My amends to all for missing the last week, I have been laid up from a lower leg injury. All is good and The Spirit is taking care of me!
Thank you all for the input and dialogue! Peace and love to all,
Big Book Study -- Post 39
Good morning all!
There are a great many places that have marked AA's early history. The Mayflower Hotel in Ohio is one. Towns Hospital at 293 Central Park West at 89th Street in Manhattan is another. (Coincidentally I once lived half a block down 89th Street from there). Stepping Stones was the home in Bedford Hills, NY in Westchester County, just north of New York City, where Bill and Lois lived, their first and only home. They moved there in 1941. I was fortunate enough to meet Lois there in 1980. She passed on in 1988 at age 97. Stepping Stones has a website at Stepping Stones
or make an appointment to see it with my friend Eileen G., the Foundation's director. Another place is Bill's birthplace in East Dorset, VT. The house is fully restored and a former pigeon of mine, Dean M., can give you a detailed history of the place. Dean has been doing service as the assistant manager of the place for many years. Rooms are available to stay in for a reasonable cost. Dinners are served family style and the food is great.
Bill and Lois are buried nearby. One of the most moving experiences is to go to Bill and Lois' grave and read the touching notes and see the pictures of children left there by those expressing undying gratitude to Bill's work.
Page 164 - Paragraph 2 is a place where people will lift something out of context in an attempt to prove a spurious point. "Our book is meant to be suggestive only. We realize we know only a little." Some people seize upon this to mean that the instructions outlined in the book are optional. (I wrote an article on this topic which was published in the April 2002 edition of The Grapevine entitled "Spiritual Kindergarten" by Jim K. of Manhattan - a copy of it is located in the "Files" section at the study home page). What the first 100 knew only a little about was the spiritual experience. They had the answer to recovering from alcoholism. Keep in mind that Bill was sober only four years at the time the book was written. The word "suggestive," in this context, means "a starting point," or "a beginning." It means "an introduction to spiritual principles." AA is but a means to the end of living a spiritual life. Our lives aren't meant to be lived in AA but outside of it.
"The answers will come if your own house is in order. But obviously you cannot transmit what you haven't got." The "2 step" trap – to carry the message effectively you need to have a message to transmit.
"Abandon yourself to God as you understand God (Steps 1, 2 and 3). Admit your faults to Him and your fellows (Steps 4, 5, 6, and 7). Clear away the wreckage of the past (Steps 8 and 9). Give freely of what you find and join us (Steps 10, 11, and 12). We shall be with you in the Fellowship of the Spirit, (The Fellowship of God) and you will surely meet some of us as you trudge the Road of Happy Destiny. May God bless you and keep you until then." In his classic style, Bill sums up at the end.
Tomorrow, we will wrap up our study cycle with Dr. Bob's Story.
Big Book Study -- Post 40
Good Morning, everyone!
Dr. Bob's Nightmare is the first of the personal stories on page 171.
Page 165 is interesting however. This is the Section Heading "Personal Stories - How Forty-Three Alcoholics RECOVERED From Their Malady" (Emphasis is mine). Not a typo.
Page 172 - Paragraph 1 - Bob attributes "selfishness" as playing an important part in "bringing on my alcoholism". In the next paragraph we can see his antipathy towards the church. Reading through page 173, we see that he is in trouble early on with drinking. Change of scenery didn't help. At the bottom of page 174, he began to go to sanitariums voluntarily to dry out. This was before Prohibition (1920), and he still had many more years of drinking ahead of him.
On pages 176 and 177, his drinking was out of control and all of the classic symptoms were there: hiding bottles, others recognizing his drinking as a problem, hoarding alcohol, social life deteriorating, switching drinks (the Beer Experiment), etc. On page 178, he falls in with "...a crowd of people who attracted me because of their seeming poise, health and happiness." (About 1933.) That crowd was The Oxford Group, although Dr. Bob had not connected this group of people with any solution of his drinking problem. He drank and spent time with the Oxford Groups for the next two and a half years.
In paragraph 1, the lady who called Bob was Henrietta Seiberling (of the rubber tire manufacturing empire) and the friend was Bill Wilson. The first meeting between Bill and Bob was about 6 hours longer than the fifteen minutes Bob was initially willing to give to Bill.
Bob did get drunk again 3 weeks later at the AMA convention. Bill worked with him again and the founding of our society dates from June 10, 1935* the date of Dr. Bob's last drink.
The end of paragraph two says a lot of the power of one alcoholic talking with another - "Of far more importance was the fact that he was the first living human with whom I had ever talked, who knew what he was talking about in regard to alcoholism from actual experience. In other words, be talked my language. He knew all the answers, and certainly not because he had picked them up in his reading." The barrier had been breached!
"Passing it on" was important to Bob - the last paragraph on page 180 and continuing on to the top of the following page. "I spend a great deal of time passing on what I learned to others who want and need it badly. I do it for four reasons:
1. Sense of duty.
2. It is a pleasure.
3. Because in so doing I am paying my debt to the man who took time to pass it on to me.
4. Because every time I do it I take out a little more insurance for myself against a possible slip."
The ending of his story boils down to the essence of how important an open mind is in order to accept what we have to offer. The assumption is that the motivation to seek sobriety is in place, that we are ready to listen to conviction as only the dying can be:
"If you think you are an atheist, an agnostic, a skeptic, or have any other form of intellectual pride which keeps you from accepting what is in this book, I feel sorry for you. If you still think you are strong enough to beat the game alone, that is your affair. But if you really and truly want to quit drinking liquor for good and all, and sincerely feel that you must have some help, we know that we have an answer for you. It never fails if you go about it with one half the zeal you have been in the habit of showing when getting another drink.
"Your Heavenly Father will never let you down!"
* - Which may not truly be the date since the AMA Convention began on June 10th. Recent research suggests that June 17th may actually be the true date. Not that it really matters much...
Thanks to everyone who has participated in this cycle. And I just want to take the opportunity here to thank those who have helped with their devoted service.
Pass on the link: http://groups.*****.com/group/bigbookmeeting
to your other friends so they may share in what you have found.
[ Editor's Note:
The text of this presentation is taken from "The Big Book Comes Alive with Jim & Dave" with minor spelling and historical corrections, and with links for further historical study, to help the Big Book come ALIVE for you..... Love and Peace, Barefoot]
Index of A.A. History Pages on Barefoot's World
As in so many things, especially with we alcoholics, our History is our Greatest Asset!.. We each arrived at the doors of A.A. with an intensive and lengthy "History of Things That Do Not Work" .. Today, In A.A. and In Recovery, Our History has added an intensive and lengthy "History of Things That DO Work!!" and We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it!!