questions on pages 68 through 70 (BB 3rd ed).
What that psychologist did, I now regard essential to my condition today.
He discussed each episode. Psychologists and the next medical level up - Psychiatrists, in my experience, have had enough additional education and scope of experience to thoroughly listen and develop direction about all aspects of lives of most prospects.
Certified Counsellors of my knowledge, who have less required years of training, may specialize in areas such as family counselling. They may not be as adequately trained for all things they hear from a thorough 4th step. Usually, they are competent to know when to refer certain tweaks elsewhere.
Therapists, a rung further down the ladder of training, may not in my state, be certified at all. These should be chosen carefully, perhaps with the advice and blessing of a higher level professional - doctor, psychologist or psychiatrist.
Many readers probably know all of this. But, I have learned from experience to not blindly assume that another has all necessary insights about our life and death journey through recovery.
Fascinating that the 12x12  5th step added words about accepting advice and guidance. They also added qualifications,
"We shall want to speak with someone who is experienced, who not only has stayed dry but has been able to surmount other serious difficulties. Difficulties, perhaps, like our own. "
Realistically, most AA's have honest intent, but may not been challenged with. then reliably surmounted types of difficulties we may present. Again, we mean well, but may not perceive some limitations.
I try to follow AA suggestions from the Sponsorship Q&A pamphlet about having more than one sponsor. One reason given is to gain different viewpoints. I feel more secure about my sponsees if they also use a high level professional when more abstract needs exist.

The end of Big Book's step 5 reads:

"Returning home we find a place where we can be quiet for an hour, carefully reviewing what we have done. We thank God from the bottom of our heart that we know Him better. Taking this book down from our shelf we turn to the page which contains the twelve steps. Carefully reading the first five proposals we ask if we have omitted anything, for we are building an arch through which we shall walk a free man at last. Is our work solid so far? Are the stones properly in place? Have we skimped on the cement put into the foundation? Have we tried to make mortar without sand? If we can answer to our satisfaction, we then look at


Steps:-- 2 -- 3 -- 4 -- 5 -- 6 -- 7 -- 8 -- 9 -- 10 -- 11-- 12--

Step 6.

"Were entirely ready to have God remove all these 

defects of character"

Early in my Big Book Step Study days, I heard that, "Entire" willingness to be rid of defects of character is a product of thorough work on steps 4 & 5. Note that step 6 in the Big Book is but a few lines.
I'll never forget the feeling near the end of my first step 5 , that obsessions with lust and anger could be removed. Entire willingness to proceed had occurred!
A year or so later, a deeper layer of discontent surfaced. I had intended a thorough, perfect series of steps the first try, but what happened? Once again, the 12x12 offered a shot of reality. In it's Step 3, are the words,
"Nothing short of continuous action upon these (remaining steps) as a way of life can bring the much-desired result."
"Progress not perfection" appears a timely reminder at moments of confusion and doubt about the veracity of AA's 12 step program. Heard at this morning's meeting,
"Don't drink and do the next thing right."


Steps:-- 2 -- 3 -- 4 -- 5 -- 6 -- 7 -- 8 -- 9 -- 10 -- 11-- 12--

Step 7

Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings"

A tangible definition for humility helped me understand step 7. From the 12x12  step 5 is:
"Another great dividend we may expect from confiding our defects to another human being is humility-a word often misunderstood. To those who have made progress in A.A., it amounts to a clear recognition of what and who we really are, followed by a sincere attempt to become what we could be. Therefore, our first practical move toward humility must consist of recognizing our deficiencies."
For me, therefore, thoroughness with steps 4 and 5 created step 6 willingness and step 7 humility as defined above
Big Book step 7 prayer reads,

 "My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding. Amen. 

We have then completed Step Seven."
The words shortcomings and defects of character are different, in my opinion. Like many other AAs, I interchanged them at first. But, I felt uneasy. Today I regard a defect of character as thinking that conflicts with recovered ideals.
A shortcoming is tangible action or omission of responsible action that fall short of recovered behavior. It could be thought of as a defect of character in action, or omission of appropriate action by a responsible person.
Considerable relief occurred knowing that it is impossible to delete all undesirable thoughts. However, healthy action can be within our willingness to act correctly regardless of feelings and occasional wrong thoughts.
Repetition of recovered behaviors develops intuitive responses to things which used to baffle and frustrate us. Former faulty responses to life's events may pop into mind. Quickly however, newly learned and practiced thinking and acting overpower the old ways.
The 7th step prayer mysteriously and gratefully hastens this process for me in stubborn situations.
"It works it really does." (BB end of ch 6)


Steps:-- 2 -- 3 -- 4 -- 5 -- 6 -- 7 -- 8 -- 9 -- 10 -- 11-- 12--

Step 8

- Made a list of those we harmed................My experience with step 8 went the path of early AA's.
"We made it (the list) when we took inventory." (BB step 8).However, during a score of years after those words were published, AAs observed that some folks harmed were not resented, feared or sex objects - (the three parts of the Big Book inventory format.)A significant update appeared in 12x12 's step 8. About the amends list, "To a degree, he has already done this when taking moral inventory, but now the time has come when he ought to redouble his efforts to see how many people he has hurt, and in what ways."
The 12x12 discusses emotional and other damage to those not necessarily resented, feared or romanced. We sincerely intended to love many people, but actually abused them at times with our "isms".
About ten years ago, I added OUR LIFE'S NAMES in front of step 4 notebooks. It is a "master index" of our lives inspired by that 12x12  direction that, "he ought to redouble his efforts..............."
I may be in a minority that has added a master index to the front of the 4th step inventory. It's use, however, is well received. Our Life's Names appears to unclutter and calm the minds of 4 thro 9 steppers. When in doubt, put the name down. Simple !
Each time a name, principle or institution pops into mind, we add it in the 3 columns on both sides of ten pages in the front of the inventory book.Obvious resentments are processed with the Big Book Step 4 outline.
Gradually, we see our part and the harms to others.
We add an "A" beside the name in "Our Life's Names."
Little by little, we gain understanding of subtler harms to others we did not resent or romance. The 12x12  adds to the Big Book about less obvious behaviors that affect relations with others. Update to step 8 - 1/28/03

to Steps -- 2 -- 3 -- 4 -- 5 -- 6 -- 7 -- 8 -- 9 -- 10 -- 11-- 12

Step 9


- Made amends except when to do so would harm.......(12x12 )......and have begun, by our behaviour and example, to convince those about us that we are indeed changing for the better,.......
Credibility of amends assumes that damaging behavior has been treated and changed during steps 1, by not drinking, and 2 through 8, by achieving non abusive sobriety.
Every sentence in the Big Book and the 12x12  has guidance for the different settings that warrant amends. Please read these books together over and over about step 9, in order to not cause more harm.


Steps:-- 2 -- 3 -- 4 -- 5 -- 6 -- 7 -- 8 -- 9 -- 10 -- 11-- 12--

Step 10

- Continued to take inventory.................From the Big Book p84 3rd ed,
"Our next function is to grow in understanding and effectiveness. This is not an overnight matter. It should continue for our lifetime."
By step 9, we probably have improved grosser flaws in our makeup. About ten years sober, with 8 years of Big Book focused step work, my sober life still had rough edges. I returned to college at age 57, studied Interpersonal and Group Communications, Logic, Psychologies - 101, Abnormal, Child , Adolescent - Crisis Intervention/Counseling, etc.
Gradually, I added 12X12 step meetings. I believe now that the 12x12  was inspired by early AA's struggling with rough edges even after grosser defects were treated by the Big Book. The 12x12  Steps 8 thro 12 plus the Traditions add much guidance to correct thinking behind rough edges of behaviour.
Again from the Big Book p84, perhaps my most important alternatives to drinking,
"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.
Love and tolerance of others is our code."

Steps:-- 2 -- 3 -- 4 -- 5 -- 6 -- 7 -- 8 -- 9 -- 10 -- 11-- 12--

Step 11

St. Francis Prayer in the 12x12  confronted me about motives during my early AA days . "By self forgetting, one finds." Some years later, the Big Book words loomed out with similar wisdom. "Resolutely turn our thoughts to someone we can help."
Most helpful to meditation about powers outside of myself were Big Book page 86 directions for starting and ending each day at a time. Link to p86 directions with comments.
With the linked page up or the Big Book open to page 86, consider that the first paragraphs directions calm and prepare the mind. Then we are in better state to consider changes in our usual opinions. We are ready for later directions such as "see where religious people are right" and "There are other helpful books also."
After a few hundred daily readings of p 86 , I heard mention in an AA meeting of the book "Sermon on the Mount" by Emmett Fox. Fox's book is reported as a main reference of AA's co founders before publishing the first Big Book. Indeed, my reading "The Sermon on the Mount" improved and even reversed many flawed perceptions of religion and God. Please read this reference revered by Bill and Bob. After AA's Big Book, many friends feel Fox's book to be most enlightening about step 11.


Steps:-- 2 -- 3 -- 4 -- 5 -- 6 -- 7 -- 8 -- 9 -- 10 -- 11-- 12--

Step 12

"Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of doing these steps.....
                  We practice these principles in all our   
                  affairs and life......and Carry this message to those   
                  that still suffer........"
I can not stress enough that the 12x12  did not repeat the Big Book's clearcut directions for effective communication with a suffering alcoholic. Please read the Big Book chapter "Working with Others" over and over before saying much more than hello to prospects for AA.
I've come to value the 12x12 's step 12 as a "check list" for self evaluation of one's recovering condition. This extra measure of rigorous honesty of one's self may be surprising. We can benefit much by careful contemplation of each comment about interpersonal relations, motives, etc.
Please carefully read both book's step 12. Big Book's step 12 opens with:
"Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics. It works when other activities fail."

Steps:-- 2 -- 3 -- 4 -- 5 -- 6 -- 7 -- 8 -- 9 -- 10 -- 11-- 12--


3.       AA History
6.       ORIGINAL 1938 MANUSCRIPT
7.       AA Speakers







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Where Did The 12 Steps Come From?
by Bill W.
July 1953 A.A. Grap
evine

AAs are always asking: "Where did the Twelve Steps come from?" In the last analysis, perhaps nobody knows. Yet some of the events which led to their formulation are as clear to me as though they took place yesterday.

So far as people were concerned, the main channels of inspiration for our Steps were three in number -- the Oxford Groups, Dr. William D. Silkworth of Towns Hospital and the famed psychologist, William James, called by some the father of modern psychology. The story of how these streams of influence were brought together and how they led to the writing of our Twelve Steps is exciting and in spots downright incredible.

Many of us will remember the Oxford Groups as a modern evangelical movement which flourished in the 1920's and early 30's, led by a one-time Lutheran minister, Dr. Frank Buchman. The Oxford Groups of that day threw heavy emphasis on personal work, one member with another. AA's Twelfth Step had its origin in that vital practice. The moral backbone of the "O.G." was absolute honesty, absolute purity, absolute unselfishness and absolute love. They also practiced a type of confession, which they called "sharing"; the making of amends for harms done they called "restitution." They believed deeply in their "quiet time," a meditation practiced by groups and individuals alike, in which the guidance of God was sought for every detail of living, great or small.

These basic ideas were not new; they could have been found elsewhere. But the saving thing for us first alcoholics who contacted the Oxford Groupers was that they laid great stress on these particular principles. And fortunate for us was the fact that the Groupers took special pains not to interfere with one's personal religious views. Their society, like ours later on, saw the need to be strictly non-denominational.

In the late summer of 1934, my well-loved alcoholic friend and schoolmate "Ebbie" had fallen in with these good folks and had promptly sobered up. Being an alcoholic, and rather on the obstinate side, he hadn't been able to "buy" all the Oxford Group ideas and attitudes. Nevertheless, he was moved by their deep sincerity and felt mighty grateful for the fact that their ministrations had, for the time being, lifted his obsession to drink.

When he arrived in New York in the late fall of 1934, Ebbie thought at once of me. On a bleak November day he rang up. Soon he was looking at me across our kitchen table at 182 Clinton StreetBrooklynNew York. As I remember that conversation, he constantly used phrases like these: "I found I couldn't run my own life;" "I had to get honest with myself and somebody else;" "I had to make restitution for the damage I had done;" "I had to pray to God for guidance and strength, even though I wasn't sure there was any God;" "And after I'd tried hard to do these things I found that my craving for alcohol left." Then over and over Ebbie would say something like this: "Bill, it isn't a bit like being on the water wagon. You don't fight the desire to drink -- you get released from it. I never had such a feeling before."
Such was the sum of what Ebbie had extracted from his Oxford Group friends and had transmitted to me that day. While these simple ideas were not new, they certainly hit me like tons of brick. Today we understand just why that was . . . one alcoholic was talking to another as no one else can.

Two or three weeks later, December 11th to be exact, I staggered into the Charles B. Towns Hospital, that famous drying-out emporium on Central Park West, New York City. I'd been there before, so I knew and already loved the doctor in charge -- Dr. Silkworth. It was he who was soon to contribute a very great idea without which AA could never had succeeded. For years he had been proclaiming alcoholism an illness, an obsession of the mind coupled with an allergy of the body. By now I knew this meant me. I also understood what a fatal combination these twin ogres could be. Of course, I'd once hoped to be among the small percentage of victims who now and then escape their vengeance. But this outside hope was now gone. I was about to hit bottom. That verdict of science -- the obsession that condemned me to drink and the allergy that condemned me to die -- was about to do the trick. That's where the medical science, personified by this benign little doctor, began to fit it in. Held in the hands of one alcoholic talking to the next, this double-edged truth was a sledgehammer which could shatter the tough alcoholic's ego at depth and lay him wide open to the grace of God.

In my case it was of course Dr. Silkworth who swung the sledge while my friend Ebbie carried to me the spiritual principles and the grace which brought on my sudden spiritual awakening at the hospital three days later. [ Dec. 14, 1934 ] I immediately knew that I was a free man. And with this astonishing experience came a feeling of wonderful certainty that great numbers of alcoholics might one day enjoy the priceless gift which had been bestowed upon me.

Third Influence

At this point a third stream of influence entered my life through the pages of William James' book, "Varieties of Religious Experience." Somebody had brought it to my hospital room. Following my sudden experience, Dr. Silkworth had taken great pains to convince me that I was not hallucinated. But William James did even more. Not only, he said, could spiritual experiences make people saner, they could transform men and women so that they could do, feel and believe what had hitherto been impossible to them. It mattered little whether these awakenings were sudden or gradual, their variety could be almost infinite. But the biggest payoff of that noted book was this: in most of the cases described, those who had been transformed were hopeless people. In some controlling area of their lives they had met absolute defeat. Well, that was me all right. In complete defeat, with no hope or faith whatever, I had made an appeal to a Higher Power. I had taken Step One of today's AA program -- "admitted we were powerless over alcohol, that our lives had become unmanageable." I'd also taken Step Three -- "made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to God as we understood him." Thus was I set free. It was just as simple, yet just as mysterious, as that.

These realizations were so exciting that I instantly joined up with the Oxford Groups. But to their consternation I insisted on devoting myself exclusively to drunks. This was disturbing to the O.G.'s on two counts. Firstly, they wanted to help save the whole world. Secondly, their luck with drunks had been poor. Just as I joined they had been working over a batch of alcoholics who had proved disappointing indeed. One of them, it was rumored, had flippantly cast his shoe through a valuable stained glass window of an Episcopal church across the alley from O.G. headquarters. Neither did they take kindly to my repeated declaration that it shouldn't take long to sober up all the drunks in the world. They rightly declared that my conceit was still immense.

Something Missing

After some six months of violent exertion with scores of alcoholics which I found at a nearby mission and Towns Hospital, it began to look like the Groupers were right. I hadn't sobered up anybody. In Brooklyn we always had a houseful of drinkers living with us, sometimes as many as five. My valiant wife, Lois, once arrived home from work to find three of them fairly tight. They were whaling each other with two-by-fours. Though events like these slowed me down somewhat, the persistent conviction that a way to sobriety could be found never seemed to leave me. There was, though, one bright spot. My sponsor, Ebbie, still clung precariously to his new-found sobriety.

What was the reason for all these fiascoes? If Ebbie and I could achieve sobriety, why couldn't all the rest find it too? Some of those we'd worked on certainly wanted to get well. We speculated day and night why nothing much had happened to them. Maybe they couldn't stand the spiritual pace of the Oxford Group's four absolutes of honesty, purity, unselfishness, and love. In fact some of the alcoholics declared that this was the trouble. The aggressive pressure upon them to get good overnight would make them fly high as geese for a few weeks and then flop dismally. They complained, too, about another form of coercion -- something the Oxford Groupers called "guidance for others." A "team" composed of non-alcoholic Groupers would sit down with an alcoholic and after a "quiet time" would come up with precise instructions as to how the alcoholic should run his own life. As grateful as we were to our O.G. friends, this was sometimes tough to take. It obviously had something to do with the wholesale skidding that went on.

But this wasn't the entire reason for failure. After months I saw the trouble was mainly in me. I had become very aggressive, very cocksure. I talked a lot about my sudden spiritual experience, as though it was something very special. I had been playing the double role of teacher and preacher. In my exhortations I'd forgotten all about the medical side of our malady, and that need for deflation at depth so emphasized by William James had been neglected. We weren't using that medical sledgehammer that Dr. Silkworth had so providentially given us.

Finally, one day, Dr. Silkworth took me back down to my right size. Said he, "Bill, why don't you quit talking so much about that bright light experience of yours, it sounds too crazy. Though I'm convinced that nothing but better morals will make alcoholics really well, I do think you have got the cart before the horse. The point is that alcoholics won't buy all this moral exhortation until they convince themselves that they must. If I were you I'd go after them on the medical basis first. While it has never done any good for me to tell them how fatal their malady is, it might be a very different story if you, a formerly hopeless alcoholic, gave them the bad news. Because of this identification you naturally have with alcoholics, you might be able to penetrate where I can't. Give them the medical business first, and give it to them hard. This might soften them up so they will accept the principles that will really get them well."

Then Came Akron

Shortly after this history-making conversation, I found myself in AkronOhio, on a business venture which promptly collapsed. Alone in the town, I was scared to death of getting drunk. I was no longer a teacher or a preacher, I was an alcoholic who knew that he needed another alcoholic as much as that one could possibly need me. Driven by that urge, I was soon face to face with Dr. Bob. It was at once evident that Dr. Bob knew more of the spiritual things than I did. He also had been in touch with the Oxford Groupers at Akron. But somehow he simply couldn't get sober. Following Dr. Silkworth's advice, I used the medical sledgehammer. I told him what alcoholism was and just how fatal it could be. Apparently this did something to Dr. Bob. On June 10, 1935, he sobered up, never to drink again. When, in 1939, Dr. Bob's story first appeared in the book, Alcoholics Anonymous, he put one paragraph of it in italics. Speaking of me, he said: "Of far more importance was the fact that he was the first living human with whom I had ever talked, who knew what he was talking about in regard to alcoholism from actual experience."

The Missing Link

Dr. Silkworth had indeed supplied us the missing link without which the chain of principles now forged into our Twelve Steps could never have been complete. Then and there, the spark that was to become Alcoholics Anonymous had been struck.

During the next three years after Dr. Bob's recovery our growing groups at AkronNew York and Cleveland evolved the so-called word-of-mouth program of our pioneering time. As we commenced to form a society separate from the Oxford Group, we began to state our principles something like this:

1. We admitted that we were powerless over alcohol.

2. We got honest with ourselves.

3. We got honest with another person, in confidence.

4. We made amends for harms done others.

5. We worked with other alcoholics without demand for prestige or money.

6. We prayed to God to help us to do these things as best we could.

Though these principles were advocated according to the whim or liking of each of us, and though in Akron and Cleveland they still stuck by the O.G. absolutes of honesty, purity, unselfishness and love, this was the gist of our message to incoming alcoholics up to 1939, when our present Twelve Steps were put to paper.

I well remember the evening on which the Twelve Steps was written. I was lying in bed quite dejected and suffering from one of my imaginary ulcer attacks. Four chapters of the book, Alcoholics Anonymous, had been roughed out and read in meetings at Akron and New York. We quickly found that everybody wanted to be an author. The hassles as to what should go into our new book were terrific. For example, some wanted a purely psychological book which would draw in alcoholics without scaring them. We could tell them about the "God business" afterwards. A few, led by our wonderful southern friend, Fitz M., wanted a fairly religious book infused with some of the dogma we had picked up from the churches and missions which had tried to help us. The louder the arguments, the more I felt in the middle. It appeared that I wasn't going to be the author at all. I was only going to be an umpire who would decide the contents of the book. This didn't mean, though, that there wasn't terrific enthusiasm for the undertaking. Every one of us was wildly excited at the possibility of getting our message before all those countless alcoholics who still didn't know.

Having arrived at Chapter Five, it seemed high time to state what our program really was. I remember running over in my mind the word-of-mouth phrases then in current use. Jotting these down, they added up to the six named above. Then came the idea that our program ought to be more accurately and clearly stated. Distant readers would have to have precise set of principles. Knowing the alcoholic's ability to rationalize, something airtight would have to be written. We couldn't let the reader wiggle out anywhere. Besides, a more complete statement would help in the chapters to come where we would need to show exactly how the recovery program ought to be worked.

12 Steps in 30 Minutes

At length I began to write on a cheap yellow tablet. I split the word-of-mouth program up into smaller pieces, meanwhile enlarging its scope considerably. Uninspired as I felt, I was surprised that in a short time, perhaps half an hour, I had set down certain principles which, on being counted, turned out to be twelve in number. And for some unaccountable reason, I had moved the idea of God into the Second Step, right up front. Besides, I had named God very liberally throughout the other steps. In one of the steps I had even suggested that the newcomer get down on his knees.

When this document was shown to our New York meeting the protests were many and loud. Our agnostic friends didn't go at all for the idea of kneeling. Others said we were talking altogether too much about God. And anyhow, why should there be twelve steps when we had done fine on six? Let's keep it simple, they said.

This sort of heated discussion went on for days and nights. But out of it all there came a ten-strike for Alcoholics Anonymous. Our agnostic contingent, speared by Hank P. and Jim B., finally convinced us that we must make it easier for people like themselves by using such terms as "a Higher Power" or "God as we understand Him!" Those expressions, as we so well know today, have proved lifesavers for many an alcoholic. They have enabled thousands of us to make a beginning where none could have been made had we left the steps just as I originally wrote them. Happily for us there were no other changes in the original draft and the number of steps stood at twelve. Little did we then guess that our Twelve Steps would soon be widely approved by clergymen of all denominations and even by our latter-day friends, the psychiatrists.

This little fragment of history ought to convince the most skeptical that nobody invented Alcoholics Anonymous.

It just grew...by the grace of God.



Joe and Charlie Big Book study - Recorded in 1998
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Download the 'Big Book' as a Windows Helpfile
Download here, follow your browsers prompts to install. This download is in .zip format. You must have an unzip program such as Winzip to unzip the file.
The above in PDF for Palm Pilot in Plain Text for Mac

Talks by Father Joe MartinClick here to download all in one zip file.
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Father Martin -giving his 'Chalk Talk'
82 min 25 sec
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Father Martin -'Twelve Steps'
53 min 56 sec
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Father Martin -'Feelings'
68 min 53 sec
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Father Martin -'His Story'
69 min 48 sec
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ALCOHOLICS_ANONYMOUS - this is a large print of the Big Book as a pdf file. This file was created by and sent to me by Major1212major1212@pobox.com

Talks by Father John DoeClick here to download all in one zip file.
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Father John Doe -speaking on resentment #1
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Father John Doe -speaking on sanity #1
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Father John Doe -speaking on sanity #213 min 18 sec1.52 mb
A Study Guide to the AA Big Book -by Ken W.
Access entire AA Big Book Study Guide as a single web page [1.63mb] or Download here [522kb], follow your browsers prompts to install. This download is in .zip format. You must have an unzip program such asWinzip to unzip the file.
above as PDF/1.57mbas a Word Doc/1.59mb as a EXE/584kb

Sandy B. - Saturday Morning Live
Sandy B. of Washington, DC speaking at the Saturday Morning Live Group in Washington, DC in Jan., Feb. and Mar. 1994
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Step 1 -Sat. Morning Live Group, Washington, DC - 01/01/94
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Step 2 -Sat. Morning Live Group, Washington, DC - 01/08/94
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Step 4 -Sat. Morning Live Group, Washington, DC - 01/22/94
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Step 5 -Sat. Morning Live Group, Washington, DC - 01/29/94
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Step 7 -Sat. Morning Live Group, Washington, DC - 02/12/94
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Step 8 -Sat. Morning Live Group, Washington, DC - 02/19/94
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Step 9 -Sat. Morning Live Group, Washington, DC - 02/26/94
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Step 10 -Sat. Morning Live Group, Washington, DC - 03/05/94
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Step 11 -Sat. Morning Live Group, Washington, DC - 03/12/94
44 min 18 sec
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Step 12 -Sat. Morning Live Group, Washington, DC - 03/19/94
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Other talks by Sandy B. of Washington, D.C.
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Sandy B. -speaking at Maryland State Convention - 1998
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Sandy B. -speaking at the 28th Gopher State Roundup - May 25th - 27th 2001
61 min 20 sec
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Sandy B. -speaking at Sunlight of the Spirit in York, PA - August 17th 2001
53 min 58 sec
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Sandy B. -speaking on the topic of "Spiritual Principles" in Merietta, GA - October 2002
57 min 10 sec
13.0 mb
Download Random Big Book quotes for Windows
This program generates random Big Book quotes that appear on your computer screen.
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Sister Ignatia Gavin and A.A.Sister Ignatia Gavin, a tiny Irish-American nun, helped initiate medical treatment for alcoholics in Akron. It is estimated that during her career, Sister Ignatia helped over 10,000 alcoholics.
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Sister Ignatia -1947
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Sister Ignatia -aslo know as: Angel of Alcoholics Anonymous
31 min 09 sec
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Download 'Fourth Step Inventory' (ZIP-PDF)
Guide includes worksheets to help you complete this important step.
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Ann P. (Irish Annie) from Huntington Beach
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Ann P. -Speaking in El Paso
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Ann P. -Speaking in Orange, CA March 1st 1998
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 'Diary of Two Motorcycle Hobos' (HTML) *
A Diary by Lois Wilson — Bill and Lois — their journey up and down the east coast of the United States, from Thursday, April 16, 1925 to Monday, April 12, 1927 - Wilson, Lois, Copyright © Ellie van V., 1998 All rights reserved. No part of this work covered by the copyright hereon may be reproduced or used in any form or by any means. All Copyright, Publisher, Printing, as well as contact information, is included in this Read me text file. (Please be sure to read the _Read me.txt file first before openning: diary_index.html)
* Diary of Two Motorcycle Hobos made available here for research and historical purposes only.
* The Stepping Stones Foundation demanded that I remove the above from this site. Diary of Two Motorcycle Hobos is no longer available from silkworth.net for historical and research purposes.
"My Name is Bill W." -The Movie
A Garner-Duchow Productions. Starring James Woods as Bill Wilson, James Garner as Dr. Bob Smith and JoBeth Williams as Lois Wilson. If you have difficulty in viewing this movie, then right click on the link and then choose, "Save Target As" and save the file to your computer so you can view the movie in a Video Player of your choosing. You could also download the free VLC Media Player which seems to work very good. Movie quality: Excellent
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My Name is Bill W. -The true story of the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous
100 min
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"When Love Is Not Enough: The Lois Wilson Story"
A Hallmark Hall of Fame Movie. Starring Winona Ryder as Lois Wilson, Barry Pepper as Bill Wilson, Adam Greydon Reid as Ebby Thatcher. If you have difficulty in viewing this movie, then right click on the link and then choose, "Save Target As" and save the file to your computer so you can view the movie in a Video Player of your choosing. Movie quality: Excellent

2
When Love Is Not Enough: The Lois Wilson Story
97 min
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Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith
(cofounders of Alcoholics Anonymous)
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Bill W. and Dr. Bob S. -1st International Convention, Cleveland, Ohio 1950
68 min 46 sec
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Bill W. -speaking in Atlanta, Georgia 1951
73 min 42 sec
12.7 mb
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Bill W. -speaking at the 3rd General Service Convention
59 min 44 sec
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Bill W. -The Spiritual Experience - It's a Matter of Grace - Recorded in 1966
42 min 12 sec
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5
Bill W. -telling the history of the Big Book
66 min 09 sec
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Bill W. -talking on the 12 Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous
59 min 29 sec
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Bill W. -speaking on A.A.'s Three Legacies [Part 1]
42 min 51 sec
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Bill W. -speaking on A.A.'s Three Legacies [Part 2]
42 min 51 sec
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9
Bill W. -speaking at the Oklahoma State Conference in Oklahoma City, OK - May 1951
45 min 42 sec
10.4 mb
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Bill W. -2nd Talk Dallas TX 2-1951
114 min 10 sec
26.1 mb
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11
Bill W. -speaking at the 18th Anniversary Dinner NY 11-10-52
43 min 23 sec
9.93 mb
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Bill W. -speaking at the 20th Anniversary Dinner NY 11-9-1954
62 min 58 sec
14.4 mb
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Bill W. -1947
18 min 22 sec
4.20 mb
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14
Bill W. -Intoduction of Sam Shoemaker at St Louis MO 7-1-55
33 min 29 sec
7.66 mb
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Bill W. -speaking at the Cleveland OH 1st International 1950
73 min 14 sec
16.7 mb
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Bill W. -speaking at Will Roger Auditorium Ft Worth TX 6-13-1954
84 min 12 sec
19.2 mb
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17
Bill W. -Reading HOW IT WORKS
5 min 30 sec
1.26 mb
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Bill W. -speaking in Memphis, TN 9-20-1947
117 min 32 sec
26.9 mb
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19
Bill W. -Texas State Conference 1954 talk about the book . . .
77 min 37 sec
17.7 mb
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Bill W. -Texas State Conference Dallas TX 1951 Part 1 of 2
56 min 28 sec
12.9 mb
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Bill W. -Texas State Conference Dallas TX 1951 Part 2 of 2
56 min 36 sec
12.9 mb
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22
Sister Ignatia -speaking about Dr. Bob
32 min 11 sec
7.36 mb
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Dr. Bob -from Akron, OH, Sister Ignatia from Akron, OH and Bill W. from New York, NY - April 1947
88 min 09 sec
20.1 mb
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Dr. Bob -on the early days of Alcoholics Anonymous
50 min 42 sec
5.8 mb
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25
Dr. Bob -His Last Talk
4 min 11 sec
492 kb

Lois Wilson (Ala-non)
Click here to download all in one zip file.

