Intro and Kick-Off


Each week, at the beginning of each workshop session, indicate your level of being “PRESENT”. Use a number 1 to 10 with 10 being “Fully Present” and 1 “Barely Present”.

Week # Your Level (1-10) of Being “PRESENT”
Intro Session
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week 5
Week 6
Week 7
Week 8
Week 9
Week 10
Week 11
Week 12
Week 13
Week 14
Week 15
Week 16
Week 17
Week 18

Big Book Workshop Format

Good evening, my name is _____________________, and I’m an alcoholic. Welcome to the regular Big Book Workshop. We as leaders do not consider ourselves to be the gurus of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. We do not consider ourselves to be experts in anything at all. For those who care to, please join me in a moment of silence to remind us of why we are here, and for the alcoholic who still suffers.

Please join me in the workshop prayer:

“God, let me set-aside everything I think I know about you, AA, myself and my disease, for an open mind and a new experience. Let me be honest and thorough. Amen.”

For the first couple of weeks we will go around the room and introduce ourselves in order to get to know one another.

Purpose: It is the purpose of this workshop to experience the recovery process as outlined in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, either for the first time or again, so we may better carry out and understand our primary purpose: to stay sober and carry the message to the still suffering alcoholic.

We are here to talk about recovery only, and to go through the 12 Step process as outlined in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. This is not an emotional or intellectual exercise. This is a spiritual exercise, so we can all recover and experience the recovery process as we read it together. It is recommended anything you hear here that cannot be reconciled in the Big Book, Twelve and Twelve (12 x 12), or other approved AA writings BE SIMPLY IGNORED. THIS IS NOT A CROSS-TALK WORKSHOP.

Reader begins reading: {Read Big Book}

Closing: it is now time to end our meeting for this evening. After a moment of silence for the alcoholic who still suffers, please join me in reading “A Vision For You” found on page 164 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.


The following is a suggested assignment sheet and outlined for use by this step study workshop. It is suggested that before the study is completed, each member have taken Steps One (1) through Twelve (12).

PRELIMINARY: During the first meeting we will review this outline regarding the purpose, plan and meeting format of the step study.  It is important that the commitment section of this outline be carefully reviewed and that each member of the team thoroughly understands that he or she is committing to taking the steps. It is most helpful that everyone attend and be present as much as possible and that communication is developed between the team members so that they are aware how the other team members are progressing and how they are feeling about the Steps Study.

    1. To provide the person who has not worked “The Steps” with motivation and assistance in “TAKING THE STEPS“.
    2. To provide those who have worked “The Steps” with an opportunity and the motivation to do it again and to help those who have not taken “The Steps”.

2. PLAN:

  1. The makeup of each team (i.e. Table) is of members who have worked the steps in the manner described in the Big Book and the balance of members who have never worked the steps in this manner, but who are WILLING to try.
    1. At the preliminary meeting, all in attendance will:

i.      Commit to stay with their team.

ii.      Commit to do all the steps as suggested in the Big Book.

iii.      Those who have previously done a Workshop will be asked to commit to do it once more with another team as part of their 12th Step.

iv.      Commit to attend the meetings except on rare and extremely unusual circumstances. Each member really needs to attend and be present each week. If you cannot attend, notify a member of your team or another workshop member and advised of them of your situation and/or problem.

v.      Commit to exchange phone numbers and making a phone call and/or personal contact with one or more members of the team during each week the steps are being taken and sharing your problems and/or experience with the assignment for that week.

    1. After the initial meeting, no one will be added to the team. If someone has
      “a slip” or is not living up to their commitment to their team, the other members of their team must decide they want to allow them to continue with their team.
    2. When the team has completed “The Steps”, it will disband.
    3. The estimated time to complete the workshop is 19 weeks.


    1. The leader simply discusses the assigned material and shares their experience in applying it in their own life.
    2. Each member must come to the meeting prepared, having read and studied the assignment from the previous week pertaining to the portions of the
      Big Book and “12 X 12” as they relate to the Step under consideration.
    3. The function of the team will be to apply the principles of each step in their lives and share their experience, (if they completed the assignment), in a discussion of each step with the other members of the team.
    4. It is suggested that each member of the team obtain a 3-ring binder, an ink pen, a highlighter pen (in a color of your choosing) and 3-hole paper or notebook to record your notes, assignments, 4th step etc.

