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Old 01-27-2012, 07:12 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Are you Big Book Steps?


I remember coming to AA and trying to "fit in"...I had all kinds of questions, "What should I do now that I'm here?" I was told to just sit back and relax, smoke my cigarettes and drink my coffee. So that's what I did. For years.

I probably needed some of that early time anyway, to see that my way still wasn't working...insane relationships that ended tragically, going to sober dances and dealing with girl cliques...being manipulated for other people's comfort and security, deleting people's phone numbers out of my cell as I sat in meetings...I was in the Jr High girls room or a barroom without the booze...I was a shell of a person just trying my best.

My survival skills began to fail me...I was a dry drunk staying sober on fear and self-will...what was wrong with me? It's true...I didn't drink every day like many in the rooms...maybe I wasn't an alcoholic after all, maybe I was just crazy. I watched other people seemingly overcome but not so with me...I was the sick one.

I was on my way to another open Discussion meeting but really was there anything left to discuss, anything left to arrange? Could I change the subject anymore or laugh it off? I was dying of untreated alcoholism - sober.

I began to seek and seek...that winter I parked my car in one spot, I trudged all over the city to every meeting I could find, and there wasn't anyone I wanted to ask to sponsor me. But I was willing so God gave me what I needed. This one woman in my homegroup, I noticed she was really changing. The things she said were not typical, this was something different she was saying here...I asked her what she was doing and she told me about the Big Book Step Study meeting. 45 minutes later I was at one. I sat there stunned...here were people I could really identify with...their honesty and understanding of the directions for the 12 steps was like nothing I'd ever heard in AA.

I realized I had to humble myself and unlearn everything I was taught...I was full of misinformation and opinions...this Big Book Step Study thing, I had to have it, and I went right through the work.

Big Book Steps were the last house on the block for me, i was out of options...and today I realize it was really the first house, it just took so many of us so long to realize that...the solution was right in front of me the whole time, I just couldnt' see it.

It's been 5 years since I went to a psychiatric hospital...I no longer beg doctors to fix me, I don't have to Google out my symptoms to find the answers, I no longer lean on people for a solution...I'm a spiritual being with a spiritual malady and a spiritual solution...this is a spiritual walk between me and God as we help the new woman find her way out.

With each passing month I have more of the courage to be myself...I carry the message to other alcoholics...I have a purpose in my life, a reason for living.


I am Big Book Steps. I know what it's like to be suffering with horrific guilt and shame..I know what it is to seek the approval of people who hate me...I know what it's like to wish for the end. I also know the feeling of finding great hope in the book called Alcoholics Anonymous and start seeing clearly for the first time. I know what it's like to turn around all the lies I told myself since I was 8, and see the truth, slowly, day by day, until I'm awakened. I know what it's like to see the light come into other women's eyes as we work together - them, me, God and the Book.

It's really an experience that must not be missed.
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Old 01-27-2012, 07:56 AM   #2 (permalink)
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awesome share,thank you
you told a lot of my story
I found the Big Book Step Study meetings also
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Old 01-30-2012, 03:51 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Big Book Step Study has their own website if you want to Google it
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Old 01-30-2012, 05:32 PM   #4 (permalink)
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That was friggen awesome...Thanks for sharing...I enjoyed that.
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Old 01-30-2012, 06:22 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thank you for sharing, i am new to the program myself and i find the steps totally confusing. I don't have a sponsor yet but I am still getting my feet wet so to speak so i hope after a few more meetings I find someone that I really like.
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Old 11-20-2015, 08:07 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Thank you for sharing your story. I saw similarities to my story. I am sure it will help others who felt the same way as you did. I wish there were more big book step study meetings out there.
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Old 12-07-2016, 03:33 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Bump.

A great story. I was very lucky to strike a big book sponsor. In my town we had about 60 meetings a week, all discussion groups. There were no steps or big book studies. In recent years that has changed, thank goodness. Still the same number of meetings, but a good number of step and big book meetings are now available, and knowledge of the program along with quality of recovery seem to be getting better.

I also notice the literature based meetings tend to have more regular attendees, more women, and concentrate on the solution. There is little or no drama. Altogether a much more positive environment.
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Old 12-07-2016, 04:05 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Big Book and Step Studies were always
the meat and potatoes of my recovery
program. Sure, I went to a many discussion,
open meetings, but to sit in those study meetings
helped me understand the program of
AA and how to apply it to my own life
and recovery.

Just like going to school, what I learned
has helped me live my recovery career
life for a many one days sober.

Never stop learning and remain teachable.
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Old 12-07-2016, 05:17 AM   #9 (permalink)
Psalm 118:24
 
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You had me at having a smoke at the meetings

Sigh

We only have step meetings once a month. There's a big book meeting weekly at the rehab. Great meetings for people in early recovery to grasp what AA is all about besides the open sharing experience.
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Old 12-07-2016, 08:59 AM   #10 (permalink)
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The more discussion AA meetings I attended, the sicker I got. When I did work the steps in these meetings, they did nothing for me. They just put me on a delusional pink cloud, because I wasn't taught how to properly work the steps, to no fault of anyone's--they were just teaching me how they were taught. I ended up relapsing and baffled.

