I wanted to gain some perspectives from my fellow AAs regarding a murky situation that has crossed my path. I am an active member of AA and have been in the process of introducing my older sibling to the program. He has just recently completed a difficult custody battle - part of his custody agreement with his ex is that he attend regular AA meetings. He volunteered to do this. No mention of 'proof of attendance' was mentioned in the agreement, so at this time, he isn't required to have a sheet signed by a chairperson. However, his ex recently contacted him, asking him to provide the name and contact information of his sponsor so she can 'routinely receive status updates on his "counseling"'.
He does not yet have a sponsor, but even if he did, in my perspective, this would be a blatant violation of the 12th tradition. Seems pretty cut and dry right? No is a complete sentence? Not quite.....
What I found most disturbing (I attended the custody hearing and was present for the discussion of AA attendance) is that throughout this process, the attorneys and nearly all parties involved seem to have a gross misconception of what AA is. It was often referred to as 'counseling', or 'AA classes'. So firstly, there are people operating under false assumptions regarding the purpose/scope of AA. Secondly, her attorney is supporting this discussion of 'I want to be able to contact your sponsor'. For me, this is the red flag. Especially since he volunteered to attend, in order to help himself.
Hypothetically speaking, what if a sponsor felt comfortable speaking to his ex regarding his progress in the program - and now it is a part of their written agreement. To me, it seems like opening the door for someone to attempt to micro-manage his program, and by someone who is not even a member of AA nonetheless! Now, if she finds that she is 'dissatisfied' with his program or feels it to be 'inadequate' in her opinion, she is dragging his program into the courtroom to be scrutinized. Decisions regarding other matters are now being based upon 'AA performance'. What attracted me the most was knowing that there weren't 'rules' in AA. I know I'm running down the rabbit hole here, but I want to see if others arrived at a similar train of thought.
So my questions are:
I realize that I can educate my sibling on what AA does and what AA does not do. However, should I assist him in 'setting the record straight' with these misguided attorneys so they can avoid this conundrum in the future? Is it my place to do so? How can I do so tactfully without engaging in a conflict?
I posted this question because I realize that my opinion is only that of one AA in a fellowship of millions, and I'm looking for a bit of guidance from those who may have a bit more experience here!
Thank You! Grateful to be sober today and grateful for the fellowship!
I suggest you give your brother and his sponsor the A.A. pamphlet on sponsorship and its purpose. Also, you might want to give your sister in law some advice as to what AA is really about and to read the chapter The family afterword, as well as the pamphlet. A sponsor is only there to help give away what was freely given to him or her, nothing else. He is not a marriage counselor.
You are correct in saying that each member of AA simply expresses their own opinion and cannot represent AA. However, AA has a General Service Conference that meets once a year and it represents the group conscious of AA. The General Service Conference approves literature for AA World Services to publish, to provide guidance to the groups and AA members, and to state AA's opinion on certain matters. You can use these pamphlets to educate the attorneys on what AA members and groups do and don't do.
These pamphlets clearly state that AA members do not provide counseling or therapy, and they explain the need to respect the anonymity of all members - INCLUDING THE SPONSOR'S ANONYMITY AND NON-PROFESSIONAL ROLE. These attorney's have no right to try to force the sponsor into revealing who they are or trying to force the sponsor into the role of professional counselor, whereby the professional counselor reports progress on treatment to outside parties. AA's are not professional treatment counselors or therapists.
A couple of pamphlets that may provide the specific wording and explanations for this particular case with the attorneys might be:
A Newcomer Asks.....
Frequently Asked Questions About AA
Questions and Answers on Sponsorship
The AA Group... Where It All Begins
I would suggest providing your brother and his attorney with several pamphlets about what AA is and what it is not, which can be found on the AA worldwide website. I envision bigger problems if nothing is done, such as a well-meaning but similarly naive judge ordering the attendance of a sponsor or someone else connected with AA, or your brother's attorney subpoenaing his sponsor or someone to testify at a deposition or court hearing as part of a custody dispute. It also sounds like the ex needs Alanon notwithstanding the fact that she is no longer married to your brother, but I guess that isn't my call or my business anyway.
