A Response to the "Gresham's Law" Post

I agree whole heartily with idea that the steps need to be worked in adherence with the Big Book of AA and that I should practice those principles in all of my affairs. A line on page 84 of that text says “Love and tolerance of others is our code”.

I am sad to admit that I was amazed before I was half way through the article and my tolerance was wearing thin. While our experience, strength and hope is what we share, I was amazed that he would use so many words I could not understand and that he could make statements of fact from the Oxford Groups and the first 100 AA that no one could assumedly know. I do not disagree with his understanding of the steps. However, outside of being asked, I should avoid trying to make someone or some other group adhere to my understanding of the steps. The steps are best used to achieve a vital Spiritual Experience and thus a personal understanding of God and the steps. Seeking a relationship with God is my job. What I get from that relationship is a gift from God.

As one who is interested in why AA is not as effective as it was in the beginning, I have found one explanation for which I  am grateful. From the book, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, we read on page 16 that “after three years of trial and error in selecting the most workable tenets upon which the Society could be based, and after a large amount of failure in getting alcoholics to recover, three successful groups emerged-the first at Akron ,the second at New York, and the third at Cleveland. Even then it was hard to find twoscore of sure recoveries in all three groups.”  That was 1938. The book was published in 1939 and recoveries numbered about 100.

On pages 22  and 23 it expresses the fact that the first edition of the Big Book dealt with low-bottom cases only. That many less desperate alcoholics tried AA but failed because they could not make the admission of hopelessness. In following years this changed. Alcoholics who still had their family, jobs and health began to recognize their alcoholism. Even young people who were scarcely more than potential alcoholics joined. Since Step One requires an admission that our lives had become unmanageable, how could people such as these take this step. It was necessary to raise the bottom the rest of us had hit to the point it would hit them. The low bottom drunks reveled in their own stories how long before they realized they were out of control how their drinking was the beginning of a fatal progression.  Though many of these high bottom cases failed, some many times, they returned convinced long before the onset of extreme difficulties.

I have heard, many times, that we do not need to convince someone they are addicts.  If they can not learn from our experience, strength and hope, their addiction will teach them.

May God Bless and keep You.

Tom W

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