[Meeting Reader Reads]

The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous Preface states: “This book has become the BASIC TEXT of our society.” The forward to the first edition states: “To show other alcoholics precisely how we have recovered” and additionally on page 29 in the Big Book it states: Further on, clear-cut directions are given file showing how we recovered.” This is the task this team is about to undertake!




[READ: Page XI, Paragraph 1 – 2]


[READ AFTER: Page XI, Paragraph 2]


BASIC TEXT: A “textbook” is a book that is used to transfer information from the mind of one human being through the written word, to the mind of another human being, thereby increasing the knowledge of the user of the textbook. A textbook is always written in a certain sequence. It assumes that the reader of the subject matter will know very little about. It will start at a simple level and as the reader’s knowledge increases, the material presented becomes a little more difficult.

“The Big Book” is a textbook written in a standard textbook format. It assumes that we know nothing about the disease of alcoholism. It starts by describing what the problem is, then describes the solution and finally gives us a program of action, so we can find the solution.

We believe that “The Doctor’s Opinion” and the first four chapters in “The Big Book” prepare us for Chapter Five. If we go through the Big Book in this way, we will be able to see how each chapter dovetails into the next chapter, building information on information.

The other idea is that alcoholics haven’t changed since 1939. Alcohol hasn’t changed either. Therefore, we haven’t found it necessary to change the program of recovery.

[Workshop leader reads this page aloud – Attendees see Page 5 Big Book Goals]


Let’s take a look at the “Table of Contents” from the book “Alcoholics Anonymous” affectionately referred to as “The Big Book”.  The Big Book is structured and laid out in a very particular manner.  When we read the “Doctor’s Opinion” and “Chapter 1 – Bill’s Story” we are looking at the Problem.  More is revealed further on in the Big Book, but most of the information about the problem is found here in these two (2) chapters.  If we can truly see the problem, then we will be able to see there are two parts: 1) the physical allergy; and 2) the obsession of the mind.  We will be able to understand the powerless condition of mind and body, and concede that we truly are powerless.  This is Step One.  Step One says we are powerless… if we are powerless then obviously the Solution lies within Power.

As we continue to study the Big Book will we will learn there is nothing we can do about the physical allergy of the body; that our only hope of recovery is through the mind. “Chapter 2 –

There Is a Solution”, “Chapter 3 – More About Alcoholism” and “Chapter 4 – We Agnostics” gives us this information.  From these chapters we learn that we might be able to come to believe that there is a Power greater than we are that can restore us to sanity.

This is Step Two.

So, if the problem is that we are powerless and the solution is a Power greater then ourselves, than the only other thing we need to know is: How do you find this Power?

Again, the Big Book gives us what we needa Practical Program of Action which is laid out in “Chapter 5 –How It Works”, “Chapter 6 – Into Action” and “Chapter 7 – Working with Others”. These three (3) chapters contain the remaining suggested steps,

Steps Three through Twelve which are the Practical Program of Action.

If we apply this Practical Program of Action (Steps 3 – 12), in our lives, then we will find the Power which will overcome our powerless condition.

It’s just that simple!

To realize the Big Book, in truth, is written in a specific sequence to convey certain ideas in a precise order so that we may recover from alcoholism makes “Alcoholics Anonymous” an especially fascinating book!



Goal One: Problem

Doctor’s OpinionChapter 1:

Bill’s Story


Goal Two: Solution

Chapter 2:There is a Solution

Chapter 3:

More About Alcoholism

Chapter 4:

We Agnostics


Goal Three: Action Necessary for Recovery

Chapter 5:How It Works

Chapter 6:

Into Action

Chapter 7:

Working With Others

STEPS 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8,9, 10, 11, 12




[READ AFTER: Page XIII, Paragraph 1]

The Big Book “Forward to the First Edition” suggests two pertinent ideas:

1. This book was written by Bill W. and edited by forty (40) sober people. When first published, there were more than 100 men and women who had recovered with the information as set forth in this book.  They recovered with the same problems that we have as alcoholics today.