AA discussion meetings were more like free group therapy, where "sick and suffering" (the words used in AA) people share their stories. It fed my ego to have an audience. I was always the first to raise my hand and share the latest rambling nonsense. I'd get angry if I wasn't called on to share. Weren't my problems important?

My sponsor would "pray for me" but week after week I just returned to share my latest drama. But it was okay, I was told, because I wasn't drinking, so I was "a winner" and "keep coming back". I wasn't being guided in the least to see where my thinking, perceptions, and reactions to life were the real problem causing the unmanageability in my life and those around me. If it wasn't alcohol, it would've been something else. I had to get to the root problem underneath the alcohol.

AA was never meant to be like today's open discussion meetings. I was taught that the book "Alcoholics Anonymous" was written before the first meeting. The meeting was named after the book!!

The fellowship is only one part of 3 part triangle.

I am forever grateful to being guided to a big book step study meeting. It's changed my life like nothing else has. If I wasn't so spiritually sick I don't think I would've been open to it, but I had nothing else to lose. Open discussion AA meetings didn't work for me.

To live in a solution--and not the problem--has been a blessing in my life and I'm sure for both strangers and loved ones who I encounter in my day to day life.

Yes my "opinions" may seem are strong, but it's just "my experience". I see how sick I used to be, and how free I am now, by the miracle of working an AA program using the prefix to page 163 in the book Alcoholics Anonymous as my guide with a sponsor who did the same.

I'm sure a lot of people "ignore" me on SR. I get it. I would've ignored someone like me, too, at the time. My only intention is truly to help others by sharing my experience.
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Old 12-07-2016, 09:06 AM   #11 (permalink)
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IMO and IME working the steps is critical. Literally, the first time, all the way though, then in an ongoing sense as you continue to put them into practice and apply them to every area of your life.

My first sponsor gave me a strong BB foundation and some daily recovery work focus that I still do every morning. Now with my second sponsor, we have more of a discussion of them (v teaching outright) exchange as the steps apply to life situations and living emotionally strong and sober lives. I am at 289 days and working on step 6.

I like OD meetings best (my home group is) and also enjoy a 12&12 (step& tradition) mtg once a week or every other week, and also an As Bill Sees It meeting that focuses on even more drilled down material. IMO just trying to read the BB and "get it" does someone a grave disservice in learning and developing a program, at best; worse, it could easily be confusing and a turn off to the whole thing. There is just too much material to absorb alone in my experience.

I want the best life of recovery possible so I am following a path of people who have what I want and I see plenty of them share how hey have worked the steps officially multiple times along with certainly trying to practice them in all their affairs.
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Old 12-07-2016, 09:12 AM   #12 (permalink)
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August, you go, girl! You have one of the strongest recoveries I have ever witnessed. I can't wait to see what you're like on the other side of the steps!! You're going to be a blessing to many women.
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Old 12-07-2016, 09:19 AM   #13 (permalink)
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You are too kind C3 ❤️️
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Old 12-07-2016, 09:42 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Looking at this as a disease, believing I have genetic defect, that my body has an allergy to alcohol and it creates a craving for more.
To me personally, the steps and the big book were moot point.
I can look at it like a patient finding out they had cancer.
I didn't have to investigate any longer doing research to see if I could drink normally.

Just reading the stories, hearing people share at meetings. That was easy enough for me to digest. Perhaps, some people have long list of amends to make, a problem with a far off God, more then normal defects.
What ever it takes to stop drinking and live a productive life is what matters to me.
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Old 12-07-2016, 03:23 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Great points above. One reason I feel I was lucky to find a big book oriented sponsor at a time when our fellowship was all open discussion group therapy session, is that I would not have known otherwise. When you walk in the door, AA is whatever you find. I read the big book like a novel, not having the brain power to see the real massage, I had to be shown.

Few if any people were talking about the message in those meetings. For reasons I won't go into, the majority had never been past step 5, and had no experience of taking someone through the steps.

Here is that sad thing. I really liked the fellowship and the meetings from day one. I never had a problem going. I had no idea that they were leading me down a path along which the best hope was a kind of second rate, tenuous recovery. How could I know?

I was so lucky to be gently led through the steps by a good sponsor. After a few years I began to wonder why so few were getting the kind of recovery I got. I have since learned that very few were getting the kind of sponsorship I got.

It is still a bit that way, but it is getting better. One of the interesting things here has been around the back to basics beginners meetings. Prior to these being on the scene, many an old timer would bemoan the lack of willingness or readiness in the newcomer. "Oh he's not ready yet etc" . Yet when these meetings are run, there is no shortage of new people wanting to get to grips with the program. Now those same sponsors are say " oh, that's not how you do the steps".

These b2b sessions are full of opportunities for sponsorship, which most of us know is the most rewarding part of the AA program. It almost IS the reward. Yet sponsors stay away in droves, perhaps protecting their egos, concealing their real lack of experience with the steps. I know I found out there was a vast amount I didn't know.
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Old 12-07-2016, 04:07 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I was glad I found this BB study guide online; Free/downloadable - save as doc or pdf

Study Guide

I went through this and filled this out line by line - I found it highly enlightening. This exercise coupled with a variety of meetings gave me a good foothold in early sobriety. Also allowed me to understand when others had truly worked the program.
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