Reviewed by Leslie H. (Munro 2003)
“NOT JUST SOME CONVERSATION”
This book came into my life in 2010. Like the sponsor who showed up in my life two years before that, this book has changed who I am as a sponsor.
Urging us to “return to our original responsibilities as recovery people to help new people through the whole program from beginning to end,” Carry This Message focuses squarely on the principles upon which the 12-Step movement was founded, and serves as a guide on how we can best practice and pass on these principles in sponsorship and in principle-focused meetings.
The reason for the book’s title is emphasized in the chapter “Understanding the Problem”:
The Twelfth Step doesn’t say, “Carry the message. It says, “Carry this message.” The message we carry is this: we have had a spiritual awakening as a result of these Steps. Our message is not just some conversation.
Carry This Message does not replace the book of Alcoholics Anonymous, nor is it a “Coles Notes” or “Big Book for Dummies” offering. Indeed, in its introduction Carry This Message points us to the “best advice” that comes from Chapter 7 of the Big Book. That is:
Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics. It works when other activities fail.
Thus, Carry This Message consistently points us back to the organic text of the book Alcoholics Anonymous, systematically helping the reader to develop his or her own familiarity with the Big Book and to continue to take action on the principles found there.
In its Note from the Editors, Carry This Message is clearly identified as a tool for review, telling us that Joe McQ “leads us back to the original text, Alcoholics Anonymous, for a review of the simple program that has brought happiness, joy, and freedom to people in AA, Al-Anon and more than two hundred other [12-Step based] organizations.”
Carry This Message also addresses how we develop, grow and mature in the 12-Step fellowship, ever mindful of the principle of the 11th Tradition that this is a program of attraction rather than promotion, and that if I’m not happy, joyous, and free, I need to look at why I’m not, and change, so that I may to the best of my ability – and attractively – carry this message.
As an addition to my spiritual library, I give this book five stars. I invite you to make it part of yours.
McQ, Joe Carry This Message: A Guide for Big Book Sponsorship. Atlanta, Georgia. August House Publishers, 2002. ISBN-13: 978-0-87483-653-0
Available at amazon.ca.