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Old 02-06-2019, 06:52 AM   #41 (permalink)
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BBS Post 32

Big Book Study -- Post 32
Good morning everyone!
Let's go to page 100, last paragraph-
"Assuming we are spiritually fit, we can do all sorts of things alcoholics are not supposed to do. People have said that we must not go where liquor is served; we must not have it in our homes; we must shun friends who drink; we must avoid moving pictures which show drinking scenes; we must not go into bars; our friends must hide their bottles if we go to their house; we mustn't think or be reminded about alcohol at all. Our experience shows this isn't necessarily so."
"We meet these conditions every day. An alcoholic who cannot meet them, still has an alcoholic mind; there is something the matter with his spiritual status."
These are some very important lines in the Big Book. Having an alcoholic mind means we haven't had a spiritual awakening, we haven't changed sufficiently to have recovered from this disease. If, when confronted with circumstances where we obsess on the alcohol in a given setting, we should be taking our own inventories to reveal why this is so. Let's go back for a moment to page 84, at the bottom. The third sentence in the paragraph at the bottom says: "We will seldom be interested in liquor." Reviewing this second set of promises we see that we have an entirely new state of mind when it comes to alcohol.
Returning to page 101 it is easy to see why we are on dangerous ground when we continue to obsess about alcohol when in such situations. Remember, we cannot defeat this obsession on our own, it can only be vanquished through a spiritual awakening that is THE RESULT of the 12 Steps.
So, to summarize: if we have had a spiritual awakening and are in fit spiritual condition we are able to go anywhere if our motives are thoroughly good. Does that mean I can go to a strip club and drink cokes all night while I indulge in a favorite defect of character? Probably not, my motives are spiritually flawed. Can I go to a family gathering where there will be people who can drink with impunity? Most definitely, assuming I am in fit spiritual condition.
Let's turn to page 102 paragraph 2 - "Your job now is to be at the place where you may be of maximum helpfulness to others, so never hesitate to go anywhere if you can be helpful. You should not hesitate to visit the most sordid spot on earth on such an errand. Keep on the firing line of life with these motives and God will keep you unharmed."
What does this mean? Sometimes we may find ourselves in situations where there is alcohol involved. If we are not in fit spiritual condition our ability to be of maximum helpfulness to others is compromised. In fact our ability to seek and do God's will is hampered. You will also notice that this is the second place in the Big Book where "the firing line" is mentioned. Go back to The Doctor's Opinion, you'll see it there also (third paragraph on page xxviii). "The firing line" is another way of saying we must remain familiar with our alcoholism - "keep the memory green" so to speak. If we aren't carrying this message we may forget where we came from. We may even begin to think that we were just connoisseurs of fine wines and beers. If we stay on the firing line of life we will never forget the type of drinkers we were.
"AFTER ALL, OUR PROBLEMS WERE OF OUR OWN MAKING. BOTTLES WERE ONLY A SYMBOL. BESIDES, WE HAVE STOPPED FIGHTING ANYBODY OR ANYTHING. WE HAVE TO!"
Alcoholism comes in people, not bottles and we have created most, if not all, of our own problems. This is the second place where we have stopped fighting - again, review pages 84 and 85.
Tomorrow we will go on to Chapter 8 - To Wives.
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Old 02-06-2019, 08:08 AM   #42 (permalink)
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one of my favorite parts of the BB. i went to my first concert sober about 3 years in- Crosby,Stills, and Nash. there was about a dozen of us in recovery that went together. something that blew me away:
i cant say for certain, but it sure seemed like there were other people there that werent drinkin and smokin and having a great time. yet when i was drinking i thought for sure everyone that went to concerts did that!
i have been to a few concerts and sporting events since i got sober. each time i had the 3 criteria to meet- right motive for going, being in fit spiritual condition, and an escape route. each time was a great experience.

the chapter "to wives"; funny story about that.
i had been reading the BB a LOT. at a meeting a man said,"the three most important words in the BB are the first 3 words on pg112." when i got home i opened my BB to that page and read it. i laughed pretty good becuase i had skipped over that chapter- i wasnt a wife nor ever married so why did i need to reead that stuff??
when i started reading it i had started to see a little more of what people- even though never married- had went through with me in their lives.
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Old 02-12-2019, 08:36 AM   #43 (permalink)
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BBS Post 33 & 34

