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Old 01-09-2019, 03:00 AM   #21 (permalink)
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BBS Post 13

I need to make some amends, I have been slacking on posting due to being down with the flu. I hope everyone is having a good New Year!
Savannah Mike

Big Book Study -- Post 13
Today we are at Chapter 4 - We Agnostics, Page 44.
We should start by defining some terms. "Agnostic" is comprised of two parts - "A" which is the Greek for "without" and "gnosis" which is "knowledge," hence agnostic. With this in mind our definition of "Agnostic" is: Without Knowledge of God. Although used interchangeably, agnostic and atheist mean two very different things. To be Atheist is to claim that there is no God, as opposed to being without knowledge of God (agnostic).
How many times have we seen lists of questions that will allow you to diagnose your own alcoholism? Ten, twenty, fifty question each? Starting at paragraph 1 on page 44 we find that there are two questions: "If, when you honestly want to, you find you cannot quit entirely, (Question 1) or "if when drinking, you have little control over the amount you take, (Question 2) you are probably alcoholic."
Reading through to the top of page 45 several powerful statements are made: "Our human resources, as marshalled by the will, were not sufficient; they failed utterly." What does that mean? What does that tell us about willpower? About human resources (Fellowship) alone? About our ability to win in hand to hand combat with the alcoholic obsession? At the top of paragraph 1 - "Lack of power, that was our dilemma (Powerlessness). We had to find a power by which we could live, and it had to be a POWER GREATER THAN OURSELVES. Obviously. But where and how were we to find this Power?"
Now we come to the purpose of the Big Book and the desired result of the AA program:
"Well, that's exactly what this book is about. Its main object [and the object of the AA Program] is to enable you to find a Power greater than yourself WHICH WILL SOLVE YOUR PROBLEM (emphasis added)." Let's turn back for a second to Roman numeral xiii – The Foreword to the first edition. The second sentence says the following: "TO SHOW OTHER ALCOHOLICS PRECISELY HOW WE HAVE RECOVERED IS THE MAIN PURPOSE OF THIS BOOK" (This sentence was capitalized in the first edition of the book). To recover from alcoholism we need to find a Power greater than ourselves which will solve our problem. This book has all of the directions necessary to bring about permanent recovery from alcoholism - our common problem. The answers are within the text and throughout the coming weeks we will continue to delve into the solution.
One of the things I was thinking about regarding this chapter is the name "We Agnostics", not "The Agnostics" - I mean it's almost if they assumed that everyone was an agnostic. Food for thought: Why did they name this chapter the way they did?
Tomorrow we will continue on Page 46
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Old 01-09-2019, 03:02 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Big Book Study -- Post 14
Good morning all!
*** Here's a good exercise for Chapter 4. Read through and count how many times the word "prejudice" in it's various forms appears. Also count synonyms such as "preconceived ideas" etc. You'll be surprised to see how often we are asked to lay aside prejudice against spiritual concepts in this chapter. ***
We are at page 46 - The first full paragraph here speaks of open-mindedness: "Yes, we of agnostic temperament have had these thoughts and experiences. Let us make haste to reassure you. We found that as soon as we were able to lay aside prejudice and express even a willingness to believe in a Power greater than ourselves, we commenced to get results, even though it was impossible for any of us to fully define or comprehend that Power, which is God."
(Barefoot's comment, a quote -- "None by his own knowledge, or by subtle consideration, will ever really understand these things. For all words and all that one can learn or understand in a creaturely way, are foreign to the truth that I mean and far below it." -- John Van Ruysbroeck (1293-1381) )
Reading through to the top of page 47 we see the important idea expressed again - "When, therefore, we speak to you of God, we mean your own conception of God. This applies, too, to other spiritual expressions which you find in this book. Do not let any prejudice you may have against spiritual terms deter you from honestly asking yourself what they mean to you. At the start, this was all we needed to commence spiritual growth to effect our first conscious relation with God as we understood Him. Afterward, we found ourselves accepting many things which then seemed entirely out of reach. That was growth, but if we wished to grow we had to begin somewhere. So we used our own conception, however limited it was."
Skipping down to paragraph 2 we find another reference to the spiritual structure we are building: "It has been repeatedly proven among us that upon this simple cornerstone a wonderfully effective spiritual structure can be built."
The cornerstone is belief, and on page 12 we found that "complete willingness" was our foundation. All that is important will rest on the foundation and the entire structure is squared up from this cornerstone. More elements of this spiritual structure will be revealed throughout the text.
In the following paragraph we see that belief comes before faith: "That was great news to us, for we had assumed we could not make use of spiritual principles unless we accepted many things on faith (indicating knowledge) which seemed difficult to believe." So we begin with a belief and it is through the knowledge that supports this belief that we begin to have faith.
More to come on tomorrow!
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Old 01-10-2019, 05:12 AM   #23 (permalink)
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I am still without knowledge....am I agnostic? I find it impossible to exhaust all the knowledge dealing with spiritual matters. I have been a Christian since 1983 when I accepted Christ while doing time. Took 15 more years to get sober only with God in my life and AA. I agree with Joe and Charlie about the meaning of the word Agnostic, I guess all of us could be agnostic to some extent.....thanks for sharing, gotta love a big book study.....acronym for big book..."believing in God beats our own knowledge"
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Old 01-10-2019, 06:56 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Big Book Study -- Post 15
Good Morning Everyone!
Appendix II - "The Spiritual Experience" is found on page 569.
"The terms "spiritual experience" and "spiritual awakening" are used many times in this book which, upon careful reading, shows that the personality change sufficient to bring about recovery from alcoholism has manifested itself among us in many different forms. They are Bill W's euphemisms to describe what he experienced, for what Dr. Silkworth called a "psychic change."
"Yet it is true that our first printing gave many readers the impression that these personality changes, or religious experiences, must be in the nature of sudden and spectacular upheavals. Happily for everyone, this conclusion is erroneous."
This appendix was added after the first printing of the first edition of the book. There was significant confusion regarding the transformation that Bill experienced and the rest of the main text of the book. This appendix was added to clear some of the confusion. A lot of people were expecting the "white light experience" of the nature of what Bill had on December 11, 1934 at Towns Hospital. Here it goes on to explain that the "educational variety" was no less important or vital.
The real gems here are the reinforcement of "change" as the central theme of the experience. The following four terms mean essentially the same thing:
-Spiritual Experience
-Spiritual Awakening
-Personality Change
-Psychic Change
What we'll do here is identify how many times "change" or a synonym of "change" appears in the text, it may surprise you!
-Paragraph 1 - "personality change..."
-Paragraph 2 - "personality changes..., spectacular upheavals."
-Paragraph 3 - "revolutionary changes..., immediate and overwhelming 'God-onsciousness'..., a vast change in feeling and outlook."
-Paragraph 4 - "transformations,... the difference...a profound alteration in his reaction to life."
So, let's see, that's eight "changes" on a single page. OK, the point is made – A Higher Power has to change the people brought to AA. Not drinking and going to meetings is not enough. Through the 12 Steps we have the transformation, in the guise of a spiritual awakening or experience or psychic change, etc., that is "...THE result of these steps..." (from Step 12 - emphasis added).
Tomorrow we'll go further - Chapter 5 - How It Works (Not "how it happens" or "how we get it through osmosis"...).
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Old 01-10-2019, 07:00 AM   #25 (permalink)
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@Toad