In the eyes of the world we are closer to counseling or classes than anything else. We don't occupy the center of the universe, It's not the worlds job to understand up perfectly. Our preamble explains who we are except for those studying us (which has been done and done nicely).
At first I thought it would be OK for the sponsor to report the guys attendendance. But what if your brother stopped going? Should the sponsor be a tattle-tale? Of course not so I guess that excludes reporting attendance as well.
Ex can feel free to park in the street outside of the meeting place and log his attendance herself. He owes me a steak dinner for that stroke of genius.
In a public information meeting the companions of Al-Anon surrounded the fellow who had told their experience they cared asking them to have hand tremors or could not sleep. In a workshop the big fight ensued because the person who had painted the group took three coffees. On another occasion a fellow came with arrogance and accuse a fellow relapses, we had put a complaint and taxed group meetings, several comrades gravely insult one of them got up to hit. At another meeting were watching TV when I get the time of the meeting wondered why he had not started the meeting which ended in fight over TV out the window. It's amazing that still presume to be an elite group.
One of our members, male (40 years of age) recently attacked 3 older male members (70-80 years of age)in the rooms at our fellowship. He not only struck them but also went into a rage swearing at all the members both male and female. The eldest member 80 years old was taken to the ground during this episode. He has an annurism that could have caused his death. How do we handle this in accordance with the traditions and principles of the program? We really need help. Thank you.
In the past three years I too have witnessed violent
episodes at AA gatherings. I have been the victim on one
occasion. In retrospect, I see that I should have involved
the police. I thought the group would take action. But no
one wants to take a stand. This member assaulted other
members and finally got into trouble outside of the rooms.
People on the outside are not as forgiving. We are just
too kind (or fearful).
These troublemakers need to be removed from our A.A.
rooms. This affects our groups and A.A. as a whole. But
we just stand aside and hope that the situation will take
care of itself. "God will take care of it". But I have
seen these problem members linger on for years.
Tradition Four has two storm signals. You know what
they are. ANONYMOUS
Read tradition 1 long form, “Hence our common welfare comes first. But individual welfare follows close afterward.”
Don’t confuse tradition 3’s only requirement for membership in AA with tradition 1’s common welfare of a group. A group on occasion will ask a disruptive member to leave until they can behave themselves. If someone attacks someone and are kicked out, that doesn’t mean they are kicked out of AA. If you foresee more problems with this person, call the police, get a restraining order. It they try to intimidate or upset the group, immediately call the police and have them removed. Remember, the group comes first, the members second. This is AA, these things will happen from time to time.
Groups I have attended have a policy to call the police to handle unacceptable behavior.
Traditions? You don't need to tell the police or anybody else that the perpetrator is a member or and alcoholic, just that he is a criminal or a mentally ill person who needs to be removed and prosecuted if a victim wants it.
"How do we handle this in accordance with the traditions and principles of the program?"
You handle it the same way you would (should) handle an act of violence anywhere else - you turn it over to the law enforcement authorities.
We were so close to honoring our seventh tradition of self support at some point
in the 1950's/1960's. Giving up the copyright on the Big Book and offering it up for
anyone to print was practically the final step. That idea had to be God inspired.
"A refreshing spectacle" Bill described our tradition of self support. Alcoholics
Anonymous is offered free of any charge. Then we offer a little of our time and
money to support our fellowship, and our service structure.
Something went wrong. I see a lot of the problem to be the General Service
Board of Trustees' practice of giving jobs to past trustees. Bill writes in the
Service Manual concerning this. Bill calls it a Powerful Tradition, not one of
the Twelve Traditions. Personally, I feel that it is more important than any
of the formal Twelve Traditions. as it relates to the assured future of Alcoholics
Anyone who may be concerned can find this Powerful Tradition on Page S72 in the
2012-2013 edition of the Service Manual. I believe never means NEVER. In Concept
IV on page 15, the same warning is written. The warnings begin with "If it wishes". We have been violating that powerful
tradition for about thirty years. It has cost us dearly, and will remain a thorn
for as many decades as we continue to allow the practice. ANONYMOUS
Thanks, I read the convoluted Wilsonism on S72 that you refer to. If the organization wanted to adopt the policy Bill say he is using as an example they have had plenty of time and official meetings to do so.
