Burning Desire to Share
I keep wondering why no one pays any attention to my explanation of our money problem.
We are paying salaries and benefits to individuals who ought not have been given the jobs
in the first place. This practice is in violation of the Powerful Tradition Bill wrote
on page S72 in the Service Manual. "The makeup..." "If it wishes".
These salaries and benefits are being paid for with money that we are not even supposed
to have: Profit from the sales of books and literature.
If we sell books and literature without profit (this has always been our goal), and only
spend money contributed by A.A. members, everything will be fine. "Spend What We Send".
Keep A.A. simple. quoting one of our co-founders. ANONYMOUS
I guess I’m a skeptic. I get suspicious when I see someone wanting something done just for the sake of having it done. There is a problem convincing alcoholics, trying or try to hide a bad motive under a good one or trying to keep an agenda secret. We used to do that kind of stuff, practiced it, rehearsed it, and thought we perfected it. Then we had it brought out in the daylight in steps four and five and saw it for what it really was and became willing to have it thrown in the trash with the rest. I’m grateful that the twelve steps are in the front of the book so I have a better perspective on the twelve traditions on the back.
For about thirty years my belief was this: The steps may
be labeled as suggestions, but for anyone who wants to get sober and stay sober, they are damned-well-betters. I just
thought that I knew better than our A.A. pioneers. I not only held this belief; I would offer it to anyone who was
polite enough to listen, individually or in meetings.
To say that the steps are free; the only ones you pay
for are the ones you don't take, distorts the meaning of
"suggestion". I regret that I stayed ignorant for so long.
How many suffering alcoholics did I push away? I don't
even like to think about it.
Today I believe that the Twelve Traditions are the
damn-well-betters. These were first called Twelve Points
to assure our future. Bill later wrote a thirteenth
tradition which he called a Powerful Tradition. The
violation of this tradition has harmed our fellowship
like no other. This Powerful Tradition can be found in
our Service Manual. Page S72. It surprises me that it is still there. "They" have removed the "in 1986" paragraph
from the Manual. Next, the powerful tradition paragraph
will disappear. Sure, there is some feeble explanation,
on page 17 under Concept IV. in the "For example" paragraph.
It also reads "if it wishes" the General Service Board
can legally do anything it wishes to do.
Concept Seven tells us what we must do. ANONYMOUS
The poster’s attempt to make AA World Service finances sound like some off-course, secret, nefarious plot is ridiculous. All of the financial decisions (in fact ALL decisions) are made with representation of members from all over the country with layer after layer of oversight built in. If anyone in interested in any of the details of how it is done just buy an AA Service manual and get ready for some really boring reading. It is only the poster’s opinion that using a small amount of profit from literature sales to supplement the General Service Office’s budget violates tradition Seven. To see this as accepting outside contributions we have to believe non-members MIGHT be buying some of our literature and the profit from THOSE sales is being used for something besides publishing expense.
When I buy a book, I buy it because I want the book. I don’t buy it because I want to make a contribution to Tom Clancy or Random House or whoever and thereby influence their decision making. Do you?
If influence from outside has ever been a problem, there have been thousands of trusted servants over the years to deal with it. If it ever does become a problem there will be hundreds more rising to the top service positions every year to meet the challenge. Something that isn’t broken, and shows no signs of becoming broken doesn’t need to be fixed today.
I think there is some economic theory left over from the early industrial revolution to the effect that there is a perfect and unvarying relationship between price of goods and demand. That is, lowering the price always causes a corresponding increase in sales. That theory fell down a long, long time ago. People aren’t failing to buy AA literature because it’s too expensive. Just like the items on the 90% off sales rack, they don’t buy it because they don’t want it. (I like it, I buy it, but I’m not everybody). His suggestion would not put literature in the hands of those who need it. It would cut the services offered by the General Service office where about seventy staff members serve about two million of us now and about twenty million more that need it.
I have a copy of my delegates report. It states that for the year 2012 total operating expenses were $14,283,552.
