Foundation Meetings are a
good way to provide people with an overview of what DAA is
really all about. If anyone in the regularly scheduled
meeting has not attended one of these meetings they are
encouraged to do so. This meeting should be held in a
separate area if possible and should be led by a recovered
member of the group that has an understanding of the program
as it's explained in the first 164 pages of the Big Book of
In DAA we simply substitute
the words using for drinking, drugs for alcohol and so on.
If the book is referring to details in a persons story or a
historical part of AA then we do not change it.
Beginning of the meeting.
We make certain everyone has a Big Book and begin by
referring to the lower right hand corner of the "Dust Jacket"
where it reads, "This is the Third Edition of the Big Book,
the BASIC TEXT for Alcoholics Anonymous." Or, of course, if
they have a Fourth Edition, same message in the middle of the
Dust Jacket. We want them to know what ADDICTION is, what the
SOLUTION is and HOW to take the ACTION that is necessary to
avoid death or insanity by using and drinking, i.e. to get
from the PROBLEM to the SOLUTION.
We begin by qualifying the book and elaborate with some of
our own experience.
Now, to the FOREWORD TO FIRST EDITION. First published in
1939 and was introduced by stating: (We read the 1st paragraph
and then dissect it)
1st sentence tells us who authored the Basic Text for
it is referring to the book as a text book. Just like in grammar
school, a text book is to be studied. We read it and make notes,
highlight things and really put it to use.
2nd sentence tells us why they went to the trouble to
publish the Basic Text.
3rd sentence suggests the Big Book is all we will ever need
to be successful in sobriety.
4th & 5th sentences tells us that the Big Book is also
for those that care about us.
6th sentence is supported by the fact that the Big Book has
given birth to over 200 anonymous fellowships that have
nothing to do with drinking, including
Pg. xiv - "The only requirement for membership is an HONEST
desire to stop using drugs." (Traditions Three & Five.) We
have lost our understanding of HONEST by the time we decide to
come to AA so that requirement has been eliminated but if a
person is serious about living sober, they better have an
HONEST desire to stop drinking and be willing to follow our
THE FOREWORD TO SECOND EDITION.
Gives a historical account of the 1st 20 years of AA's
How Bill found Dr. Bob.
How they got busy looking for other alcoholics to try to
How their success attracted the attention of some of our
How we received some very favorable publicity - Jack
How the onslaught of new prospects forced Bill to develop
And then we hammer the statement on page xx:
50% never took another drink
one half of those who did drink returned and found
So, 75%+ who had Sponsors who followed the clear-cut
directions in the Big Book were successful in sobriety.
Then, after several years of being recovered Bill published
the 12&12 in 1953 and by 1965, our success rate had
dropped to 50%. Unfortunately, many newcomers are encouraged
to try to use the 12&12 as their source of directions.
Bill W. was the principal author of the Big Book and the sole
author of the 12&12. On page 17 of the 12&12, Bill
stated, "The Big Book was and still is the basic text for AA.
Then, in the late 60's, people started
"discussion/participation meetings" that failed to stick to
AA's singleness of purpose so by 1980, AA had dropped to 33%.
The result of which was they started ignoring the practice of
focusing on OUR Solution and they drifted into group therapy.
For recent years, the success rate of 12 step fellowships has
decreased to what appears to be less than 5% for those finding
as much as 5 years sobriety and clean time. (Refer to Bob
Bacon's article and the information from "The Price of Don't
Drink and Go To Meetings," "What Happened" plus the Dallas
InterGroup stats and BOX 459 stats.)
While there has been a dramatic change in the fellowship of
AA and other 12 step fellowships, the Program as it was
documented in the beginning has remained unchanged;
consequently, the Fourth Edition reads the same as the First
Edition. Here in DAA we work the program as it was originally
intended to be worked.
Page 30 - Middle paragraph - "We learned we had to ….. The
1st step in recovery." In our heart of hearts, we must know
that we are the victims of a killer disease before we can
Return to THE DOCTOR'S OPINION, page xxvi.
We explain who Dr. Silkworth was and how he wound up at
Towne's Hospital. How his "opinion" opened the door for
(Until we understand a problem, we cannot find a solution. I
use an example of walking out to my car, putting the key in
the ignition and the damn thing won't start; PROBLEM. I can
sit on my butt and talk about the damn car not starting until
hell freezes over but that will get me nowhere. I look under
the hood and see that the battery cable has corroded. I know
what the PROBLEM is so the SOLUTION becomes very evident. I
need a new battery cable but that doesn't solve the PROBLEM. I
still must take the action necessary to obtain an new cable,
replace the bad one and now I'm on my way; understand the
problem, know what the solution is and then take the action to
make the solution a reality.)