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Lois Wilson -speaking in West Virginia at the 38th SE Conference, 1982
44 min 10 sec
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Clarence Snyder
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Clarence Snyder -from Cleveland, OH - 1966
78 min 04 sec
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Clarence Snyder -11th Step Retreat, Camp Monroe Retreat 07/15/1975
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Clarence Snyder -Giving a history talk in 1975.
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Clarence Snyder -How It Works talk in 1982
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AA History Articles on the Recovery Site
Our Greatest Asset -- Our History
The 4th Edition Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous Online
World-Wide Alcoholics Anonymous Intergroup Phone Numbers
Online Intergroup of Alcoholics Anonymous






alcoholics anonymous:

a photographic journey through its history...

Click on the links below to view images.

Pre-AA Days

Bill W.
Just before going overseas.
Bill W.
In uniform and on horseback.
Bill W.
A smiling soldier.
Bill and Lois
At Fort Adams, Rhode Island, June 1918
Bill and Lois
Packing for another trip.
Lois
Was really the Harley rider but Bill showed off here.
Lois
Usually was asked to drive.
Lois W.
Smiling for the camera.

Early Friends of A.A.

Ruth Hock
Ruth was AA's first secretary and typed the manuscript for the Big Book.
Dr. Silkworth
Dr. Silkworth wrote the Dr.'s Opinion in the Big Book and was Bill's physician at Towns Hospital in New York
Rev. Samuel M. Shoemaker
Sam was the pastor at Calvary Episcopal Church in New York where he headed the Oxford Group there. He was also a great friend of early AA.
Henrietta Seiberling
It was at Henrietta's home where Bob and Bill met for the first time on Mother's Day in 1935.
Henrietta's home
The Gatehouse on the Seiberling Estate in Akron, Ohio.
T. Henry and Clarace Williams
It was at the home of T. Henry and Clarace where Dr. Bob and many of the early founding members of AA met for Oxford Group meetings.
The Williams' Home
In Akron, Ohio

Memorabilia

Dust Jacket
This was an early proposed Dust Jacket design for the First Edition Big Book.
Liberty Magazine
The September 1939 Liberty Magazine with an article entitled, "Alcoholics And God." AA's first National publicity.
Saturday Evening Post
This is the March 1, 1941 Saturday Evening Post magazine containing AA's first major publicity. As a result of this Jack Alexander article, AA's membership nearly doubled.
Stock Certificate
In order to finance the printing of the First Edition Big Book, stock certificates were sold to early AA members and others.

A.A. Pioneers

Hank P.
Hank's story, THE UNBELIEVER is in the First Edition
Clarence S.
Clarence's story, HOME BREWMEISTER is in all three editions.
Ernie G.
Ernie's story, THE SEVEN MONTH SLIP is in the First Edition
Charlie S.
Charlie's story, RIDING THE RODS is in the First Edition
Bob O.
Bob's story, THE SALESMAN is in the First Edition
Archie T.
Archie's story, THE FEARFUL ONE is in the First Edition
In later editions, his story is called THE MAN WHO MASTERED FEAR
Dick S.
Dick's story, THE CAR SMASHER is in the First Edition
Bill D.
Bill's story, ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS NUMBER THREE is in the Second and Third Edition
Abby G.
Abby's story, HE THOUGHT HE COULD DRINK LIKE A GENTLEMAN is in the Second and Third Edition
Marty M.
Marty's story, WOMEN SUFFER TOO is in the Second and Third Edition
Ethel M.
Ethel's story, FROM FARM TO CITY is in the Second and Third Edition
Earl T.
Earl's story, HE SOLD HIMSELF SHORT is in the Second and Third Edition
Sylvia K.
Sylvia's story, THE KEYS OF THE KINGDOM is in the Second and Third Edition
Esther A.
Esther's story, A FLOWER OF THE SOUTH is in the second and Third Edition
Ebby T.
This is the last reported photo of Ebby before he passed on.
Dr. Bob and Anne
Dr. Bob was a co-founder of A.A. and Anne S. held the first meetings for wives in Akron.
Early Members
Just prior to the first AA World Service Conference and Convention in 1950, Bill W. visited Cleveland, Ohio and met with some of the early members there.
Group Photo
An early, 1940's informal group photo of members in California (possibly Long Beach). Bill W. is on the right and Dr. Bob on the left. Anne S., Dr. Bob's wife is in the center with a cigarette.
Bill and Dr. Bob
Dr. Bob and Bill W. with an unidentified man (possibly Dr. Harry Tiebout) in Akron, Ohio.
Bill D. and Sue
Bill D., AA #3 with Dr. Bob's daughter Sue.
Bill D. and Helen B.
Bill D., AA #3 with Helen B., an early AA Grapevine Editor.
Another "Man on the Bed" Photo
Bill W. visiting a prospective AA member in a hospital. Another "Man On The Bed" picture.
Bill and Lois
A Later Christmas picture.
Bill and Lois
After Anne S.'s funeral.



Pioneers of Alcoholics Anonymous – 1934 – 1939
All Below Achieved At Least Some Period of Sobriety.
Some who failed may have achieved permanent sobriety later.
Bolded Names Achieved Permanent Sobriety.


1934
Name
Location
Comment/Big Book Story
Dec 11
Bill Wilson
New York
Co-Founder of AA – Bill's Story
1935

Jun 10
Dr.Bob Smith
Akron
Co-Founder of AA – Dr. Bob's Nightmare
June
Eddie Reilly
Akron
Sobered in 1949
June
Dr. McK.
Akron
Failed to gain long term sobriety
June
Bill Dotson
Akron
Alcoholics Anonymous No.3 – 2nd Ed
July
Ernie Gailbraith
Akron
The Seven Month Slip – (An In-and-Outer Slipper)
Aug
Wes Wyman
Akron
Sobered in 1949
Sept
Hank Parkhurst
New York
The Unbeliever – 4 yrs. Sober
Drunk Sept 1939
Sept
Phil Smith
Akron

Oct
John Henry "Fitz" Mayo
New York
Our Southern Friend
1935
Freddie B.
New York
Failed to gain long term sobriety
1935
Brooke B.
New York
Failed to gain long term sobriety
1935
Bill R.
New York
Failed to gain long term sobriety
1935
Ernest M.
New York
Failed to gain long term sobriety
1935
Herb D.
New York
Failed to gain long term sobriety
1935
Alec
New York
Failed to gain long term sobriety
1935
Russ R.
New York
Failed to gain long term sobriety
1935
Bill C.
New York
Failed to gain long term sobriety
1935
Victor
New York
Failed to gain long term sobriety
1935
Lil
New York
Failed to gain long term sobriety
1936

Jan
Harold Grisinger
Akron

Feb
Walter Bray
Akron
The Back-Slider
Apr
Joe Doeppler
Akron
The European Drinker
Apr
Myron Williams
New York
Hindsight
July
Paul Stanley
Akron
Truth Freed Me
Sept
J. D. Holmes
Akron

Sept
Holland Spencer
Akron

Dec
Bob Oviatt
Akron
The Salesman
1937

Feb
Dick Stanley
Akron
The Car Smasher
Feb
Don McLean
New York

Feb
Bill Rudell
New York
A Business Man's Recovery
Feb
Lloyd Tate
Akron

Feb
Bill Van Horn
Akron
Ward Of The Probate Court
Mar
Harry Zoellers
Akron
A Close Shave
Mar
Florence Rankin
New York
A Feminine Victory - Returned to drinking & suicide 1939
Apr
Earl Treat
Akron
He Sold Himself Short
Apr
Bob Evans
Akron

May
Wally Gillam
Akron
Fired Again
May
Charlie Simonson
Akron
Riding The Rods
July
Jim Scott
Akron
Traveler, Editor, Scholar
July
Paul Kellogg
New York
Failed to gain long term sobriety
Sept
Bill Jones
Cleveland

Oct
Jack Williams
New York

Nov
Tom Lucas
Akron
My Wife And I
Dec
Ned Poynter
New York
Continued Sobriety Unknown
1937
Jane S.
Cleveland
Sober a few months, Failed to gain long term sobriety
1938

Jan
New York
Slipped, DOS June 15, 1938
The Vicious Cycle – 2nd Ed.
Feb
Clarence Snyder
Cleveland
Home Brewmeister
Feb
Charlie Jones
Akron

Feb
Ray Campbell
New York
An Artist's Concept
Feb
Van Wagner
New York
Continued Sobriety Unknown
Feb
Jack Darrow
New York
Continued Sobriety Unknown
Feb
Norman Hunt
New York
Educated Agnostic
Feb
Harold Sears
New York
Smile With Me, At Me
Apr
Capt. Coxe
New York
Continued Sobriety Unknown
May
Abby Goldrick
Akron
He Thought He Could Drink – 2nd Ed.
May
Bert Taylor
New York
Continued Sobriety Unknown
May
Bob Taylor
New York
Continued Sobriety Unknown
June
George Williams
New York
Continued Sobriety Unknown
June
Joseph Taylor
New York
Continued Sobriety Unknown
June
Harry Brick
New York
A Different Slant
June
Ralph Furlong
New York
Another Prodigal Story
July
Bud Emerson
New York
Continued Sobriety Unknown
Sept
Archie Trowbridge
Akron
The Fearful One
Sept
Horace Maher
New York
On His Way
Oct
John Dolan
Akron

Dec
Vaughn Phelps
Akron

Dec
Horace Crystal
New York
Wrote Grapevine Articles, 1944
1938
Bill H.
Cleveland
slipped, later gained permanent sobriety
1938
Delmar Tyron
Akron
Ace Full, Seven-Eleven (wrote story Thanksgiving 1938)
1939

Jan
Pat Cooper
Calif.
The Lone Endeavor
Unknown Sobriety Dates
N/A
Doc Moran
Akron
Continued Sobriety Unknown
N/A
Harold Grissom
Akron
Continued Sobriety Unknown
N/A
Dr. Howard S.
Akron
Continued Sobriety Unknown


For the Newcomer -  20 Questions That Only You Can Answer
For the Recovering Alcoholic -  20 Questions That Only You Can Answer
..."His Master Demanded To Be Fed!"...
Can You Identify??
in 40 daily reading segments
Collected along The Road To Happy Destiny
Learning Your A.A. as originally intended.
Going Through The Steps With A Sponsee
As it was done in the beginning.
The Daily Steps
On The Daily Practice of Steps 1, 10, 11 and 12
Every Day From The Beginning of Sobriety.

An intensive Big Book Study on "Working The Steps"
Eleventh Step Morning and Nightly Prayers
Alcoholics Anonymous Original Manuscript - 1938
My sponsors insisted I learn my AA from this manuscript.
A Manual for Alcoholics Anonymous
The 1940 pamphlet printed by Group No.1, Akron, Ohio, Dr. Bob's Home Group.
A Manual for Alcoholics Anonymous, in Word Format Zipped
Table Talk, A Guide to the Study of the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous
A 1940's pamphlet from an early group on the West Coast.
Table Talk, in Word Format Zipped
Let's Ask Bill W.
Answers to Many Questions in Bill's words
Moral Inventory Checklist
For Newcomer and Oldtimer Alike.
The [Unrecovered Dry, Not Using] Alcoholic
An Alcoholic's Anonymous Prayer
The Legacy of Recovery
Understanding Anonymity
On Religion and Spirituality
Why Alcoholics Anonymous is Spiritual
Spirituality Is A Simple Way Of Living
The Right Spiritual Path
The Precepts, Concept and Percepts of Higher Power
The Missing Piece: The Spiritual Malady
A.A. Is Not A Self-Help Program
The PRESCRIPTION
Getting "It"
About Resentments
A Grandfather Story
Ancient Wisdom - A Starting Point
The A.A. Principles and Virtues
THE 103 "MUSTS" IN THE BIG BOOK
On The Sober Dance of Life
More On The Sober Dance of Life
The Elimination of Ego-Self
That God-Awful Return of the Obsession!!
The Status of "Slippers"
Learning My ABCs
The ABCs Of A Fruitful Life
Our Allotment
A Sensitive Alcoholic
What About Members With Longer-term Sobriety?
A Check List
How Group Conscious Am I?
Another Check List
Random Recovery Thoughts
Collected In Meetings and Chats
The Lone Ember -- A Sponsor Story
Footprints In The Sand
The Hampshire Grenadier
The Man In The Glass
From A Chicken to An Eagle
Barefoot Writings
My collection of "Stuff", prior to the Internet,
that I passed on to my sponsees to help us keep our head on straight.
The Wilsons
Stepping Stones - The Home of Lois and Bill W.
Stepping Stones Foundation
The Wilson House - Birthplace of Bill W.
The Smiths
855 Ardmore - The Home of Dr. Bob and Anne
Where AA Started
Buzzard Puke and My Understanding of the Names of The Higher Power
Happy Friends In Recovery Week
It lasts 24/7/365 all year long!!!
The Twelve Rewards of Sobriety
Friends in Recovery Bulletin Board and Chat
For ALL 12 Steppers!!!
Only A.A. Material????
An "Interactive" Lord's Prayer
Installing Love In Your System
The Fundamentals of Truth and Love
The Sober Clock
A.A. Acronyms

An Early Step Study Guide

.
This little booklet, originally titled "Alcoholics Anonymous: An interpretation of our Twelve Steps," was widely used in the early days of A.A. in the Northwest. It was not produced by Alcoholics Anonymous, but rather was printed and subsequently modified by several different publishers. It was, perhaps, the earliest attempt at a guide to the Twelve Steps.
The story is that a serviceman, on his way to the war in the Pacific, stopped into a meeting in Seattle with a one of the booklets. Members were enthusiastic about the booklet and talked the man out of his copy. Many other copies were then made and distributed. This story is, perhaps, anecdotal. However, what is certain is that the little pamphlet became a fixture at many of the early A.A. meetings. The booklet was later renamed to "The Table Mate: Guide to the Study of the Twelve Steps" and considerable expanded. The "Table Mate" is still used by many members today, often handed down from sponsor to sponsee.
A version of the booklet, under the title "A guide to the Twelve Steps", can be ordered from:
The text presented here is from one of the booklets dating from the late 40's or early 50's. This printing was obviously rather amateurish and contained many typos. We have reproduced the original here as closely as possible, only cleaning up some of the more blatant typos.
.
.


.

PREFACE

.
The following pages contain the basic material for the discussion meetings for alcoholics only.
These meetings are held for the purpose of acquainting both old and new members with the 12 steps on which our program is based.
So that all twelve steps may be covered in a minimum of time they are divided into four classifications and one evening each week will be devoted to each of the four subdivisions. Thus, in one month, a new man can get the basis of our 12 suggested steps.
1.We admitted we were powerless over alcohol-that our lives had become unmanageable.
2.Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3.Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understand Him.
4.Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5.Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6.Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7.Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10.Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
11.Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understand Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual experience as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
These steps are divided as follows:
Discussion No. 1---The admission, Step No. 1.
Discussion No. 2---The spiritual phase, Steps 2,3,5,6,7, and 11.
Discussion No. 3---The inventory and restitution, Steps No. 4, 8, 9 and 10.
Discussion No. 4---The active work, which is Step No. 12.


DISCUSSION NO. 1

THE ADMISSION

The material contained herein is merely an outline of the admission phase of the program and is not intended to replace or supplant-
a. The careful reading and re-reading of the Big Book.
b. Regular attendance at weekly group meetings.
c. Study of the Program.
d. Daily practice of the program.
e. Reading of approved printed matter on Alcoholism.
f. Informal discussion with other members.
This meeting covers Step No. 1. "We admitted we were powerless over alcohol-that our lives had become unmanageable."
This instruction is not a short-cut to A.A. It is an introduction-a help-a brief course in the fundamentals.
In order to determine whether or not a person has drifted from "social drinking" into pathological drinking it is well to check over a list of test questions, which each member may ask himself and answer for himself.
We must answer once and for all these three puzzling questions-
What is an Alcoholic?
Who is an Alcoholic?
Am I an Alcoholic?
To get the right answer the prospective member must start this course of instruction with-
1. A willingness to learn. We must not have the attitude that "you've got to show me."
2. An open mind. Forget any and all ideas or notions we already have. Set our opinions aside.
3. Complete honesty. It is possible-not at all probable-that we may fool somebody else. But we MUST be honest with ourselves, and it is a good time to start being honest with others.


SUGGESTED TEST QUESTIONS

1. Do you require a drink the next morning?
2. Do you prefer to drink alone?
3. Do you lose time from work due to drinking?
4. Is your drinking harming your family in any way?
5. Do you crave a drink at a definite time daily?
6. Do you get the inner shakes unless you continue drinking?
7. Has drinking made you irritable?
8. Does drinking make you careless of your family's welfare?
9. Have you harmed your husband or wife since drinking?
10. Has drinking changed your personality?
11. Does drinking cause you bodily complaints?
12. Does drinking make you restless?
13. Does drinking cause you to have difficulty in sleeping?
14. Has drinking made you more impulsive?
15. Have you less self-control since drinking?
16. Has your initiative decreased since drinking?
17. Has your ambition decreased since drinking?
18. Do you lack perseverance in pursuing a goal since drinking?
19. Do you drink to obtain social ease? (In shy, timid, self-conscious individuals.)
20. Do you drink for self-encouragement? (In persons with feelings of inferiority.)
21. Do you drink to relieve marked feeling of inadequacy?
22. Has your sexual potency suffered since drinking?
23. Do you show marked dislikes and hatreds since drinking?
24. Has your jealousy, in general, increased since drinking?
25. Do you show marked moodiness as a result of drinking?
26. Has your efficiency decreased since drinking?
27. Has your drinking made you more sensitive?
28. Are you harder to get along with since drinking?
29. Do you turn to an inferior environment since drinking?
30. Is drinking endangering your health?
31. Is drinking affecting your peace of mind?
32. Is drinking making your home life unhappy?
33. Is drinking jeopardizing your business?
34. Is drinking clouding your reputation?
35. Is drinking disturbing the harmony of your life?
If you have answered YES to any one of the Test Questions, there is a definite warning that you may be alcoholic. If you have answered YES to any two of the Test Questions the chances are that you are an alcoholic.
If you answered YES to three or more of the Test Questions you are definitely AN ALCOHOLIC.
NOTE: The Test Questions are not A.A. Questions but are the guide used by Johns Hopkins University Hospital in deciding whether a patient is alcoholic or not.
In addition to the Test Questions we in A.A. would ask even more questions. Here are a few-
36. Have you ever had a complete loss of memory while, or after drinking?
37. Have you ever felt, when or after drinking, an inability to concentrate?
38. Have your ever felt "remorse" after drinking?
39. Has a physician ever treated you for drinking?
40. Have you ever been hospitalized for drinking?
Many other questions could be asked but the foregoing are sufficient for the purpose of this instruction.
.
.


WHY DOES AN ALCOHOLIC DRINK?

Having decided that we are alcoholics, it is well to consider what competent mental doctors consider as the REASONS why an Alcoholic drinks.
1. As an escape from situations of life which he cannot face.
2. As evidence of a maladjusted personality (including sexual maladjustments)
3. As a development from social drinking to pathological drinking.
4. As a symptom of a major abnormal mental state.
5. As an escape from incurable physical pain.
6. As a symptom of constitutional inferiority-a psychopathic personality. For example, an individual who drinks because he likes alcohol, knows he cannot handle it, but does not care.
7. Many times one cannot determine any great and glaring mechanism as the basis of why the drinker drinks; but the revealing fact may be elicited that alcohol is taken to relieve a certain vague restlessness in the individual incident to friction between his biological and emotional make-up and the ordinary strains of life.
The above reasons are general reasons. Where the individuality or personality of the alcoholic is concerned these reasons may be divided as follows-
1. A self-pampering tendency which manifests itself in refusal to tolerate, even temporarily, unpleasant states of mind such as boredom, sorrow, anger, disappointment, worry, depression, dissatisfaction, and feelings of inferiority and inadequacy. "I want what I want when I want it" seems to express the attitude of many alcoholics toward life.
2. An instinctive urge for self-expression, unaccompanied by determination to translate the urge into creative action.
3. An abnormal craving for emotional experiences which calls for removal of intellectual restraint.
4. Powerful hidden ambitions, without the necessary resolve to take practical steps to attain them and with resultant discontent, irritability, depression, disgruntledness and general restlessness.
5. A tendency to flinch from the worries of life and to seek escape from reality by the easiest means available.
6. An unreasonable demand for continuous happiness or excitement.
7. An insistent craving for the feeling of self-confidence, calm and poise that some obtain temporarily from alcohol.


WE ADMIT

If, after carefully considering the foregoing, we ADMIT we are an alcoholic we must realize that-
Once a person becomes a pathological drinker, he can never again become a controlled drinker; and-from that point on, is limited to just two alternatives:
1. Total permanent abstinence.
2. Chronic alcoholism with all of the handicaps and penalties it implies. In other words-we have gone past the point where we HAD A CHOICE.
All we have left is a DECISION to make.
WE RESOLVE TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT
1. WE MUST CHANGE OUR WAY OF THINKING. (This is such an important matter that it will have to be discussed more fully in a later discussion.)
2. We must realize that each morning, when you wake, you are a potential drunkard for that day.
3. We resolve that we will practice A.A. for the 24 hours of that day.
4. We must study the other eleven Steps of the Program and practice each and every one.
5. Attend the regular Group Meeting each week without fail.
6. Firmly believe that by practicing A.A. faithfully each day, we will achieve sobriety.
7. Believe that we can be free from alcohol as a problem.
8. contact another member BEFORE taking a drink-not AFTER. Tell him what bothers you-talk it over with him freely.
9. Work the Program for ourselves alone-NOT for our wife, children, friends or for our job.
10. Be absolutely honest and sincere.
11. Be fully open minded-no mental reservations.
12. Be fully willing to work the Program. Nothing good in life comes without work.


CONCLUSION

1. Alcoholics are suffering from a MENTAL DISEASE-not a physical illness. Fortunately we in A.A. have learned how it may be controlled (this will be shown in the next eleven Steps of the Program.)
2. We can also learn to be FREE from alcohol as a problem.
3. We can achieve a full and happy life without recourse to alcohol.


ASK QUESTIONS

No question pertaining to drinking-or stopping drinking-is silly or irrelevant. The matter is TOO SERIOUS.
Any questions we ask may help some one else.
This is not a short-cut to A.A. It is an introduction-a help-a brief course in fundamentals.
In A.A. we learn by question and answer.
We learn by exchanging our thought and our experience with each other.
Any question you ask may help some one else. To cover as many questions as possible in the short time available all answers must be limited to three (3) minutes.


DISCUSSION NO. 2

THE SPIRITUAL PHASE

The material contained herein is merely an outline of the spiritual phase of the program and is not intended to replace or supplant
a. The careful reading and re-reading of the Big Book.
b. Regular attendance at weekly group meetings.
c. Study of the Program.
d. Daily practice of the program.
e. Reading of approved printed matter on Alcoholism.
f. Informal discussion with other members.
This instruction is not a short-cut to A.A. It is an introduction-a help-a brief course in the fundamentals.
This meeting covers Steps 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 11. We will take them in order.
STEP NO. 2-"Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity."
Our drinking experience has shown-
1. That as we strayed away from the normal SOCIAL side of life, our minds became confused and we strayed away from the normal MENTAL side of life.
2. An abnormal MENTAL condition is certainly not SANITY in the accepted sense of the word. We have acquired or developed a MENTAL DISEASE. Our study of A.A. shows that-
a. In the MENTAL or tangible side of life we have lost touch with, or ignored, or have forgotten the SPIRITUAL values that give us the dignity of MAN as differentiated from the ANIMAL. We have fallen back upon the MATERIAL things of life and these have failed us. We have been groping in the dark.
b. No HUMAN agency, no SCIENCE or ART has been able to solve the alcoholic problem, so we turn to the SPIRITUAL for quidance.
Therefore, we "Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity."
1. We must believe with a great FAITH.
STEP NO. 3-"Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of GOD as we understand Him." In the first step we learned that we had lost the power of CHOICE and had to make a DECISION.
1. What DECISION could we make better than to
a. Turn our very WILL over to GOD, realizing that our own use of our own will had resulted in trouble.
b. As in the Lord's Prayer you must believe and practice THY WILL BE DONE.
2. GOD as we understand Him.
3. RELIGION is a word we do not use in A.A. We refer to a member's relation to GOD as the SPIRITUAL. A religion is a FORM of worship-not the worship itself.
4. If a man cannot believe in GOD he can certainly believe in SOMETHING greater than himself. If he cannot believe in a POWER greater than himself he is a rather hopeless egoist.
STEP NO. 5-"Admitted to GOD, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs." 
1. There is nothing new in this step. There are many sound reasons for "talking over our troubles out loud with others."
2. The Catholic already has this medium readily available to him in the Confessional.
But-the Catholic is at a disadvantage if he thinks his familiarity with confession permits him to think his part of A.A. is thereby automatically taken care of. He must, in confession, seriously consider his problems in relation to his alcoholic thinking.
3. The non-Catholic has the way open to work this step by going to his minister, his doctor, or his friend.
4. Under this step it is not even necessary to go to a priest or minister. Any understanding human being, friend or stranger will serve the purpose.
5. The purpose and intent of this step is so plain and definite that it needs little explanation. The point is that we MUST do EXACTLY what the Fifth Step says, sooner or later.
We must not be in a rush to get this step off our chest. Consider it carefully and calmly. Then get about it and do it.
6. "Wrongs" do not necessarily mean "crime. It can well be wrong thinking-selfishness-false pride-egotism-or any one of a hundred such negative faults.
STEP NO. 6-"We are entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character."
1. After admitting our wrong thinking and wrong actions in Step 5 we now do something more than "admit" or "confess."
2. We now become READY and WILLING to have God remove the defects in our CHARACTER.
3. Remember it is OUR character we are working on. Not the other fellow's. Here is a good place to drop the CRITICAL attitude toward others-the SUPERIOR attitude toward others.
4. We must clean our mind of wrong thinking-petty jealousy-envy-self pity-remorse, etc.
5. Here is the place to drop RESENTMENTS, one of the biggest hurdles the alcoholic has to get over.
6. What concerns us here is that we drop all thoughts of resentment-anger-hatred-revenge.
7. We turn our WILL over to God and let HIS WILL direct us how to patiently remove, one by one, all defects in our character.
STEP NO. 7-"Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings." The meaning of this step is clear. Prayer-Humility.
1. Prayer. No man can tell another HOW to pray. Each one has, or works out for himself, his own method.
If we cannot pray, we just talk to God and tell Him our troubles.
Meditate-think clearly and cleanly-and ask God to direct our thoughts. Christ said "ask and ye shall receive." What method is simpler-merely "ask."
If you cannot pray ask God to teach you to pray.
2. Humility. This, simply, is the virtue of being ourselves and realizing how small we are in a big world full of its own trouble.
Drop all pretense. We must not be Mr. Big Shot-bragging, boasting. Shed false pride. Tell the simple, plain, unvarnished truth. Act, walk and talk simply. See the little bit of good that exists in an evil man. Forget the little bit of evil that exists in the good man. We must not look down on the very lowest of GOD'S creatures or man's mistakes. Think clearly, honestly, fairly, generously.
3. The shortcomings we ask GOD to remove are the very defects in character that make us drink. The same defects we drink to hide or to get away from.
STEP NO. 11-"Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with GOD as we understood HIM praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out."
1. We pray each night-every night-a prayer of thanks.
2. We pray each morning-every morning-for help and guidance.
3. When we are lonely-confused-uncertain-we pray.
Most of us find it well to:
1. Choose, for each day, a "quite time" to meditate on the program, on your progress in it.
2. Keep conscious contact with GOD and pray to make that contact closer.
3. Pray that our will be laid aside and that God's will direct us.
4. Pray for calmness-quiet-relaxation-rest.
5. Pray for strength and courage to enable us to do today's work today.
6. Pray for forgiveness for yesterday's errors.
7. Ask for HOPE for better things tomorrow.
8. Pray for what we feel we need. We will not get what we "want." We will get what we "need"-what is good for us.