There is a word for a business that tries to operate on the same business plan for 59 years. That word is CLOSED. Fortunately we have trusted servants who keep AA running well despite criticism from of opinionated, ill advised people who won't bother to invest the work it takes to achieve a level of trust required to be called a trusted servant.
"There is a word for a business that tries to operate on the same business plan for 59 years. That word is CLOSED."
I find it refreshing to hear someone who does not parrot every word written by Bill W. or expect that everyone else should think that what Bill W. wrote needs to be followed in today's world. If the Ford company faced a labor dispute today and a decision had to be made, would the people in the Ford company start pouring through Henry Ford's old letters and written materials, and do exactly what Henry had thought should be done in his day and age for labor disputes? It's a similar situation when A.A.s constantly comb through Bill W's writings looking for all answers for today's problems. Did the A.A. mind's ability to think for itself die along with Bill W's, forty-some years ago when Bill W. passed away?
You need to include that the information you provide is only your opinion. Thousands of trusted servants are involved in the operation of AA and see things quite differently.
What is an opinion? If Bill W. wrote the Service Manual,
and I point out what is written, is that just my opinion.
All I ask is that you do an investigation.
Our Service Structure ought to be getting smaller;
Bigger is not always better. Now, that is I.M.O. ANONYMOUS
Perhaps the GSO and / or other parts of the service structures should be reduced in size. If that's what you think, then give the reasons and the benefits of reducing the service structure size. But simply saying that "Bill said so" is not a good reason.
"Bill said so"? I sincerely doubt that Bill W.
ever said anything about reducing the size of our service
structure. When he died in 1971 A.A. was growing steadily along with the service organization.
My concern is Tradition Seven. Alcoholics Anonymous
claims to be self-supporting through its own contributions.
We read that at practically all A.A. meetings. But that
statement is not true. We are supposed to be growing
spiritually and part of that is to become more honest.
There are numerous reasons for our Tradition Seven: We
want the Big Book and all of our books and literature
to be as affordable as possible to everyone. We want
to eliminate any possible outside influence in our affairs.
We would not be tempted to publish anything just for
profit. We would only provide services that the membership
is willing to pay for. Alcoholics Anonymous needs to have
the best favorable public image as possible. We need
to adhere to our Traditions as they are written and intended. And please do not beg for more money. ANONYMOUS
you should read last years anual report. I belive it said only 19% of book revenue comes from non AA entities. they also stated that if each registerd group gave $140 (or something close to that) a year to GSO or if each member gave $6 a year, AA and all its services would be self-supporting regardless of what our litureature does. take that back to your next steering committee and see if your side of the street is clean.
On page 68 of the 2012 FINAL REPORT, the gross profit
from literature for 2011 was $7,947,800. 19% of that amount
is $1,510,082. A million and a half dollars of our revenue
came from sources outside of A.A. Do you think that is OK?
I suspect that most A.A. members give it no thought at all.
They couldn't care less where the money comes from.
From my "side of the street" we ought to honor Tradition
Seven in spirit and to the letter. Sell books and literature
at the cost of printing, without any profit at all. Pay
for our services out of our own member's pockets. "Spend
What We Send". Not a penny more. Study those "If it wishes"
and "If it Wished" statements in the Service Manual, pages
S72 and page 15. That reveals the cause of our financial dilemma. ANONYMOUS
So people outside of AA think enough of our literature to buy one and a half million dollars worth? I think that is excellent news. There is only one thing that our literature is good for - carrying AA's message to those who still suffer. If we are missing that many people who need our message thank God someone is getting it to them.
so we have the short form of traditions on a shade that pulls down at meetings. This short form was suggested by Earl T. Dr. Bob Sponsored him and he started AA in Chicago. His idea was the short form was to make AA members tradition conscience. This is found in AA comes of Age page 213. It further states that this was what was adopted by the 1st general service conference in 1951. Moreover, it states these are the traditions that we know them today. Then why do we have the long form in our literature? Tradition 3 is very differently written in the long form than the short form. I guess my question is have we abandoned the Long Form of the traditions even thought they are still printed in our literature, and are supposed to use the short form as a guide for Unity? If we do not use the long form of the traditions as adopted by our General Service Conference, then why are they still printed? I have heard many an argument in meetings over the wording of the short and long form for someone to prove he is correct and the other fellow is wrong. I am writing this in reference to some of the comments on addicts in meetings and how it is handled and especially in group business meetings. It can be quite intense or casually dismissed and then we move on. Would love to hear shared experience, strength and hope. I feel if AA ever fails, it will be from within.
