I can understand the reaction of the poster who dislikes being read to and having the group respond in unison to some things that happen in meetings. I have been around awhile and I, too, found these practices odd and corny when I first encountered them.
Yet I would have to disagree that this is what is causing stagnation in AA. On the contrary, many of the groups who have these customs are large, enthusiastic, and full of young people. And, oddly enough, other nearby meetings with the old style bare bones approach also have a large and devoted following of young people.
So I would propose that the format of the meeting is NOT what makes people come back or not come back. With respect to meeting formats, I think the guidance given by the Fourth Tradition is the right answer: each group has the right to conduct its meetings as the group itself sees fit.
Quote: "I think the guidance given by the Fourth Tradition is the right answer: each group has the right to conduct its meetings as the group itself sees fit."
Try Tradition 1,2,3 first,provided that they are an Alcoholic not a want-a be /and-a
Tradition Four actually says:
4. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or A.A. as a whole.
4. With respect to its own affairs, each A.A. group should be responsible to no other authority than its own conscience. But when its plans concern the welfare of neighboring groups also, those groups ought to be consulted. And no group, regional committee, or individual should ever take any action that might greatly affect A.A. as a whole without conferring with the trustees of the General Service Board. On such issues our common welfare is paramount.
From this it follows that it is NOT the case that each group "has the right to conduct its meetings as the group itself sees fit". This is probably the most misquoted and most misunderstood Tradition in AA
Thank you. Upon close investigation, most of our traditions have been misunderstood and violated. Bill W violated tradition 11 by allowing himself to be filmed as the spiritual leader of AA. I believe Bill's alcoholic EGO reared its ugly head as he grew older. Alcoholics Anonymous
declares itself to be self supporting, yet many groups meet
in meeting halls at the expense of the generous public. Our
group contributions do not fully pay expenses of our service structure. Our AA grapevine "strives" to be self-supported by subscription sales and the sale of books and other items but continues to use money from the prudent reserve fund, which was origionally an emergency savings account for the General Service Office. This is done legally and above board due to the distortion of the purpose of the Reserve Fund.It was altered to place the AA Grapevine on the same level of importance as GSO, approved by the General Service Conference in 1977.?
Yes the first one third of tradition four is often
quoted, ignorning the two "storm signals".
I believe if a group conscience (fully informed) decides
to use the Lords Prayer to close a meeting, approved by more
than half the group members, then it is acceptable. To coerse, require or force all members to join in the "ring around the rosy" circle, holding hands praying, is plainly wrong. But try to confer with the trustees of the General Service Board of today. What I get is "distance and silence".
I believe that if all of our twelve traditions were
understood and obeyed to the letter, Alcoholics Anonymous
could be restored to our previous rate of growth. For anyone who does not know, we lost over 20% of our
membership in the 1990's, after doubling in membership about every ten years for the first 57 years. We continue to "spin our wheels at the two million membership mark today. How can we say that AA is still effective if there is no growth? With all the money we spend, and all the work we do, it seems we are only helping ourselves. I guess we continue to be self-centered in the extreme. ANONYMOUS
A group responding in unison is chanting. Chanting is a cult
ritual and has no place in AA. Much of the general public sees us as some kind of foolish joke. How does chanting benefit anyone? If you are of the opinion that chanting a
new member's name helps us remember their name, consider that the second half of our fellowship's name is Anonymous.
Anonymous means "with no name acknowledged". Why do you
personally think our membership has been stagnant over
the past twenty years? I ask that question in all sincerty.
Or do you just discard the numbers or ignore them. For
the first 57 years our membership doubled about every
decade. We haven't grown at all over the past twenty years.
One chant I have not heard recently is "each one reach one".
If each of us helped one other alcoholic every year, JUST ONE, we would grow continuously. Again, why do you think
we as a fellowship are no longer growing? ANONYMOUS
Why do you
personally think our membership has been stagnant over
the past twenty years? I ask that question in all sincerity.