2. To show other alcoholics precisely how we have recovered is the main purpose of this book. Our book does not deal with membership or fellowship.  It deals with recovery only.  If we choose to do what the first 100 people did to recover, then we should expect the same results, which is recovery from the disease of alcoholism.




[READ AT: Page XVI – 9 lines from the top]


From this doctor, the broker had learned the grave nature of alcoholism.


In 1933, Dr. Silkworth treated Bill W. and explained what he believed to be the disease of alcoholism.  He believed:

  1. It was NOT Lack of Will Power.
  2. It was NOT Lack of Moral Character.
  3. It was NOT Sin.

Dr. Silkworth said: “Bill I believe alcoholism is an actual disease and a peculiar disease.”

  1. It is a disease of the Body, as well as
  2. A disease of the Mind.

The doctor said, “Bill, when people like you drink, they react entirely different than normal people.  Normal people take a drink and they get a slightly warm, comfortable, relaxing feeling.  They may have one or two drinks and that’s all they want to drink.  But people like you drink a drink and you get a physical feeling in your body that produces a physical craving that demands more of the same.  When you start, instead of one or two, you end up with three, four, six, eight, ten, until you get drunk, sick and in trouble. This is abnormal and it only happens to one out of ten people. Therefore Bill, I’ll say that physically you have become allergic to alcohol and react abnormally
to it.”

“Also, you have developed an obsession of the mind.  Normal people do not care if a drink or not.  They can drink today, tomorrow, or a month from now and it is not a big deal to them.  But, people like you, Bill, have developed an obsession of the mind to drink.  That obsession is so strong that it will make you believe something that isn’t true.”

“From time to time, you have been told that you cannot drink, and from time to time, you’ve known you cannot drink.  From time to time you’ve even sworn off drinking.  But the obsession of the mind is an idea that says you can now drink.  This time it will be different.  This time you will only take one drink.  That obsession is so strong that it makes you believe you can drink and just before you drink you know it’s going to be OK.  It will always lead you back to taking a drink, then the drink will trigger the allergy, and then you will be unable to stop drinking. People like you have become hopeless.

After this conversation, Bill left a hospital and stayed sober for a while.  But his obsession of the mind told him he could drink, and he did.  One year later, he was put back into that hospital under Dr. Silkworth’s care again and this time the doctor pronounced him incurable.  He left in the summer of 1934, knowing he could not drink, and fear kept him sober for a while.  On Armistice Day, 1934, his mind told him he could drink.  He took a drink and triggered the allergy and couldn’t stop.


Ebby, who had been in the Oxford Group, came to visit Bill and gave Bill two additional pieces of information.  Dr. Silkworth had explained the problem.  Ebby T. said:

“Bill, the solution to that problem is finding a Power greater than human power.  People like us have become absolutely powerless over alcohol.  If we are to recover, we have to find a Power greater than alcohol, greater than we are and greater than human power.  If human power would have worked, we would have recovered a long time a go.  Willpower would have done it, doctors would have done it, ministers would have done it.  But none of them have helped us.  If we can find the Power greater than human power, then we can recover! The Oxford Group has given me a practical program of action and they guarantee that if I apply it in my life, I would find that Power and I wouldn’t have to drink anymore.  Look at me; I’ve been sober for two months.”
Bill knew Ebby, and how he drank.  He knew a miracle had happened in Ebby’s life.

From these three (3) pieces of information, he recovered from his disease!

  1. He learned the PROBLEM from Dr. Silkworth.
  2. He learned the SOLUTION from Ebby T. and the Oxford Group.

He applied the action in his life and found that Power and never had a drink again!

Bill W. got sober December 12, 1934 and passed away sober in January 1971,
with thirty-five (35) years of sobriety.


1) Read “STEP ONE” in the “Twelve and Twelve” book – USE HIGHLIGHTER!!!

2) Read “THE DOCTOR’S OPINION” in the “Big Book” (1st Time) — USE HIGHLIGHTER!!!
(Just read and highlight the 1st time through the doctor’s opinion.)

3) Read “THE DOCTOR’S OPINION” in the “Big Book” (2nd Time).   Answer the work assignment questions below.  Begin to write “How You Were Powerless Over Alcohol”. It is equally important to write any reservations you may have about the fact you are powerless over alcohol.