CONCLUSION

We find that no one need have difficulty with the spiritual side of the program. WILLINGNESS-HONESTY and OPEN MINDEDNESS are the ESSENTIALS OF RECOVERY. BUT THESE ARE INDISPENSABLE.


ASK QUESTIONS

No question pertaining to drinking-or stopping drinking-is silly or irrelevant. The matter is too SERIOUS. In A.A. we learn by question and answer.
We learn by exchanging our thought and our experience with each other.
Any question you ask may help someone else. To cover as many questions as possible in the short time available all answers must be limited to three (3) minutes.
GOD grant me the serenity to accept things I cannot change, courage to change things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.


DISCUSSION NO. 3

INVENTORY AND RESTITUTION

The material contained herein is merely an outline of the inventory and restitution steps and is not intended to replace or supplant-
a. The careful reading and re-reading of the Big Book.
b. Regular attendance at weekly group meetings.
c. Study of the Program.
d. Daily practice of the program.
e. Reading of approved printed matter on Alcoholism.
f. Informal discussion with other members.
This instruction is not a short-cut to A.A. It is an introduction-a help-a brief course in the fundamentals.
This meeting covers Steps 4-8-9-10-We will take them in order.
STEP 4-"Make a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves." The intent and purpose of this step is plain. All alcoholics have a definite need for a good self-analysis-a sort of self-appraisal. Other people have certainly analyzed us, appraised us, criticized us and even judged us. It might be a good idea to judge ourselves, calmly and honestly. We need inventory because-
1. Either our faults, weaknesses, defects of character-are the cause of our drinking OR
2. Our drinking has weakened our character and let us drift into all kinds of wrong action, wrong attitudes, wrong viewpoints. In either event we obviously need an inventory and the only kink of inventory to make is a GOOD one.
Moreover, the job is up to US. WE created or WE let develop all the anti-social actions that got US in wrong. So WE have got to work it out. WE must make out a list of our faults and then We must do something about it.
The inventory must be four things-
1. It must be HONEST. Why waste time fooling ourselves with a phoney list. We have fooled ourselves for years. We tried to fool others and now is a good time to look ourselves squarely in the eye.
2. It must be SEARCHING. Why skip over a vital matter lightly and quickly. Our trouble is a grave mental disease, confused by screwy thinking. Therefore, we must SEARCH diligently and fearlessly to get at the TRUTH of what is wrong with us-just dig in and SEARCH.
3. It must be FEARLESS. We must not be afraid we might find things in our heart, mind and soul that we will hate to discover. If we do find such things they may be the ROOT of our trouble.
4. It must be a MORAL inventory. Some, in error, think the inventory is a lot of unpaid debts, plus a list of unmade apologies. Our trouble goes much deeper. We will find the root of our trouble lies in- resentments-False Pride-Envy-Jealousy-Selfishness and many other things. Laziness is an important one. In other words we are making an inventory of our character-our attitude toward others-our very way of living. We are not preparing a financial statement. We will pay our bills all right, because we cannot even begin to practice A.A. without HONESTY.
STEP 8-"Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all." Under this step we will make a list (mental or written) of those we have harmed.
We ask GOD to let His Will be done, not OUR will, and ask for the strength and courage to become willing to forget resentments and false pride and make amends to those we have harmed. We must not do this step grudgingly, or as an unpleasant task to be rid of quickly. We must do it WILLINGLY, fairly and humbly-without condescension.
STEP 9-"Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others."
Here is where we make peace with ourselves by making peace with those we have hurt.
The amends we make must be direct. We must pay in kind for the hurt we have done them.
If we have cheated them we must make restitution.
If we have hurt their feelings we must ask forgiveness from them.
The list of harms done may be long but the list of amends is equally long.
For every "wrong" we have done, there is a "right" we may do to compensate.
There is only one exception. we must develop a sense of justice, a spirit of fairness, an attitude of common sense. If our effort to make amends would create further harm or cause a scandal we will have to skip the "direct amends" and clean the matter up under STEP 5.




HUMILITY
A state of complete humility is very difficult to attain, but the goal is well worth the effort, considering the serenity that is achieved.




DISCUSSION NO. 4

ACTIVE WORK

The material contained herein is merely an outline of the inventory and restitution steps and is not intended to replace or supplant-
a. The careful reading and re-reading of the Big Book.
b. Regular attendance at weekly group meetings.
c. Study of the Program.
d. Daily practice of the program.
e. Reading of approved printed matter on Alcoholism.
f. Informal discussion with other members.
This instruction is not a short-cut to A.A. It is an introduction-a help-a brief course in the fundamentals.


THIS MEETING COVERS THE TWELFTH STEP

"Having had a spiritual experience as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs."
This STEP logically separates into 3 parts.
1. The SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE.
The terms "spiritual experience" and "spiritual awakening" used here and in the book ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, mean, upon careful reading, that the personality change sufficient to bring about recovery from alcoholism has manifested itself among us in many forms.
Do NOT get the impression that these personality changes, or spiritual experiences, must be in the nature of sudden and spectacular upheavals. Happily for everyone, this conclusion is erroneous.
Among our rapidly membership of thousands of alcoholics such transformations, though frequent, are by no means the rule. Most of our experiences are what the psychologist William James calls the "educational variety" because they develop slowly over a period of time. Quite often friends of the newcomer are aware of the difference long before he is himself.
The new man gradually realizes that he has undergone a profound alteration in his reaction to life; that such a change could hardly have been brought about by himself alone. What often takes place in a few months could seldom have been accomplished by years of self-discipline. With few exceptions our members find that they have tapped an unsuspected inner resource which they presently identify with their own conception of a Power greater than themselves.
Most emphatically we wish to say that any alcoholic capable of honestly facing his problem in the light of our experience can recover provided he does no close his mind to all spiritual concepts. He can only be defeated by an attitude of intolerance or belligerent denial.
We find that no one need have difficulty with the spiritual side of the program. Willingness, Honesty and Open Mindedness are the Essentials of Recovery. But these are indispensable.
2. CARRY THE MESSAGE TO OTHERS.
This means exactly what it says. Carry the message actively. Bring it to the man who needs it. We do it in many ways.
a. By attending EVERY meeting of our own group
b. By making calls when asked.
c. By speaking at Group Meetings when asked.
d. By supporting our Group financially to make group meetings possible.
e. By assisting at Meetings when asked.
f. By setting a good example of complete sobriety.
g. By owning, and loaning to new men, our own copy of the big A.A. Book.
h. By encouraging those who find the way difficult.
i. By serving as an officer or on group committees or special assignment when asked.
j. By doing all of the foregoing cheerfully and willingly.
k. We do any or all of the foregoing at some sacrifice to OURSELVES WITH DEFINITE THOUGHT OF DEVELOPING unselfishness in our own character.
3. WE PRACTICE THESE PRINCIPLES IN ALL OUR AFFAIRS.
This last part of the TWELFTH STEP is the real purpose that all of the twelve steps lead to-a new "way of life"; a "design for living." It shows how to live rightly, think rightly and to achieve happiness.
HOW DO WE GO ABOUT IT?
a. We resolve to live our life, one day at a time-just 24 hours.
b. We pray each day for guidance that day.
c. We pray each night-thanks for that day.
d. We resolve to keep our heads and to forego any anger, no matter what situation arises.
e. We are patient.
f. We keep calm-relaxed.
g. Now, and most important, whatever LITTLE ordinary situation as well as BIG situations arise, we look at it calmly and fairly, with an open mind. Then act on it in exact accordance with the simple true principles that A.A. has taught and will teach us.
In other words, our SOBRIETY is only a correction of our worst and most evident faults. Our living each day according to the principles of A.A. will also correct all of our other lesser faults and will gradually eliminate, one by one, all of the defects in our character that cause frictions, discontent, and unhappy rebellious moods that lead right back to our very chief fault of drinking.


ASK QUESTIONS

No question pertaining to drinking-or stopping drinking is silly or irrelevant. The matter is too SERIOUS. In A.A. we learn by question and answer.
We learn by exchanging our thought and experience with each other.
Any question we may ask may help someone else.
Answers must be limited to three (3) minutes.


· Welcome To The Recovery Fellowship!
· Addiction Recovery
· General Recovery
  1. Perhaps there is a better way ...
  2. Information about Alcoholics Anonymous
  3. How It Works
  4. AA & Big Book Definitions, Slang Terms
  5. Calendar of AA Conventions and Conferences
  6. The Twelve Steps & Twelve Traditions, Power Posts
  7. 4th Edition Big Book Online
  8. Resentments - Power Posts
  9. Twelve Concepts of Alcoholics Anonymous
  10. Untreated Alcoholism
  11. Let's Ask Bill W
  12. The Legacy of Recovery
  13. How Did The "I'm An Alcoholic" Custom Start?
  14. The A.A. Tools of Recovery
  15. Your AA General Service Office
  16. The Medical View on A.A.
  17. Insanity as described in the Big Book
  18. Circle & Triangle
  19. "Musts" in the AA big book
  20. The Jack Alexander Article (From Saturday Evening Post)
  21. Old Preamble
  22. Important Dates in AA History
  23. A History of the Big Book - Alcoholics Anonymous
  24. HOW THE BIG BOOK WAS PUT TOGETHER
  25. Alcohol Faqs
  26. Definition Of Alcoholism
  27. Alcoholics Anonymous - Power Posts
  28. We can all have Hope, instead of desperation
  29. Camels & AA
  30. Living With Depression
  31. The A.A. Tools of Recovery
  32. The Secret Of Detachment
  33. Why 'not drinking'?
  34. Clarence S. list of character defects<.li>
  35. Passing It On - By Bill W.
  36. Introducing ourselves in meetings
  37. The Traditions as They Apply to Our Singleness of Purpose
  38. Bill Wilson (song)
  39. What causes a binge?
  40. What is Our Primary Purpose?
  41. What did you do today?
  42. WHAT AA IS NOT
  43. HUMILITY PLAQUE - famous plaque that sat on Dr. Bob's desk
  44. Obsession
  45. Principles of Recovery from alcoholism
  46. The five A's of Adjustment
  47. Forgiveness, The Missing Step
  48. Benjamin Franklin's WISDOM FOR ALCOHOLICS
  49. Purposes of the Big Book
  50. What the Big Book has to say about selfishness - 15 quotes.
  51. What makes the AA program work
  52. AA is. . .
  53. What is freedom in AA?
  54. How do we keep in fit spiritual condition?
  55. The Twelve Rewards of the Twelve Step Program
  56. A Letter
  57. SEVEN DEADLY SINS
  58. AA Royalty - Documents concerning AAWS history
  59. Who invented AA?
  60. The next frontier: Emotional Sobriety
  61. That Ain't in the Book!
  62. Alcoholism
  63. This is the first twelve members of AA
  64. The "ICK" And The "ISM"
  65. The Real and Complete A.A. History Story
  66. The Oxford Group Connection
  67. The greatest enemies of us alcoholics are . . .
  68. Notice of new book on A.A. history
  69. AA helps many souls take flight
  70. Suggestions on helping newcomers to keep coming back
  71. A.A. History
  72. A DRUNK FELL IN A HOLE AND COULDN'T GET OUT
  73. About AA
  74. The real purpose of putting the Twelve Steps to work
  75. Do alcoholics as a class differ from other people?
  76. Alcoholism
  77. The First A.A. Pamphlet
  78. A Little More AA History
  79. What Early AA Was Really Like?
  80. The Best Little Coffeemaker In AA
  81. The Rest of the Story
  82. OUR SLOGANS AS SEEN BY A NEWCOMER
  83. Alcohol
  84. Quotes, Sayings & Slogans
  85. Dealing With Impatience
  86. The Dry Drunk Syndrome
  87. Easy Does It
  88. God As We Understand Him
  89. Willingness
  90. Seeing the Past Clearly
  91. The Washing Machine
  92. HOW THE BIG BOOK WAS PUT TOGETHER"
  93. The New Frontier - Emotional Sobriety by Bill W
  94. What Is Acceptance?
  95. The Lessons of Sobriety
  96. How To Get Rid Of The Past
  97. Bill Dotson - AA Member #3
  98. Bill Wilson's Letter To Dr. Carl Jung , Jan 23, 1961
  99. This Matter of Fear
  100. Big Book Quiz
  101. Bill Taking Steps 3-12
  102. Dr. Bob's Last Drink
  103. Dr. Bob's Story
  104. Question?
  105. Struggling today
1000 DAILY READINGS AND REFELECTIONS
  1. Today's Gift
  2. AA Thoughts-Transitions Daily
  3. Pocket Sponsor
  4. Some thoughts on Faith
  5. Helen Steiner Rice's 10 Commandments
"Remember your last drunk"
Page 24, Paragraph 2: "We are unable, at times, to bring into our consciousness with sufficient force the memory of the suffering and humiliation of even a week or a month ago. We are without defense against the first drink."
"I choose not to drink today"
Page 24 Paragraph 2: "The fact is that most alcoholics, for reasons yet obscure, have lost the power of choice in drink."
"Play the tape all the way through"
Page 24, paragraph 3: "The almost certain consequences that follow taking even a glass of beer do not crowd into the mind to deter us. I f these thoughts do occur, they are hazy and readily supplanted with the old threadbare idea that this time we shall handle ourselves like other people. There is a complete failure of the kind of defense that keeps one from putting his hand on a hot stove."
"Think through the drink"
Page 43, paragraph 4: "Once more: The alcoholic at certain times has no effective mental defense against the first drink. Except in a few rare cases, neither he nor any other human being can provide such a defense. His defense must come from a Higher Power."
"I will always be recovering, never recovered."
Title Page: "ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS. The Story of How Many Thousands of Men and Women Have Recovered from Alcoholism"
Page 20, paragraph 2: "Doubtless you are curious to discover how and why, in face of expert opinion to the contrary, we have recovered from a hopeless condition of mind and body.
Foreword to the First Edition: "We, of Alcoholics Anonymous, are more than one hundred men and women who have recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body."
Page 29, paragraph 2: "Further on, clear-cut directions are given showing how we recovered."
Page 132, paragraph 3: "We have recovered, and have been given the power to help others."
“We are all just an arms length away from a drink”
Page 84, paragraph 4, "And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone - even alcohol. For by this time sanity will have returned. We will seldom be interested in liquor. If tempted, we recoil from it as from a hot flame. We react sanely and normally, and we will find that this has happened automatically. We will see that our new attitude toward liquor has been given us without any thought or effort on our part. It just comes! That is the miracle of it. We are not fighting it, neither are we avoiding temptation. We feel as though we had been placed in a position of neutrality - safe and protected. We have not even sworn off. Instead, the problem has been removed. It does not exist for us"
"I don't have an alcohol problem, I have a living problem"
Page xxiv, paragraph 2: "In our belief, any picture of the alcoholic which leaves out this physical factor is incomplete."
"Don't drink and go to meetings."
Page 34, paragraph 2: “Many of us felt we had plenty of character. There was a tremendous urge to cease forever. Yet we found it impossible. This is the baffling feature of alcoholism as we know it—this utter inability to leave it alone, no matter how great the necessity or the wish.”
Page 34, paragraph 3: "Whether such a person can quit upon a nonspiritual basis depends upon the extent to which he has already lost the power to choose whether he will drink or not."
Page 17, paragraph 2: "Unlike the feelings of the ship's passengers, however, our joy in escape from disaster does not subside as we go our individual ways. The feeling of having shared in a common peril is one element in the powerful cement which binds us. But that in itself would never have held us together as we are now joined."
"This is a selfish program"
Page 20, paragraph 1: "Our very lives, as ex-problem drinkers depend upon our constant thought of others and how we may help meet their needs."
Page 97, paragraph 2: "Helping others is the foundation stone of your recovery. 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. "
Page 14-15: "For if an alcoholic failed to perfect and enlarge his spiritual life through work and self-sacrifice for others, he could not survive the certain trials and low spots ahead."
Page 62, paragraph 2: "Selfishness, self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles"
Page 62, paragraph 3: "So our troubles, we think, are basically of our own making. They arise out of ourselves, and the alcoholic is an extreme example of self-will run riot, though he usually doesn't think so. Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness. We must, or it
kill us!"
"Meeting makers make it"
Page 59, paragraph 3: "Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery"
"I'm powerless over people, places and things"
Page 132, paragraph 3: "We have recovered, and have been given the power to help others."
Page 122, paragraph 3: " Years of living with an alcoholic is almost sure to make any wife or child neurotic. "
Page 82, paragraph 4: "The alcoholic is like a tornado roaring his way through the lives of others. Hearts are broken. Sweet relationships are dead. Affections have been uprooted. Selfish and inconsiderate habits have kept the home in turmoil. We feel a man is unthinking when he says that sobriety is enough."
Page 89, paragraph 2: "You can help when no one else can. You can secure their confidence when others fail."
"You're in the right place"
Page 20-21: "Then we have a certain type of hard drinker. He may have the habit badly enough to gradually impair him physically and mentally. It may cause him to die a few years before his time. If a sufficiently strong reason - ill health, falling in love, change of environment, or the warning of a doctor - becomes operative, this man can also stop or moderate, although he may find it difficult and troublesome and may even need medical attention."
Page 31, paragraph 2: " If anyone who is showing inability to control his drinking can do the right- about-face and drink like a gentleman, our hats are off to him."
Page 31-32: "We do not like to pronounce any individual as alcoholic, but you can quickly diagnose yourself. Step over to the nearest barroom and try some controlled drinking. Try to drink and stop abruptly. Try it more than once. It will not take long for you to decide, if you are honest with yourself about it. It may be worth a bad case of jitters if you get a full knowledge of your condition."
Page 108-109: "Your husband may be only a heavy drinker. His drinking may be constant or it may be heavy only on certain occasions. Perhaps he spends too much money for liquor. It may be slowing him up mentally and physically, but he does not see it. Sometimes he is a source of embarrassment to you and his friends. He is positive he can handle his liquor, that it does him no harm, that drinking is necessary in his business. He would probably be insulted if he were called an alcoholic. This world is full of people like him. Some will moderate or stop altogether, and some will not. Of those who keep on, a good number will become true alcoholics after a while."
Page 92, paragraph 2: "If you are satisfied that he is a real alcoholic"
Page 95, paragraph 4: "If he thinks he can do the job in some other way, or prefers some other spiritual approach, encourage him to follow his own conscience."
"If an alcoholic wants to get sober, nothing you say can make him drink. "
Page 103, paragraph 2: "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."
"We must change playmates, playgrounds, and playthings"
Page 100-101: "Assuming we are spiritually fit, we can do all sorts of things alcoholics are not supposed to do. People have said we must not go where liquor is served; we must not have it in our homes; we must shun friends who drink; we must avoid moving pictures which show drinking scenes; we must not go into bars; our friends must hide their bottles if we go to their houses; we mustn't think or be reminded about alcohol at all. Our experience shows that this is not necessarily so.
We meet these conditions every day. An alcoholic who cannot meet them, still has an alcoholic mind; there is something the matter with his spiritual status. His only chance for sobriety would be some place like the Greenland Ice Cap, and even there an Eskimo might turn up with a bottle of scotch and ruin everything!"
"I'm a people pleaser. I need to learn to take care of myself"
Page 61, paragraph 2:"Is he not really a self-seeker even when trying to be kind?"
"Don't drink, even if your ass falls off."
Page 34, paragraph 2: “Many of us felt we had plenty of character. There was a tremendous urge to cease forever. Yet we found it impossible. This is the baffling feature of alcoholism as we know it—this utter inability to leave it alone, no matter how great the necessity or the wish.”
"I haven't had a drink today, so I'm a complete success today."
Page 19, paragraph 1: "The elimination of drinking is but a beginning. A much more important demonstration of our principles lies before us in our respective homes, occupations and affairs.”
"It's my opinion that..." or "I don't know anything about the Big Book, but this is the way I do it..."
Page 19, paragraph 1: "We have concluded to publish an anonymous volume setting forth the problem as we see it. We shall bring to the task our combined experience and knowledge. This should suggest a useful program for anyone concerned with a drinking problem."
"Don't drink, no matter what."
Page 34, paragraph 2: “Many of us felt we had plenty of character. There was a tremendous urge to cease forever. Yet we found it impossible. This is the baffling feature of alcoholism as we know it—this utter inability to leave it alone, no matter how great the necessity or the wish.”
Page 31, paragraph 4: "We do not like to pronounce any individual as alcoholic, but you can quickly diagnose yourself. Step over to the nearest barroom and try some controlled drinking. Try to drink and stop abruptly. Try it more than once. It will not take long for you to decide, if you are honest with yourself about it. It may be worth a bad case of jitters if you get a full knowledge of your condition."
"We need to give up planning, it doesn't work."
Page 86, paragraphs 3-4: "On awakening let us think about the twenty-four hours ahead. We consider our plans for the day. Before we begin, we ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives. Under these conditions we can employ our mental faculties with assurance, for after all God gave us brains to use. Our thought-life will be placed on a much higher plane when our thinking is cleared of wrong motives.
In thinking about our day we may face indecision. We may not be able to determine which course to take. Here we ask God for inspiration, an intuitive thought or a decision. We relax and take it easy. We don't struggle. We are often surprised how the right answers come after we have tried this for a while."
"I have a choice to not drink today."
Page 30, paragraph 3: "We alcoholics are men and women who have lost the ability to control our drinking. We know that no real alcoholic ever recovers control. All of us felt at times that we were regaining control, but such intervals - usually brief - were inevitably followed by still less control, which led in time to pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization. We are convinced to a man that alcoholics of our type are in the grip of a progressive illness. Over any considerable period we get worse, never better."
"If all I do is stay sober today, then it's been a good day."
Page 82, paragraph 3: " Sometimes we hear an alcoholic say that the only thing he needs to do is to keep sober. Certainly he must keep sober, for there will be no home if he doesn't. But he is yet a long way from making good to the wife or parents whom for years he has so shockingly treated."
Page 82 paragraph 4: "We feel a man is unthinking when he says sobriety is enough."
"You don't need a shrink. You have an alcoholic personality. All you will ever need is in the first 164 pages of the Big Book."
Page 133, 2nd paragraph: "But this does not mean that we disregard human health measures. God has abundantly supplied this world with fine doctors, psychologists, and practitioners of various kinds. Do not hesitate to take your health problems to such persons. Most of them give freely of themselves, that their fellows may enjoy sound minds and bodies. Try to remember that though God has wrought miracles among us, we should never belittle a good doctor or psychiatrist. Their services are often indispensable in treating a newcomer and in following his case afterward."
"AA is the only way to stay sober."
page 95, paragraph 4: If he thinks he can do the job in some other way, or prefers some other spiritual approach, encourage him to follow his own conscience. We have no monopoly on God; we merely have an approach that worked with us.
Page 164, paragraph 3: “ Our book is meant to be suggestive only. We realize we know only a little.”
“My sponsor told me that, if in making an amend I would be harmed, I could consider myself as one of the ‘others’ in Step Nine.”
Page 79, paragraph 2 “Reminding ourselves that we have decided to go to any lengths to find a spiritual experience, we ask that we be given strength and direction to do the right thing, no matter what the personal consequences might be.”
"I need to forgive myself first" or "You need to be good to yourself"
Page 74, paragraph 2 “ The rule is we must be hard on ourself, but always considerate of others.”
"Take what you want and leave the rest"
Page 17, paragraph 3: "The tremendous fact for every one of us is that we have discovered a common solution. We have a way out on which we can absolutely agree, and upon which we can join in brotherly and harmonious action. This is the great news this book carries to those who suffer from alcoholism."
"Just do the next right thing"
Page 86, paragraph 4: " We may not be able to determine which course to take. Here we ask God for inspiration, an intuitive thought or a decision."
Page 87, paragraph 1: " Being still inexperienced and having just made conscious contact with God, it is not probable that we are going to be inspired at all times. We might pay for this presumption in all sorts of absurd actions and ideas."
"Don't make any major decisions for the first year"
Page 60, paragraph 4:
"(a) That we were alcoholic and could not manage our own lives.
(b) That probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism.
(c) That God could and would if He were sought.
Being convinced, we were at Step Three, which is that we decided to turn our will and our life over to God as we understood Him."
Page 76, paragraph 2: "When ready, we say something like this: "My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding. Amen." We have then completed Step Seven."

"Stay out of relationships for the first year!"
Page. 69, paragraph 1: "We do not want to be the arbiter of anyone's sex conduct."
Page 69, paragraph 3: "In meditation, we ask God what we should do about each specific matter. The right answer will come if we want it."
Page 69, paragraph 4: "God alone can judge our sex situation."
Page 69-70:"Counsel with other persons is often desirable, but we let God be the final judge."
Page 70, Paragraph 2: "We earnestly pray for the right ideal, for guidance in each questionable situation, for sanity, and for the strength to do the right thing."
"Alcohol was my drug of choice"
Page 24, paragraph 2: "The fact is that most alcoholics, for reasons yet obscure, have lost the power of choice in drink."
"Keep coming back, eventually it will rub off on you"
Page 64, Paragraph 1: "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"
"Ninety Meetings in Ninety Days"
Page 15, paragraph 2: "We meet frequently so that newcomers may find the fellowship they seek."
Page 19, paragraph 2: "None of us makes a sole vocation of this work, nor do we think its effectiveness would be increased if we did."
Page 59, paragraph 3: "Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery"
"You only work one step a year" "Take your time to work the steps"
Page 569, paragraph 3: What often takes place in a few months can hardly be brought about by himself alone."
Page 63, paragraph3: "Next we launched on a course of vigorous action."
Page 74, paragraph 2: "If that is so, this step may be postponed, only, however, if we hold ourselves in complete readiness to go through with it at the first opportunity"
Page 75, paragraph 3: "Returning home we find a place where we can be quiet for AN HOUR, carefully reviewing what we have done."
"Make sure to put something good about yourself in your 4th step inventory."
Page 64 paragraph 3 "First, we searched out the flaws in our make-up which caused our failure."

Page 67 paragraph 3 "The inventory was ours, not the other man's. When we saw our faults we listed them."
Page 71 paragraph 1 "If you have already made a decision, and an inventory of your grosser handicaps, you have made a good beginning."

