907 replies [Last post]
Priesthood, religion and so forth.

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
concerns. ANONYMOUS

RE: Priesthood, religion and so forth

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.

Ray C.


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

RE: whooey

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!

Ray C.

Ray C.

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

Tradition Three

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).

RE: Tradition Three

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.

RE: Tradition Three

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.

Joined: 2011-07-22
tradition three

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. (:

Tradition Three

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.

Serious History??

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

Thank You I-SAY

I say thank you. Manny Q.

Secularist banned from your AA

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

RE: Tradition three

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

Joined: 2011-08-11
Tradition Three

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.

Tradition Three

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.

Tradition three

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

RE: Tradition Three

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

Resentment against religion??

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

Tradition not condition

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 ?

RE: Tradition three

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

RE: Tradition Three

Regarding Tradition three take a look at two first sponsor you may find it better to Pray for someone than pry on them sponsor.

Tradition Three

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
Anonymous. ANONYMOUS

single purpose

Bill's writings in the pamphlet "Problems Other Than Alcohol" explains our single purpose, it is a great read. Ray

serenity prayer

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.

Tradition Three

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.

What will it take!

How long are we going to wait to make the needed changes to stop the bleeding of our membership? Our numbers have decreased by 1/2 million in the past 2 decades (these are not my numbers but GSO's). In 2010 on average only 1 in 4 AA groups in North America gained 1 newcomer. In the past decade only 5% of newcomers stay sober more than 5 years down from a recovery rate of 75% in the 1950's. How many more must leave or die before we wake up to these facts?

If our numbers doubled every 10 years as they did in our first 5 decades AA membership should be nearing 8 million. With a present membership of approximately 2 million, it is reasonable to assume we have potentially failed nearly 6 million alkies.

While the number of alcholics in society continues to increase our membership declines! Anyone who thinks all is well in AA should get their heads out of the sand. These things will not pass without the vast majority of members and groups adhering to our Traditions and Steps. That is where our problems started with the new "anything goes" AA.

Continuing to ignore the Steps in recovery and the Traditions in unity will in my opinion spell the demise of our fellowship. Our society is seriously threatened from within and our reputation with outsiders (treatment,detox, correction centers, medical and other professionals as well as the general public) may have been tarnished beyond repair.

If the majority of AA's insist on remaining in their comfort zones and fail to take corrective action to preserve our fellowship then IMO it is already too late to turn things around.

Prior to AA's beginnings in 1935 most alcoholics died of their disease. Are we going to wait for that scenerio to play out again with AA?

AA has saved my life and I for one will continue to do what I can to keep our fellowship alive and working not only for my own sobriety but for future generations as well.

This can only be accomplished through the Steps and Traditions.

Mike B.
Oliver, BC

AA hasn't folded YET!