acronym for big book..."believing in God beats our own knowledge"
This my friend is amazing.... I have never seen this! Thank you for sharing this!

Savannah Mike
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Old 01-11-2019, 03:00 AM   #26 (permalink)
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Big Book Study -- Post 16
Good morning!
We can gain some insight into the writing of the book through an examination of the original 1938 manuscript (pre-publication "Multilith") in conjunction with the text as printed in the first edition.
Keep in mind, there were more or less two camps within AA at the time Bill wrote the book. The Akron/Cleveland camp was Bible based and religious in nature; the New York bunch was more psychological using a mental approach to gain the confidence of the newcomer and then hitting him with the spiritual angle. Sounds like a difficult task to write a book that would satisfy both trains of thought.
Most of the changes involved inserting "we" for "you" and making the text more inclusive and less like a sermon. Other changes involved key words that were inserted to change the basic meaning of the phrases.
{Barefoot's comment – My grandsponsors were basically of the New York camp and they insisted I learn my nuts and bolts of AA from the original manuscript. Jimmy B. was one of my "grand-sponsors." I met him once about the middle of 1974 when I was about 5 months sober, and one of my sponsors took me with him to go to a meeting and visit with Jim in the VA hospital. I shall never forget his words – "Study the History of AA so you will gain an understanding of how AA has come to be."]
Today and tomorrow, we will go through the first three pages of Chapter 5 to illustrate how the book was transformed by these changes. The words that were replaced will appear in brackets following the words or phrases by which they were replaced i.e. [original 1938 manuscript]
Page 58:
Paragraph 1 - "Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path [directions]." "They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living [way of life] which demands rigorous honesty."
Paragraph 2 - "If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it - then you are ready to take certain steps [follow directions]."
Paragraph 3 - "At some of these we balked [you may balk]. We thought [You may think] we could find an easier, softer way. But we could not [We doubt you can]."
Paragraph 4 - "Remember we deal [you are dealing] with alcohol - cunning, baffling, powerful! Without help it is too much for us [you]. But there is One who has all power - that One is God. May you [You must] find Him now!"
We'll continue with paragraph 1 on page 59 and into the original written text of the 12 Steps tomorrow.
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Old 01-11-2019, 05:32 AM   #27 (permalink)
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I have a book that has the original manuscript and shows the changes from the first edition....one change I noticed this week in our big book study meeting was how the first edition used the term "Ex-alcoholic" which was changed to "ex-drinkers".....they realized that there was no such thing as an "ex-alcoholic"..... another acronym..RELATIONSHIP.. Real exciting love affair turned into outrageous nightmare sobriety hangs in peril.
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Old 01-12-2019, 02:21 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Big Book Study -- Post 17
Good Morning everyone!
Beginning on Page 59, paragraph 1, we'll continue to examine the text as originally written to see the changes made before the first edition of the book was published. The original, pre-publication version is known as the "Multilith".
"Half measures availed us [will avail you] nothing. We stood at the turning point. We asked for [Throw yourself to] His protection and care with complete abandon. [Now we think you can take it]."
"Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a [your] program of recovery:"
1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable. (Unchanged - this step came from Dr. Silkworth.)
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. (From Dr. Carl Jung.)
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him. (Essentially our "will" is our thoughts, our thinking. For example, when making out a will we are putting our thoughts down to be expressed after we pass on. Our "lives" are, basically, comprised of our actions. We are making a decision to turn our thoughts and our actions over to the care of God. This step came from the Oxford Group's "Surrender".)
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. (Steps 4 and 5 are unchanged and came from the Oxford Group's "Confess your sins".)
6. Were entirely ready to have [willing that] God remove these defects of character.
7. Humbly [, on our knees,] asked Him to remove our shortcomings (holding nothing back). (Steps 6 and 7 were inserted as a means of closing any loopholes.)
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make [complete] amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. (Unchanged - Steps 8 and 9 came from the Oxford Group's "Restitution".)
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it. (Unchanged.)
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. [The words "conscious" and "as we understood Him" were not in the original draft.]
12. Having had a spiritual awakening (experience) as the result of these steps [this course of action], we tried to carry this message to [others, especially] alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Tomorrow we'll continue with the first paragraph on page 60 and begin to delve into Step 3.
Something to think about: the word "suggested" has been twisted around to make it sound like the steps are optional. Why do you think that word was inserted into the text?
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Old 01-13-2019, 06:09 AM   #29 (permalink)
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The pre-step, or the step before the steps...."If you want what we have and are willing to go to any length, then you are ready to take certain steps."
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Old 01-14-2019, 03:16 AM   #30 (permalink)
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Big Book Study -- Post 18
Sorry for missing yesterday, The Spirit has blessed me with being able to be involved in building tiny houses for Vets! Have a good Monday y'all!
Good Morning, everyone!
Paragraph 2 on page 60:
"Our description of the alcoholic, (found in the Doctor's Opinion and Chapter 3 - More About Alcoholism) the chapter to the agnostic, (Chapter 4 - We Agnostics) and our personal adventures before and after" (Chapter 1 - Bill's Story) make clear [are designed to sell you] three pertinent ideas:
(a) That we were alcoholic and could not manage our own lives. (This is Step 1.)
(b) That probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism. (This is the first half of Step 2.)
(c) That God could and would [can and will] if He were sought. (Step 2, second half.)
At this point we have completed Steps 1 and 2. Notice how we go directly into Step 3 here in paragraph 3: "Being convinced, we were at Step Three, which is that we decided (remember that our decisions must be followed up with action in order to make them meaningful - Step 4 is the action to turn our will (our thoughts) and our lives (our actions) over to God as we understood Him."
Paragraph 4 - "The first requirement is that we be convinced that any life run on self-will can hardly be a success." In the preceding chapters we see that self-will has little effect regarding our drinking. Now we examine how that is true regarding our lives as a whole. Read through to page 62 paragraph 1:
"Selfishness - Self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles." This is an important point. Our troubles weren't the product of a poor upbringing, horrible parents, being the member of ____ (fill in the blank with any subset of society). We had a difficult time of it due to "Selfishness - Self- centeredness." "...we have made decisions based on self which later placed us in a position to be hurt." We have discovered that WE are usually the reason for the suffering we have had to experience. We were not the unwitting "victims" of life that we frequently portrayed ourselves to be. I was astonished when this was pointed out to me.
Next paragraph - "So our troubles, we think, are basically of our own making. "...we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness. We must, or it kills us!" So, it isn't always booze that kills us - selfishness will kill us indirectly. Throughout the book we will discover that bottles are only a symbol, that our problem runs deeper than the drinking itself.
Tomorrow we will pick up with the end of page 62 and touch upon that spiritual structure that we have been building.
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Old 01-15-2019, 03:25 AM   #31 (permalink)
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BBS Post 19 & 20 (2fer Tuesday)