"You need to stay in those feelings and really feel them."
Page 84, paragraph 2: "When these crop up, we ask God at once to remove them."
pg. 125 paragraph 1 "So we think that unless some good and useful purpose is to be served, past occurrences should not be discussed."
"There are no musts in this program."
Page 99, paragraph 1: "it must be done if any results are to be expected."
Page 99, paragraph 2: "we must try to repair the damage immediately lest we pay the penalty by a spree."
Page 99, paragraph 3: "it must be on a better basis, since the former did not work."
Page 83, paragraph 1: "Yes, there is a long period of reconstruction ahead. We must take the lead."
Page 83, paragraph 2: "We must remember that ten or twenty years of drunkenness would make a skeptic out of anyone."
Page 74, paragraph 1: "Those of us belonging to a religious denomination which requires confession must, and of course, will want to go to the properly appointed authority whose duty it is to receive it."
Page 74, paragraph 2: "The rule is we must be hard on ourself, but always considerate of others."
Page 75, paragraph 1: " But we must not use this as a mere excuse to postpone."
Page 85, paragraph 3: " But we must go further and that means more action."
Page 85, paragraph 2: " Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God's will into all of our activities."
Page 85, paragraph 2: "These are thoughts which must go with us constantly."
Page 80, paragraph 1: " If we have obtained permission, have consulted with others, asked God to help and the drastic step is indicated we must not shrink."
Page 14, paragraph 2: " I must turn in all things to the Father of Light who presides over us all."
Page 62, paragraph 3: " Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness. We must, or it kills us!"
Page 144, paragraph 3: "The man must decide for himself."
Page 89, paragraph 2: "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."
Page 33, paragraph 3: " If we are planning to stop drinking, there must be no reservation of any kind"
Page 79, paragraph 2: "We must not shrink at anything."
Page 86, paragraph 2: "But we must be careful not to drift into worry, remorse or morbid reflection, for that would diminish our usefulness to others."
Page 120, paragraph 2: "he must redouble his spiritual activities if he expects to survive."
Page 152, paragraph 2: "I know I must get along without liquor, but how can I?"
Page 95, paragraph 3: "he must decide for himself whether he wants to go on"
Page 95, paragraph 3: "If he is to find God, the desire must come from within."
Page 159, paragraph 3: "Though they knew they must help other alcoholics if they would remain sober, that motive became secondary."
Page 156, paragraph 3: " Both saw that they must keep spiritually active. "
Page 130, paragraph 2: "that is where our work must be done."
Page 82, paragraph 3: "Certainly he must keep sober, for there will be no home if he doesn't."
Page 143, paragraph 2: "he should understand that he must undergo a change of heart"
Page 69, paragraph 4: "Whatever our ideal turns out to be, we must be willing to grow toward it."
Page 69, paragraph 4: "We must be willing to make amends where we have done harm"
Page 44, paragraph 3: "we had to face the fact that we must find a spiritual basis of life - or else."
Page 78, paragraph 3: "We must lose our fear of creditors no matter how far we have to go, for we are liable to drink if we are afraid to face them."
Page 93, paragraph 3: "To be vital, faith must be accompanied by self sacrifice and unselfish, constructive action."
Page 43, paragraph 4: "His defense must come from a Higher Power."
Page 66, paragraph 4: "We saw that these resentments must be mastered"
Page 146, paragraph 4: " For he knows he must be honest if he would live at all."
Page 73, paragraph 5: "We must be entirely honest with somebody if we expect to live long or happily in this world."
But Remember... "When the man is presented with this volume it is best that no one tell him he must abide by its suggestions." page 144, paragraph 3
Dry Drunk Syndrome
Sobriety will necessarily have its ups and downs, its good times and its bad times, if only because we live in a world which we are inseparably joined. One doesn't always sustain sobriety at the same level. There are fluctuations, shocks and setbacks which, when addressed within the context of the A.A. program, so not in themselves imperil the totality of one's sobriety. The Dry Drunk Syndrome is a term that should not be used as a catch-all when one has a bad day or a bump in life throws us for a while. Those are ups and downs that everyone experiences and shouldn't be labeled to be anything more than what they truly are. The Dry Drunk is a condition far more serious than the highs and lows of our day-to-day existence.
The phrase "dry drunk" has two significant words for the alcoholic. "Dry" refers to the abstinence from drinking, whereas "drunk" signifies a deeply pathological condition resulting from the use of alcohol in the past. Taken together these words suggest intoxication without alcohol. Since intoxication comes from the Greek word for poison, "dry drunk" implies a state of mind and a mode of behavior that are poisonous to the alcoholic's well being.
OBVIOUS TRAITS Persons experiencing a full-blown DRY DRUNK are, for that period, removed from the world of sobriety; they fail, for whatever reason, to accept the necessary conditions for sober living. Their mental and emotional homes are chaotic, their approach to everyday living is unrealistic, and their behavior, both verbal and physical, is unacceptable.
This lack of sober realism manifests itself in many ways.
1. Grandiosity, put very simply, is an exaggeration of one's own importance. This can be demonstrated either in terms of one's strengths or weaknesses. In either case it is blatantly self- seeking or self-serving, putting oneself at the center of attention, from the "big me" who has ask the answers to the "poor me" whose cup of self-pity runneth over and wants all of our attention.
2. Judgmentalism is mutually related to grandiosity. It means that the alcoholic is prone to make value judgments - strikingly inappropriate evaluations - usually in terms of "goodness" or "badness".
3. Intolerance leaves no room for delaying the gratification of personal desires. This is accomplished by gross confusion of priorities with the result that a mere whim or passing fancy is mistakenly given more importance than genuine personal needs.
4. Impulsivity is the result of intolerance or the lack of ability to delay gratification of personal desires. Impulsivity describes behavior which is heedless of the ultimate consequence for self or others.
5. Indecisiveness is related to impulsitivity in the sense that while the latter takes no realistic account of the consequences of the actions, the former precludes effective action altogether. Indecisiveness stems from an unrealistic exaggeration of the negative possibilities of the action ; so one wavers between two or more possible courses of action, more times than not- nothing gets done.
These conditions, grandiosity, judgmentalism, intolerance ,impulsivity, and indecisiveness taken separately or together can lead to the following: a) Mood swings, which are unrelated to the circumstances to which one tries to link them. Alcoholics zero in on what they want others to think is the cause of the mood swing, when it isn't that at all. More often than not it is something much deeper than the reason given. Inversely it can also be something totally insignificant with no substance at all (e.g. the sugar is too sweet or the donut is too round). Any excuse will do. b) Unable to demonstrate emotions freely, naturally and without constraint. No emotional spontaneity, no genuine spark. c) Introspection. A very healthy thing to do is difficult if not impossible for the "dry drunk". It means to look inward to one's examining each thought and desire, which is linked directly to one's attitude. d) Detachment. Become aloof, display indifference, don't care one way or the other, no special likes or dislikes, they withdraw. e) Self-absorption- with a tendency to call attention to whatever they have attained. Narcissism which is quite simply self-love. They become pompous asses. f) The inability to appreciate or enjoy themselves - nothing satisfies. g) Evidence of disorganization, is easily distracted, complains of boredom, and nothing seems to fit. h) A nostalgia sets in, a kind of wistful yearning for something of the past, such as freedom from care associated (falsely) with drinking, bars, drinking associates, and friends; the music, blue lights, and tinkle of the ice cubes in a glass in the neighborhood saloon. i) There can be a kind of romanticism, which includes unrealistic valuations of lifestyles and character traits which can be and usually are objectively dangerous to one's sobriety. j) Escapism. Fantasizing, daydreaming, and wishful thinking are very much in evidence in the dry drunk syndrome as the individual slips farther and farther from reality.
Since the abnormality of the alcoholic's attitudes and behavior during the drinking career is generally recognized, the persistence or these character traits after stopping drinking (or the reappearance after an interlude of sobriety) is equally abnormal.
The term "dry drunk" therefore denotes the absences of favorable change in the attitudes and behavior of the alcoholic who is not drinking, or the reversion of these by the alcoholic who has experienced a period of successful sobriety. From these conditions, it is to be inferred that the alcoholic is experiencing discomfort in life.
The self-destructive attitudes and behavior of the dry drunk alcoholic are different in degree but not in kind. The alcoholic, when drinking, has learned to rely on a deeply inadequate, radically immature approach to solving life's problems. And this is exactly what one sees in the dry drunk.
ANALYSIS OF DRY DRUNK BEHAVIOR The alcoholic who rationalizes their own irresponsible behavior are also likely to find fault in the attitudes and behavior of others. Although not denying their own shortcomings, they attempt to escape notice by cataloging in great detail the transgressions of others.
The classic maneuver of the dry drunk is over-reaction. The alcoholic may attach a seemingly disproportionate intensity of feeling to an ordinary insignificant event or mishap.
Some alcoholics who experience the dry drunk seem to know all the answers, are seldom at a loss for words when it comes to self-diagnosis. Their knowledge is quite impressive, their apparent insight, as opposed to genuine insight, is convincing.
CORRECTIVE MEASURES: Those undergoing a dry drunk lead impoverished lives. They experience severe limitations to grow,, to mature, and benefit from the possibilities that life offers. They lack the freshness and spontaneity that genuinely sober alcoholics manifest. Their life is a closed system, attitudes and behaviors are stereotyped, repetitive, and consequently predictable.
Alcoholics learn early that humility and a power greater than them- selves are the bedrock for a genuine and productive sobriety. An unusual measure of self-discipline must accompany the ego deflation process. Needed is self-discipline in honesty, patience and responsibility towards the recovery process [and acceptance of their disease]. [To improve long term goals of sobriety be aware of mental stressors, get more involved in the recovery program, get active in the 12 steps, get and use a sponsor, talk things out.] Hopefully. they will begin to appreciate the ironic folly of those alcoholics who think life has suddenly become manageable again; whose sanity is beyond question; who see no need of turning their lives over to a power greater then them- selves; who find personal inventories unnecessary since they are seldom in the wrong and are no longer subject to the embarrassing need of repairing the wrongs they have done.
When dry drunk alcoholics awaken to this irony that they, still unmanageable, still powerless, are the ones who have made this remarkable "recovery," they may feel sufficiently mortified to want to change.







This little booklet, originally titled "Alcoholics Anonymous: An interpretation of our Twelve Steps," was widely used in the early days of A.A. in the Northwest. It was not produced by Alcoholics Anonymous, but rather was printed and subsequently modified by several different publishers. It was, perhaps, the earliest attempt at a guide to the Twelve Steps.

The story is that a serviceman, on his way to the war in the Pacific, stopped into a meeting in Seattle with a one of the booklets. Members were enthusiastic about the booklet and talked the man out of his copy. Many other copies were then made and distributed. This story is, perhaps, anecdotal. However, what is certain is that the little pamphlet became a fixture at many of the early A.A. meetings. The booklet was later renamed to "The Table Mate: Guide to the Study of the Twelve Steps" and considerable expanded. The "Table Mate" is still used by many members today, often handed down from sponsor to sponsee.

A version of the booklet, under the title "A guide to the Twelve Steps", can be ordered from:

The text presented here is from one of the booklets dating from the late 40's or early 50's. This printing was obviously rather amateurish and contained many typos. We have reproduced the original here as closely as possible, only cleaning up some of the more blatant typos.
PREFACE

.

The following pages contain the basic material for the discussion meetings for alcoholics only.

These meetings are held for the purpose of acquainting both old and new members with the 12 steps on which our program is based.

So that all twelve steps may be covered in a minimum of time they are divided into four classifications and one evening each week will be devoted to each of the four subdivisions. Thus, in one month, a new man can get the basis of our 12 suggested steps.

1.We admitted we were powerless over alcohol-that our lives had become unmanageable.

2.Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

3.Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understand Him.

4.Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5.Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

6.Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

7.Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

10.Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

11.Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understand Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

12. Having had a spiritual experience as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

These steps are divided as follows:

Discussion No. 1---The admission, Step No. 1.

Discussion No. 2---The spiritual phase, Steps 2,3,5,6,7, and 11.

Discussion No. 3---The inventory and restitution, Steps No. 4, 8, 9 and 10.

Discussion No. 4---The active work, which is Step No. 12.
DISCUSSION NO. 1
THE ADMISSION

The material contained herein is merely an outline of the admission phase of the program and is not intended to replace or supplant-

a. The careful reading and re-reading of the Big Book.

b. Regular attendance at weekly group meetings.

c. Study of the Program.

d. Daily practice of the program.

e. Reading of approved printed matter on Alcoholism.

f. Informal discussion with other members.

This meeting covers Step No. 1. "We admitted we were powerless over alcohol-that our lives had become unmanageable."

This instruction is not a short-cut to A.A. It is an introduction-a help-a brief course in the fundamentals.

In order to determine whether or not a person has drifted from "social drinking" into pathological drinking it is well to check over a list of test questions, which each member may ask himself and answer for himself.

We must answer once and for all these three puzzling questions-

What is an Alcoholic?

Who is an Alcoholic?

Am I an Alcoholic?

To get the right answer the prospective member must start this course of instruction with-

1. A willingness to learn. We must not have the attitude that "you've got to show me."

2. An open mind. Forget any and all ideas or notions we already have. Set our opinions aside.

3. Complete honesty. It is possible-not at all probable-that we may fool somebody else. But we MUST be honest with ourselves, and it is a good time to start being honest with others.
SUGGESTED TEST QUESTIONS

1. Do you require a drink the next morning?

2. Do you prefer to drink alone?

3. Do you lose time from work due to drinking?

4. Is your drinking harming your family in any way?

5. Do you crave a drink at a definite time daily?

6. Do you get the inner shakes unless you continue drinking?

7. Has drinking made you irritable?

8. Does drinking make you careless of your family's welfare?

9. Have you harmed your husband or wife since drinking?

10. Has drinking changed your personality?

11. Does drinking cause you bodily complaints?

12. Does drinking make you restless?

13. Does drinking cause you to have difficulty in sleeping?

14. Has drinking made you more impulsive?

15. Have you less self-control since drinking?

16. Has your initiative decreased since drinking?

17. Has your ambition decreased since drinking?

18. Do you lack perseverance in pursuing a goal since drinking?

19. Do you drink to obtain social ease? (In shy, timid, self-conscious individuals.)

20. Do you drink for self-encouragement? (In persons with feelings of inferiority.)

21. Do you drink to relieve marked feeling of inadequacy?

22. Has your sexual potency suffered since drinking?

23. Do you show marked dislikes and hatreds since drinking?

24. Has your jealousy, in general, increased since drinking?

25. Do you show marked moodiness as a result of drinking?

26. Has your efficiency decreased since drinking?

27. Has your drinking made you more sensitive?

28. Are you harder to get along with since drinking?

29. Do you turn to an inferior environment since drinking?

30. Is drinking endangering your health?

31. Is drinking affecting your peace of mind?

32. Is drinking making your home life unhappy?

33. Is drinking jeopardizing your business?

34. Is drinking clouding your reputation?

35. Is drinking disturbing the harmony of your life?

If you have answered YES to any one of the Test Questions, there is a definite warning that you may be alcoholic. If you have answered YES to any two of the Test Questions the chances are that you are an alcoholic.

If you answered YES to three or more of the Test Questions you are definitely AN ALCOHOLIC.

NOTE: The Test Questions are not A.A. Questions but are the guide used by Johns Hopkins University Hospital in deciding whether a patient is alcoholic or not.

In addition to the Test Questions we in A.A. would ask even more questions. Here are a few-

36. Have you ever had a complete loss of memory while, or after drinking?

37. Have you ever felt, when or after drinking, an inability to concentrate?

38. Have your ever felt "remorse" after drinking?

39. Has a physician ever treated you for drinking?

40. Have you ever been hospitalized for drinking?

Many other questions could be asked but the foregoing are sufficient for the purpose of this instruction.

.

.
WHY DOES AN ALCOHOLIC DRINK?

Having decided that we are alcoholics, it is well to consider what competent mental doctors consider as the REASONS why an Alcoholic drinks.

1. As an escape from situations of life which he cannot face.

2. As evidence of a maladjusted personality (including sexual maladjustments)

3. As a development from social drinking to pathological drinking.

4. As a symptom of a major abnormal mental state.

5. As an escape from incurable physical pain.

6. As a symptom of constitutional inferiority-a psychopathic personality. For example, an individual who drinks because he likes alcohol, knows he cannot handle it, but does not care.

7. Many times one cannot determine any great and glaring mechanism as the basis of why the drinker drinks; but the revealing fact may be elicited that alcohol is taken to relieve a certain vague restlessness in the individual incident to friction between his biological and emotional make-up and the ordinary strains of life.

The above reasons are general reasons. Where the individuality or personality of the alcoholic is concerned these reasons may be divided as follows-

1. A self-pampering tendency which manifests itself in refusal to tolerate, even temporarily, unpleasant states of mind such as boredom, sorrow, anger, disappointment, worry, depression, dissatisfaction, and feelings of inferiority and inadequacy. "I want what I want when I want it" seems to express the attitude of many alcoholics toward life.

2. An instinctive urge for self-expression, unaccompanied by determination to translate the urge into creative action.

3. An abnormal craving for emotional experiences which calls for removal of intellectual restraint.

4. Powerful hidden ambitions, without the necessary resolve to take practical steps to attain them and with resultant discontent, irritability, depression, disgruntledness and general restlessness.

5. A tendency to flinch from the worries of life and to seek escape from reality by the easiest means available.

6. An unreasonable demand for continuous happiness or excitement.

7. An insistent craving for the feeling of self-confidence, calm and poise that some obtain temporarily from alcohol.
WE ADMIT

If, after carefully considering the foregoing, we ADMIT we are an alcoholic we must realize that-

Once a person becomes a pathological drinker, he can never again become a controlled drinker; and-from that point on, is limited to just two alternatives:

1. Total permanent abstinence.

2. Chronic alcoholism with all of the handicaps and penalties it implies. In other words-we have gone past the point where we HAD A CHOICE.

All we have left is a DECISION to make.

WE RESOLVE TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT

1. WE MUST CHANGE OUR WAY OF THINKING. (This is such an important matter that it will have to be discussed more fully in a later discussion.)

2. We must realize that each morning, when you wake, you are a potential drunkard for that day.

3. We resolve that we will practice A.A. for the 24 hours of that day.

4. We must study the other eleven Steps of the Program and practice each and every one.

5. Attend the regular Group Meeting each week without fail.

6. Firmly believe that by practicing A.A. faithfully each day, we will achieve sobriety.

7. Believe that we can be free from alcohol as a problem.

8. contact another member BEFORE taking a drink-not AFTER. Tell him what bothers you-talk it over with him freely.

9. Work the Program for ourselves alone-NOT for our wife, children, friends or for our job.

10. Be absolutely honest and sincere.

11. Be fully open minded-no mental reservations.

12. Be fully willing to work the Program. Nothing good in life comes without work.
CONCLUSION

1. Alcoholics are suffering from a MENTAL DISEASE-not a physical illness. Fortunately we in A.A. have learned how it may be controlled (this will be shown in the next eleven Steps of the Program.)

2. We can also learn to be FREE from alcohol as a problem.

3. We can achieve a full and happy life without recourse to alcohol.
ASK QUESTIONS

No question pertaining to drinking-or stopping drinking-is silly or irrelevant. The matter is TOO SERIOUS.

Any questions we ask may help some one else.

This is not a short-cut to A.A. It is an introduction-a help-a brief course in fundamentals.

In A.A. we learn by question and answer.

We learn by exchanging our thought and our experience with each other.

Any question you ask may help some one else. To cover as many questions as possible in the short time available all answers must be limited to three (3) minutes.
DISCUSSION NO. 2
THE SPIRITUAL PHASE

The material contained herein is merely an outline of the spiritual phase of the program and is not intended to replace or supplant

a. The careful reading and re-reading of the Big Book.

b. Regular attendance at weekly group meetinfs.
c. Study of the Program.

d. Daily practice of the program.

e. Reading of approved printed matter on Alcoholism.

f. Informal discussion with other members.

This instruction is not a short-cut to A.A. It is an introduction-a help-a brief course in the fundamentals.

This meeting covers Steps 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 11. We will take them in order.

STEP NO. 2-"Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity."

Our drinking experience has shown-

1. That as we strayed away from the normal SOCIAL side of life, our minds became confused and we strayed away from the normal MENTAL side of life.

2. An abnormal MENTAL condition is certainly not SANITY in the accepted sense of the word. We have acquired or developed a MENTAL DISEASE. Our study of A.A. shows that-

a. In the MENTAL or tangible side of life we have lost touch with, or ignored, or have forgotten the SPIRITUAL values that give us the dignity of MAN as differentiated from the ANIMAL. We have fallen back upon the MATERIAL things of life and these have failed us. We have been groping in the dark.

b. No HUMAN agency, no SCIENCE or ART has been able to solve the alcoholic problem, so we turn to the SPIRITUAL for quidance.

Therefore, we "Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity."

1. We must believe with a great FAITH.

STEP NO. 3-"Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of GOD as we understand Him." In the first step we learned that we had lost the power of CHOICE and had to make a DECISION.

1. What DECISION could we make better than to

a. Turn our very WILL over to GOD, realizing that our own use of our own will had resulted in trouble.

b. As in the Lord's Prayer you must believe and practice THY WILL BE DONE.

2. GOD as we understand Him.

3. RELIGION is a word we do not use in A.A. We refer to a member's relation to GOD as the SPIRITUAL. A religion is a FORM of worship-not the worship itself.

4. If a man cannot believe in GOD he can certainly believe in SOMETHING greater than himself. If he cannot believe in a POWER greater than himself he is a rather hopeless egoist.

STEP NO. 5-"Admitted to GOD, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs."

1. There is nothing new in this step. There are many sound reasons for "talking over our troubles out loud with others."

2. The Catholic already has this medium readily available to him in the Confessional.
But-the Catholic is at a disadvantage if he thinks his familiarity with confession permits him to think his part of A.A. is thereby automatically taken care of. He must, in confession, seriously consider his problems in relation to his alcoholic thinking.

3. The non-Catholic has the way open to work this step by going to his minister, his doctor, or his friend.

4. Under this step it is not even necessary to go to a priest or minister. Any understanding human being, friend or stranger will serve the purpose.

5. The purpose and intent of this step is so plain and definite that it needs little explanation. The point is that we MUST do EXACTLY what the Fifth Step says, sooner or later.
We must not be in a rush to get this step off our chest. Consider it carefully and calmly. Then get about it and do it.

6. "Wrongs" do not necessarily mean "crime. It can well be wrong thinking-selfishness-false pride-egotism-or any one of a hundred such negative faults.

STEP NO. 6-"We are entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character."

1. After admitting our wrong thinking and wrong actions in Step 5 we now do something more than "admit" or "confess."

2. We now become READY and WILLING to have God remove the defects in our CHARACTER.

3. Remember it is OUR character we are working on. Not the other fellow's. Here is a good place to drop the CRITICAL attitude toward others-the SUPERIOR attitude toward others.

4. We must clean our mind of wrong thinking-petty jealousy-envy-self pity-remorse, etc.

5. Here is the place to drop RESENTMENTS, one of the biggest hurdles the alcoholic has to get over.

6. What concerns us here is that we drop all thoughts of resentment-anger-hatred-revenge.

7. We turn our WILL over to God and let HIS WILL direct us how to patiently remove, one by one, all defects in our character.

STEP NO. 7-"Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings." The meaning of this step is clear. Prayer-Humility.

1. Prayer. No man can tell another HOW to pray. Each one has, or works out for himself, his own method.

If we cannot pray, we just talk to God and tell Him our troubles.

Meditate-think clearly and cleanly-and ask God to direct our thoughts. Christ said "ask and ye shall receive." What method is simpler-merely "ask."

If you cannot pray ask God to teach you to pray.

2. Humility. This, simply, is the virtue of being ourselves and realizing how small we are in a big world full of its own trouble.

Drop all pretense. We must not be Mr. Big Shot-bragging, boasting. Shed false pride. Tell the simple, plain, unvarnished truth. Act, walk and talk simply. See the little bit of good that exists in an evil man. Forget the little bit of evil that exists in the good man. We must not look down on the very lowest of GOD'S creatures or man's mistakes. Think clearly, honestly, fairly, generously.

3. The shortcomings we ask GOD to remove are the very defects in character that make us drink. The same defects we drink to hide or to get away from.

STEP NO. 11-"Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with GOD as we understood HIM praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out."

1. We pray each night-every night-a prayer of thanks.

2. We pray each morning-every morning-for help and guidance.

3. When we are lonely-confused-uncertain-we pray.

Most of us find it well to:

1. Choose, for each day, a "quite time" to meditate on the program, on your progress in it.

2. Keep conscious contact with GOD and pray to make that contact closer.

3. Pray that our will be laid aside and that God's will direct us.

4. Pray for calmness-quiet-relaxation-rest.

5. Pray for strength and courage to enable us to do today's work today.

6. Pray for forgiveness for yesterday's errors.

7. Ask for HOPE for better things tomorrow.

8. Pray for what we feel we need. We will not get what we "want." We will get what we "need"-what is good for us.
CONCLUSION

We find that no one need have difficulty with the spiritual side of the program. WILLINGNESS-HONESTY and OPEN MINDEDNESS are the ESSENTIALS OF RECOVERY. BUT THESE ARE INDISPENSABLE.
ASK QUESTIONS

No question pertaining to drinking-or stopping drinking-is silly or irrelevant. The matter is too SERIOUS. In A.A. we learn by question and answer.

We learn by exchanging our thought and our experience with each other.

Any question you ask may help someone else. To cover as many questions as possible in the short time available all answers must be limited to three (3) minutes.

GOD grant me the serenity to accept things I cannot change, courage to change things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.
DISCUSSION NO. 3
INVENTORY AND RESTITUTION

The material contained herein is merely an outline of the inventory and restitution steps and is not intended to replace or supplant-

a. The careful reading and re-reading of the Big Book.

b. Regular attendance at weekly group meetings.

c. Study of the Program.

d. Daily practice of the program.

e. Reading of approved printed matter on Alcoholism.

f. Informal discussion with other members.

This instruction is not a short-cut to A.A. It is an introduction-a help-a brief course in the fundamentals.

This meeting covers Steps 4-8-9-10-We will take them in order.

STEP 4-"Make a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves." The intent and purpose of this step is plain. All alcoholics have a definite need for a good self-analysis-a sort of self-appraisal. Other people have certainly analyzed us, appraised us, criticized us and even judged us. It might be a good idea to judge ourselves, calmly and honestly. We need inventory because-

1. Either our faults, weaknesses, defects of character-are the cause of our drinking OR

2. Our drinking has weakened our character and let us drift into all kinds of wrong action, wrong attitudes, wrong viewpoints. In either event we obviously need an inventory and the only kink of inventory to make is a GOOD one.

Moreover, the job is up to US. WE created or WE let develop all the anti-social actions that got US in wrong. So WE have got to work it out. WE must make out a list of our faults and then We must do something about it.

The inventory must be four things-

1. It must be HONEST. Why waste time fooling ourselves with a phoney list. We have fooled ourselves for years. We tried to fool others and now is a good time to look ourselves squarely in the eye.

2. It must be SEARCHING. Why skip over a vital matter lightly and quickly. Our trouble is a grave mental disease, confused by screwy thinking. Therefore, we must SEARCH diligently and fearlessly to get at the TRUTH of what is wrong with us-just dig in and SEARCH.

3. It must be FEARLESS. We must not be afraid we might find things in our heart, mind and soul that we will hate to discover. If we do find such things they may be the ROOT of our trouble.

4. It must be a MORAL inventory. Some, in error, think the inventory is a lot of unpaid debts, plus a list of unmade apologies. Our trouble goes much deeper. We will find the root of our trouble lies in- resentments-False Pride-Envy-Jealousy-Selfishness and many other things. Laziness is an important one. In other words we are making an inventory of our character-our attitude toward others-our very way of living. We are not preparing a financial statement. We will pay our bills all right, because we cannot even begin to practice A.A. without HONESTY.

STEP 8-"Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all." Under this step we will make a list (mental or written) of those we have harmed.

We ask GOD to let His Will be done, not OUR will, and ask for the strength and courage to become willing to forget resentments and false pride and make amends to those we have harmed. We must not do this step grudgingly, or as an unpleasant task to be rid of quickly. We must do it WILLINGLY, fairly and humbly-without condescension.

STEP 9-"Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others."

Here is where we make peace with ourselves by making peace with those we have hurt.

The amends we make must be direct. We must pay in kind for the hurt we have done them.

If we have cheated them we must make restitution.

If we have hurt their feelings we must ask forgiveness from them.

The list of harms done may be long but the list of amends is equally long.

For every "wrong" we have done, there is a "right" we may do to compensate.

There is only one exception. we must develop a sense of justice, a spirit of fairness, an attitude of common sense. If our effort to make amends would create further harm or cause a scandal we will have to skip the "direct amends" and clean the matter up under STEP 5.

HUMILITY

A state of complete humility is very difficult to attain, but the goal is well worth the effort, considering the serenity that is achieved.
DISCUSSION NO. 4
ACTIVE WORK

The material contained herein is merely an outline of the inventory and restitution steps and is not intended to replace or supplant-

a. The careful reading and re-reading of the Big Book.

b. Regular attendance at weekly group meetings.

c. Study of the Program.

d. Daily practice of the program.

e. Reading of approved printed matter on Alcoholism.

f. Informal discussion with other members.

This instruction is not a short-cut to A.A. It is an introduction-a help-a brief course in the fundamentals.
THIS MEETING COVERS THE TWELFTH STEP

"Having had a spiritual experience as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs."

This STEP logically separates into 3 parts.

1. The SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE.

The terms "spiritual experience" and "spiritual awakening" used here and in the book ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, mean, upon careful reading, that the personality change sufficient to bring about recovery from alcoholism has manifested itself among us in many forms.

Do NOT get the impression that these personality changes, or spiritual experiences, must be in the nature of sudden and spectacular upheavals. Happily for everyone, this conclusion is erroneous.

Among our rapidly membership of thousands of alcoholics such transformations, though frequent, are by no means the rule. Most of our experiences are what the psychologist William James calls the "educational variety" because they develop slowly over a period of time. Quite often friends of the newcomer are aware of the difference long before he is himself.

The new man gradually realizes that he has undergone a profound alteration in his reaction to life; that such a change could hardly have been brought about by himself alone. What often takes place in a few months could seldom have been accomplished by years of self-discipline. With few exceptions our members find that they have tapped an unsuspected inner resource which they presently identify with their own conception of a Power greater than themselves.

Most emphatically we wish to say that any alcoholic capable of honestly facing his problem in the light of our experience can recover provided he does no close his mind to all spiritual concepts. He can only be defeated by an attitude of intolerance or belligerent denial.

We find that no one need have difficulty with the spiritual side of the program. Willingness, Honesty and Open Mindedness are the Essentials of Recovery. But these are indispensable.

