Basic Texts of AA

The central text of A.A. is the book “Alcoholics Anonymous” (“the Big Book”), written by co-founder Bill Wilson and a group of early AA’s as a guide to how they found relief from alcoholism. The preface, forwards to previous editions and the Doctor’s Opinion, followed by the first 164 pages of the text describe their experiences, and the program of recovery. The remainder of the book is a collection of personal stories. The Big Book has a dark blue cover, and is sold at Emerald Valley Intergroup for approximately $9.50. It is also commonly for sale (or given to those who can’t afford it) at A.A. meetings. The Eugene Public Library and used bookstores also often have several copies available. Braille, large print, and a variety of language versions are available. It is very readable, and many alcoholics have found hope in its pages.

The next important text of A.A. is “Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions” by Bill Wilson (commonly called the “twelve by twelve”). It contains more detailed information on the process of working the steps, and Bill’s opinion on the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.

The 12 Steps (Back to top…)

The Twelve Steps summarize the A.A. program that we have followed for recovery from alcoholism: More information on them is to be found in chapter 5 of the Big Book.
1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

The 12 Traditions (Back to top…)

The Twelve Traditions are the glue that binds a very “disorganized” organization. As a person continues in the A.A. program the wisdom and practical application of the Traditions becomes more apparent. More information about them can be found in the “Twelve by Twelve”, “The A.A. Service Manual,” and several of the books listed under further reading.
1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A.A. unity.
2. For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority – a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
3. The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.
4. Each group should be autonomous except in manners affecting other groups or A.A. as a whole.
5. Each group has but one primary purpose – to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.
6. An A.A. group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the A.A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
7. Every A.A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
8. Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
9. A.A., as such, ought never be orgainzed; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
10. Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films.
12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.

How It Works (Back to top…)
From Chapter 5 of the Big Book

RARELY HAVE WE seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average. There are those, too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest.
Our stories disclose in a general way what we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like now. If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it — then you are ready to take certain steps.
At some of these we balked. We thought we could find and easier, softer way. But we could not. With all the earnestness at our command, we beg of you to be fearless and thorough from the very start. Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely.
Remember we deal with alcohol — cunning, baffling, powerful! Without help it is too much for us. But there is One who has all power — that One is God. May you find Him now! Half measures availed us nothing. We stood at the turning point. We asked His protection and care with complete abandon.
Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery:

1. We admitted were powerless over alcohol — that our lives were unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Many of us exclaimed, “What an order! I can’t go through with with it.” Do not be discouraged. No one among us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence to these principles. We are not saints. The point is, that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines. The principles we have set down are guides to progress. We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection.
Our description of the alcoholic, the chapter to the agnostic, and our personal adventures before and after make clear three pertinent ideas:
A. That we were alcoholic and could not manage our own lives.
B. That probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism.
C. That God could and would if He were sought.

Copyright Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.


 

Books and Pamphlets (Back to top…)

Books and pamphlets may be purchased at the E.V.I. office located at 1259 Willamette St. Eugene, OR 97401. Please note that prices for books and pamphlets are updated occasionally, so please check with E.V.I. for current prices before placing orders.  Group secretaries may submit orders and pick them up at the E.V.I Office.  Online and/or telephone ordering are not available at this time.

B-01 Hard Cover Big Book $9.50
B-30 Soft Cover Big Book, portable $9.10
B-35 Little Big Book, abridged $5.00
B-16 Large Print Big Book $10.30
B-02 Hard Cover 12 & 12 $8.90
B-15 Soft Cover 12 & 12 $8.25
B-17 Little 12 & 12 $6.50
B-04 12 & 12 Gift Size (hard cover) $8.25
B-14 Large Print 12 & 12 $8.25
B-12 Reflections $10.25
B-03 A.A. Comes of Age $9.50
B-05 As Bill Sees It $9.00
B-18 As Bill Sees It (soft cover) $8.60
B-27 As Bill Sees It (large print) $9.50
B-06 Came To Believe $5.00
B-07 Living Sober $5.00
B-08 Dr. Bob & The Good Oldtimers $10.50
B-09 Pass It On $11.00
B-13 Inmate To Inmate $2.50
B-31 AA Service Manual/12Concepts $3.55

GVO6 Language of the Heart $10.00
GV03 Best of the Grapevine #2 $8.00
M34 Big Book in Braille $17.00

