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Alcohol, Info & Help
Research in the last twenty years has made available lots of new information about where each of the Twelve Steps came from, so far as its language and ideas are concerned.
Therefore, if you put these and other thoughts together, you may find why the rapidly disappearing spiritual roots of A.A. are important. The reflections in this article, however, are just designed to remind us all of some principal historical roots of the 12 Steps. And to show how they can help you, as they did me, to see what the Twelve Steps are really about–or at least were, when Bill Wilson first penned them.
Where They Did Not Come From
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"A New Way Out" is a concept I have been sharing with people lately which shows emphatically that the same power and love of God that enabled the recovery and cure of early A.A. members in Akron is available today to those who suffer.
Early A.A. first favored the name "The James Club." [See DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers (New York, NY: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1980), 71. 213.] The older members strongly believed that the Book of James, the Sermon on the Mount, and 1 Corinthians 13 were the parts of the Bible that were absolutely essential to their program. [See DR. BOB, 96.] In fact, the Book of James was a favorite with early AAs. [See DR. BOB, 71.]
As the First Edition of Alcoholics Anonymous (the A.A. "Big Book") was being readied for publication, the "James Club" title was discarded. [See DR. BOB, 213.] At first, the title "The Way Out" was favored by a considerable majority of the pioneers. [See Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age (New York, NY: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1957), 165.] Most were Akron AAs. [See "Pass It On" (New York, NY: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.), 203.] Bill Wilson favored the name "Alcoholics Anonymous." [See "Pass It On," 203.] Bill W. asked John Henry Fitzhugh Mayo to research the popularity of the latter two titles—i.e., "The Way Out" and "Alcoholics Anonymous"--at the Library of Congress. "Fitz" found that there were already 25 books entitled "The Way Out" and another 12 entitled "The Way." [See "Pass It On," 203; and Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, 166.] None was called "Alcoholics Anonymous." The name "Alcoholics Anonymous" was then adopted for the basic text. [See Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, 166.]
But the idea of a "way out" and of a "pathway to a cure" did not immediately die out—a fact underlined by the title and cover proposed in an early draft of the Big Book cover. That draft cover contained the name "Alcoholics Anonymous" and then added "Their Pathway to a Cure." See the excellent reproduction on the cover of Alcoholics Anonymous: Their Pathway to a Cure. A "First – First" Double Anniversary Limited Edition of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous (Nashville, TN: Broad Highway Publishing Company, LLC, n.d.).
1. The alcoholic, addict and dysfunctional person is worth rescuing. They are a child of God; his/her confession is worth being heard.
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
2. Christianity is about forgiveness. (The same amount of blood was sacrificed for the minister as for the tramp.)
Jesus said in John 6:37
the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.
Few issues have generated more heated debate among Christians than that of the morality of alcohol consumption. The dispute has generated responses ranging from local educational temperance movements to federal amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
Certainly there is evidence of widespread abuse of alcoholic beverages today; this few would deny. Furthermore, the Bible clearly condemns all forms of alcohol abuse, by binding precept and by notorious example. Yet the ethical issue before us is, Does the Bible allow for a righteous consumption of the beverage alcohol? The fundamental question is ethical, not cultural or demographical; it requires an answer from a Biblical, not an emotional, base.
Among evangelicals, the fundamental approaches to alcohol use may be distilled (no pun intended) into three basic viewpoints.
(1) The prohibitionist viewpoint universally decries all consumption of the beverage alcohol. Adherents to this position do not find any Scriptural warrant for alcohol consumption, even in Biblical times.
(2) The abstentionist perspective discourages alcohol use in our modern context, though acknowledging its use in Biblical days. They point to modern cultural differences as justification for the distinction: widespread alcoholism (a contemporary social problem), higher potency distilled beverages (unknown in Biblical times), and intensified dangers in a technological society (e.g., speeding cars).
(3) The moderationist position allows for the righteous consumption of alcoholic beverages. This position, while acknowledging, deploring, and condemning all forms of alcohol abuse and dependency, argues that Scripture allows the partaking of alcoholic beverages in moderation and with circumspection.
We have discussed the addict's need to reconnect with God. Now, we turn to another important issue, the addict's need to reconnect with himself. By this I mean gaining a new level of self-awareness that leads to positive change. This means knowing how he feels and why. And, importantly, it means recognizing his own needs. There are four essential areas of self-awareness that all who wish to succeed in living sober and healthy lives must have:
1. I am powerless over alcohol and/or drugs
1. We admitted we were powerless over the lives of our loved ones.
2. We came to believe that Christ could change our way of thinking.
3. We made a decision to turn our will and lives over to Christ, COMPLETELY.
4. We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of OURSELVES.
5. We admitted to Christ, ourselves, and to another person the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. We were entirely ready to have Christ remove all these defects
7. We humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
Sponsors are not mandatory components of recovery programs, but I do recommend the acquisition of a sponsor during the first few months of your recovery.
When I finally became disgusted with my feeble attempts at recovery on my own, I decided to get a sponsor. I didn't just go up to the first male member and ask him to be my sponsor. I had to ask several members if they were available for sponsorship. Sometimes, if you are a newcomer, a member will volunteer to be your sponsor if you ask if they are available. But be prepared to ask more than two or three people to be your sponsor. You may even have to change your meeting location to find a sponsor, especially if your home group is small.
It can be hard having a loved one who is an alcoholic. Those
who do often struggle with these issues:
- Worrying about how much someone drinks
- Having money problems because of someone else's drinking
- Telling lies to cover up for someone else's drinking
- Feeling that the drinker loved you, he or she would stop drinking to please you
- Blaming the drinker's behavior on his or her companions
- Having plans frequently upset or canceled or meals delayed because of the drinker
- Making threats, such as, "If you don't stop drinking, I'll leave you."
- Secretly try to smell the drinker's breath
- Fear of confronting someone for fear it will set off a drinking bout