A.A.’s Proposed Solution for Overcoming the Problem of Alcoholism
By Ken B.
© 2015 Anonymous. All rights reserved
If you are talking with someone who has a desire to stop drinking (or using!), are you sharing with them A.A.’s proposed solution for overcoming the problem of alcoholism?
A.A.'s proposed solution for overcoming the problem of alcoholism is found in chapter two of Alcoholics Anonymous (“the Big Book”). The chapter is titled: “There Is a Solution.”
· Page 17--the first page in chapter two--states: “The tremendous fact for every one of us is that we have discovered a common solution.” [And note the use of the phrase “the tremendous fact” on page 17.]
· Page 18 states: “. . . [T]he ex-problem drinker who has found this solution, . . . can generally win the entire confidence of another alcoholic in a few hours.”
· Page 25 states: “There is a solution.” [And note that that entire sentence is put in italics print for emphasis!].
· Page 25 then states A.A.'s proposed solution for overcoming the problem of alcohol in the three sentences of the following paragraph: “The great fact is just this, and nothing less: That we have had deep and effective spiritual experiences(*) which have revolutionized our whole attitude toward life, toward our fellows and toward God's universe. The central fact of our lives today is the absolute certainty that our Creator has entered into our hearts and lives in a way which is indeed miraculous. He [i.e., “our Creator”] has commenced to accomplish those things for us which we could never do by ourselves.” [And note the use of phrases “the great fact” and “the central fact” in that paragraph.]
· Page 25 then continues: “If you are as seriously alcoholic as we were, we believe there is no middle-of-the-road solution. We were in a position where life was becoming impossible, and if we had passed into the region from which there is no return through human aid, we had but two alternatives: One was to go on to the bitter end, blotting out the consciousness of our intolerable situation as best we could; and the other, to accept spiritual help.” [Note the following phrases in the preceding two sentences: “no return through human aid”; “two alternatives”; and “accept spiritual help.”]
Finally, observe the second occurrence of the phrase “the Great Fact” in the Big Book, found on page 164 (the last numbered page in the book before the “Personal Stories” section): “See to it that your relationship with Him is right, and great events will come to pass for you and countless others. This is the Great Fact for us.”
As can be seen from page 25 in the Big Book, A.A.’s proposed solution for overcoming the problem of alcoholism is: “that our Creator has entered into our hearts and lives in a way which is indeed miraculous. He has commenced to accomplish those things for us which we could never do by ourselves.” And that solution is alluded to throughout the Big Book. For example:
· In chapter one, “Bill’s Story”:
o “Simply, but smilingly, he [A.A. cofounder Bill W.’s Burr and Burton Seminary schoolmate Ebby T.] said, ‘I've got religion.’” [Page 9. This language was used in “A First Century Christian Fellowship,” later also known as “the Oxford Group,” to mean that Ebby had made his “personal surrender.” That personal surrender involved accepting Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior; and Ebby had made his surrender on November 1, 1934, at Calvary Mission run by Rev. Sam Shoemaker’s Calvary Episcopal Church in New York. See Mel B., Ebby: The Man Who Sponsored Bill W., 5th ed. (Center City, Minn.: Hazelden, 1997), 65.]
o “But my friend [i.e., A.A. cofounder Bill W.’s Burr and Burton Seminary schoolmate Ebby T.] sat before me, and he made the point-blank declaration that God had done for him what he could not do for himself.” [Page 11].
· In chapter two, “There Is a Solution”: “Each individual, in the personal stories, describes in his own language and from his own point of view the way he established his relationship with God.” [Page 29. In the prepublication version of Alcoholics Anonymous (also known as the mimeograph edition, the “Multilith Edition,” and the “Original Manuscript”), the wording was “. . . the way he found or rediscovered God.”: http://mcaf.ee/803le; accessed 5/31/2015.]
· In chapter five, “How It Works”:
o “Remember that we deal with alcohol—cunning, baffling, powerful! Without help it is too much for us. But there is One who has all power--that One is God. May you find Him now!” [Pages 58-59]
o “Our description of the alcoholic, the chapter to the agnostic, and our personal adventures before and after make clear three pertinent ideas: (a) That we were alcoholic and could not manage our own lives. (b) That probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism. (c) That God could and would if He were sought.” [Page 60].
And there are many other direct and indirect statements scattered throughout the basic text of Alcoholics Anonymous (i.e., the entire Big Book) which make clear that finding or rediscovering God, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, is at the heart of A.A.’s proposed solution for overcoming the problem of alcoholism. For example, there are 135 occurrences of the word “God” on pages 1-164 of the current (fourth) edition of Alcoholics, 133 of which are either specifically referring to the Creator of the heavens and the earth, or can be understood to include Him as one of the possible meanings of that word. (Please see this list of occurrences: http://mcaf.ee/onzqa.) The word “Creator” occurs 12 times on those same 164 pages. (Please see this of occurrences: http://mcaf.ee/cgknx.) And there are 81 occurrences of capitalized pronouns referring to God on those same 164 pages. (Please see this list of occurrences: http://mcaf.ee/6ps7o.)
And then we have two vitally-important statements by A.A.’s cofounders, Bill W. and Dr. Bob:
[Bill W. said to the wife of “Alcoholic Anonymous Number Three,” Akron attorney Bill D., in the second or third week of July 1935]: “. . . ‘Henrietta, the Lord has been so wonderful to me, curing me of this terrible disease, that I just want to keep talking about it and telling people.’” [Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., 191].
[Dr. Bob stated in his personal story in the Big Book]: “Your Heavenly Father will never let you down!” [Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., 181].
Again, if you are talking with someone who has a desire to stop drinking (or using!), are you sharing with them A.A.’s proposed solution for overcoming the problem of alcoholism?
And remember: “. . . [O]ur literature has preserved the integrity of the A.A. message, . . .” [“Foreword to Fourth Edition” in ”Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., xxiv]