Big Book Study -- Post 19
Good Morning my friends, my life right now is full of Spirit and Giving. I might miss a couple of days because of the roles Spirit has me playing right now.
A friend has lost her twin sister to this disease, although she fought hard! We, as a fellowship, need to put to rest and comfort the families of those that lose the battle.
Know that I love this fellowship, but hate what happens in the periphery!

We are on page 62, Paragraph 3. Here we find out the position that God will occupy in our lives: "This is the how and the why of it. First of all, we had to quit playing God. It didn't work. Next, we decided that hereafter in this drama of life, God was going to be our Director." Not the "bush league pinch hitter" we usually used Him as.
Here's the reference to the spiritual structure: "Most good ideas are simple, and this concept was the keystone of the new and triumphant arch through which we passed to freedom." Earlier we talked about "Willingness" as the Foundation, "Belief" as the Cornerstone and now the Keystone is allowing God to be our Director. A stone mason will tell you that the entire structure of a stone arch rests upon that Keystone. This is an element that allows the structure to exist without which we would have a pile of stones. An arch is the strongest architectural and structural element known to man. This underscores the importance of where God fits into our lives.
Most of us our familiar with "The Promises" on page 84 and 85. What many of us don't realize is that there are promises throughout the book. Let's go to paragraph 1 on page 63. Read it through... sounds like promises to me – all these things will come to pass for us if we proceed to Step 3. "When we sincerely took such a position, all sorts of remarkable things followed. We had a new Employer. Being all powerful, He provided what we needed, if we kept close to Him and performed His work well. Established on such a footing we became less and less interested in ourselves, our own little plans and designs. More and more we became interested in seeing what we could contribute to life. As we felt new power flow in, as we enjoyed peace of mind, as we discovered we could face life successfully, as we became conscious of His presence, we began to lose our fear of today, tomorrow or the hereafter. We were reborn." It's all great stuff!
Paragraph 3 is the Third Step Prayer:
"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!"
Reading through this prayer we can see things about Step 3 that may not have been apparent before. We begin to see that we have made a decision and have become open to having a Power greater than ourselves in our lives. We are asking to be relieved of the bondage of self, not the bondage of alcohol. This relates to what we believe to be the root of our problem: "Selfishness – Self Centeredness...," remember? At this stage, however, we have only made a decision. For that decision to become vital, we must take action.
I "made a decision" to fly to Las Vegas next week to go with the guys for the weekend. Until I purchase the tickets, make a rental car reservation, take time off from work, pack, drive to LaGuardia airport and board the plane, it is just a decision. The actions that follow this decision are what make the decision vital.
Tomorrow we will begin at the very bottom of page 63 and the beginning of a detailed discussion of Step 4 as it is detailed in the Big Book.
Have a great day!
________________________________________
Big Book Study -- Post 20
Good morning, everyone!
We are at the bottom of page 63, last paragraph:
"Next we launched out on a course of vigorous action, the first step of which is a personal housecleaning which many of us had never attempted. Though our decision [Step 3] was a vital and crucial step, it could have no permanent effect unless at once followed by a strenuous effort to face, and to be rid of, the things which had been blocking us. Our liquor was but a symptom. So we had to get down to causes and conditions."
So, we don't wait a year to move from Step 3 to Step 4. Remember, our decision is of little value unless it is accompanied by action, vigorous action.
What is the purpose of Step 4? In Step 4 we will be identifying and getting rid of those things that had been blocking us...from what? Blocking us from God's grace and our ability to live happy, joyous and free.
Here, again, is where many people get tripped up. Step 4 - Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. First, let's examine the word "fearless". Bill was, at heart, a businessman. He wrote from a businessman's perspective in this case. When conducting an inventory for a grocery store, for example, we look to be rid of damaged, rotten, and un-salable goods that prevent us from being profitable. From a businessman's perspective "fearless" means without regret, without emotion. When we discard a rotten head of cabbage we have no emotional attachment to it, we just get rid of it so that we can put a nice fresh head of cabbage in it's place. We need to treat the things that block us from God's grace in the same way as the rotten head of cabbage.
Next, let's look at the word "moral". Immediately the alcoholic thinks of the Sunday Preacher pointing out the moral decay and failings in his flock. In this context, however, we should equate "moral" with truth.
Let's look at paragraph 1 on page 64: "Taking a commercial inventory is a fact-finding [searching] and a fact-facing [fearless] process. It is an effort to discover the truth [moral] about the stock-in-trade." So we are identifying all that prevents us from being a successful enterprise, from having a shot at a happy and useful existence. "If the owner of the business is to be successful, he cannot fool himself about values."
In other words we have to become honest with ourselves about ourselves.
We begin by searching out the flaws in our makeup that caused our failure. "Being convinced that self, manifested in various ways, was what had defeated us, we considered its common manifestations." What did we learn earlier? "Selfishness - Self-centeredness. That we think, is the root of our troubles." There it is again--self, not alcohol per se, was the problem.
Tomorrow we'll discuss the roots of resentment and thoroughly define that which AA believes to be the number one offender.
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Old 01-20-2019, 04:39 PM   #32 (permalink)
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BBS Post 21

