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Old 12-19-2018, 04:15 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Big Book Study and Discussion


Good Morning to all,
I am a Sober Biker here in Savannah, GA and I ride an 05' Softail Springer named Okalani.
I am a Big Book Enthusiast and enjoy discussion about what is in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.
I was wondering how much interest there would be in posting a Big Book Discussion Group?

Thanks to all for replies,
Mike S
Savannah, GA
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Old 12-19-2018, 09:48 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Big Book Study Post 1

Welcome everyone!
Each morning the section of the book we will review for the day is cut and pasted to an email and posted to the email list. We begin with the title page and work our way through to the end of Doctor Bob's Nightmare.
With each post we will try to get to the core meaning of each passage, we'll examine the history and try to provide some historical context. We will examine each of the steps as presented in the book and Bill's writing style.
After the daily study is posted, members are encouraged to read the referenced section of the Big Book as they start their day, and are free to respond and/or ask questions.
The cycle takes 40 posts and about eight weeks to complete. We have a great time and learn a lot about the book from which we took our name as a Fellowship. Underlined links are active and provide additional historic data of interest and aid toward gaining the vital spiritual awakening.
Enjoy the study and pass this link on to your friends:
This Big Book Email Study was originally taken from the Big Book Study group with minor spelling and historical corrections, and with links for further historical study, to help the Big Book come ALIVE for you.
It is a newsletter/email style study and is not interactive except as individuals may interchange their understandings privately.
Thanks to all of you this study is a resounding success and has been for several years.
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am I or are the others crazy? Albert Einstein
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Old 12-19-2018, 09:51 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Big Book Study Post 1

Big Book Study -- Post 1
Welcome everyone to the newest cycle of our Big Book Study! We'll be examining the book very closely throughout the coming weeks. It is important to note that we will examine this book from the standpoint of a textbook.
I always like to note at this juncture that the title page has the following subtitle:
"The Story of How Many Thousands of Men and Women Have Recovered from Alcoholism"
Yes - Recovered! Now that usually opens a seething cauldron of debate i.e.: "Recovering" vs. "Recovered". The reason I bring this up here is it is important to note that lasting recovery -- i. e., having recovered from a hopeless state of mind and body -- is the result of what our book presents. Whether one calls him/herself a recovered or recovering alcoholic is of no consequence in this study. We will limit our discussion to the text.
Turning the page to Roman Numeral v, the Table of Contents, let's see how the book was laid out. Bill was an educated and intelligent man. He was taught to avoid repeating himself. However, he knew that he would have to make the same point repeatedly, but in several different ways, in order to get the point across. The format of our book is very much like that of a textbook in this way.
The Doctor's Opinion and Bill's Story identify what the problem is: Powerlessness, and they cover Step 1. The Doctor's Opinion, written by Dr. William D. Silkworth, the doctor who treated Bill at Towns Hospital (293 Central Park West at 89th Street in Manhattan) was a part of the main text in the first edition of the book. It was put into the Roman Numerals in the second edition on the advice of literary experts of the time. (And, unfortunately, who reads those Roman Numerals anyway!?!) The letter he provided was unsigned at the time of the first edition as well. Dr. Silkworth was concerned about his medical standing back when the book was being written -- the ideas were so radical at the time that he was concerned about being ridiculed and ostracized about his ideas on alcoholism.
Chapters 2, 3, and 4 identify The Solution, that we need Power and cover Step 2.
Chapters 5, 6, and 7 identify the Necessary Actions to find that Power and go into the detail of Steps 3 thru 12.
With our study tomorrow, we will begin on Roman Numeral xi - The Preface to the Third edition.
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Old 12-20-2018, 05:22 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Big Book Study Post 2

Big Book Study -- Post 2
Good morning everyone!
Let’s turn to page xi, the Preface to the Third Edition, and look at paragraph #2. This
book is identified as "the basic text for our Society." A basic text is a book which can
convey knowledge -- in other words, a text book.
Turn to page xiii, the Foreword to the First Edition. The first paragraph is where we want
to draw our attention. Bill realized that there is strength in the collective voice. Hence,
"... are more than one hundred men and women who have recovered… ." (There’s that
word again!) The fact of the matter is that we are more likely to listen to one hundred
than to just a single voice.
"To show other alcoholics PRECISELY HOW WE HAVE RECOVERED is the main purpose of
this book." A powerful statement! Note that the capitalized words in the sentence
above were capitalized in the first edition of the book. Subsequent editions italicized
these words.
This is where Jim usually shares his story about his Aunt Pat's strawberry shortcake. In
his absence today, I'll pass on the story, which goes something like this:
"My Aunt Pat makes a wonderful strawberry shortcake. I look forward to it every time I
see her out in Newton, New Jersey. After years of visits I finally asked her for the recipe
which she gladly gave to me. I went home, followed the directions as they were written
and viola! the strawberry shortcake I have always loved!
"Then my ego gets involved. I think a little more sugar in the whipped cream would
improve it. Maybe frozen strawberries. Or let's use Cool Whip instead of real whipped
cream. I make the cake using my version and it isn't as good, in fact I am disappointed. "
The Big Book shows us a specific recipe for sobriety and, if we follow it carefully, we will
get all the benefits of The AA Program. If we change the recipe we will get something
else and we will be greatly disappointed.
With our next post we will go to page xv - the Foreword to the Second Edition. Thanks
again, and don't forget to pass it on!
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Old 12-20-2018, 05:29 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Recovered appears several times in the first 164 pages. Many of those who use the term "recovering alcoholic" are not really familiar with how recovered is used by the Dr. and Bill. .... I am a lover of the Big Book (Believing In God Beats Our Own Knowledge). At 7 year sober (dry) I was a crazy as I had ever been. I went through Joe and Charlie's BB study several times and received an understanding of the problem, the solution, and the program of action to go from one to the other.

