“For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority—a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.”
Reverend Oral Roberts once had a conversation with a nine-hundred foot tall Jesus, who told him that he needed to build a medical school. A few years later, he had a conversation with God, who told him that he needed to raise 8 million dollars for his medical centre to train medical missionaries, or God was going to whack him. Fortunately for the good reverend, he was able to collect his cash, and he his life was spared. The next year he had another conversation with God, who told him close down the medical centre, but keep the 8 million bucks.
This is typical God. He is a showman, and He doesn’t just show up as a regular guy, like in the form of George Burns in Oh God. He doesn’t show up in a public place, either. Instead, he’ll sneak up on his chosen few when they are alone. Maybe He will appear in the woods or on a mountaintop. In the case of Bill W, it was at the foot of his hospital bed, and he appeared in the form of a white light, thrusting him to the top of a mountain, as a spiritual wind swept through him. This was Bill’s moment of clarity, and the catalyst for him taking his message to the masses. Where Moses wound up with the Ten Commandments, and Joseph Smith wound up with some gold plated tablets containing the Book of Mormon scripture, Bill W’s spiritual awakening culminated in the Twelve Steps.
Bill is no longer with us, so AAs can no longer rely on the God appearance by proxy, like the flock in Oral Roberts’ church still can. We have to rely on the group conscious, through which God speaks. Now, the obvious question is – which god is speaking for the group? AA being a group with multiple deities, one might wonder who is in charge. Is it Sally G’s pet rock, Mohamed C’s Allah, Tom B’s Chevy truck, Raj T’s Hindu creator or Bubba J’s Baptist bible thumping god? What happens if there is a dispute? Do these deities and doorknobs fight it out in the spirit world, and then come back with an answer to the group?
These are good questions, and there is an answer. Any question of the ultimate truth is found in the words of Bill W and The Big Book. One thing an AAer will tell you that is both disingenuous and true, is that AA is not religious. That is true. It isn’t religious – it is a religion in and of itself. The Big Book settles all disputes, and The Big Book is the product of Bill Wilson’s delusion.
One example of this the idea that a person who remains sober, but isn’t attending meetings or working the steps, is less sober than other members. AA gives out chips denoting the amount of time sober, but if a person enters an AA chapter after becoming sober on their own for any length of time, they will get a one day chip in their first meeting, regardless of how long they have been off of the sauce. It isn’t time sober that really matters – it is time in the fellowship. Remember, that sobriety is viewed as simply a bi-product of working the steps. This topic was hotly debated in a group with whom I am familiar, and it was settled with a quote from Bill W that a person not drinking but also not working steps is “not really in recovery”. Case settled.
Tradition Two states that the voice of a loving God is expressed through the group’s conscience. That can only happen if we all get to be God’s voice.” – Jim, a happy AAer
One problem with the group conscience is that it is not really the conscience of the group. Rather, it is the conscience of the dogmatic old-timers who control the group. They are the priests of AA, and it is their interpretation of the world, and of The Big Book, that trumps all. It takes a special kind of person to be able to stomach the AA dogma for any length of time, which explains the ridiculously high drop out rate. My personal belief is that most people leave AA not because it is ineffective, but because it is whacked-out, batshit, off-the-wall crazy, and they can’t stand another minute of the nonsense. What are left standing at the end of the day are true believers. The Little Bills who believe that God really is talking through them to the group. There are varying degrees of delusion, and one does not need a white light experience to be a nutcase. For most, a touch sociopathy or narcissism, with a twist of religion, will do. AA offers no screening process to keep these types out, and they represent a fair percentage of AA sponsors and group leaders; and, as a result, they become the group conscious.