BIG BOOK

Definition of Big Book:
Alcoholics Anonymous, the story of how many thousands of men and women have recovered from Alcoholism. A 1939 basic text, describing how to recover from alcoholism
Synonyms of Big Book:
Alcoholics Anonymous, twelve step program, manual, textbook, publication, volume, etc.

These notes are from recovery in AA and/or related 12 step programs.
Readers are encouraged to click the external link for more detail.
We hope you find them helpful.
Love in fellowship.

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Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How Many Thousands of Men and Women Have Recovered from Alcoholism (generally known as The Big Book because of the thickness of the paper used in the first edition) is a 1939 basic text, describing how to recover from alcoholism, primarily written by one of the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), William G. “Bill W.” Wilson. It is the originator of the seminal “twelve-step method” widely used to treat many addictions, from alcoholism and heroin addiction to marijuana addiction, as well as overeating, sex addiction, gambling addiction, with a strong spiritual and social emphasis.

It is one of the best-selling books of all time, having sold 30 million copies. In 2011, Time magazine placed the book on its list of the 100 best and most influential books written in English since 1923, the beginning of the magazine. In 2012, the Library of Congress designated it as one of 88 “Books that Shaped America.”

U.S. President Richard Nixon received the millionth copy of the book, while the 25-millionth copy of the Big Book was presented to Jill Brown, warden of San Quentin State Prison, at the International Convention of Alcoholics Anonymous in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, to commemorate the first prison meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous taking place at San Quentin in 1941. The thirty-millionth copy of the book was presented to the American Medical Association in 2010, which declared alcoholism as an illness in 1956. | More…

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If it wasn’t for Bill Wilson the Big Book would never have been written.
If it wasn’t for Hank Parkhurst it never would have been published. –Arthur S. | More…

Dr. Silkworth’s name was not added to the “The Doctor’s Opinion” until publication of the 2nd edition in 1955. –Arthur S. | More…

Dr. Howard suggested toning down the use of “you must” to “we ought” or “we should.”
Dr. Silkworth and Dr. Harry Tiebout offered similar advice. –Arthur S. | More…

History The Big Book has a remarkable history of carrying the message of recovery throughout the world in the 20th and 21st centuries: 300,000 copies of the 1st edition were distributed from 1939-1955, 1,150,000 copies of the 2nd edition were distributed from 1955-1976, and 19,550,000 copies of the 3rd edition were distributed from 1976-2002. By 2005, distribution reached the 25 million mark and is now exceeding the 30 million mark (this is just the English language versions). –Arthur S. | More…

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Basics
We, of Alcoholics Anonymous, are more than one hundred men and women who have recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. To show other alcoholics PRECISELY HOW WE HAVE RECOVERED is the main purpose of this book. For them, we hope these pages will prove so convincing that no further authentication will be necessary. Many do not comprehend that the alcoholic is a very sick person. And besides, we are sure that our way of living has its advantages for all. – Pg. xiii – 4th. Edition – Forward To First Edition | More…

Intro
In spite of the great increase in the size and the span of this Fellowship, at its core it remains simple and personal. Each day, somewhere in the world, recovery begins when one alcoholic talks with another alcoholic, sharing experience, strength, and hope. –Big Book forward p. xxii | More…

Intro
The basic principles of the A.A. program, it appears, hold good for those of many different nationalities. The Twelve Steps that summarize the program may be called los Doce Pasos in one country, les Douze Etapes in another, but they trace exactly the same path to recovery that was blazed by the earliest members of Alcoholics Anonymous. –Big Book Forward To Third Edition, P.xxii | More…

Power
Frothy emotional appeal seldom suffices. The message which can interest and hold these alcoholic people must have depth and weight. In nearly all cases, their ideals must be grounded in a power greater than themselves, if they are to re-create their lives. –Big Book/The Doctor’s Opinion, p. xxviii | More…

Musts
’Musts’ in The Big Book: – Read the 96 ‘MUSTS’ here

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Big Book distribution milestones are celebrated with the presentation of a milestone copy to a distinguished recipient.
The 1-millionth copy (a 2nd edition) was presented to President Richard Nixon in April 1973.
The 2-millionth copy was presented to HEW Secretary Joseph Califano in June 1979.
The 5-millionth copy was presented to Ruth Hock in July 1985.
The 10-millionth copy was presented to Nell Wing in July 1990.
She was Bill Wilson’s long-time non-alcoholic secretary and AA’s first archivist.

