If there’s one thing about my recovery that makes my blood boil. Its reading basic texts.
The Big Book was written in the 1930s by a relatively small group of white, male, middle class Americans.
When I read it, it’s all about the malady. There isn’t enough emotion. The book talks a lot about spirituality, but for many the process of recovery is a journey of reconnecting to emotions, handling them, forgiveness and abstinence.
The lens that I take is that this was written many years ago. Much of it scribbled down as random notes. Words heatedly debated over. Even just reading the steps what I see is a series of confused language. “Him”, “God”, “Higher Power”, “Willing”, “Spiritual”, “Shortcomings”, “Defects”, “Sanity”, “Powerless” just a few of the key words that 100s of groups pour over, share their experience and debate what it really means to each individual.
We are not Borg
More than that, recently I have come across confusion between being the same and having similarities. Recently someone shared that every step 5 they had ever experienced was the same, I can’t comment. I haven’t been there. I don’t have much experience of such. I cannot claim to be an expert.
But the implication is that everyone is the same. What is actually true is that we have similarities. What is actually true is laws of attraction. Every group has its own vibe, it’s own networks and nepotism to a certain degree.
You can only attract what you manifest.
So much like any old text, I interpret everything with my eyes squinting, searching for the right metaphor and replacing the language in basic texts. This is such that I can draw similarities with the original writers in the 1930s. Yes we have a similar problem. No our experience is different. Yes times and inclusivity have moved on. It is more than white middle aged men who have experienced some form of “spiritual malady”
After the 164
My sponsor asked me to recently read the first story after 164. I said I was in no way similar to this person. What they described was their insanity. Not, more importantly their emotional or spiritual state or insanity.
Pain exists in the real world and in groups. Often this goes unacknowledged. We know that emotional pain can be inherited and can result in chains of addiction.
Then we went to the chapter on wives. The only way I could read this chapter is like I read Macbeth, Romeo & Juliet and any old text.
It was a study. It was written in its time. The plot was more important than the detail. And here the advice given to wives could be applied to anybody. A friend, relative, concerned colleague, anyone. I even managed to bullet point “The 10 Steps to make an intervention”.
It’s with this that I always remind myself of the primary purpose. To carry the message to the still suffering addict.
It is a shame that I have to remind people that language is an anarchism. The bible was rewritten from Its original language many times over. As I recall the 7 days of creation is actually the 7 periods of creation. God is actually the non binary Yahweh. There is copious amounts of literature on whether “he” (God) should be “it” or “they”.
When I’m asked to deliver the serenity prayer I start with “To my higher power” which causes chaos as many people were expecting “God”. I chuckle
The basis of any communion is sharing. Sadly, so often the attitude from fundamentalists is you change, we don’t want to as we’re too scared.
And although I can interpret, part of me wishes that people would change with society rather than relying on a collective knowledge and debate to make it relevant.
After all Shakespeare should be read with an American accent in mind. As that was the accent of the Elizabethan era. People still unknowingly watch and read the plots many times over from Shakespeare, without reverting to the harder to understand, original language.
Make it easy. Carry the message. Be the voice of clarity, not confusion.