Big Book Study -- Post 33
Good morning everyone!
"Chapter 8 - To Wives" begins on page 104. My comments are somewhat limited on this chapter, both here and at the face to face weekend Big Book Studies that Dave and I run. There is some historical stuff that is very interesting however. First, a trivia question: Who wrote this chapter? Most of us would immediately say Lois Wilson or Dr. Bob's wife Anne Smith, but, alas, we would be wrong.
Originally Bill wanted Anne Smith to write it. She had no interest in doing so. (I can see, in my mind's eye, Lois jumping up and down saying "I'll do it! I'll do it!" and Bill saying "I don't think so!") Bill decided that he would write it himself. No control issues there! Of course, at Bill's urging, Al-Anon was formed by Lois and Anne B. in the early 1950's and became a society standing separate from AA. (As a historical aside it is interesting to note that spouses were very much involved with the alcoholic in the context of meetings at the very early beginnings of AA. This made this chapter even more apropos when it is viewed from this historical perspective).
From the bottom of page 108 through the middle of page 110 Bill describes the "four husbands" illustrating the progression of the disease. The following paragraph is perhaps the most important in the chapter: "We never, never try to arrange a man's life so as to shield him from temptation. The slightest disposition on your part to guide his appointments or his affairs so he will not be tempted will be noticed. Make him feel absolutely free to come and go as he likes. This is important. If he gets drunk, don't blame yourself. God has either removed your husband's liquor problem or He has not. If not, it had better be found out right away. Then you and your husband can get right down to fundamentals. If a repetition is to be prevented, place the problem, along with everything else, in God's hands."
This is from page 120, last paragraph. It mirrors paragraphs 1 and 2 on page 101. Remember what we have discussed throughout this study - Bill will repeat important ideas in order to reinforce them to the reader. This is yet another example of this style of writing.
Tomorrow we will continue with Chapter 9 - The Family Afterward.
________________________________________
Big Book Study -- Post 34
Good Morning all!
Today we will begin on page 122 - "The Family Afterward." The dynamics of a family that has endured alcoholism are skewed to the point where living together has become difficult, sometimes almost impossible. Written many years before Al-Anon and Alateen were formed this and the preceding chapter attempt to steer us all, alcoholic or not, down the spiritual path.
Paragraph 3 on page 122 is a theme that is oft repeated throughout the book - "Cessation of drinking is but the first step away from a highly strained, abnormal condition." AA isn't a "not drinking club." Reading to page 127 the advice is offered to all, alcoholic or not, that it will take patient striving to become free of the past and to grow into something better. Although we want results now, we must realize that it will take time to recover on all different levels.
On page 127 the first paragraph reminds us to be cautious about focusing on a single aspect of our recovery - "The head of the house ought to remember that he is mainly to blame for what befell his home. He can scarcely square the account in his lifetime. But he must see the danger of over-concentration on financial success. Although financial recovery is on the way for many of us, we found we could not place money first. For us, material well-being always followed spiritual progress; it never preceded." If we concentrate on our spiritual condition we will mend financially. The following paragraph directs us to make our efforts under our own roofs. "Since the home has suffered more than anything else, it is well that a man exert himself there. He is not likely to get far in any direction if he fails to show unselfishness and love under his own roof. We know there are difficult wives and families, but the man who is getting over alcoholism must remember he did much to make them so."
The underlying message here is about balance. An overemphasis on any single area creates unbalance and those areas that are neglected suffer. Balance is something to be sought after. Over-concentration on finances, spirituality, meeting attendance, relationships, etc. at the expense of those other things that comprise this life will lead us to more difficulty.
Tomorrow we will start on page 128. The discussion will start with how the family reacts to a "stirring spiritual experience."
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Old 02-13-2019, 02:58 AM   #44 (permalink)
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BBS Post 35

Big Book Study -- Post 35
Good Morning everyone!
We're at page 128 of Chapter 9 - "The Family Afterward." The reading from here through the bottom of page 130 centers on, for lack of a better term, spiritual infancy. It's that period of time that many of us experience where we believe that we have found an oasis in the desert of an alcoholic life. It's roots may be in the spiritual experience, or simple and overwhelming gratitude. What this reading reveals is that, no matter what the circumstance, imbalance in life is not sustainable. Although the pendulum has swung from active alcoholism to over-zealousness in the spiritual realm what will happen, given time, is that we will become centered. Here our families are asked to allow us that period of time to become centered, to put our AA service work and spiritual lives into proper perspective with all of the other segments of our lives: work, family, home, service, etc. Step 10 is the primary tool to accomplish this desired result.
Beginning at the bottom of page 130 and reading through to the top of page 133 the text discusses family life, taking inventory within our families and developing a new attitude toward the alcoholic member. This is rooted in our new attitude as recovered alcoholics. Paragraph 2 on page 132: "Outsiders are sometimes shocked when we burst into merriment over seemingly tragic experience out of the past. But why shouldn't we laugh? We have recovered, and have been given the power to help others." Continuing on to the following paragraph - "So let each family play together or separately, as much as their circumstances warrant. We are sure God wants us to be Happy, Joyous, and Free." Sounds like we get a glimpse of what God's will is for us. If we are careful when reading the Big Book we will find that much of God's will is revealed to us. It may be general in nature but it is there. If we're not "Happy, Joyous, and Free" we may be missing something in our spiritual lives.
The remainder of this chapter deals with the relationship of the alcoholic to his family, his health and sex relations. It tells us not to be shy about consulting physicians for they are here to help. On page 135 there is a telling sentence - paragraph 1: "Seeing is believing to most families who have lived with a drinker." Our actions are far more revealing than our words, especially at home.
And, of course, the AA slogans:

