Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

If you want what we have 4 of 4

Expand Messages
  • Ian R Stephenson
    Part 4 of 4 Sponsors may need sponsees more then sponsees need a sponsor. Sponsors need to be honest, open minded and willing. But the weak-cup-of-coffee
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 1, 2013
    • 0 Attachment
      Part 4 of 4

      Sponsors may need sponsees more then sponsees need a sponsor.

      Sponsors need to be honest, open minded and willing.

      But the weak-cup-of-coffee practice had even more serious flaws built into
      it. The relatively superficial life change, which it produces, is
      sufficient to get some alcoholics sober. It is not adequate--it is not
      effective--it simply doesn't work--for a very large number of others. This
      is particularly evident with the "hard" cases--the alcoholics who have been
      badly beat up physically and mentally before they arrive at their 1st A.A.
      meeting; the people whose alcoholism is complicated with drug abuse,
      perversion, criminal or psychotic tendencies, or a streak of
      psychopathology; and the "slippers," those who have developed a pattern of
      hanging around A.A., staying sober for periods, but relapsing repeatedly
      into drinking. (Generally, the slippers are alcoholics with psychopathic
      tendencies who keep coming back to A.A. but are unwilling or unable to work
      with root principles, notably rigorous honesty.) Weak A.A. does not touch
      most of these people. They cannot stay sober that way.

      Yet if these hard cases find their way into an environment where strong
      A.A., and nothing but strong A.A., is being practiced, many of them are
      able to achieve lasting sobriety. The East Ridge Community in upstate New
      York has worked with hundreds of these tough drunks over the past 12 years.
      Strong A.A. is the standard fare at East Ridge, and they have a recovery
      rate of over 70% with these so-called A.A. failures. No success turns to
      success for the lion's share of them when weak A.A. is replaced with strong

      There is another, more insidious, danger built into weak A.A. In many cases
      the "recovery" produced by watered-down approaches to the 12 Steps fails to
      hold up over the long haul. What looked in the beginning like an easier,
      softer way to maintain happy sobriety yields progressively less and less
      contentment, finally ending in a complete reversal of momentum and a
      relapse into serious personal misery. The end result may be a return to
      active alcoholism; or, short of that total disaster, it may be a sinking
      out into a life of discontented abstinence, marred by some combination of
      tension, resentment, depression, compulsive sick sex, and an overall sense
      of meaninglessness. Either way, it is a final failure to reap the benefits
      of the A.A. Program; it is, in the last analysis, a failure to recover.

      Two disturbing tendencies are noticeable in contemporary A.A. One is toward
      a lower recovery rate overall. For the 1st 20 years, the standard A.A.
      recovery estimate was 75%. An experience was that 50% of the alcoholics who
      came to A.A. got sober right away and stayed sober. Another 25% had trouble
      for a while but eventually got sober for good, and the remaining 25% never
      made a recovery. Then there was a period of some years when A.A.
      headquarters stopped making the 75% recovery claim in their official
      literature. In 1968, A.A.'s General Service Organization published a survey
      indicating an overall recovery rate of about 67%. The net of all this seems
      to be that as A.A. has gotten bigger and older, its effectiveness has
      dropped from about 3 in 4 to about 2 in 3. (Note: 2 in 3 was in 1976--our
      data shows numbers much less in 1997--1 in 15).

      The 2nd unhealthy trend movement-wise is not backed by figures, but it is
      clear enough to any careful observer of the A.A. scene. As the fellowship
      grows older in time, its class of old-timers, alcoholics sober 10 years and
      longer, grows. And the question of the staying power of an A.A. recovery
      looms even larger. It is an unhappy fact that growing numbers of these
      old-timers find the joy going out of their sobriety, that many of them
      search around frantically for ways to recapture the old zest for booze-free
      living, often ending up in such blind alleys as lunatic religions,
      dangerous pop psychological fads, or chemical alternatives like acid, pot,
      tranquilizers, and mood elevators. And far too many end up either back
      drinking or, what is almost as sad, sunk in despondency, hostility, bizarre
      acting-out patterns of one sort or another, or just plain, devastating

      All of this is unnecessary. The gradually shrinking recovery rate and the
      old-timer blues do not require a complex or an innovative solution. The
      answer lies in a return to original, strong A.A. The men who wrote the Big
      Book were, as it turns out, right after all. There is no easier, softer
      way. The extra work and commitment required by the full Program approach
      pay enormous dividends. They make sobriety fun because they do not make
      sobriety an end in itself. Mere non-drinking is a very negative kind of
      life goal. Even the power of a world-scale society of non-drinkers can be
      in and of itself only a temporary and limited deterrent for most alcoholics.

      The majority of those who become addicted are people with a mystical
      streak, an appetite for inexhaustible bliss. We sought in bottles what can
      only be found in spiritual experience. A.A. worked in the 1st place because
      its 12 Steps were a workable set of guidelines to spiritual experience.
      Growth of the movement made possible for a time a kind of parasitism in
      which partial practitioners and non-practitioners of the spiritual
      principles were able to feed off the strength of those who had undergone
      real spiritual experiences. But at this point in time, (1976) the parasites
      have already drained the host organism of a considerable portion of its
      life force.

      It is late in the day to be sounding a call for a return to the original
      way, the way of faithful practice of the full Program. Still, a great deal
      of life is left in the fellowship, and a major revival is possible if
      enough of us see our dangerous situation, personally and as a fellowship,
      in time. What we need to do is clear enough. It is spelled out in the 1st 7
      Chapters of the Big Book. What it all boils down to--especially for us
      old-timers--is a willingness to continue practicing all the principles in
      all our affairs today, rather than resting on our laurels, taking our stand
      on what we did way back when, in our 1st weeks and months of sobriety.

      But we must not fail to face squarely the need for change, the need for
      re-dedication. Complacency, smugness in our record of success, is our
      greatest enemy. If we, as a recovered-alcoholic society, are unwilling to
      reverse our present course, the outlook is clear enough. We stand to
      recapitulate in less than a century what the Christian church has spent the
      last 2,000 years demonstrating: that even the best of human institutions
      tend to deteriorate in time; and that size in spiritual organizations is
      all too often achieved at the expense of compromise of basic principles and
      the progressive abandonment of original goals and practices.

      Love and myGgwy Ian S..

      Get Real, Get Now

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.