Two AA meeting in my home town, both BB studies. I go in the prison with a BB study......burning desire meetings sometimes make me want to puke. We all know what the problem is, I need to hear the solution.

thanks for doing this.............toad
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Old 12-20-2018, 05:36 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Thank you Toad, that is greatly appreciated. Please forgive me, I am learning how to do this on my phone, definitely something new.
Mike S
Savannah GA
Quote:
Originally Posted by toad View Post
Recovered appears several times in the first 164 pages. Many of those who use the term "recovering alcoholic" are not really familiar with how recovered is used by the Dr. and Bill. .... I am a lover of the Big Book (Believing In God Beats Our Own Knowledge). At 7 year sober (dry) I was a crazy as I had ever been. I went through Joe and Charlie's BB study several times and received an understanding of the problem, the solution, and the program of action to go from one to the other.

Two AA meeting in my home town, both BB studies. I go in the prison with a BB study......burning desire meetings sometimes make me want to puke. We all know what the problem is, I need to hear the solution.

thanks for doing this.............toad
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Old 12-21-2018, 10:49 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Big Book Study Post 3

Big Book Study -- Post 3
Good morning everyone, and welcome to those who have just joined us!
Turning to page xv and reading through to the end of the foreword to the second edition, we
have a brief history of AA presented. At the top of page xvi the "alcoholic friend" was Ebby
Thatcher, sober two months in the Oxford Groups. The Oxford Groups were a fundamentalist
Christian movement that sought to practice the principles of first century Christianity. Vestiges
of this movement survive to this day, although the movement has experienced many
transformations and is no longer called the Oxford Groups or Movement. Dr. William D.
Silkworth is the physician who introduced Bill to the allergy theory and the mental obsession
of alcoholism.
Bill and Dr. Bob Smith met at Henrietta Seiberling's house (of the Seiberling Rubber and Tire
family) through an introduction by Rev. Walter Tunks. When Bill was pacing up and down the
hotel lobby of the Mayflower Hotel in Akron he was trying to choose between going to the bar
and scraping up an acquaintance or search for an alcoholic to help. Fortunately for all of us, he
looked at the church register. He picked Rev. Tunks' name because it was an unusual name
and he had a thing for unusual names. Turns out that Rev. Tunks was a member of the Oxford
Group in the Akron area and steered Bill toward Dr. Bob Smith through Henrietta Seiberling.
Dr. Bob was also involved with the Oxford Group, though still unable to stop drinking. The first
time the two of them met they spoke for five hours, and this after Bob had elicited a promise
from his wife Anne that the meeting would last no more than 15 minutes.
Paragraph 1, page xvii - AA number three was named Bill Dotson - "the man on the bed".
When Bill and Bob approached Bill Dotson in the hospital they had him moved from the open
communal ward to a private room known as "The Flower Room". The only people who had
private rooms in hospitals in those days were the rich or, in the case of "The Flower Room",
the people about to die. Bill D., being destitute, thought he was dying after being brought to
"The Flower Room", maybe it helped Bill and Bob carry the message to him.
Keep in mind that the book hasn't been written yet and Bill and Bob would work through the
next couple of years carrying the message. They used the Oxford Group's Four Absolutes
Absolute Love, Purity, Unselfishness and Honesty. Tall order for any alcoholic. It wasn't until
the "Drunk Squad" of the Oxford Groups separated from the Oxford Groups, starting in New
York, in 1937-38 that AA itself became a separate entity. The first meeting to be called "a
meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous" was held in Cleveland under the auspices of Clarence S. in
1939.
More on the foreword to the second edition and the beginning of the Doctor's Opinion with
our next post.
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Old 12-22-2018, 11:05 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Henrietta was "A graduate of Vassar College and an accomplished pianist, she was the wife of the late J. Frederick Seiberling, whose father was the founder and president of the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company as well as the Seiberling Rubber Company in Akron."

