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.
Tradition 3: long form
Our membership ought to include all who suffer from alcohol. Hence we may refuse none who wish to recover. Nor ought AA membership ever depend upon money or conformity. Any two or three alcoholics gathered together for sobriety may call themselves an AA group, provided that as a group, they have no other affiliation.
Tradition 3 short form: The only requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking.
I feel the spirit of tradition three is inclusion. I am a member if I say so. Al l that is required is that I have a desire to stop drinking. I don’t need money or have to conform to anything. We let alcohol enforce conforming to the steps and traditions. If I or my group don’t conform, I will surely drink. If I drink, I will certainly die. Also any group of people can call themselves an aa group as long as it is not aa and this or that, ect.
I also need to remember the difference between an aa group and an aa meeting. An aa group exists outside of the meetings.( AA pamphlet the group). That same pamphlet states the sole purpose of an aa group is the teaching and practicing of the 12 steps. AA groups hold meetings so newcomers can find the fellowship they seek.
This is my experience, thanks for reading.
Bill W and Dr. bob were drug addicts. Bill used drugs and attended AA.
I do not believe that Bill W. or Dr. Bob ever called
themselves drug addicts. The experiment with LSD that Bill
agreed to take part in, was just that, an experiment.
Bill writes about that in the literature. Bill's use of
medication to come off his alcoholic binges could hardly
be called drug abuse. I suppose Dr. Bob was able to prescribe his own medications as he felt he needed them.
In my opinion, calling Bill W. and Dr. Bob drug addicts
borders on stupidity. What is the point? Are you trying
to justify drug addicts becoming members of Alcoholics
Bill and Bob were not drug addicts. It is absurd to make such a statement with no basis.
I used lots of drugs, but am not an addict. While reading the Doctors Opinion and the first few chapters of our Book, I learned what an Alcoholic is and found out that I "are one".
Used to attend NA meetings, studied their literature , and found out that I " aren't one". Don't identify at GA, EA, OEA, or Alanon either.
I'm just a garden variety alcoholic, what a blow to my ego. When I take a drink, the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes me. Pretty simple.
Lots of other problems plauge me , but if i don't drink , i grow. I do choose to refrain from using drugs to alter my perceptions , but not every AA does. That's none of my business, It's theirs and God's.
The qualification or only requirement is that you have a desire to stop drinking. All you have to be is an alcoholic. It doesn't matter what other afflictions you have. You just have to have a desire to stop drinking.
If you are not an alcoholic, you cannot be a member of AA. See the pamphlet "problems other than alcohol".
If you have a problem with alcohol, you are welcome to attend.
If you have a problem with alcohol and other problems you are welcome to join.
If you are not an alcoholic and you have other problems, find an anonymous organization that applies to your specific problem.
In your comment you contradicted yourself. The only requirement is the desire to stop drinking. I dont have to claim to be an alcoholic, I just have to have a desire to stop drinking.
Tradition 2 “For our group purpose, there is but one ultimate authority—a loving God as He may express himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants, they do not govern.
When a group of drunks gets together while working the program of action in aa (12 steps) The feeling of the presence of a Higher Power is incredible. When combined with an informed group conscience, I rank the experience right up there with a successful 12 step call.
When a group of people has lost interest in selfish things, as a group they can make the best decisions for the group. I don’t mean good decisions, I mean the best. What I find amazing is even when grave mistakes are made. The group is humble enough to laugh at ourselves and chalk it up to experience.
I have to keep in mind that I am a servant. That means I am here to serve the group, not govern it. With this attitude I have made many friends along the way. I haven’t had a drink since August of 1992. I spent a good part of yesterday morning with a newcomer with less than a day of sobriety. I want my home group to be there for him as he trudges the road to happy destiny.
This is why I am thankful for tradition two. That I belong to a group that has an informed group conscience and mostly trusted servants with only a few governors!
Thanks for reading.
The highest rank in A.A. is sober but please don't tell your sponsor that truth
Your sponsor might be upset if you take away his/her power.