Big Book Study -- Post 21
Good morning everyone!
We're at Paragraph 3 on page 64 - "Resentment is the number one offender. It destroys more alcoholics than anything else." Again we see it isn't necessarily booze that destroys us, but resentment.
Resentment was a word that I was unfamiliar with when I came to AA. It comes from the Latin "re" = again and "sentire" = to feel. It means to re-feel old feelings. An example is when we run into someone who said something nasty to us six months ago; we seethe with the anger as if the statement was made to us this morning. Alcoholics seem to store all this stuff within and it makes for a disconcerting individual. Step 4 is where we begin to deal with these resentments by putting them down on paper. This is the first of several lists we will make in connection with Step 4.
"In dealing with resentments, we set them down on paper. We listed people, institutions (perhaps the police or the DMV) or principles (10 Commandments, etc.) with whom we were angry." We begin our 4th Step by writing out a list of resentments. Our list will be comprised of 5 columns. On the left hand column we list all of those resentments first. We'll continue with the other four columns later once we have written out our first-column list. We think back over our lives and think about how we would feel if we ran into Mr. or Ms. ______. If our second grade teacher, Miss Crabtree, called us lazy or stupid in front of the class and we were ashamed of it and we begin to experience old anger when thinking of her we write her name down. If my lazy ass brother dropped by would I resent his presence? My boss, do I resent her? My ex-wife? My mother? The police? College professors? Drill Sargeant? The auto mechanic who ripped me off? My neighbor? The guy who made a pass at my wife? And what about God -- do I resent Him?
Once we are done listing everyone we will begin filling out the next column: "The Cause." Next to each name we list what they did to cause me to become angry. We move from the top of the list to the bottom, and write out the cause for each resentment. (Page 65 is a great place for tips.)
We'll go through the last three columns tomorrow.
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Old 01-21-2019, 04:11 AM   #33 (permalink)
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BBS Post 22

Big Book Study -- Post 22
Good morning!
We are filling out the third column of the first of four parts of our 4th Step inventory. The four parts are:
1. Resentments
2. Fears
3. Sexual Conduct
4. Harms other than Sexual.
After filling out column 2, "The Cause" we move to column 3, "Affects My". Opposite each of the names we list our injuries - "Was it our self-esteem, our security, our ambitions, our personal or sex relations which had been interfered with?" Referring to page 65 in the text we see "(fear)" throughout our "Affects My" column. The root of our anger was fear associated with each of these instincts.
In the next column, number 4, we list what we had done:
"Putting out of mind the wrongs others have done I look for my own mistakes...What did I do, if anything, to set into motion trains of circumstances which in turn caused people or institutions to hurt me and eventually led to my resentment for them?"
Did I fail to pay the car loan and then resented the bank for repossessing the car? Was I lazy at work and failed to perform a day's work for a day's pay, was terminated and became resentful as a result? The example in the book doesn't have the last 2 columns in a table format.
Our last column, number 5, we look at ourselves: "...we resolutely looked for our own mistakes. Where had we been selfish?, dishonest?, Self-seeking?, and frightened?"
Which of the above character defects caused me to do what I did, or cause me to want to hold on to an old resentment even though I may have done nothing to cause it? Was it Pride?, Sloth?, Envy?, Greed?, Lust?...you know the list. [and if you can't remember, they are on the bottom of page 48 of the 12 and 12. ] Unlike many of the other no-nos, the Seven Deadlies aren't committed against other people. They are the ones we commit against ourselves, as they destroy our spiritual self, and are fatal to spiritual progress.
Page 66 - "It is plain that a life which includes deep resentment leads only to futility and unhappiness...this business of resentment is infinitely grave. We found that it is fatal. For when harboring such feelings we shut ourselves off from the sunlight of the Spirit. The insanity of alcohol returns and we drink again".
Strong words! Here is the first indication that we are restored to sanity, but if we are harboring resentment we can drink again. Resentment seems to sabotage more long term sobriety than anything else.
This is the basic 4th Step process. We will repeat the same five columns - three more times:
1. A list of Fears
2. A list of our Sex Conduct
3. A list of Harms other than Sexual
The names appearing in our 4th Step lists will comprise the basis for our Step 8 list.
A prayer for Step 4 and resentment is found at the top of page 67:
"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 pray for those we resent in order to be rid of the resentment.
Our sexual conduct is reviewed in the book on pages 68-70. There are 3 suggested prayers on the topic of sex:
Page 69, paragraph 2: "We asked God to mold our ideals and help us to live up to them". In the next paragraph: "...we ask God what we should do about each specific matter."
The last prayer is on page 70, paragraph 2: "...We earnestly pray for the right ideal, for guidance in each questionable situation, for sanity, and for strength to do the right thing."
Sex is very troublesome for alcoholics because sex is frequently used for purposes other than expressing love or for procreation. It can be used as a weapon or as a source of power or to feed ego. With it we harm others, can be quite selfish, and bring unhappiness to those about us. We have used it to purchase security, to exact retribution and to control others. Here we look at it and try to formulate, and live up to, an ideal with God's help.
Bill summarizes our process in the last two paragraphs of the chapter. Page 71:
"We hope you are convinced now that God can remove whatever self-will has blocked you off from Him. If you have already made a decision (Step 3), and an inventory (Step 4) of your grosser handicaps, you have made a good beginning. That being so you have swallowed and digested some big chunks of truth about yourself".
Tomorrow we will go on to Chapter 6 "Into Action" and discuss Step 5.
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Savannah, GA
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toad (01-21-2019)
Old 01-22-2019, 03:05 AM   #34 (permalink)
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BBS 23 & 24 (2FerTuesday)

