Big Book Sponsorship for permanent recovery of all addictions

Big Book Sponsorship

Newcomers: Watch out for the Time-Bullies!

Don't let anyone talk you out of your miracle.

By the 1980's, working the 12 Step Program had been replaced by a "Meeting Makers Make It" Program and going to meetings became the program!

In the 1940's and 50's meetings were a place where recovered alcoholics talked about carrying the message of experience strength and hope to suffering alcoholics and help newcomers work out a solution to their problem (alcoholism/addiction).

"Seeing much of each other, scarce an evening passed that someone's home did not shelter a little gathering of men and women, happy in their release, and constantly thinking how they might present their discovery to some newcomer. In addition to these casual get togethers, it became customary to set apart one night a week for a meeting to be attended by anyone or everyone interested in a spiritual way of life. Aside from fellowship and sociability, the prime object was to provide a time and place where new people might bring their problems." (A.A. 4th Ed., 159-160)

Today, our meetings have changed into something else.--endless rituals of readings and poetry recitals intermixed fellowship bromides such as, "This program is caught not taught" and "Keep Coming Back and Wait for the Miracle".
Recovery success rates went from 50% to 75% to less than 10%! Many alcoholics or addicts would be better off trying to quit on their own will power than come to a meeting where untreated alcoholics sit around and talk about their problems and tell the newcomer not to work any Steps for the first year.

But something amazing happened!

Joe and Charlie started a "Back-to-the-Big Book" revival in the late 1980's, whereby the newcomer could work all 12 Steps in a weekend! Since then, there has been a resurgence of working the 12 Steps. Today, thanks people A.A. archivist Wally P. who revived the Beginner Meetings of the 1940's, newcomers are shown, once again, how to work a 12 Step program in four, one-hour sessions!

As a result, newcomers are again experiencing 50% to 75% recovery success rates!

Schisms in the Fellowship

You would think the fellowship would be excited about such successes, but many were not. Most were threatened by newcomers working the 12 Steps fast. They didn't understand how anyone could work the program in one day. Why this animosity? There are a lot of people in the fellowship who don't have to work a 12 Step program as outlined in the Big Book. They can get by on going to meetings.

Dr. Bob once said,

"There are two ways to work this program. The easy way was the work and in live in the 12 Step program. The other, the hard way, Don't drink and go to meetings."

So a schism developed. Fundamental lines were drawn between the Meeting Makers' program of discussion versus the Big Book Thumpers' program of action.

When a newcomer comes to a meeting, who has just learned how to work the 12 Step program, who has only a few weeks or months of sobriety, they are confronted not welcomed. There are some members in our fellowship members who act like TIME-BULLIES. They're easy to identify, they walk around the rooms announcing themselves with a sense of unbridled ego, "I'm 25 year Bill, "I'm 10 year Sally", I'm 13 years sober Kevin, My name is Dick and I'm 15 years dry", etc. Furthermore, many of them are just dry, no emotional sobriety. They're just "doing time" in meetings.

Time-bullies worship their sobriety time. They plan elaborate Medallion celebrations with endless accolades to those receiving their chip. For them, their sobriety time indicates some measure of higher sobriety over someone with less time. For them, time is a sort of "fellowship currency" and determines their status in the fellowship. For example, there are members in A.A. who smoke marijuana, but because they haven't had a drink in 15 years, claim their sobriety is intact. They bristle with antagonism at the suggestion that they are not sober.

These time-bullies love to attack the newcomer, who comes into the room full of the spirit, who having just completed their first round of 12 Steps, usually in a short period of time, and who want to reach out to other newcomers and freely share what was so freely given to them.

The first thing they're asked, "How much time do you have?" The newcomer replies, "30 days". The time-bully answers back, Oh...you're just a newcomer. What could you possibly offer another newcomer. You're still a newcomer yourself. You should be still on Step 1 and not Step 12. You're just on a pink cloud. You shouldn't be working Steps in your first year" and so on.

These types are energy vampires who suck the spirit right out the newcomer. The newcomer is sometimes ill-equipped to handle such bullying and are sometimes talked out their miracle.

