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Old 08-27-2010, 04:30 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Big Book study vs 12 & 12 study

I just wanted to share some thoughts, ideas and opinions on this. I'd like to hear yours also.

There seems to be more Big Book study meetings than twelve steps and twelve tradition meetings. Although I'm actually going to a meeting where they read the 12 & 12 every week and following the steps in order.

The 12 & 12 meeting is small and is getting stale. There just doesn't seem to be as much interest in the 12 & 12 as there is in the Big Book. I've been to a few Big Book studies and the attendance and interest is higher, therefore making it a better meeting.

I've been thinking about suggesting to the 12 & 12 group to make a switch to the Big Book. Before I do this I would first like to have a plan on how to run a Big Book study.

One benefit of the 12 & 12 meeting is it's easy to follow. You simply just read a chapter on the step and follow the steps in order. The Big Book isn't written that way so it's more than just focusing on one step at a time for every meeting. And it would take too long to read one chapter at a time.

If I had to guess it would probably be best to start with the preface and read to page 164, then start back to the preface. That would also probably mean to stop reading in the middle of a chapter. But I'm still not sure on what is the best sequence and organization on how to run a Big Book study. Any suggestions?
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Old 08-27-2010, 04:44 PM   #2 (permalink)
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If the attendees are solid and committed, the format used by the Dallas Primary Purpose Group is as in depth and straight-forward as I've seen.
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Old 08-27-2010, 05:34 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Uncle Holmes,I know what you mean about stale meetings.
The most powerful big book meetings I have ever attended uses this big book step rotation Big Book Step Study
instead of the first 164.My old home group did the first 164 and there are parts of it that gets stale also
I have found the step rotation keeps getting better and better and focuses only on our recovery.
http://www.bbstepstudy.org/hyannis/format.php

they also use a different preamble,which I love Big Book Step Study

getting a group to change that dramatically will be tough,but not impossible
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Old 08-27-2010, 05:36 PM   #4 (permalink)
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The Big Book study I have gone to for years uses the format of one Chapter/preface from first 164 pages, then one story from back of book, then one chapter/preface from first 164 pages, then story from back of book, and so on. Then it starts back over. This format is nice because it helps to provide the human aspect (stories) with the process/history (the first 164 pages).
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Old 08-27-2010, 06:43 PM   #5 (permalink)
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This is just my opinion, but also based on my experience. A well rounded group offers a Beginner's meeting, a Big Book Study and a 12X12 Step Study meeting. Closed Discussion meetings can fill the gaps. One of the questions I have is how many meetings does your group have? Are you saying that the only meeting your group offers is a 12X12 meeting? I will say this, if I had to choose between a Big Book Study and a Step Study I would opt for the Big Book Study first, and add a Step Study on a separate day when participation/ attendance would support it. The reason is simple, I do my work out of the Big Book. While I will refer to the 12X12, I use it along with NEVER instead of the Big Book. This may sound like AA heresy, but I liken the 12X12 to any other book I might have on the side whether it be Sermon On The Mount or something by Merton. They can all be useful, but my foundation must be the Big Book. It's the only place I have been able to find a solution that works for me.
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Old 08-27-2010, 07:07 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I've been to a few different versions of Big Book studies, and my favorite was the one where they read a paragraph and paused for discussion, then read the next paragraph and paused for discussion. Maybe 3-4 paragraphs get covered in one meeting. Sometimes after the pause, if no one has anything to say, you just go on to the next paragraph. It's a bit slower this way, but every sentence gets considered, rather than just rushing through.
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Old 08-28-2010, 05:10 AM   #7 (permalink)
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as someone struggling with sobriety...I will say the big book study is FAR more helpful than the 12x12. I may grow into it, but i think the 12x12 is basically one man's journey and advice through the 12 steps.

The BB is fare more roomy and inclusive...it is the real guide in my opinion...within it's pages we can be who we are within the 12 steps...the 12x12 is a bit too particular as to how we recover...very christian based. It's great for those who's journey is similar to Bill W, but really not open enough to fit every alchoholic.

Just my opinion.....and I like page's idea....the steps are scattered throughout the first part on step's one two and three....but that is sorta how they seem to happen in early sobriety. steps 4-12 are clear....and after you take one to three that makes since.
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Old 08-28-2010, 09:43 AM   #8 (permalink)
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If I had to guess it would probably be best to start with the preface and read to page 164, then start back to the preface. That would also probably mean to stop reading in the middle of a chapter. But I'm still not sure on what is the best sequence and organization on how to run a Big Book study. Any suggestions?
Most of the BB meetings in my area ask each person to read a couple of paragraphs and only cover 3 - 6 pages before it is open for sharing. They start over after the first 164 pages which makes it 2 - 3 months between repeats.