Contributions for the year totaled $6,557,608. Where do
you suppose the rest of the money came from? ANONYMOUS
I have a document in my hand from Ward B. Ewing Chair, General Service Board. It is titled: Trustees AgendaItem E
Background Doc 1. Under Finances he Writes:" Approximately 50% of the net income for the General Service Office comes
from the sale of literature", etc. So it is not just my
opinion, but, in my opinion 50% is not a small amount.
How accurate is our Service Manual, when it is
contantly being changed. Of course these changes are
approved by representation of members from all over the
country. Our delegates (representatives) are kept so
busy at the General Service Conference they don't know
what they are approving. How many of them knew that the
"In 1986" paragraph was being deleted from Page S74 of
the 2011 manual?
On page S72 read the paragraph beginning with "In the
makeup, it appears that the meaning of "never" has been
changed. An explanation is offered, but I believe never
If anyone, anywhere is interested in any of this, I
also ask you to buy a Service Manual. Keep an eye on
it. In the next decade we will be accepting outside
money from anywhere we can get it. "For the sake of
the poor suffering alcoholic who has never heard of
A.A." Nonsense! Everyone in the world today has heard
of Alcoholics Anonymous.
The twenty million suffering is probably closer to
thirty million, and that doesn't include our friends
and loved ones who suffer even more than the alcoholic
does. But they are not getting the help from our New
York office. The alcoholic shows up at our local doorstep.
There we tell her/him they must find God and find Him NOW!
I can hear someone say: There you go again. Jimmy Carter lost the election on that one. ANONYMOUS Note: the real
secret is how much of our money goes to the top ten
positions in our service structure. That secret I would
At our last group conscious meeting, I recommended changing our format in order to better reflect our mission. My idea was to discard reading “How it Works” at the beginning of the meeting and also to stop saying the “Lord’s Prayer” at the end of the meeting; in order to not muddle up our primary purpose or bamboozle the newcomer into thinking “I must do this or die.” I proposed we should open up with the “AA Preamble” and close the meeting with the “Responsibility Statement” I was greeted harshly by the gurus but, to my surprise there were more “yeas” than “nays”! Many members had felt this way in the past but were afraid to speak up because they did not want to rock the boat. All it took was one person to do so. After much discussion the “yeas” came to believe that these writings clarify our mission better and provide a stronger foundation for our fellowship’s future. Does anyone else have a similar format? Thanks
I don't think that the Lord's prayer has any business in AA because it is uniquely Christian, excluding all others. Referring to finding a Higher Power to solve one's drinking problem does belong because that's what AA is. p45.
Bill W. wrote in the "Dear Russ Letter" the reasons
why using the Lords Prayer to close an A.A. meeting is OK.
Bill W. was no saint and made many mistakes before and
after sobriety. Some of them were serious.
Does anyone have any information indicating that Bill
changed his mind on this one?
I personally don't see anything wrong with it as long
as the majority of the group members approve it. It is
the coercion or forcing everyone to join in that I feel
harms A.A. as a whole. ANONYMOUS
"I don't think that the Lord's prayer has any business in AA because it is uniquely Christian, excluding all others."
As a matter of historical fact, the author of 'Lord's Prayer'
was a Jewish rabbi who taught the prayer to his Jewish disciples. There were no Christians at the time, no Christianity,there is no mention of Christ, God or Jesus in it so how can you pretend it's a uniquely Christian prayer.
The Serenity prayer, on the other hand, was written by a Protestant Theologian, yet no one seems to have a problem with saying it.
And please stop trying to convert AA into an Atheist sect.
Looks to me like the Lord’s Prayer came from Jesus at the Sermon on the Mount, Mathew 6:9 -13. Maybe he got it from a rabbi, but it’s certainly looks like his instructions on how to pray to me. Instructions from Jesus = Christian? Sounds like it to me.
Atheist? You better read my post again.
Check again. Jesus was not a "Christian", He was a rabbi and his disciples were all Jews. Christianity didn't exist when He lived.
You may not be an atheist, but you certainly seem to have a resentment against anything even remotely 'Christian'.