They would lose their position of preacher, teacher and
Tradition 1: Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon AA unity.
Just like all the steps, tradition 1 goes against my basic personality trait of selfishness and ego. It reminds me that if there is no group, I may not have contiunued sobriety.
It helps me to clean up my act. I have to think whats best for the group. That usually means tonning down my aa talks a little. It also means I need to speak up when my group is flirting with breaking traditions.
It also reminds me that I might be the only picture my community sees of AA. I should carry myself in town in a way that makes AA look attractive. Nothing too serious, just stop lying, cheating, and stealing. Easy to say, hard to do. Especially the lying and cheating part!
Thanks for reading.
I do not want to be a representative of Alcoholics
Anonymous in my community. If I were to get drunk, the
whole community could say, he was in AA, and it didn't
work for him. This exposure is just not worth the risk.
Personally I was not, and am not, a liar, or cheat. Maybe I stole from my employer by not working up to par. Alcoholism is not a moral issue. We of A.A. need to gain a better understanding of the immense spiritual significance of anonymity. Bill warned that spiritual pride may spoil us. ANONYMOUS
I hate to break the news to you.... but you are a representative of AA. Every problem drinker that knows you quit is watching you. Everyone that knows you used to drink and stoped that has a loved one that is dying from alcoholism is watching you.
At least this has been my experience. I drank after 9 months of dry time. No less then 5 of my old drinking buddies commented on how let down they were. I couldn't believe it. They had been whatching me the whole time!
So whether we like it or not. We are a representative of AA in our homes, offices, and communities. We might be a good example or a bad example. Either way, we are an example.
Thats just my experience.
If we adhere to the two traditions on anonymity, we will
be neither good nor bad examples, anywhere except in our
groups. Keep it Alcoholics ANONYMOUS. ANONYMOUS
An interesting turn of events at my meeting this evening: It is a gay mens stag. A female non-alcoholic visitor arrived to watch someone take a cake. It is listed as an open meeting, but there was much hoohah about a non-alcoholic, straight women being present during the sharing portion. Is there an 'offical' AA Tradition response? My understanding is that an open meeting is open to everyone, although only alcoholics may share, thus there is no men only, women only. A closed meeting can designate itself as men only, women only. Would someone please clarify for me?
Simply put, a closed meeting is limited to alcohics only. An open meeting, anyone may attend, and share if they share about their problems with alcohol.
An AA meeting can refuse service to no alcoholic or will be in Violation of the Third Tradition & hence,not an AA meeting.
There is no such thing as a "Men's" or "Women's AA meeting.
mustafa former DCM
One primary theme of the Traditions is that groups are autonomous and that they follow the guidance of their own group process ("... a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience.")
Designations like "open" and "closed" are just for convenience sake; they have no "official" definition. The General Service Conference at one point authorized a piece ("the blue card") that groups could use if they wished, but I don't believe it was ever intended to be a formal definition - that would be too much like governance.
In a large area like the one where I live, it is usually understood that the ordinary meeting format is suspended for an anniversary meeting. (Here, it is customary for the celebrant to lead off by telling their story.) But it's up to the group what they want to do, which probably would include some consideration of local customs and expectations.
Also in my part of the world, it is usually understood that "gay" meetings are open to all. The "gay" identifier is just so that someone coming to the meeting is not surprised by who is there and some of the sharing. Practices will differ in other places.
And when things come up that haven't been previously worked out in a group conscience, the group just has to wing it. Here we need to trust that the group will act with inspiration. But whether they do or they don't, such an occurrence usually leads to a fruitful discussion about the Traditions afterwards. Nothing is wasted in God's economy.
Open and closed has no official definition??? Where do folks come up with this stuff?? A closed meeting is for members of AA only, an open meeting is open to anyone who wants to learn more about alcoholism. In my part of the country anyone can share in an open meeting. I don't particularly like that. I know in other parts of the country only members can share at an open meeting. Let's not forget there is another tradition that says we need to consider AA as a whole when we make decisions on how a meeting is to be run.
