Not to beat a dead horse here, but in our community we have over 100 meetings per week that are thriving, and we count as members many who would freely admit they are primarily addicts of various sorts (to both legal and illegal substances), but have found the solution based discussions in AA to be better at keeping them sober (clean). They are not discouraged from attending, or even from identifying themselves as addicts. My substance of choice was always alcohol (and salt water taffy), but I do not reference what or how I drank other than to note that I could not stop without the help I found in AA. Having stopped drinking (I'll work on the taffy in my next life), what I need to hear today is how to deal with the slings and arrows of life without resort to my old means of coping: drink. How is this different from Vicodin addict's daily struggle?
I was given five senses, sight, smell. taste. hearing, touch. I would not expect my ophthalmologist to treat my hearing problem, nor my dentist to prescribe new glasses.
Apples and tomatoes are both fruit,s usually round, usually red, mostly juicy and quite tasty. In other words, they have veery much in common, but no one would think of mixing them together to bake an apple pie.
Perhaps if we work on recovery from alcoholism we can learn how to deal with the slings and arrows of life. "We will intuitively know how to handle problems which used to baffle us."
Those who believe they are above the twelve traditions aren't truly interested in helping other alcoholics as much as they would have us believe.
"we count as members many who would freely admit they are primarily addicts of various sorts (to both legal and illegal substances"
Great that so many addicts are staying clean in your group, but it should not be listed as an Alcoholics Anonymous group.
After 40 years of continuous sobriety, I to am saddened by the actual state of our traditions. They are not followed. That will end AA as we know it. Here is what I have seen. About 1975, treatment centers became popular. They taught "A drug is a drug" to their clients, then sent them to AA. Those clients then taught others in AA that "A Drug is a drug". Now, that myth is believed by the majority of members. I am very active in AA but every meeting, wherever I attend, usually several people talk about drugs. I never used any drugs so it is like going to an AA meeting & listening to someone talk about gambling or child molesting or Alanon. That is not AA. Thanks, Corky-Plano TX
Having 31 years in the program I do not have a problem with people mentioning they used other drugs besides alcohol. If alcohol is their drug of choice, and they used other drugs whether legal or illegal it does not bother me when they speak. I certainly do not want AA to be damaged, but I also feel that AA may have to change a bit with the times. A majority of alcoholics since the 1970's have also used other substances other than alcohol. I know I have worked in service in California where I got sober, and also in Arkansas where I live now. I have met quite a few "addicts" in both states who feel that without AA they would never have got Sober & Clean. The "spin dry factories" that sprang up in the mid 70's serve a purpose, but if the clients do not continue a program of recovery, they have little chance of not going back out. I think some of us need to be more accepting, and listen for the similarities and not the differences. We do not need to become "bleeding deacons"
Bill D. Hot Springs, AR...
I think AA works best when we stick to our own stories. If you honestly never, ever used drugs in connection with your drinking, feel free to share that. But if you *did* use drugs in connection with your alcohol, please be honest about that, too. I think the notion that we need to edit or lie about our drug use "out of respect for AA" is misleading and ultimately damaging to us as individuals and as a fellowship.
Remember too, that AA is not a driving education program, but a lot of people talk about their driving troubles and no one complains about that. We talk about a lot of things that contributed to or were a consequence of our drinking, and drug use happens to be one of those things.
I think some of the issue with drug talk is that perhaps some hold on to a reservation that they can one day control and enjoy their drug use, as long as they don't drink. I think that's another idea that needs to be smashed.
Where I go to meetings we are still in the "total abstinence" school of thought, which includes abstinence from recreational drugs and extreme caution and accountability with respect to prescribed ones. (Things discussed in the AA pamphlet on the subject.)
Sounds good to me. when i read bills story, on pg 7 he talks about drinking gin & sedative. somewhere in more about alcoholism bill writes about morphine or a high powered sedative to tapper off. in Dr bobs nightmare on pg 176 he talks about taking sedative to calm his nerves.
I think if our cofounders can honestly talk about booze and drugs, we can too.
Bill W and Dr. Bob described themselves as alcoholics but never said they were addicted to sedatives, morphine or any other drug.