The 15-millionth copy was given to Ellie Norris in 1996. She was the widow of former trustee chairman John L Norris, MD, affectionately known as “Dr. Jack” to the membership.

The 20-millionth copy was presented to the fellowship of Al-Anon Family Groups in 2000

The 25-millionth copy was presented to the Warden of San Quentin Prison, Jill Brown in 2005.

The 30-millionth copy was presented in 2010. . | More…

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Turned self over I humbly offered myself to God, as I then I understood Him, to do with me as He would. I placed myself unreservedly under His care and direction. I admitted for the first time that of myself I was nothing; that without Him I was lost. I ruthlessly faced my sins and became willing to have my new-found Friend take them away, root and branch. –Big Book p.13 | More…

Turn it over
Simple, but not easy; a price had to be paid.
It meant destruction of self-centeredness.
I must turn in all things to the Father of Light who presides over us all. –Big Book p.14 | More…

Willingness
It was only a matter of being willing to believe in a Power greater than myself.
Nothing more was required of me to make my beginning.
I saw that growth could start from that point.
Upon a foundation of complete willingness I might build what I saw in my friend. –Big Book p.14 | More…

Overcoming
There is scarcely any form of trouble and misery which has not been overcome among us. –Big Book p.15 | More…

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Meetings
We meet frequently so that newcomers may find the fellowship they seek –Big Book p.15 | More…

Fellowship
We are people who normally would not mix.
But there exists among us a fellowship, a friendliness, and an understanding which is indescribably wonderful. –Big Book p.17 | More…

Illness
An illness of this sort— and we have come to believe it an illness—, involves those about us in a way no other human sickness can. If a person has cancer all are sorry for him and no one is angry or hurt. But not so with the alcoholic illness, for with it there goes annihilation of all the things worthwhile in life –Big Book p.18 | More…

Tolerance
Most of us sense that real tolerance of other people’s shortcomings and viewpoints and a respect for their opinions are attitudes which make us more useful to others. –Big Book p.19 | More…

Reaction
Opinions vary considerably as to why the alcoholic reacts differently from normal people. We are not sure why, once a certain point is reached, little can be done for him. We cannot answer the riddle –Big Book p.22 | More…

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Baffled Some drinkers have excuses with which they are satisfied part of the time. But in their hearts they really do not know why they do it. Once this malady has a real hold, they are a baffled lot. There is the obsession that somehow, someday, they will beat the game. But they often suspect they are down for the count –Big Book p.23 | More…

Willpower
We are without defense against the first drink. The fact is that most alcoholics, for reasons yet obscure, have lost the power of choice in drink.Our so-called will power becomes practically non-existent. We are unable, at certain times, to bring into our consciousness with sufficient force the memory of the suffering and humiliation of even a week or a month ago. We are without defense against the first drink. –Big Book p.24 | More…

Powerless
At a certain point in the drinking of every alcoholic, he passes into a state where the most powerful desire to stop drinking is of absolutely no avail. This tragic situation has already arrived in practically every case long before it is suspected. –Big Book p.24 | More…

Awakening
The great fact is just this, and nothing less: That we have had deep and effective spiritual experiences which have revolutionized our whole attitude toward life, toward our fellows and toward God’s universe. The central fact of our lives today is the absolute certainty that our Creator has entered into our hearts and lives in a way which is indeed miraculous. He has commenced to accomplish those things for us which we could never do by ourselv.es. — Big Book p.25 | More…

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Faith
We have no desire to convince anyone that there is only one way by which faith can be acquired. If what we have learned and felt and seen means anything at all, it means that all of us, whatever our race, creed, or colour are the children of a living Creator with whom we may form a relationship upon simple and understandable terms as soon as we are willing and honest enough to try. –Big Book p.28 | More…

Choice
We think it no concern of ours what religious bodies our members identify themselves with as individuals. This should be an entirely personal affair which each one decides for himself in the light of past associations, or his present choice –Big Book p.28 | More…

Design
We, in our turn, sought the same escape with all the desperation of drowning men. What seemed at first a flimsy reed, has proved to be the loving and powerful hand of God. A new life has been given us or, if you prefer, “a design for living” that really works. –Big Book p.28 | More…