2. CARRY THE MESSAGE TO OTHERS.

This means exactly what it says. Carry the message actively. Bring it to the man who needs it. We do it in many ways.

a. By attending EVERY meeting of our own group

b. By making calls when asked.

c. By speaking at Group Meetings when asked.

d. By supporting our Group financially to make group meetings possible.

e. By assisting at Meetings when asked.

f. By setting a good example of complete sobriety.

g. By owning, and loaning to new men, our own copy of the big A.A. Book.

h. By encouraging those who find the way difficult.

i. By serving as an officer or on group committees or special assignment when asked.

j. By doing all of the foregoing cheerfully and willingly.

k. We do any or all of the foregoing at some sacrifice to OURSELVES WITH DEFINITE THOUGHT OF DEVELOPING unselfishness in our own character.

3. WE PRACTICE THESE PRINCIPLES IN ALL OUR AFFAIRS.

This last part of the TWELFTH STEP is the real purpose that all of the twelve steps lead to-a new "way of life"; a "design for living." It shows how to live rightly, think rightly and to achieve happiness.

HOW DO WE GO ABOUT IT?

a. We resolve to live our life, one day at a time-just 24 hours.

b. We pray each day for guidance that day.

c. We pray each night-thanks for that day.

d. We resolve to keep our heads and to forego any anger, no matter what situation arises.

e. We are patient.

f. We keep calm-relaxed.

g. Now, and most important, whatever LITTLE ordinary situation as well as BIG situations arise, we look at it calmly and fairly, with an open mind. Then act on it in exact accordance with the simple true principles that A.A. has taught and will teach us.

In other words, our SOBRIETY is only a correction of our worst and most evident faults. Our living each day according to the principles of A.A. will also correct all of our other lesser faults and will gradually eliminate, one by one, all of the defects in our character that cause frictions, discontent, and unhappy rebellious moods that lead right back to our very chief fault of drinking.
ASK QUESTIONS

No question pertaining to drinking-or stopping drinking is silly or irrelevant. The matter is too SERIOUS. In A.A. we learn by question and answer.

We learn by exchanging our thought and experience with each other.


"Remember your last drunk"
Page 24, Paragraph 2: "We are unable, at times, to bring into our consciousness with sufficient force the memory of the suffering and humiliation of even a week or a month ago. We are without defense against the first drink."

"I choose not to drink today"
Page 24 Paragraph 2: "The fact is that most alcoholics, for reasons yet obscure, have lost the power of choice in drink."

"Play the tape all the way through"
Page 24, paragraph 3: "The almost certain consequences that follow taking even a glass of beer do not crowd into the mind to deter us. I f these thoughts do occur, they are hazy and readily supplanted with the old threadbare idea that this time we shall handle ourselves like other people. There is a complete failure of the kind of defense that keeps one from putting his hand on a hot stove."
"Think through the drink"
Page 43, paragraph 4: "Once more: The alcoholic at certain times has no effective mental defense against the first drink. Except in a few rare cases, neither he nor any other human being can provide such a defense. His defense must come from a Higher Power."

"I will always be recovering, never recovered."
Title Page: "ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS. The Story of How Many Thousands of Men and Women Have Recovered from Alcoholism"

Page 20, paragraph 2: "Doubtless you are curious to discover how and why, in face of expert opinion to the contrary, we have recovered from a hopeless condition of mind and body.

Foreword to the First Edition: "We, of Alcoholics Anonymous, are more than one hundred men and women who have recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body."

Page 29, paragraph 2: "Further on, clear-cut directions are given showing how we recovered."

Page 132, paragraph 3: "We have recovered, and have been given the power to help others."

“We are all just an arms length away from a drink”

Page 84, paragraph 4, "And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone - even alcohol. For by this time sanity will have returned. We will seldom be interested in liquor. If tempted, we recoil from it as from a hot flame. We react sanely and normally, and we will find that this has happened automatically. We will see that our new attitude toward liquor has been given us without any thought or effort on our part. It just comes! That is the miracle of it. We are not fighting it, neither are we avoiding temptation. We feel as though we had been placed in a position of neutrality - safe and protected. We have not even sworn off. Instead, the problem has been removed. It does not exist for us"

"I don't have an alcohol problem, I have a living problem"
Page xxiv, paragraph 2: "In our belief, any picture of the alcoholic which leaves out this physical factor is incomplete."

"Don't drink and go to meetings."
Page 34, paragraph 2: “Many of us felt we had plenty of character. There was a tremendous urge to cease forever. Yet we found it impossible. This is the baffling feature of alcoholism as we know it—this utter inability to leave it alone, no matter how great the necessity or the wish.”

Page 34, paragraph 3: "Whether such a person can quit upon a nonspiritual basis depends upon the extent to which he has already lost the power to choose whether he will drink or not."

Page 17, paragraph 2: "Unlike the feelings of the ship's passengers, however, our joy in escape from disaster does not subside as we go our individual ways. The feeling of having shared in a common peril is one element in the powerful cement which binds us. But that in itself would never have held us together as we are now joined."

"This is a selfish program"
Page 20, paragraph 1: "Our very lives, as ex-problem drinkers depend upon our constant thought of others and how we may help meet their needs."

Page 97, paragraph 2: "Helping others is the foundation stone of your recovery. 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. "

Page 14-15: "For if an alcoholic failed to perfect and enlarge his spiritual life through work and self-sacrifice for others, he could not survive the certain trials and low spots ahead."

Page 62, paragraph 2: "Selfishness, self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles"

Page 62, paragraph 3: "So our troubles, we think, are basically of our own making. They arise out of ourselves, and the alcoholic is an extreme example of self-will run riot, though he usually doesn't think so. Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness. We must, or it
kill us!"

"Meeting makers make it"
Page 59, paragraph 3: "Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery"

"I'm powerless over people, places and things"
Page 132, paragraph 3: "We have recovered, and have been given the power to help others."

Page 122, paragraph 3: " Years of living with an alcoholic is almost sure to make any wife or child neurotic. "

Page 82, paragraph 4: "The alcoholic is like a tornado roaring his way through the lives of others. Hearts are broken. Sweet relationships are dead. Affections have been uprooted. Selfish and inconsiderate habits have kept the home in turmoil. We feel a man is unthinking when he says that sobriety is enough."

Page 89, paragraph 2: "You can help when no one else can. You can secure their confidence when others fail."

"You're in the right place"
Page 20-21: "Then we have a certain type of hard drinker. He may have the habit badly enough to gradually impair him physically and mentally. It may cause him to die a few years before his time. If a sufficiently strong reason - ill health, falling in love, change of environment, or the warning of a doctor - becomes operative, this man can also stop or moderate, although he may find it difficult and troublesome and may even need medical attention."

Page 31, paragraph 2: " If anyone who is showing inability to control his drinking can do the right- about-face and drink like a gentleman, our hats are off to him."

Page 31-32: "We do not like to pronounce any individual as alcoholic, but you can quickly diagnose yourself. Step over to the nearest barroom and try some controlled drinking. Try to drink and stop abruptly. Try it more than once. It will not take long for you to decide, if you are honest with yourself about it. It may be worth a bad case of jitters if you get a full knowledge of your condition."

Page 108-109: "Your husband may be only a heavy drinker. His drinking may be constant or it may be heavy only on certain occasions. Perhaps he spends too much money for liquor. It may be slowing him up mentally and physically, but he does not see it. Sometimes he is a source of embarrassment to you and his friends. He is positive he can handle his liquor, that it does him no harm, that drinking is necessary in his business. He would probably be insulted if he were called an alcoholic. This world is full of people like him. Some will moderate or stop altogether, and some will not. Of those who keep on, a good number will become true alcoholics after a while."

Page 92, paragraph 2: "If you are satisfied that he is a real alcoholic"

Page 95, paragraph 4: "If he thinks he can do the job in some other way, or prefers some other spiritual approach, encourage him to follow his own conscience."

"If an alcoholic wants to get sober, nothing you say can make him drink. "
Page 103, paragraph 2: "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."

"We must change playmates, playgrounds, and playthings"
Page 100-101: "Assuming we are spiritually fit, we can do all sorts of things alcoholics are not supposed to do. People have said we must not go where liquor is served; we must not have it in our homes; we must shun friends who drink; we must avoid moving pictures which show drinking scenes; we must not go into bars; our friends must hide their bottles if we go to their houses; we mustn't think or be reminded about alcohol at all. Our experience shows that this is not necessarily so.
We meet these conditions every day. An alcoholic who cannot meet them, still has an alcoholic mind; there is something the matter with his spiritual status. His only chance for sobriety would be some place like the Greenland Ice Cap, and even there an Eskimo might turn up with a bottle of scotch and ruin everything!"

"I'm a people pleaser. I need to learn to take care of myself"
Page 61, paragraph 2:"Is he not really a self-seeker even when trying to be kind?"

"Don't drink, even if your ass falls off."
Page 34, paragraph 2: “Many of us felt we had plenty of character. There was a tremendous urge to cease forever. Yet we found it impossible. This is the baffling feature of alcoholism as we know it—this utter inability to leave it alone, no matter how great the necessity or the wish.”

"I haven't had a drink today, so I'm a complete success today."
Page 19, paragraph 1: "The elimination of drinking is but a beginning. A much more important demonstration of our principles lies before us in our respective homes, occupations and affairs.”

"It's my opinion that..." or "I don't know anything about the Big Book, but this is the way I do it..."
Page 19, paragraph 1: "We have concluded to publish an anonymous volume setting forth the problem as we see it. We shall bring to the task our combined experience and knowledge. This should suggest a useful program for anyone concerned with a drinking problem."

"Don't drink, no matter what."
Page 34, paragraph 2: “Many of us felt we had plenty of character. There was a tremendous urge to cease forever. Yet we found it impossible. This is the baffling feature of alcoholism as we know it—this utter inability to leave it alone, no matter how great the necessity or the wish.”

Page 31, paragraph 4: "We do not like to pronounce any individual as alcoholic, but you can quickly diagnose yourself. Step over to the nearest barroom and try some controlled drinking. Try to drink and stop abruptly. Try it more than once. It will not take long for you to decide, if you are honest with yourself about it. It may be worth a bad case of jitters if you get a full knowledge of your condition."

"We need to give up planning, it doesn't work."
Page 86, paragraphs 3-4: "On awakening let us think about the twenty-four hours ahead. We consider our plans for the day. Before we begin, we ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives. Under these conditions we can employ our mental faculties with assurance, for after all God gave us brains to use. Our thought-life will be placed on a much higher plane when our thinking is cleared of wrong motives.
In thinking about our day we may face indecision. We may not be able to determine which course to take. Here we ask God for inspiration, an intuitive thought or a decision. We relax and take it easy. We don't struggle. We are often surprised how the right answers come after we have tried this for a while."

"I have a choice to not drink today."
Page 30, paragraph 3: "We alcoholics are men and women who have lost the ability to control our drinking. We know that no real alcoholic ever recovers control. All of us felt at times that we were regaining control, but such intervals - usually brief - were inevitably followed by still less control, which led in time to pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization. We are convinced to a man that alcoholics of our type are in the grip of a progressive illness. Over any considerable period we get worse, never better."

"If all I do is stay sober today, then it's been a good day."
Page 82, paragraph 3: " Sometimes we hear an alcoholic say that the only thing he needs to do is to keep sober. Certainly he must keep sober, for there will be no home if he doesn't. But he is yet a long way from making good to the wife or parents whom for years he has so shockingly treated."

Page 82 paragraph 4: "We feel a man is unthinking when he says sobriety is enough."

"You don't need a shrink. You have an alcoholic personality. All you will ever need is in the first 164 pages of the Big Book."
Page 133, 2nd paragraph: "But this does not mean that we disregard human health measures. God has abundantly supplied this world with fine doctors, psychologists, and practitioners of various kinds. Do not hesitate to take your health problems to such persons. Most of them give freely of themselves, that their fellows may enjoy sound minds and bodies. Try to remember that though God has wrought miracles among us, we should never belittle a good doctor or psychiatrist. Their services are often indispensable in treating a newcomer and in following his case afterward."

"AA is the only way to stay sober."
page 95, paragraph 4: If he thinks he can do the job in some other way, or prefers some other spiritual approach, encourage him to follow his own conscience. We have no monopoly on God; we merely have an approach that worked with us.

Page 164, paragraph 3: “ Our book is meant to be suggestive only. We realize we know only a little.”

“My sponsor told me that, if in making an amend I would be harmed, I could consider myself as one of the ‘others’ in Step Nine.”
Page 79, paragraph 2 “Reminding ourselves that we have decided to go to any lengths to find a spiritual experience, we ask that we be given strength and direction to do the right thing, no matter what the personal consequences might be.”
"I need to forgive myself first" or "You need to be good to yourself"
Page 74, paragraph 2 “ The rule is we must be hard on ourself, but always considerate of others.”

"Take what you want and leave the rest"
Page 17, paragraph 3: "The tremendous fact for every one of us is that we have discovered a common solution. We have a way out on which we can absolutely agree, and upon which we can join in brotherly and harmonious action. This is the great news this book carries to those who suffer from alcoholism."

"Just do the next right thing"
Page 86, paragraph 4: " We may not be able to determine which course to take. Here we ask God for inspiration, an intuitive thought or a decision."

Page 87, paragraph 1: " Being still inexperienced and having just made conscious contact with God, it is not probable that we are going to be inspired at all times. We might pay for this presumption in all sorts of absurd actions and ideas."

"Don't make any major decisions for the first year"Page 60, paragraph 4:
"(a) That we were alcoholic and could not manage our own lives.
(b) That probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism.
(c) That God could and would if He were sought.
Being convinced, we were at Step Three, which is that we decided to turn our will and our life over to God as we understood Him."

Page 76, paragraph 2: "When ready, we say something like this: "My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding. Amen." We have then completed Step Seven."

"Stay out of relationships for the first year!"

Page. 69, paragraph 1: "We do not want to be the arbiter of anyone's sex conduct."

Page 69, paragraph 3: "In meditation, we ask God what we should do about each specific matter. The right answer will come if we want it."

Page 69, paragraph 4: "God alone can judge our sex situation."
Page 69-70:"Counsel with other persons is often desirable, but we let God be the final judge."

Page 70, Paragraph 2: "We earnestly pray for the right ideal, for guidance in each questionable situation, for sanity, and for the strength to do the right thing."

"Alcohol was my drug of choice"
Page 24, paragraph 2: "The fact is that most alcoholics, for reasons yet obscure, have lost the power of choice in drink."

"Keep coming back, eventually it will rub off on you"
Page 64, Paragraph 1: "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"

"Ninety Meetings in Ninety Days"
Page 15, paragraph 2: "We meet frequently so that newcomers may find the fellowship they seek."

Page 19, paragraph 2: "None of us makes a sole vocation of this work, nor do we think its effectiveness would be increased if we did."

Page 59, paragraph 3: "Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery"

"You only work one step a year" "Take your time to work the steps"
Page 569, paragraph 3: What often takes place in a few months can hardly be brought about by himself alone."

Page 63, paragraph3: "Next we launched on a course of vigorous action."

Page 74, paragraph 2: "If that is so, this step may be postponed, only, however, if we hold ourselves in complete readiness to go through with it at the first opportunity"

Page 75, paragraph 3: "Returning home we find a place where we can be quiet for AN HOUR, carefully reviewing what we have done."

"Make sure to put something good about yourself in your 4th step inventory."

Page 64 paragraph 3 "First, we searched out the flaws in our make-up which caused our failure."

Page 67 paragraph 3 "The inventory was ours, not the other man's. When we saw our faults we listed them."

Page 71 paragraph 1 "If you have already made a decision, and an inventory of your grosser handicaps, you have made a good beginning."

"You need to stay in those feelings and really feel them."
Page 84, paragraph 2: "When these crop up, we ask God at once to remove them."

pg. 125 paragraph 1 "So we think that unless some good and useful purpose is to be served, past occurrences should not be discussed."

"There are no musts in this program."
Page 99, paragraph 1: "it must be done if any results are to be expected."

Page 99, paragraph 2: "we must try to repair the damage immediately lest we pay the penalty by a spree."

Page 99, paragraph 3: "it must be on a better basis, since the former did not work."

Page 83, paragraph 1: "Yes, there is a long period of reconstruction ahead. We must take the lead."

Page 83, paragraph 2: "We must remember that ten or twenty years of drunkenness would make a skeptic out of anyone."

Page 74, paragraph 1: "Those of us belonging to a religious denomination which requires confession must, and of course, will want to go to the properly appointed authority whose duty it is to receive it."

Page 74, paragraph 2: "The rule is we must be hard on ourself, but always considerate of others."

Page 75, paragraph 1: " But we must not use this as a mere excuse to postpone."

Page 85, paragraph 3: " But we must go further and that means more action."

Page 85, paragraph 2: " Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God's will into all of our activities."

Page 85, paragraph 2: "These are thoughts which must go with us constantly."

Page 80, paragraph 1: " If we have obtained permission, have consulted with others, asked God to help and the drastic step is indicated we must not shrink."

Page 14, paragraph 2: " I must turn in all things to the Father of Light who presides over us all."

Page 62, paragraph 3: " Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness. We must, or it kills us!"

Page 144, paragraph 3: "The man must decide for himself."

Page 89, paragraph 2: "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."

Page 33, paragraph 3: " If we are planning to stop drinking, there must be no reservation of any kind"

Page 79, paragraph 2: "We must not shrink at anything."

Page 86, paragraph 2: "But we must be careful not to drift into worry, remorse or morbid reflection, for that would diminish our usefulness to others."

Page 120, paragraph 2: "he must redouble his spiritual activities if he expects to survive."

Page 152, paragraph 2: "I know I must get along without liquor, but how can I?"

Page 95, paragraph 3: "he must decide for himself whether he wants to go on"

Page 95, paragraph 3: "If he is to find God, the desire must come from within."

Page 159, paragraph 3: "Though they knew they must help other alcoholics if they would remain sober, that motive became secondary."

Page 156, paragraph 3: " Both saw that they must keep spiritually active. "

Page 130, paragraph 2: "that is where our work must be done."

Page 82, paragraph 3: "Certainly he must keep sober, for there will be no home if he doesn't."

Page 143, paragraph 2: "he should understand that he must undergo a change of heart"

Page 69, paragraph 4: "Whatever our ideal turns out to be, we must be willing to grow toward it."

Page 69, paragraph 4: "We must be willing to make amends where we have done harm"

Page 44, paragraph 3: "we had to face the fact that we must find a spiritual basis of life - or else."

Page 78, paragraph 3: "We must lose our fear of creditors no matter how far we have to go, for we are liable to drink if we are afraid to face them."

Page 93, paragraph 3: "To be vital, faith must be accompanied by self sacrifice and unselfish, constructive action."

Page 43, paragraph 4: "His defense must come from a Higher Power."

Page 66, paragraph 4: "We saw that these resentments must be mastered"

Page 146, paragraph 4: " For he knows he must be honest if he would live at all."

Page 73, paragraph 5: "We must be entirely honest with somebody if we expect to live long or happily in this world."

But Remember... "When the man is presented with this volume it is best that no one tell him he must abide by its suggestions." page 144, paragraph 3

Dry Drunk Syndrome

Sobriety will necessarily have its ups and downs, its good times and its bad times, if only because we live in a world which we are inseparably joined. One doesn't always sustain sobriety at the same level. There are fluctuations, shocks and setbacks which, when addressed within the context of the A.A. program, so not in themselves imperil the totality of one's sobriety. The Dry Drunk Syndrome is a term that should not be used as a catch-all when one has a bad day or a bump in life throws us for a while. Those are ups and downs that everyone experiences and shouldn't be labeled to be anything more than what they truly are. The Dry Drunk is a condition far more serious than the highs and lows of our day-to-day existence.

The phrase "dry drunk" has two significant words for the alcoholic. "Dry" refers to the abstinence from drinking, whereas "drunk" signifies a deeply pathological condition resulting from the use of alcohol in the past. Taken together these words suggest intoxication without alcohol. Since intoxication comes from the Greek word for poison, "dry drunk" implies a state of mind and a mode of behavior that are poisonous to the alcoholic's well being.

OBVIOUS TRAITS Persons experiencing a full-blown DRY DRUNK are, for that period, removed from the world of sobriety; they fail, for whatever reason, to accept the necessary conditions for sober living. Their mental and emotional homes are chaotic, their approach to everyday living is unrealistic, and their behavior, both verbal and physical, is unacceptable.

This lack of sober realism manifests itself in many ways.

1. Grandiosity, put very simply, is an exaggeration of one's own importance. This can be demonstrated either in terms of one's strengths or weaknesses. In either case it is blatantly self- seeking or self-serving, putting oneself at the center of attention, from the "big me" who has ask the answers to the "poor me" whose cup of self-pity runneth over and wants all of our attention.

2. Judgmentalism is mutually related to grandiosity. It means that the alcoholic is prone to make value judgments - strikingly inappropriate evaluations - usually in terms of "goodness" or "badness".

3. Intolerance leaves no room for delaying the gratification of personal desires. This is accomplished by gross confusion of priorities with the result that a mere whim or passing fancy is mistakenly given more importance than genuine personal needs.

4. Impulsivity is the result of intolerance or the lack of ability to delay gratification of personal desires. Impulsivity describes behavior which is heedless of the ultimate consequence for self or others.

5. Indecisiveness is related to impulsitivity in the sense that while the latter takes no realistic account of the consequences of the actions, the former precludes effective action altogether. Indecisiveness stems from an unrealistic exaggeration of the negative possibilities of the action ; so one wavers between two or more possible courses of action, more times than not- nothing gets done.

These conditions, grandiosity, judgmentalism, intolerance ,impulsivity, and indecisiveness taken separately or together can lead to the following: a) Mood swings, which are unrelated to the circumstances to which one tries to link them. Alcoholics zero in on what they want others to think is the cause of the mood swing, when it isn't that at all. More often than not it is something much deeper than the reason given. Inversely it can also be something totally insignificant with no substance at all (e.g. the sugar is too sweet or the donut is too round). Any excuse will do. b) Unable to demonstrate emotions freely, naturally and without constraint. No emotional spontaneity, no genuine spark. c) Introspection. A very healthy thing to do is difficult if not impossible for the "dry drunk". It means to look inward to one's examining each thought and desire, which is linked directly to one's attitude. d) Detachment. Become aloof, display indifference, don't care one way or the other, no special likes or dislikes, they withdraw. e) Self-absorption- with a tendency to call attention to whatever they have attained. Narcissism which is quite simply self-love. They become pompous asses. f) The inability to appreciate or enjoy themselves - nothing satisfies. g) Evidence of disorganization, is easily distracted, complains of boredom, and nothing seems to fit. h) A nostalgia sets in, a kind of wistful yearning for something of the past, such as freedom from care associated (falsely) with drinking, bars, drinking associates, and friends; the music, blue lights, and tinkle of the ice cubes in a glass in the neighborhood saloon. i) There can be a kind of romanticism, which includes unrealistic valuations of lifestyles and character traits which can be and usually are objectively dangerous to one's sobriety. j) Escapism. Fantasizing, daydreaming, and wishful thinking are very much in evidence in the dry drunk syndrome as the individual slips farther and farther from reality.

Since the abnormality of the alcoholic's attitudes and behavior during the drinking career is generally recognized, the persistence or these character traits after stopping drinking (or the reappearance after an interlude of sobriety) is equally abnormal.

The term "dry drunk" therefore denotes the absences of favorable change in the attitudes and behavior of the alcoholic who is not drinking, or the reversion of these by the alcoholic who has experienced a period of successful sobriety. From these conditions, it is to be inferred that the alcoholic is experiencing discomfort in life.

The self-destructive attitudes and behavior of the dry drunk alcoholic are different in degree but not in kind. The alcoholic, when drinking, has learned to rely on a deeply inadequate, radically immature approach to solving life's problems. And this is exactly what one sees in the dry drunk.

ANALYSIS OF DRY DRUNK BEHAVIOR The alcoholic who rationalizes their own irresponsible behavior are also likely to find fault in the attitudes and behavior of others. Although not denying their own shortcomings, they attempt to escape notice by cataloging in great detail the transgressions of others.

The classic maneuver of the dry drunk is over-reaction. The alcoholic may attach a seemingly disproportionate intensity of feeling to an ordinary insignificant event or mishap.

Some alcoholics who experience the dry drunk seem to know all the answers, are seldom at a loss for words when it comes to self-diagnosis. Their knowledge is quite impressive, their apparent insight, as opposed to genuine insight, is convincing.

CORRECTIVE MEASURES: Those undergoing a dry drunk lead impoverished lives. They experience severe limitations to grow,, to mature, and benefit from the possibilities that life offers. They lack the freshness and spontaneity that genuinely sober alcoholics manifest. Their life is a closed system, attitudes and behaviors are stereotyped, repetitive, and consequently predictable.

Alcoholics learn early that humility and a power greater than them- selves are the bedrock for a genuine and productive sobriety. An unusual measure of self-discipline must accompany the ego deflation process. Needed is self-discipline in honesty, patience and responsibility towards the recovery process [and acceptance of their disease]. [To improve long term goals of sobriety be aware of mental stressors, get more involved in the recovery program, get active in the 12 steps, get and use a sponsor, talk things out.] Hopefully. they will begin to appreciate the ironic folly of those alcoholics who think life has suddenly become manageable again; whose sanity is beyond question; who see no need of turning their lives over to a power greater then them- selves; who find personal inventories unnecessary since they are seldom in the wrong and are no longer subject to the embarrassing need of repairing the wrongs they have done.

When dry drunk alcoholics awaken to this irony that they, still unmanageable, still powerless, are the ones who have made this remarkable "recovery," they may feel sufficiently mortified to want to change.

Footprints
Footprints in the Sand

One night I dreamed I was walking 
along the beach with the Lord.
Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.

In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand.
Sometimes there were two sets of footprints, 
other times there was one only.

This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life, when I was suffering from anguish, 
sorrow or defeat,
I could see only one set of footprints, so I said to the Lord,

“You promised me Lord,
that if I followed you, you would walk with me always.
But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life
there has only been one set of footprints in the sand.
Why, when I needed you most, have you not been there for me?”

The Lord replied, 
“The years when you have seen only one set of footprints, my child, is when I carried you.”

Mary Stevenson, 1936


If it is meant to be.........,,,.I can't stop it
If it isn't god's will ............I can't make it happen


An elder Apache was teaching his grandchildren about life.

He said to them,"A fight is going on inside me; it is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One wolf represents fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, competition, superiority, and ego. The other stands for joy, peace, love, hope, sharing, serenity, humility, kindness, friendship, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. This same fight is going on inside you, and inside every other person too."

They thought about it for a minute and then one child asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The old Grandpa simply replied, "The one you feed.

Are you feeding your addiction or your recovery?




Slogans are wisdom written in shorthand!



AA formally uses these Simple Slogans 
to assist members to recover during difficult periods.

* Easy Does It
* First Things First
* Live and let Live
* Think......Think.......Think
* One Day At a Time
* But for the Grace of God
* Principles before Personalities
* Let go and let God
* This too shall pass
* Let it begin with me
* Just for today
* Courage to change

* Where ever you go .......there you are
* You are not alone
* Stay sober for yourself
* Look for similarities rather than differences
* Remember your last drunk, use, bet etc
* Remember that addiction is incurable, progressive, and fatal
* It takes time to get better
* Depression is anger toward inward
* The lesson I must learn is simply that my control
is limited to my own behavior, my own attitudes
* The flip side to forgiveness is resentments
* The elevator is broken-------use the 'steps'
* It isn't the load that weighs us down------it's the way we carry it
* If I think, I won't drink. If I drink, I can't think
* Sick and tired of being sick and tired
* This is a selfish program
* I drank, ate, gambled, etc: too much---too often---too long
* Minds are like parachutes----they won't work unless they're open
* When your head begins to swell your mind stops growing
* A journey of a 1,000 miles begins with the first step
* When a person tries to control their addiction they have already lost control

* Poor me.....Poor me...... Pour me a drink!
* It's the "first" drink that gets you drunk
* One alcoholic talking to another........
* Do it sober
* Every recovery from addiction began with one sober Minute
* The first step is the only step a person can work perfectly
* you are not required to like it, you're only required to DO IT
* Your 12 step program will work if you want it to work
* Keep coming back
*If you want to drink-----that is your business,
If you want to quit-------that is our business
* Don't compare---identify, don't intellectualize----utilize
* Stay away from the First Drink, Drug, Bet (apply your specific addiction here)
* Nothing is so bad, using won't make it worse
* Most folks commit suicide with a knife and fork (Eating disorders)
* First we stayed sober because we have to... then we stay sober because we are willing to.... finally we stay sober because we want to...
* One drink is too many and thousand not enough
* Try not place conditions on your sobriety
* Bring the body and the mind will follow
*We all have another drunk left in us but we don't know if we have another recovery in us
*Be as enthusiastic about recovery as you were about your addiction Daily Living
* Be part of the solution, not part of the problem
* Use the 24-hour plan
* Live in the NOW
* Take the cotton out of your ears and put it in your mouth
* To keep it (recovery), you have to give it away
* What goes around, comes around
* Keep an open mind
* If you find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn't lead anywhere
* To thine own self be true
* There are two days in every week which we have no control over----yesterday and tomorrow. today is the only day we can change.
* When wallowing in your self-pity ...... get off the cross! We need the wood
* Learn a new dance - the old "Cross - Pot Shuffle" is out of vogue
* Act as if.........
* It is not the experience of today that drives people mad----it is the remorse or bitterness for something which happened yesterday and the dread of what tomorrow may bring.
* Get it ---give it---grow in it
* Every day is a gift that is why we call it the 'present'
* Dry and tighten up (financially)
* Before engaging your mouth, put your mind in gear!
* Recovery is an education without a graduation
* Easy does it, but do it
* When all else fails, follow directions
* Addicts heal from the outside in.........but feel from the inside out
* Stick with the winners
* Look after the Little Things
* Keep coming back..........it works if you work it
* Sobriety is a journey ..........not a destination
* We are only as sick as our secrets
* Share your happiness
* Share your pain
* Count your blessings
* We're responsible for the effort - not the outcome!
* Sorrow is looking back, Worry is looking around
* Formula for failure: try to please everyone
* Humility is our acceptance of ourselves

* Sober `n` crazy
* How does one become an "old-timer" ? Don't drink or use and don't die!
* We addict's are 'gifted' people
* We don't carry the alcoholic/ addict - we carry the message
* The 12 steps tell us how it works; the 12 traditions tell us why it works.
* Your 12 step program won't keep you from going to hell,
nor is it a ticket to heaven,but it will keep u sober long enough for you to make up your mind which way you want to go!
* The person with the most sobriety at a meeting is the one who got up earliest that morning
* Humility is not thinking less of yourself; It is thinking of yourself less.


