My new sponsor and I agreed that we should start over at the beginning of the big book. The group had kept reading right past the first 164 pages, and when I first attended the meeting, they were finishing the first section of personal stories. I remember wondering why big book studies didn't continue into the stories at some point in my time in the rooms, and now I think I understand a little better. It involves reading a whole lot of differing opinion and conjecture about the program, and we have enough of that in the individual member's interpretation of the clear-cut instructions the book gives. So after leading it the first week, and reading one more of the stories, I proposed to my new sponsor, J___, that we start over. He agreed, saying that he was thinking the same thing.
So tonight we started with the preface, and it was just J___ and I. We were soon joined by another, and then eventually two more came in. Mostly it was J___ and I reading, although one of the other members read for a little while. We talked back and forth-J___ & I-sharing our experience, in the same general format as a Joe & Charlie book study. The difference is that I know my knowledge is very limited-I'm no Charlie! But we read through the forwards to all the four editions, and our sharing on that took up the meeting.
It is always a wonderful experience to read a book that has a special place for me with others. Starting the big book over again is exciting, because I know I will find new and enlightening messages contained within its text. Simply going over AA's history and the growth of its numbers from 1935 until the forward to the fourth edition as written in 2001...from two men, to 100 men and women, to 150,000 20 years later, to 1 million 20 years later, to 2 million 25 years after that...worldwide fellowship.
And it all starts when one alcoholic tries to help another alcoholic by sharing their experience, strength and hope.