Around here, there are a number of people who don't hold hands with other people as we pray at the end. They just step back behind the circle. There might be two or three at most large meetings. Nobody makes a big deal about it, as far as I know.
There's one meeting I go to where they end with the Serenity Prayer and the Lord's Prayer. I think everybody says the Serenity Prayer, but I'd say between a fourth and a third (out of about 70 attendees) don't say the Lord's Prayer. Even though there are that many people opting out of the Lord's Prayer, the group conscience has decided that they will keep on saying it.
Then there's a group that decided to stop saying the Lord's Prayer. They suffered a boycott by old timers (not group members) who disagreed with the group conscience decision. After a few months the group went back to saying the Lord's Prayer.
Not saying any of this is right or wrong; it's just to illustrate that there are many, many AA meetings and they do a lot of things differently.
Is there a difference in saying the Lords Prayer and
praying the lords prayer? Picky, Picky, Picky. Is there
a difference in citing the serenity prayer and praying
the prayer. I think we ought not pray at an AA meeting,
and still call it an AA meeting. Is it an AA meeting or
a prayer group? Church must be kept separate from AA,
although we often meet in church basements.ANONYMOUS
"I was to test my thinking by the new God-consciousness within. Common sense would thus become uncommon sense. I was to sit quietly when in doubt, asking only for direction and strength to meet the problems as He would have me. Never was I to pray for myself, except as my request bore usefulness to others. Then only might I expect to recieve. But that would be in great measure." Big Book page 23
To me common sense says prayers belong in a prayer group...uncommon sense to me says we're not really praying for ourselves in meetings but more for the newcomer or person coming back, so if you don't like praying, its ok to still pray because your doing it for someone other than yourself.
The most important person in the meeting is the new
member. I think we all know that, only we don't tell the
newcomer. We don't want to inflate his/her EGO. We just
allow newcomers to enter and join us quietly without any
fanfare (in theory). I put myself in the newcomer's
place. I would be confused. Do I hold hands or stand
outside the circle? My experience in my first ten sober
years was just standing by my chair and saying the Lords
Prayer to close the meeting. (for those who wish to
join). I have hope that all meetings will soon return to
that practice. Our membership more than doubled during
that decade of the 1970's. There I go again! ANONYMOUS
A meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous is not the place to pray. We are an AA meeting, not a prayer group. Pray elsewhere in church services on your own time, not at an
AA meeting. Why is this so hard to understand? We are not allied with any sect or religious denomination. ANONYMOUS
If it is in the BB it is ok for a meeting.
At a Big Book meeting where the Big Book is read as
part of the meeting, such as reading a chapter or a story
each week, is acceptable. Members new and old are exposed
to the entire Big Book. But I don't agree that anyone's
favorite paragraph ought to be read over and over along
with the preamble. If everyone's favorite reading is
read at the one hour meeting, a quarter of the hour is
spent reading. And this is the case at too many meetings.
I don't come to meetings to be read to. I can do my own
reading on my own time. Sharing, talking is most important
at AA meetings, not reading to each other. Simply read
the preamble, cite the serenity prayer (if approved by an
informed group conscience) and start the meeting according
to a format also approved by the group conscience. And
to repeat again, I believe that the reading of How It Works
at the beginning of every meeting is one of our worst,most
tragic mistakes of the past three decades. Does anyone,
anywhere out there, share this opinion?? ANONYMOUS
And I believe that reading "How it Works" from the podium at AA meetings to all and sundry, has been our most tragic
mistake of all times. How can two AA members, both with
the same purpose, to help as many suffering alcoholics as
possible, have such differences of opinion. I think it is
best to let the new member do the reading for themselves.
They can read chapter five when they get to chapter five,
not before. Bill W. disguised the Oxford Group absolutes
and concealed them in Chapter five, trusting that the
newly sober member will find them at the proper time. Let
them get addicted to our coffee drinking fellowship first.
I accept the fact that many alcoholics will go to the
grave with no understanding of what I am talking about.
