Alcoholics Anonymous - The Primary Purpose Group Elmira, NY


That's not in the book!

"you just didn't want it bad enough"

This is one of the most offensive, arrogant statements I hear at meetings. I don't know how many times I crawled back to a meeting, feeling hopeless and broken - dying inside, wanting change and not knowing how. So I would sit there and listen to some mind reader tell me that I just didn't want it enough. Gee thanks for the insight, These days I thank God for my sobriety and ask that my desire to ask these folks for the following days lottery numbers leaves me. ah

“We are all just an arms length away from a drink”

Not if you are working the program! Page 84, paragraph 4, "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. We are not fighting it, neither are we avoiding temptation. We feel as though we had been placed in a position of neutrality - safe and protected. We have not even sworn off. Instead, the problem has been removed. It does not exist for us"

"Don't drink and go to meetings."

Great advice but without prayer (a power greater than ourselves) I am doomed
Page 34, paragraph 2: “Many of us felt 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.”

Page 34, paragraph 3: "Whether such a person can quit upon a nonspiritual basis depends upon the extent to which he has already lost the power to choose whether he will drink or not."

Page 17, paragraph 2: "Unlike the feelings of the ship's passengers, however, our joy in escape from disaster does not subside as we go our individual ways. The feeling of having shared in a common peril is one element in the powerful cement which binds us. But that in itself would never have held us together as we are now joined."

"This is a selfish program"

The program outlined in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous tells me that I must change from my Selfishness-self-centeredness! This program demands that I stop being selfish and self centered, in fact that was one of my biggest problems, I was selfish and self centered. I had wanted to change for a long time, as long as I can remember I wanted to be somebody else, all the wishing and wanting didn't change a thing. I started to pray, started reading the book and following the directions, next thing you know I am changing and all without any effort on my part. Really, no effort, a little prayer started it all. well wait, first I had to come to the realization that I was absolutely hopeless, then some prayer and bingo! my life started getting better, and still is. Page 21 defines how I lived, page 85 is my reality today, Thank God, this program really works.

Page 20, paragraph 1: "Our very lives, as ex-problem drinkers depend upon our constant thought of others and how we may help meet their needs."

Page 97, paragraph 2: "Helping others is the foundation stone of your recovery. A kindly act once in a while isn't enough. You have to act the Good Samaritan every day, if need be. It may mean the loss of many nights' sleep, great interference with your pleasures, interruptions to your business. It may mean sharing your money and your home, counseling frantic wives and relatives, innumerable trips to police courts, sanitariums, hospitals, jails and asylums. Your telephone may jangle at any time of the day or night. "

Page 14-15: "For if an alcoholic failed to perfect and enlarge his spiritual life through work and self-sacrifice for others, he could not survive the certain trials and low spots ahead."

Page 62, paragraph 2: "Selfishness, self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles"

Page 62, paragraph 3: "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
kill us!"

"Meeting makers make it"

if they work the program! Page 59, paragraph 3: "Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery"

"I'm powerless over people, places and things"

NOT MY REALITY!!! I go to the casinos with my wife sit next to folks that drink, wild women etc., we travel and go without fear. I work in peoples homes where there is cold beer in the refrigerator, vodka, wine, whatever, I found a bong behind a couch not to long ago. I have been given freedom from fear and obsession, I pray to God in the morning that he show me throughout the day what to do and beg that he gives me what I need to do it. I can go anywhere that normal men go so long as I am spiritually fit. I no longer walk alone, I walk hand in hand with the creator of the universe and I am no longer afraid nor cocky. I am not powerless over people, places or things, I am powerless over alcohol and drugs, period, and God protects me from them. This program is about recovery and freedom. God Bless.

Page 132, paragraph 3: "We have recovered, and have been given the power to help others."

Page 122, paragraph 3: " Years of living with an alcoholic is almost sure to make any wife or child neurotic. "

Page 82, paragraph 4: "The alcoholic is like a tornado roaring his way through the lives of others. Hearts are broken. Sweet relationships are dead. Affections have been uprooted. Selfish and inconsiderate habits have kept the home in turmoil. We feel a man is unthinking when he says that sobriety is enough."

Page 89, paragraph 2: "You can help when no one else can. You can secure their confidence when others fail."

