History of Golden Slippers Big Book Workshop Of Alcoholics Anonymous.
A brief sketch of the history of the Golden Slippers Workshop
In 1975, the International Convention of Alcoholics Anonymous was held in Denver, Colorado. A bunch of crazy, happy, recovered alcoholics put on a workshop titled “The Golden Slippers Big Book Study.”
Here’s the story: There were five or six alcoholics living in the same town in Canada, and none of them could stay sober. They went to a man named Mac (an old-timer) and said, “We want to get sober, but no one will work with us, and we are not even welcome to attend many of the groups.”
The group asked Mac to take them through the steps, but they didn’t want anyone else there. They were afraid if other people were there, they wouldn’t get the help they needed. Mac told them you couldn’t do that, because it’s a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous and it needs to be open to all alcoholics. Mac saw their desperation and suggested the group of guys pick a time when no one else would show up.
The group decided to meet on Sunday mornings at 6:00 AM. No one else showed up. Mac was intuitive enough to know that this group needed special attention. It turns out the special attention he gave them and the parameters they agreed to, were very similar to how the early alcoholics did their recovery with a sense of urgency to be ‘recovered’ (recovered is the most important word in this article).
Prior to starting into the body of the book, Mac read the flyleaf that says “Alcoholics Anonymous, the story of how many thousands of men and women have recovered from alcoholism”, then the preface, and the forewords of each edition. This gave them a brief history of Alcoholics Anonymous.
The special attention and parameters were these: 1. At the beginning of the first meeting, everyone agreed to talk about why they were there, why they felt they needed this structure. 2. Each and every one of them committed to being at the meeting on time; ready to do the work, and that they were committed to staying with the group until they finished the process. 3. The first few minutes (1-2 minutes ) were spent checking in, recapping their week. 4. The group would only go as fast as the slowest person in the meeting, but they would still move rapidly through the book. 5. If someone was behind on their writing the Step-4 inventory, the rest of the whole group would write during the meeting, sharing examples of their writing to help the person that was behind. 6. Mac would do all the reading in the group, taking time to share examples and stories, but not veering from the book and the message in the book. 7. A lot of time would be spent in the Doctor’s Opinion, to understand the hopelessness of the disease. All the steps were taken together, or one-on-one with a member of the group (usually Mac) because he was the only one recovered.
All of these men Recovered and were at the International Convention AA convention in 1975, putting on the workshop, carrying the message to the alcoholics. Don P., was one of the people that attended the workshop; he started taking people through that process. Fast forward to 1980. An AA member we will call “John” called Don P. and asked him to take him through the steps. He said “I’ll take you through the Big Book, come to my house and we will talk about it”.
John was three years sober at the time. He still woke up at 3:00 A.M. every morning in the fetal position, wondering how to get through the day. John and 22 of other went through the Golden Slippers; it took 5 or 6 months. At the end of that time John found his God, Who solved his problem. He was able to sleep through the night, He wasn’t afraid any more, He wasn’t alone, He had a new Employer. He was ‘recovered,’ because he no longer suffered from the symptoms of alcoholism; being restless, irritable and discontented.
There is no magic; this is not, not doing the program. I can share story after story of the men and women that have recovered and no longer suffer from the symptoms of alcoholism. Some of them were brand new; many had been in the program (in recovery) for up to 20 years. Their lives changed profoundly after going through this Intensive weekend of recovery by following the, “precisely how we have recovered” process.