Monday, 3 June 2013
The Big Book—literally and liberally
A number of years ago, some people changed my life.
They suggested that, instead of reading the Big Book, I use it.
They suggested I do this by applying two approaches.
Firstly, whenever the Book is describing what an alcoholic is like, I ask myself if I identify.
Secondly, whenever the Book suggests an action, I take the action, where possible and applicable.
I was encouraged to note words like 'every' in Step Five (page 75) and 'utmost' in Step Nine (page 77) and not skimp in any way. I noted the line 'all of us spend much of our spare time in the sort of effort which we are going to describe', when the Book is describing Step Twelve (page 19).
I was encouraged to take this literally, and do precisely what was suggested.
I have tried this. It worked—and continues to work—wonders.
The same people also suggested an approach to take which would then solve all of the problems in my life as a whole, by practising these principles in all my affairs.
They suggested I look in the Book for principles. The principles may be described with reference to a particular scenario, but such principles could have general application, they thought.
For instance, at one point it describes how it is useless to argue and merely makes the impasse worse (pages 126 to 127). The context is that the newly sober alcoholic husband is neglecting his family by concentrating on work.
Obviously, the avoidance of argument, on the grounds that it makes impasses worse, is a principle that can be applied generally, and almost universally.
Only a fool would suggest the principle apply only in that specific context.
In the light of this, the Book contains literally hundreds of principles.
The Book, when taken in this way, plus Bill's essays on the Traditions and the Concepts, provide a composite, coherent, consistent solution that has solved every problem in my life for the last twenty years.
As my friend Saskia says, 'I'm glad they wrote this down'.