At that time Goodyear had an annual income of somewhere around 100 million dollars....Henrietta had divorced her husband and was exiled to the Gate House of the Mansion. .... that is why they met at the gatehouse instead of the big house.

thanks for sharing these....I love being a big book thumper even though I have learned not to beat people over the head with it.

toad
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Old 12-23-2018, 05:31 AM   #9 (permalink)
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BBS Post 4

Big Book Study -- Post 4
Morning everyone!
We're still on page xvii of the foreword to the second edition. The book describes
two centers of activity around 1936. AA's group number three was founded in
Cleveland, Clarence S. was a major factor in the success of AA in Cleveland (he
started the first group to use the name "Alcoholics Anonymous"), and by late 1937
there were 40 members sober in this nameless group of drunks. Bill returned to
Akron and, with 18 others, decided to: (1) open a chain of hospitals, (2) use paid
missionaries to spread the word, and (3) write a book.
Up until this time the society was nameless. In the process of writing the book and
naming it (1938), our Fellowship received its name. There were several titles being
considered for the book: "The Way Out," "100 Men," "Comes the Dawn," among
others. (We could have been known as "Way Outs" instead of AAs!) They settled
on "Alcoholics Anonymous" and our society took the title of the book to be the
name of our fellowship.
Turning to page xix, paragraph 1, the evolution of the 12 Traditions is described
and confirmed in 1950. At the top of page xx we see the statistics of success: "Of
those alcoholics who came to AA and REALLY TRIED 50% got sober at once and
remained that way; 25% sobered up after some relapses..." . Can we boast of such
numbers today?
The Doctor's Opinion - page xxiii (page xxv in the 4th Edition) was originally found
on page 1 of the main text in 1939 when the first edition of the book was
published. It was moved to the section preceding the main section of the text in
the second edition because of comment from literary figures. The patient
described in paragraph 2 of the letter is Bill Wilson in November of 1934 at Towns
Hospital. The doctor is William D. Silkworth, "the little doctor who loved drunks,"
who treated cocaine addicts and alcoholics.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"We of Alcoholics Anonymous believe that the reader will be interested in the
medical estimate of the plan of recovery described in this book. Convincing testimony must surely come from medical men who have had experience with the
sufferings of our members and have witnessed our return to health. A well known
doctor, chief physician at a nationally prominent hospital specializing in alcoholic
and drug addiction, gave Alcoholics Anonymous this letter:
To Whom It May Concern:
I have specialized in the treatment of alcoholism for many years.
In late 1934 I attended a patient who, though he had been a competent business
man of good earning capacity, was an alcoholic of a type I had come to regard as
hopeless.
In the course of his third treatment he acquired certain ideas concerning a possible
means of recovery. As part of his rehabilitation he commenced to present his
conceptions to other alcoholics, impressing upon them that they must do likewise
with still others. This has become the basis of a rapidly growing fellowship of these
men and their families. This man and over one hundred others appear to have
recovered.
I personally know scores of cases who were of the type with whom other methods
had failed completely.
These facts appear to be of extreme medical importance; because of the
extraordinary possibilities of rapid growth inherent in this group they may mark a
new epoch in the annals of alcoholism. These men may well have a remedy for
thousands of such situations.
You may rely absolutely on anything they say about themselves.
Very truly yours,
(Signed) - - - - -M.D."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
At the end of the letter on page xxiv, Dr. Silkworth DID NOT SIGN the letter in the
first edition of the book. With our next post we'll discuss why he didn't sign that
letter. Then we'll finish the Doctor's Opinion
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Old 12-24-2018, 06:50 PM   #10 (permalink)
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BBS Post 5

Big Book Study -- Post 5
Good morning!
While we continue to study the forewords and the Doctor's Opinion, remember that we
are using the 4th Edition. (The page numbering prior to Chapter 1 differs from edition to
edition, since forewords are added.)
We're at paragraph 1, page xxiv, right after the first letter written by Dr. Silkworth.
"...the body of the alcoholic is quite as abnormal as his mind." This was a radical idea for
1935. The primary reason for the lack of signature by Dr. Silkworth was his reluctance to
face his peers with such radical ideas. It was the Depression era, and Dr. Silkworth was
lucky to have a position. No sense jeopardizing it. Further down, it is restated: "...any
picture of the alcoholic which leaves out this physical factor is incomplete."
Throughout the book, notice that Bill expresses certain points in several different ways
to reinforce the importance or significance of that point. He does this with the allergy
theory. Having an "allergy" means that we react abnormally to something. In our case,
we react abnormally to alcohol.
(Some drunks claim to break out in handcuffs when drinking. Others claim to break out
in strange spots – another town, a strange neighborhood, or jail.)
Dr. Silkworth continues to expand on his ideas on page xxvi. Paragraph 2 is important
here:
"...the action of alcohol on these chronic alcoholics is a manifestation of an allergy; that
the phenomenon of craving is limited to this class and never occurs in the average
temperate drinker."
We are different than other people. Normal drinkers do not develop the phenomenon
of "craving." We metabolize alcohol in a different way than the normal drinker. They
don't experience the physical craving which comes after the first drink is taken. They can
have the one or two that we, as a class, cannot. They don't suffer from the mental
obsession that precedes the first drink.
Paragraph 3, at the bottom, is where "...restless, irritable and discontented" comes
from.
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Old 12-24-2018, 07:32 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Dr Silkworth gave us the "Problem".... thanks to the good Doctor.
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Old 12-31-2018, 04:17 AM   #12 (permalink)
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BBS Post 6

