Author Archives: Members

The Reason You Were Chosen

“You can help when no one else can.  You can secure their confidence when others fail…  Ministers and doctors are competent and you can learn much from them if you wish, but it happens that because of your own drinking experience you can be uniquely useful to other alcoholics.”
“Doctors are rightly loath to tell alcoholic patients the whole story unless it will serve some good purpose.  But you may talk to him about the hopelessness of alcoholism because you offer a solution.”
“… He has read this volume and says he is prepared to go through with the Twelve Steps of the program of recovery.  Having had the experience yourself, you can give him much practical advice.”
“Showing others who suffer how we were given help is the very thing which makes life seem so worth while to us now.  Cling to the thought that, in God’s hands, the dark past is the greatest possession you have – the key to life and happiness for others.  With it you can avert death and misery for them.”
“God will constantly disclose more to you and to us.  Ask Him in your morning meditation what you can do each day for the man who is still sick.  The answers will come, if your own house is in order.”
(“Alcoholics Anonymous“, pages 89, 92, 98, 124, 164)

The following was first shown to one of us late in the summer of 1981, and it appears to be a “Bright Star” piece originating from Bright Star Press where “The first ‘Bright Stars’ were open letters of encouragement from the company’s founder (Walter S.) mixed with anecdotes and sayings to encourage each recovering person to live ‘One Day at a Time.'”

Why We Were Chosen

God in His wisdom selected this group of men and women to be purveyors of His goodness. In selecting them through whom to bring about this phenomenon, He went not to the proud, the mighty, the famous or the brilliant. He went instead to the humble, to the sick, to the unfortunate. He went right to the drunkard, the so-called weakling of the world. Well might He have said to us:

“Unto your weak and feeble hands I have entrusted a power beyond estimate. To you has been given that which has been denied the most learned of your fellows. Not to scientists or statesmen, not to wives or mothers, not even to my priests or ministers have I given this gift of healing other alcoholics which I entrust to you.

“It must be used unselfishly; it carries with it grave responsibility. No day can be too long; no demands upon your time can be too urgent; no case be too pitiful; no task too hard; no effort too great. It must be used with tolerance for I have restricted its application to no race, no creed, and no denomination. Personal criticism you must expect; lack of appreciation will be common; ridicule will be your lot; your motives will be misjudged. You must be prepared for adversity, for what men call adversity is the ladder you must use to ascend the rungs toward spiritual perfection, and remember, in the exercise of this power I shall not exact from you beyond your capabilities.

“You are not selected because of exceptional talents, and be careful always, if success attends your efforts, not to ascribe to personal superiority that to which you can lay claim only by virtue of my gift. If I had wanted learned men to accomplish this mission, the power would have been entrusted to the physician and scientist. If I had wanted eloquent men, there would have been many anxious for the assignment, for talk is the easiest used of all talents with which I have endowed mankind. If I had wanted scholarly men, the world is filled with better-qualified men than you who would be available. You were selected because you have been the outcasts of the world and your long experience as drunkards has made or should make you humbly alert to the cries of distress that come from the lonely hearts of alcoholics everywhere.

“Keep ever in mind the admission you made on the day of your profession in AA – namely that you are powerless and that it was only with your willingness to turn your life and will unto my keeping that relief came to you.”

— Helping others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth. —

Charlie P. & Joe McQ.

“People often say it took Bill and Bob to write the Big Book,
but it took Joe and Charlie to explain it.”
(source: The Legend of Joe and Charlie)

The late “Charlie & Joe” were two men who met in 1973 and spent the next 30 years studying and trying to carry together the message first presented in our A.A. “Big Book”.  Either directly or indirectly, each and all of our NoNameYet A.A. members have benefited from many of their insights and thoughtful explanations shared during their world-wide “Big Book Comes Alive” seminars.  If you might be interested, here are links to some recordings of one of those seminars.  To read more about or to find similar recordings of these two Twelve-Steppers of yesteryear, maybe try this type of search.

Spared from twist and garble

“We wrote the book (“Alcoholics Anonymous“) to keep our message from becoming garbled and twisted beyond recognition.” – Bill W. and Dr. Bob in “A.A. Comes of Age“, page 144

“The Big Book is the practical exposition of the original of The Almighty, and our pages here are the practical exposition of the Big Book since all the information keeps getting ‘lost’ and having to be clarified once again.”– Sarah B.