My head was pulled down from the clouds and out of the
sand about five years when I discovered that our fellowship
of alcoholics was no longer "alive and well". ANONYMOUS
The idea that discussion of drugs is taboo in a closed meeting might be practiced in a particular group, but it's nothing that AA as a whole promotes or discourages. Each group can run its affairs as it sees fit (Fourth Tradition). So it's a local issue, hardly worth obsessing about. One thing I have found helpful is to visit as many groups as I can and to get involved with larger AA service opportunities involving many groups. Then I really got to see how the traditions work in practice. My experience in my home community is that meetings that make a big deal about being closed are often dominated by individuals who have their own take on AA.
I know I can't drink without getting into trouble and want to be sober, but I don't feel I belong in AA. At the meetings I've attended and in on line forums people talk about drinking and drugging. I only use alcohol and can't identify with anyone. Should I try church?
I am 58 years old. Been sober in AA since 10/07/1990. Alcohol was my playground. I have never even smoked marijuana! My father was an authoritarian and I was very afraid of him. I knew if you caught me drunk he would torture me but if he caught me with drugs he would kill me!
I am so thankful the first AA meeting I ever went to was a real AA meeting! The first guy talked about how booze made him feel like somebody, the second guy said when he started drinking he couldn't stop, the next lady said booze helped her cope, so on and so on. If they would have started out by saying I snorted coke, I used heroin, I used speed, so on, I probably would have turned my face to the wall and died!
I don't know how many meetings you have been to but I am sure there are some real ones out there. If you are new don't give up. If you have been around awhile start your own meeting.
I go by the book Alcoholics Anonymous. If drugs are part of a persons story and they need to mention it fine. Bill W. and Dr. Bob both mention drugs in their stories, briefly.
But in AA we deal with Alcohol. There are places to go to for other problems.
All of these other programs, to my knowledge, were started by AA's who had other issues. They use the same 12 steps. The reason AA works is because we can relate to one another. It is one alcoholic helping another. My whole life I felt different. My first AA meeting was the first time in my life I felt I was in a room full of people who understood!!
You have a lot of knowledge about AA and about AA History.
I knew very little about AA, even though I went to meetings
almost daily, except for a year when I was working
an evening shift. I bought the book AACA at about 15 years
sober. I read very little of it and gave it away, to a
priest friend who had an interest in the twelve step
programs. I discovered the book again 10-15 years later
and I could not put it down. About five years ago,
I found out that we our AA membership numbers
had become stagnant after declining roughly half a
million members in the early 1990's. This decline came
after 57 years of steady growth. In the 1970's decade
our membership more than doubled in numbers. AA changed
at the group level over the years. I saw the changes
as they were happening. Most of these changes had taken
place before you came in. You know the changes I am writing
about. I keep posting them over and over. Sometimes I
fear that I-SAY will say Enough Already!. But they continue
to post my concerns. Before I found this means of
communications, I simply mailed handwritten letters of
concern to the AA Grapevine, GSO, Box 459 and many others
at random. I have 12 rejection notices from the Grapevine,
and 18 acceptances. Two of my articles have been printed
in issues of the AA Grapevine.
You, hopefully, will be around for another 20-25 years.
I saw Alcoholics Anonymous change from a fellowship to
a Fellowship. Today we are just a TWELVE STEP PROGRAM,
only one of many. I trust that you will be a part of the
reversal. I know how difficult this is to understand.
Just convincing AA members that reversals have to be
made is nearly impossible.
I believe that AA membership ought to double about
every ten years. That would be reasonable if each one
reaches one. There are plenty of suffering alcoholics
out there "on the loose", who are waiting for our help.
Dr Silkworth worked with alcoholics for many years (some
say 20-40 years) with very little success before Bill W.
came along. I suspect he tried every approach possible.
He was called Silky, "the little doctor who loved drunks."
Working with Bill W, the doctor developed this idea for
the wholesale recovery of sick and suffering alcoholics.