Simply due to the outside sponsorship system that think God can't and they Can - Not sure who is sicker the one that believes it has to be administered or the illusionist who get suckered in not aware it's a free gift.
If I understand you correctly, I agree that today's AA
sponsorship system, is one major cause of our stagnation.
Origionally the role of sponsor was that of a servant. Today
a sponsor is teacher, preacher, counselor, or some kind
of director. If we return to the origional effective way
of helping other alcoholics, today's role as a sponsor would diminish. That technique (Bill calls it a gadget in
Three talks to medical societies) is simply sharing
exactly what happened to me. Just my own story. Being
sober does not qualify us as teacher, preacher, or any
other superior. We are not experts. We are simply victims
of alcoholism, trying to get and stay sober. Thanks for
acknowledging our stagnation. As long as alcoholism exists
our membership should always grow. ANONYMOUS
A.A should would and could grow if the outside sponsorship institutional system could just get out of the way and let go and let God then people would stand a chance to get a "true friends" list up and it would not be just one always trusting in God.
Each group should be autonomous has two exceptions: EXCEPT
in matters affecting other groups, or AA as a whole. Do you think that practices which you find odd and corny might
affect other groups or AA as a whole?
What do you think are the reasons people come back or
not come back? Do you think alcoholics come to AA, get
well and just go on with their lives and forget about AA?
There are some who do that I am sure. But I was so grateful to find Alcoholics Anonymous, I couldn't wait to try to
help others to find what I have found. The thought of not
coming to AA meetings would have been foreign to me.
I saw what AA was like in the 1970's, at least in the
Eastern states. I have been to AA meetings in at least
six states in the past ten years. They barely resemble my
earlier meetings. So far one item which remains the same
is the preamble. Even that was altered in meetings in the
Northeast. The preamble still reads "fellowship", but I
am sure it will soon be changed to Fellowship.
Do you honestly believe that the membership numbers
mean nothing? I consider our loss of half a million members in the past two decades to be shameful. If we get sober, and
in turn help others to get sober, our numbers will always
I believe the odd and corny rituals and practices not
only drive alcoholics away, but also prevent them from approaching us in the first place.
If it is not the rituals, what do you think AA is
doing wrong? Most AA members today think AA is "alive and well". It is obvious to me that we are failing, and have
been spinning our wheels for two decades. ANONYMOUS
The A.A. Traditions were wrote to protect newcomers inside A.A. from the outside sponsorship system. Take a closer look
At last I am beginning to understand this. Maybe I ought to
submit this under "a moment of clarity". The eleventh tradition prevents any alcoholic AA member from becoming a
"big shot". The tradition reads: our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films. Most of know what a film is. But how many of us understand what is a public relations policy is? I believe in our case this means that we want the general public to always look at Alcoholics Anonymous in
approval and favorably. "Send you friends and family
members who are suffering from alcoholism to us, we offer a solution". Absolute personal anonymity protects the newcomer
, our fellowship and the recovering alcoholic.
In our history, Bill W writes about going out in the
general public, stumping for AA. It seemed like a good idea.
But it was decided that this was one of those time when
the seeming good was the deadly enemy of the best. "On the anvils of experience these traditions were hammered out."
Bill W. seriously violated this eleventh tradition
in the last years of his life by allowing himself to be
filmed as the spiritual leader of AA. I only recently saw
the films of him teaching the steps and traditions of AA.
I was saddened that after all those years that Bill W.
himself, would still agree to be filmed.
Today I believe there are many historically significant
AA members who have violated this tradition by allowing
themselves to be filmed as AA members. Whether these are
home movies or private videos, they seriously violate the
deep meaning of tradition eleven. It does not say "private
films" or "public films". It says and means any films.
We obey these traditions because we want to protect
our society. We owe that much to the fellowship which
saved my life and the lives of so many.
Some may be asking, "who are you to be telling me
whether I should not make a private video of myself,
as an AA member." True, we have no AA police. We are
all responsible to monitor ourselves.
