International Centre for Alcohol Policies (ICAP) is a not-for-profit
by major producers of beverage alcohol. As a
basis for open dialogue with the scientific and public health
communities, and as a contribution to meaningful discourse about
beverage alcohol's role in society, the companies sponsoring ICAP
vast majority of people who consume beverage alcohol do so
responsibly and to enhance the quality of their lives.
consumed moderately and in a responsible manner by individuals with
good health and dietary habits, who have no medical reason to
refrain from drinking, beverage alcohol is associated with few risks
of harm and has been reported to have some beneficial effects on
consumption of beverage alcohol is associated with a variety of
risks both to the individual and to the public in health, social,
economic, and safety contexts. Irresponsible consumption refers to
high levels of intake, either on single occasions or repeatedly, or
to drinking in inappropriate circumstances or by those who should
not be drinking at all.
policies need to be based on an objective understanding of available
research about alcohol and should aim to create a reasonable balance
of government regulation, industry self-regulation, and individual
bid to reduce alcohol related harm and improve the health and
well-being of the Scottish population, the Scottish Government is
taking forward Scotland’s alcohol strategy. Scotland’s alcohol
strategy is a whole population approach incorporating both
legislative and policy measures to shift changes in alcohol related
behaviours. The strategy comprises the Framework for Action, Licensing (Scotland) Act (2005), Alcohol etc
(Scotland) Act (2010) and most recently the Alcohol Minimum Pricing
(Scotland) Act 2012 (still to be implemented). Further information on
alcohol related policy is Scotland is available on the NHS Health Scotland Alcohol webpages.
and Evaluating Scotland’s Alcohol Strategy (MESAS)
Scottish Government has tasked NHS Health Scotland with the
responsibility of evaluating Scotland’s alcohol strategy (including
Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP), if implemented) through the Monitoring
and Evaluating Scotland’s Alcohol Strategy (MESAS) programme of
work. The key evaluation questions outlined for the whole MESAS
programme of work are:
and to what extent has implementing the package of measures (taken
together and/or individually) contained in the Scottish alcohol
strategy contributed to reducing alcohol-related harms?
some (people and businesses) affected (positively and negatively)
more than others?
might the strategy be implemented differently to improve
‘Theory of Change’ approach has been adopted to address the
evaluation questions presented above. The Theory of Change assumes
that alcohol related harms will reduce if alcohol consumption goes
down. Further information on the Theory of Change and the evaluation
plan is available in the first annual MESAS (baseline) report.
evaluation comprises of a portfolio of seven studies. The studies started at the beginning of 2010
and will run through to 2015, with the monitoring of routine data
continuing beyond. Further information on the study portfolio can be
found in the MESAS Briefing Paper (December 2009). Additionally the evaluation of
the impact of MUP, if implemented, will be developed and interpreted
within the framework of the MESAS programme of work. The evaluation
plan for MUP is currently being devised.”
sections they always seem to miss (including Joe and Charlie in their
so-called “Big Book study"!)
Working With Others
shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as
intensive work with other alcoholics. It works when other activities
fail. This is our twelfth suggestion: Carry this message to other
alcoholics! You can help when no one else can. You can secure their
confidence when other fail. Remember they are very ill.
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. We know
you will not want to miss it. Frequent contact with newcomers and
with each other is the bright spot of our lives.
Perhaps you are not
acquainted with any drinkers who want to recover. You can easily find
some by asking a few doctors, ministers, priests or hospitals. They
will be only too glad to assist you. Don't
start out as an evangelist or reformer. Unfortunately a
lot of prejudice exists. You will be handicapped if you arouse it.
Ministers and doctors are competent and you can learn much from them
if you wish, but it happens that because of your own drinking
experience you can be uniquely useful to other alcoholics. So
cooperate; never criticize. To be helpful is our only aim.
When you discover a
prospect for Alcoholics Anonymous, find out
all you can about him.If
he does not want to stop drinking, don't waste time trying to
persuade him. You may spoil a later opportunity. This
advice is given for his family also. They should be patient,
realizing they are dealing with a sick person.
If there is any
indication that he wants to stop, have a good talk with the person
most interested in him —usually his wife. Get an idea of his
behavior, his problems, his background, the seriousness of his
condition, and his religious leanings. You need this information to
put yourself in his place, to see how you would like him to approach
you if the tables were turned.
Sometimes it is wise to
wait till he goes on a binge. The family may object to this, but
unless he is in a dangerous physical condition, it is better to risk
it. Don't deal with him when he is very drunk, unless he is ugly and
the family needs your help. Wait for the end of the spree, or at
least for a lucid interval. Then let his family or a friend ask him
if he wants to quit for good and if he would go to any extreme to do
so. If he says yes, then his attention should be drawn to you as a
person who has recovered. You should be described to him as one of a
fellowship who, as part of their own recovery, try to help others and
who will be glad to talk to him if he cares to see you.
he does not want to see you, never force yourself upon him.
Neither should the family hysterically plead with him to do anything,
nor should they tell him much about you. They should wait for the end
of his next drinking bout. You might place this book where he can see
it in the interval. Here no specific rule
can be given. The family must decide these things. But
urge them not to be over-anxious, for that might spoil matters.