Bill wrote several times in our literature that without
this IDEA, AA could never have been born. I believe as
long as we ignore this IDEA, most alcoholics will continue
to suffer needlessly. We do not need new and innovative
ways of reachingthem. Most have heard of AA. I suspect that
what many have heard makes us unattractive, so they hesitate approaching us. There was a time in our past
when our reputation was described as better than our
actual character. I don't think that is any longer true.
Attraction, not promotion. Today I believe that much of
the general public view us as a strange religions cult.
That view is more or less correct. True, much of this
message is pure opinion. You and today's AA leaders have
a lot of work to do. And it will not be easy. "kill the
messenger" will be the response of many. Bill wrote in
an article to the AA Grapevine April 1959, also in The Language of the Heart page 289: Leadership is often called
upon to face heavy and sometimes long-continued criticism.
This is an acid test. In all respect and sincerity, ANONYMOUS
Before I came to AA, I tried several churches. They seemed
to help for periods, usually short periods, of time. AA is
what I needed and was the solution for me. I just ask you
to please attend at least six meetings of Alcoholics
Anonymous. There are other options but I personally feel
that AA is best. Again, that is what worked for me as a
permanent (so far) solution. Just try to ignore the
shouting, yelling, hooting and hollering at some meetings.
That is less in some meetings. You don't have to participate
in the "Hold hands and pray closing. I just stand outside
the circle. And AA is not a religion so please tolerate
those of us who constantly talk about God. You can choose
any higher of your own choosing, or none at all. A belief
in God is not required for AA attendance. Please give AA
and yourself a fair chance. There is help. ANONYMOUS
In forty+ years in AA I have never, repeat never, heard a person at a meeting identify himself/herself as an 'alcoholic and overeaters or as an alcoholic and a compulsive gambler, yet I personally know quite a few who belong to AA and both the others. When I've asked them why they tell me they respect the AA Traditions. And possibly it's because they don't feel the need to be different or special.
I attended meetings of overeaters anonymous in the past.
Initally I would state that I was an alcoholic and an overeater. After several meetings, one member had the courage to tell me. This is an OA meeting, not AA. He
hurt my feelings but I learned a lesson that day. Let's
keep the fellowships separate. They will work best that
way. I know some members say that they want to be
totally honest and admit other addictions. Shoemaker,
stick to thy last comes to mind. Anonymous.
Bill W. explained that the Lord's Prayer became a tradition in the meetings and in his area the chairperson would say "we will close with the Lord's Prayer for all those who care to join in". It may seem like being forced to some people but it is optional. The serenity prayer starts out with the word "God" so what's the difference really. I have just re-read the big book and I don't even know how many times I have read it but it is more than alot. It is pretty obvious this is a non-denominational program but you do need to find a Higher Power or God of your understanding to work the program. Can you make spiritual progress (growth) if a doorknob is your Higher Power? I think you can if you stick around long enough as most peoples perception of a HP changes over the course of time. It is essential for us egotistical, self-centered, know-it-all, be-it-all drunks to get ourselves out of the center of the universe and believe there is something bigger than us.
Here is a question for you; if we are to pray only for the knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry it out why do we have the Lord's Prayer, Serenity Prayer, Prayer of St. Francis, Third Step and Seventh Step Prayer. All these prayers ask for specific things. I think that word "only" in the "only word in the entire BB I disagree with.
You wrote: Bill W. explained that the Lord's Prayer became
a tradition in the meetings and in his area
the chairperson would say "we will close with the Lords
Prayer for all those who care to join in".
Can you tell us exactly where to find that explanation
from Bill? I just don't remember reading that. What book?
Bill W. was not infallible. He made a lot of mistakes.
I believe that is why he wrote "we are not saints." Many
of his mistakes were corrected just before the Big Book
went to print.
Who was Bill W. to tell us how to pray? He certainly
was not a spiritual example. But maybe Bill is suggesting
that for those who do not know how to pray, at least try to pray for knowledge and power.
The mistake we have made in AA meetings is holding hands
in the kindergarden "ring around the rosy circle", praying
for all and sundry. This practically forces every member
to join in. Did you ever try to refuse joining in the prayer? ANONYMOUS
Well I did misquote Bill W. slightly on his viewpoint of the Lords Prayer in meetings. I found the source for you. It was in a letter from Bill to a Russ dated April 14, 1959 a copy of which is in the NY archives but you can see a copy on Barefoots World web site. Hope you find it interesting.
