If you're struggling, however, to make the most of it, here's an exercise, to be used with the Big Book up to page 164, and even the stories in the remainder of the Book.
Ask yourself what each line and paragraph is for. Use coloured pens to mark up the text as follows:
- Direct definitions of what alcoholism is.
- Stories illustrating what alcoholism is.
- Instructions about what to do.
- Promises: the good things that happen if you follow the instructions.
- Warnings about what not to do.
- Consequences of not heeding the warnings.
- General spiritual principles.
Almost all material in the Book falls into one of the above categories. Add other categories if this would be useful to you.
Then, respond to each:
- Do I understand the definitions and do they apply to me?
- Do I identify with the stories? How?
- Have I followed the instructions?
- Did I get the results promised?
- Did I fail to heed the warnings?
- Did I get the consequences of not heeding the warnings?
- How can I incorporate the general spiritual principles in my life?
Then, get really wacky: ask God to show you all the other ways you can use the material in the Book to better work the programme and improve your life and the lives of the people around you, including the people you sponsor, and in your AA life in general.