Usually the family should
not try to tell your story. When possible, avoid meeting a man
through his family. Approach through a doctor or an institution is a
better bet. If your man needs hospitalization, he should have it, but
not forcibly unless he is violent. Let the doctor, if he will, tell
him he has something in the way of a solution.
When your man is better,
the doctor might suggest a visit from you. Though you have talked
with the family, leave them out of the first discussion. Under these
conditions your prospect will see he is under not pressure. He will
feel he can deal with you without being nagged by his family. Call on
him while he is still jittery. He may be more receptive when
your man alone, if possible. At first engage
in general conversation. After a while, turn the talk to some phase
of drinking. Tell him enough about your drinking habits, symptoms,
and experiences to encourage him to speak of himself. If he wishes to
talk, let him do so.You will thus get a better
idea of how you ought to proceed. If he is not communicative, give
him a sketch or your drinking career up to the time you quit. But say
nothing, for the moment, of how that was accomplished. If
he is in a serious mood dwell on the troubles liquor has caused you,
being careful not to moralize or lecture. If his mood is
light, tell him humorous stories of your escapades. Get him to tell
some of his.
he sees you know all about the drinking game, commence to describe
yourself as an alcoholic. Tell him how baffled you were, how you
finally learned that you were sick. Give him
an account of the struggles you made to stop.
Show him the mental twist which leads to the first drink of a spree.
We suggest you do this as we have done it in the chapter on
alcoholism. If he is alcoholic, he will understand you at once. He
will match you mental inconsistencies with some of his own.
are satisfied that he is a real alcoholic, begin to dwell on the
hopeless feature of the malady. Show him, from your own experience,
how the queer mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents
normal functioning of the will power. Don't,
at this stage, refer to this book, unless he has seen it
and wishes to discuss it. And be careful not
to brand him as an alcoholic. Let him draw his own conclusion.
If he sticks to the idea that he can still control his drinking, tell
him that possibly he can — if he is not too alcoholic. But insist
that if he is severely afflicted, there may be little chance he can
recover by himself.
to speak of alcoholism as an illness, a fatal malady. Talk about the
conditions of body and mind which accompany it. Keep
his attention focused mainly on your personal experience.
Explain that many are doomed who never realize their predicament.
Doctors are rightly loath to tell alcoholic patients the whole story
unless it will serve some good purpose. But you may talk to him about
the hopelessness of alcoholism because you offer a solution. You will
soon have you friend admitting he has many, if not all, of the traits
of the alcoholic. If his own doctor is willing to tell him that he is
alcoholic, so much the better. Even though your protege may not have
entirely admitted his condition, he has become very curious to know
how you got well. Let him ask you that question, if he will. Tell him
exactly what happened to you. Stress the spiritual feature freely. If
the man be agnostic or atheist, make it emphatic that he does not
have to agree with your conception of God. He can choose any
conception he likes, provided it makes sense to him.
The main thing is that he be willing to believe in a Power greater
than himself and that he live by spiritual principles.
dealing with such a person, you had better use everyday language to
describe spiritual principles. There is no use arousing any prejudice
he may have against certain theological terms and conceptions about
which he may already be confused. Don't raise such issues, no matter
what your own convictions are.
Your prospect may belong
to a religious denomination. His religious education and training may
be far superior to yours. In that case he is going to wonder how you
can add anything to what he already knows. But he well 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.
Let him see that you are not there to
instruct him in religion. Admit that he probably knows
more about it than you do, but call to his attention the fact that
however deep his faith and knowledge, he could not have applied it or
he would not drink, Perhaps your story will help him see where he has
failed to practice the very precepts he knows so well. We represent
no particular faith or denomination. We are dealing only with general
principles common to most denominations.
Outline the program of
action, explaining how you made a self-appraisal, how you
straightened out your past and why you are now endeavoring to be
helpful to him. It is important for him to realize that your attempt
to pass this on to him plays a vital part in your recovery. Actually,
he may be helping you more than you are helping him. Make
it plain he is under no obligation to you, that you hope only that he
will try to help other alcoholics when he escapes his own
difficulties. Suggest how important it is that he place
the welfare of other people ahead of his own. Make it clear that he
is not under pressure, that he needn't see you again if he doesn't
want to. You should not be offended if he
wants to call it off, for he has helped you more than you have helped
him. If your talk has been sane, quiet and full of human
understanding, you have perhaps made a friend. Maybe you
have disturbed him about the question of alcoholism. This is all to
the good. The more hopeless he feels, the better. he will be more
likely to follow your suggestions.
candidate may give reasons why he need not follow all of the program.
He may rebel at the thought of a drastic housecleaning which requires
discussion with other people. Do not contradict such views.
Tell him you once felt as he does, but you doubt whether you would
have made much progress had you not taken action. On your first visit
tell him about the Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous. If he shows
interest, lend him your copy of this book.
your friend wants to talk further about himself, do not wear out your
welcome. Give him a chance to think it over. If
you do stay , let him steer the conversation in any direction he
like. Sometimes a new man is anxious to proceed at once,
and you may be tempted to let him do so. This is sometimes a mistake.
