STEPS by the BIG BOOK
-Responses taken from the Steps by the Big Book workbook.
WHAT IS STEPSBYBIGBOOK.NET?
-Steps by the Big Book is a no-charge website for people in recovery from alcohol and drugs and other addictions who wish to study the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) as part of a friendly, focused group, and work them according to the Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous.
-The Steps by the Big Book workbook can be downloaded for free.
WHAT IS THE POINT?
-The point is to experience a “personality change sufficient to bring about recovery.” (567: 1) As recovering alcoholics we have to do something about being restless, irritable, and discontent. If anxiety is the existential basis of our addiction, then we must alter our remorse, fear, shame and guilt in order to find happiness so that we do not have to go back to drinking.
-The Power, which comes from the discipline of the practice of working the 12 Steps of the AA program within the fellowship, is what can move us to be sober, and to live with serenity and peace of mind.
WHAT IS RECOVERY?
-Recovery is an individual alcoholic’s experience of the transformative Power that comes from actually working the Steps, the program of recovery of the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous.
-We wish to make the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous part of who we are.
WHO PUT TOGETHER THE STEPS BY THE BIG BOOK STUDY SESSIONS?
-Some of us in the recovering community in the Brattleboro, Vermont, area found that we did better studying the Big Book together as a group than on our own. This Steps by the Big Book workbook comes from that experience. We present only suggestions based on our experiences and culled from the recovery literature.
WHERE DID THE SESSION MATERIAL COME FROM?
-The session material included in this guide is a cut-and-paste scrapbook compiled from the Big Book, and AA literature such as Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, with focus questions and comments borrowed verbatim without attribution from meetings, others in recovery, and from several published and recorded sources.
-This is but a beginning, an introduction, to the spiritual riches of the Big Book’s directions to working the 12 Steps.
WHAT REFERENCES ARE USED?
-Our reference for this study of the 12 Steps is the first 103 pages of Alcoholics Anonymous, fourth edition, “the basic text” (xi: 2) for the program and fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous. (Please ignore anything on this website or in the workbook that you feel contradicts what you find in the Big Book.)
-Many read Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions (12&12) as well. Those with other addictions refer also to the 12 Step writings of Alanon, Narcotics Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, etc.
ARE THE STEPS BY THE BIG BOOK MATERIALS PART OF ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS?
-No. The Steps by the Big Book workbook or sessions are not affiliated with Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. Some of the material presented here was originally published by A.A. World Services, but this does not imply approval by the General Service Conference for use in these pages.
ARE THE STEPS BY THE BIG BOOK STUDY SESSIONS ALSO AA MEETINGS?
-No. The Steps by the Big Book group sessions are not AA meetings because enrollment is limited to a specific number of participants, which differs from the Third Tradition.
HOW DOES ONE STUDY AND WORK THE STEPS BY THE BIG BOOK?
-Working the Steps is less about our opinions of the Steps and more about our action of working them on a daily basis. Rather than argue with the various hypotheses of AA, we experiment by doing the Steps as written and see what the results are.
-In the Steps by the Big Book sessions, we read paragraph by paragraph. We pause at commas and stop at periods. We do nothing more than turn the declarative statements of the Big Book into questions to ourselves. We constantly ask: “What does this mean for me in my life?” These inquiries become prompts to questions we may explore with others.
WHAT ARE THE STUDY SESSIONS LIKE?
-While your group sessions may differ, here is a common practice:
We meet as a committed group of equals. We open with a time of quiet, followed by a very brief check-in as to how each member is doing with this project. We read selections from the Big Book on a particular Step, and then for 10 minutes or so one group member speaks of her or his personal experience working this Step by the Big Book. Every member then may share their writings or reflections on that session’s Step work. Discussion is encouraged, as long as we speak out of our own experience. We close with meditation or prayer.
WHAT IS A “BUDDY”?
-It is important that each member accepts one or more other group members, “buddies,” to contact regularly between meetings.
WHAT ABOUT A SPONSOR?
-A sponsor is one’s essential guide through the 12 Steps. The work of this group study is intended to further the pass-it-on process of one alcoholic talking with another.
-The support and stimulus of working the Steps with a buddy and a sponsor leads to personal growth and change. We read the Big Book chapters or selections together. Together, we work on our reflections and writings about the focus questions and inventories. And together we get and give support for this process of working the Steps, and for sharing our discoveries, doubts and experiences in the group.
CAN JUST MY SPONSOR AND I BE A STUDY GROUP?
-Yes. This is your group and can be of any size.
ARE FIFTH STEPS SHARED IN THE GROUP?
-No. Steps by the Big Book group members do their Fifth Step outside of the meetings with a sponsor or buddy.
MAY NON-ALCOHOLICS USE THE STEPS BY THE BIG BOOK MATERIAL?
-Yes. This is your group and can be of any composition. If alcohol is not your problem you may substitute your other addictions.
WHAT KIND OF TIME COMMITMENT IS EXPECTED?
-This is your group, and together you will come to agreement on such details.
-The Steps by the Big Book workbook as written has twenty study sessions.
-Usually group members agree to attend every session, commit to read the text and respond to the session questions, and to work each Step as it is covered. Group members can expect to spend at least as much time on reading, writing and contact with buddies between sessions as in group time.
IS THERE ANY COST?
-No. The Steps by the Big Book workbook material can be downloaded for free.
-A printed copy and CD copy are available on request.
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