Over the years I have sponsored a Jew, an Iranian immigrant who is Muslim, a Laotian immigrant who is a Buddhist and a Catholic priest. Not a single one of these complained about the Lord's Prayer, the Serenity Prayer or any of the other prayers found in our literature.
I challenge anyone to show me where in the Lord's prayer God, Jesus, Christ, or Lord is found. Calling the word "Father" strictly Christian is stretching the point, isn't it?
I didn't want you to think your post went unread.
I'm simply speechless.
I don't think the issue about the Lord’s Prayer has anything to do with where it came from. It's religious in nature and although I do not have a problem with it, I have to accept the fact that some people do. It can mislead the newcomer into thinking we are a bunch of religious fanatics. I am not better or healthier because I’m okay with the prayer and anyways, it’s good to stand in another’s shoes. Try a little compassion. In many areas, groups are moving away from using it. Some guy mentioned the Responsibility Statement as a better option. I personally think it does more harm than good but, our group votes to keep it. Each group is autonomous. If you don’t like it, start your own group. You just need a good resentment and a coffee pot as they say and its sounds like one is brewing (no pun intended) In my area for instance, there are agnostic and atheist AA groups and groups that recognize Jesus Christ as their higher power. All approved to boot! If we can co-exist together in providing more options in reaching out to the still suffering alcoholic then I should think Bill and Bob would be pleased. Some people see AA as a perfect and finished program ever since it was created in the 30’s. Others see AA as a growing and changing program that honor its humble roots but, believe it needs a tune-up from time to time. What if we still believed the world was flat and trees can turn into fairies?
I'd like to hear more about this step-less program of recovery. With about two hundred people in the US dying of alcoholism and at least that many more going to prison for using their best drinking thinking, I'm sure there are a lot more that would too.
You posted, "I'd like to hear about this step-less program.” After reading that, I didn’t arrive at the same conclusion. I understood it to be just a member writing about their group’s decision to change the format to the reading of the Preamble and Responsibility Statement. I personally didn’t get they were trying to suggest AA should be a step-less program but, through this new format, it might better serve the sick and suffering alcoholic and AA as a whole. I think the group’s decision to change the meeting format was an importance choice and demonstrates the democratic element of the group conscious. Our group opens with the Preamble and closes with the Serenity prayer. From time to time we vote on changing our format. It took us a few years to stop reading the Lord’s Prayer. Not because we were against it but, we have to be more sensitive to the ever changing demographics in these rooms.
Your message means more to me than you will never know.
I do hope you and other groups will read Bill W's "Dear
Russ letter about closing with the Lords Prayer. The
group conscience (fully informed) must decide. It is the
holding hands and praying that I strongly object to.
I agree with Bill W. that it is OK to use the Lords
Prayer to close the meeting, if the majority of members
vote to do so, at a real group conscience meeting.
Don't let the loud mouth gurus control the group.
It is hard to believe that so many of us have remained
silent for so long. Reading HIW at meetings aloud, was
a tragic mistake. We must stop reading it at all meetings.
We may be in the minority now but keep spreading the
warning. Thank you again for your courage. ANONYMOUS
I've been a member of AA for many years and of course getting along better with some than others.
I try to stay cordial with everyone but prefer to have socialized with some more than others.
Now...there is one member I have known for years who has started to work with me. I consider him an AA friend and don't mind having coffee with him as long as it's with a group but not alone.
However, he greets me at work with a big smile as if we're long lost friends.
I've tried making it clear I don't want to socialize with him by avoiding the break room but he continues to look around for me.
This is becoming a drag because this guy (20 plus years of sobriety) doesn't have much sense of humor but does have a bit of a temper.
I have avoided going to my Sat. meeting because he oftens corners me after the meeting on when can we have lunch together at work.
What's a good way to get this guy off my back?
One way to get someone of your back is to think of
their good points! If that doesn't work just say,
"Get off my back!" Sounds like that guy needs a good wake-up call to me because his actions aren't very sober-like. We are all equals in AA but, not everyone is equal emotionally or psychologically. You have a right to protect yourself in the rooms and to set boundaries.
How about "I know it's scary for you being new here but my idea of a break from work is different from yours, now you need to excuse me."