Illusion
Most of us have been unwilling to admit we were real alcoholics. No person likes to think he is bodily and mentally different from his fellows. Therefore, it is not surprising that our drinking careers have been characterized by countless vain attempts to prove we could drink like other people. The idea that somehow, someday he will control and enjoy his drinking is the great obsession of every abnormal drinker. The persistence of this illusion is astonishing. Many pursue it into the gates of insanity or death. — Big Book p.30 | More…

Conceding
We learned that we had to fully concede to our innermost selves that we were alcoholics. This is the first step in recovery (the step before Step One). The delusion that we are like other people, or presently may be, has to be smashed. –Big Book p.30 | More…

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Relapsing
We have seen the truth demonstrated again and again: ‘Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic.’ Commencing to drink after a period of sobriety, we are in a short time as bad as ever. –Big Book p.33 | More…

Planning
If we are planning to stop drinking, there must be no reservation of any kind, nor any lurking notion that someday we will be immune to  alcohol. –Big Book p.33 | More…

Quantity
To be gravely affected, one does not necessarily have to drink a long time nor take the quantities some of us have. Certain drinkers, who would be greatly insulted if called alcoholics, are astonished at their inability to stop. We, who are familiar with these symptoms, see large numbers of potential alcoholics among young people everywhere. But try and get them to see it! –Big Book p.33-34 | More…

Character
Many of us felt that we had plenty of character. There was a tremendous urge to cease forever. Yet we found it impossible. This is the baffling feature of alcoholism as we know it this utter inability to leave it alone, no matter how great the necessity or the wish. –Big Book p.34 | More…

Alcoholic mind 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. –Big Book p.42 | More…

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No defense
Once more: The alcoholic at certain times has no effective mental defense against the first drink. Except in a few rare cases, neither he nor any other human being can provide such a defense. His defense must come from a Higher Power. –Big Book p.43 | More…

Conquering
If you are alcoholic, you may be suffering from an illness which only a spiritual experience will conquer. –Big Book p.44 | More…

Alternatives
To be doomed to an alcoholic death or to live on a spiritual basis are not always easy alternatives to face. –Big Book p.44 | More…

Chronic
If, when you honestly want to, you find you cannot quit entirely, or if when drinking, you have little control over the amount you take, you are probably alcoholic. If that be the case, you may be suffering from an illness which only a spiritual experience will conquer. –Big Book p.44 | More…

Failure
Our human resources, as marshalled by the will, were not sufficient; they failed utterly. –Big Book p.45 | More…

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Power
Lack of power, that was our dilemma. We had to find a power by which we could live, and it had to be a Power greater than ourselves. Obviously. But where and how were we to find this Power? Well, that’s exactly what this book is about. –Big Book p.45 | More…

Prejudice
We found that as soon as we were able to lay aside prejudice and express even a willingness to believe in a Power greater than ourselves, we commenced to get results, even though it was impossible for any of us to fully define or comprehend that Power, which is God. –Big Book p.46 | More…

Willingness
Do I now believe, or am I even willing to believe, that there is a Power greater than myself? –Big Book p.47

Concept
When we speak to you of God, we mean your own conception of God. -Big Book p.47 | More…

Faith Besides a seeming inability to accept much on faith, we often found ourselves handicapped by obstinacy, sensitiveness, and unreasoning prejudice. Many of us have been so touchy that even casual reference to spiritual things made us bristle with antagonism. This sort of thinking had to be abandoned. Though some of us resisted, we found no great difficulty in casting aside such feelings. Faced with alcoholic destruction, we soon became as open minded on spiritual matters as we had tried to be on other questions. In this respect alcohol was a great persuader. It finally beat us into a state of reasonableness. –Big Book p.47-48 | More…

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Direction
We have learned that whatever the human frailties of various faiths may be, those faiths have given purpose and direction to millions. People of faith have a logical idea of what life is all about. –Big Book p.49 | More…

Decision
Next, we decided that hereafter in this drama of life, God was going to be our Director. He is the Principal; we are His agents. He is the Father, and we are His children. Most good ideas are simple, and this concept was the keystone of the new and triumphant arch through which we passed to freedom. –Big Book p.49 | More…

Reason
When many hundreds of people are able to say that the consciousness of the Presence of God is today the most important fact of their lives, they present a powerful reason why one should have faith. –Big Book p.51 | More…

Proposition
When we became alcoholics, crushed by a self-imposed crisis we could not postpone or evade, we had to fearlessly face the proposition that either God is everything or else He is nothing. God either is or He isn’t.  –Big Book p.53 | More…