I have no doubt that sedatives were rampant in the 30's and that AA should never be a barkers sideshow but an affectionate big tent, as the founders tolerance built it back then. Dr. Bob's keep it simple was warm and wise, but maybe also stern like a good father is stern: Stay on the message;What have I learned through my experience that gives me strength and hope.
You don't know the difference between one sentence mentioning drugs in a story and an entire story about drugs?
AA is for Alcoholic's only to carry the message of AA.
There would be no need for discussion if the addicts would show the same respect for our traditions as those alcoholics who are also member of OA, GA, etc.
I've met very few addicts who know the difference between mentioning something in one's story and making that something the focus of one's story. Yes, alcoholics talk about their driving problems in meetings. But they don't go into detail, naming the time, place, model vehicle and arresting officer's name and badge number.
They show absolutely no regard for the alcoholic who didn't use drugs at all, or didn't use enough to become addicted. Several local meetings have folded because they focused on drug addiction rather than on alcoholism.
To quote the pamphlet, "Problems Other Than Alcohol,"
"Sobriety - freedom from alcohol - through the teaching and practice of the Twelve Steps, is the sole purpose of an AA group."
Notice that sobriety is defined as freedom from alcohol, not freedom from what bothers us.
Addicts, not compulsive gambler, not overeaters, only addicts insist that AA change to suit them rather than change themselves. ("Selfishness, self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles.")
You don't hear what you need to hear at NA meetings? Get off your backside, round up other addicts who know what they need to hear (AA meetings are overrun with them) and get NA on track as a program for recovery from addiction.
I was careful to relate my experience to the groups with which I am familiar, which tend to go overboard (in my view) with suppressing drug talk.
If your experience is different, let me suggest that the answer is probably *not* to lecture the offenders and tell them to shape up or ship out. And of course, the advice to "get off your backside" goes both ways. The AA member who doesn't like the message in the local groups is free to start a group with different ground rules.
Interestingly, around here, my experience is that even the NA meetings don't have a lot in the way of drug-a-logs. They focus more on the solution, some even more than AA (in my area). So that's brings up another possibility. Rather than tell people what to do, suggest a shift in meeting format to a step or literature meeting that gets away from people focusing on their stories rather than on recovery. Limiting sharing time (to give everyone a chance to share) is another way.
All needs to be processed through a group conscience, of course. And what I find is that a group conscience can often yield insights and possibilities that even I (as smart as I am) haven't thought of. Amazing how it works.
Thank You, Mike. It is nice to hear someone else talk single purpose. Zeke
My sponsor taught me the principles of the program. In turn it is my responsibility to pass it on to the people I sponsor. In a meeting it is our responsibility to make sure that the principles of the program are passed on. We come together to share our experiences with alcoholism, not drugs. We identified as alcoholics. Listen to the old-timers the ones that have been around for a years. The ones who sponsor other people, and take their program seriously. They are the ones that will keep Alcoholics Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous. This program is a we program one alcoholic helping another.
What happened to patience, tolerance, acceptance, faith, courage and open-mindedness just to name a few. While I share your views on what A.A. is all about-helping another alcoholic, I was taught to practive the spiritual principles in all my affairs excluding nothing, including meetings.
Real Alcoholic that has had a spiritual awakening
Love the Traditions of A.A. - No one should make anyone conform or believe in anything. Get a sponsor or you will get drunk? religious all over again or what!! LOL
BUT, if you want what we have & are willing to go to ANY length, then you are ready....... Corky S. 7-8-71
This is exactly the sort of thinking (and today most
AA members think this way, because that is what they have
been taught) that pushes so many alcoholics back out into
the darkness. It is harmful to give anyone in an AA meeting
this type of directive. This self righteous attitude does
not belong in Alcoholics Anonymous. If you want to know
how to carry AA's message, study page 70 in Alcoholics
Anonymous Comes Of Age. Study the exact method Bill W.
used when he approached Dr. Bob. Bill did not say to
Dr. Bob: But if you want what I have & and are willing
to go to ANY length, then you are ready..... Bill said
to Dr. Bob "Man, I need you desperately. Please listen
to my story for 15 minutes. This has helped me in the
past six months, and I am desperate. I am afraid I
am going to drink, and I believe this will help me."
No, I was not present at that first meeting. But I
have read enough of AA history to know it is pretty much
correct. Until we return to that approach, suffering
alcoholics by the millions will continue to suffer.
