Sponsoring via the Big Book

Sobriety Is a Gift
October 5, 2018
Seeds of Sobriety via Step Ten
November 28, 2018

Some years ago, I was asked to sponsor a guy named Tom. However, I declined by informing him that I was only two years sober, to which Tom replied: “Well, that’s all I want!” What to do?

I had been studying the Twelve Step directions from the Big Book, so I decided it might work out if we stuck to those clear-cut directions, page-by-page. After all, Step Twelve doesn’t say that I am to carry my message – my sponsor’s message – what I think message, etc., but it says to carry THIS MESSAGE – I believe that means the one in the Big Book. Confidence restored, I proceeded full speed ahead and the vital Big Book message was successfully carried.

Since, I have only one authority as an active sponsor: The Big Book program of action. Being a history-minded sort of guy, I have spent many years studying the ingredients and suggestions of the AA Program.

A place to start was a November 1934, “kitchen table” meeting between Ebby Thacher and Bill Wilson (p. 9): Ebby told of a simple religious idea (A vital spiritual experience), and a practical program of action (The Oxford Group’s Four Absolutes, etc.). Bill had the idea that his gin would outlast Ebby’s preaching, but it did not—a week or so thereafter, Bill checked back into Towns Hospital never to drink again.

On Dec 14th, 1934, Bill, while lying in bed, went through the essential elements of our now Twelve Steps (p. 13). By 1936 these ideas (tenets) became what was then known as the six-step program (Read p. 263). Although similar, there were several versions of these.

Bill W. started writing the Big Book manuscript during the spring of 1938, and by December had completed the writing of all Twelve Steps. However, his manuscript was altered somewhat dramatically in January of 1939 and included our Twelve Steps of today.

But guess what – it worked! We then had maybe one-hundred members, but now over two-million are staying sober by their use. Thank God I had these guidelines when I sponsored Tom so many years ago.

By Bob S., Richmond, IN

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of the AA Cleveland District Office.