Sunday Sundries …
Courtesy: Thinkin’ Antiker Flickr
It has been a blustery weekend. We had rain over the past couple of days and nights, and the clouds at one point were streaking across the sky, and it seemed they were almost low enough to touch from the balcony. Having a balcony 17 stories up, we have a good view of the entire Western sky across to the mountain and often the clouds dip down to encircle the mount top and the Western sky scrapers.
I was out early tonight because one of our members was sick and could not make it to set up, so I made coffee and set up for the meeting. I’ve been adding chairs to the room because we usually get an influx of people, right as the meeting starts, and one of my friends said tonight about all the chairs I put out, and I said “if you put chairs out, people will show up!” We filled all the chairs and then some tonight.
Sunday is always a good night because once again the same crowd showed up to read further into the Big Book, and we had guests from other parts of the world which is always nice. It seems that the weekend meeting is the one where we get visitors from other places, not so much on Tuesday nights.
We finished reading the forwards to the 3rd and 4th edition, and several things jumped off the page for me on this pass through this section of the book.
First, that the 4th edition went to press in November of 2001. I got sober this last time the beginning of December 2001. And I was a few months into sobriety, when at Shadows, a meeting here in the city, my then sponsor Perry, handed me the Big Book that I have used to this day. I have several Big Books in my library here at home. But the one I use on a regular basis is a 4th edition, highlit in several colors having been through the first 164 pages several times in sobriety.
Secondly, I noted that over the past few weeks, that not so much paragraphs that jump out at me, but single words jump off the page, and I’ve read these books ( The 12 and 12 and the B.B.) multiple times, and to this day, I find that single words get my attention, when in the past I did not notice them. And this thought was shared by one of our guests tonight.
Words might not make a difference, but I find that when we sit in a meeting with others reading the same text, someone eventually picks out something that I might have passed over before or had not read the passage in that way before either.
Third, in 1936 A.A. began with 100 people. Mostly men, and very few women. And from the text we read that “We are a people who normally would not mix” and that thought often pops up in many sections of the book. it is mentioned twice in the text.
“Since the 3rd edition was published in 1976, worldwide membership of A.A.
has just about doubled, to an estimated two million or more, with nearly 100,800 groups meeting in approximately 150 countries around the world.”
Imagine that from the original 100 men and women, we have grown now to more than two million people worldwide. This simple text written about the suffering alcoholic and giving the solution that so many would read and take to heart has changed the world. Which is why it is so important to read the forwards before beginning the Doctors Opinion, to take note of progress and to remember the history of the who, what, where and why … before you hit the first words written by Doctor William D. Silkworth M.D.
I’ve heard many different takes on the book, as to what is written on the first few pages of the book, Why the first page of the book is blank … Because when we open the book, the blank page reminds us of just how much we know about our alcoholism, on the first pass … We are as blank as that first page.
Over the years all my blanks pages and margins and below and above the text are written key notes and observations of things I’ve heard from others when studying the book.
Recently, I’ve heard members sharing about meetings that they have attended in other parts of the world, and I heard it again tonight, that at certain Big Book Meetings, they dissect the book, paragraph by paragraph and word for word succinctly and totally, getting down to the nitty gritty of the word for word study of the book.
We spent the better part of the entire summer reading from “Experience, Strength and Hope” the stories from editions 1, 2 and 3 … And now we are getting to the “Meaty” part of the program as it is presented in book form.
The Story of How Many Thousands of Men and Women Have Recovered from Alcoholism.
I enjoy reading with my fellows, because it is there that I find commonality with every person in the room, who are trying to find the solution to their malady of Mind, body and spirit. A simple program for complicated people written with care and compassion by the founders Bill, Bob and the first 100 …
More to come, stay tuned …