I joined AA In 1993 and have been sober since 24 July 1993. I recovered (am recovering) from alcoholism and a number of other addictive processes by taking the Twelve Steps. What does this mean? The book 'Alcoholics Anonymous', fondly referred to in AA as 'the Big Book', contains a foreword, some prefaces, an introductory chapter called 'The Doctor's Opinion', a basic text of 164 pages, stories, and appendices. Here is a simple way to use this book to recover:
(1) Read the foreword and prefaces. This tells you about the history of AA and what you are getting yourself into.
(2) Read the book up to page 63 (the Step Three Prayer) and treat it as a mirror: what do you identify with? How is your own experience reflected in what you are reading? Do you understand the ideas? Do this line by line: linger and reread as many times as necessary for the ideas to 'click'. Do not race. Be thorough and honest with yourself. Share your findings with friends in recovery.
(3) Once you're ready, take the Third Step (as described on pages 62 to 63) and then continue to read, stopping to perform each instruction thoroughly. This is what 'taking the Steps' or 'working the Steps' means.
This will bring about recovery from alcoholism. If applied to any other addictive process, it will also work. When applying the material to another addictive process, substitute the behaviour causing the problem for alcohol all the way through, and you will find the most amazing parallels. With some addictions this requires some ingenuity and imagination.
Am I ready to roll?
I needed a fellowship around me to help me recover, and I needed a sponsor to guide me through the process. The book was written as a manual for someone to use in isolation but frankly it's best used under the guidance of an experienced, skilled sponsor. A sponsor is someone who has completed the process themselves (or is most of the way through and is supported by a network for people who have completed the process). Not all fellowships use the Big Book to recover. I've tried various methods of taking the Steps. The method contained in the Big Book is what I have found most effective on all of my problems.
Because not everyone in AA has people around them who are skilled and experienced in using the Big Book to recover, we decided to write down everything we know about the process, to help such people. The same applies to people who are in other fellowships and would like to recover using the Big Book.
For this support, click on 'Link to worksheets and handouts'. This will take you to some folders on Google Drive. One folder, 'Programme', contains files setting out our experience on how we have recovered. The 'README' text file contains a list of the files that are most necessary, and the order in which they are to be used in taking the Steps. The files act as an adjunct to the process set out above. They are not a substitute for it. They act as a kind of 'virtual sponsor', although the ideal is still to have a flesh-and-blood sponsor familiar with this process.
The order is as follows:
STEP 00 PREP FOR THE WORK
TRIANGLE EMERGENCY PACK
STEP 01, CHAPTER 1, BILL'S STORY
STEP 01, DOCTOR'S OPINION, SIMPLE
STEP 01, CHAPTER 2, SIMPLE
STEP 01, CHAPTER 3, SIMPLE
STEP 02 WE AGNOSTICS
STEP 03 STEP THREE REQUIREMENT INVENTORY
STEP 03 STEP THREE IDEA
STEP 04: eight files, numbered, one at a time
STEP 05 PREPARATION QUESTIONS
STEP 05 PREPARATION INSTRUCTIONS
STEP 06 WILLINGNESS INVENTORY
STEP 08 INSTRUCTIONS
STEP 08 WHAT IS HARM
STEP 08 SANE AND SOUND IDEAL
STEP 09 EXERCISES
STEP 09 INSTRUCTIONS
STEP 10 LINE BY LINE
STEP 11 BASIC INSTRUCTIONS
STEP 11 ON AWAKENING LINE BY LINE
STEP 11 REVIEW
STEP 12 CHAPTER 07 QUESTIONS
STEP 12 CHAPTER 08 QUESTIONS
STEP 12 CHAPTER 09 QUESTIONS
The 'Programme' folder also contains many other files. Browse these at your leisure. As you work the Step in question, you will readily see how these can be used.
There are also files specifically aimed at Al-Anons or members of SA, and there are files on the Traditions and Concepts.
If you have any questions, contact me by clicking on the link in the 'about me' section.