Ok, so I'm into the Big Book now. I've made my 3rd Step decision and am ready to write my 4th. It's just that I am bothered or nagged by the criticism I get wind of around Big Book. The bad rapping of the 12/12 Book. it's just essays, no directions, basically putting those who faithfully attend their 12/12 groups down. The old 12/12 is screwed up and not the original AA way that is in the Big Book! The 12/12 people criticizing the Big Book crowd as being unjust and overbearing! I just don't like the whole 12/12 Big Book Step controversy going on everywhere. I think, this controversy thing, this jockeying for AA position, this can't be new right? This whole debacle probably began as soon as the 12/12 hit the streets like when, back in the 50's? Probably earlier with the different alcoholic treatments before the 12/12 was written. Belladonna, Religion, Lock up. Loonie Bin, Heavy narcotics.. Everyone looking to be validated by others faults is the easiest way to a quick self esteem boost I guess.. So it's got to be here somewhere. Gossip and criticism. The Big Book isn't going to have any direct information on this Big Book 12/12 thing, how could it? But the 12/12? That's where I'll look. And lucky me, I didn't have to look too far.
12/12 Forward Page 16. 3rd paragraph. Ok I'm on to something here. AA principles borrowed mainly from Religion and medicine, I knew that. Then added their own experience with the needs of the Fellowship itself. ok.. Page 17, they put this experience down in a Book called Alcoholics Anonymous where the 12 Steps were codified for the first time and from it the Fellowship took it's name.. OK, the Big Book 12 Steps are real, good.. This 12/12 Step Book is meant to broaden and deepen my relationship with the earlier Big Book 12 Step work. What did that say? The 12/12 Step Book is meant to broaden and deepen my relationship with the earlier work. Wow, that's a mouthful of answers. Page 17, I'll remember that... Al right, this is all good stuff but not really what I'm looking for. I want to know what the deal is between Big Book Steps and 12/12 Steps. Even the meetings are drastically different.
JACKPOT ! 12/12 Page 23. The Big Book with the Steps written in masterly detail was published for low bottom cases ONLY. Many less desperate tried AA but could not make the admission of hopelessness so success in the Big Book 12 Steps was just that, generally unsuccessful except for the low bottom alcoholics...What to do? Still on page 23, Many who come to AA haven't experienced the Hell those who identify with the original Big Book Step work seem to easily grasp. These people may have supportive home lives still, responsibilities they meet everyday, jobs, a bit of security. They may be young and not completely beaten themselves senseless yet, they may still have some fragmented hope. Sure their life is threatened but they have not completely lost their power of choice as many of the low bottom alcoholics have. That's not to difficult to understand. So Bill W. raised the lower bottom to where it would hit them with the 12/12 Book. Makes sense to me. Basically the 12/12 is for those who still have a brain in their heads. They can read, share, and apply what they learn to their lives. But me? I'm a Big Book burnout. I am beyond human aid. I am hopeless, that's the reason for the Spiritual willingness and fearless moral inventory. The constant thought of how I may serve my God and meet the needs of others, my primary purpose I agreed to in Step 3. So when people say I'm being too hard on myself with all this intense Big Book stuff that I'm here to be happy joyous and free? I just smile knowing the joke is If I could be happy joyous and free, I would, believe me I would....I know I can't fix myself, I've proved this over and over a hundred different ways.. I can't go to sobriety school, I'm far too gone for that too..I have nothing to believe in and can't believe in myself. I'm a big fat nothing with cheese.
Damn, how did I get off on that. I was going to begin on Step 4 I thought. Anyway, I like it, this is good stuff to know. I'm Big Book, I'm no better or worse than anyone. ok, maybe a little worse. But I know who I am, where I fit in AA. I fit in AA just as everyone else does in their own individuality, their different degrees of alcoholism.. So this is a good beginning to my inventory right? Who am I and what am I doing here? I get it, there's a wrench for every nut in this AA Spiritual tool kit.
STEP 4... WAKE UP!
OK, I have a place where I can be quiet for a couple of hours? maybe. I'm thinking this isn't going to be too difficult seeing I'm Spiritually fit now and quite Godly after my 3rd Step on my knees with my Sponsor .I'm ready for some clear sailing.. We make a schedule for writing. Mon write, Tues meeting, Wed write, and so on. My Sponsor suggests a few hours writing time which I think is a bit much but am ready anyway. I have a giant ashtray ( I was still lovin my smoking, couple packs of Marlboro reds a day with some Kools mixed in occasionally if I wanted that good throat burn or fresher breath), my drink, no music or TV on, take a leak, My standard 9 or 11 by whatever notebook, a pen and my Big Book is open to the third Step prayer. I am ready to launch! I hit my knees and pray to be directed here that God direct my pen, that I write down and face the defects in myself that keep me from the sunlight of the Spirit, that keep me from the Spiritual path suggested. Something like that.