We have said there is nothing about our NoNameYet Fellowship group making us much different than any other A.A. group, but we do realize our group actually is different than possibly most groups in today’s AA.  For example: You will never hear us suggest anything such as “Don’t drink, one-day-at-a-time”, and neither do we offer “support” for people trying to stay sober that way.  Instead, we share and suggest taking *all* of Step One (including our admission and acceptance of our being just as powerlessness over alcohol while sober as while drinking), and then we share and suggest also *taking* the remainder of the Steps as presented in our Basic Text in order to permanently recover rather than “working” them in one’s own seeming “self-help” or utilitarian kind of way. Some members of our group certainly did hear “Don’t drink” before coming into contact with us, then they began understanding the original A.A. is about giving up the fight — quit trying to quit — and simply taking the Steps to have our problem removed. If you might be someone who has repeatedly tried to “Don’t drink, one-day-at-a-time” (either with or without “support”) and still ended up drinking again every time, we hope the things we share here at our site will help you escape the twist and garble — read the book to know the difference — that is killing you one-drunk-at-a-time.

Saved from more than one visit near the gates of insanity or death

“We, who have recovered from serious drinking, are miracles of mental health.”
(“Alcoholics Anonymous“, page 133)

Tim’s Story

I recovered from alcoholism in 1998 after 2.5 years becoming convinced I was an alcoholic of the hopeless variety. I have not had a drink since. We are convinced alcoholics can permanently recover.

Drinking for me came at an early age by some standards. I well remember the first time I drank enough alcohol to have effect. I was twelve years old and cooking dinner for my parents and three siblings. I had done this many times and was rather good at it. I was always looking for different ingredients to add to make the flavor better thereby winning the applause and praise of my family members. A popular cooking show came to mind and the cook of that particular show liked to use cooking sherry and also drink a little wine as she cooked. I didn’t know the difference between cooking sherry and wine and the later was what was available so I used some as an ingredient and I drank some.

Wow! What a feeling that stuff gave me! It felt like fire came out of my fingers and toes. The feeling was electrifying. Then I thought “This is what people feel like when they are drunk! I’m gonna have more of this stuff” and so I did.

For a long time I knew my drinking was somehow different from how other people drank. I thought it was cool to be able to drink more alcohol and at a faster rate than anyone else. It wasn’t always cool for other people, however, the amount I drank. Some of my drinking companions started to be less willing to accompany me. A couple of years of learning how to “drink like a man” is all it took for me to notice my drinking behavior was different from other people. I wondered why other people could not or would not learn how to “drink like a man”. Some of my friends would stop drinking after three or four drinks! I figured they were just lightweights and couldn’t help it. Some of my friends said that maybe I shouldn’t drink so much. Some of my friends even told me they thought I was an alcoholic. Lightweights…all of you. Why even drink if you’re not going to get drunk. My drinking being somehow abnormal never even crossed my mind. I had an idea what it meant to be an alcoholic, so I was not alarmed about my drinking. I didn’t fit in that box I called “alcoholic”. I later found out that my idea of what an alcoholic is, was not accurate.

—        —        —        —        —        —

As copied from a Chat Meeting on Sep 7 2015, 7:30 PM

Sarah: Hi, Tim!

Tim: Hi Sarah. Hi all.

Sue: Hi, Tim
JoeO: Hey, Tim!


JoeO: Tell us about the “stop trying to stop drinking” deal!

I tried to stop drinking alot. I thought that was what I was supposed to do.
I kept drinking again and again.
I’d come back all beat up.
The people in our group told me to quit trying to quit.
I looked at them as if they had two heads.
I did not understand I could not quit.
After two and a half years….
drunk sober drunk sober…
I was on my way home from detox
Never wanting to drink again!
I got home and went to the refrigerator…
I was hungry and looked in the fridge
And there were 12 beers and a pint of whiskey.
I took the beers out of the fridge
lined them up at the sink
Still not wanting to ever drink again.
I opened up one of the beers
went to dump it down the drain
and drank it instead
knowing it was a bad idea.
I took two beers and the pint
sat down in my filthy chair
and drank them…
then I remembered I never wanted to drink ever again.
I knew then that what my friends had said was true about me,
That one day……
I would drink again whether I wanted to or not.