If he has trouble later, he is likely to say you rushed him. You
will be most successful with alcoholics if you do not exhibit any
passion for crusade or reform. Never talk down to an alcoholic from
any moral or spiritual hilltop; simply lay out the kit of
spiritual tools for his inspection. Show him how they worked with
you. Offer him friendship and fellowship. Tell him that if he wants
to get well you will do anything to help.
is not interested in your solution, if he expects you to act only as
a banker for his financial difficulties or a nurse for his sprees,
you may have to drop him until he changes his mind. This he may do
after he gets hurts some more.
he is sincerely interested and wants to see you again, ask him to
read this book in the interval. After doing that, he must decide for
himself whether he wants to go on. He should not be pushed or prodded
by you, his wife, or his friends. If he is to find God, the desire
must come from within.
thinks he can do the job in some other way, or prefers some other
spiritual approach, encourage him to follow his own conscience. We
have no monopoly on God; we merely have an approach that worked with
us. But point out that we alcoholics have much in
common and that you would like, in any case, to be friendly. Let it
go at that. Do not be discouraged if your prospect does not respond
at once. Search out another alcoholic and try again. You are sure to
find someone desperate enough to accept with eagerness what you
offer. We find it a waste of time to keep chasing a man who cannot or
will not work with you. If you leave such a person alone, he may soon
become convinced that he cannot recover by himself. To spend too much
time on any one situation is to deny some other alcoholic an
opportunity to live and be happy. One of our Fellowship failed
entirely with his first half dozen prospects. He often says that if
he had continued to work on them, he might have deprived many others,
who have since recovered, of their chance.
now you are making your second visit to a man. He has read this
volume and says he is prepared to go through with the Twelve Steps of
the program of recovery. Having had the experience yourself, you can
give him much practical advice. Let him know you are available if he
wishes to make a decision and tell his story, but do not insist upon
it if he prefers to consult someone else.
be broke and homeless. If he is, you might try to help him about
getting a job, or give him a little financial assistance. But you
should not deprive your family or creditors of money they should
have. Perhaps you will want to take the man into your home for a few
days. But be sure you use discretion. Be certain he will be welcomed
by your family, and that he is not trying to impose upon you for
money, connections, or shelter. Permit that and you only harm him.
You will be making it possible for him to be insincere. You may be
aiding in his destruction rather than his recovery.
avoid these responsibilities, but be sure you are doing the right
thing if you assume them. 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. Your wife may
sometimes say she is neglected. A drunk may smash the furniture in
your home, or burn a mattress. You may have to fight with him if he
is violent. Sometimes you will have to call a doctor and administer
sedatives under his direction. Another time you may have to send for
the police or an ambulance. Occasionally you will have to meet such
seldom allow an alcoholic to live in our homes for long at a time. It
is not good for him, and it sometimes creates serious complications
in a family.
an alcoholic does not respond, there is no reason why you should
neglect his family. You should continue to be friendly to them. The
family should be offered your way of life. Should they accept and
practice spiritual principles, there is a much better change that the
head of the family will recover. And even though he continues to
drink, the family will find life more bearable.
the type of alcoholic who is able and willing to get well, little
charity, in the ordinary sense of the word, is need or wanted. The
men who cry for money and shelter before conquering alcohol, are on
the wrong track. Yet we do go to great extremes to provide each other
with these very things, when such action is warranted. This may seem
inconsistent, but we think it is not.
It is not the matter of
giving that is in question, but when and how to give. That often
makes the difference between failure and success. The minute we put
our work on a service plane, the alcoholic commences to rely upon our
assistance rather than upon God. He clamors for this or that,
claiming he cannot master alcohol until his material needs are cared
for. Nonsense. Some of us have taken very hard knocks to learn this
truth: Job or no job — wife or no wife — we simply do not stop
drinking so long as we place dependence upon other people ahead of
dependence on God.
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
Now, the domestic
problem: There may be divorce, separation, or just strained
relations. When your prospect has made such reparation as he can to
his family, and has thoroughly explained to them the new principles
by which he is living, he should proceed to put those principles into
action at home. That is, if he is lucky enough to have a home. Though
his family be at fault in many respects, he should not be concerned
about that. He should concentrate on his own spiritual demonstration.
Argument and fault-finding are to be
avoided like the plague. In many homes this is a difficult
thing to do, but it must be done if any results are to be expected.
If persisted in for a few months, the effect on a man's family is
sure to be great. The most incompatible people discover they have a
basis upon which they can meet. Little by little the family may see
their own defects and admit them. These can then be discussed in an
atmosphere of helpfulness and friendliness.
After they have seen
tangible results, the family will perhaps want to go along. These
things will come to pass naturally and in good time provided,
however, the alcoholic continues to demonstrate that he can be sober,
considerate, and helpful, regardless of what anyone says or does. Of
course, we all fall much below this standard many times. But we must
try to repair the damage immediately lest we pay the penalty by a
If there be divorce or
separation, there should be no undue haste for the couple to get
together. The man should be sure of his recovery. The wife should
fully understand his new way of life. If their old relationship is to
be resumed it must be on a better basis, since the former did not
work. This means a new attitude and spirit all around. Sometimes it
is to the best interests of all concerned that a couple remain apart.
Obviously, no rule can be laid down.
Let the alcoholic continue his program day by day. When
the time for living together has come, it will be apparent to both
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.