A.A. Recovery Pamphlets
P-01 This is A.A. .15
F-01 A.A. at a glance FREE
P-02 A.A. 44 Questions .25
F-02 Information on Alcoholics Anonymous FREE
P-03 Is A.A. For You? .25
P-04 Young People and A.A. .30
F-04 “Where do I go from here?” FREE
P-05 A.A. For The Women .30
P-06 Three Talks By Bill .45
F-06 Your A.A. General Service Office FREE
P-07 Time To Start Living .40
F-08 Problems Other Than Alcohol (excerpts) FREE
P-09 Memo To An Inmate .20
F-09 A Message to Teenagers… FREE
P-11 A.A. Member – Medications & Drugs .25
P-12 Jack Alexander Article .25
P-13 Do You Think You’re Different? .30
P-14 Letter To A Women Alcoholic .25
P-15 Questions & Answers On Sponsorship .15
P-21 A.A. For The Native North American .40
P-24 A Newcomer Asks .10
P-30 Is There An Alcholic In Your Life? .25
P-32 Gay And Lesbian Pamphlet .40
P-33 It Sure Beats Sitting In A Cell .25
P-35 Problems Other Than Alcohol .15
P-36 Is A.A. For Me? .25
P-37 Too Young? .25
P-38 What Happened To Joe? .25
P-39 What ahppened to Alice .25
P-50 A.A. & The Armed Forces .45
P-55 Twelve Steps Illustrated .30
S-01 A Guide For The Beginner .10
S-02 For Women Only Questionnaire .05
S-03 Young People Questionnaire .05

Service Pamphlets (Back to top…)

P-08 12 Concepts Illustrated .45
P-16 The A.A. Group .30
P-17 A.A. Tradition – How It Developed .30
P-18 Inside A.A. .08
P-19 The G.S.R. .08
F-12 Your D.C.M. FREE
P-43 12 Traditions Illustrated .45
P-44 A.A.’s Legacy Of Service .25
P-49 Bridging The Gap .25
P-53 The Co-Founders Of Alcoholics Anonymous .30
BM-31 A.A. Service Manual Concepts 2.50
M-23 Conference Report 2.00
M-36 The Group Handbook 11.00
F-96 Memo to an A.A. Group Treasurer FREE
F-06 Your A.A. General Service Office .08
P-45 Circles Of Love & Service .08
M-45 Correctional Facilities Workbook 7.00
F-05 Carrying the message inside the walls FREE
P-66 Discount Packet – Corrections 11.00
M-40 Treatment Facilities Workbook 7.00
O-01 Standing Committee Booklets 2.50
MG-02 Guidelines .25

For Professional & Business People

P-23 A.A. Resource For The Medical Profession .25
P-25 A Clergyman Asks About A.A. .25
P-26 A.A. In Prisons .30
P-27 A.A. In Treatment Centers .30
P-46 If You Are A Professional .25
P-54 A.A. And Employee Assistance Programs .08

Public Information Activity

P-29 How A.A. Members Cooperate .45
M-24 A.A. Fact File 2.00
M-27 Public Information Woorkbook 11.40
M-41 Coop. with Profess Community Woorkbook 15.20
P-31 A.A. In Your Community .15
P-40 Speaking At Non A.A. Meetings .30
P-41 A Member’s Eye View Of A.A. .25
P-42 A Brief Guide To Alcoholics Anonymous .15
P-47 Understanding Anonymity .25
P-48 The A.A. Member .15
P-34 Let’s Be Friendly With Our Friends .15

Further Reading

• A.A. Comes of Age
• As Bill Sees it
• Came to Believe
• Language of the Heart
• Living Sober
• Dr. Bob and the Good Old-timers
• Pass it On
• Daily Reflections


 

The next frontier: Emotional Sobriety
by Bill Wilson, from Language of the Heart published by the A.A.Grapevine (c)

I think that many oldsters who have put our AA “booze cure” to severe but successful tests still find they often lack emotional sobriety. Perhaps they will be the spearhead for the next major development in AA–the development of much more real maturity and balance (which is to say, humility) in our relations with ourselves, with our fellows, and with God.

Those adolescent urges that so many of us have for top approval, perfect security and perfect romance–urges quite appropriate to age seventeen– prove to be an impossible way of life when we are at age forty-seven or fifty-seven.

Since AA began, I’ve taken immense wallops in all these areas because of my failure to grow up, emotionally and spiritually. My God, how painful it is to keep demanding the impossible, and how very painful to discover finally, that all along we have had the cart before the horse! Then comes the final agony of seeing how awfully wrong we have been, but still finding ourselves unable to get off the emotional merry-go-round.

How to translate a right mental conviction into a right emotional result, and so into easy, happy and good living–well, that’s not only the neurotic’s problem, its the problem of life itself for all of us who have got to the point of real willingness to hew to right principles in all our affairs.

Even then, as we hew away, peace and joy will still elude us. That’s the place so many of us AA oldsters have come to. And it’s a hell of a spot, literally. How shall our unconscious–from which so many of our fears, compulsions and phony aspirations still stream–be brought into line with what we actually believe, know and want! How to convince our dumb, raging and hidden “Mr Hyde” becomes our main task.

I’ve recently come to believe that this can be achieved. I believe so because I begin to see many benighted ones–folks like you and me– commencing to get results. Last autumn, depression, having no really rational cause at all, almost took me to the cleaners. I began to be scared that I was in for another long chronic spell. Considering the grief I’ve had with depressions, it wasn’t a bright prospect..