Have a great day everyone!
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Old 02-14-2019, 03:07 AM   #45 (permalink)
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BBS Post 36

Big Book Study -- Post 36
Good Mornin' all!
Chapter 10 - To Employers begins on page 136. This chapter was written by Hank Parkhurst. Hank was one of the early New York members and a business partner of Bill's - they were in the business of forming a service station buying cooperative and selling auto parts through the Honest Dealers Association. Hank was also an officer in "Works Publishing," the entity formed to publish the Big Book. In April of 1940 Hank got drunk which was to be a source of great difficulty since he controlled a significant amount of stock in Works Publishing.
The reading from pages 136 to 140 centers on the loss of capable employees. The point is also made that it can be difficult to make employers understand the nature of the malady. Page 138 at the end of paragraph 2: "The only answer I could make was that if the man followed the usual pattern, he would go on a bigger bust than ever. I felt this was inevitable and wondered if the bank was doing the man an injustice. Why not bring him into contact with some of our alcoholic crowd? He might have a chance. I pointed out that I had had nothing to drink whatever for three years, and this in the face of difficulties that would have made nine out of ten men drink their heads off. Why not at least afford him an opportunity to hear my story? 'Oh no,' said my friend, 'this chap is either through with liquor, or he is minus a job. If he has your willpower and guts, he will make the grade'." At the top of page 139 that individual got drunk again.
At the end of page 139 the employers are instructed to look within their own organizations and to try to identify those employees who are alcoholic. The point is made that there are many talented and worthwhile employees who can be helped and can return to usefulness if they are given a chance to recover. A generalized approach with an employee is discussed through page 145.
We'll return to this chapter tomorrow, with the last paragraph on page 145.
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Old 02-18-2019, 03:27 AM   #46 (permalink)
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BBS Post 37

Big Book Study -- Post 37
Good Mornin' all-
We are beginning at the bottom of page 145. Reading through to page148, there are many ideas that have been adopted by industry in general that are beneficial to helping alcoholics in the workplace.
Paragraph 2 on page 148:
"It boils down to this: No man should be fired just because he is an alcoholic. If he wants to stop he should be afforded a real chance."
In evidence today are the multitude of EAP programs that direct alcoholics to recovery.
Read to the bottom of page 149 - last paragraph:
"Today I own a little company (The Honest Dealers Association). There are two employees (Jimmy B and Bill) who produce as much as five normal salesmen. But why not? They have a new attitude, and they have been saved from a living death. I have enjoyed every moment spent in getting them straightened out."
That was the little automobile parts business that Hank ran and that Bill and Jimmy B. worked at. I don't suppose there was any exaggeration there?
The last chapter before going on to Dr. Bob's story and returning to the beginning of the book is Chapter 11 - "A Vision For You" on page 151. We'll begin there on Monday.
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Old 02-19-2019, 04:01 AM   #47 (permalink)
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BBS Post 38

2FerTuesday

Big Book Study -- Post 38
Good Morning!
Chapter 11 - "A Vision for You" begins on page 151.
If you have been following along with the study from the beginning you are aware of the writing style of Bill Wilson. Much like him, however, I'll recount it for those of us who have recently joined us.
There are several aspects of Bill's writing style which are pretty consistent throughout the book. First, Bill will make the same point in several different ways. Second, he tries not to repeat the same words over and over. Third, he sums up at the end of each chapter. It is the third point that is pertinent for our discussion of Chapter 11. This is the final chapter in the main text of the book. We will see how he will "sum up" or recap what has been covered earlier.
The first three pages cover the introduction and the earlier parts of the book and discloses to the reader what he may find. At the bottom of page 153 and through page 164 Bill recounts the beginnings of AA and a very general outline of AA's brief history is given. Bill doesn't identify the places or people who were instrumental in the beginning although all of the essentials are there: Towns Hospital, Dr. Silkworth, The Mayflower Hotel, Akron Ohio, Dr. Bob, Bill Dotson (AA #3), Cleveland, New York, etc.
Tomorrow we will look at some of the high points of the history and look closely at page 164. Then we'll finish up with Dr. Bob's Nightmare on the day after.
________________________________________
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 www.Steppingstones.org 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.
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Old 02-19-2019, 05:30 AM   #48 (permalink)
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Bill wrote his story first and then A Vision For You....they were the first two chapters in the BB.
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Old 02-26-2019, 03:59 AM   #49 (permalink)
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BBS Post 39 & 40 (2ferTuesday)

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,
Savannah Mike!

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!!
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