Newcomer: Learn how to protect yourself

Arm yourself with the facts.

Remember, Bill W. started working with other alcoholics immediately after detox, which was a three to five day stay in a hospital. Ebby T. was 60 days sober when he approached Bill W. with the solution. Dr. Bob was only a couple of weeks sober, when he and Bill approached Bill D. A.A. number three in the hospital.

Never go to a meeting on your own. Go with two or three others, like yourself who are working the Steps. Take care of each other and support one another.

And start your own meetings with like-minded members and create a fellowship of those living in the spirit.

Have you run into any time bullies lately. What's your experience.

 

8 Responses

  1. Ron H. says:

    Interesting topic today…. My first crack at AA (hope that didn’t "trigger anyone"..lol) was in a group where we read the 12 n 12…and I was led to believe I was doing the program because of my attendance there and my understanding of Bills THOUGHTS about the 12 steps.

    Low and behold, when the poop hit the fan 14 months later…. i was smoking pot and trying to attend meetings under the 3rd tradition..

    You see, I KNEW i was gonna drink and I KNEW if I did, i was going straight to hell in a handbasket… The marijuana maintenance "program" lasted about 15 months or so… But one day, I ended up at another group… it too was a 12 n 12 group… BUT… there were also Big Book people there and I was FORTUNATE to end up with a  BB sponsor.

    He quickly diagnosed my problem for me… untreated alcoholism… and he then offered me the help that HE knew I needed,,, take the steps as laid out in the BB.

    Also at this same time frame.. Joe and Charlie came to town…"is that odd or is that God"- Joe McQ.

    He took me to the weekend workshop and I was blown away…

    That year, I took all 12 steps and I have not looked back since…

    I can tell u though… everything I "identified with" at the first J n C workshop I went to was highlighted in Pink.

    The following year when we went back i highlighted it in Yellow….

    Guess what…. the first "identification" was my EX-WIFES!   lol

    I share this with you because It was MY experience..

    And to this day, taking her inventory saved my life !…. you see, by me actually taking ACTION in the steps…. I was on the way to a new freedom…

    I obviously was NOT rocketed in to the 4th dimension that first year, but I also didn’t die either.  My sponsor got me active in service and he spent time with me to keep me focused on my amends and helping newcomers that came to our group.

    This man had 20 years of sobriety at the time, but he never mentioned it… when it was mentioned, it was only a reference of the time frame when he hit bottom.

    He got me connected to a group of new members and I am sure he laughed his tail off watching us running around Toronto trying to "help this guy or girl "…

    Bottom line was, he showed me by HIS service to others HOW to grow my relationship with the God that I DIDN’T understand yet.

    I am grateful for that experience BECAUSE, when I landed in the city I live in now, I soon found myself surrounded by a TREATMENT centre influenced fellowship… and they DIDN’T wanna hear it !  lol

    But alas,, they wore me down and I got waay off track from what I was shown in my beginning…

    The net result for me was panic attacks ( I STILL blame the fellowship for them..lol) and suicidal plans on a daily basis.

    These things I share with you because I found myself in that state at 14 years in the fellowship….. don;’t think for a minute this cannot happen to any of you…. (Ebby warned Bill of this on page 14 btw)

    I pray that each and everyone that reads this will grab a newcomer and take them thru the book.. It just might save YOUR ass like it did mine.

    God bless and may you be Graced by His love at the very time you need it.

  2. jenny says:

    this is freaking true, funny, honest, straight to the point, and will save the real addict and alcoholic. i want to print it out and post it!!! love from ur aa sister!!

  3. Clare says:

    I agree to a point , that little clicks at times and at some Mtgs. and they are diff to penetrate.Please do not let that stop you from acquiring the best is yet to come. It took allot of courage to get yourself to a mtg.even reaching out to this site, so please try and feel comfortable, and if you feel like talking there is someone who will listen, I remember yrs ago,when a newcomer came into the rooms everyone knew it and we would all help her or him. We used to call it ," taking them under your wing", and show them the ropes, introduce newcomer to other members who live the 12 Steps and ask if they would be interested in being a temp sponsor until you can find someone who you identify with and respect and want the contentment that they eminate. Work through the Big Book. You’ll see, stick around until the miracle happens. You will only then begin to LIVE.

