Southern California's version of

"Joe and Charlie"....

Most people involved in AA's 12 Step Program have heard of Joe & Charlie's "The Big Book Comes Alive" workshops. This is a brief history of how the So-Cal version of "The Big Book Comes Alive" with Bill M., Joe H. & Ken H. began.

The man who would eventually become my Sponsor, Bill M. of Pasadena, was unable to get sober by attending meetings. In 1984, he attended a convention in San Fernando were he finally heard the message of what exactly he needed to do. The speaker was Joe McQuany of Littlerock, Arkansas. On April 4th, 1985, Bill could no longer take the pain that active alcoholism creates. He went to Littlerock to have Joe McQ take him through the Program. Bill recovered from alcoholism and has not had a drink since. Thus began Bill M.'s desire and action to carry "THIS" message and begin presenting "The Big Book Comes Alive" in Southern California.

In November of 1994, I found myself flat on my back, living in abandon apartments and homes after the Northridge earthquake, dying from alcoholism. I really only had 2 questions

1. How come I cannot drink like I used to?

2. And how come I can not quit now that I want to?

I had been involved with AA for over 3 years prior to this time and fell victim to the belief that the meetings were the answer. It seemed that all I heard was other people's problems, keep coming back, and just don't drink no matter what. I had plenty of my own problems, I kept coming back, and I always tried to just not drink no matter what. None of this worked and I continued to drink.

However, by the end of that November I found myself in a rehabilitation center in Acton, Ca. While there, I met Joe H., one of Bill M's sponsees, who dedicated all his spare time to carrying "THIS" message, and he carried it to me. In December of 1994, Joe invited Bill M. to bring "The Big Book Comes Alive" to Acton, Ca. There, for the first time, I heard the entire program put together in one weekend. Wow!! The willingness to take action and the understanding of our program was overwhelming and electrifying! At that moment I made the commitment to myself that if I ever recover from alcoholism, I'll carry "THIS" message too! I saw the importance of this message for the first time, and Bill M. became my sponsor.

Due to my selfish priorities, things like work, relationships, money and prestige, I failed to enlarge my spiritual life by not completing my inventory, not making amends, and not working with others. I paid the price by several relapses. But on September 2nd, 1996, I totally committed to our program and carrying "THIS" message. I have not had a drink since. The 3 of us have been providing weekend workshops on the entire program ever since. Joe McQ. (before he passed) and Charlie P., have given us permission to continue the tradition of providing this unique experience of the journey to recovery we call "The Big Book Comes Alive". Bill M., Joe H., and myself are so very grateful to people like Joe and Charlie for understanding the importance of the practice and teaching of the 12 Step Program. I am truly honored to have personally known both of them. We hope you'll join us as we trudge this wonderful road to happy destiny. God Bless!


Ken H.

“We recover by the Steps we take, not the meetings we make!”

(Joe McQ.)