Big Book Study -- Post 23
Good Morning, everyone!
We are at page 72 - Chapter 6 "Into Action" - and we're about to embark on our discussion of the 5th Step!
"Having made our personal inventory, what shall we do about it? We have been trying to get a new attitude, a new relationship with our Creator, and to discover the obstacles in our path." Let's pause here to ask ourselves what these obstacles are.
Looking at our 4th Step, last column, we discover that our defects are what stand between us and The Man Upstairs. "This requires action on our part, which, when completed, will mean that we have admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being, the exact nature of our DEFECTS." Didn't they mean "wrongs"? Reading through the book we see that Bill tries not to repeat himself - something he learned in school about writing. When he speaks of "defects of character," "shortcomings," and "wrongs," he means the same thing.
We are about to begin Step 5 and it is important to note the mindset of it. A former sponsor of mine would say to me how important it was to "Live my life as an open book." I had no idea what the man was talking about. Step 5 is the first time for most of us to allow anyone look into that "book." When we sit down with someone, usually a sponsor, and go over Step 5 we are exposing our private selves to someone else for the first time. The idea of Step 5 is to begin the process of living in an open manner. This is the beginning of the end of shame and guilt for these will shut us off from the sunlight of the Spirit.
In paragraph 2 on page 72 we acknowledge that "In actual practice, we usually find a solitary self-appraisal insufficient." The book is emphatic about including someone else, in addition to God, in the process. If we skip this vital step we may drink again. One of the things that trips people up is the last sentence in that same paragraph: "...until they told someone else ALL their life story." Some of us have interpreted that as meaning that we have to write an autobiography. Let's look at what is in the book and what was meant.
First, on the preceding page, we have been told we are on Step 5 already - our 4th Step inventory is complete. Second, the idea is to reinforce the notion that it is a complete disclosure – that withholding anything will jeopardize our sobriety. What we expose by taking inventory in the manner as described in the previous chapter is what makes a difference. Those things that have shut us off from the "Sunlight of the Spirit" is what is important. Again, the basic point of "...ALL their life story" is that we should hold nothing back once we begin the 5th Step process.
Reading through to the top of page 75 we discover one of the few places that the basic text is actually dated. Remember, at the time this book was originally written, that there were less than 100 alcoholics sober. It was quite possible not to find someone suitable for a Fifth Step. Happily, with over 2 million members, we are most likely to find someone within our fellowship to take this vital step with.
Tomorrow we will start at the first paragraph on page 75 and a thorough discussion of Step 5.
Have a great day!
________________________________________
Big Book Study -- Post 24
Good morning everyone!
We are on Page 75. Paragraph 2 includes the 5th Step promises:
"Once we have taken this step, withholding nothing, we are delighted. We can look the world in the eye. We can be alone at perfect peace and ease. Our fears fall from us. We begin to feel the nearness of our Creator. We may have had certain spiritual beliefs, but now we begin to have a spiritual experience. The feeling that the drink problem has disappeared will often come strongly. We feel we are on the Broad Highway, walking hand in hand with the Spirit of the Universe."
There is some wonderful stuff there. This is where we really start to clear that channel between God and ourselves and begin to feel the power of His presence in our lives.
I had one of those old fashioned sponsors who made me read my entire fourth step to him. We looked at each item, analyzed it, and discussed the defect of character which was at the center of it. He also related some of his own fourth step stuff to me. Certainly I was not alone in living through my defects, since he showed me how he had done the same. At the end, he said that the old Jim K. had been exposed and the new Jim was about to come alive. This was the first time I had revealed myself entirely to someone else.
Today, because of a strong foundation, my life is an open book for anyone to see. Shame and guilt are no longer associated with the way that I live. It is no longer necessary to hide the things that I do or say because I try to live along spiritual lines. Step 5 was the integral step in beginning this road, "the Broad Highway to freedom."
In order to prevent having to repeat the 4th and 5th Steps, my sponsor directed me to begin self examination each day using Step 10. Later in this study, we will see how Step 10 incorporates the same ideas and principles that have been expressed in Steps 4 and 5. By practicing Step 10 daily, I don't build up a load of trash, so I never have the need to take a second 4th Step. I take the trash out every day.
So, how long do we wait to proceed on to Step 6? Paragraph 3 on page 75 answers that question:
"Returning home we find a place where we can be quiet for an hour, carefully reviewing what we have done."
Now we again examine that spiritual structure we have previously discussed on pages 12, 47, and 62:
"Carefully reading the first five proposals we ask if we have omitted anything, for we are building an arch through which we shall a free man at last."
The spiritual structure is an arch and each of the preceding steps have built upon each other to build this arch. If we have not been thorough, our structure will crumble. Reviewing our previous work is essential.
It will take us a while to get through this chapter. There is a lot of ground to cover -- Steps 5 through 11 in one chapter!
Tomorrow we will proceed to page 76 and the discussion of Steps 6 and 7.
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Savannah, GA
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toad (01-22-2019)
Old 01-23-2019, 03:50 AM   #35 (permalink)
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Bbs 24

Big Book Study -- Post 24
Good morning everyone!
We are on Page 75. Paragraph 2 includes the 5th Step promises:
"Once we have taken this step, withholding nothing, we are delighted. We can look the world in the eye. We can be alone at perfect peace and ease. Our fears fall from us. We begin to feel the nearness of our Creator. We may have had certain spiritual beliefs, but now we begin to have a spiritual experience. The feeling that the drink problem has disappeared will often come strongly. We feel we are on the Broad Highway, walking hand in hand with the Spirit of the Universe."
There is some wonderful stuff there. This is where we really start to clear that channel between God and ourselves and begin to feel the power of His presence in our lives.
I had one of those old fashioned sponsors who made me read my entire fourth step to him. We looked at each item, analyzed it, and discussed the defect of character which was at the center of it. He also related some of his own fourth step stuff to me. Certainly I was not alone in living through my defects, since he showed me how he had done the same. At the end, he said that the old Jim K. had been exposed and the new Jim was about to come alive. This was the first time I had revealed myself entirely to someone else.
Today, because of a strong foundation, my life is an open book for anyone to see. Shame and guilt are no longer associated with the way that I live. It is no longer necessary to hide the things that I do or say because I try to live along spiritual lines. Step 5 was the integral step in beginning this road, "the Broad Highway to freedom."
In order to prevent having to repeat the 4th and 5th Steps, my sponsor directed me to begin self examination each day using Step 10. Later in this study, we will see how Step 10 incorporates the same ideas and principles that have been expressed in Steps 4 and 5. By practicing Step 10 daily, I don't build up a load of trash, so I never have the need to take a second 4th Step. I take the trash out every day.
So, how long do we wait to proceed on to Step 6? Paragraph 3 on page 75 answers that question:
"Returning home we find a place where we can be quiet for an hour, carefully reviewing what we have done."
Now we again examine that spiritual structure we have previously discussed on pages 12, 47, and 62:
"Carefully reading the first five proposals we ask if we have omitted anything, for we are building an arch through which we shall a free man at last."
The spiritual structure is an arch and each of the preceding steps have built upon each other to build this arch. If we have not been thorough, our structure will crumble. Reviewing our previous work is essential.
It will take us a while to get through this chapter. There is a lot of ground to cover -- Steps 5 through 11 in one chapter!
Tomorrow we will proceed to page 76 and the discussion of Steps 6 and 7.
__________________
Mike S
Savannah, GA
A question that sometimes drive me hazy;
am I or are the others crazy? Albert Einstein
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Old 01-24-2019, 02:59 AM   #36 (permalink)
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BBS Post 25