Inserted from “Fred’s Story”: “As soon as I regained my ability to think, I went carefully over that evening in Washington. Not only had I been off guard, I had made no fight whatever against the first drink. This time I had not thought of the consequences at all. I had commenced to drink as carelessly as though the cocktails were ginger ale. I now remembered what my alcoholic friends had told me, how they prophesied that if I had an alcoholic mind, the time and place would come – I would drink again. They had said that though I did raise a defense, it would one day give way before some trivial reason for having a drink. Well, just that did happen and more, for what I had learned of alcoholism did not occur to me at all. I knew from that moment that I had an alcoholic mind. I saw that will power and self-knowledge would not help in those strange mental blank spots. I had never been able to understand people who said that a problem had them hopelessly defeated. I knew then. It was a crushing blow.” (“Alcoholics Anonymous“, pages 41-42)

Back to Tim:

I knew then that I was a real alcoholic and had no defense against the 1st drink.
I ended up being able to take step 1 about 9 days later
After a little more of me beating me up with ego and pride and drinking and not wanting to.
There is more if you want to hear it.

JoeO: Keep going, if you wish, and anyone can interject a question or whatever.

I went to my sponsor’s house…
On my way there I went by Phil’s grocery store…
The thought came to me that “I never bought beer there before”.
I bought a case of beer and went on to my sponsor’s house.
We met for about 2 hours.
He asked me if I thought I could make it until next week.
I knew I couldn’t and said no.
He suggested we met the next night.
I went home and drank that case and didn’t go to work or my sponsor’s house the next day.
4 days later was our weekly home group AA meeting.
I went a and sat down.
A man in our group asked me what I was doing there.
I said “What? Are not I welcome here?”
He said of course you are but you are DYING and just [messing] around!
No one in the group said a word.
It was silent.
I had the thought that if he was right I’m in trouble.
I didn’t even know I was dying but was willing to believe he was right.
I said to him… “You are right.”
“In light of me dying I am just [messing] around.”
That was the 1st time I had ever had any amount of humility.
Humility before my fellow man.
If anyone in that group would have told that man to take it easy on me I would have probably died.
I would have continued to fight everything and everyone.
But instead I had the opportunity to admit that he was right.

JoeO: That man was the one who had the courage to say what some of the rest of us were only thinking!

That was the turning point,
And I was ready for it.
The teacher appeared when I was ready.

JoeO: If this is okay with you, I will copy what you have shared and add it at your story here at the site.


—        —        —        —        —        —

… more to be added …

A.A. Tradition One

Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A.A. unity. (“Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions“, Tradition One)

Each member of Alcoholics Anonymous is but a small part of a great whole. A.A. must continue to live or most of us will surely die. Hence our common welfare comes first. But individual welfare follows close afterward. (long form)

When Rowland H. visited Dr. Carl Jung prior to the formation of A.A., Dr. Jung essentially told him to “Go see ‘God’.” (“Alcoholics Anonymous“, page 27) Rowland did that and then passed that same suggestion along to Ebby, then Ebby to Bill and so on until the following appeared in print in 1939:

“…we have discovered a common solution…a way out on which we can absolutely agree, and upon which we can join in brotherly and harmonious action…the great [message our groups carry] to those who suffer from alcoholism.” (page 17)
“…restored and united under one God, with hearts and minds attuned to the welfare of others…” (page 161)

That is A.A. unity, and that will never change no matter how many groups of whatever type might ever seem to prove anything any different might work for them.

A.A. Tradition Two

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. (“Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions“, Tradition Two)

For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority – a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. (long form)

note: “The Fellowship of the Spirit” (“Big Book“, page 164) is a monarchy, not a democracy where “the supreme power [would be] lodged in the hands of the people.” (Webster, 1828)

First, here are a couple of rhetorical questions that might help dispel the myth of A.A. being a democracy:
1) Is A.A. a form of government?
2) Does A.A. lodge any supreme power (or even any power at all) in the hands of its members?