May I suggest some excellent reading just for personal info on this subject. One of the finest compliments & defense of Alcoholics Anonymous & it's primary / singleness of purpose. It also addresses the importance of how people identify themselves at AA meetings in an honest historical perspective. This comes from the World Board Of Trustees of N.A. in a memo sent out to the membership of N.A. in the 80's & again in the 90's. You can find it at the na.org website under the heading "Bulletin 13". Also show's up "Some thoughts regarding our relationship with AA". I think you'll be pleasantly surprised & find it refreshing to know that there are those that get it in AA & outside of AA. You may be surprised by the suggestions to the membership by the World Board Of Trustee's of N.A. in this regard. Thank God for good & honest leadership & trusted servants wherever they may be.
My home group is a 12 x 12 Study. We read the Long Form of the Traditions before every meeting. We go around the room and each member reads one Tradition until we complete them. The Long Form of the Traditions is alive and well in our Group.
As far as addicts in meetings are concerned, a former Trustee of Alcoholics Anonymous recently told me, it doesn't matter if alcohol is my 27th most pressing problem, if I have a desire to stop drinking, then I am welcome in a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous. I can have 26 more pressing problems than my drinking but it doesn't matter as long as I have a desire to stop drinking.
The third Tradition states that our membership ought to include all who suffer from alcoholism. It does NOT state that all members have to be alcoholic or consider themselves alcoholic. Just because someone desires to stop drinking does not automatically make them an alcoholic. Not by a long shot. The burden is on us, the members of AA, as it should be - we may refuse none who wish to recover. Period.
oledad195, I have always wondered how tradition twelve
ended up reading that Anonymity is the spiritual foundation,
when it is so clearly explained that it is humility, expressed by anonymity, is supposed to be the foundation;
not anonymity in itself. What do you think? ANONYMOUS
The long form of the 12th merely spells out more completely the full meaning of the concept of anonymity, which is much, much more than mere humility -- at least that is how I have come to understand it. But your observation, or question, points out our tendency as human beings to try to put everything we can neatly into a box, sort of like modern day Pharisees or Sadducees. Divinely inspired or not, Bill's writing was never intended to reflect the "precision of a poet" (or lawyer), notwithstanding the tendency of some of us to devote much time and energy over the meaning of a particular word or phrase. I am much more content in my sobriety when I avoid doing that.
You are saying that anonymity is much, much more than mere
humility. I see anonymity as only one ingredient in humility. Anonymous is "no name acknowledged". Humility
is something much greater. I would hardly call it "mere".
I have come to believe that Bill W. left us a perfect
fellowship/program. All the details are there. We have
yet to open the box. Actually we have opened it but have
not taken out all of the contents. Humility is still in
the bottom of the box. ANONYMOUS
I also am much more content in my sobriety when I don't let my thinking interfere with or substitute for the intuitive knowing that comes with Step 11 work. In the 10th step, I ask that my thinking be guided. There is a good reason not to leave that out of my daily prayers.
When I take a particular word or phrase into my meditation, I usually get a little burst of inspiration or understanding that warms my heart. That doesn't happen when I argue for a particular meaning.
I'm a member of a large metro group that meets in a club house and we have five meetings a day, every day. I'm involved and have missed only 3 Group Business Meetings in the last 5 years. Not so very often a member will come to the business meeting and complain to us about the conduct or actions of others and how traditions are being broke.
We ask them what they want us to do ? they look at us puzzled. We tell them we do not govern, that as a body we do not tell anyone what they can say or do in our group. They ask then what do we do ? This is when I like to chime in and tell them what an old wise lady once told me.
She said there is no complaint department in this group, yet we all are the complaint department. We must be willing to confront our fellow alcoholcis in a non conforntational and loving way whenever we witness inappropriate conduct or tradition breaks. No doubt conforntation congers up images of flaring nostrils and spaital flying everywhere, but with knowledge, love and practice it gets easy. We hold ourselves accountable.