Reality
We found the Great Reality deep down within us. In the last analysis it is only there that He can be found. –Big Book p.55 | More…

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God
The word God appears 142 times on 69 pages in the Big Book (first 164 pages) –Big Book | More…

Acceptance
In a few seconds he was overwhelmed by a conviction of the Presence of God. It poured over and through him with the certainty and majesty of a great tide at flood. The barriers he had built through the years were swept away. He stood in the Presence of Infinite Power and Love. He had stepped from bridge to shore. For the first time, he lived in conscious companionship with his Creator. –Big Book p.56 | More…

Disorders
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. –Big Book p.58 | More…

Letting go
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. –Big Book p.58

Decision
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. We thought we could find and easier, softer way. But we could not. –Big Book p.58  | More…

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Protection
Remember that 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. –Big Book p.58-59 | More…

ABC
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.

Being convinced, we were at step three, which is that we decided to turn our will and our life over to God as we understand Him. –Big Book p.60 | More…

Convinced
The first requirement is that we be convinced that any life run on self-will can hardly be a success. On that basis we are almost always in collision with something or somebody, even though our motives are good. –Big Book p.60 | More…

Troubles
Selfishness – self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles. We step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate. We invariably find that at some time in the past we have made decisions based on self which later placed us in a position to be hurt. –Big Book p.62 | More…

Self-will
So our troubles, we think, are basically of our own making. They arise out of ourselves, and the alcoholic is an extreme example of self-will run riot, though he usually doesn’t think so. Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness. We must, or it kills us! God makes that possible . . . We had to have God’s help. –Big Book p.62 | More…

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Selfishness
Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness. We must, or it kill us! God makes that possible. –Big Book p.62 | More…

Keystone
We decided that hereafter in this drama of life, God was going to be our Director. He is the Principle: we are His agents. He is the Father, and we are His children. Most good ideas are simple, and this concept was the keystone of the new and triumphant march through which we passed to freedom. –Big Book p.62 | More…

Prayer
God, I offer myself to thee – to build with me and do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always! –Big Book p.63 | More…

Review
We took stock honestly. Being convinced that self, manifested in various ways, was what had defeated us, we considered its common manifestations. –Big Book p.64 | More…

Resentment
Resentment is the ‘number one’ offender. It destroys more alcoholics than anything else. From it stem all forms of spiritual disease, for we have been not only mentally and physically ill, we have been spiritually sick. –Big Book p.64 | More…

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Inventory
In dealing with resentments, we set them on paper. We listed people, institutions or principles with whom we were angry. We asked ourselves why we were angry. In most cases it was found that our self-esteem, our pocketbooks, our ambitions, our personal relationships,(including sex) were hurt or threatened. -Big Book p.64 | More…

Spiritual When the spiritual malady is overcome, we straighten out mentally and physically –Big Book p.64 | More…

Action
To be vital, faith must be accompanied by self-sacrifice and unselfish, constructive action –Big Book p.64 | More…

Resentment
It is plain that a life which includes deep resentment leads only to futility and unhappiness. To the precise extent that we permit these, do we squander the hours that might have been worthwhile. But with the alcoholic, whose hope is the maintenance and growth of a spiritual experience, this business of resentment is infinitely grave. We found that it is fatal. For when harbouring such feelings we shut ourselves off from the sunlight of the Spirit. The insanity of alcohol returns and we drink again. And with us, to drink is to die. –Big Book p.66 | More…

Resentments
We began to see that the world and its people really dominated us. In that state, the wrong-doing of others, fancied or real, had power to actually kill. How could we escape? We saw that these resentments must be mastered, but how? We could not wish them away any more than alcohol. –Big Book p.66 | More…

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Anger
If we were to live, we had to be free of anger. The grouch and the brainstorm were not for us. They may be the dubious luxury of normal men, but for alcoholics these things are poison. –Big Book p.66 | More…

Defects
What we must recognize now is that we exult in some of our defects. We really love them. Who, for example, doesn’t like to feel just a little superior to the next fellow, or even quite a lot superior? Isn’t it true that we like to let greed masquerade as ambition? To think of liking lust seems impossible. But how many men and women speak love with their lips, and believe what they say, so they can hide lust in a dark corner of their minds? And even while staying within conventional bounds, many people have to admit that their imaginary sex excursions are apt to be all dressed up as dreams of romance. –Big Book p.66-67 | More…