Making derogatory comments about those who attend meetings, telling jokes in bad taste, arguing, making leud comments or using foul lanquage and so forth isn't being a very good copy of the Big Book is it??? Some are sicker than others and I suppose some, (myself included because I am far from being a saint), have a long way to go spiritually. Just this year I am turning away from gossip when I hear some. It took me a long time to learn but if I am really interested in spiritual progress and a spiritual way of life I can always improve!
It's refreshing to see posts from an informed and openminded member.
I enjoy seeing groups discuss their format, especially weather to consider their meetings open or closed, and how to define this. It's also wonderful to discuss how to inform newer attendee's and how to address it when attendees don't identify as an Alcoholic at a closed meeting.
My home group has monthly "Steering Committee" meetings that give us time to discuss this and other important things that affect the effectiveness and health of our group. It's almost like our group " continues to take it's own inventory" and stays flexible. In our group Archives, we can see that these topics are revisited over the years. This helps to inform our new members and allow them to participate while the elders can explain how our format has evolved.
Far from rigid, our format continues to evolve , but careful consideration is taken , sensitive issues are given ample time for discussion , with respect for the "minority opinion".
The pamphlet "The AA Group" is a great rescource , and a healthy group should be connected through a General Service , Central Service , and Hospitals and Institutions Rep. that can share what other groups are doing, and how it's working for them. Heck, why not call the General Service Office and see what our employee's have to say about this stuff, They will have no opinion, only share their experience and that of other groups, setting a sterling example.
It took me a long time to learn but if I am really interested in spiritual progress and a spiritual way of life I can always improve! That why I attend meeting for alcoholic individuals of men AND women not group based unprincipled clubs that keep a man or women OUT!!!!!
When I first tried to get some information on AA on the internet several years back, I eventually found my way to our local website, which was in its embryonic stage at that time. I was very confused by the open/closed designations, and it was far from clear whether I would be welcome to attend a "closed meeting" since I was not a "member." I was also looking at meetings with strange titles: "A Bill Sees It," "Big Book Study," "12 and 12," etc. I figured Bill must be some local nutter who has a following, the "Big Book" was a cute name for the Christian bible, had no idea about the "12 and 12." It was not a great first impression, but I eventually found my way to a meeting anyway. I have since shared my initial confusion locally, and I think our website now explains at least the open/closed designation, that open meetings are just that, while closed are for those who have a desire to stop drinking.
Good points on open and closed meetings. Its very simple and you are right on point. But I will tell you this from years of experience in A.A. Gossip is way worst then foul language. Many a member has stayed away from AA due to gossip which is really breaking anonymity. I have seen it happen sad. I try to tell them that AA is not what people say it is the principles that can be found in AA approved literature. Read it live it and you will fall in love with it to the point you will want to spread the message.
Hey all all
I'm planning to travel to Canada swiftly, and I have been thinking which province should I see first ? Because I've no idea if we'll be able to visit all of them ... What a shame
I'm more a wildlife guy, and I'll be with my friends.
Any advice appreciated, thanks !
Welcome to Canada if you are already here.
I have lived and traveled in most parts of Canada and the USA. I live in the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia (small town of Oliver) and highly recommend BC and Alberta our neighbor province to the east. These 2 provinces have everything; mountains, rivers, lakes, ocean, desert,lots of friendly people and AA.
Since this is an AA site I can tell you from personal experience (I have been to AA meetings all over North America) that the AA in British Columbia is the best I have attended anywhere. At least in my humble opinion :-)
Safe travelling. No matter where you go the hand of AA will be there wherever you reach out.
You probably want the Automobile Association of America, Triple-A. This is AA, Alcoholics Anonymous.
Currently there is much discussion about a Confrence Agenda Item to adapt our 11th Tradition to address digital media.This tradition is rather specific in it's short form, and the discussion has been good for the groups and members in our neighborhood.