I listen to audio recordings occasionally, and many
of these speakers could be stand-up comedians. I suspect
that many of them have allowed themselves to be filmed. ANONYMOUS
Could you explain in detail what you mean by the outside
sponsorship system. Do you mean an advisor or paid councelor
outside of the AA group? Or do you mean the separation of
newcomers from superiors in the group itself. A friend in Texas describes a beginners meeting there in which the
meeting is set up in two circles of chairs, the pigeons sit
in the inner circle and oldtimers and sponsors occupy the
outer circle. I don't know how the meeting itself is conducted. When Bill W. met with Dr. Bob they met as equals.
Bill needed another alcoholic to talk to, because he knew
he was going to get drunk if he didn't find another
alcoholic to talk to. Why Dr. Bob agreed to give this
rumhound from New York fifteen minutes of his time is
still an unanswered question (at least to me). It could have been his Doctor instinct or his fondness for
Henrietta Siberling. Dr Bob needed what Bill had to offer,
although I doubt that he knew it at the time. Bill needed
Dr. Bob to save his own life and sobriety. They came together as absolute equals, and both achieved sobriety.
The fellowship of today has simply lost this concept.
The traditions were written as points to assure AA's
future. If we had followed the traditions to the letter,
AA would be solid and formidable today. In my opinion we
have prettymuch violated all of them.
Your comments about the steps working without them
being administered by sponsors interest me. I personally
believe that the role of sponsor has been twisted or
distorted over the past two or three decades. The twelve
steps have been of great value to me personally. I am
grateful that no one pushed them on me when I came into AA.
At about three months a born again Christian "nailed me"
and kept me captive for fifteen minutes, but an elder saw
what was going on and rescued me. He took me for an ice cream and I calmed down. Who would have believed that I would stay sober and eventually become a born again
Christian myself? But I don't bring that belief into
AA tradition. I believe that if we save alcoholic's
lives, their souls have a chance of being saved. ANONYMOUS
A.A. is an inside job and we pray for the wisdom to know the difference - then intuitively we are able to handle situations that use to baffle us this is A.A.'s PROMISE.
The outside sponsorship system diverts people from A.A. by prying on them i mean claiming they are a friend until someones spirit dies.
A.A path is easy to follow it's a path for God's sakes, if one can't follow a path sober they may have a mental disorder thinking problems other than alcoholism.
I just recieved a text from another aa member saying he saw my father at an aa meeting ,my father has never gone to aa before.
Is this in violation of our tradition of anonymity
Submitted by mountainmike on Sun, 2011-08-07 20:55.
I just received a text from another aa member saying he saw my father at an aa meeting ,my father has never gone to aa before.
Is this in violation of our tradition of anonymity.
It should be common sense that either 1. He has a desire to stop drinking if he even does which is not against A.A. OR
2. He came to check on you which not sure how old or why
Bottom line depends on personal motive as A.A. is not allied with any outside sponsorship institutions. Open meetings are for the public to see- closed meetings is for the Alcoholic. Glad he is here
I regularly attend a meeting with a fellow whose wife I used to see at Alanon meetings. I have never discussed seeing her at Alanon with him, nor would I discuss seeing him at AA with her. I view anonymity as a sacred trust only to be broken with the express consent of the person whose anonymity is to be broken.
When I was a child, my father would often disappear for an
entire weekend. Somehow I already knew that he was an
alcoholic. The true understanding came years later when
I, too, became an alcoholic. There was no text back then,
and actually we had no phone. But a phone call from an
AA member saying that he had seen my father at an AA
meeting would certainly have been welcome. I would often
dream that my father would find some way to get sober, and
that he would come home and take care of us.
Yes this is technically a violation of tradition
eleven. But most rules have exceptions. If no one was
harmed, no damage was done. Hopefully he wasn't pushed
away by the way the meeting was conducted. We fail so
many. Hopefully your dad will recover. Anonymous
Was your father's name published in a newspaper, on the radio or TV? Did you know your father was attending AA meetings? Do you know the difference between a violation of our anonymity tradition and plain old gossip?