"You're in the right place"

Page 20-21: "Then we have a certain type of hard drinker. He may have the habit badly enough to gradually impair him physically and mentally. It may cause him to die a few years before his time. If a sufficiently strong reason - ill health, falling in love, change of environment, or the warning of a doctor - becomes operative, this man can also stop or moderate, although he may find it difficult and troublesome and may even need medical attention."

Page 31, paragraph 2: " If anyone who is showing inability to control his drinking can do the right- about-face and drink like a gentleman, our hats are off to him."

Page 31-32: "We do not like to pronounce any individual as alcoholic, but you can quickly diagnose yourself. Step over to the nearest barroom and try some controlled drinking. Try to drink and stop abruptly. Try it more than once. It will not take long for you to decide, if you are honest with yourself about it. It may be worth a bad case of jitters if you get a full knowledge of your condition."

Page 108-109: "Your husband may be only a heavy drinker. His drinking may be constant or it may be heavy only on certain occasions. Perhaps he spends too much money for liquor. It may be slowing him up mentally and physically, but he does not see it. Sometimes he is a source of embarrassment to you and his friends. He is positive he can handle his liquor, that it does him no harm, that drinking is necessary in his business. He would probably be insulted if he were called an alcoholic. This world is full of people like him. Some will moderate or stop altogether, and some will not. Of those who keep on, a good number will become true alcoholics after a while."

Page 92, paragraph 2: "If you are satisfied that he is a real alcoholic"

Page 95, paragraph 4 "If he thinks he can do the job in some other way, or prefers some other spiritual approach, encourage him to follow his own conscience."

"We must change playmates, playgrounds, and playthings";

Page 100-101: "Assuming we are spiritually fit, we can do all sorts of things alcoholics are not supposed to do. People have said we must not go where liquor is served; we must not have it in our homes; we must shun friends who drink; we must avoid moving pictures which show drinking scenes; we must not go into bars; our friends must hide their bottles if we go to their houses; we mustn't think or be reminded about alcohol at all. Our experience shows that this is not necessarily so.
We meet these conditions every day. An alcoholic who cannot meet them, still has an alcoholic mind; there is something the matter with his spiritual status. His only chance for sobriety would be some place like the Greenland Ice Cap, and even there an Eskimo might turn up with a bottle of scotch and ruin everything!"

"I haven't had a drink today, so I'm a complete success today."

Page 19, paragraph 1: "The elimination of drinking is but a beginning. A much more important demonstration of our principles lies before us in our respective homes, occupations and affairs.”

"It's my opinion that..." or "I don't know anything about the Big Book, but this is the way I do it..."

Page 19, paragraph 1: "We have concluded to publish an anonymous volume setting forth the problem as we see it. We shall bring to the task our combined experience and knowledge. This should suggest a useful program for anyone concerned with a drinking problem."

"Don't drink, no matter what."

Page 34, paragraph 2: “Many of us felt 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.”

Page 31, paragraph 4: "We do not like to pronounce any individual as alcoholic, but you can quickly diagnose yourself. Step over to the nearest barroom and try some controlled drinking. Try to drink and stop abruptly. Try it more than once. It will not take long for you to decide, if you are honest with yourself about it. It may be worth a bad case of jitters if you get a full knowledge of your condition."

"We need to give up planning, it doesn't work."

Page 86, paragraphs 3-4: "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. Under these conditions we can employ our mental faculties with assurance, for after all God gave us brains to use. Our thought-life will be placed on a much higher plane when our thinking is cleared of wrong motives.
In thinking about our day we may face indecision. We may not be able to determine which course to take. Here we ask God for inspiration, an intuitive thought or a decision. We relax and take it easy. We don't struggle. We are often surprised how the right answers come after we have tried this for a while."

"I have a choice to not drink today."

Page 30, paragraph 3: "We alcoholics are men and women who have lost the ability to control our drinking. We know that no real alcoholic ever recovers control. All of us felt at times that we were regaining control, but such intervals - usually brief - were inevitably followed by still less control, which led in time to pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization. We are convinced to a man that alcoholics of our type are in the grip of a progressive illness. Over any considerable period we get worse, never better."

"If all I do is stay sober today, then it's been a good day."

Page 82, paragraph 3: " 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."

Page 82 paragraph 4: "We feel a man is unthinking when he says sobriety is enough."