The reading of the first two and a half pages of chapter five, HIW, at the beginning of AA meetings has been a tragic
mistake. This was the approach used by Bill W. during his
first six months of what he called violent exertion. His
success rate was zero. Obeying the advice of Dr Silkworth,
Bill changed his approach in his meeting with Dr. Bob.
Basically, Bill stopped reading How It Works, and Dr. Bob
got sober. This is somewhat difficult to understand, but
please do the investigation prior to contempt.
Opening and closing with prayers, reading How It Works,
holding hands, etc. have cost us dearly in human suffering.
The effectiveness of Alcoholics has been diminished over
the past three decades. Membership numbers show this to be
true. AA may not fold for several more decades. What we do
today is much worse than vanishing. Suffering alcoholics
are still approaching us by the hundreds of thousands every
year. We fail them by the way our meetings are conducted.
We must stop telling alcoholics at AA meetings all that is
demanded in the first two and a half pages of chapter five.
If Bill W. had intended How It Works to be the first thing
read to, or by, an alcoholic approaching us, he would have placed it in chapter one. Bill explains in AACA page 159
and 160 where he placed it and why. AA membership today
should/could/would be eight million. We are like an eight
cylinder engine running on two cylinders. The two pistons
could continue for several more decades. Alcoholics all around us are suffering and dying. Their families and friends are crying out to us for help. We tell them to Find
God and Find Him now!!, and the rest of HIW!
Angry? Yes I am angry. And have been for four years now.
My friend and next door neighbor died four years ago due to
the distotion and dogma of today's AA. I know the comment: She just wasn't ready. Very few alcoholics are "ready" when
they arrive at our door. It is up to us to help them and let them become ready.
Reading HIW at AA meetings has been our very worst blunder, followed closely by the incessant chanting. Using the 24hr book as part of the format sets us up as a religion. The other blunders have been covered over and over on the old I-Say forum and on the new I-SAY FORUM.
I will not repeat them here. I am grateful that I have been
able to express my concerns through I-SAY. Comments and
rebuttals assure me that someone is reading them. And I am
encouraged by the comments of those who understand the meaning of all this. There are very few of us who have
stayed. Six million have come through our rooms and have walked away. And I cannot fault them. Who wants to sit and
listen to How It Works being read day after day for forty
years. By the way, do you remember what year they started
reading it in your area? It started in the northeast in the early 1980's. By the mid 1990's our membership was
down over half a million. I clearly see cause and effect. ANONYMOUS

Reading HIW and other prayers running people off??

Sounds to me like someone is looking for a reason to go have a drink. If when I got here people would have been disorganized and debating this kind of issue I would be dead.. I see so many peole young and old staying sober, and living very useful lives without being part of this debating team.. I think it is a great place to write, but AA works.. It is the outside issues like this debate that drive people off.. Most people have access to internet,, they go read about AA online, and this is what they see.. Wonder which came first the hen or the egg... How much are the newcomers hurting when they get here.. Are they really Alcoholic? The only real problem I have ever had with anything in the book is where they say "We had to raise the bottom where it would hit them".. Thats God's job, not AA's.. we should have left this at low bottom drunks.. We would not hear all this complaining from desperate people grasping for the whatever works..

RE:AA hasn't folded YET!

With the outside menacing force system around A.A. there is always a YET!

Steps are good the Traditions are GREAT

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 ?

RE: AA hasn't folded YET!

A.A. will not fold any two left can call themselfs an A.A. group. How many has the outside institutional sposorship system ran off? Millions and millions there will always be a few sick ones around.

RE: AA hasn't folded YET!

As long as they let go and let God and not sponsor each other.

Re: AA Hasn't Folded YET

Did I read this correctly? "This was the approach used by Bill W. during his first six months of what he called violent exertion. His success rate was zero."
Impossible! Bill's first six months began in November, 1934. There was no "How It Works" until he wrote it in 1938.
"By the way, do you remember what year they started reading it in your area? It started in the northeast in the early 1980's. By the mid 1990's our membership was down over half a million. I clearly see cause and effect."
Personally, I have no idea when it started in this area. I know it was read at my first meeting in Philadelphia in 1971, and according to Chuck C. in "A New Pair of Glasses" it started long before that in California.
In the mid eighties the treatment industry wanted to increase profits by cutting expenses and announced that alcoholism was an addiction. They began sending addicts and anyone else to AA, the courts jumped on the bandwagon and used AA as a dumping ground. Meetings became overrun by 'alcoholic/addicts', discussion meetings turned into group therapy sessions and speaker meetings began with a fifteen minute description of the speaker's dysfunctional family.
Along with all of that 'sponsorship' turned into ownership. We tell newcomers today they don't have a chance unless they make ninety meetings in ninety days, that they're too stupid to read and understand the Big Book and that they must turn their will and their lives over to the care of a sponsor who will make all decisions for them from this day forward.
Am I angry? No, I'm disgusted with untreated alcoholics who spend all their time thing up new things wrong with AA. It's been said for years that the only thing needed to start a group is a resentment and a coffee pot. Take your resentment against Chapter Five, buy a coffee pot, and start your own meeting where there are no prayers, readings or chants. Who knows, it might catch on.
Jim S.