"Do you know the difference between a violation of our anonymity tradition and plain old gossip?"
There is NO DIFFERENCE between violating a member's anonymity and plain old gossip. They are both very destructive!
I have a friend in AA. I also go to support my husband. Recently, a co AA acquaintance called and asked for a ride to a meeting. We went to pick him up, once int he car he started to talk about one of his sponsee's. He disclosed everything about this person. We are friends with the person whom he blabbed all about. We don't want to cause our friend any more strife, but his sponser was in the wrong by telling all. Any suggestions on how we should handle this? If we tell him, will it cause more troubles? Then again, we don't him to trust in his sponser as he has been, only for him to tell everyone what is going on in our freinds life.
Go right ahead and tell the indiviual that is relying others information, that you don't feel right about hearing someone elses priviet affairs. Tell them to look up the word anonymity and sponsorship in the Big Book. Sure the person spilling other's information will be pissed off. But, it better he hears the truth then get a punch in the face or sets someone off on a bender.
The out side sponsorship system sponsoring inside of A.A. helping them out.
Yes, gently - and with love, tell that sponsor that you are uncomfortable hearing about his sponsees and don't feel that it's appropriate. "If that happened to me, I would feel..."
I was on the sponsee's side of this tale at a year and a half sober. I followed the suggestions in the book about carefully selecting a trustworthy person to share my (2nd and much more thorough) 5th step with. Still pretty toxic and knowing that my 'picker' of people was out of whack, the sponsor I selected was just as toxic and shared much of my 5th step with others in the program and meetings I regularly attended. Needless to say, I found new meetings and a new sponsor and have done the work on my resentments, which I no longer have. Thank God! Only by working the steps can I now look at it as yet another opportunity to grow - and to better tune my people 'picker,' which has gotten better over the years.
On another note, I do believe that it is also my responsibility to continue to learn and live the steps and traditions. Today I can better 'walk' the anonymity talk by gently advocating for AA members not present when others (including myself!) start down the 'gossip' path. And believe this 'work in progress' when I say that my 10th step check list sure gets a workout, and not so daily either!
That's why I love the saying, "Progress, not perfection."
The concept of sponsorship in today's AA is distorted, to say the least. I personally feel that the term sponsor, and
the role of sponsor ought to be deleted from AA groups. I
certainly would not want other AA members to know my deep
dark secrets. Step four is a personal private affair, and
the fifth step needs to be done with someone who is sworn
to secrecy. This information ought not be shared with an
AA member who has raised his hand and volunteered to
listen to a confession. Really, WHO DO WE THINK WE ARE?
I think we can all say that we are only one drink away
from being drunk again. Inform your friend. His secrets
will probably be shared with others. He needs to know,
to prevent further damage. Lose the term sponsee and
sponsor. We all come together as equals. Bill W left
us all the information we need to do the steps, if
and when we decide to use them. And it is not in some guide
formed by a so called guru or expert. It is in the 12 & 12.
left for us by our co-founder. ANONYMOUS
"The concept of sponsorship in today's AA is distorted, to say the least. I personally feel that the term sponsor, and
the role of sponsor ought to be deleted from AA groups."
Someone who can REASON and understand rather than be understood.
AGREE WITH YOU 99% - 1% may need the institution to tell them what they need to do.
A.A's pertinent ideas are only 3 and pertinent not pertineeer
A. OUR lives drinking had
B. that no human power could relive us - Maybe comfort the weak but not relive the alcoholic -
c. that God could -
The Traditions ask us not to use labels in A.A., why do YOU?