Big Book Study -- Post 25
Good Morning Everyone!
Page 76 - Let's look at the first paragraph - Believe it or not there is a prayer for the 6th Step too:
"Can He now take them all - every one? If we still cling to something we will not let go, we ask God to help us be willing."
We pray for willingness in Step 6. Much like the process in Step 3 we are really making a decision to become willing to have God remove these defects/shortcomings. And, much like Step 3 there is a definite action associated with the decision. We employ right action to fulfill our decision, we do the opposite of our defects, we act our way into good thinking.
Step 7 - "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." Our 7th Step Prayer. We have noticed that "defects" appear instead of "shortcomings" in the prayer. Bill, who preferred not to repeat himself, used a synonym: defects of character = shortcomings = wrongs.
There is more work to do to clear the channel between us and our Higher Power. "Faith without works is dead." How are we to do this work, also known as God's will, if we are still a prisoner to the past? How do we walk out from here and attempt to do His will if we aren't able to look everyone in the eye? Two tremendously vital steps that enable us to live happy, joyous and free are all about amends. Still on page 76, let's look at paragraph 3: "We have a list of persons we have harmed and to whom we are willing to make amends.
We made it when we took inventory" [during the step 4 and 5 process]. Here is where the term "amend" is defined: "Now we go out to our fellows and repair the damage done in the past." ."..repair the damage", not apologized - we are attempting to right a serious wrong. Remember, also, this step has it's roots in the Oxford Group concept of "Restitution." Restitution is a synonym of amend. Through it we accept responsibility for our part and we make it right. "I'm really sorry" isn't what we are looking for here.
The prayer for Step 8 - "If we haven't the will to do this, we ask until it comes." I needed to ask God for the will to face all these people and without His help it was too much for me. I brought my list to my sponsor to review and determine my best course of action to achieve these amends. Today I am grateful for having done so for I received many helpful suggestions. He emphasized that I was there to clear my side of the street, that the wrongs of the other party were not the focus of the discussion.
Tomorrow we'll discuss Step 9 in depth, beginning at the bottom of page 76.
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Savannah, GA
A question that sometimes drive me hazy;
am I or are the others crazy? Albert Einstein
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toad (01-24-2019)
Old 01-25-2019, 03:08 AM   #37 (permalink)
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BBS Post 26

Big Book Study -- Post 26
Welcome everyone and good morning!
Let's start reading from the bottom of page 76. At the top of page 77, we find out what our purpose is: "Our real purpose is to fit ourselves to be of maximum service to God and the people about us." In order to be of service we must free ourselves of the past and whatever else stands between God and us. The process of steps 4 through 9 accomplishes this, if we are thorough.
In paragraph 1 on page 77 we find out the painfully obvious: "It is harder to go to an enemy than to a friend, but we find it more beneficial to us."
In the following paragraph, we get definite instruction on what we are to do in the process of making amends: "Under no condition do we criticize such a person or argue. Simply tell him that we will never get over drinking until we have done our utmost to straighten out the past." “Our utmost” means we do everything we possibly can. "We are there to sweep off our side of the street, realizing nothing worthwhile can be accomplished until we do so . . .." We are there to talk about our transgressions, regardless of how this person may have wronged us.
Paragraph 2 on page 78 gives us some direction regarding our creditors. "Most alcoholics owe money. We do not dodge our creditors." That means we answer the phone when they call. We respond to demands for payment and work out a payment plan. Of course, drunks want to save up the cash and pay it all at once, but that never seems to work with us! Even if we commit to $20 per week or some other means of payment, over time we meet our obligations. If we are avoiding phone calls or not opening the mail, we cannot do God's will, can we? Having paid my way out of the financial "black hole" myself I can tell you it is worth the effort.
From paragraph 3 on page 78 through page 82, there are several mentions of caution when making amends. Criminal offenses are covered on page 78 to 79. A prayer for the 9th Step appears on page 79 in the first paragraph: "...we ask [God] that we be given strength and direction to do the right thing, no matter what the personal consequences may be."
The paragraph finishes with, "We must not shrink at anything." It's a funny thing -- once we have faced all these people and institutions, we fear life less. We find out what we feared most was what resided within us, and through this process, we vanquish this fear.
Another caution -- the involvement of others. In paragraph 2 on page 79, we read that we must be sure to account for the effect of our amends on others. A sponsor helps tremendously here, seeing the things we fail to see.
Turning to page 80 a definition of "amends" is buried in the text. Let's look at paragraph 3: "He felt he had done a wrong he could not possibly make right." Looking at that line, we realize that we are attempting to "right a serious wrong." Sounds quite a bit more than our "I'm sorry I _______(fill in the blank)" doesn't it?
Tomorrow we will pick up at the bottom of page 80 where the discussion of our domestic situation begins in relation to Step 9.
Have a great day, everyone.
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Savannah, GA
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am I or are the others crazy? Albert Einstein
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toad (01-26-2019)
Old 01-25-2019, 03:09 AM   #38 (permalink)
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(For Saturday) BBS Post 27

Big Book Study -- Post 27

Good Morning! I have a full day tomorrow! So I posted Saturday's Post today. Hope that doesn't offend.