Re Re: AA Hasn't Folded YET

God can and does work miracles through alcoholics - AS LONG AS THE OUTSIDE SPONSORSHIP SYSTEM DON"T CLAIM THEM !!!

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.


Do I detect a bit of "CONTEMPT prior to investigation"? These things that are wrong with AA are not new. They are
blunders we have made in AA at the group level during the
past three decades. The reading of HIW at meetings, the
use of the 24hr book at meetings, the prayers, the chanting, todays distorted view of sponsorship, and the
hold hands and pray closing have all harmed AA.
I have no resentment against Chapter Five. In my opinion this is a most important chapter. But it has
a special place. That place is NOT reading it aloud at the beginning of an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. This is explained in Dr. Silkworth's "cart before the horse IDEA"
It is really not all that complicated. ANONYMOUS

RE:Re: AA Hasn't Folded YET

I believe we are making progress. I hope I-SAY will continue this dialog. Of course there was no Chapter Five
in DEC 1934. The basic steps of Alcoholics Anonymous were
just being formed. How it Works only existed in the mind of
Bill W. This was the approach Bill used when trying to help other alcoholics he found in the missions and in Towns'
hospital. Bill calls that work "violent exertion", which he
also called spectacularly UNSUCCESSFUL. Active alcoholics
just did not respond positively to the How It Works approach. Bill used this approach for about six months until
Dr Silkworth advised him to change the approach, and simply
stay with the allergy theory, and simply tell his own experience and stop there. Bill wrote several times that without this advice from Dr Silkworth, AA could never have been born. Bill followed this advice when he met with Dr. Bob. And you know the results.
The first mention of reading "How It Works" appears in
Los Angeles in 1940. I don't believe that only the first
two and a half pages were read over and over. Mort J. insisted on a reading from chapter five at his meetings,
(Mort paid the rent for the meeting.) This information is
found in AACA. The preamble had not yet been written. I
believe Mort simply used a reading from chapter five to
open his meeting.
Sure, your explanation of our stagnant membership could be accepted by many AA members. There are several other excuses, which make sense to members, including our leaders.
I agree with your view of sponsorship (if I understand you correctly). I would go further and say that I believe that the title of sponsor in AA ought to be abolished.
A sponsor should be an AA friend who shows the new member
around. Not to be a teacher, preacher or advisor.
I started a new meeting five years ago where we do
not read HIW, do no chanting, shouting, hooting or hollering. Often a new person shows up and chants HI JOE!
Soon they learn that we just sit quietly and listen to
each other. No "show of hands" No "moment of silence",
No "Hold hands and pray" closing. We did none of these
rituals at meetings I attended through the decade of the 1970's. We have an average of twelve members and are
growing slowly. Note: Only ONE AA group out of four gained
ONE new member in the year 2010, (US and Canada). Do those
figures mean anything? I consider them shameful. AA
membership doubled in the 1970's decade. We must have been doing something right. Each one reach one.
I really do know how difficult this is to understand.
For thirty five years I believed that our fellowship was
alive and well. Today I know how wrong I was. We have been
spinning our wheels on life support for two decades. Unless
we reverse our mistakes (blunders), AA could continue to
stumble along for several more decades, failing the people
we are supposed to be helping, suffering alcoholics and
their families. ANONYMOUS

RE: AA hasn't folded yet

They say teaching what you haven't learned is like coming back from where you've never been. It's a good idea to learn AA history before one tries to teach it.
Pages 132 and 133 of "Pass it On" say, "During the first months of 1935, Bill encountered one such frustration after another. In later years he was to explain the failure as being one of method: During this period, he said, he was preaching to the drunks. Also, he still believed that an alcoholic required a spectacular spiritual experience, similar to his own, in order to recover."
"I started a new meeting five years ago.......We have an average of twelve members and are growing slowly."
Twelve members in five years? I assume that's eleven including you. That averages out to 2.2 members per year, which doesn't strike me as phenomenal growth. Just a guess, but I think even Wally P.'s "Back to Basics" movement is growing a lot faster than that.
Jim S.

