Parable of the Sower: The Challenges of Sponsorship from Big Book Sponsorship
Carrying our message to the addict who still suffers
And he (Jesus) told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear.” — The Gospel of Matthew (Ch. 13, verses 3-9)
On page 562 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous (4th Ed.) Tradition Five says:
Each group has but one primary purpose, to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.
What is our message? What message do we carry to alcoholics addicts who still suffer? On page 17 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous it says:
The feeling of having shared in a common peril is one element in the powerful cement which binds us. But that in itself would never have held us together as we are now joined. The tremendous fact for every one of us is that we have discovered a common solution (twelve steps). We have a way out on which we can absolutely agree, and upon which we can join in brotherly and harmonious action. This is the great news this book (Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous) carries to those who suffer from alcoholism (addiction).
On page 60 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous our 12th Step says:
Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics (addicts), and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Today, one walks into the rooms of A.A. where nary a Big Book is to be found. You will hear the 12 steps of recovery read aloud as part of the preamble, but then you are greeted with a speaker’s drunk-a-log message, or you get to read from the 12 and 12 (Remember, A.A. was named after the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous — the 12 and 12 fellowship is NOT A.A.). Worst yet, you may get an open discussion (open-disgusting) meeting where anyone can share their feelings and issues, endlessly whining about their day and thinking that this message of morbid, self-absorbed reflection will somehow help them and others.
Big Book Sponsors who try to carry our common solution to the alcoholic addict who still suffers are criticized by the very fellowship who claims to embrace the solution. We are called “Step Nazis”, “Big Book Thumpers”, “Mucker-Fuckers”? We are told our point-of-view, that is our adherence to the common solution as outlined in the Big Book is intolerant, out-of-date, and NOT the A.A. way?
At times it may seem like a hopeless task. Why bother with all this controversy on how to carry the message and continue to fight an uphill battle against the “meeting-makers”, treatment centers, therapists, etc. Perhaps it is better that we all just try to “get along”.
The Parable of the Sower Explained
“Hear then the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the God and does not understand it, the temptation comes and snatches away what has been sown in one’s heart. This is what was sown along the path.
The Gospel of Matthew (Ch. 13, verses 18-19)
When our message of recovery gets lost in the chorus of treatment center rhetoric and the opinions of dry and untreated alcoholic addicts are taken as the message; when our simple kit of spiritual tools fails to take hold in the hearts and minds of these individuals, this is the “hard ground” that Jesus speaks about — the seeds (our common solution/message) that have fallen on the “hard” path (unwilling and close-minded) and devoured by the birds (consumed by their temptations and relapse).
As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away.
The Gospel of Matthew (Ch. 13, verses 20-21)
There are some individuals in the program who hear our message, our common solution, but their spirit is shallow, they seek an “easier and softer way”, or they are dissuaded by others to “just stop drinking (using) and go to meetings”. Our common solution does not take hold, it withers leaving these alcoholic addicts without defense against their temptations and inevitable relapse.
As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.
The Gospel of Matthew (Ch. 13, verse 22)
These alcoholic addict individuals hear the message we carry from the Big Book, they attempt to work their program, but they are distracted by their desires for money, sex, things, etc. They become restless, irritable and discontented and succumb once again to their temptations and relapse.