A local group now advertises in the digital billboard of a church. In an effort to demonstrate that this could be seen as favoring a specific demonstration of a specific religion, I have voiced my objection, and even referred them to the appropriate passages in the 12&12.
The first Grapevine cover was printed with what has been called the AA preamble by many and it says
"AA is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution."
Remember the wisdom of the founders in stating that we can recover together, or fail on our own.
I would see this as a violation of Traditions six
and eleven. I realize that we are not a secret society,
but some alcoholics might hesitate to
enter a church with a billboard announcing an AA
meeting on a particular evening, especially if they are members of that church. I know "they can go to other
churches and other meetings". I think it would be wiser
to fully obey the traditions. ANONYMOUS
See tradition 9, page 174 in the 12 X 12, and Warranty 5 in the 12th Concept for world services
Our group meets daily in a church that has been kind enough to host us for the past 15 years or so. In addition to upholding the traditions of AA, hosting a "closed" meeting and following the guidance from of our group conscience, we are responsible for enforcing the rules and requests that come from the church. We meet upstairs of a daycare, for example, and have been asked to watch our language and not smoke around the entryways.
We include some guidance in our meeting preamble. We also created a pamphlet that summarizes our guidelines and gives reasons for each guideline that a member can give to a newcomer. We also offer alternatives for those who might have trouble meeting the guidelines.
Most newcomers who come to AA need to be educated about how the program works and how a particular group works and why. We have found that if people understand the reasons behind our guidelines and are offered other options, they respond well.
How important are our Twelve Traditions? They were written by Bill. When Bill first began mention of
them to his friends and at meetings, The idea of what looks like rules, was not well received. But
Bill persisted and at AA's First International Convention July 1950 at Cleveland the Twelve Traditions
were adopted unanimously by the fellowship. Our General Service Board of Trustees became guardians of
the Twelve Traditions.
It seems to have become fashionable to be a member of A.A. Are we applauding ourselves for escaping
from a building that we burnt down? How well are we informing new members of the importance and value
of Anonymity? Our Tradition of self support has been ignored for thirty years now. Profit from the
sale of books and literature has become a accepted income by our Trustees. We are supposed to be
selling books and literature at the cost of printing. It is not even a goal any more.
We really need to get back on the track which Bill left. Bill's character may have been defective, but
he had terrific insight. ANONYMOUS
Tradition (noun) a way of thinking, behaving, or doing something that has been used by the people in a particular group, family, society, etc., for a long time.
Any time a group of people use a word differently from the generally accepted definition they are inviting problems. The twelve suggested rules posted on the wall of most AA meeting rooms apparently were indeed traditions at one time. If they haven’t been used for a long period they don’t meet Webster’s definition any more. We can’t make a thing a tradition by simply calling it one. It appears to me that some are no longer traditions. I have been a member of Alcoholics Anonymous for thirty four years and have attended hundreds of meetings at home and across the US. From the first meeting to the last and most in between some attending claimed problem with addiction to something besides alcohol. If I follow Webster’s definition, I would have to say their inclusion in membership has become traditional.
If the group conscience of my group chooses to exclude any talk of addiction to drugs other than alcohol, I will support it. It is the group’s call. Not me, not you, not GSO. I think there are easily enough recovering addicts to support a group of their own and if there aren’t, they have an organization to help them start one. I would encourage some kind of soft transition because excluding talk of drugs would be breaking with the tradition (according to the dictionary) we have experienced for at least three decades. In the mean time, I am going to accept* them as my peers.
*Accept (transitive verb) to receive willingly, to give admittance or approval to, to endure without protest or reaction, to regard as proper, normal, or inevitable.
Both Bill W. and Doctor Bob talk about using "sedatives" daily and the Big Book mentions sedatives on page 7 and again on page 22 for starters. I have had to look at my intolerance for people who used drugs and come to AA to get help. With the current "rules", would either of them be able to tell their story in meetings?
They did not know that the opium sedation was just as much if not more addictive than alcohol. The book does not say whether the desire for the sedatives was removed at the same time as the desire for alcohol.
When a drug addict wants help, I ask for guidance to help them. AA was started by a couple of addicts.
Bill and Dr.Bob never identified as addicts.