[Page XXV Paragraph 1]

  1. Are you interested in the doctor’s estimate or the physical part of your disease…to discover the fact that you are powerless over alcohol/drugs after the first drink and/or drug?
  1. Was the testimony, which came from medical men who have had experience with our suffering and our recovery helpful to you?  (MUST)


[Page XXV Paragraph 3]

  1. Are you the type who is hopeless?  (Wants to quit and cannot?)


[Page XXV Paragraph 5]

  1. Are you the type where other methods failed completely?  (Everything you tried?)


[Page XXVI Paragraph 1]

  1. Are you willing to believe the Big Book as a remedy for you and can you rely on what these people, who wrote the books say about themselves?


[Page XXVI Paragraph 2]

  1. Do you believe that your body is as abnormal as your mind after the first drink and/or drug?  (MUST)


  1. Did any explanation you got from yourself or others, as to why you couldn’t control your drinking and/or drugging, satisfy you?
  1. Did any picture view, which left out the physical factor, feel incomplete?


[Page XXVI Paragraph 3]

  1. Does the doctor’s theory that you have an allergy to alcohol and/or drugs interest you?  Does it make good sense?  Does it explain many things that you could not otherwise account for?


[Page XXVII Paragraph 4]

  1. Do you believe that some form of a ‘spiritual experience’ is of urgent importance to you?  Do you believe that any human can apply the power of good that is needed to produce this ‘spiritual experience’?




[Page XXVII Paragraph 6]

  1. Do you believe more in their Power, which has pulled you back from the gates of death than yourself?


[Page XXVIII Paragraph 1]

  1. Do you believe when you put alcohol and/or drugs in your body that the reaction is like an allergy and there is a craving for more?  Has this craving happened to you with alcohol or drugs?
  1. Can you safely use alcohol and/or drugs in any form?  Did you form the habit?  Could you break it?  Did you lose your self-confidence?  Did you lose your reliance upon things human?  Major problems pile up on you and become difficult to solve?


[Page XXVIII Paragraph 2]

  1. Did frothy emotional appeal (yours or theirs) suffice (work)?  Do you believe the message which can interest and hold you, must have depth and weight?
    (Depth = ‘great detail’ & Weight = ‘proof that it works’).  Do you believe the message must be more than emotional, more than intellectual?


  1. Do you believe that in order to re-create your life, your ideals must be grounded in a Power greater than yourself? (MUST)


[Page XXVIII Paragraph 4]

  1. Did you drink and/or drug for the effect produced by alcohol and/or drugs?  Did this effect become so elusive that after a time, even though you knew it was injurious, you could not differentiate the truth from the false?
  1. Did your life using alcohol/drugs seem to be the only normal one for you?
  1. Untreated, are you restless, irritable and discontented?  Do you believe that in recovery, you must experience the sense of ease and comfort you got from drinking and/or drugging, and if not, you will drink and/or drug again.  Do you believe there will be little hope for your recovery unless you experience an entire psychic change?


[Page XXIX Paragraph 1]

  1. Do you believe to attain this psychic change, there will be effort necessary and you will have to meet a few requirements and follow a few simple rules?

[Page XXIX Paragraph 2]

  1. Can you stop on your own?  Do you need help? (2 MUSTS)

[Page XXIX Paragraph 3]

  1. Do you believe that something more than human power is needed to produce the essential psychic change?  Is this your only answer?




[Page XXIX Paragraph 4]

  1. Do you believe your alcoholism and/or addiction is entirely a problem of mental control?


[Page XXX Paragraph 1]

  1. Has this craving, at times, become more important than all else?  Were there times you were not drinking and/or drugging to escape, but to overcome a craving beyond your mental control?  Where their situations which arose out of this craving which caused you to make the sacrifice rather than to continue to fight?

[Page XXX Paragraph 5]

  1. Have you identified your allergy to alcohol and/or drugs as a craving for more alcohol and/or drugs when she started drinking and/or drugging?  Do you believe this allergy differentiates you and set you apart like a distinct entity?  Do you believe the only relief to this physical allergy is entire abstinence?  Can you do that on your own?

Be Sociable, Share!
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • email
  • StumbleUpon
  • Google Reader Web Administrator