R.A.’s experience is that most of our problems and behaviors result from normal instinctive drives being carried to insane extremes. For example, eating, drinking, taking an everyday risk, feeling a normal range of emotions, etc. are natural, essential behaviors. When someone becomes an overeater, alcoholic, gambler, or depressed, etc. these normal drives are taken to insane extremes. They eat large amounts of food, drink large amounts of alcohol, bet large amounts of money, or feel suicidal.
Most people desire companionship, love, and acceptance. They may also experience loneliness, fear, anger, and resentment. All of these are normal instinctive drives. They can also be carried to insane extremes. When this happens, someone may become anxious and withdraw from society. On the other hand, they become boisterous or promiscuous. It is also possible for someone to become passive and codependent. Or they may go to the other extreme. They may become aggressive and violent. This may result in someone being in a relationship where they are being hurt, or where they are hurting others.
These insane physical and mental extremes not only hurt us but hurt others as well. However, as it says in the Big Book on page 64, “We have been not only mentally and physically ill, we have been spiritually sick. When the spiritual malady is overcome, we straighten out mentally and physically.” This tells us that our problems and behaviors, whether mental or physical, are the symptoms of a spiritual illness—a sort of spiritual insanity. To sum up, our common problem is a spiritual malady that causes normal instinctive drives to go to insane extremes. This results in all of our various symptoms—our various problems and behaviors.
R.A. is Solution Focused, which means that that they focus on the pioneers’ “common solution”, instead of their problems and behaviors. In the Big Book, on page 17, the pioneers’ say, “The tremendous fact for every one of us is that we have discovered a common solution. We have a way out on which we can absolutely agree, and upon which we can join in brotherly and harmonious action. This is the great news this book carries to those who suffer from alcoholism [as well as from other problems and behaviors].”
On page 29, they go on to say that, “Further on [in the Big Book], clear-cut directions are given showing how we recovered.” On page 58, they also say that, “Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path.” In other words, they focus on the pioneers’ “common solution,” by “thoroughly” following their “clear-cut directions” to work all Twelve Steps of their program of recovery.
Their website offers several free guides as well as books for sale. They offer weekly telephone conference meetings, Skype meetings and face to face meetings.
Recoveries Anonymous traces its beginning to an individual who, in June 1981, sat in a circle with twenty other people. He was at a discussion meeting in another fellowship. When it was his turn to share, he shared his hope that what had happened for the pioneers of the program would also happen for him. Fifteen people shared after him. Every one of them said that they did not believe that this could ever happen.
He found this amazing. He could see that there were two programs. There was the problem-focused sharing he was hearing in the meetings he attended. There was also the solution that the pioneers of the program wrote about in the program literature. He started a search that led him to thoroughly follow the “clear-cut directions” that the pioneers wrote in the Big Book which, in turn, led to his recovery.
In November of 1983 he was at another meeting and shared that he had thoroughly followed the “clear-cut directions” that are in the Big Book. He told them that working all Twelve Steps in this way had led to his recovery. In January, a group of the people who were working the program in this way started to meet. They were members of many different Twelve Step programs and had many different problems and behaviors.
Their experiences made it clear that the same solution would work for any problem or behavior. They found that by sharing about the common solution, instead of their personal problems or behaviors, someone with one kind of problem or behavior could help someone who had different problems or behaviors. Recoveries Anonymous was thus formed as an independent, nonprofit corporation. A.A. has granted permission for R.A. to adapt the Twelve Steps and the Twelve Traditions. However, R.A. is not affiliated with, or endorsed by, A.A. Except for the use of the Twelve Steps, and the Twelve Traditions, there is no connection between R.A. and any of the other anonymous organizations.