Big Book Study -- Post 6
Mornin' everyone!
First, let's answer that question posted yesterday concerning "Pot" in the Big Book. Here it is, on the old doggerel--the way Bill remembered it (an abbreviated version):
"Here lies a Hampshire Grenadier
Who caught his death
Drinking cold small beer.
A good soldier is ne'er forgot
Whether he dieth by musket
Or by pot."
Beer or ale was sold by the "pot" or small cask hundreds of years ago.
The Hampshire Grenadier Headstone
Bill's Story, page 1 - Bill's Story was put into the book as a means of identifying an example of the disease in action and the spiritual experience.
Bill was born in East Dorset, Vermont in 1895 and was brought up primarily by his grandfather. You can visit the Wilson House in East Dorset and actually stay there. Bill and Lois are buried nearby. He served in World War I and, during the Roaring 20's he discovered Wall Street. The profit he speaks of on page 3 was a sizable sum in those days.
At this point in his story, he still has no clue of his alcoholism. He begins to have an inkling near the bottom of page 3: "My drinking assumed more serious proportions, continuing all day and almost every night. The remonstrances of my friends terminated in a row and I became a lone wolf."
His friends questioned his drinking; that's a sin in every alcoholic's book! Who needs them, right? He began to drink alone.
Bill continued to ride the bull market of the 1920's, but in 1929 the market crashed. Although he was disgusted by those jumping out of the windows of high finance, he would just get drunk.
At the last paragraph of page 4 Bill is handed an ego puncturing - "We went to live with my wife's parents." That would crush most egos and Bill had quite an ego when he made all that money. By now Bill has no illusion. He is a drunk existing to drink. At the second half of page 5 he has lost all control. He knew he couldn't "take so much as one drink." He marshaled his willpower and what happened? He drank again! No effective mental defense against the first drink. Willpower was no match for the mental obsession to drink.
At the top of page 7, it is now the summer of 1933. His brother-in-law is Dr. Leonard Strong. The hospital was Towns Hospital at 293 Central Park West (at 89th Street) on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The Belladonna treatment refers to treatment with a drug derived from the nightshade family of plants and similar in effect to valium. Hydrotherapy is shower and bath therapy (you do get a clean alcoholic that way!). Most importantly he meets Dr. William D. Silkworth for the first time. Bill begins to gain an insight into his disease, and a little self-knowledge.
Did it work? During the summer of 1934 it did not. He got drunk again and it got even worse. Bill is without hope -- powerless. The miracle is just around the corner…
Tomorrow, we'll start on page 8 with paragraph 1.
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Old 12-31-2018, 05:21 AM   #13 (permalink)
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"Here lies a Hampshire Grenadier
Who caught his death
Drinking cold small beer."

"Cold small beer" means something to me because drinking cold beer is not English, the English drink warm beer.
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Old 01-01-2019, 03:07 PM   #14 (permalink)
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BBS Post 7

