Monday, 16 February 2015


'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. These give a fair cross section of our membership and a clear-cut idea of what has actually happened in their lives.
We hope no one will consider these self-revealing accounts in bad taste. Our hope is that many alcoholic men and women, desperately in need, will see these pages, and we believe that it is only by fully disclosing ourselves and our problems that they will be persuaded to say, "Yes, I am one of them too; I must have this thing." ' (Alcoholics Anonymous)

The AA message is carried through stories.

The stories in the back of the Big Book are sometimes humorous, often deadpan, and apparently very honest.

The stories told in the meetings—likewise.

When I listen to podium talks from conventions, conferences, etc., a different picture emerges: the speaker, very often, rather than telling an honest, candid story, presents a disparaging caricature of himself (for it is usually men who do this) as an utterly selfish idiot drinker and newcomer.

I, for one, struggle to identify with such stories, not because I was not utterly selfish and foolish as a drinker and newcomer, but because the picture is woefully incomplete: as a drinker and a newcomer, I was nonetheless a fully-fledged, complex human being, with a full range of emotions and experiences.

The reduction of public discourse to one-dimensional comic parodies of ourselves does not, in my view, further communication.

If AA is to grow to the next level, I believe that the choice of speakers at this very public level must move from stand-up comedian to individuals who may not have as much showtime to them but who have genuine, profound experience of spiritual growth and are able to be genuinely candid.

More substance, less glitter and gutter, please.

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