Denial

* What if.........
* Yeah but......
* If only .......
* Remember when............
* Around recovery or "in" recovery?
* In action we got sympathy-----as long as our money lasted.
* Your 12 step program never opened the gates of heaven to let you in, It did open the gates of hell to let you out
* Danger sign: when your eyes have wandered from the alcoholic who still suffers and needs help-----to the faults of those whom the program has already helped!
* There are none too dumb for the 12 step program - but many are too smart
* I want what I want, when I want it
* Alcoholism is the only disease that tells you you're all right
* The first step in overcoming mistakes is to admit them
* Knowledge of "the answers" never made anyone slip---it was failing to practice "the answers" that were known.

Higher Power

* I can't .........He can..........I think I'll let him (steps 1,2,3)
* If it works.........Don't fix it
* Recovery is not something you join, it's a way of life
* Expect miracles!
* God is never late
* Courage is faith that has said its prayers
* There is a god and I am not it
* Faith is a lighted doorway, trust is a darkened hall
* We had to quit playing god
* There are no atheists in foxholes
* Possibilities and miracles are one in the same
* The will of God will never take you where the grace of God will not protect you
* When we surrender to our higher power, the journey begins
* I came -I came to - I came to believe
* Faith without works is dead
* Get out of the driver's seat.......let go and let god
* Fear is the absence of faith
* When man listens, God speaks; when man obeys, God works
* The task ahead of us is never as great as the power behind us
* If God seems far away, who moved ?
* If faith without works is dead; then ....willingness without action is fantasy
* Turn it over, the results are in god's hand
* Willpower = our will-ingness to use a higher power
* Remember nothing is going to happen today that you and God can't handle
* Man's extremity is god's opportunity
* AA = Altered Attitudes
* I can't handle it God; you take over
* God answers "knee mails"
* Backsliding begins when knee-bending ends
* Spirituality is the ability to get our minds off ourselves
* There is no chemical solution to a spiritual problem
* Faith is our greatest gift; sharing it with others our greatest responsibility
* Respect the anonymity of others
* Try to replace guilt with gratitude
* Let go of old ideas
* Change is a process, not an event
* Take what you can use and leave the rest
* The price for serenity and sanity is self-sacrifice
* You can't give away what you don't have
* There are 12 steps in the ladder of complete sobriety
* Some of us our sicker than others
* We're all here because we're not all there
* Alcoholism / addiction is an equal opportunity destroyer
* The road to sobriety is a simple journey for confused people with a complicated disease
* Pass it on
* You received without cost, now give without charge
* It's in the book
* Before you say: I can't ............say I'll try
* Don't quit 5 minutes before the miracle happens
* Practice an attitude of gratitude
* Another friend of Bill W's ( Bill Wilson is the co-founder of AA )
* God will never give you more than you can handle
* Have a good day unless of course you have made other plans
* Decisions aren't forever
* 90 meetings in 90 days.........90/90
* Don't drink, don't think, read the Big Book, and go to meetings

Recovery Acronyms and Word Associations

* H.A.L.T. - hungry, angry, lonely, tired Stop everything and get into recovery
* H.O.W - honesty, open-mindedness and willingness
* Kiss---keep it simple sweetie
* Anger is but one letter away from danger
* Fear is the darkroom where negatives are developed
* FEAR (f--- everything and run)
* Faith is spelled ...............a-c-t-i-o-n
* We can be positive that our drinking was negative
* The 7t's ---take time to think the thing through
* EGO - Edge God Out
* The 3 T's of gratitude to repay for our sobriety: time, talent, treasure
* Keep your sobriety first, to make it last
* Fear stands for Frustration

Carry the Message

* The only thing we take from this world when we leave is what we gave away
* We give it away to keep it
* Trust god.........clean house........help others
* There are members who MAKE things happen there are members who WATCH things happen there are members who DON'T KNOW anything happen WHICH ARE YOU ?

Relationships

* Active alcoholics don't have relationships; they take hostages
* There is a "slip" under every skirt - ( an oldie from the politically incorrect days of AA that still is important today)
* The lesson I must learn is simply that my control is limited to my own behaviour, my own attitudes

The Tools Of Recovery

* 12 step Meetings - Attend at least one meeting a week
* Plan of Recovery - Draw up a schedule of daily recovery actions with your sponsors help
* Telephone - Use the telephone with other 12 step members to avoid Isolation and keep clean
* Sponsor - Get a sponsor and Be a sponsor
* Writing - Put things down on paper instead of letting them roll around in your head
* Service - Ste up the meeting room, chair a meeting, clean up the room after the meeting, greet newcomers.
* Anonymity - Practice the non use of gossip to make yourself feel better
* Approved Literature - Read the approved 12 step literature

Spirituality

* Spirituality is the ability to get our minds off ourselves
* Bend your knees before you bend your elbow
* GOD = God Orderly Direction
* Accept your admission and Get a new attitude
* There is no magic in recovery only miracles
* The road to disappointment is paved with expectation
* A "coincidence" is a miracle in which god chooses to remain anonymous
* It's a pity we can't forget our troubles the same way we forget our blessings
* We are not human beings having spiritual experiences; we are spiritual beings having human experiences
* If it isn't God's will ............I can't make it happen
* If it is meant to be...........I can't stop it
* Pain is the touchstone of spiritual growth
* Religion is for those who fear god.........spirituality is for those who have been to hell and back
* You are exactly where God wants you to be
* To be forgiven - we must forgive
* Time wasted in getting even can never be used in getting ahead
* Be careful what you pray for; you're liable to get it
* If you turn it over and don't let go of it, you will be upside down.
* Serenity is not freedom from the storm but peace amid the storm
* Trying to pray is praying
* Sobriety delivers everything alcohol promised
* God taught us to laugh again but God please don't let us forget that we once cried
* Faith is not belief without proof but trust without reservation

Meetings

* A 12 step meeting is where losers get together to talk about their winnings
* What you hear and see here, stays here!
* AA is the highest priced club in the world.........if u have paid the dues, why not enjoy the benefits ?
* Chair a meeting
* Share your experience, strength and hope, not just your garbage
* Isolation is a killer, use your telephone list, come to an extra meeting, reach out and help the newcomer or struggling member.
* Each and every alcoholic / addict ----sober or not----teaches us some valuable lessons about ourselves and recovery
* When you do all the talking you only learn what you already know
* Seven days without a meeting makes one WEAK
* AA has a wrench to fit every nut that walks through a meeting room door
* 12 step programs may not solve all your problems but are willing to share them
* The time to attend a meeting is when you least feel like going

AA Saying's

* Don't watch the "slippers" but watch those who don't slip closely and watch them go through difficulties and pull through
* Work the program from the waist up
* Some people are so successful in AA that they turn out to be almost as good as they used to think they were when they were drinking.
* AA spoils your drinking!
* In AA we get understanding------for nothing!
* Anonymity is so important it's half of our name
* Even my worst day in sobriety / clean is better than my best day drunk / using
* When all else fails.........the directions are in the Big Book (Alcoholics Anonymous)
* If we don't grow, we gotta go
* Read AA approved literature. Other books and materials, while they may be excellent, are usually only one individuals slant on a subject.
* All you need to start your own AA meeting is a resentment and a coffee pot!!
* Why recovery never ends: the disease is alcoholISm, not alcoholWASM!
* The AA way of life is meant to be bread for daily use, not cake for special occasions
* The smartest thing an AA member can say is, " help me "
* It takes the good and bad AA meeting----the good and bad AA talk -----to make the fellowship "work"
* 3 A's in AA-----affection (thoughtfulness) -----attention (listening) -----appreciation (gratitude)
* Slippers in AA use the RDP---revolving door policy
* AA works for people who believe in god AA works for people who don't believe in god AA NEVER works for people who believe they ARE god

The AA Promises

THE PROMISES


If we are painstaking about this phase of our development,
we will be amazed before we are half way through.

* We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.
*We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.
* We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace.
* No matter how far down the scale we have gone,
*We will see how our experience can benefit others.
* That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.
* We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.
* Self-seeking will slip away.
* Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.
* Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.
* We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.
* We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.


Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us—sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. The will always materialize if we work for them.

Reprinted from Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition p. 84

The Addicts Paradoxes:

* From weakness (adversity) comes strength
* We forgive to be forgiven
* We suffer to get well
* We surrender to win
* We die to live
* From darkness comes light
* From dependence we found independence

check out the Living in Recovery swicki at eurekster.com














alcoholics anonymous:

a photographic journey through its history...

Click on the links below to view images.

Pre-AA Days

Bill W.
Just before going overseas.
Bill W.
In uniform and on horseback.
Bill W.
A smiling soldier.
Bill and Lois
At Fort Adams, Rhode Island, June 1918
Bill and Lois
Packing for another trip.
Lois
Was really the Harley rider but Bill showed off here.
Lois
Usually was asked to drive.
Lois W.
Smiling for the camera.

Early Friends of A.A.

Ruth Hock
Ruth was AA's first secretary and typed the manuscript for the Big Book.
Dr. Silkworth
Dr. Silkworth wrote the Dr.'s Opinion in the Big Book and was Bill's physician at Towns Hospital in New York
Rev. Samuel M. Shoemaker
Sam was the pastor at Calvary Episcopal Church in New York where he headed the Oxford Group there. He was also a great friend of early AA.
Henrietta Seiberling
It was at Henrietta's home where Bob and Bill met for the first time on Mother's Day in 1935.
Henrietta's home
The Gatehouse on the Seiberling Estate in Akron, Ohio.
T. Henry and Clarace Williams
It was at the home of T. Henry and Clarace where Dr. Bob and many of the early founding members of AA met for Oxford Group meetings.
The Williams' Home
In Akron, Ohio

Memorabilia

Dust Jacket
This was an early proposed Dust Jacket design for the First Edition Big Book.
Liberty Magazine
The September 1939 Liberty Magazine with an article entitled, "Alcoholics And God." AA's first National publicity.
Saturday Evening Post
This is the March 1, 1941 Saturday Evening Post magazine containing AA's first major publicity. As a result of this Jack Alexander article, AA's membership nearly doubled.
Stock Certificate
In order to finance the printing of the First Edition Big Book, stock certificates were sold to early AA members and others.

A.A. Pioneers

Hank P.
Hank's story, THE UNBELIEVER is in the First Edition
Clarence S.
Clarence's story, HOME BREWMEISTER is in all three editions.
Ernie G.
Ernie's story, THE SEVEN MONTH SLIP is in the First Edition
Charlie S.
Charlie's story, RIDING THE RODS is in the First Edition
Bob O.
Bob's story, THE SALESMAN is in the First Edition
Archie T.
Archie's story, THE FEARFUL ONE is in the First Edition
In later editions, his story is called THE MAN WHO MASTERED FEAR
Dick S.
Dick's story, THE CAR SMASHER is in the First Edition
Bill D.
Bill's story, ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS NUMBER THREE is in the Second and Third Edition
Abby G.
Abby's story, HE THOUGHT HE COULD DRINK LIKE A GENTLEMAN is in the Second and Third Edition
Marty M.
Marty's story, WOMEN SUFFER TOO is in the Second and Third Edition
Ethel M.
Ethel's story, FROM FARM TO CITY is in the Second and Third Edition
Earl T.
Earl's story, HE SOLD HIMSELF SHORT is in the Second and Third Edition
Sylvia K.
Sylvia's story, THE KEYS OF THE KINGDOM is in the Second and Third Edition
Esther A.
Esther's story, A FLOWER OF THE SOUTH is in the second and Third Edition
Ebby T.
This is the last reported photo of Ebby before he passed on.
Dr. Bob and Anne
Dr. Bob was a co-founder of A.A. and Anne S. held the first meetings for wives in Akron.
Early Members
Just prior to the first AA World Service Conference and Convention in 1950, Bill W. visited Cleveland, Ohio and met with some of the early members there.
Group Photo
An early, 1940's informal group photo of members in California (possibly Long Beach). Bill W. is on the right and Dr. Bob on the left. Anne S., Dr. Bob's wife is in the center with a cigarette.
Bill and Dr. Bob
Dr. Bob and Bill W. with an unidentified man (possibly Dr. Harry Tiebout) in Akron, Ohio.
Bill D. and Sue
Bill D., AA #3 with Dr. Bob's daughter Sue.
Bill D. and Helen B.
Bill D., AA #3 with Helen B., an early AA Grapevine Editor.
Another "Man on the Bed" Photo
Bill W. visiting a prospective AA member in a hospital. Another "Man On The Bed" picture.
Bill and Lois
A Later Christmas picture.
Bill and Lois
After Anne S.'s funeral.

The Power of Prayer
The King James Bible
Did you know, before the Big Book was published, the early members of AA studied the Bible? In fact, one of the possible names for AA then was, "The James Club" after the Book of James from theBible. Alcoholics Anonymous . . . experience the history . . . Lest we forget!
On this page:
1 Corinthians 12*
31But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.
1 Corinthians 13
1Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and may not have charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 2And though I have the gift ofprophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. 3And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. 4Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5Does not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 6Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 7Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. 8Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there beknowledge, it shall vanish away. 9For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 10But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.11When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 13And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

*page 184, New Testament, King James Bible © Copyright, 1957. The New - Reference Bible, Third Improved Edition, containing Thompson's Original and Complete System of Bible Study. Including: Chain References, Text Cyclopedia, Analyses of Books, Outline Studies of Characters, and Unique Charts.













SERENITY PRAYER
(long version)

(also see:The Origin of our Serenity Prayer)

God, grant me the Serenity
to accept the things
I cannot change Courage to change the
things I can, and the
Wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardship as the
pathway to peace.
Taking, as He did, this
sinful world as it is,
not as I would have it.
Trusting that He will make
all things right if I
surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy
in this life, and supremely
happy with Him forever in
the next.
Amen
(Copyright © The AA Grapevine, January, 1950.)















[A QUICK NOTE—there are several versions of these prayers that float around. You may have been given a copy by your sponsor at sometime. Some versions claim to be "from the BIG BOOK". The problem is some are written in the Big Book "Alcoholics Anonymous" or in the "Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions", and others are only inspired by or derived from what is in these books. To avoid confusion, what is in theBig Book (BB) or Twelve & Twelve (12&12), I'll put quote marks around, the others I'll either give page numbers from which the inspiration may have come, or quote that page first.]







PRAYERS OF THE STEPS

1ST STEP
God, Creative Intelligence, Universal Mind, Spirit of Nature or Spirit of the Universe my name is ______, And I'm a real alcoholic ... and I need your help today.
(pg.. 10-2, 46, & Chp. 3 BB)
2nd STEP
God, I'm standing at the turning point right now. Give me your protection and care as I abandon myself to you and give up my old ways and my old ideas just for today.
AMEN
(p. 59 BB)
3rd STEP
"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!" (p. 63 BB) God, Take my will and my life. Guide me in my recovery. Show me how to live. AMEN
(the step on p. 59 BB)
4th STEP
WHEN IN DOUBT
"I was to sit quietly when in doubt, asking only for direction and strength to meet my problems as He would have me. Never was I to pray for myself, except as my requests bore on my usefulness to others. Then only might I expect to receive. But that would be in great measure."
(p.13)

WHEN I AM DISTURBED BY THE CONDUCT (SYMPTOMS) OF OTHERS
"This is a sick man. How can I be helpful to him? God save me from being angry. Thy will be done."
(p. 67 BB)

God help me to show this person the same tolerance, pity and patience that I would Cheerfully grant a sick friend. This is a sick person, how can I be helpful to him? God save me from being angry. Thy will be done.
(see above and p. 141 of 12&12)

WHEN I AM AFRAID
"We ask Him to remove our fear and direct our attention to what He would have us be."
(p. 68 BB)

God, relieve me of this fear and direct my attention to what you would have me be. AMEN
(see above)

WHEN I AM AWARE OF MY OWN DEFECTS AND SEEKING GOD'S HELP TO CHANGE
"We asked God to mold our ideals and help us to live up to them. . . we ask God what we should do about each specific matter."
(p. 69 BB)

God mold my ideals in this particular area of my life and help me to live up to them. What should I do in each specific matter? Guide me God and give me strength to do right. AMEN
(see above)
5th STEP
God I thank you from the bottom of my heart that I know you better. Help me become aware of anything I have omitted discussing with another person. Help me to do what is necessary to walk a free man at last. AMEN
(p. 75 BB)
6th STEP
God help me become willing to let go of all the things to which I still cling. Help me to be ready to let You remove all of these defects, that Your will and purpose may take their place. AMEN
(p. 76 BB)
7th STEP
"I humbly offered myself to God, as I then understood Him, to do with me as He would. I placed myself unreservedly under His care and direction. I admitted for the first time that of myself I was nothing; that without Him I was lost. I ruthlessly faced my sins and became willing to have my new-found Friend take them away, root and branch."
(p. 13)

"My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding. Amen."
(p. 76 BB)
8th STEP
"We attempt to sweep away the debris which has accumulated out of our effort to live on self-will and run the show ourselves. If we haven’t the will to do this, we ask until it comes."
(p. 76 BB)

God help me to become willing to sweep away the debris of self will and self reliant living. Thy will be done for this person as well as for me. AMEN
(see above)
9th STEP
God give me the strength and direction to do the right thing no matter what the consequences may be. Help me to consider others and not harm them in any way. Help me to consult with others before I take any actions that would cause me to be sorry. Help me to not repeat such behaviors. Show me the way of Patience, Tolerance, Kindliness, and Love and help me live the spiritual life. AMEN
(p. 78-80 BB)
10th STEP
God remove the Selfishness, dishonesty, resentment and fear that has cropped up in my life right now. Help me to discuss this with someone immediately and make amends quickly if I have harmed anyone. Help me to cease fight anything and anyone. Show me where I may be helpful to someone else. Help me react sanely; not cocky or afraid. How can I best serve You - Your will, not mine be done. AMEN
(p. 84-5 BB)

"How can I best serve Thee—Thy will (not mine) be done."
(p. 85 BB)
11th STEP
"As we go through the day we pause, when agitated or doubtful, and ask for the right thought or action. We constantly remind ourselves we are no longer running the show, humbly saying to ourselves many times each day 'Thy will be done.' "
(p. 87-8 BB)

God, I'm agitated and doubtful right now. Help me to stop and remember that I've made a decision to let You be my God. Give me the right thoughts and actions. God save me from fear, anger, worry, self-pity or foolish decisions that Your will not mine be done. AMEN
(see above)

(Prayer of St Francis of Assisi) —"Lord, make me a channel 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. Amen."
(p. 99 12&12)
SUGGESTIONS ABOUT PRAYER AND MEDITATION FROM BB:













(1) Make no requests in prayer for yourself only.

(2) Never prayer for your own selfish ends.
(3) Select and memorize a few set prayers that emphasize the principles of the Steps.
(4) Ask a priest, minister or rabbi about helpful books and prayers that emphasize the principles of the Steps.
(5) Be quick to see where religious people are right.
(6) Make use of what religious people have to offer.
(p. 87 BB)

^Top^


NIGHT PRAYER
God forgive me where I have been resentful, selfish, dishonest or afraid today. Help me to not keep anything to myself but to discuss it all openly with another person - show me where I owe an apology and help me make it. Help me to be kind and loving to all people. Use me in the mainstream of life God. Remove worry, remorse or morbid (sick) reflections that I may be of usefulness to others. AMEN
(p. 86 BB)
MORNING PRAYER
God direct my thinking today so that it be divorced of self pity, dishonesty, self-will, self-seeking and fear. God inspire my thinking, decisions and intuitions. Help me to relax and take it easy. Free me from doubt and indecision. Guide me through this day and show me my next step. God give me what I need to take care of any problems. I ask all these things that I may be of maximum service to you and my fellow man in the name of the Steps I pray. AMEN
(p. 86 BB)
^Top^















(the following are 2 pamphlets that I have seen passed around for many years)

AA MORNINGS
On awakening let us think about the twenty-four hours ahead. We consider our plans for the day. Before we begin, we ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives. Under these conditions we can employ our mental faculties with assurance, for after all God gave us brains to use. Our thought-life will be placed on a much higher plane when our thinking is cleared of wrong motives.
In thinking about our day we may face indecision. We may not be able to determine which course to take. Here we ask God for inspiration, an intuitive thought or a decision. we relax and take it easy. We don’t struggle. We are often surprised how the right answers come after we have tried this for a while.
What used to be the hunch or the occasional inspiration gradually becomes a working part of the mind. Being still inexperienced and having just made conscious contact with God, it is not probable that we are going to be inspired at all times. We might pay for this presumption in all sorts of absurd actions and ideas. Nevertheless, we find that our thinking will, as time passes, be more and more on the plane of inspiration. We come to rely upon it.
We usually conclude the period of meditation with a prayer that we be shown all through the day what our next step is to be, that we be given whatever we need to take care of such problems. We ask especially for freedom from self-will, and are careful to make no request for ourselves only. We may ask for ourselves, however, if others will be helped. We are careful never to pray for our own selfish ends. Many of us have wasted a lot of time doing that and it doesn't work. You can easily see why.
If circumstances warrant, we ask our wives or friends to join us in morning meditation. If we belong to a religious denomination which requires a definite morning devotion, we attend to that also. If not members of religious bodies, we sometimes select and memorize a few set prayers which emphasize the principles we have been discussing. There are many helpful books also. Suggestions about these may be obtained from one’s priest, minister, or rabbi. Be quick to see where religious people are right. Make use of what they offer.
As we go through the day we pause, when agitated or doubtful, and ask for the right thought or action. We constantly remind ourselves we are no longer running the show, humbly saying to ourselves many times each day “Thy will be done.” We are then in much less danger of excitement, fear, anger, worry, self-pity, or foolish decisions. We become much more efficient. We do not tire so easily, for we are not burning up energy foolishly as we did when we were trying to arrange life to suit ourselves.
It works - it really does.
We alcoholics are undisciplined. So we let God discipline us in the simple way we have just outlined. But this is not all. There is action and more action. “Faith without works is dead.”
(from "Alcoholics Anonymous pg. 86-88)
^Top^


(A QUICK NOTE— sometime between the 10th printing in 1971 and the 29th printing in 1985, the "12 & 12" was retypset so the page numbers are no longer the same. My copy of this pamphlet has page numbers coinciding with the 10th printing. That kinda indicates how long it has been floating around the fellowship. I include both sets of page numbers here for the sake of accuracy.)
AA NIGHTS
When we retire at night, we constructively review our day. Were we resentful, selfish, dishonest or afraid? Do we owe an apology? Have we kept something to ourselves which should be discussed with another person at once? Were we kind and loving toward all? What could we have done better? Were we thinking of ourselves most of the time? Or were we thinking of what we could do for others, of what we could pack into the stream of life? But we must be careful not to drift into worry, remorse or morbid reflection, for that would diminish our usefulness to others. After making our review we ask God's forgiveness and inquire what corrective measures should be taken.
(from "Alcoholics Anonymous pg. 86)
EXCERPTS FROM 12 & 12
And when we turn away from meditation and prayer, we likewise deprive our minds, our emotions, and our intuitions of vitally needed support. (p. 97 in 29th printing/ p. 100 in 10th printing ) One of its first fruits is emotional balance. With it we can broaden and deepen the channel between ourselves and God as we understand Him. (p. 101-2 / 104 ) But its object is always the same: to improve our conscious contact with God, with His grace, wisdom, and love. (p. 101 / 104) As the day goes on, we can pause where situations must be met and decisions made, and renew the simple request: "Thy will, not mine, be done." If at these points our emotional disturbance happens to be great, we will more surely keep our balance, provided we remember, and repeat to ourselves, a particular prayer or phrase that has appealed to us in our reading or meditation. Just saying it over and over will often enable us to clear a channel choked up with anger, fear, frustration, or misunderstanding, and permit us to return to the surest help of all - our search for God's will, not our own, in the moment of stress. (p. 102-3 / 105)
In A.A. we have found that the actual good results of prayer are beyond question. They are matters of knowledge and experience. All those who have persisted have found strength not ordinarily their own. They have found wisdom beyond their usual capability. And they have increasingly found a peace of mind which can stand firm in the face of difficult circumstances . . . We discover that we do receive guidance for our lives to just about the extent that we stop making demands upon God to give it to us on order and on our terms. (p. 107 / p. 104) . . . Any experienced A.A. will tell how his affairs have taken remarkable and unexpected turns for the better as he tried to improve his conscious contact with God...new lessons for living were learned, new resources of courage were uncovered, and that finally, inescapably, the conviction came that God does "move in a mysterious way His wonders to perform." (p. 104-5 / 107)
SOUGHT THROUGH PRAYER AND MEDITATION TO IMPROVE OUR CONSCIOUS CONTACT WITH GOD ... PRAYING ONLY FOR HIS WILL AND THE POWER TO CARRY THAT OUT.
HAVING HAD A SPIRITUAL AWAKENING ... WE TRIED TO PRACTICE THESE PRINCIPLES IN ALL OUR AFFAIRS.
^Top^














PRAYER OF ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI

Lord, make me a channel 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.
Learn more about Saint Francis
:: plus research on this prayer ::
^Top^

Reason, Season, And A Lifetime
People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. When you figure out which it is, you will know exactly what to do.
Some people come into our lives and quickly go..
Some people become friends and stay awhile...
leaving beautiful footprints on our hearts...
and we are never quite the same because we have made a good friend!!!
When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed outwardly or inwardly. They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally, or spiritually. They may seem like a godsend, and they are. They are there for the reason you need them to be. Then, without any wrong doing on your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up or out and force you to take a stand. What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled; their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered and it is now time to move on.
When people come into your life for a SEASON, it is because your turn has come to share, grow, or learn. They may bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it! It is real! But, only for a season.
LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons; those things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person or people involved; and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships, and areas of your life. It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.
When you read this, just recite the following prayer.
That's all you have to do. There is nothing else attached.
This is the power of prayer at work.
May today there be peace within you.
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities
that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received,
and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be content knowing that you are a child of God.
Let His presence settle into your bones,
and allow your soul the freedom to sing,
dance, and to bask in the sun.
It is there for each and every one of you.
Send this to the people in your life
and witness...
The Awesome Power of Prayer





           THE VELVETEEN RABBIT



HERE was once a velveteen rabbit, and in the beginning he was really splendid. He was fat and bunchy, as a rabbit should be; his coat was spotted brown and white, he had real thread whiskers, and his ears were lined with pink sateen. On Christmas morning, when he sat wedged in the top of the Boy's stocking, with a sprig of holly between his paws, the effect was charming.

There were other things in the stocking, nuts and oranges and a toy engine, and chocolate almonds and a clockwork mouse, but the Rabbit was quite the best of all. For at least two hours the Boy loved him, and then Aunts and Uncles came to dinner, and there was a great rustling of tissue paper and unwrapping of parcels, and in the excitement of looking at all the new presents the Velveteen Rabbit was forgotten.