Big Book Study -- Post 7
Good morning everyone!
We're at the top of page 8, Paragraph 1:
"No words can tell of the loneliness and despair I found in that bitter morass of self-pity. Quicksand stretches around me in all directions. I had met my match. I had been overwhelmed. Alcohol was my master."
That sounds like someone who has been defeated -- given up -- surrendered (Step 1). He leaves the hospital in September and stays sober to the beginning of November of 1934.
Armistice Day rolls around, November 11, 1934. Bill takes a bus to go golfing on Staten Island (See "AA Comes of Age," page 56). The bus he is riding on has a fender-bender and, being the kind of guy Bill was, he and a new acquaintance alight from the bus to wait for the next one. Bill has already told his drinking experiences to this fellow: the allergy, his newly-found knowledge, etc. They get on the next bus, and get off at a country tavern near the golf course. His friend suggested a sandwich, so in they went.
The bartender buys a round on the house for Armistice Day, and Bill throws back a drink without hesitation (no effective mental defense whatsoever). His friend was mortified! "Are you crazy?!" he asked Bill in astonishment.
Bill answered, "Yes, I am." Bill stayed drunk for another month after that escapade.
A couple of weeks later, Ebby Thacher, a boyhood friend, came to visit. Ebby's father was the mayor of Albany.
Ebby was a true drunk and was always in some scrape or another. He was in trouble in Vermont. Turns out he had been painting a barn. (Honestly -- how much trouble can you get in painting a barn?) He was drunk and had just finished one side when a group of pigeons flew in and perched on top of the barn. The pigeons began to crap on the side of the barn, which infuriated Ebby. He got a shotgun and started firing away at the pigeons. I think he hit the broad side of the barn before he hit any pigeons. The incident ended in Ebby getting arrested.
Two Oxford Groupers, Rowland Hazzard and Cebra G., whose father was the judge before whom Ebby was to appear, appeared in court at his hearing in Bennington, Vermont, to prevent Ebby's commitment to a possible six months sentence to Windsor Prison for repeated drunkenness. Cebra intervened at the hearing and asked that Ebby be bound over to Rowland and the judge agreed. They brought him to the Oxford Group's NY headquarters at the Calvary Mission in Manhattan, where he got sober. The Oxford Group was a Christian religious group that sought to practice 1st Century Christianity. (We're at the bottom of page 9.)
Ebby had been sober since September when he came to visit his friend Bill. In the last full paragraph of page 9: "They told him of a simple religious idea [Step 2] and a practical program of action [in essence: Steps 3 thru 12]." Bill was already "...hopeless" (top of page 10).
Page 11, paragraph 3: "But my friend sat before me, and he made the point-blank declaration that God had done for him what he could not do for himself. ...He had admitted complete defeat." (Ebby had Step 1.)
Bill also has Step 1, and was beginning on Step 2 but there was a sticking point. Turn to page 12, paragraph 2:
"My friend suggested what seemed a novel idea. He said, "WHY DON'T YOU CHOOSE YOUR OWN CONCEPTION OF GOD?"
This is the spiritual (rather than religious) message. This is the root of Step 3's "...as we understood Him." This is the great turning point.
And, it is important to note, this was NOT the Oxford Group message. They had a very definite idea of a Christian God that they preached about.
In the next 2 paragraphs, Bill is able to take what would become Step 2. In paragraph 5, he begins to describe a spiritual structure that will be built through out the book: "Upon a foundation of complete willingness I might build what I saw in my friend." In several places in the book, he will refer to this spiritual structure painting a mental picture of recovery.
Tomorrow, we will begin at the top of Page 13 - the last drink for Bill.
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Old 01-03-2019, 08:43 AM   #15 (permalink)
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BBS Post 8

Big Book Study -- Post 8
Good morning everyone!
We're at the top of page 13 -
Bill went again to Towns Hospital to be separated from alcohol for the last time. This is at the beginning of December 1934; he had stayed drunk for a month after Armistice Day. Bill's sobriety dates from December 11, 1934.
Paragraph 2 describes Steps 3, 4, 6 & 7:
"There I humbly offered myself to God, as I then I understood Him, to do with me as He would. I placed myself unreservedly under His care and direction. I admitted for the first time that of myself I was nothing; that without Him I was lost. I ruthlessly faced my sins and became willing to have my new-found Friend take them away, root and branch. I have not had a drink since."
The first sentence of paragraph 3 describes Step 5, and the remainder of paragraph 3 describes Steps 8 and 9, (also known as "restitution" by the Oxford Groups):
"My schoolmate [Ebby Thatcher] visited me, and I fully acquainted him with my problems and deficiencies. We made a list of people I had hurt or toward whom I felt resentment. I expressed my entire willingness to approach these individuals, admitting my wrong. Never was I to be critical of them. I was to right all such matters to the utmost of my ability." [Remember this sentence when we talk about amends in Chapter 6.]
Paragraph 4 - The first sentence describes Step 10 and the remainder of the paragraph goes into Step 11. The last paragraph on this page discusses the first part of Step 12:
"My friend promised that when these things were done,[not by osmosis I would guess], I would enter upon a new relationship with my Creator; that I would have the elements of a way of living which has answered all my problems." That sounds like a Spiritual Awakening, doesn't it?
The actual process that Bill and Ebby used were the six steps of the Oxford Groups, which contain the essence of all twelve of the present steps. See Where Did The 12 Steps Come From?
But don't we want all our problems solved first? It is through that spiritual awakening that they are solved.
Page 14 - Bill's "White Light Experience" in found in paragraph 2. One of the reasons that Appendix II --"Spiritual Experience" was added to the book was that many people were confused; they thought that they had to have the same type of sudden transformation that Bill had.
The concept of "carrying the message" was born with Bill while lying in that bed in Towns Hospital (see paragraph 5). The last part of Step 12 is described in the following paragraph continuing to the top of page 15:
"My friend [Ebby Thatcher] had emphasized the absolute necessity of demonstrating these principles in all my affairs." For us, that means not just in the rooms of AA but everywhere.
Going on to paragraph 1 on page 15, Bill describes the dangers of "...self-pity and resentment. This sometimes nearly drove me back to drink, but I soon found that when all other measures failed, work with another alcoholic would save the day." Perhaps there is something to this "carrying the message" stuff after all!
Bill went on to work with drunks and barely earning a living. Not only was he not making any money, he also had no success in sobering up drunks. Lois was working at Macy's. Ebby moved from Rev. Sam Shoemaker's Calvary Church mission and in with Bill and Lois at 182 Clinton St. in Brooklyn at this time.
It wasn't until May, 1935 (six months later) that Bill had any success at all: carrying the message to Doctor Bob Smith, aside from staying sober himself. More details are available in "AA Comes of Age," pages 52-77, which tells Bill's story in greater detail -- how he met Bob, how they helped Bill Dotson (AA number 3) get sober, and the early days of what was to become AA.
On Monday, we will begin Chapter 2 on Page 17: "There is a Solution."
Have a great day!
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Old 01-03-2019, 08:44 AM   #16 (permalink)
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BBS Post 9

