& Charlie Big Book Study
Joe McQ passed
away October 27, 2007 photo
Joe McQ and
Charlie P met in 1973 when Joe introduced Charlie as the AA
speaker at an ALAnon convention. Joe had wondered if Charlie P
might be the country singer Charlie Pride. "he wasn't
even the right color," Joe laments.
They instantly discovered their mutual fascinations with AA's
basic textbook, Alcoholics Anonymous commonly called "The
Big Book". What interested them mostly was that The Big
Book was written a particular sequence to convey certain ides.
That interest became close friendship, which has lasted over
They would frequently meet to discuss The Big Book, often
driving 225 miles to meet in each other's homes. Soon they
were planning meetings in hotel rooms at AA conventions in
Oklahoma and Arkansas and, within a few years, the meetings
grew in popularity.
In 1977, some AA members met in a Tulsa, Oklahoma hotel room
for a discussion on The Big Book. One member asked Joe and
Charlie to come to his home group to present a program on The
Big Book. A taping of that presentation was made and called
"The Big Book Study". Through the circulation of
these audio tapes throughout the Fellowship, Joe and Charlie
received invitations to present the Study at AA conventions,
roundups and special events. By 1980, there were about eight
studies offered each year.
At the AA International Convention in New Orleans in 1980,
Wesley P, an impassioned AA "Big Booker" from
Pompano Beach, Florida, organized a lunch for 1,500 AA members
from all over the world and gave away 100 Joe & Charlie
tape sets as door prizes. Invitations exploded, and within a
couple of years Joe & Charlie were presenting about 36
seminars a year worldwide.
These seminars struck a deep chord within the AA members ...
for the reaffirmation of "this message" as written
April 1939 with the publication of the first edition of
Alcoholics Anonymous. Big Book Studies presented by Joe &
Charlie have been given in all 50 states as well as most
Canadian provinces in addition to Australia, New Zealand,
England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden and
Holland. Joe & Charlie have been invited to take the Big
Book Study to Iceland in August of 1998.
Joe, Joe McQ, has had to cut back his traveling in recent
years. Oddly enough, another Joe - Joe McC (who was active in
the study group since the beginning) has been able to pick up
the slack. "where God guides, God provides", as some
Joe & Charlie are not paid for their services. In fact,
the only financial compensation they receive are their travel
expenses, meals, and lodging which are paid for by the
independent host committee sponsoring the Big Book Studies.
Further, this is in accordance with the AA Guidelines of
Conferences & Conventions (MG4), published by the General
In the past 24 years, an estimated 200,000 members of various
12 step programs have experienced the spiritual benefits of
these collective seminars. One of their stops was at the
Melville Marriot in Melville - Long Island NY over the weekend
of June 19 - 21. 1998. I was privileged to be amongst the 400+
people who were there. They start at the chapter - The Doctors
Opinion, and over the course of the next 2 days take us all
the way through to the final words of the chapter - A Vision
for You - "We shall be with you in the Fellowship of the
Spirit, and you will surely meet some of us as you trudge the
Road of Happy Destiny. May God bless you and keep you - until
then." (Page 164).
In between they show us how simple and uncomplicated it can be
to complete a Fourth Step Inventory, as well as allowing us to
hear the experience, strength, and hope that they have been
fortunate to enjoy in many, many years of spiritual sobriety.
They both showed all of us that It works - It really works !
all we have to do is follow the directions given to us by the
first 68 members of AA who spent time with Bill Wilson and
gave the world Alcoholics Anonymous (Big Book) in 1939.
with permission of The A.A. Grapevine, Inc.
owned by a Friend
of Bill W.