"SOME OF US" (Alcoholics Anonymous)

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Chris Deile

Ketchum, ID

#1 Jun 15, 2013
This comes out crammed up a bit, but there are word limits on this forum for each post, had to break it up into several postings:

“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]
‘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?

more...
Chris Deile

Ketchum, ID

#2 Jun 15, 2013

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].

more....
Chris Deile

Ketchum, ID

#3 Jun 15, 2013
Continued...

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.
Chris Deile

Ketchum, ID

#4 Jun 15, 2013
I wrote the above "SOME OF US" recently since when writing "Dysfunction Junction, How's That Function?" weeks ago hadn't realized the caveats do not actually rescind the absolutism (as imperatives cannot be annulled). So revised the whole thing and gave it a new title (though 'Dysfunction...' was a pretty funny title).
Chris Deile

Ketchum, ID

#5 Jun 15, 2013
Also considered calling it "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

Ketchum, ID

#6 Jun 17, 2013
Oe other thing, Harry Emerson Fosdick, n his review of the text Alcholics Anonymous ("Big Book"), wrote, "The core of their whole procedure is religious".
Chris Deile

Ketchum, ID

#7 Jun 17, 2013
Ooops...Christopher Bruce Deile is my full name. Most often post as Bruce, but posted here are as Chris since that is what people may remeber me by in Anchorage, particularly from the AA meetings there in 1985 (and 1996-97 after returning to Anchorage from the Lower '48).
Chris Deile

Ketchum, ID

#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.
Chris Deile

Ketchum, ID

#9 Jun 18, 2013
And, oh yeah, 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

Ketchum, ID

#10 Jun 20, 2013
Revised to include Harry Emerson Fosdick quote...
CB Deile

Ketchum, ID

#11 Jun 21, 2013
Just got this down to 600 words for opinion piece. Will try and post the abbreviated version soon...
CB Deile

Ketchum, ID

#12 Jun 24, 2013
I keep finding great b/w YouTube videos from the 60's:

Rosy Armen - Marie Joconde - 1966

video by LeDenicheur
Chris Deile

Ketchum, ID

#13 Jun 24, 2013
Here's the 600 word version:

“SOME OF US”

Alcoholics Anonymous ‘How It Works’ absolutism:“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…”
Fulfilling such imperatives as to let go absolutely, etc. is to live in perfect communion with God perennially.“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’[“Big Book”; 3rd Ed.]:“Most of our experiences are what the psychologist William James calls the ‘educational variety’ because they develop slowly over a period of time.” Meaning most of us are “some of us” and not “we” who “beg of you”[to be absolutist in a guilt inducing manner]. Caveats seeming to rescind the absolutism actually don’t since that which is stated imperative cannot be annulled.
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 doing 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”?
AA’s co-founders did not let go absolutely. Ebby T. drank again. Bill W.’s “dry drunk” periods 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 [see AA’s ‘Pass It On’]. And Dr. Bob fought cravings for alcohol his first year and a half of sobriety.
It was Dr. Bob who had newcomers get on their knees in his presence when taking the 3rd step (surrender to God). Beginning a custom AA sponsors [“spiritual advisors”] continue today worldwide (the Big Book instructs differently however; 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.), working in collusion with local judges court ordering people to attend AA, this custom epitomizes Oliver Cromwell coercion more so than a “voluntary program” of “attraction not promotion”. Although AA states it is spiritual and not religious, Harry Emerson Fosdick’s review of AA’s Big Book (1st Ed.) states:“The core of their whole procedure is religious”. And doctors William D. Silkworth and Harry M. Tiebout depict a religious context:“…it is paramount to note that the religious factor is all important even from the beginning”, etc.[‘AA Comes of Age’; pgs. 304-309]*

“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’

*A.A. World Services, Inc.
Chris Deile

Ketchum, ID

#14 Jun 24, 2013
Submitted to Christianity Today; they published my letter in Feb. of 2001 on AA.
Chris Deile

Ketchum, ID

#15 Jun 24, 2013
lol!

Just found this one on YouTube; I don't speak French, unable to know the lyrics, but it's quite entertaining anyhow:

ESC 1966 03 - Belgium - Tonia - Un Peu De Poivre, Un Peu De Sel

video by JoaoVelada

(juxtapose w/Lady Gaga)
Chris Deile

Ketchum, ID

#16 Jun 24, 2013
Funny. And here's an even better video version as it shows Tonia walking down the stairs (similar to Michele Torr "Ce Soir Je T'Attendais" video by EuroRainbow--it captures her walking down the stairs too, whereas other video versions, with far more views, don't have that intro--which means all those people miss out on that part...and interestingly enough, they're from the same year--1966-at Eurovision...looks like Tonia placed fourth, and Michele Torr won with 1st place):

ESC-Belgien Tonia-Un peu de poivre, un peu de sel (1966)

video by EuroRainbow
Chris Deile

Ketchum, ID

#17 Jun 24, 2013
Wow! What a year for Eurovision--1966. This one is just fabulous...wonder if
Margot Eskins had a French version of this--French has such a nice sound to it...but this is quite stunning still; excellent b/w quality:

ESC-Deutschland Margot Eskens-Die Zeiger der Uhr (1966)

video by EuroRainbow
Chris Deile

Ketchum, ID

#18 Jun 24, 2013
Ooops...Michele Torr did not place 1st that year--only tenth. Have always felt she should have placed first but her Wiki page gives explicit criticism of her performance. Margot Eskins didn't place first either; her performance is quite good though...the only thing is it might have sounded best in French. But again, unsure of the songs meanings--just commenting on the sound.
Chris Deile

Ketchum, ID

#19 Jun 24, 2013
Have viewed, ESC-Deutschland Margot Eskens-Die Zeiger der Uhr (1966), numerous times in the past 30 minutes and as beautiful as Margot Erskens is, just can't help thinking French would suit her better. The German language is harsh, and French could soften her. Hard to imagine criticizing her performance though--it's fantastic, one of the great ones.
Chris Deile

Ketchum, ID

#20 Jun 24, 2013
For example, Gigliola Cinquetti has many, many good videos on YouTube. However, two of my favorites of hers are when she is singing in French:

Le Coeur Trop Tendre
video by Elo Dali

Que C'Est Triste Venise (live) 16:9
video by Elo Dali

--and there are others too she sings in French that I really love. It seems like Margot Eskens might be similar in that respect. Will look into this further....

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