I kept asking myself, “Why can’t the Twelve Steps work to release depression?” By the hour, I stared at the St. Francis Prayer… “It’s better to comfort than to be comforted.” Here was the formula, all right. But why didn’t it work?

Suddenly I realized what the matter was. My basic flaw had always been dependence–almost absolute dependence–on people or circumstances to supply me with prestige, security and the like. Failing to get these things according to my perfectionist dreams and specifications, I had fought for them. And when defeat came, so did my depression.

There wasn’t a chance of making the outgoing love of St. Francis a workable and joyous way of life until these fatal and almost absolute dependencies were cut away.

Because I had over the years undergone a little spiritual development, the absolute quality of these frightful dependencies had never before been so starkly revealed. Reinforced by what Grace I could secure in prayer, I found I had to exert every ounce of will and action to cut off these faulty emotional dependencies upon people, upon AA, indeed, upon any set of circumstances whatever.

Then only could I be free to love as Francis had. Emotional and instinctual satisfactions, I saw, were really the extra dividends of having love, offering love, and expressing a love appropriate to each relationship of life.

Plainly, I could not avail myself of God’s love until I was able to offer it back to Him by loving others as He would have me. And I couldn’t possibly do that so long as I was victimized by false dependencies. For my dependency meant demand–a demand for the possessions and control of the people and the conditions surrounding me. While those words “absolute dependency” may look like a gimmick, they were the ones that helped to trigger my release into my present degree of stability and quietness of mind, qualities which I am now trying to consolidate by offering love to others regardless of the return to me.

This seems to be the primary healing circuit: an outgoing love of God’s creation and His people, by means of which we avail ourselves of His love for us. It is most clear that the real current can’t flow until our paralyzing dependencies are broken, and broken at depth. Only then can we possibly have a glimmer of what adult love really is.

Spiritual calculus, you say? Not a bit of it. Watch any AA of six months working with a new Twelfth Step case. If the case says “To the devil with you,” the Twelfth Stepper only smiles and turns to another case. He doesn’t feel frustrated or rejected. If his next case responds, and in turn starts to give love and attention to other alcoholics, yet gives none back to him, the sponsor is happy about it anyway. He still doesn’t feel rejected; instead he rejoices that his one-time prospect is sober and happy. And if his next following case turns out in later time to be hs best friend (or romance) then the sponsor is most joyful. But he well knows that his happiness is a by-product–the extra dividend of giving without any demand for a return.

The really stabilizing thing for him was having and offering love to that strange drunk on his doorstep. That was Francis at work, powerful and practical, minus dependency and minus demand.

In the first six months of my own sobriety, I worked hard with many alcoholics. Not a one responded. Yet this work kept me sober. It wasn’t a quesion of those alcoholics giving me anything. My stability came out of trying to give, not out of demanding that I receive.

Thus I think it can work out with emotional sobriety. If we examine every disturbance we have, great or small, we will find at the root of it some unhealthy dependency and its consequent unhealthy demand. Let us, with God’s help, continually surrender these hobbling demands. Then we can be set free to live and love; we may then be able to Twelfth Step ourselves and others into emotional sobriety.

Of course, I haven’t offered you a really new idea–only a gimmick that has started to unhook several of my own “hexes” at depth. Nowadays my brain no longer races compulsively in either elation, grandiosity or depression. I have been given a quiet place in bright sunshine.


 

Links to AA Websites (Back to top…)

Alcoholics Anonymous General Services Office in New York: http://www.aa.org/
The Grapevine, A.A.’s Magazine: http://www.aagrapevine.org
EASYPAA: Eugene & Springfield Young People of AA has a Facebook page that details its events and activities. Follow this link: EASYPAA.
Links to other useful websites:
(E.V.I. and A.A. do not endorse the following sites. They are offered purely as a convenience in the hope that some of you may find some things that aid you on your path to sobriety.)
Big Book online, links to online and email A.A. meetings, history of A.A, etc: http://www.recovery.org/aa
Online A.A. Intergroup: more online group info. http://aa-intergroup.org/
The Big Book Bunch, a group in California, on the steps: http://www.sober.org/
The Cleveland Plain Dealer Newspaper articles on A.A. from 1939: http://www.eskimo.com/~burked/plndlr/plndlrix.html
Dr Bob’s Home: A.A. history: http://www.drbobs.com
Dick B.’s articles and books on the roots of A.A.: http://www.dickb.com/index.shtml
Dr. Harry Tiebout papers http://www.thejaywalker.com/pages/tiebout/index.html
Dr. Bob’s Last Talk, a transcription of Dr. Bob’s last speaking appearance, in 1950
Bill W. at Guest House, a transcription of a talk Bill Wilson gave in the late 1960’s
Nashville Intergroup Newsletter – a good Intergroup newsletter available online