A little ditty on the “Big Book”, Alcoholics Anonymous (There is a Solution).
Chapter 2 starts out: “We, of ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, know thousands of men and women who were once just as hopeless as Bill (from chapter 1). Nearly all have recovered. They have solved the drink problem”. This chapter is an overview of the program that Bill was given by his friend who visited him and sat at his kitchen table, sober! This was shocking to Bill, as his friend was just as bad a drunk as he was.
Who are the members of AA? What type of people are there?
Chapter 2 begins by describing the membership which is made up of people from all walks of life. A cross section of the population. “All sections of this country and many of its occupations are represented, as well as many political, economic, social, and religious backgrounds. “Apparently alcoholism does not discriminate, it affects people from all walks of life.
Does this chapter explain the solution they have for Alcoholism?
Yes and no. This chapter is almost an overview of the entire program. An introduction more or less. Explaining the problem, continuing from where the doctors opinion started in describing the disease in terms of the thinking that is established in the alcoholic, the craving, and lack of control once he/she starts drinking.
At the time this was written, the medical profession had hardly put a dent in the problem of alcoholism. Stating that psychiatrists and psychologists typically have had little results with the problem drinker. Usually because the problem drinker is unable to be honest about their situation. And when they are able to be honest about their drinking they are as baffled as anyone else. Yet a sober alcoholic seems to be able to make a connection with the problem drinker that no one else can, because he is able to see that he has been there. He has had the same difficulty’s. No theory here, simply experience.
Then this chapter turns to the solution. Describing the fellowship and a summary of what in entails to recover. “There is a solution. Almost none of us liked the self-searching, the leveling of our pride, the confession of shortcomings which the process requires for its successful consummation. But we saw that it really worked in others, …”
Do I have to have the same religious belief as these founding members?
It is not necessary to believe anything other than that you have a problem with alcohol, that is bigger than you are. Chapter 2 states that “We think it no concern of ours what religious bodies our members identify themselves with as individuals”. AA has no affiliation with any religious organization. Once again, merely a willingness to believe is all that is required to make a start in AA. In fact there is an entire chapter addressed to the agnostic, chapter 4, “We Agnostics”. But we will save that until we get there.
The point is that AA, the twelve steps, and the “Big Book” itself, are there to help you to find a power greater than yourself, which will help you solve your problem. The message in chapter 2 is really about a spiritual awakening, which the great psychiatrist Carl Jung defined as a complete change in ideas, emotions, and attitudes. In the meantime AA is about one alcoholic talking to another.