I don't know about anyone else, but I use the directions of how to talk to newcomers from chapter 7 "working with others".
Bill tells us how to deliver the AA message. He says we should talk like he did in the chapter about alcoholism- Chapter 3 "More About Alcoholism".
He says if they are interested in our program to lend then your copy of the big book. Then let them decide if they are willing.
Bill says something about let them know you are available to help with step 3 and 5 (well he says make their decision and hear their story).
I am talking from memory, so don't expect it to be perfect.
I feel if I try to carry the message as laid out in chapter 7, I am doing the right thing. If they have read our book there will be no surpises!
If a newcomer is not willing to read our book, they are definately not willing to take any of the action suggested in it.
Let's remember the book "Alcoholics Anonymous" is and always will be our basic text for AA. The "Idea" that is mentioned in AA comes of age is found in "The Doctor's Opinion", chapter 3 "More about Alcoholism", and chapter 7 "Working with Others", not to mention Bill's story and most of the stories in the back of the book.
This is "just my opinion", so it usually only matters to me.
Thanks for reading.
"Bill said to Dr. Bob "Man, I need you desperately. Please listen to my story for 15 minutes."
Where did you read (or hear) this? Everything I've read about their first meeting says that Dr. Bob agreed to give Bill fifteen minutes, not the other way around And what I read on page 70 is, "I knew I needed this alcoholic as much as he needed me." Note that it says, "I knew ...," not, "I told him ...".
Manufactured history isn't history, it's falsehood.
You love them? But do you know them? Do you attend a Traditions study group?
“Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.”
To me this tradition seems cut and dry on the surface. AA should have no professional class, but we can hire janitors, secretaries, and managers for our service centers to provide for our fellowship. It’s our 12 step work that can’t be for hire. As individuals we can be counselors but we can’t use the AA name for our benefit.
I feel this keeps the AA name from being misused by individual members of our fellowship. It has been said many times that AA doesn’t have to worry about being destroyed from outside our fellowship. If or when it falls apart, it will come from within our fellowship. I think if we keep working the steps of AA and practicing the 12 traditions and 12 concepts we will be ok.
Thanks for reading.
You obviously have no knowledge of the Traditions as well meaning as you might be. The Sixth concerns outside affiliation.
"Our common welfare should come first. Personal recovery depends upon AA unity"
If you think you are unique, maybe you are and don't belong in AA.
Save the hyphenated labels for marriage. In AA we are just alcoholics, with a singleness of purpose; To carry the message and help others to recover from alcoholism.
So if your anything but just an alcoholic, ie: grateful, recovering, addict or any other hyphen that makes you 'special', save it. We are united as simply alcoholics.
A few years ago I went to a one hour open discussion
meeting in a distant town, about an hour away. The chairperson asked if anyone had a topic. A hand was raised
and the topic of recovered versus recovering was introduced.
The discussion was lively to say the least. What a waste
of an hour. My name is Joe and I am an alcoholic. ANONYMOUS
COMMON WELFARE? What is that? to be a sponsor to someone else because we screwed up our own lives? Nor ought A.A. membership ever depend upon money or conformity - Why is the outside system bent on taking hostages instead of promoting unity? Is this the selfashness, self centerness that is talked about
Tradition 7: Every AA group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
My favorite part of this tradition as written in the 12x12 is at the end of the 7th tradition. It says,” They pointed out that the irresponsible has become responsible.” I think that statement is great! I can’t think of a statement that sums up AA better.
I think Tradition 7 has also given AA an enormous public relations boost. Every other organization out there is asking for money. We of AA simply say,” no thanks. We want to pay our own way”. It is truly amazing.
My group recently rented a room in a facility. The manager said it was “free” to use. We said that’s fine, but we would like to pay rent. We offered the going rate for our area and they accepted it. We pay to the facilities foundation. They use the money to replace carpet, tables, and chairs. The very things we are using and wearing out.
I have heard many members of AA talk of low self-esteem. This tradition taught me that if we do esteem able acts, we will gain self-esteem. I feel there is no other way.
Thanks for reading.