Some interesting ideas have been shared around our meetings, and the result has been informing to all. It's amazing how much of our literature would have to be changed if we go through with this.This would be very costly, but can we afford not to do something. We could develop a pamphlet, but few of us read them anyway.
Maybe the discussion is what is most important, but we must insure the future of AA. The Conference process takes time, maybe we should start to take some action.
How do others feel about this?
As usual it almost imposible to get a staight answer out of an Alcoholic.
I wasn't asking if Bill was perfect. I'm certainly not.
This may far reaching inportance to the future of our fellowship.
Maybe we should have a history lovers or a Bill W.'s personal / moral inventory discussion topic elsewhere.
You asked, so I will give you my opinion. Bill W. seriously violated this tradition when he agreed to be
filmed teaching the steps and traditions. I would not
believe it until I saw it for myself. I think we ought
never advertise AA at all, not even the Public Service
Announcements. We should never have to promote ourselves.
Let our friends recommend us. Any exposure to the general
public that I am an alcoholic, who no longer drinks,
and attends a self help program, is in violation of
this tradition. To defend this exposure, saying that I
didn't mention AA is nonsense. This has to do with EGO
deflation, explained further in Tradition Twelve. We do
not need a new pamphlet. We need to encourage the
study and understanding of all of our traditions. ANONYMOUS
Maybe you misunderstood the Question.
Do you feel that our 11th Tradition needs to be altered to include our modern ( digital ) media give the cost of duing so and the lenghth we as a fellowship will have to go to do so?
Whether or not any member has personally understood and followed the spirit of this tradition, is anther topic.
I don't think it should be altered because if we start altering the original writings where do we stop? There are always alcoholics who want to rewrite the BB, 12/12, etc.
I think if a person reads and studies the 12/12, (and another useful tool is Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age), they will understand that breaking anonymity at a public level, any public level, is not the right thing to do!
Using the internet but not using your full name would not be a violation of the tradition, right? Why would there be a need to use your full name on the internet when you are in an AA meeting or anything to do with AA? If you are asked to sponsor someone I suppose you would somehow trade personal emails wouldn't you?
The Grapevine recently had an edition on this very subject.
Hope this helps!
I think the topic IS whether today's A.A. membership has
a full understanding of the true meaning of our eleventh
and twelth traditions. No A.A. members ought to, in any way,
expose to the general public that they are members of A.A.
We ought to be willing to sacrifice any of our desires for
personal distinction for the protection of our fellowship.
Bill W. set a bad example of this by appearing on film as
the spiritual leader of Alcoholics Anonymous. He wrote the
traditions, I think with the help of Jack Alexander, and
seriously violated them himself. The A.A. bashers have a
field day with this one. They use Bill's indiscretions
to discredit A.A. We can forgive Bill for his mistakes.
He was old and ill, and more than likely, was encouraged
by his friends. What are our excuses today? Self-centered
pride pretty much covers it. The traditions are adequate as they are written. We need to follow and obey them to the letter and the spirit. ANONYMOUS
Bill W appeared on those films for the edification of AA's. These films were not intended to be used at the public level so therefore there was no violation of the traditions.
It's the same for an AA speaker who allows themselve to be taped. As long as the tape isn't for public use it is ok.
I have heard that the road to hades can be paved with
good intentions. Manny Q.
Honest to God, (of my understanding), to antagonize is not my purpose of posting on I-SAY. I enjoy a little humor once in a while, but my real goal is to try to "save AA".
I find the greatest obstacle is convincing our members
that AA needs saving or fixing. I believe most AA members
truly think that Alcoholics Anonymous is "alive and well". From all appearences, it seems to be alive and well. But appearances can be deceiving, and in this case they are. From the inside everything may look fine. But there are
many on the outside, some alcoholic and some non-alcoholic who are really AA bashers. Some say that Alcoholics
Anonymous does more harm than good. Anyone with computer
skills can find many who actually hate AA. Some say that
AA prevents alcoholics from seeking real help.
