Big Book Quoters Don’t Stay Sober – Oh Really?

I heard in a meeting this morning “people who quote the big book don’t stay sober” and saw heads nodding along in agreement. Then I heard “you can be too smart to get the program, I hope I stay a dumb”.

My first thought was “Fuck off”. Then my next thought was that what he really meant to say was you can get trapped in intellectualizing the hell out of the program and it’s really simple – clean house, seek a higher power and help others.

I can’t count on both my hands and feet the number of people I know with long (double digit) sobriety that regularly quote the Big Book in their shares, stories and every day life. It’s our text book, it has directions “To show other alcoholics precisely how we have recovered is the main purpose of this book“. So discounting those who know it is like stabbing yourself in the foot.

Knowing what’s in your Big Book is vitally important to recovering from “a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body“. If you were diagnosed as a diabetic, you wouldn’t just start injecting yourself with insulin all willy nilly – you’d learn about your disease, what to eat, how to eat, warning signs – and you don’t get that information from your next door neighbor or a person on a bus – it’s given to you in information packets and meetings with your doctor or health professional that understand what you’re going through.

The same is true of alcoholism. We have a “common solution” that has worked for countless people who were once just as hopeless as I was – I can choose to follow that path to recovery or I can choose to go a different route or skirt the edges of the Happy Road of Destiny and get what was promised when we practice half-measures: nothing. Our book says time and time again “further on are clear-cut directions showing precisely how we have recovered” and “Here are the steps we took which are suggested as a program of recovery”

On remaining dumb:  “Our next function is to grow in understanding and effectiveness”. Page 84

Our book tells us also that self-knowledge is not the answer, so just knowing you’re an alcoholic and doing nothing about it isn’t going to get you far. You can quote the Big Book in meeting until your blue in the face but if you fail to enlarge your spiritual life it won’t help you at all – I think this is what the gentleman was trying to convey (actually I don’t really think this, but I kind of hope that it is, because remaining ignorant shouldn’t be a goal of anyone).

The common solution I talk about here isn’t the group therapy you see where you come and talk about whats wrong with your life, the common solution is a program of action – getting out of yourself and helping others, specifically alcoholics, but all others “Our real purpose is to fit ourselves to be of maximum service to God and the people about us.

“…there was nothing left for us but to pick up the simple kit of spiritual tools laid at our feet.” page 25 We don’t use a jack hammer when a hammer will do, but we also don’t use a hammer when we need the jackhammer, we use the tools that are given to us.

Read your book, talk to your sponsor, find the solution in the book and work our program of action. Lastly I’ll quote the back of the book twice:

“To those now in its fold, Alcoholics Anonymous has made the difference between misery and sobriety, and often the difference between life and death. A.A. can, of course, mean just as much to uncounted alcoholics not yet reached.

Therefore, no society of men and women ever had a more urgent need for continuous effectiveness and permanent unity. We alcoholics see that we must work together and hang together, else most of us will finally die alone.

The “12 Traditions” of Alcoholics Anonymous are, we A.A.’s believe, the best answers that our experience has yet given to those ever-urgent questions, “How can A.A. best function?” and, “How can A.A. best stay whole and so survive?” AA Page  561 (4th edition

and (I guess this one is Herbert Spencer not AA)

“There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance–that principle is contempt prior to investigation.” AA Page 568

Busy

I’m certainly busier than I usually am. Between work, AA and finding things in the new city Im have very little time to just sit and do nothing or even try out the pool (I don’t think the water is warm enough yet, but soon). I’m going to three to four meetings a week, bowling on Tuesday nights with a sober group and that’s been fun. 