I have 3 questions rather than a comment. One, can a club (nonprofit corporation) that rents space to AA groups for their meetings sell AA literature to AA members for the groups that hold meetings there? Two, can an AA group give money other than rent, more than the rent, to a club the group rents from? The group I'm in does that from time to time. Even thuogh the dlub does not ask for the money they are more than happy to take it, justifying taking it based on "each group should be autonomous . . ." but they ignore the "except in matters affectng other groups or AA as a whole." I asked the club president about it and he said he couldn't see how the club's accepting our group' money could hurt other groups or AA as a whole because it is such a small amount of money and is given only periodically. Thanks you.
We too,pay for a free room. We insisted & the owner consented to put it into the nurse's fund.
A question presented at our AREA's pre-conference:
Should there be a limit set on income allowed from literature profit. We use this profit to run AA at the
center. My opinion is that we ought to be selling books
and literature at the exact cost of printing, processing
and shipping. That was AA's goal at one time. We have
moved away from that objective, and are moving further
away every year, again my opinion. Our New York operation
ought to be fully funded by individual and group contributions, without outside contributions from any source. Too much of the profit from literature comes
from outside sources. Any amount is too much, again my
You ain't heard GSO begging lately? They have become irresponsible in NY.
Yours is not a new comment, it has been bantered about for years, please take the time to read our Traditions and Concepts on self-support hopefully you too will conclude, as I have, that self-support ensures self-determination. New York does not need my money, I need to send it to them it is my right of particpation that is much much more important than anything else. If we do not fund the very services we have grown to expect from GSO, who will do so? Thanks for letting me share, Mike
Why are we discussing an unapproved publication from a outside source its none of our business, It time to keep it simple or go simple.
“An AA group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the AA name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, and prestige divert us from our primary purpose”
First I have to ask our group, what is our “primary purpose”? I think it has something to do with carrying the message of AA. So what is the message of AA? I read in the AA pamphlet “the group” that the sole purpose of an AA group is the teaching and practice of AAs 12 steps. So it sounds like that is what our efforts should be devoted to.
Now the first part of tradition 6: Never endorse? Looks like my group has to stop talking about how great the treatment center or a particular counselor is for AA.
Never finance? Looks like my group should stop giving all that money to our local Alano club. If they really need more money, they should charge us more rent.
Never lend the AA name to any related facility! Ouch! I guess that meeting in the local hospital basement should quit calling itself the “……. …….. hospital meeting.
That last line, “lest problems of money, property, and prestige divert us from our primary purpose”. You mean to tell me that my precious group can’t handle money, property, and prestige! Individually, we are Doctors, lawyers, business men, teachers, and housewives. As individuals, we handle money, property and prestige everyday.
As a group, though we are not emotionally sober enough to handle it. We are all at different experience levels with practicing the AA principles. We are like my kids last week. We were at a large playground. All 3 of my children had one hand on one part of the park. They were all fussing over who got to play with it. I calmly said,” look around at all the playground equipment, why are you all fighting over this one piece”? The all looked at me and said, “but this is the one I want to play with”. Individually they were fine. As a group, they were not grown up enough to handle it, just like my group.
This is my experience with tradition 6, only my experience. Thanks for reading.
That's right change the name. Zeke
It takes no experience to use the Traditions & your donations to the Alano Club are in violation of the Sixth.
i beung in a box of dountos at a meeting for refreshment I was not aware that a comming event was raising money and selling cookies as a fund raiser they was selling them during the meeting no big deal for me.I was pull over tpo the side and accuse of mudding the waters of the group and causeing termo. the person that was selling the cookies went behind my back and cause this. I went to some old timmers and all they say big deal. i feel t-6 is not
As is true of most,you ain't got a clue what the 6th is all about.
So fill in the blanks. enlighten us all with your interpretation please.
“Each group has but one primary purpose-to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.”
“Better do one thing supremely than many badly”(12x12pg 150).
“There is another reason for this singleness of purpose. It is the great paradox of A.A. that we know we can seldom keep the precious gift of sobriety unless we give it away”. (12x12 pg 151)
“Now concludes the oldtimer, suppose I’d been obliged to talk to this man on religious grounds? Suppose my answer had to be that AA needed a lot of money; that AA went in for education, hospitals, and rehabilitation? Suppose I’d suggested that I’d take a hand in his domestic and business affairs? Where would we have wound up? No place, of course.” (12x12 pg 154)
After reading tradition 5 in the 12x12, it is more clear to me than ever. My group has one purpose and one purpose only, to carry it’s message to the alcoholic who still suffers. Sometimes, I am afraid, I am not sure what “message” is being carried.