I will try and find the quote from Bill W. for you. I believe it was in a pamphlet. I have read and re-read so much AA material over the years I can't remember where I read it all but I don't quote something unless I am sure of it. If I am not sure I will say so or at least qualify it
by saying I am paraphrasing.
The big book has a lot about prayer in it including specific prayers. If it's in the BB it's OK for a meeting.
No one is saying Bill W was infallable but the BB was writen to cary the message. Word of mouth can screw things up, the written word does not change. You will hear alot of BS in a meeting but you will find the truth about alcoholism in the BB. If a person doesn't like the BB or disagrees with it that is fine. How a person chooses to get sober or if they want to keep drinking is their business and no one elses.
I chose the BB and AA and it worked for me. I mean it sincerely; good luck to those that choose other methods.
I too chose Alcoholics Anonymous and it worked for me. And
I believe it can work for almost all alcoholics coming to
us for help. Thanks. Yes, please find that quote by Bill W.
I ask you a question: Would you hand a Big Book to an
alcoholic at his/her first AA meeting and tell them to
open to chapter five and read it? You have probably
given away many Big Books at your own expense. So have I,
not many fourth editions. I truly believe telling a new
member to read chapter five before 1,2,3,4,can be extremely
harmful. Even worse is to read it to them, as we do
at many or most AA meetings today. I ask you again to
study the meaning of Dr Silkworth's "cart before the
horse" IDEA. Bill writes several times that without this
idea Alcoholics Anonymous could never have been born.
Tradition Four does not read "each group can run its affairs as it sees fit". Read it again in our 12&12. Study
the tradition and make note of the two "storm signals".
The traditions are not laws. We have no AA police. We
are all responsible to assure AA's future. That was and
is what the traditions are all about. ANONYMOUS
"The idea that discussion of drugs is taboo in a closed meeting might be practiced in a particular group, but it's nothing that AA as a whole promotes or discourages. Each group can run its affairs as it sees fit (Fourth Tradition)"
"Except in matters affecting other groups or A.A. as a whole."
Read the pamphlet titled, "Problems Other Than Alcohol."
"Sobriety - Freedom from alcohol - through the teaching and practice of the Twelve Steps, is the sole purpose of an A.A. group."
"I see no way of making nonalcoholic addicts into A.A. members. Experience says loudly that we can make no exceptions, even though drug users and alcoholics happen to be first cousins of a sort."
The old copout, "I talk about drugs because a newcomer might identify with my drug use," is a lot of mule muffins. How about the alcoholic newcomer who didn't get addicted to drugs? I notice the addicts don't care about him.
I see discussion of drugs at an AA meeting as nothing more that a way to show that you're different from the common alcoholics.
I supposed it depends on the prevailing age of the group members, but I'm over 60 and used drugs as well as alcohol. Most of the groups I attend have no problem with people mentioning their drug use, as well as their desire for abstinence from both alcohol and drugs (unless prescribed and even then with careful limits with painkillers). So at least for me, it's important in this century to talk about drugs to compare in. If you haven't abused drugs, just add "yet' - You're Eligible Too.
Why not let the alcoholics help alcoholics? Let the drug abusers help other drug addicts. The time has come
to separate AA from NA. They never should have been
combined in the first place, but let us learn from our
mistakes. There are plenty of alcoholics and drug
addicts to fill all rooms. And with the growing epidemic
of obesity, overeaters anonymous will continue to increase
in membership. Separated all programs win. Combined all
become very weak. All my opinion. ANONYMOUS
Why do people want to divide and dilute it?