From the 1st paragraph on page xxvi, we present the "ALLERGY"
which makes us powerless over drugs.
The last paragraph on pg xxvi is where we find the initial
information regarding the UNMANAGEABILITY, the addict's mind
that cannot distinguish the truth from the false. We carefully
dissect the whole paragraph. The UNMANAGEABILITY is clearly
presented in the last sentence of that paragraph.
The newcomer is also reminded that they need be mindful of
over-the-counter meds such as cough syrup, mouth wash, flavor
extracts, etc and the their health providers should know that
they are drug addicts so the professionals will be mindful of
what they prescribe. We emphasize that they themselves are
responsible for their recovery so be honest with those who
have a need to know.
We have now helped the newcomers understand the PROBLEM. We
may breeze through BILL"S STORY by looking at the events that
describe the progression of alcoholism in his life. Or, at
this point we can describe some of our own experience in our
addiction that portrays the progression, and total inability
to stay stopped.
- Pg 2 - Lois is on his ass about his drinking.
- Pg 3 - Jittery in the morning
- Pg 5 - Liquor ceased to be a luxury; it became a
necessity. (lying about his drinking, hiding his bottles,
etc.) Lost an opportunity to make some money because he
drank. Made up his mind to never touch another drop.
Returned home drunk.
- Pg 7 - Met Dr. Silkworth and learned what was wrong with
- Pg 8 - 1st paragraph, Bill surrendered to the PROBLEM;
We use the next paragraph to exemplify the simplicity of our
program; 1st sentence - a broken man. Last sentence - a
wonderful life as the result of having taken the action Ebby
prescribed for him.
- Pg 10 & 11 - Bill's rebellion at the idea of a
spiritual solution identifying him as a hard nosed agnostic.
- Pg 12 - The freedom and responsibility we are given to
develop an idea of God that we can begin to bet our life on.
We then explain the simplicity of Step Two by the fact that
Bill saw his old drinking buddy, who was supposedly in the nut
house for alcoholic insanity, sober. Both of them had been
POWERLESS over alcohol but Ebby was sober and Bill was going
to die. Ebby had found the POWER that Bill was unaware of.
Ebby gave Bill HOPE, the beginning of "Coming to believe."
From that HOPE, Bill finally became willing to try Ebby's plan
Pg 13 - Entering Towne's Hospital on December 11, 1934 going
Taking Step Three on the 3rd day of his sobriety.
Ebby visiting Bill in the hospital on the 4th and 5th days
to help Bill take the action Ebby had learned to apply to his
life, the result of which was a Spiritual Experience.
Bill left the Hospital on December 18, 1934, at the end of 7
days, and lived 36 years without taking another drink and we
are here because of the action that Bill took, not the
meetings he attended.
We now identify the meaning of Step One
POWERLESS because of the allergy; UNMANAGEABILITY due to the
mind that cannot remember that we have the allergy. It can
only remember THE SENSE OF EASE AND COMFORT WHICH COMES AT
ONCE BY TAKING DRUGS. Therefore we are POWERLESS over our Body
and POWERLESS over our mind where drugs are concerned. We are
From the HOPE of hearing a RECOVERED addict tell their story
of "What they were like, what happened and what they are like
now" we get the beginning of Step Two. This is precisely how
Bill got his hope, from seeing that something was working for
his drinking buddy Ebby. Nothing more was required of Bill to
make his beginning. He decided that whatever worked for his
friend just might work for him.
If lack of POWER is the PROBLEM then A POWER GREATER THAN
OURSELVES must be the SOLUTION. And we see that the RECOVERED
addict has found that POWER.
It takes no great mind to see that if LACK OF POWER or
POWERLESSNESS is my PROBLEM then A POWER GREATER THAN MYSELF
must be the SOLUTION. Once I can see that, I am faced with a
very simple DECISION; "Am I or am I not willing to follow the
clear-cut directions for recovery?" But I need someone who
knows how to do this.
So the simplicity of Step Three is to ask the RECOVERED
alcoholic, "Will you be my sponsor?" and be willing to do
precisely what the sponsor tells you to do!
To determine if you have made a good choice in sponsors, it
is pretty easy to tell. If they tell you to open your Big Book
to page xi and STUDY to page 43, that is a good start. These
51 pages will get you ready to see if you are ready to move
on. It is important that you discover your truth as to if you
are a real addict or not.
Look at the 1st sentence on page 44. It tells you why it is
so important to be thorough in your study to this point. From
this study, we can separate the addict from the non-addicts,
which is so vital to the success of your group and DAA as a
Now take the test
If, when you honestly want to,
you find you cannot using entirely,
(How many of you have promised you'd never use drugs again?
