That Ain’t In The Big Book!

ain't

Lots of things are said in meetings that fly in the face of the literature. 

Here’s a list, followed by what is actually suggested:

“Remember your last drunk”

Page 24, Paragraph 2: “We are unable, at 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.”

“I choose not to drink today”

Page 24 Paragraph 2: “The fact is that most alcoholics, for reasons yet obscure, have lost the power of choice in drink.”

“Play the tape all the way through”

Page 24, paragraph 3: “The almost certain consequences that follow taking even a glass of beer do not crowd into the mind to deter us. If these thoughts do occur, they are hazy and readily supplanted with the old threadbare idea that this time we shall handle ourselves like other people. There is a complete failure of the kind of defense that keeps one from putting his hand on a hot stove.”

“Think through the drink”

Page 43, paragraph 4: “Once more: The alcoholic at certain times has no effective mental defense against the first drink. Except in a few rare cases, neither he nor any other human being can provide such a defense. His defense must come from a Higher Power.”

“I will always be recovering, never recovered.”

Title Page: “ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS. The Story of How Many Thousands of Men and Women Have Recovered from Alcoholism”

Page 20, paragraph 2: “Doubtless you are curious to discover how and why, in face of expert opinion to the contrary, we have recovered from a hopeless condition of mind and body.

Foreword to the First Edition: “We, of Alcoholics Anonymous, are more than one hundred men and women who have recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body.”

Page 29, paragraph 2: “Further on, clear-cut directions are given showing how we recovered.”

Page 132, paragraph 3: “We have recovered, and have been given the power to help others.”

“We are all just an arms length away from a drink”

Page 84, paragraph 4, “And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone – even alcohol. For by this time sanity will have returned. We will seldom be interested in liquor. If tempted, we recoil from it as from a hot flame. We react sanely and normally, and we will find that this has happened automatically. We will see that our new attitude toward liquor has been given us without any thought or effort on our part. It just comes! That is the miracle of it. We are not fighting it, neither is we avoiding temptation.

We feel as though we had been placed in a position of neutrality – safe and protected. We have not even sworn off. Instead, the problem has been removed. It does not exist for us”

“Don’t drink and go to meetings.”

Page 34, paragraph 2: “Many of us felt we had plenty of character. There was a tremendous urge to cease forever. Yet we found it impossible. This is the baffling feature of alcoholism as we know it—

this utter inability to leave it alone, no matter how great the necessity or the wish.”

Page 34, paragraph 3: “Whether such a person can quit upon a nonspiritual basis depends upon the extent to which he has already lost the power to choose whether he will drink or not.”

Page 17, paragraph 2: “Unlike the feelings of the ship’s passengers, however, our joy in escape from disaster does not subside as we go our individual ways. The feeling of having shared in a common peril is one element in the powerful cement which binds us. But that in itself would never have held us together as we are now joined.”

“This is a selfish program”
Page 20, paragraph 1: “Our very lives, as ex-problem drinkers depend upon our constant thought of others and how we may help meet their needs.”

Page 97, paragraph 2: “Helping others is the foundation stone of your recovery. A kindly act once in a while isn’t enough. You have to act the Good Samaritan every day, if need be. It may mean the loss of many nights’ sleep, great interference with your pleasures, interruptions to your business. It may mean sharing your money and your home, counseling frantic wives and relatives, innumerable trips to police courts, sanitariums, hospitals, jails and asylums. Your telephone may jangle at any time of the day or night. “

Page 14-15: “For if an alcoholic failed to perfect and enlarge his spiritual life through work and self-sacrifice for others, he could not survive the certain trials and low spots ahead.”

Page 62, paragraph 2:

“Selfishness, self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles”

Page 62, paragraph 3: “So our troubles, we think, are basically of our own making. They arise out of ourselves, and the alcoholic is an extreme example of self-will run riot, though he usually doesn’t think so. Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness. We must, or it kill us!”

“I’m powerless over people, places and things”

Much has already been said about receiving strength, inspiration, and direction from Him who has all knowledge and power. If we have carefully followed directions, we have begun to sense the flow of His Spirit into us. To some extent we have become God-conscious. We have begun to develop this vital sixth sense. But we must go further and that means more action. (85)

Page 132, paragraph 3: “We have recovered, and have been given the power to help others.”

Page 89, paragraph 2: “You can help when no one else can. You can secure their confidence when others fail.”

