The Fundamentals – In Retrospect

The Fundamentals – In Retrospect by Dr Bob S. via Silkworth

It is gratifying to feel that one belongs to and has a definite personal part in the work of a growing and spiritually prospering organization for the release of the alcoholics of mankind from a deadly enslavement. For me, there is double gratification in the realization that, more than thirteen years ago, an all-wise Providence, whose ways must always be mysterious to our limited understandings, brought me to “see my duty clear” and to contribute in decent humility, as have so many others, my part in guiding the first trembling steps of the then-infant organization, Alcoholics Anonymous. [AA began June 10, 1935, with the start of Dr. Bob’s lasting sobriety. He died November 16, 1950.]

It is fitting at this time to indulge in some retrospect regarding certain fundamentals. Much has been written; much has been said about the Twelve Steps of AA. These tenets of our faith and practice were not worked out overnight and then presented to our members as an opportunist creed. Born of our early trials and many tribulations, they were and are the result of humble and sincere desire, sought in personal prayer, for divine guidance.

As finally expressed and offered, they are simple in language, plain in meaning. They are also workable by any person having a sincere desire to obtain and keep sobriety. The results are the proof. Their simplicity and workability are such that no special interpretations, and certainly no reservations, have ever been necessary. And it has become increasingly clear that the degree of harmonious living that we achieve is in direct ratio to our earnest attempt to follow them literally under divine guidance to the best of our ability.

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Yet there are no shibboleths (which means “long-standing formula, doctrine, or phrase, etc., held to be true by a group) in AA. We are not bound by theological doctrines. None of us may be excommunicated and cast into outer darkness. For we are many minds in our organization, and an AA Decalogue (which means “Ten Commandments”) in the language of “Thou shalt not” would gall (which means “irritate”) us indeed.

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