We each certainly do have a right of personal decision concerning the management of our lives, but having that right does not give us the power or ability needed to manage them well or successfully.  And since not one of us has ever been granted any authority or power over the life of any other human being, today we have this from A.A. Tradition Two:

“Our leaders…do not govern.”
“…no president having authority to govern…
“…no treasurer who can compel the payment of any dues…
“…no board of directors who can cast an erring member into outer darkness…
“…no A.A. can give another a directive and enforce obedience…”
(“Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions”)

So then, and as our friends and others outside of A.A. might ask:
“Where does A.A. get its direction?  Who runs it?”
Our answer: “…the sole authority in A.A. is a loving God as He may express Himself in the group conscience.”

Monarchy, n. (Webster, 1828)
A state or government in which the supreme power is lodged in the hands of a single [entity]…
“…as He may express Himself in our group conscience.” (Tradition Two)

Two questions typically arise at this point:
1) Are you saying A.A. is some kind of dictatorship rather than “democratic”?
2) Also, what if I do not believe there even is any “supreme being” or “loving god” to guide anyone at all in the first place?

First, no, we do not say there is nothing “democratic” in A.A.  In fact, we do say this:

“Alcohol being no respecter of persons, we are an accurate cross section of America, and in distant lands, the same democratic evening-up process is now going on.” (Foreword to Second Edition, 1955)

So in the sense of the playing field having been leveled at Step One for all of us, A.A. is quite “democratic”, as such, and we can also see that component of the foundation for the fellowship we share reflected here:

“…having shared in a common peril is one element in the powerful cement which binds us.” (page 17)

And to then describe our overall experience a little farther, we also share this:

“Social distinctions, petty rivalries and jealousies – these are laughed out of countenance.  Being wrecked in the same vessel, being restored and united under one God (Tradition One), with hearts and minds attuned to the welfare of others (page 20), the things which matter so much to some people no longer signify much to them.” (page 161)

So overall and “democratically”, our dealings with the matters of authority and power in A.A. begin as founded upon our awareness of our human powerlessness and inabilities to successfully manage human lives.  For example, and as said with a wink:

“He can’t even run his own life,
“I’ll be damned if he’ll run mine!” (Jonathon Edwards)

“I can’t even run my own life,
“You’ll be doomed if I run yours!” (Humble Sponsor)

At that point, and especially while sitting side-by-side in our group business meetings where some members might not yet have “admitted the possible existence of a Creative Intelligence, a Spirit of the Universe underlying the totality of things” (page 46), how can we A.A.s possibly “absolutely agree, and…join in brotherly and harmonious action” (page 17)?  Doctor Silkworth has proved very helpful to some of us there with his mention of “the powers of good that lie outside our synthetic knowledge.”  So while bringing that thought into the mix whenever necessary, we can see something like this at Tradition Two:

“For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority – the powers of good that lie outside our synthetic knowledge.”

There is yet another way to see A.A.’s dependence upon “the powers of good” being made manifest amongst us, and page 152 in our book reflects that to the A.A. newcomer:

“‘I know I must get along without liquor, but how can I?  Have you a sufficient substitute?’
“Yes, there is a substitute and it is vastly more than that.  It is a fellowship in Alcoholics Anonymous.  There [as an active member in your own home group or ‘A.A. fellowship’] you will find release from care, boredom and worry.  Your imagination will be fired.  Life will mean something at last.  The most satisfactory years of your existence lie ahead.  Thus we
find the fellowship [we share together in our autonomous fellowships], and so will you.” (page 152)

So then, and once again:
Where does A.A. get its direction?  Who runs it?  How are unity, agreement and harmonious action even possible amongst people such as we have been?

That all begins at Step One where we abandon all ideas of already knowing what is best for ourselves or for anyone else, and that continues for us for just as long as we continue to look together toward “God as you (do or do not) understand God” (page 164) for the guidance and direction we have learned is available from within “the powers of good that lie outside our synthetic knowledge“.