    I might be off topic, but i cannot emphasize enough the importance to acquire this Freedom of self, ONE DAY AT A TIME, and going to Mtgs.

    This is a great site. and i sure hope you stick around , for we all need you.

  4. Lupe P. says:

    There’s a kind of bullying widely spread in my country: (spiritual) "shock therapy" one or more members in a closed meeting use strong or subtle terms "with love" to "uncloud" newcomer’s or oldtimer’s minds. My first sponsor (AA) told me about it, the spiritual tool that helped AAs to focus and the oldtimers were admired because they didn’t flinch under any circumstance. If anyone flinches or protests, it’s ‘cos "it’s not working program". I wanted it, I admired it, I thought it was a powerful complement of the 12 Steps (btw, what were they?) and BB. I received it once, yep, helped me, and I tried to apply it and I failed and hurt another fellowship’s member. I never did it anymore. In time I found there’s no sign of this tool in my BB.

    Sometimes when I share my ESH with BB, someone tries to make me flinch. I grab God’s hand and my Steps, and follow the BB instructions to grow spiritually. I share with newcomers my experience and BB’s directions, they may look harder than "shock therapy" but they are giving me a relationship with God and making me able to receive His Sanity, Power, Protection, and Wisdom, much, much successful than any "don’t flinch, don’t … even if your a** fells off"

  5. Heather Dawn says:

    My first sponsor was a "time bully"…At first she seemed baffled by my claim to have worked the first 3 steps in an hour, but not hostile. The next day, she told me it was "impossible" to work 3 steps in 13 days. When i said, "rare, i agree, but not impossible" she basically dumped me. That was less that 24 hours into our relationship. She said I wasn’t really working the program if i wasn’t submitting to her authority.

    I believe it is my job to submit to the authority of my higher power — who keeps directing me back to muckers and big book thumpers in other 12 step fellowships.

    Sadly, my fellowship does not appear to contain any of them. If it does, I haven’t heard them yet.

    I learned my lesson. I found a friend in my fellowship who believes in the steps and spiritual experience and i stick close to him.

    I am praying and asking about for a Big Book Sponsor who is also SLAA to come into my life, and help me through the rest of these steps.

  6. Liz Audette says:

    When I was 2 months sober I was asked to be someone’s sponsor. I was on my 9th step amends and my sponsor told me I could begin sponsoring when I was 1/2 way through my amends. I was only 1/4 way through so I put the peddle to the metal and started cranking out amends. I wanted to carry the message of the Big Book. I was on fire and couldn’t wait to share the 12 step program out of the book. So once I was 1/2 way through I started my sponsorship experience. The women wanting help were a ‘none stop stream’ (still are). It has been the #1 joy and has helped me learn and spiritually grow beyond my wildest dreams.

    Now… Let me tell you the bad part. I got so much trouble from older members of the fellowship. I was called up and told I had no business sponsoring anyone until I had at least year sober… I was gossiped about (we’ll sees if she makes it to a year sober…any one being sponsored by her is in trouble…etc.) Needless to say I wrote a lot of 10th step resentment inventory but I continued to take people through the book.

    Why was it that people in AA felt so threatened by me sponsoring newcomers in my first year? I can’t say I fully know. The only conclusion I’ve come up with is that what I was doing was different. People all through the ages have been persecuted because what they did was different so I suppose my case is no different.

    My "newcomer sponsoring newcomers" status is no more. I have some "time" behind me which took away the stigma that what I was doing was wrong or different. I love the suggestion of going to meetings in groups to carry the message of the Big Book. Smart. I had to make groups up with sponsorship because I had just moved to that town. After that we formed Big Book studies and ran in a pack. It was awesome!!!

    I have recently moved again. It seems there are no Big Book Thumpers in this town accept a few transplants like me. I think I’ve located approximately 10 and sponsored one girl through the process. It looks like we will be starting a BBSS soon.

