In the forward to the second edition on page xx of the Big Book, it shares with us the recovery statistics from the first 16 years of AA. They tell of a 75% success rate. These facts came from the New York office. Lois kept a list as well at 66%. Sister Ignatia also kept track at St. Thomas Hospital in Akron and recorded 700 out of the first 1000 admitted to the hospital there. Some of the early groups in Cleveland and Akron in the 1940’s reported over 90%. Regardless of the which number to use to compare to today, it seems we are not doing a good job at carrying the message. Why? Probably several reasons. We have strayed from the basics in the Big Book in favor of discussion meetings. We have forgotten what sponsorship means; what working with others means. It means intensive work with another alcoholic. However, there are a couple of key words on page xx. It says:
“Of alcoholics who came to AA, and really tried, 50% got sober at once and remained that way; 25% sobered up after some relapses and among the remained those who stayed on with AA showed improvement. Other thousands came to a few AA meetings and at first decided they didn’t want the program. But a great number of these – about two out of every three – began to return as times passed”.
Those two thirds went back through the same rate of success.
So what does really tried mean. Perhaps that is following the 14 directions on page 58 in the Big Book, that are there before we even get to the 12 steps. Maybe this can be thought of as step 0.
In order as the directions appear on page 58 in question form written for me to answer honestly every day.
1) Am I thoroughly following our path, the path as precisely laid out in the Big Book? Remember, rarely have we seen a person fail who does this.
2) Am I completely giving myself to this simple program? Remember, those who do not or will not will not recover.
3) Am I being honest with myself? Remember, those who fail are constitutionally incapable of doing so, usually are those who do not recover.
4) Am I grasping and developing a manner of living which demand rigorous honesty? Am I becoming or am I now capable of being rigorously honest with myself?
5) If I have other mental and emotional issues, am I being honest so that I can and will recover?
6) Does my story disclose in a general way what I used to be like, what happened, and what I am now?
7) Am I willing to go to any length to get it? Am I willing to go to any length to be ready to take certain steps and remain sober?
8) Am I still trying to find an easier softer way?
9) Am I being fearless and thorough from the very start?
10) Am I holding onto my old ideas? Am I willing to let go absolutely?
11) Do I accept and remember that alcohol is cunning, baffling and powerful?
12) Do I accept that to recover is too much for me alone, and accept that there is One Power? That one is God and ask for help now.
13) Half measures availed us nothing. Am I still doing half measures?
14) Am I asking for His protection and care with complete abandon?