Step 4, resentment is the number one offender, got it. Destroys more alcoholics than anything else, got it. We set the resentments on paper, got it. Grudge list is people institutions or principles with which we were angry ,check! So I asked for help on my knees and picked up the pen and proceeded to make my list. I have plenty of names flowing. I hated just about everybody apparently. I thought I was a pretty good guy but not here. So I put in a couple of hours and stop. I feel like I'm done. I call my Sponsor and tell him so I'm kind of hoping for an attaboy. He suggests I ask for help and give it another sitting. I agree but make it clear I have over one hundred names! I felt like that first trip to the counselor and you don't trust anyone so you got nothing to say. Then as they show interest and you may be the victim in your life so now you can't shut up! The hour is over and you've only got up to 6 years old when your mother sat you on the toilet seat backwards.. You struggle for validation in the last minute or so. What do you think? Am I crazy? What? tell me! I just unloaded here, I need to fill myself back up! I don't know about next week, let me think ...Where's my positive affirmation or atleast a lollipop!
So, I'm ready to write again. Same place, Book open, ashtray...But I've had a bad day. I've been obsessed with my ex-wife. I think it was the bottle of mascara I found in the bathroom that set it off. She's never coming back! Everybody in AA knows how crazy I am! Where is she now without me, who's she with that's better than me. I hated her more than I ever hated anyone yet I wanted her to come back more than ever too. I didn't want her but didn't want anyone else to have her either..I was a mess, I sat looking at the curtains she put up then with my head in my hands blubbering uncontrollably. I just didn't care about myself when I got like this. The end, I wished for the end..No shower, house a mess, skip work, I wouldn't do anything really. Just sit in front of the TV maybe get lucky with a 007 marathon. So, I can't focus, I can't write, I'm full of that fear feeling like impending doom is lurking around every corner. I don't even want to get up. So it gets worse like I jump from one horror show to the next, I'm in every thought and can't escape. I'm all screwed up now over not writing but my Sponsor is the only person I trust so I go ahead and call. I just want some human contact. I tell him I'm too whacked out to write tonight, I just can't do it, I'm going to try to get to a meeting instead. He says well? I can do what I want but the real medicine I seek is in that 4th. If I'm like him..He found that his time writing made him stronger when he was ready to blow his brains out plus stay sober and write his 4th..Hey, maybe I'm different. He says try to get on my knees an say my prayer to write. Pick up the pen and if you can't then get back on your knees and try again. If your mind goes straight to the ex? Back on your knees! So I went back and forth a few times, up to the table and then back down to my knees. I'm not sure how it happened but I was eventually just writing away, names were flowing, slowing down but flowing just the same. I was amazed really, I had never pulled out of an ex-wife obsession before by myself this early in the day. No alcohol to shut my brain off, usually I had to ride it out, go the distance. Run the video of her sleeping with everybody and living happy without me now.. Memories of our AA life together, Miss dunkin donuts my little coffee shop queen, is talking to me at the meeting break and stays out for the second half with me, smoking and talking when everyone goes back inside.. A month or two later? We're married. A few months after that? She's gone and I'm finally writing my fourth. Well? One thing I have learned around here, it takes what it takes.
So I complete my list of people institutions and or principles with whom I was angry. I've got a few hundred. I just kept praying and asking my God to direct the pen and when it was done? It was done. I had gone back through my life. My God provided thoroughness and honesty so far. Now I get to see the power of resentment. I look at the sample on page 65. It says we were usually as definite as this example. I take a fresh notebook and on the first page I make three columns. At the top of the first I write "I'm resentful at", top of the second I write "the cause", top of the third I write "affects my". For good measure I make lines from top to bottom, boundries for each so I don't get who or the cause or affects all mixed up running into each. I do have a few and this is going to take a while so I may as well try to keep it all legible. My Sponsor suggests I number my resentments as I go. It will help me immensely when I am reading my 5th. It is good to be clear when I am exposing my true self, humbling myself before a witness and letting my God know that I now know.