“You’re in the right place”

Page 20-21: “Then we have a certain type of hard drinker. He may have the habit badly enough to gradually impair him physically and mentally. It may cause him to die a few years before his time. If a sufficiently strong reason – ill health, falling in love, change of environment, or the warning of a doctor – becomes operative, this man can also stop or moderate, although he may find it difficult and troublesome and may even need medical attention.”

Page 31, paragraph 2: ” If anyone who is showing inability to control his drinking can do the right- about-face and drink like a gentleman, our hats are off to him.”

Page 31-32: “We do not like to pronounce any individual as alcoholic, but you can quickly diagnose yourself. Step over to the nearest barroom and try some controlled drinking. Try to drink and stop abruptly. Try it more than once. It will not take long for you to decide, if you are honest with yourself about it. It may be worth a bad case of jitters if you get a full knowledge of your condition.”

Page 108-109: “Your husband may be only a heavy drinker. His drinking may be constant or it may be heavy only on certain occasions. Perhaps he spends too much money for liquor. It may be slowing him up mentally and physically, but he does not see it. Sometimes he is a source of embarrassment to you and his friends. He is positive he can handle his liquor, that it does him no harm, that drinking is necessary in his business. He would probably be insulted if he were called an alcoholic. This world is full of people like him. Some will moderate or stop altogether, and some will not. Of those who keep on, a good number will become true alcoholics after a while.”

Page 92, paragraph 2: “If you are satisfied that he is a real alcoholic”

Page 95, paragraph 4: “If he thinks he can do the job in some other way, or prefers some other spiritual approach, encourage him to follow his own conscience.”

“If an alcoholic wants to get sober, nothing you say can make him drink.”

Page 103, paragraph 2: “A spirit of intolerance might repel alcoholics whose lives could have been saved, had it not been for such stupidity. We would not even do the cause of temperate drinking any good, for not one drinker in a thousand likes to be told anything about alcohol by one who hates it.”

A spirit of intolerance might repel alcoholics whose lives could have been saved, had it not been for such stupidity.

“We must change playmates, playgrounds, and playthings”

Page 100-101: “Assuming we are spiritually fit, we can do all sorts of things alcoholics are not supposed to do. People have said 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 houses; we mustn’t think or be reminded about alcohol at all. Our experience shows that this is not 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. His only chance for sobriety would be some place like the Greenland Ice Cap, and even there an Eskimo might turn up with a bottle of scotch and ruin everything!”

“I’m a people pleaser. I need to learn to take care of myself”

Page 61, paragraph 2:”Is he not really a self-seeker even when trying to be kind?”

“Don’t drink, even if your ass falls off.”

Page 34, paragraph 2: “Many of us felt we had plenty of character. There was a tremendous urge to cease forever. Yet we found it impossible. This is the baffling feature of alcoholism as we know it—this utter inability to leave it alone, no matter how great the necessity or the wish.”

“I haven’t had a drink today, so I’m a complete success today.”

Page 19, paragraph 1: “The elimination of drinking is but a beginning. A much more important demonstration of our principles lies before us in our respective homes, occupations and affairs.”

Page 82, paragraph 4: “The alcoholic is like a tornado roaring his way through the lives of others. Hearts are broken. Sweet relationships are dead. Affections have been uprooted. Selfish and inconsiderate habits have kept the home in turmoil.

We feel a man is unthinking when he says that sobriety is enough.

Page 58, Paragraph 1:”Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of be­ ing honest with themselves. There are such unfortu­nates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasp­ ing and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average. There are those, too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest.

Our stories disclose in a general way what we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like now.

If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it—then you are ready to take certain steps.

At some of these we balked. We thought we could find an easier, softer way. But we could not. With all the earnestness at our command, we beg of you to be fearless and thorough from the very start. Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely.

“Don’t drink, no matter what.

Page 34, paragraph 2: “Many of us felt we had plenty of character. There was a tremendous urge to cease forever. Yet we found it impossible. This is the baffling feature of alcoholism as we know it—this utter inability to leave it alone, no matter how great the necessity or the wish.”

Page 31, paragraph 4: “We do not like to pronounce any individual as alcoholic, but you can quickly diagnose yourself. Step over to the nearest barroom and try some controlled drinking. Try to drink and stop abruptly. Try it more than once. It will not take long for you to decide, if you are honest with yourself about it. It may be worth a bad case of jitters if you get a full knowledge of your condition.”

“We need to give up planning, it doesn’t work.”