When I came to AA I had a history of drug abuse as long as your arm. I did not know anything about anything. I didn't even know what questions to ask to get help because I didn't understand the problem.
Thank God the members of AA patiently waited and allowed me to bungle and fumble my first few months without running me out of the rooms. They allowed me sufficient time to first detox, and learn to listen; so I could listen to learn.
Today I understand the importance of our singleness of purpose; why I need to focus on the "common problem" and the common solution. Our 3rd tradition clearly encourages "inclusion" of all who suffer from the disease of alcoholism.
Regardless of my differences I am bound with you people because like you; if I put even a teaspoon of beer in my mouth I am subject to the physical craving of more; and when I'm not drinking the thought of a drink in time will always get so strong that I may not be able to resist the temptation. That fact alone has little if anything to do with my 20+ year addictions to other substances.
Today I realize that it is more important for the society of AA as a whole to survive than even me. Because if there is no AA then there is no where for people like me to go to get help. That being said; Love and Tolerance of others should always be our code. I would rather err on the side of tolerance than take a chance and run someone out the door to fend for themselves. All of us in recovery are sensitive people I do my best to help the new guy "define HIS problem" and if he's not an alky, then I try to gently push him to a group of people he an readily identify with. After all, its all about "Recovery".
"AA was started by a couple of addicts."
Show me where Bill W. or Dr. Bob identified themselves as addicts. Our Big Book says, on page 31, "We do not like to pronounce any individual as alcoholic, but you can quickly diagnose yourself." Addicts seem to like nothing better than to pronounce other individuals as addicts.
You You use a few words on two pages to rationalize your position, yet you totally ignore the Traditions and the pamphlet, "Problems Other than Alcohol." That pamphlet, by the way, was written by one of the individuals you so freely diagnose as an addict.
I have yet to hear a legitimate reason (not excuse) for addicts to attend AA rather than NA. Perhaps in NA they don't feel special.
Much of the time people with a variety of symptoms come to AA for answers. When I got to AA I did not know what I was; I did not understand anything about the disease or recovery. Thank God I was allowed to sit in a meeting and listen to you people talk about your disease and recovery long enough so I could make an informed decision as to whether I should stay or look for other solutions to my "problems". Today I realize that I easily qualify as an addict; but I also realize that I'm an alcoholic of the hopeless variety. For me it is imperative that I FOCUS ON MY RECOVERY FROM ALCOHOLISM; I must remember that it is not AA that needs to change; its me. So it is for selfish reasons that I "get with the program". AA does not need me, I need AA. I don't ever want to try to live a sober life without AA; for me it would be impossible.
"I have yet to hear a legitimate reason (not excuse) for addicts to attend AA rather than NA. Perhaps in NA they don't feel special."
How about because they have a desire to stop drinking?
Bill W & Dr. Bob worshippers always have struggle when their drug use is mentioned. I cannot say whether they were or were not addicts other than alcohol (oh, and nicotine) addicts. Doesn't matter, as they found a solution to alcoholism (the fellowship and the 12 steps) that surprisingly enough seems to work for other addictions as well. So I gladly welcome brethren who identify themselves more as addicts than alcoholics at meetings, and will continue to do so, as their experience living life on life's terms may be what keeps me from picking up a drink tomorrow.
Im happy they help you stay sober. what about the newcomer who may have an alcohol problem. he comes to your meeting and hears all the addict talk. he cannot identify with the addicts. he is not convinced he is even an alcoholic. the drug talk separates him even more. since he cannot relate to the addicts at the AA meetings, he turns his head to the wall and dies.
you might say that most newcomers are crossaddicted. so what? come to AA and talk about alcoholism, go to NA and talk about addictions. Please stop killing newcomer alcoholics in AA. this is the only place they have where the focus is on alcohol alone to overcome our denial of alcoholism. Addicts have hundreds of fellowships they can be part of, in fact a lot of them use our big book anyway.