We are at the bottom of page 80. The next several paragraphs, through the end of paragraph 1 on page 82, deal with the problems associated with sex outside of marriage. This is an especially difficult area for alcoholics. If we have been unfaithful we have to face up to it, if we continue to be dishonest with ourselves and those about us, we are setting ourselves up for failure.
The last paragraph on this page, and the first on the following page, underscore the fact that we have to do more than stay sober in order to make effective amends:
"We feel a man is unthinking when he says that sobriety is enough. He is like the farmer who came up out of his cyclone cellar to find his home ruined. To his wife, he remarked, "Don't see anything the matter here, Ma. Ain't it grand the wind stopped blowin'?
"Yes, there is a long period of reconstruction ahead. We must take the lead. A remorseful mumbling that we are sorry won't fill the bill at all."
Reading through to the last paragraph on page 83, we see that we are going to have to take definitive action when taking Step 9, particularly with our families.
Now the promises that everyone likes to talk about:
"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. They will always materialize if we work for them."
It is important to note where these particular promises are in the book - at the end of Step 9.
At this time we have completed our initial "house cleaning". Once complete, we shall receive God's grace. The promises begin to come true for us. "If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through." "This phase" is the amends phase. The "Promises" are wonderful and they give us a lot of hope, with one caveat: page 84 paragraph 1 - "They will always materialize if we work for them." We don't get them by osmosis. They just don't fall into our lap, we have to work for them.
The whole process of Steps 8 and 9 is geared to prepare us to be of service to God and our fellows. When we complete this phase of our development we can look the whole world in the eye. This is when we can truly live one day at a time.
Tomorrow, we'll start at paragraph 2 on page 84 and our discussion of Step 10 in the book. Stay tuned, we have more promises to come.
Have a good day!!!
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Mike S
Savannah, GA
A question that sometimes drive me hazy;
am I or are the others crazy? Albert Einstein
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Old 01-29-2019, 02:51 AM   #39 (permalink)
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BBS Post 28 and Post 29 (2ferTuesday)

Big Book Study -- Post 28
Good morning to everyone! I had such a cool weekend that I continued it into Monday! Thanks y'all for being patient and kind.

Although it seems like we're running through the Steps, keep in mind that in this chapter alone we cover steps 5 through 10 -- a mere 16 pages for 6 steps. No wonder this chapter is called Into Action!
We are at page 84, paragraph 2, and the beginning of Step 10.
"This thought brings us to Step Ten, which suggests we continue to take personal inventory and continue to set right any new mistakes as we go along." So, in Step 10, we continue the process of housecleaning/amends that we have embarked on in the Step 4 through 9 process. "We have entered the world of the Spirit." We have had a spiritual awakening or experience. "Our next function is to grow in understanding and effectiveness."
This is the first of the continuing growth steps. In the past Steps 10, 11, and 12 were called Maintenance Steps. Although maintenance is part of the idea we really need continued growth through Steps 10 - 12. "It should continue for our lifetime." A daily 10th Step, an integral part of our lives - that's the idea. "Continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear." Sounds like a 4th Step doesn't it? "When these crop up we ask God at once to remove them." Sounds like what we have done in Steps 6 and 7. "We discuss them with someone immediately (Step 5, right?) and make amends quickly if we have harmed anyone." That sounds like our actions in Steps 8 and 9 to me. What is our code? "Love and tolerance is our code."
In this short paragraph outlining the 10th Step we have touched upon Steps 4 through 9. We are continuing the process on a daily basis that we began when we did Steps 4 through 9. If we are thorough in our 10th Step there is likely to be no need to repeat any of Steps 4 through 9.
Another group of promises, the Step Ten Promises, appears at the bottom of Page 84 - last paragraph: "And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone- even alcohol. For by this time sanity will have returned." Can we hide behind "insanity" any longer? Still "sick"? Are we "crazy"? No, not in respect to alcohol. We have been restored to sanity and are no longer the victim of the mental obsession that dooms us to drink. That is a miracle to me! "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 are not fighting it, neither are we avoiding temptation. ... Instead, the problem has been removed. It does not exist for us. ... This is how we react so long as we keep in fit spiritual condition." It sounds to me that we shouldn't be fighting booze if we have gone through this process.
Are we white knuckling it? Then, perhaps, we haven't practiced the program as presented in this book. Are we thinking about a drink frequently? Are we tempted to drink? We must go back and review what we have done; there is a flaw somewhere. Have we been entirely honest? "Have we tried to make mortar without sand? ... Have we held on to some of the worst items in stock?"
Some of the greatest miracles of sobriety are made possible through the practice and application of the 12 Step process in our lives. It is these miracles that separates Alcoholics Anonymous from everything else out there. These miracles are possible for each and every one of us. But these same miracles are only possible by following the program as presented in the Big Book. Once we decide to "work our own program" we cannot expect the benefits of this message.
Tomorrow we'll continue our discussion on Step 10 on page 85, paragraph 1.
________________________________________
Big Book Study -- Post 29
Good Mornin' all!
Page 85, Paragraph 1 - While we have recovered from alcoholism:
"We are not cured of alcoholism. What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition. Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God's will into all our activities. 'How can I best serve Thee--Thy will (not mine) be done.' These are thoughts which must go with us constantly. We can exercise our will power along this line all we wish. It is the proper use of the will."
Although we have made a decision to turn our will over to the care of God as we understand Him (in Step 3) we are told here how to use our will to fulfill that same decision. Our will isn't taken from us; instead, we are taught the proper use of our will. The proper use of our will is to try to align our self-will with God's will.
Step 10 is our principal means of growth after we have completed the process of the first 9 steps. It is not a step that can be incorporated into our lives by itself, however. To be vital it must be paired up with Step 11. In the "12 Steps and 12 Traditions", in the discussion of Step 11, Bill refers to the "unshakeable foundation for life." That foundation is the logical interweaving of the process of self-examination (Step 10) and conscious contact with a Power greater than ourselves (Step 11). If the channel between us and God is filled with unattended 10th Step stuff -- fear, resentment, anger, guilt and the like -- we will not have the open channel we need to God and His Grace. The sunlight of the Spirit can't come into our lives. Conversely, when our conscious contact with God isn't there our ability to "identify the worst items in stock" can disappear as well.
Step 11 begins at the bottom of Page 85. Let's read through to page 86 - paragraph 1:
"When we retire at night, we constructively review our day. Were we resentful, selfish, dishonest, or afraid? (Step 4? Sounds like it.) Do we owe an apology? (similar to Step 9 perhaps?) Have we kept something to ourselves which should be discussed with another person at once? (Step 5) Were we kind and loving toward all? What could we have done better? Were we thinking of ourselves most of the time? (More inventory) ... After making our review we ask God's forgiveness and inquire what corrective measures should be taken."
So, at the end of the day we review and, through meditation and prayer, we "inquire what corrective measures should be taken." Sounds like Steps 10 and 11 go hand-in-hand. We are asking God for direction in prayer. Some of the folks I got sober with used to say that prayer was talking to God and meditation was listening.
As we go through Step 11 here in the book we will see that Bill's knowledge of meditation and prayer was somewhat limited and he was forced to keep it simple. (This is what he is referring to when he says "we only know a little" on Page 164, by the way). Because prayer and meditation takes innumerable forms it was probably for the best.
Tomorrow we will continue with our discussion of Step 11 on page 86 at paragraph 2.
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Savannah, GA
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Old 02-05-2019, 03:18 AM   #40 (permalink)
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BBS Post 30 & 31 (2ferTuesday)

