Sunday, December 26, 2010

Seen In The GrapeVine

I saw this in the GrapeVine. No wonder they call it our meeting in print. It is pretty reflective of what you hear in contemporary meetings.

The article was submitted by a member and pertains to questions asked when they were answering phones at the local intergroup. Here is one of the questions and the answer given:

"My mother is a hopeless drunk-she's seventy years old-I want to put her away!" The answer: "I responded that A.A. does not use the word hopeless...."

I guess contemporary A.A. doesn't use the word hopeless. I've sat in enough of the MOTR A.A.-lite meetings to know that. Instead we sell false hope of not drinking one day at a time and things will get better. That is if the things are external. I have been down that road a time or two myself. Get sober, stay sober long enough to start feeling better, and then dash my hopes and everyone else's hopes by drinking again. I think the saddest thing I see in A.A. is an alcoholic that doesn't know that he or she is hopeless. Because it only when I get to a place of true hopelessness that I can see any real hope.

Let me see how many times the book says anything about being hopeless.

Forward To The First Edition:
"We of Alcoholics Anonymous are more than a hundred men and women who have recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body."
Until my situation seemed to be truly hopeless, I was not interested in taking any kind of spiritual action to find an answer. As long as the answer lay in another job, getting my life back together, or any external circumstance changing, I could not see the hopelessness of my condition.

From The Forward To The Second Edition, in regards to Bill 12th-Stepping Dr. Bob:
"This physician had repeatedly tried spiritual means to resolve his alcoholic dilemma but had failed. But when the broker gave him Dr. Silkworth's description of alcoholism and its hopelessness, the physician began to pursue the spiritual remedy for his malady with a willingness he never before been able to muster."
Sounds like Dr. Bob was a lot like me.

Dr. Silkworth regards Bill Wilson as an alcoholic of a type that he had come to regard as hopeless. He goes on to say that alcoholism seems to be outside the scope of medical science and that frothy emotional appeal seldom suffices to be a real answer for a real alcoholic and that unless a deep inward change occurs, there is very little hope of an alcoholic recovering. When he relates his experiences with two alcoholics, the common theme of both men's stories are that had to become hopeless to see hope.

Bill says in his story that the reason he listened to Ebby was that he was hopeless. Chapter Three spends about all the space given it talking about how the alcoholic mind is hopeless and will always drink. In Chapter Seven, it talks about dwelling on the hopeless feature of the malady and that the more hopeless an alcoholic feels, the better. I'm not in the business of selling false hope and I think that if when I work with an alcoholic and he doesn't have a true First Step Experience and leaves my house feeling more hopeless than when he got there, I haven't done my job.

Maybe the author of that article ought to read the book. Or better yet, do what's in it.

(edited font size)


  1. Good post Jim. I would have to say with me, chronic slipper that I was... got my bout with hopelessness from my last round with booze.

    I knew the book pretty well at the time... but was missing something with relation to that hopelessness.

  2. "In that respect alcohol was the Great Persuader..."

    I recently got an email from a fellow who used to be on SR. He was one of those who tried to mix in a secular approach and say it was him working "His A.A. Program." Needless to say, he couldn't get and stay sober and the nice folks on SR just kept on reinforcing his bullshit and loving him to death. Several months after we were all banned. I got an email from him asking for help. Then we ended chatting on Gmail chat when he was drunk. I can't remember what I said to him, hell I'd forgotten that we had even chatted. In his recently email he told me that he is four months sober and thanked me for chatting with him while he was drunk. He told me that it was booze that drove him to the point of giving up his ideas of what "His program" should look like and just giving in and getting a Big Book sponsor in A.A.

    Over the last eleven months since getting banned from SR I think I've got more requests for help from people on that forum than when I was on there myself.

  3. Experience has shown me that we are not popular.

    What we do goes against the very ego within people whom attempt it... the very ego that fights and denies it.

    It is from my ego that I cannot understand why we aren't more well received and why there are those who hate and prosecute us. I sometimes get judged fairly for my bad behavior, to be for sure... but I'm being judged for doing the same exact things as my adversaries dismiss in themselves... time and time again.

    The question is, Why do I engage in these useless battles? The ego fights for existence, for recognition, for approval. It's really tough to just "let it go" sometimes.

    It's sort of a Catch-22; how does one stay under the radar and yet be available to those who really need help?

  4. Hey guys, happy holidays.

    I'll tell you, the one thing I'm learning from engaging the anti-AA crowd is that AA is a radical program.

    I guess I knew that at first but I too got to that point of hopelessness and haven't really looked back.

    When I see guys doing anything to keep the illusion of control it does make me remember that I'm different on some basic level now. I can still get caught up in the bullshit, of course, but I know in my heart it's not real. That's the difference.

    The MOTR and Anti-AA's still have hope.

    Hey, whatever works for them is fine with me. But I remember the weight of the world coming off my shoulders after doing my 3rd step. That was good stuff.

  5. The question is, Why do I engage in these useless battles? The ego fights for existence, for recognition, for approval. It's really tough to just "let it go" sometimes.
    It's sort of a Catch-22; how does one stay under the radar and yet be available to those who really need help?

    This is an excellent question, one that I sit with a lot, not so much the why, I know why just as you do, ego...plain and simple.
    the question for me is how can I help the drunk that still suffers? I try to trust God and go where I am guided, I am ok with this for right now, however, I always have this feeling that I could be of more service somehow, some way, maybe that's ego too?
    HOpe ou guys had a good holiday.

  6. I suppose it is rather useless to even bring this stuff up about the GrapeVine, GSO, etc. There is really no way to win the "battle," because things aren't going to change. But I'll admit that I get a certain satisfaction out getting a rise out of the service lemmings.

    I don't think it is possible to stay entirely under the radar in Alcoholics Anonymous and still be useful. And if we are doing "our job," some people aren't going to like us.

    As for the ego, it is neither good nor bad. In fact it can be pretty useful. It only gets me in trouble when it becomes the servant and not the master.