A little ditty on the “Big Book”, Alcoholics Anonymous (A Vision For You).
What is the purpose of this chapter?
Chapter 11, “A Vision For You” is a summary of the big book , the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, and the growth of the fellowship at that time(1939). The main author of the big book, Bill W, had a certain style of writing that shows up over and over again. Bill liked to drive home the same point several different ways. He also didn’t like to use the same word more than once in a topic. Bill always summarized the topic at hand at the end of each chapter in the book, so it seems fitting that Bill would use the last chapter to summarize the program and the book.
Bill begins the chapter by summarizing alcoholism. “King alcohol. Shivering denizens of his mad realm.” Describing advanced alcoholism as “the four horseman – Terror, Bewilderment, Frustration, Despair.” These are the points Bill drives home over and over again throughout the book.
He then goes on to describe how he came to meet Dr Bob, the second member of the fellowship. Bill relates how, after an out of town business venture fell apart , he found himself far from home, broke, and alone, sober only six months. Eventually he opted going to a church directory in the hotel lobby as opposed to the hotel bar where the sound of people laughing and enjoying themselves floated out the door. Here Bill described his own experience with alcoholic thinking. He was having thoughts that suggested he go into the bar and order a ginger ale or maybe just have 3 drinks, no more. That train of thought terrified Bill. He made a few phone calls from the church directory that eventually led him to Dr Bob who was in bad shape at that time and could not stop drinking. That meeting between Bill and Bob was the start of the fellowship and program of Alcoholics Anonymous
When Bill would tell his story at a meeting he would describe meeting Dr Bob for the first time. Bill said “Bob I need your help. If I don’t tell you my story I’m going to get drunk.” This is a powerful message, that by sharing his story with another alcoholic, especially one in trouble, it can enable the alcoholic to stay sober another day.
The second half of the last page in chapter 11, page 164, is even read aloud at many meetings in the U.S. And I think it is worth repeating here to wrap up the text of the book. It is titled “A Vision for You”.
“Our book is meant to be suggestive only. We realize we know only a little. God will constantly disclose more to you and to us. Ask Him in your morning meditation what you can do each day for the man who is still sick. The answers will come, if your own house is in order. But obviously you cannot transmit something you haven’t got. See to it that your relationship with Him is right, and great events will come to pass for you and countless others. This is the Great Fact for us.”
“Abandon yourself to God as you understand God (Steps 1, 2, and 3). Admit your faults to Him and your fellows (Steps 4, 5, 6, and 7). Clear away the wreckage of your past (Steps 8 and 9). Give freely of what you find and join us (Steps 10, 11, and 12). We shall be with you in the Fellowship of the Spirit, and you will surely meet some of us as you trudge the Road of Happy Destiny. May God bless you and keep you until then.”
Words to live by.