Appears you failed to MANAGE that decision so your life is
UNMANAGEABLE where drugs are concerned)
or if when using drugs, you have little
control over the amount you take,
(How many of you cannot start using without getting
extremely loaded? Can you honestly control the amount you
take? It would appear that you too are POWERLESS over drugs.)
If that is the case, you may be suffering from an illness
which ONLY a spiritual experience will conquer. (How many
meetings must you attend to have a spiritual experience?
Or------ How many Steps must you take to have this blessed
Promise become a reality in your life?)It's obvious for most
of us that no matter how many meetings we attend it never
produces a spiritual experience.
Page 44 through page 57 will open the door for you to be
able to consider your own conception of the God of your
Page 58 answers that stupid comment that we hear too often
in meetings, "I don't know how it works." The 1st sentence
tells us how it works - rarely have we seen a person fail who
has carefully followed the clear-cut directions in the Big
The Program of Drug Addicts Anonymous is a Spiritual
Program. On page 59, we will find the 1st of several prayers;
one or more for each and every Step from Step Three through
Step Twelve, which reminds us that the God of our
understanding is the source of our recovery. We learn to
invite Him to be the Solution to all our problems.
On page 62, we are told what our REAL Problem is;
selfishness-self-centeredness, but we can never see it without
some method of revealing the truth to us. So we make a
DECISION to do precisely what our Sponsor tells us to do and
announce that decision in a prayer as presented on page
63.Notice, the real problem is NOT drugs. Drugs are more of a
"solution" that stopped working for us and started killing us.
One of the beautiful things about the Big Book is that it
will tell us WHEN to take a Step, HOW to take the Step, WHAT
the results or PROMISES of having taken the Step will be and
provides us with the PRAYERS that make certain we are inviting
the God of our understanding to be very involved in our
The last sentence on page 63 tells us that we now have to
get busy and take the rest of the Steps.The top of 65 tells us
WHY we need to proceed at once and not waste any time.
Steps Four and Five are diagnostic Steps to learn if what
they told us on page 62 is true for us. The clear-cut
directions for Step Four are found on pages 64 through 71 and
there are five prayers for Step Four.
On page 75, we find the clear-cut directions for Step Five
and the two Fifth Step Prayers.
On page 76, we find the direction for Step Six which, is
nothing more than a commitment to God that we will become
students and practitioners of the rest of the Big Book and
there we will find the Sixth Step Prayer.
On page 76, we find the Seventh Step Prayer, which is to be
prayed after we have told God we are going to do our part, now
please do Your part by making me different. This Prayer is the
completion of the Prayer we prayed on page 63
On page 76, we will be most pleased to learn that if we have
carefully followed the directions in working Step Four, that
Step Eight is all but a done deal.
From page 76 to page 83 are the directions for taking Step
Nine and the four Ninth Step Prayers are there.
Having carefully followed the path the 1st 100 laid down for
us, we now have had a spiritual awakening/experience and have
joined the 1st 100 as RECOVERED alcoholics and addicts. The
Ninth Step Promises describe that blessed event.
On page 64, we take the 1st action to recover from a
seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. By the time we get
to page 83, we have RECOVERED. We have joined the 1st 100. We
have been given the POWER that we lacked to survive drug
addiction. Carefully following the clear-cut directions
outlined in just 20 pages of our Basic Text produces the
miracle of recovery.
We are now to start our Spiritual Growth and that occurs in
Steps Ten, Eleven and Twelve.
The clear-cut directions for Step Ten are contained in the
paragraph on page 84 beginning with "We continued………."
A running start for learning how to communicate with the God
of your understanding is very adequately covered on pages 86,
87 and 88.
And now that we have received the POWER, it is our primary
job to pass that on to the next newcomer God puts in our life.
The clear-cut directions for Sponsorship are contained in
Chapter Seven. But you won't find the Twelfth Step Prayer
until you have reached the last page of the Basic Text; "Ask
Him in your morning meditation what you can do each day for
the man who is still sick."
There you have it. It's so utterly simple yet so garbled in
our meetings. I challenge you to be a part of the Solution and
not a part of the Problem. The simplest guide that I follow in
working with others is, "If it isn't in the Big Book, they
don't need to be exposed to it." If you are encouraged to wait
until you have a better understanding of what OUR Program is
about, I have one question for you; "How well did you like sex
before you tried it?" Well, you won't know a damn ting about
recovery either until you have taken the action of taking the
Steps, precisely as they were given to us.
This was an overview of the foundation meeting. Although we
devote most of the time to steps 1-3 some of us do like to
give a brief summary of the rest of the steps as shown above
so that people know what is involved in getting recovered and
maintaining that freedom in our lives.
Listen to a DAA Foundation Meeting on the