If we are in a fit spiritual condition to receive it, we are given all the courage we need.
when you live with the demon of fear so shall your life be filled with the whirl winds of calamity. unable to take the first step beyond the fog of the mind. But also so shall fear be your friend it can motivate you to the hieghts of life to change the world in which you live in. which do you live with ?
The Grapevine I-Poll this month has to do with whether or not your group allows discussion of "other substances" and how that fits in with our primary purpose. It would seem that the majority of A.A.'s would have a problem with Bill W. And Dr. Bob sharing their stories in an A.A. meeting because of their insistence of mentioning "other substances". Has anybody ever read "Bill's Story" and "Doctor Bob's Nightmare" in the Big Book? Both of them mention substances other than alcohol. On pages 6 & 7 of the Big Book, Bill states "A doctor came with a heavy sedative. Next day found me drinking both gin and sedative. The combination soon landed me on the rocks...." and on page 177, Dr. Bob states "It was a really horrible nightmare, this earning money, getting liquor, smuggling it home, getting drunk, morning jitters, taking large doses of sedatives to make it possible for me to earn more money, and so on ad nauseam...." How dare they! Don't they know this is A.A.?
Some might say it isn't the same thing. But try substituting meth for sedative in Dr. Bob's story and you get "...taking large doses of meth to make it possible for me to earn more money...." See what I mean? I think the real problem is fear. We really shouldn't allow fear to cause us to close our ears (or our doors) to those we possibly may be able to help. Didn't we learn in the fear inventory part of our Fourth Step that "Perhaps there is a better way--we think so. For now we are on a different basis; the basis of trusting and relying upon God. We trust infinite God rather than our finite selves."
Like many others you don't seem to know the difference between mentioning something and focusing on it.
The quotes you shared are single sentences taken out of complete stories. Yet you and so many others use these single sentences to justify turning your alcoholism story into a drug addiction story.
I was told many years ago that apologizing before you do something and then doing it is arrogance at its highest. Admitting, as so many do, "I know this is Alcoholics Anonymous but drugs are part of my story" simply tells everyone present that you realize you should keep your share focused on alcoholism but you are so egotistical you're going to talk about drugs anyway.
I have yet to meet an AA member who didn't have another issue or issues, including myself. However, those who practice the AA program and adhere to its Traditions stick to what the Preamble refers to as "our common problem". those who insist on being different by talking about other problems purposely ignore those who didn't use drugs, who come to AA in hopes of identifying with other alcoholics. You may as well say, "I know this is Alcoholics Anonymous, but I'm going to talk abut what I want to talk about and to h--- with anyone who didn't use drugs."
my grandfather was one of the original AA founders in Tulsa ok. he was in AA for 32 years until he passed away in 2000. i have a t-shirt that says original group AA tulsa, OK 1990. i am only 18 i have no drinking history, but i can feel my addictive personality. so i use parts of the twelve step recovery when i am at my weakest. my grandfather gave me alot, patience, a great sense of humor and many words of wisdom to live on with. although i didnt kno him for long, i was only 5 when he passed but my mother tells me many stories of him and hilarious jokes. he was the greatest man i know and if you didnt know him, you should have! his name was Delbert.
the reason i am writing this is to see if anyone knows or has heard of him?
my mother tells me, he couldnt even go out of the state without someone saying "hey, Delbert..."
he was many things, a husband, a father, a grandpa/"cowpa" as i called him, a true man of wisdom, a friend, an attorney, but what he would call himself was powerless.
i hopw that if you read this you will know that my granpa is on your side. fighting by your side head to head with your addiction also. me aswell. your not alone and dont ever give up!
My sponsee drank 1 beer 3 different times...last time he felt the craving but could stop he didn't get drunk...he asked me to help him now to work the steps..did he relapsed or he didn't???
Truthfully and out of respect, if you have to ask a question like this perhaps, you should reconsider sponsoring someone.
Some would call it relapse, some would say he hadn't stopped drinking yet. The 12 steps will arrest either.
Ask yourself this simple question; Is the message you want to carry to the newcomer "Just drinking one beer is okay no matter how many times you do it as long as you stop and don't get drunk."? I think the answer should be obvious.