A.A. Tradition Three

The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking. (“Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions“, Tradition Three)

Our membership ought to include all who suffer from alcoholism. Hence we may refuse none who wish to recover. Nor ought A.A. membership ever depend upon money or conformity. Any two or three alcoholics gathered together for sobriety may call themselves an A.A. group, provided that, as a group, they have no other affiliation. (long form)

As you can see above, Tradition Three reminds us to never exclude from A.A. any fellow alcoholic who would like to recover from chronic alcoholism.  So if you have a desire to stop drinking, and especially if you are one of us who could not, you are most-welcomed to join any of our many autonomous A.A. fellowships…or to even begin one of your own…

“(God) will show you how to create the fellowship you crave.”
(“Alcoholics Anonymous“, page 164)

And whether you join an existing A.A. group or you and one-or-more others might begin one of your own, always remember:  “No one is too discredited or has sunk too low to be welcomed cordially – if s/he means business.  Social distinctions, petty rivalries and jealousies – these are laughed out of countenance.  Being wrecked in the same vessel, being restored and united under one God, with hearts and minds attuned to the welfare of others, the things which matter so much to some people no longer signify much to (us).  How could they?”  (“A.A.”, page 161)

Here is another interesting part of Tradition Three:  “Any two or three alcoholics gathered together for sobriety may call themselves an A.A. group (or fellowship), provided that, as a group (or fellowship), they have no other affiliation.”

Two thoughts come to mind there:

1) Nobody ever has to apply for an A.A. charter!  Whenever any two-or-more alcoholics wish to “call themselves an A.A. group” or fellowship, they may  do so with nothing but encouragement — no challenges to navigate — from the rest!

2) Be cautious of mere meetings mistakenly being called “A.A. groups”.  Our “sufficient substitute for alcohol” can be found within a fellowship in Alcoholics Anonymous (page 152), and even whether or not those folks “go to meetings”, as such.  See, some folks view A.A. as a place or organization for “support” while-or-where everyone present tries to not drink, and many so-called “A.A. meetings” get started upon that mistaken premise.  But for those of us wishing to actually recover and to remain that way, we find it much more beneficial to gather together and call ourselves an A.A. group (then conducting our A.A. group’s A.A. meetings) than to be “members-at-large”, so to speak, attending various meetings mistakenly being called “A.A. groups”.  In other words:  True A.A. groups are autonomous spiritual entities or “organisms” consisting of people, not mere meetings scheduled under the auspices (endorsement) of some kind of organization.

… more to be added …

A.A. Tradition Four

Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or A.A. as a whole. (“Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions“, Tradition Four)

With respect to its own affairs, each A.A. group should be responsible to no other authority than its own conscience.  But when its plans concern the welfare of neighboring groups also, those groups ought to be consulted.  And no group, regional committee, or individual should ever take any action that might greatly affect A.A. as a whole without conferring with the trustees of the General Service Board.  On such issues our common welfare is paramount. (long form)

… more to be added …

A.A. Tradition Five

Each group has but one primary purpose – to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers. (“Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions“, Tradition Five)

Each Alcoholics Anonymous group ought to be a spiritual entity having but one primary purpose – that of carrying its message to the alcoholic who still suffers. (long form)

“At the moment (as in Step Nine) we are trying to put our lives in order.  But this is not an end in itself.  Our real purpose (as individuals) is to fit ourselves to be of maximum service to God and the people about us” (“A.A.”, page 77).  And then when “we call ourselves an A.A. group” of recovered alcoholics, we find we have “but one primary purpose – to carry (the A.A.) message (of permanent recovery) to the alcoholic who still suffers.”  (Tradition Five)

… more to be added …

A.A. Tradition Six

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. (“Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions“, Tradition Six)

Problems of money, property, and authority may easily divert us from our primary spiritual aim. We think, therefore, that any considerable property of genuine use to A.A. should be separately incorporated and managed, thus dividing the material from the spiritual. An A.A. group, as such, should never go into business. Secondary aids to A.A., such as clubs or hospitals which require much property or administration, ought to be incorporated and so set apart that, if necessary, they can be freely discarded by the groups. Hence such facilities ought not to use the A.A. name. Their management should be the sole responsibility of those people who financially support them. For clubs, A.A. managers are usually preferred. But hospitals, as well as other places of recuperation, ought to be well outside A.A. – and medically supervised. While an A.A. group may cooperate with anyone, such cooperation ought never go so far as affiliation or endorsement, actual or implied. An A.A. group can bind itself to no one. (long form)

… more to be added …