You may read references on this site to "Joe & Charlie". Who exactly are Joe and Charlie? They are two long-recovered alcoholics who traveled the world for several decades, sharing their common-sense insights into the Big Book of AA. Because all Twelve Step programs are derived from the AA Big Book, I suspect their recordings might help anyone in ANY Twelve Step program....not just AA.
The Big Book Study (officially called "The Big Book Comes Alive") recordings are not conference-approved literature. Any sponsee interested in listening to the series should ask their sponsor first. I can recommend the talks with confidence because many long-sober speakers have openly given credit to Joe and Charlie with their own recovery. I have heard people say said they never really "got" how Twelve Step recovery works until they heard the free-wheeling and good-natured recordings of Joe P and Charlie McQ. I know that was true for me.
To say it more clearly, Joe and Charlie's talks saved my life. When I first got into recovery, I could not really grasp what I was reading and I did not get sober. I was about to give up and go back out there. My kindly mother startled me by mailing me a complete set of the recordings. At first, I scoffed. Then, I listened. Honestly, I doubt I would be alive today if I had not heard that Old-School message carried directly to me by Joe and Charlie's talks.
Joe and Charlie inspired my habit of looking up recovery-related words in the dictionary. Listening to two rough-hewn men casually discussing the Latin roots of the word "resentment" was stunning at first (i.e., I was startled to learn that to "resent" meant to "feel again". I had always inventoried my resentments as if the word meant to simply feel angry. With a new and more historically accurate definition in mind, the resentment inventory became much more powerful for me.) Bringing such mental discipline reading the Big Book had never occurred to me. Joe and Charlie's lifelong search for recovery in the Big Book still inspires me today through their recordings.
This website is dedicated to the tireless work of Joe and Charlie, and the others behind the scenes who helped them carry their Message to thousands like me.
Joe McQ passed away October 25th, 2007. Another gentleman (coincidentally named Joe) continued presenting the Big Book Study with Charlie P until the latter died in April of 21, 2011. All three of these men gave voluntarily of their time for many years, helping others gain a better understanding of the practice and history of Twelve Step recovery.
Listening to Big Book Study recordings cannot change the importance of thoroughly reading the Big Book or your own recovery program's literature. But because the complete series of recordings lasts many hours, I believe only the most devoted sponsor could duplicate all the careful review of the Twelve Step process that is presented in these talks.
If you go looking for these recordings online or elsewhere, you will probably find numerous versions of them. The exact content of Joe & Charlie's discussions changed surprisingly little over the years—I notice that recordings from the 1980s sound remarkably similar to talks given decades later. I suspect the pair saw many lives being saved by their original talk and made a strenuous effort not to change it for fear of "spoiling" its good results.
• Here is a link to FREE MP3 downloads up-to-date Joe & Charlie Big Book Studies: http://silkworth.net/freestuff.html
• I personally got sober while listening to an old 1987 recording. As mentioned earlier, the core material is the same over all the years of recordings. I just happen to enjoy the original Joe McQ who can be heard in his full vibrancy at http://downloadaaspeakers.com/joeandcharlieplus.html NOTE: I downloaded the "PLUS" recording specifically because it contained the 1987 I first listened to. NOTE THAT THIS "PLUS" RECORDING IS NOT FREE but perhaps you can find it somewhere else for free if you search more thoroughly than I did.
DISCLAIMER: Neither of the above sites endorse my site, nor can I guarantee their current availability. Naturally, you may do your own search for Joe and Charlie Big Book Study on your browser.
May we meet you as you trudge the Road of Happy Destiny. God Bless you and keep you until then.