RE: RE:: AA hasn't folded yet

I remember in my childhood the saying, A little learning can
be a dangerous thing. I would like to ask why you abruptly
stopped in the middle of what I consider to be a very
important paragraph, with personal criticism of me?
If we can study and fully understand those two pages of
"pass it on", our AA effectiveness may be restored.p132/133
Bill W. offers us the same message on pages 198 and 199
in Language of the Heart.
Why would Bill place HIW in chapter five? Bill explains
where he placed it and why, on pages 159 and 160 AACA. If
HIW were to be first thing an alcoholic to read or hear, it would have been chapter one.
Alcoholics Anonymous has failed six million sufferers
plus their friends and families in the past two decades
because of our stubborn resistance to studying and
understanding this part of our AA history.
Our worst blunder of the past three decades was the introduction of reading HIW at the beginning of AA
meetings. This reading aloud at meetings gives the
impression that we are some type of religion. The
incessant chanting makes us look like a cult. The
description STRANGE RELIGIOUS CULT, appeared in a
An increase of 2.2 members per year would be
phenomenal growth, if compared with AA membership
growth in the year 2010. Only one group out of four
could claim ONE new member for the entire year, in
the US and Canada.
Does the "Back to Basics" movement still exist?
I tried to find them a few years back. I was offered
a "start up kit" for a price of about $60.00. ANONYMOUS

Joined: 2011-07-29

I followed the directions in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous and I was truly rocketed into a fourth dimension of existence. Today I get to carry this message to other alcoholics.

Tradition Three

Before taking Tradition three out of content one should understand Tradition ONE
Tradition were written for unity purposes not outside sponsorship legalities to be used on someone or something else.

Many non A.A's state may the sponsorship follow-ship be with you.
A.A says may the spirit of the fellowship be with you.
Some have the wisdom to know the difference others try a outside sponsorship institution system.

When all else fails - Try A.A.

Tradition one

Looking again at tradition ONE, I remember the odd feeling I
had in the mid 1970's, when young people in AA began to talk
about separating from mainstream AA (mostly older gray hairs). I was in my early thirties, and I am guessing that
the average age was close to 50. Very few members were younger than me. There were so many members named Jim that I was warmly called young Jim. I never felt out of place.
Today I believe that the separation of young and old
was a mistake. Bill W.'s hope for Alcoholics Anonymous was
that it would be here for a thousand years.
At what age are we no longer considered young people?
I have heard that as long as we have growing to do, we are
welcome at young people's AA events. I personally believe
that some older members attends these events to establish
their positions as leaders, teachers, advisors or sponsors. But I question whether this is healthy for the elder or the young member. EGO deflation at depth is still the solution
to addiction. I believe we are harming AA by dividing into
special interest groups. All my minority opinion, I am
quite sure. ANONYMOUS

prayer in aa

I am glad I found AA 70 years after it was started, as I suspect the religious intolerance of the early members (as directed towards some early agnostics and atheists, like Jim B) would have driven me away. However, fact is that the vast majority of the early members were in fact Christian and AA was more or less a part of the Oxford Group, which was wholly Christian, so it is not surprising that reading at meetings were from Christian sources. The meetings I found when I walked in started with the Serenity Prayer and ended with the Lord's Prayer. But I wanted to get sober, and soon found many others who were not of Christian faith or practice who had gotten and stayed sober in AA, which told me I needed to tolerate others beliefs and associated dogma while finding my own way within the framework AA provided. Not too long ago at a meeting I was chairing, I read the 11th step prayer (Prayer of St. Francis) along with the Metta Prayer (attributed to the Buddha). The two are virtually identical in my view. Now when I recite the Lord's Prayer, I think of how it is a plea to myself (and the universe at large) that I might surrender, clean house, and help others, basically a prayer that I might follow the tenets of AA as I understand them.
Having said that, I am conflicted, because my late brother was turned off by the very religiosity of which you speak, and I wonder if he might have made it had he found a group more openly a-religious. It is for that reason that I am open and vocal in my non-belief so that anyone new will realize they do not have to buy into any religion or faith.