Christmas Morning

For a long time he lived in the toy cupboard or on the nursery floor, and no one thought very much about him. He was naturally shy, and being only made of velveteen, some of the more expensive toys quite snubbed him. The mechanical toys were very superior, and looked down upon every one else; they were full of modern ideas, and pretended they were real. The model boat, who had lived through two seasons and lost most of his paint, caught the tone from them and never missed an opportunity of referring to his rigging in technical terms. The Rabbit could not claim to be a model of anything, for he didn't know that real rabbits existed; he thought they were all stuffed with sawdust like himself, and he understood that sawdust was quite out-of-date and should never be mentioned in modern circles. Even Timothy, the jointed wooden lion, who was made by the disabled soldiers, and should have had broader views, put on airs and pretended he was connected with Government. Between them all the poor little Rabbit was made to feel himself very insignificant and commonplace, and the only person who was kind to him at all was the Skin Horse.

The Skin Horse had lived longer in the nursery than any of the others. He was so old that his brown coat was bald in patches and showed the seams underneath, and most of the hairs in his tail had been pulled out to string bead necklaces. He was wise, for he had seen a long succession of mechanical toys arrive to boast and swagger, and by-and-by break their mainsprings and pass away, and he knew that they were only toys, and would never turn into anything else. For nursery magic is very strange and wonderful, and only those playthings that are old and wise and experienced like the Skin Horse understand all about it.

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

"I suppose you are real?" said the Rabbit. And then he wished he had not said it, for he thought the Skin Horse might be sensitive. But the Skin Horse only smiled.


The Skin Horse Tells His Story

"The Boy's Uncle made me Real," he said. "That was a great many years ago; but once you are Real you can't become unreal again. It lasts for always."

The Rabbit sighed. He thought it would be a long time before this magic called Real happened to him. He longed to become Real, to know what it felt like; and yet the idea of growing shabby and losing his eyes and whiskers was rather sad. He wished that he could become it without these uncomfortable things happening to him.

There was a person called Nana who ruled the nursery. Sometimes she took no notice of the playthings lying about, and sometimes, for no reason whatever, she went swooping about like a great wind and hustled them away in cupboards. She called this "tidying up," and the playthings all hated it, especially the tin ones. The Rabbit didn't mind it so much, for wherever he was thrown he came down soft.

One evening, when the Boy was going to bed, he couldn't find the china dog that always slept with him. Nana was in a hurry, and it was too much trouble to hunt for china dogs at bedtime, so she simply looked about her, and seeing that the toy cupboard door stood open, she made a swoop.

"Here," she said, "take your old Bunny! He'll do to sleep with you!" And she dragged the Rabbit out by one ear, and put him into the Boy's arms.

That night, and for many nights after, the Velveteen Rabbit slept in the Boy's bed. At first he found it rather uncomfortable, for the Boy hugged him very tight, and sometimes he rolled over on him, and sometimes he pushed him so far under the pillow that the Rabbit could scarcely breathe. And he missed, too, those long moonlight hours in the nursery, when all the house was silent, and his talks with the Skin Horse. But very soon he grew to like it, for the Boy used to talk to him, and made nice tunnels for him under the bedclothes that he said were like the burrows the real rabbits lived in. And they had splendid games together, in whispers, when Nana had gone away to her supper and left the night-light burning on the mantelpiece. And when the Boy dropped off to sleep, the Rabbit would snuggle down close under his little warm chin and dream, with the Boy's hands clasped close round him all night long.

And so time went on, and the little Rabbit was very happy–so happy that he never noticed how his beautiful velveteen fur was getting shabbier and shabbier, and his tail becoming unsewn, and all the pink rubbed off his nose where the Boy had kissed him.

Spring came, and they had long days in the garden, for wherever the Boy went the Rabbit went too. He had rides in the wheelbarrow, and picnics on the grass, and lovely fairy huts built for him under the raspberry canes behind the flower border. And once, when the Boy was called away suddenly to go out to tea, the Rabbit was left out on the lawn until long after dusk, and Nana had to come and look for him with the candle because the Boy couldn't go to sleep unless he was there. He was wet through with the dew and quite earthy from diving into the burrows the Boy had made for him in the flower bed, and Nana grumbled as she rubbed him off with a corner of her apron.


Spring Time

"You must have your old Bunny!" she said. "Fancy all that fuss for a toy!"

The Boy sat up in bed and stretched out his hands.

"Give me my Bunny!" he said. "You mustn't say that. He isn't a toy. He's REAL!"

When the little Rabbit heard that he was happy, for he knew that what the Skin Horse had said was true at last. The nursery magic had happened to him, and he was a toy no longer. He was Real. The Boy himself had said it.

That night he was almost too happy to sleep, and so much love stirred in his little sawdust heart that it almost burst. And into his boot-button eyes, that had long ago lost their polish, there came a look of wisdom and beauty, so that even Nana noticed it next morning when she picked him up, and said, "I declare if that old Bunny hasn't got quite a knowing expression!"



That was a wonderful Summer!

Near the house where they lived there was a wood, and in the long June evenings the Boy liked to go there after tea to play. He took the Velveteen Rabbit with him, and before he wandered off to pick flowers, or play at brigands among the trees, he always made the Rabbit a little nest somewhere among the bracken, where he would be quite cosy, for he was a kind-hearted little boy and he liked Bunny to be comfortable. One evening, while the Rabbit was lying there alone, watching the ants that ran to and fro between his velvet paws in the grass, he saw two strange beings creep out of the tall bracken near him.

They were rabbits like himself, but quite furry and brand-new. They must have been very well made, for their seams didn't show at all, and they changed shape in a queer way when they moved; one minute they were long and thin and the next minute fat and bunchy, instead of always staying the same like he did. Their feet padded softly on the ground, and they crept quite close to him, twitching their noses, while the Rabbit stared hard to see which side the clockwork stuck out, for he knew that people who jump generally have something to wind them up. But he couldn't see it. They were evidently a new kind of rabbit altogether.


Summer Days

They stared at him, and the little Rabbit stared back. And all the time their noses twitched.

"Why don't you get up and play with us?" one of them asked.

"I don't feel like it," said the Rabbit, for he didn't want to explain that he had no clockwork.

"Ho!" said the furry rabbit. "It's as easy as anything," And he gave a big hop sideways and stood on his hind legs.

"I don't believe you can!" he said.

"I can!" said the little Rabbit. "I can jump higher than anything!" He meant when the Boy threw him, but of course he didn't want to say so.

"Can you hop on your hind legs?" asked the furry rabbit.

That was a dreadful question, for the Velveteen Rabbit had no hind legs at all! The back of him was made all in one piece, like a pincushion. He sat still in the bracken, and hoped that the other rabbits wouldn't notice.

"I don't want to!" he said again.

But the wild rabbits have very sharp eyes. And this one stretched out his neck and looked.

"He hasn't got any hind legs!" he called out. "Fancy a rabbit without any hind legs!" And he began to laugh.

"I have!" cried the little Rabbit. "I have got hind legs! I am sitting on them!"

"Then stretch them out and show me, like this!" said the wild rabbit. And he began to whirl round and dance, till the little Rabbit got quite dizzy.

"I don't like dancing," he said. "I'd rather sit still!"

But all the while he was longing to dance, for a funny new tickly feeling ran through him, and he felt he would give anything in the world to be able to jump about like these rabbits did.

The strange rabbit stopped dancing, and came quite close. He came so close this time that his long whiskers brushed the Velveteen Rabbit's ear, and then he wrinkled his nose suddenly and flattened his ears and jumped backwards.

"He doesn't smell right!" he exclaimed. "He isn't a rabbit at all! He isn't real!"

"I am Real!" said the little Rabbit. "I am Real! The Boy said so!" And he nearly began to cry.

Just then there was a sound of footsteps, and the Boy ran past near them, and with a stamp of feet and a flash of white tails the two strange rabbits disappeared.

"Come back and play with me!" called the little Rabbit. "Oh, do come back! I know I am Real!"

But there was no answer, only the little ants ran to and fro, and the bracken swayed gently where the two strangers had passed. The Velveteen Rabbit was all alone.

"Oh, dear!" he thought. "Why did they run away like that? Why couldn't they stop and talk to me?"

For a long time he lay very still, watching the bracken, and hoping that they would come back. But they never returned, and presently the sun sank lower and the little white moths fluttered out, and the Boy came and carried him home.

Weeks passed, and the little Rabbit grew very old and shabby, but the Boy loved him just as much. He loved him so hard that he loved all his whiskers off, and the pink lining to his ears turned grey, and his brown spots faded. He even began to lose his shape, and he scarcely looked like a rabbit any more, except to the Boy. To him he was always beautiful, and that was all that the little Rabbit cared about. He didn't mind how he looked to other people, because the nursery magic had made him Real, and when you are Real shabbiness doesn't matter.

And then, one day, the Boy was ill.

His face grew very flushed, and he talked in his sleep, and his little body was so hot that it burned the Rabbit when he held him close. Strange people came and went in the nursery, and a light burned all night and through it all the little Velveteen Rabbit lay there, hidden from sight under the bedclothes, and he never stirred, for he was afraid that if they found him some one might take him away, and he knew that the Boy needed him.

It was a long weary time, for the Boy was too ill to play, and the little Rabbit found it rather dull with nothing to do all day long. But he snuggled down patiently, and looked forward to the time when the Boy should be well again, and they would go out in the garden amongst the flowers and the butterflies and play splendid games in the raspberry thicket like they used to. All sorts of delightful things he planned, and while the Boy lay half asleep he crept up close to the pillow and whispered them in his ear. And presently the fever turned, and the Boy got better. He was able to sit up in bed and look at picture-books, while the little Rabbit cuddled close at his side. And one day, they let him get up and dress.

It was a bright, sunny morning, and the windows stood wide open. They had carried the Boy out on to the balcony, wrapped in a shawl, and the little Rabbit lay tangled up among the bedclothes, thinking.

The Boy was going to the seaside to-morrow. Everything was arranged, and now it only remained to carry out the doctor's orders. They talked about it all, while the little Rabbit lay under the bedclothes, with just his head peeping out, and listened. The room was to be disinfected, and all the books and toys that the Boy had played with in bed must be burnt.

"Hurrah!" thought the little Rabbit. "To-morrow we shall go to the seaside!" For the boy had often talked of the seaside, and he wanted very much to see the big waves coming in, and the tiny crabs, and the sand castles.

Just then Nana caught sight of him.

"How about his old Bunny?" she asked.

"That?" said the doctor. "Why, it's a mass of scarlet fever germs!–Burn it at once. What? Nonsense! Get him a new one. He mustn't have that any more!"


Anxious Times

And so the little Rabbit was put into a sack with the old picture-books and a lot of rubbish, and carried out to the end of the garden behind the fowl-house. That was a fine place to make a bonfire, only the gardener was too busy just then to attend to it. He had the potatoes to dig and the green peas to gather, but next morning he promised to come quite early and burn the whole lot.

That night the Boy slept in a different bedroom, and he had a new bunny to sleep with him. It was a splendid bunny, all white plush with real glass eyes, but the Boy was too excited to care very much about it. For to-morrow he was going to the seaside, and that in itself was such a wonderful thing that he could think of nothing else.

And while the Boy was asleep, dreaming of the seaside, the little Rabbit lay among the old picture-books in the corner behind the fowl-house, and he felt very lonely. The sack had been left untied, and so by wriggling a bit he was able to get his head through the opening and look out. He was shivering a little, for he had always been used to sleeping in a proper bed, and by this time his coat had worn so thin and threadbare from hugging that it was no longer any protection to him. Near by he could see the thicket of raspberry canes, growing tall and close like a tropical jungle, in whose shadow he had played with the Boy on bygone mornings. He thought of those long sunlit hours in the garden–how happy they were–and a great sadness came over him. He seemed to see them all pass before him, each more beautiful than the other, the fairy huts in the flower-bed, the quiet evenings in the wood when he lay in the bracken and the little ants ran over his paws; the wonderful day when he first knew that he was Real. He thought of the Skin Horse, so wise and gentle, and all that he had told him. Of what use was it to be loved and lose one's beauty and become Real if it all ended like this? And a tear, a real tear, trickled down his little shabby velvet nose and fell to the ground.

And then a strange thing happened. For where the tear had fallen a flower grew out of the ground, a mysterious flower, not at all like any that grew in the garden. It had slender green leaves the colour of emeralds, and in the centre of the leaves a blossom like a golden cup. It was so beautiful that the little Rabbit forgot to cry, and just lay there watching it. And presently the blossom opened, and out of it there stepped a fairy.

She was quite the loveliest fairy in the whole world. Her dress was of pearl and dew-drops, and there were flowers round her neck and in her hair, and her face was like the most perfect flower of all. And she came close to the little Rabbit and gathered him up in her arms and kissed him on his velveteen nose that was all damp from crying.

"Little Rabbit," she said, "don't you know who I am?"

The Rabbit looked up at her, and it seemed to him that he had seen her face before, but he couldn't think where.

"I am the nursery magic Fairy," she said. "I take care of all the playthings that the children have loved. When they are old and worn out and the children don't need them any more, then I come and take them away with me and turn them into Real."

"Wasn't I Real before?" asked the little Rabbit.

"You were Real to the Boy," the Fairy said, "because he loved you. Now you shall be Real to every one."


The Fairy Flower

And she held the little Rabbit close in her arms and flew with him into the wood.

It was light now, for the moon had risen. All the forest was beautiful, and the fronds of the bracken shone like frosted silver. In the open glade between the tree-trunks the wild rabbits danced with their shadows on the velvet grass, but when they saw the Fairy they all stopped dancing and stood round in a ring to stare at her.

"I've brought you a new playfellow," the Fairy said. "You must be very kind to him and teach him all he needs to know in Rabbit-land, for he is going to live with you for ever and ever!"

And she kissed the little Rabbit again and put him down on the grass.

"Run and play, little Rabbit!" she said.

But the little Rabbit sat quite still for a moment and never moved. For when he saw all the wild rabbits dancing around him he suddenly remembered about his hind legs, and he didn't want them to see that he was made all in one piece. He did not know that when the Fairy kissed him that last time she had changed him altogether. And he might have sat there a long time, too shy to move, if just then something hadn't tickled his nose, and before he thought what he was doing he lifted his hind toe to scratch it.

And he found that he actually had hind legs! Instead of dingy velveteen he had brown fur, soft and shiny, his ears twitched by themselves, and his whiskers were so long that they brushed the grass. He gave one leap and the joy of using those hind legs was so great that he went springing about the turf on them, jumping sideways and whirling round as the others did, and he grew so excited that when at last he did stop to look for the Fairy she had gone.

He was a Real Rabbit at last, at home with the other rabbits.

Autumn passed and Winter, and in the Spring, when the days grew warm and sunny, the Boy went out to play in the wood behind the house. And while he was playing, two rabbits crept out from the bracken and peeped at him. One of them was brown all over, but the other had strange markings under his fur, as though long ago he had been spotted, and the spots still showed through. And about his little soft nose and his round black eyes there was something familiar, so that the Boy thought to himself:

"Why, he looks just like my old Bunny that was lost when I had scarlet fever!"

But he never knew that it really was his own Bunny, come back to look at the child who had first helped him to be Real.





Jonathan Livingston Seagull

Richard Bach.

To the real Jonathan Seagull,who lives within us all.


Part One



It was morning, and the new sun sparkled gold across the ripples of a
gentle sea. A mile from shore a fishing boat chummed the water. and the
word for Breakfast Flock flashed through the air, till a crowd of a
thousand seagulls came to dodge and fight for bits of food. It was another
busy day beginning.
But way off alone, out by himself beyond boat and shore, Jonathan
Livingston Seagull was practicing. A hundred feet in the sky he lowered
his webbed feet, lifted his beak, and strained to hold a painful hard
twisting curve through his wings. The curve meant that he would fly
slowly, and now he slowed until the wind was a whisper in his face, until
the ocean stood still beneath him. He narrowed his eyes in fierce
concentration, held his breath, forced one... single... more... inch...
of... curve... Then his featliers ruffled, he stalled and fell.
Seagulls, as you know, never falter, never stall. To stall in the air
is for them disgrace and it is dishonor.
But Jonathan Livingston Seagull, unashamed, stretching his wings
again in that trembling hard curve - slowing, slowing, and stalling once
more - was no ordinary bird.
Most gulls don't bother to learn more than the simplest facts of
flight - how to get from shore to food and back again. For most gulls, it
is not flying that matters, but eating. For this gull, though, it was not
eating that mattered, but flight. More than anything else. Jonathan
Livingston Seagull loved to fly.
This kind of thinking, he found, is not the way to make one's self
popular with other birds. Even his parents were dismayed as Jonathan spent
whole days alone, making hundreds of low-level glides, experimenting.


He didn't know why, for instance, but when he flew at altitudes less
than half his wingspan above the water, he could stay in the air longer,
with less effort. His glides ended not with the usual feet-down splash
into the sea, but with a long flat wake as he touched the surface with his
feet tightly streamlined against his body. When he began sliding in to
feet-up landings on the beach, then pacing the length of his slide in the
sand, his parents were very much dismayed indeed.
"Why, Jon, why?" his mother asked. "Why is it so hard to be like the
rest of the flock, Jon? Why can't you leave low flying to the pelicans,
the alhatross? Why don't you eat? Son, you're bone and feathers!"
"I don't mind being bone and feathers mom. I just want to know what I
can do in the air and what I can't, that's all. I just want to know."
"See here Jonathan " said his father not unkindly. "Winter isn't far
away. Boats will be few and the surface fish will be swimming deep. If you
must study, then study food, and how to get it. This flying business is
all very well, but you can't eat a glide, you know. Don't you forget that
the reason you fly is to eat."
Jonathan nodded obediently. For the next few days he tried to behave
like the other gulls; he really tried, screeching and fighting with the
flock around the piers and fishing boats, diving on scraps of fish and
bread. But he couldn't make it work.
It's all so pointless, he thought, deliberately dropping a hard-won
anchovy to a hungry old gull chasing him. I could be spending all this
time learning to fly. There's so much to learn!


It wasn't long before Jonathan Gull was off by himself again, far out
at sea, hungry, happy, learning.
The subject was speed, and in a week's practice he learned more about
speed than the fastest gull alive.
From a thousand feet, flapping his wings as hard as he could, he
pushed over into a blazing steep dive toward the waves, and learned why
seagulls don't make blazing steep pewer-dives. In just six seconds he was
moving seventy miles per hour, the speed at which one's wing goes unstable
on the upstroke.
Time after time it happened. Careful as he was, working at the very
peak of his ability, he lost control at high speed.
Climb to a thousand feet. Full power straight ahead first, then push
over, flapping, to a vertical dive. Then, every time, his left wing
stalled on an upstroke, he'd roll violently left, stall his right wing
recovering, and flick like fire into a wild tumbling spin to the right.
He couldn't be careful enough on that upstroke. Ten times he tried,
and all ten times, as he passed through seventy miles per hour, he burst
into a churning mass of feathers, out of control, crashing down into the
water.
The key, he thought at last, dripping wet, must be to hold the wings
still at high speeds - to flap up to fifty and then hold the wings still.
From two thousand feet he tried again, rolling into his dive, beak
straight down, wings full out and stable from the moment he passed fifty
miles per hour. It took tremendous strength, but it worked. In ten seconds
he had blurred through ninety miles per hour. Jonathan had set a world
speed record for seagulls!
But victory was short-lived. The instant he began his pullout, the
instant he changed the angle of his wings, he snapped into that same
terrible uncontrolled disaster, and at ninety miles per hour it hit him
like dynamite. Jonathan Seagull exploded in midair and smashed down into a
brickhard sea.
When he came to, it was well after dark, and he floated in moonlight
on the surface of the ocean. His wings were ragged bars of lead, but the
weight of failure was even heavier on his back. He wished, feebly, that
the weight could be just enough to drug him gently down to the bottom, and
end it all.
As he sank low in the water, a strange hollow voice sounded within
him. There's no way around it. I am a seagull. I am limited by my nature.
If I were meant to learn so much about flying, I'd have charts for brains.
If I were meant to fly at speed, I'd have a falcon's short wings, and live
on mice instead of fish. My father was right. I must forget this
foolishness. I must fly home to the Flock and be content as I am, as a
poor limited seagull.
The voice faded, and Jonathan agreed. The place for a seagull at
night is on shore, and from this moment forth, he vowed, he would be a
normal gull. It would make everyone happier.
He pushed wearily away from the dark water and flew toward the land,
grateful for what he had learned about work-saving low-altitude flying.
But no, he thought. I am done with the way I was, I am done with
everything I learned. I am a seagull like every other seagull, and I will
fly like one. So he climbed painfully to a hundred feet and flapped his
wings harder, pressing for shore.
He felt better for his decision to be just another one of the Flock.
There would be no ties now to the force that had driven him to learn,
there would be no more challenge and no more failure. And it was pretty,
just to stop thinking, and fly through the dark, toward the lights above
the beach.
Dark! The hollow voice cracked in alarm. Seagulls never fly in the
dark!
Jonathan was not alert to listen. It's pretty, he thought. The moon
and the lights twinkling on the water, throwing out little beacon-trails
through the night, and all so peaceful and still...
Get down! Seagulls never fly in the dark! If you were meant to fly in
the dark, you'd have the eyes of an owl! You'd have charts for brains!
You'd have a falcon's short wings!
There in the night, a hundred feet in the air, Jonathan Livingston
Seagull - blinked. His pain, his resolutions, vanished.
Short wings. A falcon's short wings!
That's the answer! What a fool I've been! All I need is a tiny little
wing, all I need is to fold most of my wings and fly on just the tips
alone! Short wings!
He climbed two thousand feet above the black sea, and without a
moment for thought of failure and death, he brought his forewings tightly
in to his body, left only the narrow swept daggers of his wingtips
extended into the wind, and fell into a vertical dive.
The wind was a monster roar at his head. Seventy miles per hour,
ninety, a hundred and twenty and faster still. The wing-strain now at a
hundred and forty miles per hour wasn't nearly as hard as it had been
before at seventy, and with the faintest twist of his wingtips he eased
out of the dive and shot above the waves, a gray cannonball under the
moon.
He closed his eyes to slits against the wind and rejoiced. A hundred
forty miles per hour! And under control! If I dive from five thousand feet
instead of two thousand, I wonder how fast..
His vows of a moment before were forgotten, swept away in that great
swift wind. Yet he felt guiltless, breaking the promises he had made
himself. Such promises are only for the gulls that accept the ordinary.
One who has touched excellence in his learning has no need of that kind of
promise.
By sunup, Jonathan Gull was practicing again. From five thousand feet
the fishing boats were specks in the flat blue water, Breakfast Flock was
a faint cloud of dust motes, circling.
He was alive, trembling ever so slightly with delight, proud that his
fear was under control. Then without ceremony he hugged in his forewings,
extended his short, angled wingtips, and plunged direcfly toward the sea.
By the time he passed four thousand feet he had reached terminal velocity,
the wind was a solid beating wall of sound against which he could move no
faster. He was flying now straight down, at two hundred fourteen miles per
hour. He swallowed, knowing that if his wings unfolded at that speed be'd
be blown into a million tiny shreds of seagull. But the speed was power,
and the speed was joy, and the speed was pure beauty.
He began his pullout at a thousand feet, wingtips thudding and
blurring in that gigatitic wind, the boat and the crowd of gulls tilting
and growing meteor-fast, directly in his path.
He couldn't stop; he didn't know yet even how to turn at that speed.
Collision would be instant death.
And so he shut his eyes.
It happened that morning, then, just after sunrise, that Ionathan
Livingston Seagull fired directly through the center of Breakfast Flock,
ticking off two hundred twelve miles per hour, eyes closed, in a great
roaring shriek of wind and feathers. The Gull of Fortune smiled upon him
this once, and no one was killed.
By the time he had pulled his beak straight up into the sky he was
still scorching along at a hundred and sixty miles per hour. When he had
slowed to twenty and stretched his wings again at last, the boat was a
crumb on the sea, four thousand feet below.
His thought was triumph. Terminal velocity! A seagull at two hundred
fourteen miles per hour! It was a breakthrough, the greatest single moment
in the history of the Flock, and in that moment a new age opened for
Jonathan Gull. Flying out to his lonely practice area, folding his wings
for a dive from eight thousand feet, he set himself at once to discover
how to turn.
A single wingtip feather, he found, moved a fraction of an inch,
gives a smooth sweeping curve at tremendous speed. Before he learned this,
however, he found that moving more than one feather at that speed will
spin you like a ritIe ball... and Jonathan had flown the first aerobatics
of any seagull on earth.
He spared no time that day for talk with other gulls, but flew on
past sunset. He discovered the loop, the slow roll, the point roll, the
inverted spin, the gull bunt, the pinwheel.


When Jonathan Seagull joined the Flock on the beach, it was full
night. He was dizzy and terribly tired. Yet in delight he flew a loop to
landing, with a snap roll just before touchdown. When they hear of it, he
thought, of the Breakthrough, they'll be wild with joy. How much more
there is now to living! Instead of our drab slogging forth and back to the
fishing boats, there's a reason to life! We can lift ourselves out of
ignorance, we can find ourselves as creatures of excellence and
intelligence and skill. We can be free! We can learn to fly!
The years ahead hummed and glowed with promise.
The gulls were flocked into the Council Gathering when he landed, and
apparently had been so flocked for some time. They were, in fact, waiting.
"Jonathan Livingston Seagull! Stand to Center!" The Elder's words
sounded in a voice of highest ceremony. Stand to Center meant only great
shame or great honor. Stand to Center for Honor was the way the gulls'
foremost leaders were marked. Of course, he thought, the Breakfast Flock
this morning; they saw the Breakthrough! But I want no honors. I have no
wish to be leader. I want only to share what I've found, to show those
horizons out ahead for us all. He stepped forward.
"Jonathan Livingston Seagull," said the Elder, "Stand to Center for
Shame in the sight of your fellow gulls!"
It felt like being hit with a board. His knees went weak, his
feathers sagged, there was roaring in his ears. Centered for shame?
Impossible! The Breakthrough! They can't understand! They're wrong,
they're wrong!
"... for his reckless irresponsibility " the solemn voice intoned,
"violating the dignity and tradition of the Gull Family..."
To be centered for shame meant that he would be cast out of gull
society, banished to a solitary life on the Far Cliffs.
"... one day Jonathan Livingston Seagull, you shall learn that
irresponsibility does not pay. Life is the unknown and the unknowable,
except that we are put into this world to eat, to stay alive as long as we
possibly can."
A seagull never speaks back to the Council Flock, but it was
Jonathan's voice raised. "Irresponsibility? My brothers!" he cried. "Who
is more responsible than a gull who finds and follows a meaning, a higher
purpose for life? For a thousand years we have scrabbled after fish heads,
but now we have a reason to live - to learn, to discover, to be free! Give
me one chance, let me show you what I've found..."
The Flock might as well have been stone.
"The Brotherhood is broken," the gulls intoned together, and with one
accord they solemnly closed their ears and turned their backs upon him.
Jonathan Seagull spent the rest of his days alone, but he flew way
out beyond the Far Cliffs. His one sorrow was not solituile, it was that
other gulls refused to believe the glory of flight that awaited them; they
refused to open their eyes and see. He learned more each day. He learned
that a streamlined high-speed dive could bring him to find the rare and
tasty fish that schooled ten feet below the surface of the ocean: he no
longer needed fishing boats and stale bread for survival. He learned to
sleep in the air, setting a course at night across the offshore wind,
covering a hundred miles from sunset to sunrise. With the same inner
control, he flew through heavy sea-fogs and climbed above them into
dazzling clear skies... in the very times when every other gull stood on
the ground, knowing nothing but mist and rain. He learned to ride the high
winds far inland, to dine there on delicate insects.
What he had once hoped for the Flock, he now gained for himself
alone; he learned to fly, and was not sorry for the price that he had
paid. Jonathan Scagull discovered that boredom and fear and anger are the
reasons that a gull's life is so short, and with these gone from his
thought, he lived a long fine life indeed.
They came in the evening, then, and found Ionathan gliding peaceful
and alone through his beloved sky. The two gulls that appeared at his
wings were pure as starlight, and the glow from them was gentle and
friendly in the high night air. But most lovely of all was the skill with
which they flew, their wingtips moving a precise and constant inch from
his own. Without a word, Jonathan put them to his test, a test that no
gull had ever passed. He twisted his wings, slowed to a single mile per
hour above stall. The two radiant birds slowed with him, smoothly, locked
in position. They knew about slow flying.
He folded his wings, rolled and dropped in a dive to a hundred ninety
miles per hour. They dropped with him, streaking down in flawless
formation.
At last he turned that speed straight up into a long vertical
slow-roll. They rolled with him, smiling.
He recovered to level flight and was quiet for a time before he
spoke. "Very well," he said, "who are you?"
"We're from your Flock, Jonathan. We are your brothers." The words
were strong and calm. "We've come to take you higher, to take you home."
"Home I have none. Flock I have none. I am Outcast. And we fly now at
the peak of the Great Mountain Wind. Beyond a few hundred feet, I can lift
this old body no higher."
"But you can Jonathan. For you have learned. One school is finished,
and the time has come for another to begin."
As it had shined across him all his life, so understanding lighted
that moment for Jonathan Seagull. They were right. He could fly higher,
and it was time to go home.
He gave one last look across the sky, across that magnificent silver
land where he had learned so much.
"I'm ready " he said at last.
And Jonathan Livingston Seagull rose with the two starbright gulls to
disappear into a perfect dark sky.



