Now that I had “discovered” the “original” program, I was excited, hungry and hooked on wanting to learn more . . .
On Wally P’s website, he explains that Back to Basics is a reenactment of Bill W.’s early vision for the fellowship. “The format is basically a one-hour session a week for four weeks in which people take all 12 steps. … the book says the steps we ‘took’ — not the steps we sat around and talked about. We don’t just ‘study’ the steps—we take them.”
- I attended all of the Back to Basics – The Alcoholics Anonymous Beginners’ Meetings trainings facilitated by Wally P. and sponsored by CFTJ in Williamsburg, VA
- I attended the presentations by spry, 96-year-old James Houck who discussed his 67-years of sobriety with inmates who were in the jail’s drug/alcohol recovery program in Henrico Jail East. http://henrico.us/sheriff/project-hope/
- I hung out with Wally and James for the days they were presenting—dining with them, car-pooling, seeing their “real” selves—and trusted that they were/are “the real McCoy” 🙂
I WITNESSED That BLACK LIVES MATTERED when over 20 European-descendant-looking men (aka whites) “sponsored” over 20 Descendant-of-slaves-looking inmates (aka blacks). The sponsors (called share-partners in the old-days) traveled for four consecutive Saturdays to give-the-program to the inmates who were in an alcohol/drug recovery program sponsored by Henrico Jail.
NOTE: These “sponsors” traveled—without any financial compensation—for about 80 miles (round-trip) each Saturday and spent many hours with the inmates—to “give” them the ‘original’ program.
I’ve seen freer men in prison than in “society”. j. omide
I was so moved by what I was witnessing that I “had” to understand this program; therefore, I asked where could I learn more.
I was told to go to the meetings that the share-partners (today called sponsors), who were commuting to the jail each Saturday, were attending.
I wanted more …. so,
- I was living in Richmond, VA at the time; therefore, it wasn’t too difficult for me to attend the four consecutive Saturday night Back to Basics Beginner’s Meetings (held at a church in West-Richmond). When I arrived at the meeting, I met John Mayo and explained to him about my interest in wanting to learn Back-to-Basics (B2B). With passion he said, “Janis, the best way to learn it is to go through it—this program is about saving-lives, we don’t care if you are an alcoholic or not!” John May passed in November 2005. I don’t know if the meetings are still being held at the church in West-Richmond.
- I was assigned a share-partner—a 20-something white female. She sponsored me for the 4 consecutive sessions. It was a wonderful experience.
- I then “recruited” one of my clients on probation to help start the program in Williamsburg— “Putt”. Putt was enthusiastic about his new mission. He commuted from Williamsburg for four-consecutive Thursdays to learn the program. Upon completion, the Richmond Group “sponsored” a group in Williamsburg and prepared & provided over 20 manuals (printed in color with plastic sheets) for the Williamsburg Group. Putt was devoted, and successful, in facilitating weekly groups until he passed in March 2006. When I talked with him last, he was looking forward to returning to the group. The Group also ended.
- I introduced the B2B Beginner’s Meetings to the inmates of the Stepping Stones Therapeutic Community (TC) at VPRJ (Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail)—a program I ran for almost five years. The participants expressed much appreciation for the material and deeper devotion to the 12-step program. The program ended due to insufficient facility space.
SO, I pay homage to John Mayo, “Putt”, James Houck and the Stepping Stones TC for SHOWING me what recovery looks like—all four are deceased.
Nevertheless, the “real” founder of this movement is STILL with us ♥Wally P. (and, of course, the GOD of your understanding!)
Therefore, I MUST keep the candle burning.
Do you “think” my experience was an accident?
In closing, since my training (over 10 years ago), Wally P. has modified the 4-day-sessions (that were administered on consecutive days for a month) to one-day workshops.
“. . . The alcoholics who participated in the writing of the “Big Book” didn’t wait (to take the steps). They took the Steps in the first few days following their last drink (i.e. Ebby Thatcher, Bill Wilson, James Houck, Dr. Bob, etc.)
For more information on how Wally P (and others) are fulfilling The Back to Basics Foundation’s mission … “dedicated to saving the lives of alcoholics/addicts by showing them the sheer simplicity of the “original” A.A. program of recovery and by guiding them through the Twelve Steps as they were taken by many of the A.A. pioneers in the 1940’s. During this period of time, the A.A. recovery rate from alcoholism was 50-75%. We are seeing similar results today for those who are willing to remain involved with the Back to Basics A. A. Beginners’ meetings for three to six months”, visit the Back to Basics Website for training materials and a host of information (click on the book)!
RETURN TO MY ORIGINAL POST → The Torch Has Been Passed To Me . . .
Thanks for letting me share.
Disclaimer: Counseling On A Shoestring is a privately maintained website and is in no way affiliated with any particular Twelve Step organization, fellowship or group, nor any other type of organization. Information on this website is provided as a service to anyone who might benefit from it.
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