Why did we allow Alcoholics Anonymous to be diluted and
moved away from its primary purpose. My excuse is that I did
not want to turn away anyone who might benefit from the AA
fellowship. Why did we allow AA to be altered to fit all
addicts, instead of staying with our primary purpose. Our
own kindness, concern and acceptance has become our tragic downfall. I believe AA and NA work, each in its origional
form. Everyone wins. Combining them weakens both fellowships
and everyone loses. If we begin now to gently, or not so
gently, remove drug addicts from Alcoholics Anonymous
they will have to help improve Narcotics Anonymous. I just
do not identify with "copping", or sticking a needle in
my arm. And I never spent time in a hotel room, spending
someone else's hard earned money to supply friends, some
I don't even know.
These things will actually never come about. Like it or
not the cross addicted, dual addicted have moved to the
majority. At least it is that ratio in my local. I have
heard of meetings in other states, where tradition three
and tradition four are honored. But not here. ANONYMOUS
We all know that the non-alcoholic drug addict can never
become a member of Alcoholics Anonymous. Who are we fooling?
They are as much an AA member as any of the rest of us.
Nothing is a local issue if it affects AA on the whole.
This issue of discussing drugs in an AA meeting has been batted around forever. The answer seems very simple. If using drugs is part of your story, (what it was like, what happened and what it is like now), then they may be discussed. "Next day found me drinking both gin and sedative". But if you do not have a desire to stop drinking or you never drank and you are a drug addict only you cannot
call yourself a member of AA. There is a requirment for membership and it is a desire to stop drinking. Read the pamphlet "Problems Other Than Alcohol". Please!
Discussing once experience with drugs is absolutely TABOO in the closed sessions. No problem I understand the reason and concept. and buy in to it. Then why is it so many sponsors insist on pressuring young people to stop smoking, get off the antidepressants, dont smoke mariuana. "you dont have a sobriety date untill you are completely "clean and sober" I met a young lady last week in a closed discussion group. She is new to the program. Three weeks She was very confused with the steps, couldnt get them because she still couldnt figure out when her sobriety date is. She says she has no problem with religion, she has her faith, and family support. But was really struggling with the fact that no one would "accept" her sobriety date. This lady was ready to pack it in. What happened to "one step at a time" "easy does it' and First things first.
At least this lady has step one - and has admitted that she is powerless.
So lets recognize that she has not had a drink for 30 days. Lets support her accomplishments.
And the idea that we should encourage her stop smoking, get off the anti depressants. We are not doctors. AND tradition 3 the only requirement is a "desire" to stop drinking.
Get these people into the program -- Let them see how the program works. Let their faith in the program grow by seeing "how it works" And having don that let them decide when and if to stop smoking pot, or if they can go off antidepressants. We are not Doctors, we are sponsors and fellows that share our experience. We do not instruct, nor pass judgement. ""we dont control"" and we dont govern. Are we sponsoring and sharing or are we controlling and demonstating our expertise.?
I told this young lady to stop worring about everything else. Just work on not drinking one day at a time. Claim the last day she took a drink as her sobriety date and move on. Forget about the steps for now. - One step at a time and there is no set time frame. After all are we not still working the steps every day.
My friend came back last night. With a smile. She collected her 30 day medallion. And she shared about her depression and what she is going through mentally. And now my 'nay' sayers understood what I meant. This young lady needed a hand up. Give em a chance to breath. Dont forget what it was like. Let them take one step at a time. As the concept "to thy own self be true" sinks in, they can, as many of you have done, "reset" their sobriety date. But that's their perogative. "Clean and Sober" great concept but does include, "PRESCRIBED" mood altering drugs, coffee, smoking, sugar, over eating.
I am somewhat obsessed with these concepts. The obsession resulting from an unfortunate experience with a destitute married couple joining our group. "coming back after several hard years on the street. Only after two months their sponsor began to hound them about smoking. He even brought it up in a closed meeting and clearly embarrassed the couple. Needless to say they walked away. Singleness of purpose. If we dont discuss drug related experiences in closed meetings, then do we have the right to preach otherwise
"He even brought it up in a closed meeting and clearly
embarressed the couple." Did you speak up at the meeting,
or did you just remain silent? You may have disturbed the
meeting a bit. But so what? We lost the two alcoholics
anyway. I personally would not have the courage to
speak up. But by you sharing this, maybe next time we
can both stand up and speak out. And we must lose that
sponsor label. Note: I believe Bill W's death was caused
by smoking. He was our cofounder. But he never drank
again, which is our primary purpose. ANONYMOUS
Asking and announcing sobriety dates can be harmful to
new alcoholics coming into AA meetings. I know very few members who stay sober after their first meeting. Many of
us make that last attempt to drink normally again. It is embarrassing to point someone out who has relapsed again.
