The Traditional Catholic and 12-Step Programs, Part 10

I’ve divided this out into 16 parts in order to keep each post to a reasonable length and allow me to really think about each part.

Traditional Catholic and Twelve Step Programs
by Sean Romer
as written for the Angelus magazine, September 2002

LITERATURE

The A.A. World Service Office in New York publishes literature that explains the program the Twelve Steps, the history of the fellowship, and other topics of interest to A.A. members, alcohol treatment professionals, family members, and other parties. Most A.A. books are sold at A.A. meetings, typically at lower cost than can be found at local booksellers.

Several popular titles are:

Alcoholics Anonymous (a.k.a., the “Big Book”)
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age
As Bill Sees It (The A.A. Way of Life)
Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers
Pass It On: The Story of Bill Wilson and How the A.A. Message Reached the World
Daily Reflections
The A.A. Grapevine
THE SLOGANS

The slogans are bite-sized pieces of the A.A. program. When an alcoholic is too hungry, angry, lonely, or tired to formulate a coherent thought, a slogan will remind him to quit trying so hard, and to open himself to the sunlight of the Spirit-which cannot be effective in a soul filled with grim determination or angst.

Typical slogans include:

“Easy Does It”
“Live and Let Live”
“Let Go and Let God”
“First Things First”
“One Day at a Time”

THE ROLE OF ANONYMITY

An alcoholic can be haunted by the ignominy of alcoholism long after he has attained sobriety. Keeping his membership in a Twelve Step group, then, is a way to shield him and his family from being socially stigmatized.

Another reason A.A. is anonymous is that anonymity is an antidote to an alcoholic’s overdeveloped ego. Should one member come to view himself as indispensable, or appoint himself spokesman for A.A., he might begin to think he is different from his fellow alcoholics-and for the alcoholic, being different is lethal.

Finally, anonymity protects the A.A. program. Should a public figure who is an A.A. member drink again, it could undermine the good reputation A.A. has established in a community.

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