I continue to be amazed at the things I hear in A.A. meetings these days. I hear a lot of “BB” and not enough “AA.”
I have never been able to find in our program of action the phrase, “90 meetings in 90 days” or “just don’t drink and go to meetings” or “no big changes in the first year” or “don’t get in a relationship in the first year.” I’m not 100% sure where those things came from (well, I have an idea, but I digress) but I cannot find them in the big book. And while we’re on this topic, the myriad of slogans I see hanging on walls continue to baffle me (outside of the only three slogans found in our basic text on the last page of “The Family Afterward”).
I’m grateful that somewhere along the line, a very wise member of A.A. pointed me to the top of page 35 in “More About Alcoholism” (4th Edition) to show me where Bill shared in no uncertain terms exactly what the crux of my problem is. And then, just 10 pages later on page 45 in “We Agnostics” he shared with absolute clarity what the solution to said problem is.
Nowhere (that I’ve been able to find) in the first 164 pages of our big book does Bill say that going to meetings are the solution (they can help, but are not the solution). Nowhere does he say that a sponsor is the solution (they can help, but are not the solution). Nowhere does he say that the big book itself is the solution (it can help guide us to the solution but is not the solution in and of itself). Nowhere does he say that doing service is the solution (it can help, but is not the solution – and I’ve seen many people USE service AS their program). And lastly and likely most importantly, nowhere does he say that WE are the solution to our problem. In fact, Bill shares often that WE are the problem!
Bill once said, “Our chief responsibility to the newcomer is to provide an adequate presentation of our program.” My experience has been that THAT program of action is only found in the first 164 pages of our big book. There are certainly additional things we can learn and add to our program to become fully recovered from a hopeless state of mind and body, but unless they can be found in the first 164, it’s my experience that it is not the program. We need to be crystal clear with the newcomer that there is a difference between the FELLOWSHIP of Alcoholics Anonymous and the PROGRAM of Alcoholics Anonymous. They are two very distinct and different things. They work hand in hand, but are not the same thing.
- MEETINGS are not the solution to my problem
- MY SPONSOR is not the solution to my problem
- THE BIG BOOK (itself) is not the solution to my problem
- SERVICE is not the solution to my problem
- I am not the solution to my problem
…. finding a Power greater than myself (and developing a relationship with it) IS the solution.
May God bless your journey,