Tolerance
We cannot be helpful to all people, but at least God will show us how to take a kindly and tolerant view of each and every one –Big Book p.67 | More…

Selfishness
Selfishness-self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity, we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate. –Big Book p.68 | More…

Courage
We never apologize to anyone for depending upon our Creator. We can laugh at those who think spirituality the way of weakness. Paradoxically, it is the way of strength. The verdict of the ages is that faith means courage. All men of faith have courage. They trust their God. We never apologize for God. Instead we let Him demonstrate, through us, what He can do. We ask Him to remove our fear and direct our attention to what He would have us be. At once, we commence to outgrow fear. –Big Book p.68 | More…

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Asking
In meditation, we ask God what we should do about each specific matter. The right answer will come, if we want it. –Big Book p.69 | More…

Forgiveness
If we are sorry for what we have done, and have the honest desire to let God take us to better things, we believe we will be forgiven and will have learned our lesson. If we are not sorry, and our conduct continues to harm others, we are quite sure to drink. We are not theorizing. These are facts out of our experience. –Big Book p.70 | More…

Acting
More than most people, the alcoholic leads a double life. He is very much the actor. To the outer world he presents his stage character. This is the one he likes his fellows to see. He wants to enjoy a certain reputation, but knows in his heart he doesn’t deserve it. –Big Book p.73 | More…

Family
Passing all understanding is the patience mothers and wives have had with alcoholics. Had this not been so, many of us would have no homes today, would perhaps be dead. –Big Book p.82 | More…

Abstinence
Sometimes we hear an alcoholic say that the only thing he needs to do is to keep sober. Certainly he must keep sober, for there will be no home if he doesn’t. But he is yet a long way from making good to the wife or parents whom for years he has so shockingly treated. –Big Book p.82 | More…

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Practise
The spiritual life is not a theory. We have to live it –Big Book p.83 | More…

Amends
There may be some wrongs we can never fully right. We don’t worry about them if we can honestly say to ourselves that we would right them if we could –Big Book p.83 | More…

Spirituality
We have entered the world of the Spirit. Our next function is to grow in understanding and effectiveness. This is not an overnight matter. It should continue for our lifetime. –Big Book p.84 | More…

Vigilance
Continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear. When these crop up, we ask God at once to remove them. We discuss them with someone immediately and make amends quickly if we have harmed anyone. Then we resolutely turn our thoughts to someone we can help. Love and tolerance of others is our code. –Big Book p.84 | More…

Surrender
And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone — even alcohol. For by this time sanity will have returned. We will seldom be interested in liquor. If tempted, we recoil from it as from a hot flame. We react sanely and normally, and we will find that this has happened automatically. We will see that our new attitude toward liquor has been given us without any thought or effort on our part. It just comes! That is the miracle of it. –Big Book p.84-85 | More…

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Contingency
It is easy to let up on the spiritual program of action and rest on our laurels. We are headed for trouble if we do, for alcohol is a subtle foe. We are not cured of alcoholism. What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition. Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God’s will into all of our activities. “How can I best serve Thee—Thy will (not mine) be done.” These are thoughts which must go with us constantly. –Big Book p.85 | More…

Awakening
Much has already been said about receiving strength, inspiration, and direction from Him who has all knowledge and power. If we have carefully followed directions, we have begun to sense the flow of His Spirit into us. To some extent we have become God-conscious. We have begun to develop this vital sixth sense. But we must go further and that means more action. –Big Book p.85. | More…

Maintenance
When we retire at night, we constructively review our day. Were we resentful, selfish, dishonest or afraid? Do we owe an apology? Have we kept something to ourselves which should be discussed with another person at once? Were we kind and loving toward all? What could we have done better? Were we thinking of ourselves most of the time? Or were we thinking of what we could do for others, of what we could pack into the stream of life  –Big Book p.86 | More…

Direction
On awakening let us think about the twenty-four hours ahead. We consider our plans for the day. Before we begin, we ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives. In thinking about our day we may face indecision. Here we ask God for inspiration, an intuitive thought or a decision. Humbly saying to ourselves many times each day “Thy will be done.” We are then in much less danger of excitement, fear, anger, worry, self-pity, or foolish decisions. –Big Book p.86-88 | More…

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Direction
But we must be careful not to drift into worry, remorse or morbid reflection, for that would diminish our usefulness to others. After making our review we ask God’s forgiveness and inquire what corrective measures should be taken. Big Book p.86 | More…