Big Book Study -- Post 30
Good Morning and Happy St. Patrick's Day! [We alcoholics have celebrated St. Padraig's Day every day of the year.]
We're at Page 86, paragraph 2: "On awakening let us think about the twenty-four hours ahead. ... we ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives." (This is one of the Step 11 prayers). If we are indecisive: "Here we ask God for inspiration, an intuitive thought or a decision. (another prayer.) We relax and take it easy." We aren't obsessing on this, we think of something else knowing that the answers will come. Although we come to rely upon intuition we always check with others on those thoughts before putting them into action.
Yet another prayer: the Big Book 11th Step Prayer, page 87, paragraph 1: "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 requests for ourselves only." Here we are praying for the knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry it out.
What is the outcome? At the top of page 88: "We are in much less danger of (suffering from) excitement, fear, anger, worry, self-pity, or foolish decisions." Those foolish decisions caused me plenty of trouble!
Now, you'll notice that Bill was getting at what meditation meant for him: From the point of "On awakening..." to immediately before "We usually conclude the period of meditation..." we are engaging in meditation. We are thinking about what our actions will be, what we will face, how we will conduct ourselves. I began my meditation life by quieting the endless conversation that I used to have with myself inside of my head, quite simply I was driving myself nuts! Then I started to direct my thinking to what I would face over the course of the day. Of course that meant that I had to change the way that I lived. I couldn't continue to live my life as if I was shot out of a cannon each morning. I received valuable suggestions: instead of waking up at the last possible second, perhaps if I got up a little earlier that may allow time for meditation, instead of waiting until the fuel gauge read "E" maybe I should fill up at 1/4 of a tank. Leaving a little earlier for work would help my state of mind in the morning, arriving less frazzled and on time. These and many other suggestions helped immensely. The result was it was easier to meditate in the morning and prepare for the day.
"Today I get up early -- around 5:15 am. I shower, get dressed and meditate on what the day will bring with Trixie the cat. I leave our apartment at 6:15, catch the 6:32 to Grand Central - meditating a bit more on the train. I arrive at my office at 7:10, make coffee and tend to the Big Book Study connecting with God through service. By the time I begin my day at the office I have no fear because I always have a Partner who has all power. I put in the footwork and the results are up to Him. My life is no longer the "Chinese Fire Drill" that it once was. The 12 Steps have been the key."
Exercise: Go back and re-read the text and count how many times "think," "thought," "brains," "intuition," or their synonyms appear in the text. You may be surprised to learn how much "thought" goes into meditation!
Tomorrow we'll begin Chapter 7. Since faith without works is dead, there is more action to come.
________________________________________
Big Book Study -- Post 31
Good morning everyone,!
Chapter 7 starts on page 89. It is dedicated in its entirety to Step 12. "Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs." The bulk of this chapter is dedicated to carrying the message. Specifically from the beginning on page 89 to page 100. Why is this?
The first paragraph on page 89 tell us the reason... "Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics. It works when other activities fail. This is our twelfth suggestion: Carry this message to other alcoholics! You can help when no one else can. You can secure their confidence when others fail. Remember they are very ill."
Let's put the text into historical perspective - During the period of time when the book was written there were about 60 to 100 members sober - this after 4 years of work. There were two basic centers of activity: New York which was intellectual/psychological, and Akron/Cleveland which were more evangelical in nature. When originally written the 12th Step said this: "Having had a spiritual experience as the result of this course of action, we tried to carry this message to others - especially alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs." Clearly the mindset is one of conversion, spreading the word. Chapter 7 was written with the idea that it was (a) good to increase our numbers and that (b) carrying the message is the way to do it. They also believed that the message wasn't one that required a "personality" to convey it. Certainly Bill and Bob weren't about to go on tour. This book was the perfect vehicle to carry the message. By 1940, even Bill was surprised at the success of the book in carrying the message.
When we read through these pages we see things that astonish us: We aren't convincing anyone that they need this program - we are demonstrating what it has done for us. We are attracting, not promoting. The assumption is that the alcoholic is ready to listen to the message. Page 94 - paragraph 1: "Make it plain he is not under pressure, that he needn't see you again if he doesn't want to." There is an old saying that isn't repeated often today - "AA is a program for those who want it, not necessarily for those who need it."
We will also be astonished at the length to which we are expected to go in helping others. Paragraph 1 on page 97 really details what is expected of us.
"Never avoid these responsibilities, but be sure you are doing the right thing if you assume them. 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. Your wife may sometimes say she is neglected. A drunk may smash the furniture in your home, or burn a mattress. You may have to fight with him if he is violent. Sometimes you will have to call a doctor and administer sedatives under his direction. Another time you may have to send for the police or an ambulance. Occasionally you will have to meet such conditions." That's pretty involved!
The rehab community has taken much of this responsibility from us. Whether that is to the detriment of AA is for a separate discussion.
Tomorrow we will continue with Page 100 - last paragraph. We'll discuss what our spiritual awakening has done for us and what being a "Recovered Alcoholic" means in Alcoholics Anonymous.
Thanks, everyone, for the opportunity to be of service.
__________________
Mike S
Savannah, GA
A question that sometimes drive me hazy;
am I or are the others crazy? Albert Einstein
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