One meeting in my area uses the Original Manuscript instead of the 4th edition which scares some people away but attracts others from distant cities.
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Old 08-28-2010, 02:40 PM   #9 (permalink)
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This is just my opinion, but also based on my experience. A well rounded group offers a Beginner's meeting, a Big Book Study and a 12X12 Step Study meeting. Closed Discussion meetings can fill the gaps. One of the questions I have is how many meetings does your group have? Are you saying that the only meeting your group offers is a 12X12 meeting? I will say this, if I had to choose between a Big Book Study and a Step Study I would opt for the Big Book Study first, and add a Step Study on a separate day when participation/ attendance would support it. The reason is simple, I do my work out of the Big Book. While I will refer to the 12X12, I use it along with NEVER instead of the Big Book. This may sound like AA heresy, but I liken the 12X12 to any other book I might have on the side whether it be Sermon On The Mount or something by Merton. They can all be useful, but my foundation must be the Big Book. It's the only place I have been able to find a solution that works for me.
My group has one meeting a week. We try to break up in two tables if we have enough people (at least 8 people). If we break up into two tables, one room is a first step while the other room is the 12 & 12. We have anywhere from 6-12 people a meeting. We do get visitors. But they rarely stay or only come back every once in a while. I'm hoping this group agrees with my suggestion. I'll keep you guys posted.
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Old 08-31-2010, 04:29 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I brought up at the meeting during announcements that from my experience the Big Book has more interest and people seem to come back more and that this would give the group a spark. I then asked what people thought about switching from the 12 & 12 to the Big Book.

One member said we need to discuss this at a group conscious meeting before the meeting. I said fair enough. Another key member then said he prefers the 12 & 12 because it gets in depth about each step. So we will have a group conscious meeting in two weeks.

I've talked about this with another AA member/friend from a different group and said that I feel like I have outgrown the group, the group isn't growing, not many people come back. He said to change meetings. He said it happens all the time and that's one of the reasons why there's so many meetings. He said he's done it on a number of occasions.

A big reason why I stay as of now is because it's been my home group for several years now. It's close to my home. I know the people well there. It's just I'm so tired of reading out of the 12 & 12. Although they do sometimes break up into two tables and have a first step without any reading, so I could go to that other table when they offer it.

So I do realize that changing meetings is an option and I'm considering it. It would be a hard thing to do because I've known, got be be friends with some people there for many years now. But the question remains. Should I stay there if they don't try my suggestion of switching to the Big Book?
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Old 08-31-2010, 06:06 AM   #11 (permalink)
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It's really up to you if you want to change home groups. There's nothing that says you can't add in a Big Book study and still keep your home group. OTOH, if your feelings about the group (assuming they stick with the 12 and 12) makes it no longer helpful for you, then you probably aren't doing yourself or them any favors by reluctantly staying a member.

Around here there's a lot of overlap in terms of who attends which groups, so chances are you will still see the same people at other meetings. And you certainly keep your friends, even if you don't go to the same meetings.

Just be careful not to get a resentment about it if the group decides against your suggestion. That's something I always have to guard against. We don't get to decide what's best for other people.
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Old 08-31-2010, 11:56 AM   #12 (permalink)
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The two BB Step Study Meets here where I live follow the same format that bballdad has linked are the same that we follow here, including the Big Book Step Study Preamble.

"*If you have done this step as it is laid out in the Big Book, please share your experience with us. If you havenít, we ask that you be open minded enough to listen. If you have a question pertaining to the step, please feel free to ask. Group conscience has voted a five-minute limit on comments."

Here we also have people who have just gone to 12x12 Meetings, but just go through the 12 Steps, and have been through a thorough 4th Step and 5th Step. We also have people who have gone through the process of the Step in what is called AWOL, (I have no idea what it stands for), I do know it is not AA approved. Some of these people have tried to share at the Big Book Step Study Meetings but were asked to refrain from sharing if they haven't been through the process through the Big Book. Therefore, these people have labled the Big Book Step Study meetings as "Those Nazi Meetings."

After a couple of months of going to these meetings twice a week, I knew that this was the way for me to go. Myself, I'm glad I went through the process this way.

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Old 08-31-2010, 03:11 PM   #13 (permalink)
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It's really up to you if you want to change home groups. There's nothing that says you can't add in a Big Book study and still keep your home group. OTOH, if your feelings about the group (assuming they stick with the 12 and 12) makes it no longer helpful for you, then you probably aren't doing yourself or them any favors by reluctantly staying a member.

