Lately my recovery has included what many might think is an indoctrination into the AA “Faith” or “Cult.” Nothing could be further from the truth. In two weeks, I will have 1 1/2 years of sobriety. I have AA to thank for that. More important, I have my friends in AA to thank for that. There is no use denying this. All the sayings (or most of them) that I rolled my eyes at before have come true for me. I live a life of serenity; I am grateful for what I have; I accept what I cannot change.
I don’t believe that “Alcoholics Anonymous (The Big Book)” is a Bible. It’s a game plan for life and, within boundaries, one I am willing to follow. However, we learn in AA that we are not God nor are Bill W, Dr. Bob and the others who showed us how to live sober and clean one day at time. While their program has helped thousands, it does not work for everyone. Many manage to solve their drinking problems without AA. Others believe that AA is an enabling program which lays responsibility for alcoholic behavior where it does not belong (on a disease rather than bad decisions made by individuals). My opinion lies somewhere in the middle but only as it relates to me, not others. I only take my inventory.
There are those in the program who use the Big Book as some kind of a Bible. Often they quote at length as if from scriptures. Many extrapolate truisms of AA out of the Big Book and “Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions (The Twelve and Twelve)” where they simply cannot be found. Sponsorship, for one, is not mentioned anywhere in the literature. Many choose to believe anything they are told. I am not one of them
As I’ve said before in my blogging, I was educated to question everything; to decide on my own what to take and what to leave. My education comes not so much from the Big Book and the Twelve and Twelve, but rather from the actions and views of my friends in the program. I also realize that what worked for them, may not work for me. To me, the Big Book and Twelve and Twelve are more of an outline, a Ten Commandments with Twelve Steps instead. Though both have origins in spirituality, one tells you what you must not do while the other offers suggestions on what you might do if you want to adjust to the AA way of life.
The Commandments are the basis of the Judeo-Christian ethic; the Steps are suggestions for a way of life. Neither we nor AA are God nor should AA be seen as a religion or sect. Bill W and Dr. Bob were men who found a path where others had failed. It is a way of life, nothing more, and nothing less.