But I truly believe that Alcoholics Anonymous is God's
greatest gift to the suffering alcoholic. God gave us
a solution. He gave us this gift through a chain of events
which are documented in our History books. Ebby T had the
gift and passed it on to Bill W. Our co-founder tried to pass it on to other suffering alcoholics. To use Bill W.'s
words, Bill was spectacularly unsuccessfull at helping
even one. But Bill was determined. For six months he
continued trying. Thank God Bill never gave up. I think
Lois was the one who first realized that at least all
the effort was keeping Bill sober. When Bill found himself
in Akron, on the verge of relapse, he realized deeply
that he needed another alcoholic to talk to, in order to
preserve his own sobriety and survive.
Before Bill's journey from New York to Akron he had
received advice from Dr. Silkworth. The doctor advised
Bill to change his approach. In his desperation, Bill
followed that advice. Bill wrote several times in our
literature that without that advice AA could never have
been born. This was what Bill called the "Cart before
the horse IDEA. Bill did not preach to Dr Bob. Bill
simply shared his own story and left what we call the
spiritual tools at Dr. Bob's feet. He did not try to
convert Dr. Bob. He did not try to cram the tools down
Dr. Bob's throat, like we do today at meetings: That One
is God, may you find Him now! Bill gave up his previous
role as preacher, teacher, sponsor, counselor. He
was just a sick soul trying desperately to save himself.
Dr. Bob responded favorably to that simple approach. Most
AA members know the rest of the story. Very few members
fully understand the path which led up to that approach,
or method, of truly reaching a suffering alcoholic at depth.
Why did Bill "water down" the description of his
spiritual awakening, when he wrote his story in the
Big Book. I believe it was because he did not want to
scare away the reader away before the reader got to Chapter
Five. I am comparing Bill's description in the Big Book
to the rendition in AACA, which was written almost twenty
years later. Pages 62,63,and 64 in Alcoholics Anonymous
comes of Age. If no copy of AACA is available, it is
also written in "The AA Way of Life", a reader by Bill,
renamed "As Bill Sees It". For those who consider these
concerns just fears from an angry old man, or writing
with a poison pen, I ask (beg) you to reconsider or at
least investigate. I have nothing personal to gain,
other than trying to fulfill my deep obligation to
the fellowship which saved my life over four decades
ago and saved my brother's life over two decades ago.
You see, I believe the statistics from the
General Service Office showing that out of approximately
60,000 groups in the US and Canada, we increased only
15,000 new members in the entire year of 2010. That
averages only ONE group out of FOUR, saving one
suffering soul in a whole year. In my opinion that is just shamefully dismal. It is unacceptable. ANONYMOUS
same old drum beat, don't you ever get tired of being wrong
Dennis, there are many times that I truly wish that I
were wrong. But the evidence is far from being circumstantial. We are ignoring a tried and true
method left to us by Dr. Silkworth and Bill W. You
may never understand or agree, but hopefully there
are some members left who are willing to at least
consider investigating. I keep hoping that you, Ray
and oliver will somehow come to agree with me. You certainly have the passion necessary to "turn this ship around". As I have
written many times, it took me over 35 years to
"figure this out". And my concerns are really based
on the membership numbers. If the numbers mean nothing,
then my concerns and ideas don't amount to a mound
of Mule Muffins. ANONYMOUS
The long form of tradition 11 on page 192 in the 12+12
clearly states that our names and pictures as A.A. members
ought not be broadcast, filmed, or publicly printed. There is never need to praise ourselves. I believe that films
means films. If the tradition meant public films, it
would say public films.
On the video which I saw, Bill mentions that the video
is being made for AA members, not the general public. It
is still a serious violation of the tradition.
Do you really believe that it is OK for A.A. members
to allow themselves to be videotaped declaring that they are A.A. members as long as it isn't
intended for public use. You obviously do believe it.
That is what you wrote. Mule Muffins comes to mind.
How about on facebook, Titter, Email's and the digital world, we have no guidence in the Tradition itself?
Many of us understand the spirit of the tradition, but what about the newer members texting away and updating their Facebook Page during our meetings?
This is my question.