Page 86, paragraphs 3-4: “On awakening let us think about the twenty-four hours ahead. We consider our plans for the day. Before we begin, we ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives. Under these conditions we can employ our mental faculties with assurance, for after all God gave us brains to use. Our thought-life will be placed on a much higher plane when our thinking is cleared of wrong motives. In thinking about our day we may face indecision. We may not be able to determine which course to take. Here we ask God for inspiration, an intuitive thought or a decision. We relax and take it easy. We don’t struggle. We are often surprised how the right answers come after we have tried this for a while.”

“I have a choice to not drink today.”

Page 30, paragraph 3: “We alcoholics are men and women who have lost the ability to control our drinking. We know that no real alcoholic ever recovers control. All of us felt at times that we were regaining control, but such intervals – usually brief – were inevitably followed by still less control, which led in time to pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization. We are convinced to a man that alcoholics of our type are in the grip of a progressive illness. Over any considerable period we get worse, never better.”

“If all I do is stay sober today, then it’s been a good day.”

Page 82, paragraph 3: ” Sometimes we hear an alcoholic say that the only thing he needs to do is to keep sober. Certainly he must keep sober, for there will be no home if he doesn’t. But he is yet a long way from making good to the wife or parents whom for years he has so shockingly treated.”

Page 82 paragraph 4: “We feel a man is unthinking when he says sobriety is enough.”

“You don’t need a shrink. You have an alcoholic personality. All you will ever need is in the first 164 pages of the Big Book.”

Page 133, 2nd paragraph: “But this does not mean that we disregard human health measures. God has abundantly supplied this world with fine doctors, psychologists, and practitioners of various kinds. Do not hesitate to take your health problems to such persons. Most of them give freely of themselves, that their fellows may enjoy sound minds and bodies. Try to remember that though God has wrought miracles among us, we should never belittle a good doctor or psychiatrist. Their services are often indispensable in treating a newcomer and in following his case afterward.”

“AA is the only way to stay sober.”

Page 95, paragraph 4: If he thinks he can do the job in some other way, or prefers some other spiritual approach, encourage him to follow his own conscience. We have no monopoly on God; we merely have an approach that worked with us.

Page 164, paragraph 3: “ Our book is meant to be suggestive only. We realize we know only a little.”

“My sponsor told me that, if in making an amend I would be harmed, I could consider myself as one of the ‘others’ in Step Nine.”

Page 79, paragraph 2 “Reminding ourselves that we have decided to go to any lengths to find a spiritual experience, we ask that we be given strength and direction to do the right thing, no matter what the personal consequences might be.”

“I need to forgive myself first” or “Be nicer to yourself”

Page 74, paragraph 2 “ The rule is we must be hard on ourself, but always considerate of others.”

“Take what you want and leave the rest”

Page 17, paragraph 3: “The tremendous fact for every one of us is that we have discovered a common solution. We have a way out on which we can absolutely agree, and upon which we can join in brotherly and harmonious action. This is the great news this book carries to those who suffer from alcoholism.”

“Just do the next right thing”

Page 86, paragraph 4: ” We may not be able to determine which course to take. Here we ask God for inspiration, an intuitive thought or a decision.”

Page 87, paragraph 1: ” Being still inexperienced and having just made conscious contact with God, it is not probable that we are going to be inspired at all times. We might pay for this presumption in all sorts of absurd actions and ideas.”

“Keep coming back, eventually it will rub off on you”

Page 64, Paragraph 1: “Though our decision was a vital and crucial step, it could have little permanent effect unless at once followed by a strenuous effort to face, and to be rid of, the things in ourselves which had been blocking us”

“You only work one step a year” “Take your time to work the steps”

Page 569, paragraph 3: What often takes place in a few months can hardly be brought about by himself alone.”

Page 63, paragraph3: “Next we launched on a course of vigorous action.”

Page 74, paragraph 2: “If that is so, this step may be postponed, only, however, if we hold ourselves in complete readiness to go through with it at the first opportunity”

Page 75, paragraph 3: “Returning home we find a place where we can be quiet for AN HOUR, carefully reviewing what we have done.”

“You need to stay in those feelings and really feel them.”

Page 84, paragraph 2: “When these crop up, we ask God at once to remove them.”

“There are no musts in this program.”

And we know that one’s crazy, right?

Remember, alcoholics are stubborn, cantankerous, and adolescent. Nobody can tell us nothin’! 

“When the man is presented with this volume it is best that no one tell him he must abide by its suggestions.” page 144, paragraph 3

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