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The Big Book according to a non AAer!!

Old 07-08-2014, 02:33 PM
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The Big Book according to a non AAer!!

I thought I'd post this thread in the alcoholism section as well as the 12 step area

So I've never been to an AA meeting or read the Big Book as a part of my recovery plan, and I am not too sure on what I believe in terms of a God, currently I don't practice any faith, but I thought I would dig out a copy of the Big Book and see what it was all about, I managed to find a copy online, which was very handy, rather than buying a copy.

Now I've only read the first chapter, "Bill's Story", I've been reading it during my lunch hour at work, which to be honest has been quite relaxing, but I was amazed at those first 16 pages, some of my highlights have been:

Liquor ceased to be a Luxury; it became a necessity.
A tumbler full of gin followed by half a dozen bottles of beer would be required if I were to eat any breakfast. Nevertheless I still thought I could control the situation
this time, I meant business. And so I did. Shortly afterward I came home drunk. There had been no fight.
As the whisky rose to my head I told myself I would manage better next time, but I might as well get good and drunk then.
I stepped from the hospital a broken man. Fear sobered me a bit. Then came the insidious insanity of the first drink . . . I was off again.
There were so many similarities and thought processes that I could relate to, if anyone wants a short 16 page synopsis of the madness of alcoholism, look no further, this is it.

I'm not really sure as to what point I'm making, I don't think there is a point, I've only read the first chapter as I say, so go easy all you long term AA goers!!

I guess I just wanted to recommend to everyone to have a read at "Bill's Story", I guarantee everyone will identify with something in there, I know I did!!
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Old 07-08-2014, 02:45 PM
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Thanks for a very useful post PK.

It's funny, but as an AAer I had almost the opposite experience when I read the book for the first time. I was 22 and had achieved nothing in my life, where as Bill was older, married, and had achieved quite a bit. He had some life experience and a good education, which I did not. So I didn't understand very much at all on the first reading, other than I thought it was a bit american, and should be re written for Kiwis.

In the intervening years I have learned to study the book, and have applied it's suggestions in my life. I have come to understand that, although my story is different to Bill's, how I drank and how I felt were very much common ground. I can identify with the common problem, even if I don't identify with the story.

Later, where the book sets out the instructions for taking the steps, it also contains many promises around most of the steps. On first reading these might as well have been chinese. They were beyond my experience and meant nothing.

However, when I took the suggested action, and reread theses promises, they began to take on some meaning because i began to experience what they were talking about.

In my case, my actions were well ahead of my understanding, but today I can say he common solution has worked for me too, and I can see my experience described very well in the book.

Happy reading
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Old 07-08-2014, 02:58 PM
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I think it's something you can relate to because it's not just Bill's Story. It's my story. It's your story. It's every alcoholics story. It didn't have any significance for me. I'm glad you are enjoying the BB.
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Old 07-08-2014, 05:01 PM
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I've never read Bill's story, but I have read stuff like Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp. I felt such a strong connection to her because I related to so much of her experience. Reading other people's stories always remind me that I'm not alone, and that has always been helpful for me.
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Old 07-08-2014, 07:32 PM
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I no longer do AA. I don't relate much to Bill W's story, as I wasn't a daily drinker, and I've never hit rock bottom like he did. However, I could relate very well to the descriptions of alcoholics in Chapter 3More about Alcoholism, especially the part regarding "countless vain attempts" to control one's drinking.
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