"Some of Us" (Alcoholics Anonymous)

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Bruce Deile

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#1
Jun 15, 2013
 
“SOME OF US”

Alcoholics Anonymous ‘How It Works’ absolutism (recited during the beginning of AA meetings):
“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 onto our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely…Half measures availed us nothing…We asked His protection and care with complete abandon. Here are the steps we took….”
Although AA states it is spiritual and not religious, the following quotes by doctors William D. Silkworth and Harry M. Tiebout depict a religious context:“…under these conditions the patient turns to religion with an entire willingness and readily accepts, without reservation, a simple religious proposal”(italics added); “Considering the presence of the religious factor”; “Because of this initial confidence, identical experience, and the fact that the discussion is pitched on moral and religious grounds…”; “…it is paramount to note that the religious factor is all important even from the beginning…”; “Alcoholics Anonymous is the name applied to a group of ex-alcoholics who, through a therapeutic program which a definite religious element…”; “…found an answer to his drinking problem in a personal religious experience”[‘AA Comes of Age’; pgs. 304-309](footnote)
‘How It Works’, when stating,“Some of us have tried to hold onto our old ideas”, etc. implies the majority of AA members have let go of their “old ideas”(original sin in religious terms) absolutely. However, Appendix II,‘Spiritual Experience’[AA’s text “Big Book”; 3rd Ed.], contains the caveat (caveat here to mean 1b. an explanation to prevent misunderstanding; Webster’s New International):“Most of our experiences are what the psychologist William James calls the ‘educational variety’ because they develop slowly over a period of time.” Which, when giving that some thought, means most of us are “some of us” and not “we” who “beg of you”[to be absolutist in a guilt inducing manner].
Fulfilling such imperatives as to let go absolutely with no old ideas remaining, etc. is to live in perfect communion with God perennially. Therefore, a daily 3rd step (surrender to God) would not only be absolutely unnecessary but a misnomer: If old ideas have crept back in at any point following having let go absolutely, requiring another letting go, one hasn’t let go absolutely to begin with. Absolutely means absolutely, particularly in the context of “half measures availed us nothing” and “the result was nil until…”, thereby rendering a daily 10th step [moral inventory] moot as well since there would be no faults (sins) to tally.
Caveats seeming to rescind the absolutism actually don’t since that which is stated imperative cannot be annulled. For example, the caveat “No one among us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence to these principles…the principles we have set down are guides to progress not spiritual perfection”: At this point absolutist perfectionism is admitted to be impossible. But it had already been emphatically insisted upon preceding the 12 steps. And,“We are not cured of alcoholism. What we have is a daily reprieve contingent upon the maintenance of our spiritual condition”(Big Book; p.85): Yet what is to be maintained when one has [purportedly] let go absolutely?

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Bruce Deile

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#2
Jun 15, 2013
 
Continued...
Appendix II describes how many are relieved to find a sudden religious experience (like Bill W.’s) was unnecessary to successfully work the steps (again—it can be a gradual process of the ‘educational variety’; William James ‘The Varieties of Religious Experience’). Is the alcoholic thereby relieved though or confused? The letting go absolutely had already been established; but here AA grants working the steps a learning process and not an event.

Except,“Here are the steps we took”, not “Here are the steps we are taking over the span of a lifetime”. Moreover,“If you want what we have and are willing to go to any lengths to get it” not “If you want what we are gradually getting over a lifetime of working the steps and are willing to go to any lengths to get that which we are ever so gradually getting through a learning process”. And, forthwith,“To show other alcoholics precisely how we have recovered is the main purpose of this book”(Forward to Big Book; 1st Ed.); i.e.“Our stories disclose in a general way what it was like, what happened, and what it’s like now”. Finally,“Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps”, not otherwise, we thence commenced requiring newcomers to get on their knees and turn their lives and wills over to the care of God as we understood Him.
That’s what Dr. Bob did, beginning a custom AA sponsors (“spiritual advisors”) continue today worldwide (even though the Big Book instructs differently; p. 63). Ebby T. hadn’t required Bill W. to get on his knees; Bill W. hadn’t required Dr. Bob to get on his knees; it had only involved one alcoholic sharing with another on a mutual basis reportedly. But because Dr. Bob “always emphasized the religious angle very strongly when working with others”(Big Book; p.292; 3rd Ed.), and worked in collusion with local judges court ordering people, this custom epitomizes Oliver Cromwell coercion more so than a voluntary program of “attraction not promotion”.
And regarding Ebby, Bill and Dr. Bob, none had let go absolutely: Ebby T. drank again. Bill W. had a sudden religious experience removing his desire to drink, followed by his working the steps, yet shared of suffering waves of self-pity and resentment throughout his first two years of sobriety. Bill W.’s “dry drunk” periods later led to his (and wife Lois, Father Dowling, and other AA’s) using LSD in sobriety, believing it to improve the alcoholics relationship with God by removing self—ego—and making room for God [see AA’s ‘Pass It On’]. Dr. Bob fought cravings for alcohol his first year and a half of sobriety, cravings that continued after he had worked the steps (they were 6 steps back then). So, being mortal men, the co-founders of Alcoholics Anonymous had not let go absolutely [see online ‘Forgetting Reinhold Niebuhr’; New York Times; 9/18/2005—Niebuhr was a Protestant theologian and author of the Serenity Prayer that AA later began reciting at the beginning of meetings].