Improvement
Our thought-life will be placed on a much higher plane when our thinking is cleared of wrong motives. –Big Book p.86 | More…

Intuition
What used to be the hunch or the occasional inspiration gradually becomes a working part of the mind. –Big Book p.87 | More…

Insurance
Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics. –Big Book p.89 | More…

Reward
Life will take on new meaning. To watch people recover, to see them help others, to watch loneliness vanish, to see a fellowship grow up about you, to have a host of friends—this is an experience you must not miss. –Big Book p.89 | More…

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Principles
We represent no particular faith or denomination. We are dealing only with general principles common to most denominations –Big Book p.93 | More…

Faithful-action
Your prospect may be curious to learn why his own convictions have not worked and why yours seem to work so well. He may be an example of the truth that faith alone is insufficient. To be vital, faith must be accompanied by self-sacrifice and unselfish, constructive action. –Big Book p.93 | More…

Helping
Offer him [the alcoholic] friendship and fellowship. Tell him that if he wants to get well you will do anything to help. –Big Book p.95 | More…

Foundation
Helping others is the foundation stone of your recovery. –Big Book p.97 | More…

Trust
Burn the idea into the consciousness of every man that he can get well regardless of anyone. The only condition is that he trust in God and clean house. –Big Book p.98 | More…

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Relationships
Let no alcoholic say he cannot recover unless he has his family back. This just isn’t so. In some cases the wife will never come back for one reason or another. Remind the prospect that his recovery is not dependent upon people. It is dependent upon his relationship with God. We have seen men get well whose families have not returned at all. We have seen others slip when the family came back too soon –Big Book p.99 | More…

Capable
Assuming we are spiritually fit, we can do all sorts of things alcoholics are not supposed to do. –Big Book p.100 | More…

Rebirth
Follow the dictates of a Higher Power and you will presently live in a new and wonderful world, no matter what your present circumstances! –Big Book p.100 | More…

Helpfulness
Your job now is to be at the place where you may be of maximum helpfulness to others, so never hesitate to go anywhere if you can be helpful. You should not hesitate to visit the most sordid spot on earth on such an errand. Keep on the firing line of life with these motives and God will keep you unharmed. –Big Book p.102 | More…

Tolerance
We are careful never to show intolerance or hatred of drinking as an institution. Experience shows that such an attitude is not helpful to anyone. Every new alcoholic looks for this spirit among us and is immensely relieved when he finds we are not witch-burners. A spirit of intolerance might repel alcoholics whose lives could have been saved, had it not been for such stupidity. –Big Book p.103 | More…

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Spiritual
We have elsewhere remarked how much better life is when lived on a spiritual plane. If God can solve the age-old riddle of alcoholism, He can solve your problems too. –Big Book p.116 | More…

Application
Now we try to put spiritual principles to work in every department of our lives. When we do that, we find it solves our problems too; the ensuing lack of fear, worry and hurt feelings is a wonderful thing. –Big Book p.116-117 | More…

Abstinence
Cessation of drinking is but the first step away from a highly strained, abnormal condition. –Big Book p.122 | More…

Sensitivity
We alcoholics are sensitive people. It takes some of us a long time to outgrow that serious handicap. –Big Book p.125 | More…

Shortcomings
As each member of a resentful family begins to see his shortcomings and admits them to the others, he lays a basis for helpful discussion. These family talks will be constructive if they can be carried on without heated argument, self-pity, self-justification or resentful criticism. –Big Book p.127 | More…

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Misery
It is clear that we made our own misery. God didn’t do it. Avoid then, the deliberate manufacture of misery –Big Book p.130 | More…

First-aid
When we see a man sinking into the mire that is alcoholism, we give him first aid and place what we have at his disposal. –Big Book P.132 | More…

Religious
Alcoholics who have derided religious people will be helped by such contacts. Being possessed of a spiritual experience, the alcoholic will find he has much in common with these people, though he may differ with them on many matters. –Big Book p.131-132 | More…

Laughter
Outsiders are sometimes shocked when we burst into merriment over a seemingly tragic experience out of the past. But why shouldn’t we laugh? We have recovered, and have been given the power to help others –Big Book p.132 | More…

Enjoyment
We aren’t a glum lot. If newcomers could see no joy or fun in our existence, they wouldn’t want it. We absolutely insist on enjoying life. –Big Book p.132 | More…