After 34 + years of doing this program, when I repeat the fifth step, I'm still amazed to discover that I am consistantly the least reliable source for accurate information about me. If I want to know the truth about me I need to ask someone that knows me.
Roy B. Monroe LA
I'm so glad you are here, AA and a my AA friends, met and not yet met! I am 25 years sober, got sober Jan 24 1988 in Newport RI. I have been having a ot of trouble recenty. Trouble i cause and others also. Three weeks ago i spent a week in a heart ward in a hospita for a first time angina attack. I had been iving in a bad situation and after i got out of the hospita that situation was out for me. A friend helped me move in temporarly with one of my kids and it has been difficult on everyone. So I now have two weeks eft to get a job or go to a shelter. Thats ok ive been there before and my HP is with me. My sponsor of many years has suggested moving on is good for me. That wyy i can get to meetings and turn it around again. But im NOT drinking and its NEVER an option for this ga. If youre a newcomer keeep trying. Go to a meeting ca some one. Try a tiny bit of bravery. Sobriety is worth it! You will be abe to solve things you coudnt before with the hep of a good sponsor and some step work. God bless a of you. Ann in South Texas
Been staying in my room going crazy. Started going to meetings in October last year. Guess I instinctively new I was heading on a course of destruction. Felt better. Quit going to meetings, Got a DUI end of January. Had an almost spotless driving record before that (and no DUI's). Guess my instincts were right, just wish I would've listened more closely and kept on the right course, but every drunk's "bottom" is different I guess. I sincerely pray that this is my "bottom." I've done everything legally that I am supposed to do and have only had three drinks on three separate occasions since the DUI. Except I made the mistake of driving on the way to fill out job application. Got stopped.
Now I'm in my room isolated, trapped. I have no one to give me rides and no one to help me do errands. I've screwed myself again, feeling like a major criminal. I'm still not drinking, although I drank some vanilla extract yesterday after it happened because I felt I was going crazy with fear, guilt, and shame.
I know my story isn't as low as some drunks get in life, and this isn't my full backstory, but it's what I'm going through at this moment. AA meetings help immensely. I don't want to ask for rides, and I know that is not a good excuse, but it's the way I've always been (yes, I understand I have social issues, all drunks do).
Through it all I'm still not drinking because I don't want the "day after" depression I get from drinking. It's just not worth it. I don't know how I'm going to function without a car. It was my only freedom. I've been unemployed and looking for work for more than a year. Don't know how I'm going to get through this (one more) hurdle, and to be honest I don't know how I've made it this far. Well, I do know...God. I was doing so much better, was getting better. Right now I feel it's the end of the world with no one to talk to. Thanks for reading. I welcome any helpful suggestions. May you have few worries and many smiles. God Bless.
Hey there! i just read your comment and wanted to you to know that you are not alone. I get the part of not having transportation and trying to look for work. sometimes it helps to just get a change of scenery. Perhaps go for a walk or better yet pick up that 2,000 lb phone and get to a meeting. talk to peolple, eventually someone will be going in your direction it can't hurt to ask. I say this because I too get depressed when I Isolate. Solution. I get help. I talk to many of peolple. If not one, then another. i pray. I meditate. Then I just get out there and I mean I get out of my head by helping another. I'm one of those who really enjoy going to a meeting, to help and to be of service. In my gratitude list I write that it is a priveledge to have the opportunity to go to a meeting where I can be of service. Just for today. No matter what I don't drink. In my back-story death is not an option. If I drink that is exactly what I will get. I am glad I had the opportunity to read this. It reminds me not to go back in my room and lay down and feel horrible, but to go out for a walk.Taking my higher power with me.16 mths. God bless.
Call the AA hotline and get to a meeting. I nearly drove myself crazy when I was all alone.
