Dr. Bob Explains His Understanding of AA AnonymitySeptember 25, 2023
ImpressionsOctober 30, 2023
For years I considered the Big Book statement: “Happy, joyous and free” as a bit redundant, for after all, are not happiness and Joy the same (p 133)? However, years later I found that HAPPINESS and JOY are two completely two different things:
HAPPINESS is a human experience. It disappears when we are sad or depressed. But JOY is a God experience that may take place even when we are sad or depressed.
I have experienced said unexplained joy while feeling deeply depressed in a tent while camping in Sault Ste. Marie, Canada. I had recently been separated from my ex-wife and was feeling enormous depression. We had camped in that same tent in the Grand Canyon during our honeymoon previously. In the middle of the night, I became unexplainably full of energy, and everything seemed to wax extremely vivid and bright. I was full of Joy. This lasted throughout the night.
I believe Bill Wilson was experiencing great Joy—not ordinary happiness—after he went through his vital spiritual experience on page 14 of the Big Book: Doctor Silkworth told him: “Something has happened to you I don’t understand. But you had better hang on to it. Anything is better than the way you were.” I believe Bill’s resultant Joy prompted him to immediately go out and start helping alcoholics. So, I believe God’s Joy can be ongoing.
Then there is Fitz Mayo who had such an ongoing vital spiritual experience that: “He couldn’t drink even if he would.” (p 57, Big Book) There must have been great joy in that!
Again, Ebby Thacher (Bill’s sponsor), who was not a spiritual person prayed to God: “as never before” and was stuck sober for two years and seven months. Again, great joy must have been present. (EBBY The Man Who Sponsored Bill W., by Mel B. – p 58) Ebby died in 1966, two years sober.
I believe the blessing of spiritual Joy will come to me when God decides to send it—I cannot just wish for it. However, I believe my chances are all for the better if I try to maintain a fit spiritual condition by living the Twelve Steps.
By Bob S.