A Few Quotes from The Big Book by Alcoholics Anonymous

Taken from the handout that John Zahl and Kate Norris distributed during their unbelievably powerful […]

David Zahl / 4.1.09

Taken from the handout that John Zahl and Kate Norris distributed during their unbelievably powerful “Grace In Addiction” session at the Conference. If you have ever wondered about the intersection of AA and Christianity, or more importantly, how the Gospel relates to the issue of addiction, listen to it now! JAZ addresses the all-t00-common Christian criticisms of AA as well as what the church can/should learn from AA. You can download the 7-page handout by clicking here or visiting the Mockingbird website:

…If a mere code of morals or a better philosophy of life were sufficient to overcome alcoholism, many of us would have recovered long ago. But we found that such codes and philosophies did not save us, no matter how much we tried. We could wish to be moral, we could wish to be philosophically comforted, in fact, we could will these things with all our might, but the needed power wasn’t there. Our human resources, as marshalled by the will, were not sufficient; they failed utterly.

Lack of power, that was our dilemma. We had to find a power by which we could live, and it had to be a Power greater than ourselves. Obviously.


So our troubles, we think, are basically of our own making. They arise out of ourselves, and the alcoholic is an extreme example of self-will run riot, though he usually doesn’t think so. Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness. We must, or it kills us! God makes that possible. And there often seems no way of entirely getting rid of self without His aid. Many of us had moral and philosophical convictions galore, but we could not live up to them even though we would have liked to. Neither could we reduce our self-centeredness much by wishing or trying on our own power. We had to have God´s help.


The great fact is just this, and nothing less: That we have had deep and effective spiritual experiences which have revolutionized our whole attitude toward life, toward our fellows and toward God´s universe. The central fact of our lives today is the absolute certainty that our Creator has entered into our hearts and lives in a way which is indeed miraculous.
He has commenced to accomplish those things for us which we could never do by ourselves.

If you are as seriously alcoholic as we were, we believe there is no middle-of-the-road solution. We were in a position where life was becoming impossible, and if we had passed into the region from which there is no return through human aid, we had but two alternatives: One was to go on to the bitter end, blotting out the consciousness of our intolerable situation as best we could; and the other, to accept spiritual help.

To order a copy of Mockingbird’s recent publication Grace in Addiction: What The Church Can Learn from Alcoholics Anonymous, go here.