Your story is not different from many in our fellowship. the key is getting to a meeting so that you can get a sponsor, get the steps in your life, talk to other alcoholics. I,also, drank again after having been convicted of a DUI and then a DWI. So I drove drunk again and now am a convicted felon. this was my last drunk. I don't regret anything because it had to happen that way so that i could be where i am today. We must not forget that pain that got us to AA rooms. I had to get out of self pity and isolation and threw myself into the program, doing everything that was suggested. I had no driver`s license for 4 yrs. yet I called women in AA and the promises began to come to me. I am so grateful that my nursing license wasn't suspended that i asked for help to get to mtgs, work, probation and this saved my life. My higher power was always there with gifts which I rejected for so long. In 6 weeks, I will celebrate 5yrs. sober. If I had not picked up that phone my life would be over and I wouldn't be sober today. We are the chosen that have the amazing opportunity to be members of Alcoholics Anonymous. Today, I have a life beyond my wildest dreams. And you can too if you work for it. God bless you.
I’m constantly surprised by the people attending meetings who have had severe restrictions put on their lives as a consequence of their alcoholism and don’t make any practical changes to compensate for it. Of course I know little about your situation but it sounds familiar, living in a location that absolutely requires transportation by personal car without one. No access to work (or even finding it), AA or basic life necessities in some cases for years. Using the program of recovery offered by AA changed my attitude which allowed me to make practical changes that improved my life. First a little money saved by not buying alcohol and a longer productive workday. Completion of a small business venture that had slowly ground to a halt. A basic eight to five job to replace delusions of self employment. A modest, but better vehicle. Repayment of business loans that I had misused. I gradually rejoined society where I fit and the place I fit improved. Eventually back to self-employment on a firm footing this time followed by retirement before sixty. Life improved until all of the promises in the Big Book came true. Their fulfillment is a perfectly normal part of life today.
Have watched a fellow come in with typical problems a couple of years ago. Moved into a halfway house close to work opportunities, meetings, and other essentials. A typical house with guys needing transportation and guys with cars needing gas money. First time I met Paul, I hired him to do yard work, picked him up, bought his lunch, took him home, paid him daily. Two years later, he’s president of the halfway house, works steady, has a sponsor, is a sponsor, has his license back, has a car, high on life volunteering on a women’s halfway house rehab. Another grew from worst drunk in the bar to best grandfather on the block. Another from drunk on the railroad to chaplain at a treatment center.
This is not a How to Make a Million without Really Trying just call 1-800… post. This is about real people finding out about alcoholism, themselves, and a God of our understanding using the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, a 201 word instruction sheet that changed our lives.
To some of us AA is not a head-in-the-clouds-wait-for-the-Word-of-God-just-keep-coming-back-venture. It’s putting one foot in front of the other with baby steps that put the tortoise at the finish line long before the hares we thought we were get out of jail.
"Through it all I'm still not drinking.."
"I drank some vanilla extract yesterday.."
Only one or the other can be true.
Alcoholism, for me, didn't mean I was physically addicted and had to drink morning to night every day. It did mean that I could not predict the outcome of taking a drink. I never decided ahead of time that I would get really drunk and get behind the wheel of a car, but I did. Lots of times. Prisons and cemeteries are full of people who think just like me.
I've read "Alcoholics Anonymous" cover to cover and each chapter of the 12 and 12 numerous times. I got a sponsor. I attend meetings regularly. (but I don't live in them) I have done the steps. Numerous times. I have had a spiritual awakening, as promised. All of the promises are true in my life today. About two million people can say "Me too".
What exactly do you expect us to do and what exactly are you willing to do?
There is 1001 ways to get and stay sober. You can read about them all over this forum or at countless AA meetings around the country. I only know one way from personal experience.
When I came to AA 20+ years ago my sponsor with 10 + years at the time said he would take me through the steps out of the big book the same way his sponsor had done for him 10 years earlier. That’s what we did. We read the black part and when the book gave the directions for taking the steps, he helped me take them by relating his experience of how he used the book to take those steps.
I am 20 + years sober, my sponsor is 30+ years sober, and my grand sponsor is 40+ years sober. Using the formula from the big book I have personally sponsored 1-5 newcomers annually through the steps in the big book. Every single one of them that has continued to work 10, 11, and 12 has stayed sober. Not to mention the countless others my sponsees, sponsor, and grand sponsor have taken through the steps.