Several people here with long term sobriety regularly go to 2 meetings a day. They hit a 7:00 a.m. meeting and a night meeting. Not one clue why you’d need to, but if that’s what they need I guess that’s what they need. It might make them a stronger community I guess. But that’s not for me, not only because I am on my way to work around 7:00 but because I think it’s stupid… at the beginning of this paragraph i was trying to not judge… but thats what I really feel. A purpose of AA or any of the other 12 steps is to get us to be active participants of the real world in a beneficial way – I think going to so many meetings is trying to hide from alcohol or temptations of alcohol. There is a real solution written about in our book that makes it safe to go into even the most sordid of places if our motives are right. I think one meeting a day is overkill… two makes it hard not to shake my head when I hear about. 

I picked up my 19 year chip at a few meetings in the last week and was asked to speak on Step 12 Monday night. That’ll be fun.

I’m looking forward to seeing Star Trek this weekend and Memorial Day Weekend the following. 

summa cum laude

Today something very special is happening – my best friend Suzanne is graduating Summa Cum Laude.

I had to look up Summa Cum Laude to know what it meant  and I found the following:

“with highest honor”

or

“with highest distinction”

I’m incredibly proud of her. There were times when she was studying and struggling when she’d think about dropping a class or doubt herself. But I never doubted her, I’ve seen  her overcome some really big things in life and I knew a little thing like school couldn’t stand in her way.

She is my example time and time again of what I could strive to be if I push myself hard and don’t give up. When I’m about to give up I think of her and know she’d solider on.

I regret that I can’t be there today to see it – I wish I could because I know she’s be beaming that bright smile and radiating that happiness she takes with her everywhere…

Suzanne, congratulations – I’m so very proud of you and will be thinking of you all day long.

Love

Jamez

Adjustments

May already, wow how times flies.

Having to drive every day is a big change from life in Washington DC where I could walk or Metro almost anywhere. The morning commute is pretty easy and relaxed, my work day starts at 7:30 (so I’m there by 7:15) and traffic is still pretty light that early. In the afternoon I get done at 4:00 and that traffic is pretty heavy. I manage to avoid freeways and my commute home is a little over 20 minutes, the way to work is about 15. Buses, at least on Thomas Road don’t always have pull offs and more often than not just sit there at the stop they arrive at until they’re supposed to leave… unlike DC buses which depart seconds after arriving and loading… so it blocks up some of the traffic.

Everyone here speeds, I know everyone every where speeds… but here its extreme to me anyway. 50 in the 35 zone is typical, most people do at least 10 miles over the limit and it gives me issues 🙂 I usually just go along at the speed limit but sometimes I can just sense how annoying I am to others and go faster, they still pass me. I brought up the speeding thing to my insurance agent and she said “the speed limit is just a suggestion.” Really…

I have finally stopped waking up at 3:00 a.m. and just lying there in the dark… now it’s about 4:15 or so that I wake up… but that’s a whole lot better really and I feel like I have extra energy and am less tired.

I’ve found some good AA meetings here, well at the moment I think they’re good… One is a traveling Big Book meeting that goes from house to house and I was all excited about it – until I came and they were reading the stories in the back… /sigh. The other two are Big Book meetings also, one follows along to the Joe and Charlie CD for 15 minutes and then discusses what they heard and relates, mostly they stay on topic, but there is a lot of new or recycled sobriety here and not that many folks yet that have over 5 years. The other is a step meeting, big meeting – reminds me a bit of Pacific (the size and personalities) and Northside (the literature aspect and traditions), the lead shares their experience strength and hope but can only use the Big Book for reference… I’ve only been to the Step 8 and 9 meeting so far… I wonder how Step 6 and 7 did… we’ll see next round. Every meeting I’ve been to here I hear the Traditions read and it sounds like such a simple thing… but it makes me feel better.

I haven’t done too much “fun stuff” outside of work or AA… but there is a new Sober Bowling group starting and I’m going to try that. I’ll be seeing Iron Man this weekend and I’m looking forward to the Comic Con here at the end of the month. Next weekend I’m going to a baseball game for work.

So far, I’m pretty happy with moving here… I know summer is coming but so far the weather has been spectacular.

Love and miss friends and family, but happy to be here.