Both you and the new man
must walk day by day in the path of spiritual progress. If you
persist, remarkable things will happen. When we look back, we realize
that the things which came to us when we put ourselves in God's hands
were better than anything we could have planned. Follow the dictates
of a Higher Power and you will presently live in a new and wonderful
world, no matter what your present circumstances!
When working with a man
and his family, you should take care not to participate in their
quarrels. You may spoil your chance of being helpful if you do. But
urge upon a man's family that he has been a very sick person and
should be treated accordingly. You should warn against arousing
resentment or jealousy. You should point out that his defects of
character are not going to disappear over night. Show them that he
has entered upon a period of growth. Ask them to remember, when they
are impatient, the blessed fact of his sobriety.
If you have been
successful in solving your own domestic problems, tell the newcomer's
family how that was accomplished. In this way you can set them on the
right track without becoming critical of them. The story of how you
and your wife settled your difficulties is worth any amount of
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! Ask any woman who has sent her husband to
distant places on the theory he would escape the alcohol problem.
In our belief any scheme
of combating alcoholism which proposes to shield the sick man from
temptation is doomed to failure. If the alcoholic tries to shield
himself he may succeed for a time, but usually winds up with a bigger
explosion than ever. We have tried these methods. These attempts to
do the impossible have always failed.
So our rule is not to
avoid a place where there is drinking, if we have a legitimate reason
for being there. That includes bars, nightclubs, dances, receptions,
weddings, even plain ordinary whoopee parties. To a person who has
had experience with an alcoholic, this may seem like tempting
Providence, but it isn't.
You will note that we
made and important qualification. Therefore, ask yourself on each
occasion, "Have I any good social, business, or personal reason
for going to this place? Or am I expecting to steal a little
vicarious pleasure from the atmosphere of such places?" If you
answer these questions satisfactorily, you need have no apprehension.
Go or stay away, whichever seems best. But be sure you are on solid
spiritual ground before you start and that your motive in going is
thoroughly good. Do not think of what you will get out of the
occasion. Think of what you can bring to it. But if you are shaky,
you had better work with another alcoholic instead!
Why sit with a long face
in places where there is drinking, sighing about the good old days.
If it is a happy occasion, try to increase the pleasure of those
there; if a business occasion, go and attend to your business
enthusiastically. If you are with a person who wants to eat in a bar,
by all means go along. Let your friends know they are not to change
their habits on your account. At a proper time and place explain to
all your friends why alcohol disagrees with you. If you do this
thoroughly, few people will ask you to drink. While you were
drinking, you were withdrawing from life little by little. Now you
are getting back into the social life of this world. Don't start to
withdraw again just because your friends drink liquor.
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
of us keep liquor in our homes. We often need it to carry green
recruits through a severe hangover. Some of us still serve it to our
friends provided they are not alcoholic. But some of us think we
should not serve liquor to anyone. We never argue this question. We
feel that each family, in the light of their own circumstances, ought
to decide for themselves.
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 witchburners. A spirit of
intolerance might repel alcoholics whose lives could have been saved,
had it not been for such stupidity. We would not even do the cause of
temperate drinking any good, for not one drinker in a thousand likes
to be told anything about alcohol by one who hates it.
Some day we hope that
Alcoholics Anonymous will help the public to a better realization of
the gravity of the alcoholic problem, but we shall be of little use
if our attitude is one of bitterness or hostility. Drinkers will not
stand for it.
After all, our problems
were of our own making. Bottles were only a symbol. Besides, we have
stopped fighting anybody or anything. We have to!”
Fellas (Friends of Alcoholics Anonymous)
Our thanks to the US member for sending in this piece
collaborative and multidisciplinary research venture to understand
the functional and neural effects of alcohol exposure throughout
brain development – including the key developmental transitions of
mission is to lead the Nation in bringing the power of science to
bear on drug abuse and addiction.
charge has two critical components. The first is the strategic
support and conduct of research across a broad range of disciplines.
The second is ensuring the rapid and effective dissemination and use
of the results of that research to significantly improve prevention
and treatment and to inform policy as it relates to drug abuse and
As to your continued efforts to keep the chit or any other system
that involves the courts out of your meetings........ I say fight
like the dickens to keep it out because once it is in it is hard to
I know we
have discussed before, but another good Tradition is the sixth 'long
form'. In fact, in the 12 and 12 the discussion on the Sixth Tradition pages 154-156 expressly presents such a scheme as one
they rejected and presumably we should too.
attached a document inspired [see below], in part, by your anti-cult
writings. I simply went through the Big Book and
juxtaposed how our simple program differed from the courts
belief about how to coerce a recovery. I have done this with a
different attitude than the cult influences. I have looked at how
open and non controlling the process is as laid out in the big book.
Hopefully the only musts are the must of a degree of self-diagnosis
and not court or even established AA member diagnosis.
could well guess the difference is as stark as night and day. There
are over 30 examples, while some are weaker the majority do contrast
in a clear fashion how the two approaches are not even the least
bit similar. I will be producing a more concise edition that features
only the most blatant differences......”