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Bruce Deile

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#3
Jun 15, 2013
 

Appendix II:“Though it was not our intention to create such an impression, many alcoholics have nevertheless concluded that in order to recover they must acquire an immediate and overwhelming ‘God consciousness’ followed at once by a vast change in feeling and outlook”.
Alcoholics concluding that show the caveats haven’t rescinded the absolutism. Resulting in an enigmatic dichotomy of “God conscious” members appearing “happy, joyous and free”(having fulfilled the imperatives purportedly) and “half measures” members chronically aware of not having done so. False guilt is the consequence that can lead an alcoholic back to drinking, or to seek oblivion through myriad forms in order to assuage a troubled conscience.“Strait is the gait and few there be that find it” or “Beware the Pharisees”?

“The basenesses so commonly charged to religions accounts are thus, almost all of them, not chargeable at all to religion proper, but rather to religion’s wicked practical partner, the spirit of corporate dominion.”
William James ‘The Varieties of Religious Experience’

Footnote: A.A. World Services, Inc.
Bruce Deile

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#4
Jun 15, 2013
 
"SOME OF US" follows "Dysfunction Junction, How's That Function?" posted on the thread by that title. Corrected the part about caveats rescinding the absolutism. When writing "Dysfunction..." hadn't realized the caveats actually do not rescind the absolutism (since the absolutism is stated imperatively).
Bruce Deile

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#5
Jun 15, 2013
 
"SOME OF US" is posted kind of sloppy--paragraphs all crammed together, but had to break it up in several posts as this forum has word limits on each post.
Chris Deile

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#6
Jun 15, 2013
 
Considered calling this ("SOME OF US") "WE", but Evgeney Zamyatin's 1920's dystopian novel already has that title. It's based in part on Dostoyevsky's "Grand Inquisitor" (from 'The Brother's Karamazov), and is very interesting, though unable to comprehend it fully. I liked the part about the square root of minus one; that it cannot be solved by reason alone and requires faith in an imaginary system of numbers. And how that riles the lead character attempting to live by rigid, fascist order.
Bruce Deile

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#7
Jun 17, 2013
 
My full name is Christopher Bruce Deile. Still post by "Chris" every now and then.
Chris Deile

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#8
Jun 18, 2013
 
And then there's Emmett Fox--AA handed out his 'Sermon on the Mount' to newcomers before the big book was published. Fox, in chapter one or two, forgot which one, actually blames Christian martyrs for their own martyrdom. Using the OT proverb--If a man's ways are right with God he will make even his enemies be at peace with him--in an absolutist sense, Fox explains Christian martyrs failed to love their enemies sufficiently enough, therefore their martyrdom was on their own shoulders.

Jesus' ways were right with God yet his enemies crucified him. So the OT proverb is apparently not meant in an absolutist sense.
CB Deile

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#9
Jun 19, 2013
 
Fox emphasized one must have the spiritual "Key" to understand biblical truths. But using that OT verse in the maner he does has nothing to do with a "key" of understanding, it's simply re-martyring them all over again through blame-shifting.
CB Deile

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#10
Jun 19, 2013
 
One other thought--Harry Emerson Fosdick, quoted often in A literature, wrote glowingly of Darwin in the beginning of "Dear Mr. Brown". So the Herbert Spencer quote at bottom of Appendix II (AA big book 3rd ed.) becomes more and more conspicuous when reading AA history (Spencer was the "grandfather of Darwinism", believing poor people should be allowed to die off instead of receiving charity of any form private or government); Spencer attributed that belief to universal law.
CB Deile

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#11
Jun 20, 2013
 
Revised 'SOME OF US" to include Harry Emerson Fosdcik quote...
CB Deile

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#12
Jun 21, 2013
 
I'm always finding such good videos on YouTube! Just found this one:

Rosy Armen - Si j'étais sûre qu'il revienne - 1965

video by LeDenicheur
CB Deile

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#13
Jun 21, 2013
 
Yes, there are two video versions--the one posted 12/10/12 looks like a studio version (the first one I'd found)and the other one has Rosy Armen singing on an outdoor stage. Both are excellent, although the studio one crops her head for about the first half of the video.
CB Deile

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#14
Jun 21, 2013
 
Rosy Armen's YouTube videos are excellent. Just found this one:

Rosy Armen "J'y pense et puis j'oublie"

video by Ina Chansons

Not alot of views on her videos, yet they're really, really good. Brings to mind Marianne Mille, Jacqueline Boyer, and Cocky Mazzetti. Her Wiki page is brief, but Rosy Armen looks to have great accomplishments. Armenian.
CB Deile

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#15
Jun 21, 2013
 
This video version shows her walking out onstage; love that, like in Michele Torr's "Ce Soir Je T'Attendais" video by EuroRainbow. Numerous other video versions of that Michele Torr performance have a ton of views, but they're all missing out on her walking down the stairs and to the microphone at the beginning. Here's the Rosy Armen:

Rosy Armen - J'y pense et puis j'oublie - 1966

video by LeDenicheur
CB Deile

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#16
Jun 21, 2013
 
lol! I knew right away Rosy Armen would have good videos:

Rosy Armen - Yes mi siroun - 1965

video by LeDenicheur
CB Deile

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#17
Jun 21, 2013
 
One more:

Rosy Armen - El pecador - La pécheresse - 1963

video by LeDenicheur

lol!
CB Deile

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#18
Jun 22, 2013
 
The quality of these b/w videos by Rosy Armen are quite remarkable; keep finding really good one's, and again, it's surprising that they have so few views--here's another one:

Rosy Armen - Viens tout contre moi - 1965

video by LeDenicheur
CB Deile

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#19
Jun 22, 2013
 
Also brings to mind....


Krystyna Konarska - Przyjdzie po mnie kto&#347; (Sopot 1966)

video by altero1960
CB Deile

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#20
Jun 22, 2013
 
I like the one that runs for 3:32 where Rosy Armen is singing onstage better than the other one where she sings in a long coat:

Rosy Armen - Viens tout contre moi - 1965

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