Big Book Study -- Post 9
Good Morning!
We're on page 17 - Chapter 2 - "There is a Solution"
One of the literary devices that Bill employs on this page relates to events that are familiar to the reader. Remember that the book was published in 1939 when the memory of the Titanic was still a relatively recent one for many. "We are like the passengers of a great liner the moment after rescue from shipwreck when camaraderie, joyousness and democracy pervade the vessel from steerage to Captain's table. Unlike the feelings of the ship's passengers, however, our joy in escape from disaster does not subside as we go our individual ways."
Now here's the message that Bill and the first one hundred wanted to pass on: "But that in itself would never have held us together as we are now joined."
So, what is it that binds us together? Look at the following paragraph: "...we have discovered a common solution [a spiritual awakening through the 12 Steps]. We have a way out on which we can absolutely agree, upon which we can join in brotherly and harmonious action."
It is The Program of action that binds us together.
Page 20, paragraph 1 - "Doubtless you are curious to discover how and why, in the face of expert opinion to the contrary, we have recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body." The top of the next paragraph is the answer: "It is the purpose of this book to answer such questions specifically." In other words, we should be using this book as a text book or set of directions for in these pages we will be shown how to get, and stay, sober.
The following four paragraphs go on to describe the misconceptions of alcoholism held by the public at large and to describe people who drink that we are not: moderate drinkers or certain types of hard drinkers.
Page 21 - "The real alcoholic" - in paragraph 1, Bill discusses the craving and lack of control that the real alcoholic develops. This repeats ideas presented in "The Doctor's Opinion."
Turn to page 22 paragraph 2 - Here the powerlessness and insanity of alcoholism is defined. "What has become of the common sense and will power that he still sometimes displays with respect to other matters?" In short, the human will is not operative, we drink continuing to expect different results. Alcoholics do not have the power of choice – common sense and willpower are useless.
What is it that causes alcoholics to drink when they don't want to? Broken shoelace? Not enough meetings? Page 23, paragraph 1 - "These observations would be academic and pointless if our friend never took the first drink, thereby setting the terrible cycle in motion. Therefore, the main problem of the alcoholic centers in the mind rather than in his body." It is our struggle with the mental obsession that we will lose that causes us to drink; the circumstances themselves matter little.

Just a Note from Konohika: This is where everything started to make sense, from page 1 to here is all about what happens when I put alcohol in my body (physical allergy). From page 23 where it says at the top of the page "These observations would be academic and pointless if our friend never took the first drink"
Now the Book starts talking about what it is like to be SOBER without a Spiritual Solution (Mental Obsession) ..... and this is what was killing me!!!!


Turning to page 24, we have italicized writing, used sparsely in the book, always used to emphasize a point. In paragraph 1 – "The fact is that most alcoholics, for reasons yet obscure, have lost the power of choice in drink. Our so-called will power becomes practically nonexistent. We are unable, at certain times, to bring into our consciousness with sufficient force the memory of the suffering and humiliation of even a week or a month ago. We are without defense against the first drink."
The following paragraph - "There is the complete failure of the kind of defense that keeps one from putting his hand on a hot stove." Let's pause here to consider this: How many times has this point, the lack of common sense regarding alcohol or the lack of defense against the first drink, been made?
We must also note that in the last paragraph on page 24 we are told that the alcoholic "...has probably placed himself beyond human aid... ." Is fellowship enough? Going to meetings morning, noon, and night? Talking to a sponsor everyday? Daily telephone calls?
Here's our situation: The mental obsession to drink is relentless; human power is ineffective against it. What will help us to overcome this obsession and prevent us from picking up the first drink?
More tomorrow!
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Old 01-04-2019, 03:02 AM   #17 (permalink)
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BBS Post 10