Like I said there is 1001 ways to get and stay sober. I simply stick with the one way that works for all who put half the effort into the program as they did into getting another drink.
If you feel you don’t know what to do, do what I did. Get a sponsor, work the steps out of the book with that sponsor, and join a home group that meets at the same time and place every week and only miss that meeting for funerals- your own!
Thanks for sharing what helps you and congratulations on your recovery. You said, “Get a sponsor, work the steps out of the book with that sponsor, and join a home group that meets at the same time and place every week.” This has been a fashionable rule since the event of rehabs and one will hear at some meetings today, which has nothing to do with what the AA Fellowship is as stated by our Preamble. Love and tolerance is our code. We demonstrate recovery in our sobriety by our examples not by orders. You finished with “...and only miss that meeting for funerals- your own!” To me, this is not based on evidence. It is a fear tactic which does not scare anyone. I don’t think it’s healthy for us as a fellowship to have this mentality, “If you don’t get sober exactly like us, then you will die!” When we start bullying members in the fellowship then we fail to understand the true essence of the founder’s hopes. The spiritual nature in the rooms is much bigger than you and I, than any rule, ritual or dogma. If you did these things great! This is what helped you but, please be open minded and flexible to have the understanding that there are members in the rooms who do not get sober like you or me. This is all good.
I didn't get a feeling of scare tact from the message. It sounds like experience., strength, and hope of sponsorship, homegroup membership, and working the 12 steps. You should try those suggestions. It'll help you get over your sensitivity to others sharing their experience and help to learn and show the love and tolerance you spoke of while being intolerant yourself.
I never had a problem with the god stuff when I entered the fellowship because I was a believer but, I also had a true compassion for the members struggling with a concept of one. I was not angry with God; never thought he was punishing me for stealing vinyl records or loitering outside the state stores asking adults to buy me liquor. About my sixth year in the sobriety, something surprising happened. I became a non-believer or atheist. My journey in sobriety led me to a place where I did not believe someone was listening to my prayers or something mystical would happen to me after death. I also discovered it wasn’t necessary to believe in God to be a member of AA or to get sober. For me, the thing that kept me clinging to the god idea was my fear of death. I used to have nightmares about waking up in coffin buried alive. I find it interesting for me the shoe is on the other foot now and I feel that hostility and bias, which non-believers put up with on a daily basis. Believers in AA never have to deal with people telling them not to believe on their journey in sobriety, but non-believers on their journey have to deal with agitators telling them they will drink again unless they believe. I’ve never attacked non-believers or agnostics but, here’s the rub, I unfortunately learned that support from some members comes with conditions attached. You will be loved and accepted only if you believe. On a positive note, the majority of members mind their own business and welcome all because our primary purpose is the help the sick and suffering alcoholic and not convert people.
Are you familiar with SBNR (spiritual but not religious)? It is virtually impossible to grow up in the western world and not combine Christianity and spirituality. If a person chooses to, he can bail out of church; avoid the bible and other Christian literature and their outreach efforts. I did this long before AA and I continue today, over thirty years later. Those efforts alone have little change on ones thinking. The idea is already solidly planted there. Our laws, customs and values are all based in biblical teachings therefore our thinking is unless we do something about it. Our brains aren’t set up to replace something with nothing. What we perceive as better ideas will easily trump old ideas. Replace a flat earth with a round one with gravity and we never go back. Some thinkers have gone beyond flat earth spirituality and are we are never going back. Search the net, library unless contempt before investigation gives you all the answers you need.
It sounds like members of your group are encouraging you to move on to step two. In an organization that offers a spiritual solution for alcoholism, that is support.
Chances are that the words WE ARE NOT SAINTS are read before every meeting you attend. You have at least heard it numerous times. This is a group of people who feel it necessary to issue that warning often. Can you see that your six years of procrastination in completing step two of a twelve step program might be straining their patience?
Have you read “The Chapter to the agnostic”? It offers a path not a destination.
