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Old 01-29-2014, 09:48 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Interesting read

Plenty of discussion here of late about the roots of AA...too religious, not religious enough...all opinions I think the experience of millions can testify to the diversity of this fellowship. None of this is a new argument of course!

I found this interesting reading:

Alcoholics Anonymous wrestles with its spiritual roots | Religion News Service

For me, the bottom line is Love, Tolerance and Usefulness but that is just another opinion

Have a great day folks

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Old 01-29-2014, 12:58 PM   #2 (permalink)
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That's a very interesting read, thanks for posting.

A long-term sober friend of mine gets very irritated by the phrase often heard where we are 'the spiritual part of the programme.' Can understand that - it doesn't have just spiritual parts, it is entirely spiritual, at least it is that way for me, and that's possibly why I have such a solid friendship with this woman. Another close friend in the programme who is agnostic sees prayer as acts of kindness or thoughtfulness toward others (and what can be more spiritual than making the world a nicer place to live in?), and particularly so if those acts are toward people he does not particularly like. The great thing about AA spirituality is that it is so roomy.

Another fella, who've not seen for an age (but hear on the grapevine is doing just fine), who I spent a lot of time with in early days would say 'if the word God chases people out, might just find they get chased back in later on by alcohol'...always thought that was a fair point too.

I was lucky enough some years ago to catch a play (apparently recently revived Bill W. and Dr. Bob by Samuel Shem and Janet Surrey) about the relationship between Bill W & Dr Bob in AA's early days. It was a very powerful exposition of how the Oxford Group approach set the bar just a little too high, and they found (miraculously) a way of spirituality that could work for the 'average' alcoholic (as per the Big Book). Just by talking to each other. That such a fellowship has grown from that still amazes me.

I would be interested to find the book written by Charles Peabody referenced in the article. This could be putting words into his mouth, but the reference is to 'watered down AA'. Would be interesting to see how he describes and has experienced that. Personal opinion (and realising this is prior to reading any of his material) There seems to be an urgency sometimes with 'step work' almost as if the steps are a magic wand. Without a doubt they are essential, but in time; the stuff like setting the meeting room up, clearing away afterwards, washing up, having a chat, and easing into the fellowship that way. All of those are spiritual actions that get me out of self, into the group, and comfortable to usefully find someone to do my step-work with. All of those things are spiritual and related to the steps, they just don't happen to be formal step work, and the timing of that and who it is done with, couldn't be more important. It is so important that this stuff is not over-complicated (my poor head can't take it) and the quotes from Peabody for me have just a smidge (a tiny smidge) of the self-righteous, and with a tiny bit of self-flagellation thrown in (from a very nifty google). Will have to take a proper look at his writing to see if that opinion changes.

It also seems to be the case that we go through phases with recovery, where the urgency and (dare I say it?!) rigidity seems paramount, as if being chased by something. whether that something is addiction, or another form of compulsive behaviour. That for me is the stage before letting go.

The final line of the article says it all really “AA is doing just fine.” and as there are as many groups as there are people, there is hopefully something to suit everyone. Me, I like the simple, do-able stuff, the stuff that doesn't feel like a big stick, more like a soft landing as self-awareness grows. There is a lovely saying I sometimes hear, wearing sobriety like a loose cloak. Yes, yes please.

Thanks again Paul, very thought provoking.
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Old 01-29-2014, 01:08 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Ohhh, and just noticed there are comments at end of the article. My cup runneth over! Obviously feeling very sober today - such a small thing, so much pleasure.
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Old 01-29-2014, 01:21 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I like what Bill had to say in this regard. You can listen to him discuss this (tradition 3) on this youtube video (between the 4 minute to 7 minute point). Bill Wilson tradition 03 - YouTube
For the rest of my life I will reflect on what light is. Albert Einstein

1 John 1:5 God is light

God does not care about our mathematical difficulties. He integrates empirically.
Albert Einstein
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Old 01-29-2014, 01:32 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Pipefish - I agree. Setting up and feeling part of something bigger than yourself has tremendous benefits to the addict. We addicts have often felt ostracized and often use or indulge (substance or behavior) in activities to provide something we feel we can't achieve naturally. Its the heart of any addiction really - compensation through using or indulging.

By being part of like minded people we chemically feel better. We provide more balance naturally, which is useful when we are so out of balance, particularly in the beginning. This is the same with spiritual awareness and development. WE begging to exercise our brains, which have been in atrophy for so long through this meditation and prayer.

I accpeted AA then I fought AA and its interesting I have done a giant loop to come back to th same spot. In doing so my resolve and understanding are far greater. I see such wisdom in the steps. While times have changed since the early writings, it is amazing that the founders of AA understood these traits to put together this program. Hats off!

I believe one of the challenges is interpretation of messages for different times. For example, it is my belief that if the BB was written today or the fellowship founded it would be call Addicts Anonymous. I also believe there might be some changes in God as a diety and a bit more around Higher Power of your understanding. I don't mean to offend, as these are simply my observations, experience and opinions. Either way, I am looking forward to my step meeting tonight. I have purchased some books for my group.
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There is a road, no simple highway
Between the dawn and the dark of night
And if you go no one may follow
That path is for your steps alone

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Old 01-31-2014, 03:20 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks Paul for this - will give it a gander.
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