BOOK, TRADITIONS AND THE 12 AND 12 AND THE COURTS METHODS SEEM TO BE
180 DEGREES APART
we saw that it had really worked in others, AND we had come to
believe in the hopelessness and futility of life as we had been
living it. When we were approached by those in whom the problem had
been solved, there was nothing left for us but to pick up the simple
kit of spiritual tools laid at our feet. BB Page 25 “There is a
court does not seem to understand that the second part of the
equation in the first line is more important than the first.
you were as seriously alcoholic as we were, we believe there is
no-middle-of- the-road solution. Then it speaks of two very bitter
alternatives other than accepting spiritual help. BB Page 25 “There
is a Solution”.
seem to believe that you can catch recovery without the admission of
being seriously alcoholic.
of us have been unwilling to admit we were real alcoholics……………….
We learned that we had to fully concede to inner most selves that we
were alcoholics. This is the first step in recovery. The delusion
that we are like other people, or presently may be, has to be
smashed. BB Page 30 “More About Alcoholism”.
courts only ask that you admit that you would rather chose to attend
AA rather than go to jail.
do not like to pronounce any individual as alcoholic, but you can
quickly diagnosis yourself, step over to the nearest barroom and try
some controlled drinking. ……………………It may be worth a
bad case of the jitters if you get a full knowledge of your
condition. BB Page 31-32 “More about Alcoholism”
Courts say if you drink you will go to jail. In fact if you go to the
nearest barroom you will go to jail.
anyone questions whether he has entered this dangerous area, let him
try leaving liquor alone for one year. If he is a real alcoholic and
very far advanced, there is scant chance of success…………………..We
think few whom this book will appeal, can stay dry anything like a
year. BB Page 34 “More about Alcoholism”
court says you will stay sober for a year and that is how you’ll
know that you are an alcoholic? AA repeatedly asks ‘John
Barleycorn’ to be the teacher”. Not the threat of Jail.
those who are unable to drink moderately the question is how to stop
all together. We are assuming, of course that the reader desires to
stop. 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.BB Page 34 “More about
the court is assuming that the defendant can’t control his drinking
and they are assuming that AA is for them. Finally they are assuming
that AA can produce the desire to stop. Please see the pamphlet “What
AA does and Doesn’t Do”
the preceding chapters you have learned something of alcoholism.
(note: The courts used to do this). We
hope we have made clear the distinction between the alcoholic and the
non-alcoholic. IF WHEN YOU HONESTLY WANT TO, YOU FIND YOU CANNOT QUIT
ENTIRELY OR 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. BB Page 44 “We Agnostics”
courts seem to think that they can make this determination for the
defendant. They are afraid that if he is posed this question he won’t
make up his own mind and chose to seek a spiritual solution. AA seems
to have the opinion that he will if he is seriously alcoholic and can
relate to us.
be doomed to as alcoholic death or to live on a spiritual basis are
not always easy alternatives to face. BB Page 44 “We Agnostics”
court knows that choosing between going to jail and going through the
rigors of sobriety court is an easy choice to make for most people.
One they will accept a conviction.
it was agreed at the beginning we would go to any lengths for
victory over alcohol. BB Page 76 “Into Action” (about the
court says it was agreed that you would go to 3-5 meetings a week for
up to 2 years and submit to random PBT’s. The Courts punishment is
jail. Relapse is the punishment for the party trying to recover who
does not follow through on the agreement.
ourselves that we have decided to go to any lengths to find a
spiritual experience, we ask to be given strength and direction to do
the right thing, no matter what the personal consequences may be. BB
Page 79 “Into Action”
courts are supplying the direction and the motivation is not to find
a spiritual experience but rather to avoid an earthly consequence.
The defendant has made a decision to follow the path of Sobriety
you discover a prospect for Alcoholics Anonymous, find out all you
can about him. If he does not want to stop drinking, don’t waste
your time to persuade him. YOU MAY SPOIL A LATER OPPORTUNITY. BB Page
90. “Working with Others”.
Courts want us to work with these parties. Please see the Pamphlet
“What AA Does and Doesn’t Do”. Secondly those that are in favor
of us “Cooperating with Courts” constantly are telling us to be
careful to not ‘Judge’ the court mandated because they won’t
feel welcome. However the experience in the groups seems to be our
welcoming is covered in the passing around of a newcomer packet. I
believe that most people assume that the defendants do not want to
stop drinking so they don’t waste their time with them. There is
certainly no comments about if you want to stop you will have to take
some drastic steps.
it is wise to wait till he goes on a binge…..it goes on to say if
he is ugly you must back the advice by helping the family (not very
convenient eh). Wait for the end of Spree, or at least for a lucid
interval. Then let his family or a friend ask him if he wants to quit
FOR GOOD and if he would go TO ANY EXTREME TO DO SO. BB Page 90.
“Working with Others”.
the courts are not concerned with the recovery but the recidivism
they want no part of such a plan. They do not want the question posed
by them or anyone else as an entry qualifier into AA. The only
question they are willing to ask is will you accept Sobriety Court in
exchange for a guilty plea and a suspension of Jail time.
he does not want to see you, never force yourself upon him. Neither
should the family hysterically plead with him to do ANYTHING. BB Page
90. “Working with Others”.
Court refuses to follow this course of action.
family should wait for the end of his next drinking bout. You might
place this book where he can see it in the interval. Here no specific
rule can be given. The family must decide these things. But urge them
not to be over anxious, for that might spoil matters. BB Pages 90-91.