Around here there's a lot of overlap in terms of who attends which groups, so chances are you will still see the same people at other meetings. And you certainly keep your friends, even if you don't go to the same meetings.

Just be careful not to get a resentment about it if the group decides against your suggestion. That's something I always have to guard against. We don't get to decide what's best for other people.
Thanks for reminding me Lexie that I don't have to leave if they don't agree to change to the Big Book. And thanks for reminding me I can still keep my friends if I do choose to go. And I'll keep my guard up on resentment.
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Old 08-31-2010, 03:28 PM   #14 (permalink)
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The two BB Step Study Meets here where I live follow the same format that bballdad has linked are the same that we follow here, including the Big Book Step Study Preamble.

"*If you have done this step as it is laid out in the Big Book, please share your experience with us. If you havenít, we ask that you be open minded enough to listen. If you have a question pertaining to the step, please feel free to ask. Group conscience has voted a five-minute limit on comments."

Here we also have people who have just gone to 12x12 Meetings, but just go through the 12 Steps, and have been through a thorough 4th Step and 5th Step. We also have people who have gone through the process of the Step in what is called AWOL, (I have no idea what it stands for), I do know it is not AA approved. Some of these people have tried to share at the Big Book Step Study Meetings but were asked to refrain from sharing if they haven't been through the process through the Big Book. Therefore, these people have labled the Big Book Step Study meetings as "Those Nazi Meetings."

After a couple of months of going to these meetings twice a week, I knew that this was the way for me to go. Myself, I'm glad I went through the process this way.

Harry
I thought the format that bballdad uses seemed interesting myself. I'm going to show that format at the group conscious meeting in two weeks. The only question I have about it is you don't read all of the first 164 pages, including "There is a solution."

But if bballdad says it's powerful and you're glad you went through it that way, then I'll take your guys' word that it's a good Big Book study.
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Old 09-09-2010, 02:32 PM   #15 (permalink)
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. We also have people who have gone through the process of the Step in what is called AWOL, (I have no idea what it stands for), I do know it is not AA approved. Some of these people have tried to share at the Big Book Step Study Meetings but were asked to refrain from sharing if they haven't been through the process through the Big Book. Therefore, these people have labled the Big Book Step Study meetings as "Those Nazi Meetings."

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Old 09-14-2010, 05:26 AM   #16 (permalink)
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It passed!!! My proposal to do a big book step study was voted in at my home group during a group conscious meeting. This is huge being that this group has read only the 12 & 12 book for at least the past 10 years.

What helped it pass was the big book step study guide that bballdad first suggested. It seemed like people became more accepting to this format because of the structure and following the steps in order and showing where the steps are in the Big Book. If it was just reading the first 164 pages out of the Big Book without this structure I don't think it would have passed.

So I want to thank bballdad for letting me know about this as well as everyone else's suggestions. I did have to compromise however as the group will probably want to alternate the 14 week big book study with the 12 week 12 & 12 book. This would mean going through the big book and the 12 & 12 two times each in a given year. But I am excited that we get to read out of the big book and hopefully bring in more people and get more people interested. Once again thanks for everyone's help.
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Old 09-14-2010, 12:37 PM   #17 (permalink)
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That's real good news Uncle Holmes. Even if there was a compromise it gives the Step Study a start, a new beginning and maybe in the future sometime, they may want to make it just the Step Study meeting. Hopefully the meeting will attrack more people and give others a chance to get into recovery.

Here's hoping everything works out okay.

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Old 09-14-2010, 03:43 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Congrats--you did your homework, and I hope it turns out well!
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Old 09-14-2010, 05:39 PM   #19 (permalink)
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I thought the format that bballdad uses seemed interesting myself. I'm going to show that format at the group conscious meeting in two weeks. The only question I have about it is you don't read all of the first 164 pages, including "There is a solution."

But if bballdad says it's powerful and you're glad you went through it that way, then I'll take your guys' word that it's a good Big Book study.
Uncle, I didn't see this before. Here we started with "The Doctor's Opinion", and would finish up with the chapter "Working With Others.".

At the end of each meeting they would have somebody, usually a newcomer who hasn't started the process yet, read the last 2 paragraphs on page 164.

When I finished the process, my sponsor did mention to me to read chapters 8, 9, 10 and 11.

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Last edited by Harry01854; 09-14-2010 at 05:42 PM. Reason: Didn't finish information
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