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
You are speaking for a lot of people there!
I try to speak for myself.
I am on my second marriage of about 20 years. My wife and I met in AA 20+ years ago. We both had baggage and the marriage has not been easy. The best advise I ever heard was shared by a husband and wife AA speaking at an AA event.
The lady said her sponsor told her "if you are working on the relationship you are working on the wrong thing. You need to work on yourself."
I figure if I keep my side of the street clean and do the things I mentioned previously, things will be fine.
As a sponsor I might recommend to my sponsee's that I don't think the chanting, side bar talking, texting, 13th stepping and I'm sure alot of other stuff is not appropriate in an AA meeting. But I still can't control others or speak for others. If people want to do this stuff I hope they do it after the meeting and call it what ever they want but not in an AA meeting. At a regular meeting I go to we just had a business meeting with a steering commitee to determine how the meeting is to be run.
It was a very satisfying meeting but it takes time and effort. I need to be committed to the program.
I am trying to be an elder statesman and not a bleeding deacon.
It is frustrating when you have expectations about what AA should be and others shatter your expectations but again I can only be responsible for me!
Please allow me to use some of your words to make a sentence: I don't think the chanting is appropriate for
an AA meeting. Someone wrote: The chanting; I hate it. It may have been you. Hate is a strong word. I hated it
the first time someone responded Hi Joe! when I stated
My name is Joe and I am an alcoholic (around 1980). I don't
suppose that was chanting, until the group picked up on it
and chanting began.(very soon after). Eventually I accepted
it and joined in. If you can't beat em, join em. It was not
until I discovered that we had lost 20% of our membership
in the early 1990's, that I realized that chanting was
part of the cause. No I don't have the proof. I believe
chanting to be a ritual used by cults and some religions.
My opinion today is that it makes AA look weird in the eyes
of the public. AA type meetings have been portrayed in
some TV shows. The public views the chanting. I think it
harms our image. And it is vital that the general public
has a favorable opinion of AA.
My point is, and I do have a point, why not make an
effort to stop it? Chanting is just plain stupid and makes
us look stupid, but it can be eliminated. It will take a
lot of work, and it will not be easy. Habits like this
response are difficult to break. You may hurt a lot of feelings, and lose some friends, but you will find many
who agree with you. It is fairly easy to criticize here anonymously without any face to face confrontations. I try
to address my concerns to the group, in a group conscience
setting. I am always eager to share my concerns with those
members who agree with me. (aren't we all). I continue my
belief that we are in the same book and will eventually
be on the same page. ANONYMOUS
It is evident to any serious researcher that the Lord's Prayer is in fact Christian in origin and forms a central part of Christian practice. From this there follow some quite serious implications (with reference to Tradition 3), which indicate that any group that uses such a prayer demonstrates an outside affiliation and therefore (and according to that tradition) may not even call itself an AA group. Moreover the prayer presents a set of ethical precepts (and concepts) which may be quite alien to any non-Christian attendees and although a moral review is a central component of the recovery programme there is no suggestion that such should necessarily comply with a particular religious tradition. Finally, although AA and its programme are undeniably derived (in part) from this tradition it could equally well be argued that Christianity itself is based upon necessarily “pagan” origins. Whereabouts in the time line does AA establish finally its foundations? In practical terms, and given the present public debate about the supposed “religiosity” of AA (and its probably impact on AA attendance), it is not very helpful for the membership (collectively) to engage in any practices which clearly have a primarily “religious” (and denominational) component - rather it would be better to focus on those that may be regarded as essentially “spiritual” (and which would be inclusive of all religions and philosophies).
Do they say you are a member if you say so to protect you from the outside sponsorship system in A.A.
Why is the outside system so religious in A.A. is there egos that controlling and against A.A's 3 pertinent ideas?.
It amazes me the lack of humility the outside system has towards their pry around A.A.
It is evident to any serious researcher that the Big Book's soul purpose is here to introduce you to a power greater than them-self, a Higher power and that one is not your selected sponsor - that one is God may you find him now.
As a non christian new comer tending towards atheism 18 years ; I walked in to AA with the gift of desperation. I only cared about not drinking; everything else was irrelevant. (:
You should read some serious history on the AA founders, especially Dr. Bob. Before the Big Book was written, there was an AA Fellowship. And, what was read The Holy Bible. The problem with alot of folks not being able to stay sober is that they have never found a power greater than themselves. Dr. Bob says on page 164 of the BB "Your heavenly Father will never let you down". If we try to securlarize AA from its original foundation as everything else in this country has come to be, we will destroy a great institution for hopeless drunks that has been around for over 75 years. Keep the Government and the Securalists out of my AA. As they say "It Works"! That is the way of the original program.