"You don't need a shrink. You have an alcoholic personality. All you will ever need is in the first 164 pages of the Big Book."

Page 133, 2nd paragraph: "But this does not mean that we disregard human health measures. God has abundantly supplied this world with fine doctors, psychologists, and practitioners of various kinds. Do not hesitate to take your health problems to such persons. Most of them give freely of themselves, that their fellows may enjoy sound minds and bodies. Try to remember that though God has wrought miracles among us, we should never belittle a good doctor or psychiatrist. Their services are often indispensable in treating a newcomer and in following his case afterward."

“My sponsor told me that, if in making an amend I would be harmed, I could consider myself as one of the ‘others’ in Step Nine.”

Page 79, paragraph 2 “Reminding ourselves that we have decided to go to any lengths to find a spiritual experience, we ask that we be given strength and direction to do the right thing, no matter what the personal consequences might be.”

"Take what you want and leave the rest";

Page 59, paragraph 1: "Half measures availed us nothing"

Page 25, paragraph 3: "we believe there is no middle-of-the-road solution."

Page 17, paragraph 3: "The tremendous fact for every one of us is that we have discovered a common solution. We have a way out on which we can absolutely agree, and upon which we can join in brotherly and harmonious action. This is the great news this book carries to those who suffer from alcoholism."

"Just do the next right thing"

Page 86, paragraph 4: " We may not be able to determine which course to take. Here we ask God for inspiration, an intuitive thought or a decision."

Page 87, paragraph 1: " Being still inexperienced and having just made conscious contact with God, it is not probable that we are going to be inspired at all times. We might pay for this presumption in all sorts of absurd actions and ideas."

"Don't make any major decisions for the first year"

Page 60, paragraph 4:
"(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 understood Him."

Page 76, paragraph 2: "When ready, we say something like this: "My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding. Amen." We have then completed Step Seven."

"Stay out of relationships for the first year!"


Page. 69, paragraph 1: "We do not want to be the arbiter of anyone's sex conduct."
Page 69, paragraph 3: "In meditation, we ask God what we should do about each specific matter. The right answer will come if we want it."
Page 69, paragraph 4: "God alone can judge our sex situation."
Page 69-70:"Counsel with other persons is often desirable, but we let God be the final judge."
Page 70, Paragraph 2: "We earnestly pray for the right ideal, for guidance in each questionable situation, for sanity, and for the strength to do the right thing."
"Keep coming back, eventually it will rub off on you"
Page 64, Paragraph 1: "Though our decision was a vital and crucial step, it could have little permanent effect unless at once followed by a strenuous effort to face, and to be rid of, the things in ourselves which had been blocking us"

"You only work one step a year" "Take your time to work the steps"

Why would you tell an alcoholic, with a chronic killing disease, to wait to change? This disease kills and unless we change we die and/or may kill someone else
Page 569, paragraph 3: What often takes place in a few months can hardly be brought about by himself alone."

Page 63, paragraph3: "Next we launched on a course of vigorous action."

Page 74, paragraph 2: "If that is so, this step may be postponed, only, however, if we hold ourselves in complete readiness to go through with it at the first opportunity"

Page 75, paragraph 3: "Returning home we find a place where we can be quiet for AN HOUR, carefully reviewing what we have done."

"Make sure to put something good about yourself in your 4th step inventory."


Page 64 paragraph 3 "First, we searched out the flaws in our make-up which caused our failure."

Page 67 paragraph 3 "The inventory was ours, not the other man's. When we saw our faults we listed them."

Page 71 paragraph 1 "If you have already made a decision, and an inventory of your grosser handicaps, you have made a good beginning."

"You need to stay in those feelings and really feel them."

Page 84, paragraph 2: "When these crop up, we ask God at once to remove them."

pg. 125 paragraph 1 "So we think that unless some good and useful purpose is to be served, past occurrences should not be discussed."

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The information on this web site represents my views and the views of me and some of my alcoholic friends and visitors to this website and does not reflect the views of Alcoholics Anonymous. Read your own Big Book!



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The primary purpose group website is neither endorsed nor approved by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services.  This website is simply part of our 12-step work; its main purpose is to show the alcoholic who still suffers the simplicity and the effectiveness of the program of alcoholics anonymous when practiced as described in the big book of A. A.   

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