Most people when they arrive in A.A. are not looking for a Mommy or Daddy until the outside sposorship system diverts them through group will and fear. A.A. is a fellowship not an institutionalized follow-ship . It's better to be an example than to look for one - Question? not sure which one is sicker? Sponsor or the victim
Alcoholics Anonymous was never meant to be a follow-ship,
but that is what the alcoholic EGO has turned it into. Bernard Smith included a description of a fellowship
in the chapter "A friend looks at Alcoholics Anonymous"
in AACA. Rarely have we seen a person fail, who has
thoroughly followed our path. A path is not the same as
directions. Todays "sponsor" demands that the sponsee
follow directions. I believe the change from "directions"
to "path" is vital to our fellowship. This was a last
minute change just before the Big Book went to press. Yet
we have a meeting in our state which uses the origional
How It Works" in their format. It reads follow our "directions", and "on our knees". They still use it and
nobody even discusses it. Our history is vital. ANONYMOUS
Don't confuse a friend with a Foe - If a sponsor was a friend why have one? that's a real FOE my friend.
People who have sponsors are people who make God to small to rely on as the outside religious sponsor system work on A.A. from the inside out is not what A.A. means by an inside JOB.
I do not appologise for mentioning drugs in my lead just as Dr. Bob did not appologise for his use of them (see Dr. Bob and Good Oldtimers) page 28 and 32 to name just a few pages or better yet page 410 of the 4th ed. big book and page 411 if we are to keep our talk to alcohol only then why talk of all the car crashes ,this is not drivers ed.,or lets not mention how many times we were married or with a different partner ,this isn't marraige couselling,or our wasteful spending this isnt home economics 101,I will choose to live and let live or as Dr. Bob compares this phrase Judge not that ye be not judged.
Isn't A A great, we can talk about anything we want to, however; if we do not cleave to our single purpose.....we will not have a purpose! If we continue to give the impression to the general public we can help all addictions aa will cease to exist as we know it. So talk it up. By the way there are almost 550 12-step groups that use our steps with our permission, are we to fold all those into aa as well? I too can quote the founders "shoemaker stick to thy last" Mike
Before AA I always felt different, out of place, that I didn't belong. At my first AA meeting I found I wasn't different, that I was an alcoholic just like the others in the room. Referring to myself as an addict is just another way of telling you that I'm different, not like you common drunks. I'm special, and don't have to pay attention to the traditions.
When the addict/alcoholics learn that there is a difference between giving a 'drug-a-log' and mentioning drug use, as Dr. Bob and Bill did, perhaps the ongoing battle will die out. As the next to last sentence on page 142 in the 12 & 12 states, "Never did he trouble anyone with his other difficulty."
Without a doubt drugs are often associated with Alcohol. Dual addicts generally introduce themselves as "Alcoholic/Addict" at my home group. We had one member, G, that always introduced himself as just an alcoholic. One day it came out that he was NA too. I mentioned to him how very interesting it was that he was able to so separate these two. I was impressed by this, but who am I to approve or disapprove.
I had not special affinity at all for drugs of any kind. A meeting I was chairing took an odd turn when someone shared "A burning desire". It was all drug and no Alcohol. Luckily more experienced members were present to steer the meeting to the drug-alcohol link.
Another time a senior member and I did a 1st step meeting with a newcomer. We take someone totally new to AA/our group aside for some one-on-one. His concerns were entirely abuse of prescription pain medications. I could not relate at all. We share Experience, Strength and Hope but I had no experience in common with this man.
Definitely if drugs are part of someone's alcohol experience it seems nearly impossible to completely separate the two. There are those that their primary issue is drugs and really NA is where they need to be.
A.A = Alcoholics Anonymous
N.A = Not Alcoholic
The speaker at my home group yesterday shared about his recent experiences with pain medication after an operation and I spoke with a guy after the meeting, newly sober, who just had a back operation and was concerned with the same issue. I'm sorry the previous commenter "couldn't relate" to these issues, which are very real for some of us.
If you think you as an alcoholic can use prescribed pain medication without giving it a second thought, I hope you stay around long enough to listen to the stories of people who thought that.
