The AA Big Book: From Willingness to Freedom

The AA Big Book: From Willingness to Freedom

"The message which can interest and hold these alcoholic people must have depth and weight." William D. Silkworth, M.D.

A few lines from our Basic Text: 

We find it a waste of time to keep chasing a man who cannot or will not work with you. If you leave such a person alone, he may soon become convinced that he cannot recover by himself. To spend too much time on any one situation is to deny some other alcoholic an opportunity to live and be happy. 

If he does not want to see you, never force yourself upon him.

Don't deal with him when he is very drunk, unless he is ugly and the family needs your help.

… ask him if he wants to quit for good and if he would go to any extreme to do so. If he says yes, then his attention should be drawn to you as a person who has recovered.

If he does not want to stop drinking, don't waste time trying to persuade him. You may spoil a later opportunity.

If he wants to stop, he should be afforded a real chance. If he cannot or does not want to stop, he should be discharged. The exceptions are few.

If he is not interested in your solution, if he expects you to act only as a banker for his financial difficulties or a nurse for his sprees, you may have to drop him until he changes his mind.

Either you are dealing with a man who can and will get well or you are not. If not, why waste time with him? This may seem severe, but it is usually the best course.

If you are sure he doesn't mean business, there is no doubt you should discharge him.

We think this method of approach will accomplish several things. It will permit the rehabilitation of good men. At the same time you will feel no reluctance to rid yourself of those who cannot or will not stop.

We all had to place recovery above everything, for without recovery we would have lost both home and business.

After satisfying yourself that your man wants to recover and that he will go to any extreme to do so, you may suggest a definite course of action.

Had they fired me first, and had they then taken steps to see that I was presented with the solution contained in this book, I might have returned to them six months later, a well man.

They had told of a simple religious idea and a practical program of action. That was two months ago and the result was self-evident. It worked!

…the contents of a book or the work of another alcoholic has accomplished in a few weeks that for which we struggled for years.

The door opened and he stood there, fresh-skinned and glowing. There was something about his eyes. He was inexplicably different…He had that starry-eyed look.

…the effect was electric. There was a sense of victory, followed by such a peace and serenity as I had never known. There was utter confidence. I felt lifted up, as though the great clean wind of a mountain top blew through and through.

The joy of living we really have, even under pressure and difficulty.

Most of us feel we need look no further for Utopia. We have it with us right here and now.

The age of miracles is still with us.

There exists among us a fellowship, a friendliness, and an understanding which is indescribably wonderful. 

They knew they had a host of new friends; it seemed they had known these strangers always. They had seen miracles, and one was to come to them. They had visioned the Great Reality – their loving and All Powerful Creator.

…the stimulating and electric atmosphere of the place, conspired to let him know that here was haven at last.

The great fact is just this, and nothing less: That we have had deep and effective spiritual experiences which have revolutionized our whole attitude toward life, toward our fellows and toward God's universe.

There has been a revolutionary change in their way of living and thinking.

Your imagination will be fired. Life will mean something at last.

We have found much of heaven and we have been rocketed into a fourth dimension of existence of which we had not even dreamed.

…great events will come to pass for you and countless others. This is the Great Fact for us.


[Sources: Alcoholics Anonymous]