“Working with Others”.
Court wants to decide and the court wants to create anxiety and the
court wants to have specific rules i.e. jail.
him how baffled you were, how you finally learned that you were sick.
Give him an account of the struggles you made to stop. Show him the
mental twists which lead to the first Drink of a spree. We suggest
you do this as we have done it the chapter on alcoholism. If he is
alcoholic, he will understand you AT ONCE. He will match your mental
inconsistencies with some of his own. BB Page 92. “Working with
court seems to think this process will take 3-5 meetings a week for
up to 2 years. This also seems to indicate that if he has related he
will “share” his mental twist that signal he is an alcoholic.
you are satisfied that he is a real alcoholic, begin to dwell on the
hopeless feature of the malady. BB Page 92. “Working with Others”.
court wastes little or no time determining if he is an alcoholic real
or otherwise. But to the extent that they do they have taken this
tool out of our hands. By sending the defendant to AA they have
pronounced them alcoholic. Closed meetings of AA long term are for
Alcoholics who have a desire to stop drinking. In many cases they
have done an assessment. By a paid professional who has determine
that they need to go to AA “X” times a week.
be careful not to brand him as an alcoholic. Let him draw his own
conclusions. If he sticks to the idea that he can still control his
drinking, tell him that possibly he can—if he is not too alcoholic.
But insist that if is severely afflicted, there may be little chance
he can recover by himself. BB Page 92. “Working with Others”.
seems to me that since the paragraph noted above this one says to
judge him as to whether or not he is a real alcoholic and this one
says to be ‘careful not to brand him one” the emphasis is that we
shouldn’t bother going forward if he isn’t a “real alcoholic”
in the first one and in this paragraph the emphasis is on the
prospect admitting personal powerlessness over the malady.
Personally… not the judge, not you, not his family but him. I
believe the seed you plant is the last sentence. The difference
between the Book’s seed and the court’s is that the book
consistently plants a seed of hopelessness “if” he is an
alcoholic and then lets him go to be alone with his thoughts on the
matter. The courts sends him to a place where to join he has to make
such an admission to qualify to attend more meetings AND they demand
that he keeps coming back until he does it in spite of his own truths
in the matter. The Courts method of planting a seed is like someone
who plants a seed and waters and fertilizes until it is drowned and
chemically burned and does not sprout at all.
the spiritual feature freely. BB Page 93. “Working with Others”.
Courts have lost 22 cases on appeal for sending defendants to
“spiritually based 12 step programs. They loath that we would do
this because is a huge fly in the Sobriety Court system.
he is not interested in your solution, if he expects you to act only
as a banker for his financial difficulties or nurse for his sprees
you may have to drop him until he changes his mind. This he may do
after he gets hurts some more. BB Page 95. “Working with Others”.
it really a large leap to place “if he only wants you to supply a
signature on his to court slip” to the list of reasons to drop him
that Bill supplied in the 30’s?
he is sincerely interested (their Bill goes telling us to make a
judgment on his willingness) and WANTS to see you again, ask him to
read this book in the interval. After doing that he MUST decide for
himself whether he wants to go on. He should not be pushed or prodded
by you, his wife or his friends. If he is to find God the desire must
come from within. BB Page 95. “Working with Others”.
difference between the Big Book and the courts approach is so
dramatic I am afraid I will be insulting by comment. The main point
is that Bill makes the point continually that it is truly the
voluntary nature of making a decision to follow the AA way of life
that is mandatory to success and any diminishing of this will result
in failure. The NY GSO guideline minimizes the original lack of
self-motivation in most members. What this passage seems to say to me
is that the way to overcome that is to repeatedly place the decision
firmly in the lap of the prospect. Otherwise he will not go through
with harsh measures that the twelve steps dictate.
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
have no monopoly on God; we merely have an approach that worked with
us. But point out that we alcoholics have much in common and that you
would like, in any case, to be friendly. LET IT GO AT THAT. BB Page
95. “Working with Others”.
court does not believe in “letting it go at that”. The court does
not believe in being friendly they believe in jail if you follow your
conscience. The court does not accept any other spiritual approach
and society does not offer non-spiritual approaches in sufficient
numbers to satisfy the heavy demands of Sobriety courts. Demands so
heavy that even drug addicts, wife beaters, shoplifters and assorted
other petty and violent criminals need to be sent to AA.
our belief any scheme of combating alcoholism which proposes to
shield the sick man from temptation is doomed to failure. If the
alcoholic tries to shield himself he may succeed for a time, but
usually winds up with a bigger explosion than ever. We have tried
these methods. These attempts to do the impossible have ALWAYS
failed. BB Page 101. “Working with Others”.
