Absent Topics: From Sponsorship to Poly-addictions
Newcomers to AA often find that the Big Book, while invaluable, is missing some critical information relevant to their journey. For instance, the text does not explicitly mention the concept of a sponsor, a critical component of recovery. Similarly, the book does not address topics like daily AA meetings, treatment centers, pharmacology and sobriety, common mental illnesses, poly-addictions, the role of genetics in diagnosis, and chronic relapsers.
The Struggle of Newcomers and the Role of Thumpers
As such, newcomers are often left to navigate a landscape of multiple books, pamphlets, and divergent viewpoints. This is where book thumpers, with their literal interpretations of the Big Book, might initially offer a semblance of direction. However, an over-reliance on book quotations can become off-putting, especially when it begins to mimic religious zealotry.
A Grown-Up Approach to the Big Book
So, what does a more mature approach to the Big Book entail? Instead of a word-by-word, literal interpretation, the book should be read through the lens of personal experience, applied wisdom from sober peers, and an openness to multiple viewpoints.
Moving Beyond Quotations
With this in mind, can we agree to move away from quoting the book chapter and verse in meetings? While it might make one appear knowledgeable, the practice often serves ego more than it aids others. As a sponsor, I have found that the most effective use of the Big Book comes not from a literal line-by-line study but from a combined insight of the sponsor, group, and individual conscience.
One Drunk Talking to Another
Remember, the fundamental dynamic of AA is not about quoting a sacred text but about one recovering alcoholic helping another and tackling the steps together. In this interaction, you can find the most effective tool for sobriety and recovery.
[End of Part 2]