The problem with a lot of folks not being able to stay sober, is that we have ignored the most important event
in our AA history. This is the cart before the horse "idea"
offered to Bill W. by Dr. Silkworth in the spring of 1935.
Bill often wrote that without this idea, AA could never have
been born. We have ignored that advice, and Alcoholics Anonymous has lost most of its effectiveness. We push newcomers and others away before they can come to believe.
We must be attractive enough so they will want what we have.
Chanting, shouting, hooting and hollering are just not
attractive. Initally Dr. Bob had newcomers praying on
their knees. If that had been a requirement for Bill W.,
I doubt that Bill would have gotten sober. Sure some
alcoholics were desperate enough. Many less desperate
alcoholics were turned away. The bar was later raised
in order to allow any alcoholic who wanted to get
well, to pass under it. Initially AA was a religion,
a part of the OG movement. Bill W and Dr. Bob separated
Alcoholics Anonymous from that religious society. Do
you want AA to reverse that decision? Which edition of
the Big Book are you referring to? "Your heavenly Father
will never let you down" is not in the "164 pages" of my
Big Book. It is written in Dr. Bob's story and is found
on page 181 in the Fourth Edition. ANONYMOUS
I say thank you. Manny Q.
I believe your AA has become some strange new type of
religion for alcoholics. Bill W. wrote a stern warning to
us in 1957, AACA bottom of page 232, and again in a letter to the AA Grapevine in 1963, about this topic. Read it in
Language of the Heart page 345. Of course Dr. Bob had
already passed away, but Bill spoke for both of them. In case you didn't know, we have pretty much destroyed a great
institution for hopeless drunks that has been around for over 75 years. Look at our membership growth for the past
twenty years. ANONYMOUS
And please keep your religion out of AA tradition. We are not allied with any sect. As they chant "It works if you work it, so work it you're worth it, I die if I don't work it, alcoholics are suffering and dying,needlessly Manny Q
I believe that the Lords Prayer is a great moral precept with benefits for all of us. However, I agree that we must do everything in our power to demonstrate an inclusive spirituality in the twelve step programs. I would prefer that it not be a part of our meetings on these grounds. My experience has been that people in their 20's particularly see red about the prayer and let us not turn this wonderful program from them. Spirituality is central but in its broadest forms.
Let me preface my comments by saying that I turned my back on the religion of my youth in October, 1954, and have never gone back, nor have I chosen a replacement. And the hair on the back of my neck stands up when a member brings his/her religious views into an AA meeting.
Now, concerning the "Christian" Lord's Prayer.
As was stated in an earlier post, the author of that prayer was a Jewish Rabbi. He gave it to his followers before there was such a thing as christianity.
Having heard it at meeting for forty years I can state with assurance that I have never heard the word, "Jesus." Nor have I heard the word 'God', with or without the upper case "G". No one, to my knowledge, has ever sneaked in the word "Lord" again, with or without the upper case "L".
Many of the posts to this and other AA sites bemoan all the things we do at meetings which are "driving away the newcomers." Perhaps if those complainers would spend less time finding things which drive away the newcomers and more time making them welcome, fewer of them would run off.
And perhaps if they weren't so focused on their resentment against religion they could see the newcomers who don't share their narrow mindedness and stick around long enough to get sober.