Court demands that you not frequent bars and worse it tries to shield
you from drinking by PBT’s on both regular and random basis. Trying
to place a technological shield against the first drink. The point
Bill is trying to re-enforce that the prospect must have the
motivation from within. Not get that motivation within AA and AA
cannot overcome this external motivation to “control” access to
however, that your husband fits the description of number two. The
same principles which apply to husband number one should be
practiced. But after his next binge, ask him if he would really like
to get over drinking for good. Don not ask that he do it for you or
anyone else. Just would he like to? BB Page 112 “To Wives”.
that it says or anyone else. Bill seems to always drive home the
personal decision nature of committing the prospect to the program.
he is lukewarm or thinks he is not an alcoholic, we suggest you leave
him alone. Avoid urging him to follow our program. The seed has been
planted in his mind. He knows that thousands of men, much like
himself, have recovered. But don’t remind him of this after he’s
been drinking, for he may be angry. Sooner or later you are likely to
find him reading the book once more. Wait until repeated stumbling
convinces him he must act, for the more you hurry him the longer his
recovery may be delayed. BB Page 113 “To Wives”.
this advice that is given to a wife of the husband who is type 2. If
this is sound advice for a wife who has to live with the problem 24-7
why it isn’t sound advice for the courts?
the number three husband who already has a desire to quit the book
says: Being certain he wants to stop you can go to him with this
volume as joyfully as though you had struck oil. He may not share
your enthusiasm, but he is practically certain to read the book and
he may go for the program at once. If he does not, you will probably
not have long to wait. Again, you should not crowd him. Let him
decide for himself. BB Page 113 “To Wives”.
what difference wanting to quit makes. The courts actions are the
exact opposite of how to handle even a prospect who has a desire to
quit. In fact, according to this passage the courts actions may
sabotage this excellent opportunity. The theme of let him decide for
himself continues. Even for wives who are dealing with the difficulty
first hand. I would think it would apply to the Court if they are
truly interested in his recovery.
regard to husband number 4 who is or has been in an institution the
book says: If he is already committed to an institution, but can
convince you and his doctor that he means business, give him a chance
to try our method, unless the doctor thinks his mental condition too
abnormal or dangerous. BB Page 114 “To Wives”.
someone who is obviously an alcoholic of the worst kind has to prove
that he is sincere in believing not only is that his condition but
that he means business.
the chapter “To Employers” it tells the employer to say: Say that
you believe he is a gravely-ill person, with this qualification—being
perhaps fatally ill does he want to get well? You ask because
alcoholics being warped and drugged, do not want to quit. But does
want to get well? Will he take every necessary step, submit to
anything to get well, to stop drinking forever? If he says yes, does
he really mean it, or down inside does he think he is fooling you,
and that after rest and treatment he will be able to get away with a
few drinks now and then? We believe a man should be thoroughly probed
on these points. Be satisfied he is not deceiving himself or you. BB
Page 142 “To Employers”.
advice for outside agency who has their own “stick” firing not
jail as in the case of the Court. The court poses a much different
question to the defendant. Do you really want to go to up to 250
meetings a year for up to 2 years so you won’t have to go to jail?
Are you will to accept a conviction? For this deal? If you fall short
you agree to go to jail? And by the way the court spends little time
determining if he is deceiving himself if he says he really wants to
you are dealing with a man who can and will get well or you are not.
If not, why waste time with him? BB Page 142 “To Employers”.
court is not worried about wasting our time with him.
Employer is further educated that physical treatment is but a small
part and that his man must undergo a change of heart. To get over
drinking will require a transformation of thought and attitude. We
had to place recovery above everything, for without recovery we would
have lost both home and business. BB Page 143 “To employers”.
court seems to think that the probationer must place getting to his
sobriety court requirements above everything else. Because without
freedom from jail he will lose everything else. Unfortunately by this
thinking the threat of jail ends and then the motivation for both
developing spiritually and staying sober ends. The Book continues to
demonstrate that the motivation must come from withinearly
in the recovery and those associated with the process should insure
that this is happening.
hope the doctor will tell him the truth about his condition, whatever
that happens to be. When the man is presented with this volume it is
best that no tell him he must abide by its suggestions. The man must
decide for himself. BB Page 144 “To Employers”.
that happens to be” does anyone really believe that the court
mandated Alcohol Assessor (who isn’t a doctor for this disease
situation) is really telling these people who drank and drove one
time and blew a .07 that they probably just need to moderate on their
own? No they are being told that they need a minimum of 3 meetings a
week for 6 months. What about the kids that get an M.I.P. and get
sent to AA for ten sessions? Are they really being told the truth?
What is up with different levels of AA participation for differ
levels of criminal activity? Doesn’t the Book say that to achieve
recovery you need to go to any lengths? So by definition if you say
you need to go to AA even for one meeting shouldn’t you as an
assessor be saying they need to really mean business? Should they be
probed on the issue of personal surrender? By the way in some
instances the Assessor actually gets a forced paying client if the
Probationer scores high enough on the test. Not only that, if the
probationer fails to pay his bill the court acts as the therapist’s
collection agency. What ever happened to absence of profit motive
being a key to working with and assessing their conditions. Remember
we are constantly called to assess their willingness before letting
them into AA and we do it for free. Not the other way around where
lack of willingness is a sign you need more AA.
you want to quit drinking or not? Page 147 “To Employers”.
advice is given to the outside agency i.e. Employer. Does it not
apply to the Court as well? The key of course is the freedom to
answer truthfully and not in a dishonest manner to gain access to the
less harsh penalties that Sobriety court that taints every
interchange for the Prospect.
he wants to stop, he should be afforded a real chance. If cannot or
does not want to stop he should be discharged. Page 144 “To
court is only interested in if he wants to strike the deal that
Sobriety court offers. Then they send them to AA where they don’t
belong because they haven’t passed the acid test of wanting to
course, this chapter refers to alcoholics, sick people, deranged men.
