Cross-Posting: Nicholas Montemarano’s “Alcoholics Anonymous (1939), i.e. The Big Book”

Editor’s Note:  Points today presents a cross-posting from Frequencies, an online “genealogy of spirituality” curated by Kathryn Lofton and John Lardas Modern as part of the Social Science Research Council’s (SSRC) Working Group on Spirituality, Political Engagement, and Public Life.  A collaboration with the SSRC’s blog The Immanent Frame and the online magazine Killing the Buddha, Frequencies works from the assumption that “spirituality takes hold beneath the skin and permeates below the radar of statistical surveys.  It resists classification even as it classifies its evaluators and its believers as subjects of its sway.”  With this in mind, the curators sought free-form meditations on spirituality–written and visual– from a diverse public.  Unsurprisingly, addiction and recovery are common themes on Frequencies, as in this  essay on the AA “Big Book,” written by Nicholas Montemarano  and accompanied by images from David Michalek’s Fourteen Stations.

“I’ll do anything! Anything at all! If there be a God, let Him show Himself!”
“Pass It On”: The Story of Bill Wilson and How the A.A. Message Reached the World

Station Two: Christ Accepts the Cross

Actually, Bill, there is one thing you can do. It’ll be good for both of us—a win-win proposition. Okay, maybe a bit better for me, but what’s good for me is good for everyone.

Bill, I need you to write a book, a big book, an important one, a kind of Bible for the hopeless. Don’t worry; I’ll tell you what to write.

As for the alcohol, just leave that up to me. You see, something more than human power is needed. Write that down and make sure to put it in the book. Intelligence isn’t enough. Self-knowledge isn’t enough. Will power isn’t enough. The misery of hitting rock bottom isn’t enough. The love of friends and family—important, but not nearly enough. Nothing human, nothing of this world, will ever be enough. Alcoholism is a terminal disease, and the only thing that can cure a terminal disease is a miracle. I am that miracle. I am the mighty purpose of the universe. Allow me, a Higher Power, to do for you what you can’t do for yourself.

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