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- February 7, 2017 at 12:28 am #4861821
I was brought through the steps in a home group that told me we don’t really internalize steps 1-3 until we’ve done 4-12. They spent a lot of time explaining to me how the steps were written, which is worth reviewing.
The first 100 AA members (some combination of whom wrote the AA Big Book, led by Bill W. and Dr. Bob) did not go through the 12 steps– they were not written yet. They went through an adaptation of certain concepts borrowed from the Oxford Group (a religious group of the day):
1. We admitted that we were licked, that we were powerless over alcohol.
2. We made a moral inventory of our defects or sins.
3. We confessed or shared our shortcomings with another person in confidence.
4. We made restitution to all those we had harmed by our drinking.
5. We tried to help other alcoholics, with no thought of reward in money or prestige.
6. We prayed to whatever God we thought there was for power to practice these precepts.
Ultimately, these were broken into 12 steps for the AA Big Book.
So in early AA, alcoholics quickly got into their inventory (Step 2 above). In fact, early on in most AA groups, people did not attend meetings until after they had completed the steps.
What’s this have to do with Step 1? Far too much emphasis is put on “getting” Steps 1-3 before proceeding to step 4, when the reality is that it is steps 4-12 that help us come to understand steps 1-3.
My experience was that I was quickly brought to step 4 after reading from the Preface in the Big Book to page 63 with a sponsor. We covered the concepts of powerlessness and insanity, discussed willingness to believe in a power greater than myself, and then was told that the only way I do Step 3 (other than saying the 3rd step prayer) is by doing Step 4.
My experience is that we don’t write or practice Steps 1-3. They are conclusions of the mind, solidified and expanded once we’ve completed the work of 4-9 (and using 10-12 to expand our spiritual foundation).February 7, 2017 at 12:09 pm #4861816
@Dagen 2856770 wrote:
I know I’m an alcoholic but I have a hard time admitting it. Anyone else? I hate myself for the times I have gotten drunk and love the sober me. Why is this so hard?
Because you, like me…..and the rest of the alcoholics of our type….have a problem rooted in selfishness and self-centeredness. Our egos are sooooo out of whack that we find it more agreeable to live a lie that’s killing us than admit the truth, especially when the truth involves admitting that we have been living in a lie.
Remember, alcoholism is NOT a drinking problem. The drinking certainly WAS a problem, but it’s just the outward manifestation of an internal sickness…..and that internal sickness is rooted in selfishness and self-centeredness.February 7, 2017 at 12:40 pm #4861817
@FrothyJay 2856904 wrote:
My experience is that we don’t write or practice Steps 1-3. They are conclusions of the mind, solidified and expanded once we’ve completed the work of 4-9 (and using 10-12 to expand our spiritual foundation).
Great post Mr Jay…… I specifically identified with this bit above.
Early in my sobriety / working the steps….. I was really afraid that I’d slip back into my old alcoholic life once the alcohol tether a wonderfully loving judge put on me came off. I was afraid that if I didn’t “get” each step reeeeeeeeeally well, I was doomed to go back to drinking.
Because I was afraid of going back out, I refused to go quickly through the work – I was afraid it was half-a$$ing my way through it and my history was pretty clear about what happens when I half-a$$ stuff. So anyway, I stalled on the first 3 until I was convinced I understood then and had “taken” them. Like you said though, my understanding of those first 3 didn’t really come until I’d worked more of the steps.
4 helps with 1, which helps with 2 and 3
6 helps with 1, which helps iwth 2 and 3
7 helps with 2 which helps with 1 and 3
9 helps with 6 which helps with 7, which helps with 1-3
……and all the while we find new things for 4 which adds to our experience with all the steps……
and on and on and on and on and on and on and on…. 🙂
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