The member may be too humiliated to return. Simply allow
anyone who wishes to say "I am sober six weeks", when they
share. Sharing ought to be done going around the room giving
everyone equal time. At a speaker meeting I always like to know how long she/he has been sober, and it is most often shared. In the 1970's very little emphasis was made on
sobriety dates. Annual acknowledgements were often made. I
personally have completed over forty years, thanks be to
God and Alcoholics Anonymous. ANONYMOUS.
O, joy, another addition to the list of things that drive newcomers away! anonymous writes,
"In the 1970's very little emphasis was made on sobriety dates."
That may have been true in your locality, but it's not what I experienced. Between July, 1971 and May, 1973 I attended meetings in California, Ohio, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, the Phillipine Islands, Singapore and Hong Kong. It was common in all those places to give ones sobriety date when sharing. It was evidence that AA works.
I certainly do not find joy in adding to the list of
things that drive newcomers away. It continues to sadden
me, immensely. There is a list of blunders and the reading
of HIW at meetings is the worst one on the list. If you ever
understand that, then the other mistakes can be understood.
Where have you been since 1973? Just wondering. ANONYMOUS
"Giving sobriety dates when sharing", is not the same as
requiring every member to state her/his sobriety date. In the 1970s it was evidence that AA worked. Also the fact that our membership increased from 311,450 to 907,575 in that decade, an increase of 596,125 members. That was real evidence that the true AA worked. These are worldwide increases. Do you know that during the entire year of 2010, only one group out of four gained ONE new member, in the US and Canada? We have an epidemic of alcoholism and drug addiction in our country today. The membership numbers today are evidence of our dismal failure.
You have been in AA for a long time. You obviously
are well traveled. Could you for just one moment at least
consider that I know what I am talking about? Is it just
too awful to even think about? I have nothing to gain by
being a critic. I have no "axe to grind". Why would I spend
five years of my final years to criticize AA? I saw AA
change at the group level and now I see the results. We
did not do the "Hi Joe! chant or any other chant in the
1970s. This makes us look foolish in the eyes of the
public. I don't have to repeat the mistakes. You have read
them over and over again and again. I won't repeat them here. Hundreds of thousands of suffering alcoholics are
still approaching AA every year. We are not the only
"game in town" any longer. But AA is well known today,
and I believe we can return to the "Rarely have we seen
a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path, if
we investigate and find what that path is. And develop
an understanding what a path is. Study Dr. Silkworth and
his IDEA. We can return Alcoholics Anonymous to a fellowship which really works, instead of a 12 STEP PROGRAM Fellowship, which only appears to be working. ANONYMOUS
Any person suggesting that someone else taking anti-depressants is not sober needs to have their own head examined (and needs to read the pamphlet of "other medications").
I love thinking about the alky who 2 or 3 years ago was eating out of a Dempsey Dumpster and is now sitting in an AA meeting playing doctor!
Does anyone read the BB anymore? It says we barely scratched the surface. It says if you need a Dr. go get one.
The only thing I wish (and this is from personal experience), is that the Dr. who prescribes those meds would hold the bottle up in front of the patient and say " these pills are not a total solution to your problem, they are only a supplement to your problem. In additon to these pills you may need counseling, phsyciatric help, AA, other support groups, excercise, dietary help, etc., etc., etc."
I think too many people think the pills are the answer and will totally cure them or "fix them" somehow. Most of us need more than just the pills the same way we needed more than just the booze.
What about the alky who just got out of prison two or three years ago, or less, who then becomes a preacher, teacher of the Big Book (sponsor). What we have really
lost is humility. MANNY Q.