What are friend the Vice President, had in mind was the habitual or
whoopee drinker. As to them, his policy (just firing them if it
interfered with their job) is undoubtedly sound but he did not
distinguish between such people and the alcoholic. Page 149
court does not distinguish between even problem drinkers and
alcoholics and to whatever extent they do distinguish between the two
they do not recognize that the probationer’s belief about their
condition is key to AA having any positive effect on them.
is not to be expected that an alcoholic employee will receive a
disproportionate amount of time and attention. He should not be made
a favorite. The right kind of man, the kind who recovers, will not
want this sort of thing, He will not impose. Far from it. He will
work like the devil and thank you to his dying day. Page 149 “To
you read any of these judge’s writings or view any of the human
interests reports on television one thing they all take pride in is
how much attention they load on their sobriety court clients. They
aren’t even referred to as criminals or probationers. They keep
coming back into court and getting PBT’s and talking to’s, they
are never trusted to be in charge of their own recovery. They impose
on AA to have their slips signed and to be questioned about their
where a bouts. The person who is recovering does not need to prove
they are on the beam. Living a recovery center life will take care of
that. They do not need to give book reports on the steps just as
those around are required to discern if they are sincere those
parties will be able to discern (dare I say judge) if they are
recovering. The courts don’t want the advice of AA. They want the
rooms of AA. They think it is a great program just not one they
Now and then a serious drinker, being dry at the moment
says, “I don’t miss it at all. Feel better. Work better. Having a
better time.” As ex-problem drinkers, we smile at such sally. We
know our friend is like a boy whistling in the dark to keep up his
spirits. He fools himself. Inwardly, he would give anything to take a
half dozen drinks and get away with them. He will presently try the
old game again, for he isn’t happy about his sobriety. Page 153 “A
Vision for You”.
goes the book again telling judge the guy in the meeting. Putting it
gentler it is admonishing us to not ignore that insight that we have
gained about the alcoholic and his chances of recovery. I think it
falls under the general category of you can’t BS a BS’er. None
the less, we all have heard this phrase or one similar from a Court
mandated attendee. Often right before he is about to get of
probation. Then what so often happens, happens you never see them
again. In hindsight we recognize that he was justifying that he had
learned all he needed to learn at AA. Self-knowledge and a week
embrace of a sober life-style was enough to convince himself that he
didn’t need to “keep coming back”.
the third day the lawyer gave his life to the care and direction of
his creator, and said he was perfectly willing to do anything
necessary. His wife came daring to be hopeful, though she thought she
saw something different about her husband already. He had begun to
have a spiritual experience. That afternoon he put on his close and
walked from the hospital a free man. Page 158 “A Vision for You”.
never drank again. The point is his wife new instantly that he was
changing she did not him to prove he had gone to his allotted
meetings. Secondly, the planting of the seed had taken two visits
from doctor Bob and Bill W. not a sentence of up to 250 meetings a
year for up to 2 years.
about the next success the book says: He had three visitors. After a
bit, he said, “The way you fellows put this spiritual stuff makes
sense. I’m ready to do business. I guess the old folks were right
after all. So one more was added to the Fellowship. Page 159 “A
Vision for You”.
again a seed can be planted fairly quickly in a fertile ground and
not at all in an unopened mind. Or mind that does not need the seed.
The court does not seem to know or care that without the proper
receptacle we cannot do anything and with one that does not need our
program we should not do anything.
one is too discredited or has sunk too low to be welcomed
cordially—if he means business. Social distinctions, petty
rivalries and jealousies—these are laughed out of countenance.
Being wrecked in the same vessel, being restored and united under one
God, with hearts and minds attuned to the welfare of others, the
things which matter so much to some people no longer signify much to
them. How could they?
again the caveats contained in this passage have little meaning to
the Sobriety Court. I will highlight them: The reoccurring theme of
“if he means business” he will welcomed cordially. “United”
under one God with hearts and minds attuned to welfare of others. If
they aren’t attuned to the Principles/Traditions that bring about a
recovery they won’t care about AA’s welfare. If they do not have
unity of purpose they will not protect the sanctity of a closed
Fellas (Friends of Alcoholics Anonymous)
Our thanks to this AA member for their analysis
aacultwatch has been set up by members of Alcoholics Anonymous who are concerned about the development of a movement within the Fellowship that we refer to as a cult.
It is our view that this cult has as its aims the control of AA in Great Britain and the promulgation of its own version of the recovery programme that is both a corruption of the message and the spirit of the Fellowship.
Our aim is to raise awareness of this threat and encourage members to act according to their conscience to marginalize this movement. Local members are in the best position to judge what should be done in their area but already some experience has been gained in the Fellowship on how to respond to this malign influence, and some of these ideas are also presented on the blog.
Finally we seek to restore AA to a healthily disorganised state where no faction within the Fellowship may seek to impose its will upon the rest, and that the rights of the individual are always upheld. For those AA members who are interested in supporting us in our efforts we can be contacted via our email address above