    If you are new and have been through the steps immediately and rapidly and someone asks you to sponsor them…DO IT!!! Don’t let anyone elses fear dictate what you should and shouldn’t do. I believe God put that Sponsee in your life. Are you going to say no the God and rob yourself of the best part of the program???

    Liz in Michigan

  7. Alex Adieu says:

    I know this is an old post but I loved what I read. I am currently working on my fourth step and although I’m taking a long time on it (not from dragging my feet mind you, but simply being detailed as well as adding a few things such as other columns-one for mentioning good points about the person/place/thing/or situation that I’m pissed at for example) but I would never tell someone they are doing it wrong if they are doing it quickly. That is probably the best way to be honest. Just the fact that I added a column, if I said that openly at a meeting the people you are referring to would slam me for "doing what I want" without caring about why. These time bullies as you said who contradict the Big Book left and right such as how to treat newcomers (they act pushy despite their being no axes to grind, no people to please, and no lectures to be endured). Looking at it like that, they wind up contradicting much of the book. There are lots of religious people who do things resembling the steps yet we don’t classify them as following the AA program. These time bullies are AA members on a technicality, the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. I personally don’t classify them as AA members aside from that, their view points are gibberish and exist for me to ignore them, that is my OBLIGATION to myself. They don’t know what they are talking about, they aren’t followers of the Big Book, they are fans. Why would I ever do what they want me to do? I knew one who although he followed the steps, he was an ass. He demanded that you do a fourth step on white paper and black ink. You MUST do a fifth step with a sponsor. Neither one of these ideas are anywhere to be found in the book. It does say in regards to the fourth step "we put them down before us in black and white" but there is no MUST and even if there was Pg. 164 tells me to basically take out a sharpie and scratch all musts and haftas from the pages as "our book is meant to be suggestive ONLY" thereby canceling all the other "musts" out that came before that one at the end. I would tell anyone to do a fourth step on yellow paper and blue ink or on a laptop(as a laptop was a big time no no with that guy) and go out of your way to do a fifth step with someone outside of AA. What I hear a lot lately is if you don’t trust your sponsor enough to do a fifth step with him, you have the wrong sponsor. I say you should NEVER trust a fellow AA member with a fifth step. I have done it before and nothing bad happened, but on another occasion in a different area of the country, things on my fifth step didn’t stay confidential. Never again. Had I just followed the book, that wouldn’t have happened. If I do a fourth step in paragraph form on yellow paper in blue ink and do a fifth step with NO ONE in AA, yet I stay sober, I’ll know it’s my higher power. I had the audacity and arrogance to bold faced reject these rule and regulations that contradict the Big Book, making me allegedly selfish and self centered doing what I want to do in accordance with MY will, if me following the book is me acting so selfish and arrogant, I should become more arrogant than anyone can possibly imagine. I should take my self will to the ends of the earth and drag my life through the mud with it. If their idea of me being arrogant is me not contradicting the book, then I’ll boldly be arrogant! So important to know the book. Alcoholics have broken bullshit detectors, knowing the book is a great way to fix our broken bullshit detector, wonderful way to not be bedazzled by bullshit such as nonsensical rules that obnoxious time bullies invent that are no where to be found in the book.

  8. AA member says:

    I’m not completely sold on the idea of someone with 30, 60 or 90 days or 6 or 8 months claiming they “have worked Steps 1-8 and are living in 9, 10, 11 and 12”. I also know having a year doesn’t atutomatically mean you have any sober spiritual solution based support to offer the next person. And maybe it’s just me and the meetings I’ve attended, but a lot of newcomers seeking AA gold stars are popping up, spouting the jargon of the BB but having no internal understanding or working knowledge of the program. AA doesn’t need to cultivate a plethora/plague of codependent, people pleasing, self seeking, fear based, dishonest, selfish emotional vampires with a handful of days claiming to be working a program and available to sponsor others. The spiritual life is not a theory, that’s why there’s a general one year + and 12 step knowledge sponsorship suggestion – we need to know if you can really live it.

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