I don't know what I expected at my first AA meeting, but it was more comforting than imagined. I was allowed to take a seat and given the space to just be. I could listen and not be pressured to do anything. The message came through to me at its own speed. I know there are others, probably in the majority, who appreciate trappings and rituals - finding comfort in them. But the pressure to conform and perform is something I still recoil from. Let's just tell our story and let the results speak for themselves without ceremonies.
Your message brings me comfort. I often feel alone with my
concerns, although some members are beginning to understand.
The majority of those who remain may appreciate the trappings and rituals. The rest, a much greater majority,
silently walk away when the demands are read or given. We know what the demands are: 90 in 90, get a sponsor, work those steps and find God and find Him NOW!! I am ever so grateful that no demands (disguised as suggestions) were
given to me at my first meeting a long time ago. I would
have left quietly to live a pitiful life and an early
death. I was allowed to sit quietly and little by slowly
I got sober and stayed sober. I estimate that we have
pushed away six million "sick and suffering" in the past
two decades. Our membership doubled about every ten years
for the first 57 years, until 1992. What happened to
cause our loss of effectiveness? Someone previously wrote
"a creeping intrusion of ritual". Dogma and Distortion.
Numbers from our General Service Office show the sad truth.
We have over half a million LESS members today than 1992.
Hundreds of thousands of alcoholics are still approaching
us every year most as a last resort. We are failing them and their friends and families because of the way our AA
meetings are conducted. Thanks for sharing your view. ANONYMOUS.
the amount of chanting and ritualistic behaviour in meetings in our area is frightening. If at my first meeting on 4/28/1984 people said "keep coming back it works if you work it" after each person said their name, and if they had all chanted when reading the last line of how it works. "god could and would if he were sought" I would have left. Also in the area I live in there are 3 or 4 large mega-churchs that have co-opted our program. We have people who go to the "recovery support groups" then come to AA meetings and don't seem to "get" AA, they bring this evangelical taint to their sharing and their thinking is far away from one day at a time
I see the AA I grew up with fading away and being consumed by evangelical christianity. What is really sad is that their are oldtimers who recruit for their churches at meetings. Maybe this is the death-knell for our wonderful program. lanc.pa.aa
Chanting was introduced to our AA groups around 1980. One
member began responding HI! (persons name), to each member
who shared. He seemed to be saying "Look at me, I'm here too. No one even tried to stop him. I personally did not
have the nerve to say anything, although it annoyed me
imensely. I recently listened to a recording of a speaker,
made in 1988. I could hear the chanting in the background.
Within eight years chanting had spread through the Northeast. Chanting is a cult ritual and has no place in
An AA friend was watching television in the 1990's when a show protrayed a facsmile of an AA meeting. At this meeting a member said, "my name is Bill and I am an alcoholic." My friend said that her husband actually
laughed out loud when the group chanted HI BILL! She said her husband asked sarcastically, is this the AA that you
What does this mean? It means that much of the public
sees us as a joke' Our public relations are harmed,
therefore reducing the effectiveness of Alcoholics
An article was published in the September 2010
issue of the AA GRAPEVINE title: Why are we shouting?
This is one of the more obvious reasons for AA's lack or growth over the past three decades. We lost over half a million members in the mid-1990's. Actually for the year 2010 we regained almost 15,000 members. We have over 60,000
groups in the US and canada. Only one group out of four
added one member for the whole year. Today's AA is failing
the very people we are supposed to be helping. I estimate
hundreds of thousands every year. We have ignored and have lost the technique for helping other alcoholics. The "cart before the horse" IDEA offered to Bill W. by Dr Silkworth
in the spring of 1935 explains the technique. Like some
other special things in life, if we do not know the
technique, and refuse to investigate and learn, we will
seldom get the desired result. Chanting has no place in
AA. I believe this to be a tragic mistake, following our
worst blunder, the reading of How It Works aloud at meetings. Our AA history books explain these "opinions".