RE: prayer in aa

There is no reason to be "conflicted". It was never the intent of Bill W orDr Bob to form any kind of new religion. See AACA page 232. bottom of page in fine print. Or Lang
page 345 beginning at the bottom of the page. All AA groups,
meetings were meant to be a-religious. Alcoholics Anonymous
in its true form is totally a-religious. And this does not
imply anti-religious. AA is not anti-anything. Praying at meetings is harmful to our AA society. Please do not spend decades in "contempt prior to investigation". You are
fairly new and can be a vital part of "turning this ship
around". ANONYMOUS

Re: Tradition Three

"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."
Only half true, it has become a part of Christian practice. But the author of the prayer was a Jewish rabbi. There was no Christianity and no Christians when he gave the prayer to his followers.
Those who harbor fear and/or resentment against religion in any form are the loudest protesters against prayer.

RE: Re: Tradition Three

I have absolutely no resentment or fear of religion. I accepted the Christian faith, when I entered Alcoholics
Anonymous. It proved to be the solution for me.
But I am one of the loudest protesters against praying
at AA meetings. We are not a prayer group. If you want to
pray, do it on your own time, as I do many times a day.
Simply open the meeting with the preamble. Cite the
serenity prayer, if the fully informed group conscience
has decided to do so. Close the meeting in a manner
chosen and accepted by the group conscience. I
personally do not consider either of these to be
praying. Do not imply that everyone has to join in. "For those who care to". Holding hands can be a real turn-off
to some, in my opinion. I find holding hands with strangers
to be repulsive, and no longer participate in this ritual.

Re: Tradition Three

What the traditions and prays have in common with each other is that they are 100% against a outside sponsorship institutional system inside A.A. That plays a GREAT FACTor

Similarities - not identities

There are similarities between the Lord's Prayer and both Biblical and post-Biblical material in Jewish prayer especially Kiddushin (Babylonian). "Hallowed be thy name" is reflected in the Kaddish. "Lead us not into sin" is echoed in the "morning blessings" of Jewish prayer. A blessing said by some Jewish communities after the evening Shema includes a phrase quite similar to the opening of the Lord's Prayer: "Our God in heaven, hallow thy name, and establish thy kingdom forever, and rule over us for ever and ever. Amen." There are parallels also in 1 Chronicles 29:10-18.

My objection is not necessarily directed towards all prayer - simply that which is associated with a specific denomination (whatever their origins may be). I refer you once more to the relevant traditions. Are we to be a principled organisation or not?

A denominational prayer

The Lord's Prayer is definitely denominational in origin. Note the use of the word "Lord" in its name. And the version of the prayer said in most AA meetings I have been to is associated with only some Christian denominations. It is not the version said by Catholics, for instance, nor by some Presbyterians, among others.

Having seen my share of group discussions over the prayer, my observation is that the prayer is often retained primarily to satisfy the old-timers in the group - or to avoid their wrath - regardless of its effect on those coming through the door for the first time.

It's a useful ongoing discussion, because it touches several AA traditions as well as some of the concepts.


The 12 traditions promote unity and unity is one of the three legacy's of A.A. When I think of the legacy's I like to think of them in order of recovery, unity and service. I'm not sure why we choose to disect everything. Didn't Dr. Bob suggest that we shouldn't louse things up with froidian complexities and things of interest to the scientific mind. Tradition 12 in the 12 & 12 explains that anonimity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions and that the spiritual substance of anonimity is sacrifice. When I get out of self I can see that God is love and love is selfless action. Each day I try to become more humble through selfless action of carrying the message, helping the still suffering alcoholic (regadless of length of sobriety) and practicing the principals in all my affairs.

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