I think the message of the bleeding deacon, how he spilled more booze than the newcomer ever drank, how the person who drank listerine or Nyquil is not a "real alcoholic," foaming at the mouth while telling the newcomer he had better find a higher power, get a sponsor, read the big book, and work the steps because "that is the only way to get sober" (i.e., that is how he did it), is more harmful to newcomer than an addict describing how he or she was able to get through a day without picking up whatever substance they used to turn to. The latter helps me, while the former scares me.
hey, listerine and nyquil is full of alcohol, that's why alcoholics drink it.
your absolutely right about the sobriety talk. the difference is after you've been sober awhile, sobriety seems like sobriety. the issue with newcomers is this, when a newcomer comes to AA in search of recovery from alcohol, we should be talking about recovery form alcohol or we are disregarding tradition 1,3,and 5. the reason we want to stick to alcohol is to help the newcomer get over his feeling of being different and how can we help him get over being different if we are talking about substances other than alcohol that he has no experience with. why don't we just keep with tradtion 1,3,and 5 so that all can at least relate to alcoholism? why should an alcoholic feel out of place in an AA meeting? why don't the addicts just start an NA or All addicts anonymous meeting?
My party started in the 60's and didn't end until 1992. I would do just about anything short of sticking a needle in my arm to change the way I felt. I came in to AA with a lot of symptoms. But after relating to the disease of alcoholism I soon understood why it is important to focus on recovery from drinking. The reason I believe is this; when I say I'm an alcoholic and an "anda" I am some how separating myself from the fellowship causing controversy. Controversy leads to division, which leads to extinction. For me its all about our common welfare. Because if AA disappears then I'm back trying to get and keep myself sober. That never worked; so it is for selfish reasons that I focus on our common problem and our common solution. Its me that needs to change, not AA. I need AA. AA does not need me.
Why don't the addicts just start an NA or All addicts
anonymous meeting? I will try to answer that question.
First do not blame the addict who appears in our meeting
room. Most are sincerely desperate and are looking for
help. Some are drug dealers looking for prospects. The
drug dealer has great success. But the drug addict who
approaches us is seldom helped. There is little identification if any.
Blame the solid A.A. member who says "Welcome". "All
programs are the same". True the Program is the same.
But the fellowships are different. The solution lies in
the hands of those AA members who are indeed drug addicts.
Help start meetings for the drug addict. We can nudge the
addict your way. It would be heartless to "expel" a
suffering addict and not offer a place for her/him to go.
Parallel, working side by side, both fellowships offer
the greatest hope for the alcoholic and the drug addict. Combined (as they are now) continue to expect failure.
Combined we may save a few, but if each fellowship
remains on course, there can be help for the multitudes
of sufferers. There is an epidemic out there.
Bill wrote that we alcoholics are "pikers" compared with
the struggle of those who are drug addicted. We must offer
them the best possible solution. It is far more than
offering them our twelve steps. ANONYMOUS
In 1939, very little was known about the disease of addiction. Ditto in 1951 when the 12 x 12 was published. Only in the last 20 years have great breakthrough been made in understanding the chemistry of addiction. Educate yourself before you continue to suggest that everything we need to know about alcoholism and how to get sober is in the big book. Otherwise, you sadly remind me of my grandfather, who when he found out I needed glasses gave me a book published in 1937 entitled "Sight Without Glasses." I asked whether the book might not be a little dated (our conversation was in 1980). He replied, "What do they know now that they didn't know then?"
please enlighten us with these discoveries on alcoholism over the past 20 years. is it different from a physical allergy that compells us to drink more once we start coupled with a mental obsession that convinces us to start drinking while sober?
I guess I am blessed to go to meetings in a locale where people share the solution rather than their using stories. Thus, alcoholic and addict alike share how they get through the day without getting drunk or high. I would estimate that the meeting I walked into off the street had more people who might be considered druggies rather that alc'ies. Your suggestion that allowing addicts to share in meetings is "killing newcomers" is as baseless as my suggestion that your rigidity is sending more alcoholics and addicts back to the street.
Is the AA Preamble read at your meetings?
"Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their COMMON problem and help others to recover from ALCOHOLISM."
"Our primary purpose is to stay SOBER and help other ALCOHOLICS to achieve SOBRIETY.
There is no mention of addicts, addiction, or cleanliness in the Preamble.
An addict who drinks only when his drug isn't available is no more an alcoholic than the person who takes a drink or several to ease the pain of a toothache while waiting to see a dentist.
I stay sober with AA, I get clean with soap and water.