This is my first time exploring this forum. It seems that most of the discussion is about what I refer to as Traditions with a lower case t. More customs practiced in meetings, how they begin, how people share, and how meetings are ended.Sponsorship customs vary from group to group, region to region, and even Bill W. refered to Ebby as his sponsor even though Ebby never enjoyed continuious sobriety. My Sponsor sets an example and offers little if any advice, certainly no unsolicited advice.
The Traditions with a capital T, I feel are useless to the individual not practicing the principals contained in our Steps, Just as the 12 Concepts are of no value to those not practicing the pricipals contained in the Traditions.
Bill W. wrote extensively in the Grapevine ( Language of the Heart ) about these principals and these essays are important reading to those of us that are trying to be useful in A.A.
Maybe we should have another forum for digruntled folks to complain about the meetings they attend and support and have this one for those of us that feel that we are members of the finest group in A.A. and make every effort to insure our HOMEGROUP follows the spirit of our Traditions.
Ths is a program of action with many ways to be of service.We can be of genuine use in our homegroups, districts, areas and to A.A. as a whole and make a difference. " When I focus on the problem , the problem grows , when I focus on the solution............" This is from a Grapevine article by Dr. Paul("Bronze Moccacins") that later became a story in our Big Book(" Acceptance was the Answer").
Love and Service,
Curt S. california
This comment has just restored my faith in this Forum. I have been reading this, and then reading the Traditions in order to argue with some of the posts. I realized at a Meeting yesterday that the Traditions are not here for me to use as a weapon to win an argument with someone I have never even met. You would think that after reading the Traditions it would have occured to me, but it didn't. It took going to a meeting and hearing exactly what I needed to hear.
Today I am grateful to be a member of the finest group in the world. Thanks for reminding me.
Sara D. Chicago
We can refuse to admit there is a problem. We can just
ignore the problem and keep our heads in the clouds or in
the sand. If we focus on the problem, maybe we can find a
solution. If acceptance were always the answer, what would
be the need for courage and wisdom? The problem in front
of us today is that we lost about a half million members
in the past two decades after growing continuously for
five decades. Sure I have no problem. I am sober. I got
sober while AA was still working. Do you have no concern
about the millions of suffering alcoholics in our country
today, plus their friends and families? Do you say: just
let them find God and find Him now? We fail most of the
alcoholics approaching us today. But there are so many
that we help one once in a while, actually enough to make it appear that we are successful. Bill W. and Dr.
Silkworth left us a method for the wholesale recovery
of alcoholics. Investigate the IDEA. ANONYMOUS
Tradition One: "Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A.A. unity"
AA unity? Forget it. How can we have unity when we are divided into special groups? Over here we have the young people in AA. There are the doctors, meeting apart from the lawyers, who don't attend meetings with the aviators. Men have their own groups, women have theirs, and there are separate groups for the gay and lesbian alcoholics. Then, of course, we have the "alcoholic and ___ (fill in the blank)" type who can't decide what they want to be.
Perhaps AA should offer newcomers an application form to fill out so we can sent them to groups more suitable to their own personal age, sexual orientation or profession. That way the 'special' alcoholics won't have to mix with the common ordinary alkies.
you don't need to be together in body to be unified. As long as all the groups (wether special groups or not), follow the Traditons and Steps and always keep the new comer in mind they will be unified. We have one primary purpose.
Each group has but one primary purpose--to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers. What is AA's
message and who is responsible to carry it? The message is
there is a solution, a way out of the alcoholic's dilemma.
The purpose of THE GROUP is to carry the message. Bill writes that without the group most of us would perish. The
group, collectively, is what is most important. Of course
the individual member is important, but without the AA
group I could not stay sober. The individual member is
not as important as the group. I am just beginning to
come to an understanding of this tradition. If each member
shares in an equal manner, the newcomer is almost sure to
identify with someone. I believe it was this identification
that Dr. Bob was talking about when he wrote. "That was It".