Big Book Study -- Post 10
Good morning! Thank you to all for the kind messages of thanks! I can't respond to each of you, due to the fact that I don't have 25 posts yet!
Turning our books to Page 25, lets look at paragraph 2:
"The great fact is just this, and nothing less: That we have had deep and effective spiritual experiences* which have revolutionized (changed) our whole attitude toward life, toward our fellows and toward God's universe. The central fact of our lives today is the absolute certainty that our Creator has entered into our hearts and lives in a way which is indeed miraculous. He has commenced to accomplish those things for us which we could never do by ourselves."
This is the solution and this is what the solution has done – we have changed our entire outlook. The asterisk (*) refers us to Appendix II which was added to the book after the first printing of the first edition to clarify the spiritual experience.
The text goes on - paragraph 2: "If you are as seriously alcoholic as we were, we believe that there is no middle of the road solution."
Let's review for a minute: "no middle of the road solution" – we aren't doing this thing "cafeteria style" or taking what we like and leaving the rest.
"We were in a position where life was becoming impossible, and if we had passed into the region from which there is no return through human aid, we had but two alternatives: One was to go on to the bitter end, blotting out the consciousness of our intolerable situation as best we could; and the other, to accept spiritual help. This we did because we honestly wanted to, and were willing to make the effort." We're given two choices: Keep drinking or accept spiritual help. So, will meetings everyday suffice? Therapy? Calling a sponsor everyday? Daily exercise? Yoga? Probably not.
Page 26 paragraph 1: The certain American business man was Roland Hazard. He worked with Dr. Carl Jung for an entire year. (It's interesting to note that Carl Jung was Roland's third choice - Sigmund Freud [a one time cocaine proponent] was too busy and Alfred Adler was too sick to work with him. The interesting part is that Freud and Adler were Atheists!). Jung tells him he is hopeless, (paragraph 3), but the doctor also knows what he needs (paragraph 3 on page 27): "here and there, once in a while, alcoholics have had what are called vital spiritual experiences... They appear to be in the nature of huge emotional displacements and rearrangements (change). Ideas, emotions, and attitudes which were once the guiding forces of the lives of these men were suddenly cast to one side, and a completely new set of conceptions and motives begin to dominate them." Another description of the spiritual awakening from Dr. Carl Jung with "change" being the overall theme.
So, this chapter was aptly named "There is a Solution" and it has been hammered home to us that the solution is CHANGE. That change is the spiritual awakening. Go to the top of page 60 for a minute:
"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" (emphasis on "THE" is mine).
The solution is a spiritual awakening (see Chapter 2), the result of these steps is a spiritual awakening (Step 12), so the steps are the solution! It's simple, it really is.
Tomorrow we will begin with Chapter 3 "More About Alcoholism" on page 30.
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Old 01-04-2019, 05:31 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Recovered not cured....."The" the definitive article in step 12 points directly to the steps for the required spiritual awakening.....NA uses the word "a" which changes everything a little.
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Konohika (01-07-2019)
Old 01-07-2019, 03:49 AM   #19 (permalink)
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BBS Post 11

Big Book Study -- Post 11
Welcome back everyone - I was busy and out of touch this weekend, sorry I didn't post anything. Hope y'all had a great weekend!