I have read in the AA pamphlet “The Group”, that the sole purpose of an AA group is the teaching and practice of AA’s twelve steps. When I read this with tradition 5 it is clear to me. At the group level we should be teaching and practicing the 12 steps of alcoholics anonymous.
Teaching and practicing the 12 steps could be carried out in a wide variety of ways. It is up to each group to decide for themselves. I feel the best way for me is to attend meetings where the book Alcoholics Anonymous is studied. I think that keeps me from getting too far off the track. Then there are no surprises later when new members decide if they want to try the program of AA or not. If they have been exposed to the BB they will know where the answers are.
This also works well for AA’s that don’t read well. They can listen to the program read and apply the principals if they so choose.
Tradition 4: Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or AA as a whole”
This is where my group has a right to be wrong.
Our group can read what we want, pray what we want, and say what we want as long as we don’t affect other groups or AA as a whole. That being said, can we read non AA conference approved liturature at meetings? Yes, although it’s not the “best for our group”, but we do have the right to be wrong.
If we are right, our group will flourish and many lives will be saved. If we are wrong and are not humble enough to change, our group will die, probably along with some of our beloved members.
In AA comes of age, Bill wrote that there are two authorities in AA. One in benign and one is malign. One is God waiting for you to do his will. The other is alcohol who will kill you if you don’t. I think that quote fits perfect with tradition 4.
Thanks for reading.
There's no authorities in AA but there are things that should not be done. Which can be found in the Traditions.
No Tradition was ever written to be used as a tool to break another Tradition. The "Right to be wrong" was NEVER intended to be used if the Group knows better. If one reads the history of the Tradition, they would know this and know better than to use Tradition 4 as a lame excuse for bad behavior.
“The group, in turn, found that it had to give up many of its own rights for the protection and welfare of each member, and for A.A. as a whole. These sacrifices had to be made or A.A. could not continue to exist.” (AA Comes of Age page 287)
“Tradition Four is a specific application of general principles already outlined in Traditions One and Two. Tradition One states: ‘Each member of Alcoholics Anonymous is but a small part of a great whole’ AA must continue to live or most of us will surely die. Hence our common welfare comes first. But individual welfare follows close afterward’ Tradition Two states: ‘For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority – a loving God as he may express himself in our group conscience.” (Bill W, Extract from ‘Tradition Four’, The Language of the Heart, p 80, AA Grapevine March 1948)
“Obviously, if any individual, group, or regional committee could take an action that might seriously affect the welfare of Alcoholics Anonymous as a whole or seriously disturb surrounding groups, that would not be liberty at all. It would be sheer license; it would be anarchy, not democracy.” (Bill W. Extract from “Tradition Four” The Language of the Heart p 81, AA Grapevine March 1948)
Who decides what is right and what is wrong? Do we
correct what is wrong, or do we just say, "Well, we have
the right to be wrong, and continue using non-AA approved
literature? I have seen many groups continue to read the
24hour book along with the preamble. The groups may not
flourish but they do not die. They continue to promote
an outside organization's book and all its religious
beliefs. I believe this is where true leadership needs
to insist that group conscience meetings are held and
these issues are corrected.
At a traditions meeting (of all places) The "group"
insisted on reading the 24hr book at the beginning of
the meeting in addition to How It Works and the preamble.
We had several monthly group conscience meetings and
discussed this topic ad-nauseam. We had a group vote
and voted to eliminate all readings except the
preamble and the reading of the tradition in the 12&12.
The members who were in favor of the reading felt railroaded and left the group. Some have returned, but most have stayed away.
I believe that if our leaders, trusted servants and
elder statesmen could have enough concern, together we
could clarify why the reading of the 24 hr book at A.A.
meetings is harmful to other groups and A.A. as a whole.
We need to come to an understanding of Dr. Silkworth's
cart before the horse "IDEA", which explains the method
of helping suffering alcoholics. We need to come to an understanding of what suggestions really means, and
conduct our meetings accordingly. ANONYMOUS
Two wrongs don't make it right -Take a closer look instead of finding excuse even to be wrong.