The EGO of the individual member is kept from being inflated. No hierarchy or patriarchy. I hope this makes
sense. I am still trying to understand it. ANONYMOUS
Anonymous asks, "What is AA's message and who is responsible to carry it?"
This first appeared in the February, 1958 issue of the Grapevine:
"Sobriety - freedom from alcohol - through the teaching and practice of the Twelve Steps, is the sole purpose of an AA group."
It was reaffirmed in the pamphlet, "Problems Other Than Alcohol" and is repeated again on page 223 of "The Language of the Heart."
Just a wild guess, but it seems to me that getting and staying sober by using the Twelve steps is AA's message.
The question is: How do we teach? How do we practice? How
do we reach (really reach) the alcoholic who arrives at
our doors. I believe our goal is to be attractive enough
that they will want what we have. We tell them what we
were like and what happened to us. Teaching in the
traditional sense seldom reaches the heart of the new
person. Dr Silkworth and Bill W. developed the AA
method of teaching by example. This is what works. This
is the "cart before the horse IDEA. Study it. ANONYMOUS
This observation has been a concern for me. When the young
alcoholics began to separate from mainstream AA in the
late 1970, I was puzzled. It seemed wrong, but I was not
able to voice any objection although I was young. If we just let the groups evolve, using the second tradition,
the group could be a young peoples meeting without any
exclusion of the older member. You are concerned with
the first tradition. Most of our traditions are violated
in today's AA. Some have been covered here. Our tradition
of self support has been ignored for years. We continue
to use profit from the sale of books and literature to
support our service structure. Amonymity is diminishing
despite two of our traditions which explain it. How
can we claim that we are not allied with any sect when
the chairman of the board is an Episcopal priest. The
board has total legal control of AA. See the concepts,
I think concept four covers this. The only requirement for
membership is a desire to stop drinking. That has been
changed to "using", by AA membership. I could go on, but
I have a meeting to go to, where we do not read HIW, or
the 24hr book. We do no chanting, shouting, yelling or
hootin or hollering. ANONYMOUS
Anonymous wrote, "How can we claim that we are not allied with any sect when the chairman of the board is an Episcopal priest."
The present chairman of my home group is a retired electrician. Is that evidence that the group is allied with the electrical workers union?
You seem to be reaching for things wrong with AA. Perhaps if you looked for something right with AA you'd get over your resentment.
Is the chairperson extolling the virtues of being an Episcopal priest during the meeting? If they are then that is wrong but if they aren't it doesn't matter what they are out side of AA. By the way if they are declaring their priesthood, religion and so forth in the meeting it is your fault. Older members need to speak up instead of walking on egg shells!
It would probably be better to read a message before responding to it. Yes, early timers need to stand up
and speak out instead of "avoiding any controversy". If
something just doesn't feel right, maybe it is wrong.
Group conscience meetings may be the best place, to discuss
Got me! Chairman of the Board, not Chairperson!
But I don't think it matters as the Chairman of the board, (non-alcoholic trustee if I'm not mistaken), has been various professionals in the past. What would keep them from bringing their professional opinions into AA? Somebody has to do the Job. All this about AA losing membership is whooey. There are infinite reasons for this. Who say's it is AA's fault? We could probably come up with dozens of causes for this. As for me I am just going to try and be the best AA I can be. Follow the steps and traditions. Read and study the BB. Try and keep the hand of AA out there and always try and keep the newcomer in mind. If a person comes to the rooms and wants to quit drinking and is willing to do anything to quit this program will work for them as it has worked for me and countless others over the years.
My purpose is not to "GET" anyone. I am just trying to
find the "truth" with a capitol T. Who says that it is AA's
fault? Many of us are saying that if Alcoholics Anonymous
collapses, it will be our own fault, from within. I am certain that Bill shared that concern. I believe that the
time has come (and long passed) for Alcoholics Anonymous to
take an honest inventory of ourselves. We have made serious
mistakes. Many have been written about on I-SAY. To correct
these blunders would cost us nothing in real cash. Our
foolish pride is what we must give up. We have lost almost
all humility. Yes, it is just like an alcoholic to blame
someone or something else. ANONYMOUS