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Miracles
We, who have recovered from serious drinking, are miracles of mental health. –Big Book p.133 | More…

Recovering
A body badly burned by alcohol does not often recover overnight nor do twisted thinking and depression vanish in a twinkling. –Big Book p.133 | More…

Sexual-intimacy
A word about sex relations. Alcohol is so sexually stimulating to some men that they have over indulged. Couples are occasionally dismayed to find that when drinking is stopped the man tends to be impotent. Unless the reason is understood, there may be an emotional upset. Some of us had this experience, only to enjoy, in a few months, a finer intimacy than ever. There should be no hesitancy in consulting a doctor or psychologist if the condition persists. We do not know of many cases where this difficulty lasted long. –Big Book p.134 | More…

Transformation
To get over drinking will require a transformation of thought and attitude. We all had to place recovery above everything, for without recovery we would have lost both home and business. –Big Book p.143 | More…

Loneliness
The less people tolerated us, the more we withdrew from society, from life itself. As we became subjects of King Alcohol, shivering denizens of his mad realm, the chilling vapour that is loneliness settled down. It thickened, ever becoming blacker. –Big Book p.151 | More…

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Horrors
Some of us sought out sordid places, hoping to find understanding companionship and approval. Momentarily we did – then would come oblivion and the awful awakening to face the hideous Four Horsemen – Terror, Bewilderment, Frustration, Despair. Unhappy drinkers who read this page will understand –Big Book p.151 | More…

Fellowship
Yes, there is a substitute and it is vastly more than that. It is a fellowship in Alcoholics Anonymous. There 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. –Big Book p.152 | More…

Miracles
The age of miracles is still with us. Our own recovery proves that! –Big Book p.153 | More…

Alcoholic
It was the usual situation: home in jeopardy, wife ill, children distracted, bills in arrears and standing damaged. He had a desperate desire to stop, but saw no way out, for he had earnestly tried many avenues of escape. Painfully aware of being somehow abnormal, the man did not fully realize what it meant to be alcoholic. –Big Book p.155 | More…

Happiness
These men had found something brand new in life. Though they knew they must help other alcoholics if they would remain sober, that motive became secondary. It was transcended by the happiness they found in giving themselves for others –Big Book p.159 | More…

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Destiny
Abandon yourself to God as you understand God. Admit your faults to Him and to your fellows. Clear away the wreckage of your past. Give freely of what you find and join us. We shall be with you in the Fellowship of the Spirit, and you will surely meet some of us as you trudge the Road of Happy Destiny. –Big Book p.164 | More…

Surrender
We surrender to win. On the face of it, surrendering certainly does not seem like winning. But it is in AA. Only after we have come to the end of our rope, hit a stone wall in some aspect of our lives beyond which we can go no further; only when we hit “bottom” in despair and surrender, can we accomplish sobriety which we could never accomplish before. We must, and we do, surrender in order to win. Big Book p.341 | More…

Living
The AA way of life is the way we always should have tried to live. ‘Grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, courage to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference.’ These thoughts become part of our daily lives. They are not ideas of resignation but of the recognition of certain basic facts of living. –Big Book p.382-3 | More…

Two sins
There are only two sins; the first is to interfere with the growth of another human being, and the second is to interfere with one’s own growth. –Big Book p.542 | More…

H.O.W.
The A.A. members who sponsored me told me in the beginning that I would not only find a way to live without having a drink, but that I would find a way to live without wanting to drink, if I would do these simple things. – They said if you want to know how this program works, take the first word of your question, H.O.W. – the ‘H’ is for honesty, the ‘O’ is for open-mindedness, and the ‘W’ is for willingness; these our Big Book calls the essentials of recovery. –Big Book p.549-550 | More…

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Coping
God willing, we members of AA may never again have to deal with drinking, but we do have to deal with sobriety every day. How do we do it? By learning — through practicing the Twelve Steps and through sharing at meetings — how to cope with the problems that we looked to booze to solve, back in our drinking days. –Big Book p.560 | More…

Spiritual experience/awakening
The terms ‘spiritual experience’ and ‘spiritual awakening’ are used many times in this book which, upon careful reading, shows that the personality change sufficient to bring about recovery from alcoholism has manifested itself among us in many different forms — Big Book p.567 | More…

Big Book study
For the past two months we have been studying passages and steps from the Big Book. Now why not read the book itself again? We cannot study the big book too much or too often. –24Hours | More…

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