We're at Page 30 - Chapter 3 "More (Truth) About Alcoholism". This is where we will discuss, in depth, the state of mind that precedes the first drink. Let's take the time to examine what "Insanity of Alcoholism" in this context means. It means: less than whole, not necessarily crazy, an inability to see the truth in life. Conversely, "Sanity" on the other hand means with a complete or whole mind - an ability to see the truth in life.
"No person likes to think that he is bodily or mentally different from his fellows". This is a truth most of us had been unwilling to accept. Now here is the real insanity: "The idea that somehow, someday he will control and enjoy his drinking is the great obsession of every abnormal drinker" This is the great lie that we pursue, this is the mental obsession. To accomplish this we try a myriad of different formulas with the same result. An inability to see the truth in life? -- you bet! "The persistence of this illusion (untruth) is astonishing. Many pursue it into the gates of insanity or death". Next paragraph -- "The delusion (untruth) that we are like other people, or presently may be, has to be smashed". Non-alcoholics don't break out in handcuffs when they drink. They are able to metabolize alcohol where the alcoholic can't.
On pages 32 to 43 four examples of the state of mind that precedes the first drink will be illustrated. Bill's writing style is one where the same point will be made repeatedly to reinforce that point. It is important to note that he is spending an entire chapter on Step 2's insanity. It is very important that we understand the state of mind that precedes the first drink - the insanity of alcoholism.
Paragraph 2, page 32 - Example #1 is "A Man of Thirty". The points Bill brings up are these: "Once he started he had no control whatever". Using will power he quit but here was the insane idea: "Then he fell victim to the belief which practically every alcoholic has - that his long period of sobriety and self-discipline had qualified him to drink as other men". This man was dead by the next paragraph. At paragraph 1 on page 33 Bill utilizes his other literary device - he summarizes: (This is the "Pickle theory") ..."Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic." Commencing to drink after a period of sobriety, we are in a short time as bad as ever. If we are planning to stop drinking, there must be no reservation of any kind, nor any lurking notion that someday we will be immune to alcohol'. You can make a pickle out of a cucumber but the process cannot be reversed.
Page 34, paragraph 2 - Here is the paragraph which discusses the efficacy of using willpower to stop drinking. The cunning, baffling and powerful nature of our disease usually [and easily] torpedoes any effort based on willpower.
Tomorrow we will start us out with the second of the four examples "Jim the Car Salesman" and we'll begin on page 35 - paragraph 2.
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Old 01-07-2019, 03:49 AM   #20 (permalink)
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BBS Post 12

Big Book Study -- Post 12
Good Morning all!
Paragraph 2 - Page 35: "Jim the car salesman" is example number 2 of alcoholic insanity. Reading through paragraph 3 on this page: "We told him what we knew of alcoholism and the answer we had found. He made a beginning."
"Making a beginning" means he had completed the first three steps. "His family was re-assembled, and he began to work as a salesman for the business he had lost through drinking."
There is a situation ripe for a resentment. "All went well for a time, but he failed to enlarge on his spiritual life." He didn't continue on with the rest of the program - Steps 4-12. He got drunk again, and here's how: Page 36 paragraph 1 - "I remember I felt irritated (resentful) that I had to be a salesman for a concern I once owned. I had a few words with the boss...", expressing his resentment no doubt! He continues in this paragraph to be sane, but watch out! Next paragraph - all italics. The insane thought - SUDDENLY THE THOUGHT CROSSED MY MIND THAT IF I WERE TO PUT AN OUNCE OF WHISKEY IN MY MILK IT COULDN'T HURT ME ON A FULL STOMACH."
The insane idea was followed by action. Paragraph 4 - "Thus started one more journey to the asylum (treatment center) for Jim... HE HAD MUCH KNOWLEDGE ABOUT HIMSELF AS AN ALCOHOLIC. (Which did him no good whatsoever) YET ALL REASONS FOR NOT DRINKING WERE EASILY PUSHED ASIDE IN FAVOR OF THE FOOLISH (insane) IDEA THAT HE COULD TAKE WHISKEY IF ONLY HE MIXED IT WITH MILK!" Page 37 - "Whatever the precise definition of the word may be, we call this plain insanity. How can such a lack of proportion, of the ability to think straight, be called anything else?" This is where the Big Book defines the "insanity" of Step 2 as the state of mind that precedes the first drink.
Our next example starts at the bottom of page 37, paragraph 4 - "The Jaywalker." Read it through to the end of the second paragraph on the following page. Although it seems ridiculous it is a fine example of our state of mind.
Our last example is "Fred the Accountant". Go to page 39, paragraph 2. At the bottom of the page - "Fred would not believe himself an alcoholic, (Step 1) much less accept a spiritual remedy (Step 2) for his problem." Reading through to the end of this paragraph at the top of page 40 it is clear that he also believes in self-knowledge.
He tells what happened beginning at paragraph 3 on page 40. Almost immediately he is wrestling with the mental obsession. Page 41 - paragraph 1 - Here is the insane idea: "I went to my hotel room and leisurely dressed for dinner. AS I CROSSED THE THRESHOLD OF THE DINING ROOM, THE THOUGHT CAME TO MIND THAT IT WOULD BE NICE TO HAVE A COUPLE OF COCKTAILS WITH DINNER (and return to the mental hospital). THAT WAS ALL. NOTHING MORE." Next paragraph "...I HAD MADE NO FIGHT WHATEVER AGAINST THE FIRST DRINK." Self knowledge fails again. He clearly demonstrates that we have no effective mental defense against the first drink.
Bill's summary, last paragraph on page 43 - "Once more: The alcoholic at certain times has no effective mental defense against the first drink. Except in rare cases, neither he nor any other human being can provide such a defense. His defense must come from a Higher Power." This is a very important point: This means that we can have all the self knowledge we can get but still drink. It also means that human power, our own or others (fellowship), will not help us. Finding God will.
Tomorrow we start my favorite chapter in the Big Book: Chapter 4 "We Agnostics" on page 44.
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