Part Two



So this is heaven, he thought, and he had to smile at himself. It was
hardly respectful to analyze heaven in the very moment that one flies up
to enter it.
As he came from Earth now, above the clouds and in close formation
with the two brilliant gulls, he saw that his own body was growing as
bright as theirs. True, the same young Jonathan Seagull was there that had
always lived behind his golden eyes, but the outer form had changed.
It felt like a seagull body, but alreadv it flew far better than his
old one had ever flown. Why, with half the effort, he thought, I'll get
twice the speed, twice the performance of my best days on Earth!
His feathers glowed brilliant white now, and his wings were smooth
and perfect as sheets of polished silver. He began, delightedly, to learn
about them, to press power into these new wings.
At two hundred fifty mlles per hour he felt that he was nearing his
level-flight maximum speed. At two hundred seventy-three he thought that
he was flying as fast as he could fly, and he was ever so faintly
disappointed. There was a limit to how much the new body could do, and
though it was much faster than his old level-flight record, it was still a
limit that would take great effort to crack. In heaven, he thought, there
should be no limits.
The clouds broke apart, his escorts called, "Happy landings,
Jonathan," and vanished into thin air.
He was flying over a sea, toward a jagged shoreline. A very few
seagulls were working the updrafts on the cliffs. Away off to the north,
at the horizon itself, flew a few others. New sights, new thoughts, new
questions. Why so few gulls? Heaven should be flocked with gulls! And why
am I so tired, all at once? Gulls in heaven are never supposed to be
tired, or to sleep.
Where had he heard that? The memory of his life on Earth was falling
away. Earth had been a place where he had learned much, of course, but the
details were blurred - something about fighting for food, and being
Outcast.
The dozen gulls by the shoreline came to meet him, none saying a
word. He felt only that he was welcome and that this was home. It had been
a bigday for him, a day whose sunrise he no longer remembered.
He turned to land on the beach, beating his wings to stop an inch in
the air, then dropping lightly to the sand, The other gulls landed too,
but not one of them so much as flapped a feather. They swung into the
wind, bright wings outstretched, then somehow they changed the curve of
their feathers until they had stopped in the same instant their feet
touched the ground. It was beautiful control, but now Jonathan was just
too tired to try it. Standiug there on the beach, still without a word
spoken, he was asleep.
In the days that followed, Jonathan saw that there was as much to
learn about flight in this place as there had been in the life behind him.
But with a difference. Here were gulls who thought as he thought, For each
of them, the most important thing in living was to reach out and touch
perfection in that which they most loved to do, and that was to fly. They
were magnificent birds, all of them, and they spent hour after hour every
day practicing flight, testing advanced aeronautics.
For a long time Jonathan forgot about the world that he had come
from, that place where the Flock lived with its eyes tightly shut to the
joy of flight, using its wings as means to the end of finding and fighting
for food. But now and then, just for a moment, he remembered.
He remembered it one morning when he was out with his instructor,
while they rested on the beach after a session of folded-wing snap rolls.
"Where is everybody, Sullivan?" he asked silently, quite at home now
with the easy telepathy that these gulls used instead of screes and
gracks. "Why aren't there more of us here? Why, where I came from there
were.. "
"... thousands and thousands of gulls. I know. " Sullivan shook his
head. "The only answer I can see, Jonathan, is that you are pretty well a
one-in-a-million bird. Most of us came along ever so slowly. We went from
one world into another that was almost exactly like it, forgettiug right
away where we had come from, not caring where we were headed, living for
the moment. Do you have any idea how many lives we must have gone through
before we even gor the first idea that there is more to life than eating,
or fighting, or power in the Flock? A thousand lives, Jon, ten thousand!
And then another hundred lives until we began to learn that there is such
a thing as perfection, and another hundred again to get the idea that our
purpose for living is to find that perfection and show it forth. The same
rule holds for us now, of course: we choose our next world through what we
learn in this one. Learn nothing, and the next world is the same as this
one, all the same limitations and lead weights to overcome."
He stretched his wings and turned to face the wind. "But you, Jon,"
he said, "learned so much at one time that you didn't have to go through a
thousand lives to reach this one."
In a moment they were airborne again, practicing. The formation
point-roils were difficult, for through the inverted half Jonathan had to
think upside down, reversing the curve of his wing, and reversing it
exactly in harmony with his instructor's.
"Let's try it again." Sullivan said over and over: "Let's try it
again." Then, finally, "Good." And they began practicing outside loops.


One evening the gulls that were not night-flying stood together on
the sand, thinking. Jonathan took all his courage in hand and walked to
the Elder Gull, who, it was said, was soon to be moving beyond this world.
"Chiang..." he said a little nervously.
The old seagull looked at him kindly. "Yes, my son?" Instead of being
enfeebled by age, the Elder had been empowered by it; he could outfly any
gull in the Flock, and he had learned skills that the others were only
gradually coming to know.
"Chiang, this world isn't heaven at all, is it?" The Elder smiled in
the moonlight. "You are learning again, Jonathan Seagull," he said.
"Well, what happens from here? Where are we going? Is there no such
place as heaven?"
"No, Jonathan, there is no such place. Heaven is not a place, and it
is not a time. Heaven is being perfect." He was silent for a moment. "You
are a very fast flier, aren't you?"
"I... I enjoy speed," Jonathan said, taken aback but proud that the
Elder had noticed.
"You will begin to touch heaven, Jonathan, in the moment that you
touch perfect speed. And that isn't flying a thousand miles an hour, or a
million, or flying at the speed of light. Because any number is a limit,
and perfection doesn't have limits. Perfect speed, my son, is being
there."
Without warning, Chiang vanished and appeared at the water's edge
fifty feet away, all in the flicker of an instant. Then he vanished again
and stood, in the same millisecond, at Jonathan's shoulder. "It's kind of
fun," he said.


Jonathan was dazzled. He forgot to ask about heaven. "How do you do
that? What does it feel like? How far can you go?"
"You can go to any place and to any time that you wish to go," the
Elder said. "I've gone everywhere and everywhen I can think of." He looked
across the sea. "It's strange. The gulls who scorn perfection for the sake
of travel go nowhere, slowly. Those who put aside travel for the sake of
perfection go anywhere, instantly. Remember, Jonathan, heaven isn't a
place or a time, because place and time are so very meaningless. Heaven
is..."
"Can you teach me to fly like that?" Jonathan Seagull trembled to
conquer another unknown.
"Of course if you wish to learn."
"I wish. When can we start?".
"We could start now if you'd like."
"I want to learn to fly like that," Jonathan said and a strange light
glowed in his eyes. "Tell me what to do,"
Chiang spoke slowly and watched the younger gull ever so carefully.
"To fly as fast as thought, to anywhere that is," he said, "you must begin
by knowing that you have already arrived ..."
The trick, according to Chiang, was for Jonathan to stop seeing
himself as trapped inside a limited body that had a forty-two inch
wingspan and performance that could be plotted on a chart. The trick was
to know that his true nature lived, as perfect as an unwritten number,
everywhere at once across space and time.


Jonathan kept at it, fiercely, day after day, from before sunrise
till past midnight. And for all his effort he moved not a feather width
from his spot.
"Forget about faith!" Chiang said it time and again. "You didn't need
faith to fly, you needed to understand flying.This is jast the same. Now
try again ..."
Then one day Jonathan, standing on the shore, closing his eyes,
concentrating, all in a flash knew what Chiang had been telling him. "Why,
that's true! I am a perfect, unlimited gull!" He felt a great shock of
joy.
"Good!" said Chiang and there was victory in his voice.
Jonathan opened his eyes. He stood alone with the Elder on a totally
different seashore - trees down to the water's edge, twin yellow suns
turning overhead.
"At last you've got the idea," Chiang said, "but your control needs a
little work... "
Jonathan was stunned. "Where are we?"
Utterly unimpressed with the strange surroundings, the Elder brushed
the question aside. "We're on some planet, obviously, with a green sky and
a double star for a sun."
Jonathan made a scree of delight, the first sound he had made since
he had left Earth. "IT WORKS!"
"Well, of course, it works, Jon." said Chiang. "It always works, when
you know what you're doing. Now about your control..."
By the time they returned, it was dark. The other gulls looked at
Jonathan with awe in their golden eyes, for they had seen him disappear
from where he had been rooted for so long.
He stood their congratulations for less than a minute. "I'm the
newcomer here! I'm just beginning! It is I who must learn from you!"
"I wonder about that, Jnn," saie Sullivan standing near. "You have
less fear of learning than any gull I've seen in ten thousand years. "The
Flock fell silent, and Jonathan fidgeted in embarrassment.
"We can start working with time if you wish," Chiang said, "till you
can fly the past and the future. And then you will be ready to begin the
most difficult, the most powerful, the most fun of all. You will be ready
to begin to fly up and know the meaning of kindness and of love."
A month went by, or something that felt about like a month, and
Jonathan learned at a tremendous rate. He always had learned quickly from
ordinary experience, and now, the special student of the Elder Himself, he
took in new ideas like a streamlined feathered computer.
But then the day came that Chiang vanished. He had been talking
quietly with them all, exhorting them never to stop their learning and
their practicing and their striving to understand more of the perfect
invisible principle of all life. Then, as he spoke, his feathers went
brighter and brighter and at last turned so brilliant that no gull could
look upon him.
"Jonathan," he said, and these were the last words that he spoke,
"keep working on love."
When they could see again, Chiang was gone.
As the days went past, Jonathan found himself thinking time and again
of the Earth from which he had come. If he had known there just a tenth,
just a hundredth, of what he knew here, how much more life would have
meant! He stood on the sand and fell to wondering if there was a gull back
there who might be struggling to break out of his limits, to see the
meaning of flight beyond a way of travel to get a breadcrumb from a
rowboat. Perhaps there might even have been one made Outcast for speaking
his truth in the face of the Flock. And the more Jonathan practiced his
kindness lessons, and the more he worked to know the nature of love, the
more he wanted to go back to Earth. For in spite of his lonely past,
Jonathan Seagull was born to be an instructor, and his own way of
demonstrating love was to give something of the truth that he had seen to
a gull who asked only a chance to see truth for himself.
Sullivan, adept now at thought-speed flight and helping the others to
learn, was doubrful.
"Jon, you were Outcast once. Why do you think that any of the gulls
in your old time would listen to you now? You know the proverb, and it's
true: The gull sees farthest who flies highest. Those gulls where you came
from are standing on the ground, squawking and fighting among themselves.
They're a thousand miles from heaven - and you say you want to show them
heaven from where they stand! Jon, they can't see their own wingtips! Stay
here. Help the new gulls here, the ones who are high enough to see what
you have to tell them." He was quiet for a moment, and then he said, "What
if Chiang had gone back to his old worlds? Where would you have been
today?"
The last point was the telling one, and Sullivan was right The gull
sees farthest who flies highest.
Jonathan stayed and worked with the new birds coming in, who were all
very bright and quick with their lessons. But the old feeling came back,
and he couldn't help but think that there might be one or two gulls back
on Earth who would be able to learn, too. How much more would he have
known by now if Chiang had come to him on the day that he was Outcast!
"Sully, I must go back " he said at last "Your students are doing
well. They can help you bring the newcomers along."
Sullivan sighed, but he did not argue. "I think I'll miss you,
Jonathan," was all he said.
"Sully, for shame!" Jonathan said in reproach, "and don't be foolish!
What are we trying to practice every day? If our friendship depends on
things like space and time, then when we finally overcome space and time,
we've destroyed our own brotherhood! But overcome space, and all we have
left is Here. Overcome time, and all we have left is Now. And in the
middle of Here and Now, don't you think that we might see each other once
or twice?"
Sullivan Seagull laughed in spite of himself. "You crazy bird," he
said kindly. "If anybody can show someone on the ground how to see a
thousand miles, it will be Jonathan Livingston Seagull." He looked at the
sand. "Good-bye, Jon, my friend."
"Good bye, Sully. We'll meet again." And with that, Jonathan held in
thought an image of the great gull flocks on the shore of another time,
and he knew with practiced ease that he was not bone and feather but a
perfect idea of freedom and flight, limited by nothing at all.


Fletcher Lynd Seagull was still quite young, but already he knew that
no bird had ever been so harshly treated by any Flock, or with so much
injustice.
"I don't care what they say," he thought fiercely, and his vision
blurred as he flew out toward the Far Cliffs. "There's so much more to
flying than just flapping around from place to place! A... a... mosquito
does that! One little barrel roll around the Elder Gull, just for fun, and
I'm Outcast! Are they blind? Can't they see? Can't they think of the glory
that it'll be when we really learn to fly?
"I don't care what they think. I'll show them what flying is! I'll be
pure Outlaw, if that's the way they want it. And I'll make them so
sorry..."
The voice came inside his own head, and though it was very gentle, it
startled him so much that he faltered and stumbled in the air.
"Don't be harsh on them, Fletcher Seagull. In casting you out, the
other gulls have only hurt themselves, and one day they will know this,
and one day they will see what you see. Forgive them, and help them to
understand."
An inch from his right wingtip flew the most brilliant white gull in
all the world, gliding effortlessly along, not moving a feather, at what
was very nearly Fletcher's top speed.
There was a moment of chaos in the young bird. "What's going on? Am I
mad? Am I dead? What is this?"
Low and calm, the voice went on within his thought, demanding an
answer. "Fletcher Lynd Seagull, do you want to fly?"
"YES, I WANT TO FLY!".
"Fletcher Lynd Seagull, do you want to fly so much that you will
forgive the Flock, and learn, and go back to them one day and work to help
them know?"
There was no lying to this magniflcent skillful being, no matter how
proud or how hurt a bird was Fletcher Seagull.
"I do " he said softly.
"Then, Fletch," that bright creature said to him, and the voice was
very kind, "let's begin with Level Flight...."



Part Three



Jonathan circled slowly over the Far Cliffs, watching. This rough
young Fletcher Gull was very nearly a perfect flight-student. He was
strong and light and quick in the air, but far and away more important, he
had a blazing drive to learn to fly.
Here he came this minute, a blurred gray shape roaring out of a dive,
flashing one hundred fifty miles per hour past his instructor. He pulled
abruptly into another try at a sixteen point vertical slow roll, calling
the points out loud.
"...eight... nine... ten... see-Jonathan-l'm-running-out-ofairspeed..
eleven... I-want-good-sharp-stops-like yours... twelve...
but-blast-it-Ijust-can't-make... - thirteen... theselast-three-points...
without... fourtee ...aaakk!"
Fletcher's whipstall at the top was all the worse for his rage and
fury at failing. He fell backward, tumbled, slammed savagely into an
inverted spin, and recovered at last, panting, a hundred feet below his
instructor's level.
"You're wasting your time with me, Jonathan! I'm too dumb! I'm too
stupid! I try and try, but I'll never get it!"
Jonathan Seagull looked down at him and nodded. "You'll never get it
for sure as long as you make that pullup so hard. Fletcher, you lost forty
miles an hour in the entry! You have to be smooth! Firm but smooth,
remember?"
He dropped down to the level of the younger gull."Let's try it
together now, in formation. And pay attention to that pullup. It's a
smooth, easy entry."


By the end of three months Jonathan had six other students, Outcasts
all, yet curious about this strange new idea of flight for the joy of
flying.
Still, it was easier for them to practice high performance than it
was to understand the reason behindit.
"Each of us is in truth an idea of the Great Gull, an unlimited idea
of freedom," Jonathan would say in the evenings on the beach, "and
precision flying is a step toward expressing our real nature.Everything
that limits us we have to put aside. That's why all this high-speed
practice, and low speed, and aerobatics...."
...and his students would be asleep, exhausted from the day's flying.
They liked the practice, because it was fast and exciting and it fed a
hunger for learning that grew with every lesson. But not one of them, not
even Fletcher Lynd Gull, had come to believe that the flight of ideas
could possibly be as real as the flight of wind and feather.
"Your whole body, from wingtip to wingtip," Jonathan would say, other
times, "is nothing more than your thought itself, in a form you can see.
Break the chains of your thought, and you break the chains of your body,
too..." But no matter how he said it, it sounded like pleasant fiction,
and they needed more to sleep.
It was only a month later that Jonathan said the time had come to
return to the Flock.
"We're not ready!" said Henry Calvin Gull. "We're not welcome! We're
Outcast! We can't force ourselves to go where we're not welcome, can we?"
"We're free to go where we wish and to be what we are," Jonathan
answered, and he lifted from the sand and turned east, toward the home
grounds of the Flock.
There was brief anguish among his students, for it is the Law of the
Flock that an Outcast never returns, and the Law had not been broken once
in ten thousand years. The Law said stay; Jonathan said go; and by now he
was a mile across the water. If they waited much longer, he would reach a
hostile Flock alone.
"Well, we don't have to obey the law if we're not a part of the
Flock, do we?" Fletcher said, rather self-consciously. "Besides, if
there's a fight we'll be a lot more help there than here."'
And so they flew in from the west that morning, eight of them in a
double-diamond formation, wingtips almost overlapping. They came across
the Flock's Council Beach at a hundred thirty-five miles per hour,
Jonathan in the lead. Fletcher smoothly at his right wing, Henry Calvin
struggling gamely at his left. Then the whole formation rolled slowly to
the right, as one bird... level... to... inverted... to... level, the wind
whipping over them all.
The squawks and grockles of everyday life in the Flock were cut off
as though the formation were a giant knife, and eight thousand gull-eyes
watched, without a single blink. One by one, each of the eight birds
pulled sharply upward into a full loop and flew all the way around to a
dead-slow stand-up landing on the sand. Then as though this sort of thing
happened every day, Jonathan Seagull began his critique of the flight.
"To begin with," he said with a wry smile, "you were all a bit late
on the join-up..."
It went like lightning through the Flock. Those birds are Outcast!
And they have returned! And that... that can't happen! Fletcher's
predictions of battle melted in the Flock's confusion.
"Well sure, O.K. they're Outcast," said some of the younger gulls,
"but hey, man, where did they learn to fly like that?"
It took almost an hour for the Word of the Elder to pass through the
Flock: Ignore them. The gull who speaks to an Outcast is himself Outcast.
The gull who looks upon an Outcast breaks the Law of the Flock,
Gray-feathered backs were turned upon Jonathan from that moment onward,
but he didn't appear to notice. He held his practice sessions directly
over the Council Beach and for the first time began pressing his students
to the limit of their ability.
"Martin Gull!" he shouted across the sky. "You say you know low-speed
flying. You know nothing till you prove it! FLY!"
So quiet little Martin William Seagull, startled to be caught under
his instructor's fire, surprised himself and became a wizard of low
speeds. In the lightest breeze he could curve his feathers to lift himself
without a single flap of wing from sand to cloud and down again.
Likewise Charles-Roland Gull flew the Great Mountain Wind to
twenty-four thousand feet, came down blue from the cold thin air, amazed
and happy, determined to go still higher tomorrow.
Fletcher Seagull, who loved aerobatics like no one else, conquered
his sixteen point vertical slow roll and the next day topped it off with a
triple cartwheel, his feathers flashing white sunlight to a beach from
which more than one furtive eye watched.
Every hour Jonathan was there at the side of each of his students,
demonstrating, suggesting, pressuring, guiding. He flew with them through
night and cloud and storm, for the sport of it, while the Flock huddled
miserably on the ground.
When the flying was done, the students relaxed in the sand, and in
time they listened more closely to Jonathan. He had some crazy ideas that
they couldn't understand, but then he had some good ones that they could.
Gradually, in the night, another circle formed around the circle of
students a circle of curious gulls listening in the darkness for hours on
end, not wishing to see or be seen of one another, fading away before
daybreak.
It was a month after the Return that the first gull of the Flock
crossed the line and asked to learn how to fly. In his asking, Terrence
Lowell Gull became a condemned bird, labeled Outcast; and the eighth of
Jonathan's students.
The next night from the Flock came Kirk Maynard Gull, wobbling across
the sand, dragging his leftwing,to collapse at Jonathan's feet. "Help me,"
he said very quietly, speaking in the way that the dying speak. "I want to
fly more than anything else in the world..."
"Come along then." said Jonathan. "Climb with me away from the
ground, and we'll begin."
"You don't understand My wing. I can't move my wing."
"Maynard Gull, you have the freedom to be yourself, your true self,
here and now, and nothing can stand in your way.It is the Law of the Great
Gull, the Law that Is."
"Are you saying I can fly?"
"I say you are free."
As simply and as quickly as that, Kirk Maynard Gull spread his wings,
effortlessly, and lifted into the dark night air. The Flock was roused
from sleep by his cry, as loud as he could scream it, from five hundred
feet up: "I can fly! Listen! I CAN FLY!"
By sunrise there were nearly a thousand birds standing outside the
circle of students, looking curiously at Maynard. They didn't care whether
they were seen or not, and they listened, trying to understand Jonathan
Seagull.
He spoke of very simple things - that it is right for a guil to fly,
that freedom is the very nature of his being, that whatever stands against
that freedom must be set aside, be it ritual or superstition or limitation
in any form.
"Set aside," came a voice from the multitude, "even if it be the Law
of the Flock?"
"The only true law is that which leads to freedom," Jonathan said.
"There is no other."
"How do you expect us to fly as you fly?" came another voice. "You
are special and gifted and divine, above other birds."
"Look at Fletcher! Lowell! Charles-Roland! Judy Lee! Are they also
special and gifted and divine? No more than you are, no more than I am.
The only difference, the very only one, is that they have begun to
understand what they really are and have begun to practice it."
His students, save Fletcher, shifted uneasily. They hadn't realized
that this was what they were doing.
The crowd grew larger every day, coming to question, to idolize, to
scorn.


"They are saying in the Flock that if you are not the Son of the
Great Gull Himself," Fletcher told Jonathan one morning after Advanced
Speed Practice, "then you are a thousand years ahead of your time."
Jonathan sighed. The price of being misunderstood, he thought. They
call you devil or they call you god. "What do you think, Fletch? Are we
ahead of our time?"
A long silence. "Well, this kind of flying has always been here to be
learned by anybody who wanted to discover it; that's got nothing to do
with time. We're ahead of the fashion, maybe, Ahead of the way that most
gulls fly."
"That's something," Jonathan said rolling to glide inverted for a
while. "That's not half as bad as being ahead of our time."


It happened just a week later. Fletcher was demonstrating the
elements of high-speed flying to a class of new students. He had just
pulled out of his dive from seven thousand feet, a long gray streak firing
a few inches above the beach, when a young bird on its first flight glided
directly into his path, calling for its mother. With a tenth of a second
to avoid the youngster, Fletcher Lynd Seagull snapped hard to the left, at
something over two hundred miles per hour, into a cliff of solid granite.
It was, for him, as though the rock were a giant hard door into
another world. A burst of fear and shock and black as he hit, and then he
was adrift in a strange strange sky, forgetting, remembering, forgetting;
afraid and sad and sorry, terribly sorry.
The voice came to him as it had in the first day that he had met
Jonathan Livingston Seagull,
"The trick Fletcher is that we are trying to overcome our limitations
in order, patiently, We don't tackle flying through rock until a little
later in the program."
"Jonathan!".
"Also known as the Son of the Great Gull " his instructor said dryly,
"What are you doing here? The cliff! Haven't I didn't I.., die?"
"Oh, Fletch, come on. Think. If you are talking to me now, then
obviously you didn't die, did you? What you did manage to do was to change
your level of consciousness rather abruptly. It's your choice now. You can
stay here and learn on this level - which is quite a bit higher than the
one you left, by the way - or you can go back and keep working with the
Flock. The Elders were hoping for some kind of disaster, but they're
startled that you obliged them so well."
"I want to go back to the Flock, of course. I've barely begun with
the new group!"
"Very well, Fletcher. Remember what we were saying about one's body
being nothing more than thought itself....?"


Fletcher shook his head and stretched his wings and opened his eyes
at the base of the cliff, in the center of the whole Flock assembled.
There was a great clamor of squawks and screes from the crowd when first
he moved.
"He lives! He that was dead lives!"
"Touched him with a wingtip! Brought him to life! The Son of the
Great Gull!"
"No! He denies it! He's a devil! DEVIL! Come to break the Flock!"
There were four thousand gulls in the crowd, frightened at what had
happened, and the cry DEVIL! went through them like the wind of an ocean
storm. Eyes glazed, beaks sharp, they closed in to destroy.
"Would you feel better if we left, Fletcher?" asked Jonathan.
"I certainly wouldn't object too much if we did..."
Instantly they stood together a half-mile away, and the flashing
beaks of the mob closed on empty air.
"Why is it," Jonathan puzzled, "that the hardest thing in the world
is to convince a bird that he is free, and that he can prove it for
himself if he'd just spend a little time practicing? Why should that be so
hard?"
Fletcher still blinked from the change of scene. "What did you just
do? How did we get here?"
"You did say you wanted to be out of the mob, didn't you?"
"Yes! But how did you..."
"Like everything else, Fletcher. Practice." By morning the Flock had
forgotten its insanity, but Fletcher had not. "Jonathan, remember what you
said a long time ago, about loving the Flock enough to return to it and
help it learn?"
"Sure."
"I don't understand how you manage to love a mob of birds that has
just tried to kill you."
"Oh, Fletch, you don't love that! You don't love hatred and evil, of
course. You have to practice and see the real gull, the good in every one
of them, and to help them see it in themselves. That's what I mean by
love. It's fun, when you get the knack of it.
"I remember a fierce young bird for instance, Fletcher Lynd Seagull,
his name. Just been made Outcast, ready to fight the Flock to the death,
getting a start on building his own bitter hell out on the Far Cliffs. And
here he is today building his own heaven instead, and leading the whole
Flock in that direction."
Fletcher turned to his instructor, and there was a moment of fright
in his eye. "Me leading? What do you mean, me leading? You're the
instructor here. You couldn't leave!"
"Couldn't I? Don't you think that there might be other flocks, other
Fletchers, that need an instructor more than this one, that's on its way
toward the light?"
"Me? Jon, I'm just a plain seagull and you're... "
" ...the only Son of the Great Gull, I suppose?" Jonathan sighed and
looked out to sea. "You don't need me any longer. You need to keep finding
yourself, a little more each day, that real, unlimited Fletcher Seagull.
He's your in structor. You need to understand him and to practice him."
A moment later Jonathan's body wavered in the air, shimmering, and
began to go transparent. "Don't let them spread silly rumors about me, or
make me a god. O.K., Fletch? I'm a seagull. I like to fly, maybe..."
"JONATHAN!"
"Poor Fletch. Don't believe what your eyes are telling you. All they
show is limitation. Look with your understanding, find out what you
already know, and you'll see the way to fly."
The shimmering stopped. Jonathan Seagull had vanished into empty air.
After a time, Fletcher Gull dragged himself into the sky and faced a
brand-new group of students, eager for their first lesson.
"To begin with " he said heavily, "you've got to understand that a
seagull is an unlimited idea of freedom, an image of the Great Gull, and
your whole body, from wingtip to wingtip, is nothing more than your
thought itself."
The young gulls looked at him quizzically. Hey, man, they thought,
this doesn't sound like a rule for a loop.
Fletcher sighed and started over. "Hm. Ah... very well," he said, and
eyed them critically. "Let's begin with Level Flight." And saying that, he
understood all at once that his friend had quite honestly been no more
divine than Fletcher himself.
No limits, Jonathan? he thought. Well, then, the time's not distant
when I'm going to appear out of thin air on your beach, and show you a
thing or two about flying!
And though he tried to look properly severe for his students,
Fletcher Seagull suddenly saw them all as they really were, just for a
moment, and he more than liked, he loved what he saw. No limits, Jonathan?
he thought, and he smiled. His race to learn had begun.


1973

---------------------------------------------------------------

The New York Times, July 3, 1974

Des Moines, Iowa, July 2 - John H. Livingston, the man who
inspired the best-selling novel "Jonathan Livingston Seagull,"
died Sunday at the Pompano Beach (Fla.) Airport soon after
completing his last plane ride.
Richard Bach, a former Iowa Air Guard pilot, has said his
best-selling book about a free-wheeling seagull was inspired by
Mr. Livingston.
Johnny Livingston, as he was known, moved many years ago
from Iowa to Florida. He was one of the country's top pilots
during the barnstorming days of the nineteen-twenties and thir­
ties.
From 1928 through 1933, Mr. Livingston won 79 first
places, 43 seconds and 15 thirds in 139 races throughout the
country, many of them at Cleveland. He won first place and
$13,910 in 1928 in a cross-country race from New York to Los
Angeles.
Mr. Livingston leaves his wife, Wavelle, two brothers and
four sisters.


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