If you aren’t interested in the Spiritual Path to recovery offered by Alcoholics Anonymous you might check for other solutions. I was going to refer you to one of them but I just checked and they don’t have meetings. Their website says they have made meetings obsolete! None of that God stuff to put up with but they don’t have meetings and aren’t free like us but you can’t have everything.
Alcoholics Anonymous is the only organization I can think of where some people confuse the requirement for membership with the actions of membership. When I was a kid I wanted to be a Boy Scout. The requirement for membership was to be a boy at least 11 years old. After I joined, it was learning about tying knots, pitching tents, cooking outdoors and so on. Of course I couldn’t stay where I was coming in the door, just joining and calling myself a scout didn’t make me one. I’m sure it’s the same for the Lyons club, the DAR or about any other group.
Not sure if you understood my post entirely or just selected certain words to motivate yourself to share a different point of view, which is your right of course. In my experience, I have found that spirituality and religion are not necessary ingredients to obtain sobriety or even be a member of the fellowship. You said, "Some people confuse the requirement for membership with the actions of membership." And from this I imagine you feel “your actions” are the “correct” ones. And what are our actions? Our actions as stated by the Preamble are “… who share their experience, strength and hope with each other.” Do you feel if a member has a different perspective on recovery that they are “incorrect” and do not belong. I think you said I should go somewhere else. Just to let you know there is no “correct” way of getting sober and where is it written that we have rights to tell any alcoholic to go somewhere else because they do not think like us. The “correct” way you are thinking of is only a suggestion. We are free in AA to adopt this suggested path if it suites us or not. AA is not a fascist spiritual or religious cult who bullies people into the “correct” way of recovery; although many members think they are more powerful than our traditions. We are a diverse fellowship made up of its members who share individual recoveries. Members share what helps them. I share what helps me. I do not share what helped Bill W. If there was only one way of getting sober than there would only be one person sober. There is a distorted lens of thinking I have found and that is; if someone is not accepting the suggested path then they obviously are doing nothing, are against us and will drink again. This thinking is far from the truth. I’ve seen non-believers with a truer sense of spirituality do more for this fellowship, than say the fanatical and narrow-minded big book thumper. One slogan is "Live and Let Live"
Great quote strait from the big book, page 135.
It sounds like the version of Tradition Three you have says The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking and then I can make up whatever I want and call it AA.
Thankfully, the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking...there is always a chair for both a "believer" and a "non-believer"...hopefully, we leave our judgement at the door.
I appreciate what you shared very much because it is similar to my experience. I used to hear “Fake It to You Make it” and “Stick Around to the Miracle Happens” But after many years of faking it and waiting for the miracle nothing happened too; unless one considers me finding the Agnostic AA groups a miracle. Recently, I moved to a new area and heard a man at a meeting share about these approved “We Agnostics” groups in AA. He said there were four in the area alone. I started to attend them and what a breath of fresh air. A person opens the meeting with the reading of the Preamble and then the discussion starts. When it ends we quietly put the chairs away. It’s exactly the thing I needed because what I wasn’t finding at some of the mainstream meetings was a sense of true compassion and maturity. The agnostics meetings are low key and everyone is treated as an equal. I believe the “We Agnostics” groups truly reflect our founder’s vision and our Preamble that, AA is a Fellowship and all we are asked to do is humbly share our experience, strength and hope. People share real stuff from the heart. I just got to a place in my recovery where I did not need to hear page numbers or endure the spectacle of rituals, readings, preachers, gods, gurus, and clichés as well as, members treating me like I was an outcast. I also discovered that “We Agnostics” groups are growing considerable and I find them an incredible addition to the Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous as we reach the hand of AA out to the still sick and suffering alcoholic. It doesn’t take much to start a “We Agnostics” meeting; just the Preamble and another drunk.
Thankfully, the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking...there is always a chair for both a "believer" and a "non-believer"...hopefully, we leave our judgement at the door.
I have had a sponsor for about a week. At the first meeting I was told to call everyday, which I did. Every time I called all I got was an answering machine, with no return call. Do I need a new sponsor.
In the BB a sponsor is referred to as a trusted friend. Personally, I don't keep friends who don't have time to return my calls.