The problem ( and there is a definite problem) is not the
use of any prayer. The blunder began three decades ago when
someone felt that holding hands would be "nice". This holding hands in the "ring around the rosy circle", coerceing every member to join in, is the problem. The
dicision how to close must be a fully informed group
conscience decision, at a real group conscience meeting. This decision is not to be made by
a few strong Personalities. If the majority, hopefully
a substancial majority, makes the decision, the group
should honor it. I no longer do the "Hold Hands and Pray,
although it was approved by the conference upon approval
of the Fourth Edition of the Big Book. ANONYMOUS
When I share at an AA meeting, whether as a speaker or round
the room sharing, I express exactly what happened to me. I can share that I turned my life and will over to God, through Jesus Christ, and the obsession with alcohol was
removed from me. I don't see how any AA member could view
this as harmful. The problem is when I try to impose my
beliefs on any other member. That is my own personal story
and exactly what happened to me. To try to impose my
religious beliefs on anyone else goes against the very principle which makes AA work. The "cart before the horse"
IDEA offerred to Bill W by Dr Silkworth in the spring of
1935 is what works. PS I have absolutely no resentment
against religion. (if you are talking about me). Bill W. wrote in AACA page 232 about the danger of trying to turn
AA into any kind of religion. (1957). He repeats the
warning in an article to the AA GRAPEVINE in 1963. Language of the Heart beginning at the bottom of page 345. ANONYMOUS
I have absolutely no resentment against religion. I gave up
on the God of my childhood in my early teens. It just did not make sense to me. But it was this same God that I turned to (through Christ), when I so desperately needed
help to stop drinking. I believe the issue here is in the
second tradition. The fully informed group conscience holds
the responsibility for the proper closing for the group. If
a majority votes to close with the Lords prayer, that ought
to be honored. My complaint has to do with the Hold Hands
and Pray closing, forcing everyone to join. This "ring around the rosy" circle closing is just plain wrong. The
theory that this is a sign of unity is false. I find holding hands with strangers repulsive and no longer
participate in this ritual.
If all groups have proper group conscience meetings,
any custom of closing would hopefully be acceptable. It
would work out as a simple matter of course. The same
goes for young or oldtimers meetings, named as such. Just
let the group evolve naturally. This would be fully all
inclusive. In a group conscience meeting all members must be encouraged to share their views, without judgement or criticism. The result of the vote would have the best
chance of being correct. Surely someone out there can
understand this and present it in proper form. ANONYMOUS
1st Tradition- no one is to make anyone believe or conform to anything.
Why does the outside sponsor ship system and their clone right away violate this tradition?
2nd Tradition - There is only but one ultimate authority that is a loving God as expressed in our group. we are never to praise our self's.
Why does the clone and the sponsor praise themselfs ?
Can some one please explain to a newcomer that the outside system use to bring people here before hospitals did and it was never intended to divert people from ?
I really don't have the intellect to FULLY understand this
posting. But I do appreciate the work that went toward writing it. Ought we to just read the preamble, and then
begin the sharing of our own experience, strength and hope.
what we were like, what happened, and what we are like now.
No other readings, religious or otherwise, no prayers. That
could truly include any alcoholic sufferer. No alcoholic
with a desire to stop drinking would feel or be excluded.
We could just end the meeting when everyone has shared, or
when time is up, without any formal closing. Would this
just be too watered down? It does seem to be extreme. But
was this not the way Bill and Bob held their first real group meetings? If we share own own story, without even
implying that any others have to do the same, would that
work? No hierarchy or patriarchy. We come together as
absolute equals. We need the new member for our very
own survival. I feel that is what we have lost in today's
Regarding Tradition three take a look at two first sponsor you may find it better to Pray for someone than pry on them sponsor.
The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop
drinking. If you want to stop drinking come to Alcoholics
Anonymous. We may be able to help you. If you want to stop
"using" try N.A. They may be able to help you.
Many drug addicts today attend AA meetings for personal
reasons. We have always welcomed them at meetings that I
attend. But have we been wise to do so? Today I believe
that AA and NA work best when working parallel, side by side. I just do not identify with the experiences of
drug addiction. That is a horrible beast in itself. Bill W
once wrote that we alcoholics are pikers, when compared to
the horrors of drug addiction. Maybe it is time to make a
real separation between Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics
Bill's writings in the pamphlet "Problems Other Than Alcohol" explains our single purpose, it is a great read. Ray
I like beginning the meeting with the "I-me" version and ending with the "us-we" version as the 12th step ends in the 12 x 12. As a non Christian, I do not say the Lord's prayer. Jews, Muslims, many Native Americans, Buddhists, and Hindus don't say it either. When in meetings where only the Christian Lord's Prayer is used, I suggest the Serenity Prayer as one that peoples of most faiths can say.
Sounds like the old "I don't like it so it must be bad" cry of the untreated alcoholic.
In my forty years in AA I have had the honor and privilege of sponsoring men of various faiths. At least one Jew, a Moslem and a Buddhist among them. Not a single one had a problem with the prayers before or after a meeting. The loudest complaints come from those who harbor a resentment or fear of religion in general.
I turned away from organized religion nearly sixty years ago and haven't gone back. My fourth and fifth steps helped me get rid of the resentments and fears that kept me from sobriety.
AA meetings throughout the world have been opening and closing with prayers, reading "How It Works" holding hands, etc., and AA hasn't folded because of it.