To Lanc.pa.aa: Thanks for the article. Try voicing these
concerns at the group level. Don't let "them" silence
you. Insist on steering committee and group conscience
meetings. Share your concerns for AA's future. We ARE
responsible for A.A.'future- Let it Begin With Us.
Expect the "kill the messenger" response at first.
We may never see the reversal of the mistakes we have
made in the AA fellowship. Bill W. called them blunders
and warned us many times. And it is possible that AA
will go the way of the Washingtonions. The alcoholic EGO
is powerful. It may destroy AA. But we have to try. We
owe that much to future generations of suffering alcoholics
and their families and friends. ANONYMOUS
Always good to have an opinion. Hope you have your own coffee pot too.
We should not make a spectacle of newcomers at meetings. Nor should we allow newcomers to make a spectacle of themselves. This practice is harmful to the new member,
the potential new member, and to Alcoholics Anonymous as a whole. This practice is EGO feeding, at a time when EGO
deflation is vital. At a traditions workshop recently,
this topic was discussed. One respected elder stated that
we call the new person up front to make him/her feel
welcome. The elder used the word stroking. He said we should give out chips/coins to make the new member feel
special and wanted. We must return to the practice of
allowing the suffering alcoholic to join us and just
blend in without making any demands to them. "Come on up
front and accept a chip/coin, tell us how you did it!
is a demand. The nervous, fearful newcomer ought not
be made a spectacle of. Simply go around the room for
sharing. The newcomer can then identify herself/himself
as they choose, or just pass. Today's practices cause
embarassment to the newcomer. The alcoholic who is
considering approaching us may hesitate when he/she
hears that they make you come up front and talk. Again,
this practice is harmful to newcomers and to AA.
And then we have the newcomer who just loves the attention and is more than eager to take over the meeting. He/she enjoys being the center of attention and finds a captive audience. In my experience the drug addict seens more prone
to actually want the attention, than the alcoholic. We of AA
are hurting her/his chances of long term sobriety and
committment to AA. The time comes when he is no longer has
the newcomer status and things go disappointingly dull.
An alcoholic approaching AA is at a point where the EGO
is deflated. Let us help the newcomer to keep it that way.
Surely there are professionals "out there" who can explain
this in a way that the layman can understand. Again, we must
stop making a spectacle of the newcomer and stop allowing
the newcomer to make a spectacle of herself/himself.ANONYMOUS
The Traditions are the Principles of the program of Recovery of Alcoholics Anonymous. Honetsy, Patience, Courage..etc instead of those character defects which I still sport at times whether beknownst to me or not. I must practice them and I am not always aware of the list as I go through the day, therefore I need to seek ou my HP through Alcoholics Anonymous' people, places and things. Whether at a meeting, over the phone, internet, literature, a sunset or sunrise my HP is present if I seek Him/Her and I can take a positive from a negative if I change my thinking to change my life.
How do you have these virtues? Face everyhing and recover and listen to learn and learn to listen. I watch the oldtimers and copy them as well.
I just attended a meeting that was hijacked, in my opinion, by drug talk.
Graphic descriptions intensified from speaker to speaker about crack pipes, Mexican black tar heroine, syringes registering, slapping of the veins on the speakers arm, claims of the joys of smoking marijauna, working for drug dealers, getting high on mainlined cocaine, speedballs and heroin and the feelings involved, etc.
I got up and walked out at about minute 4-5 of each speaker, tried to walk back in and again got uncomfortable, and finally left the premises after 25 minutes of this sort of detail.
I understand that people are more and more subject to "cross-=addiction" these days, but at some point "singleness of purpose" must reign. The Secretary of the meeting could have said something, but didn't; so could other memebrs who like me were more or less "pure alcoholics", but we didn't. It was an open meeting.
But the open meeting did start with the final phrse from the leader's group-conscience-approved format being "please keep your sharing related to alcoholism".
This is a controversial subject. Some would have the speaker not refer too "using" at all. Some would allow the mention of drugs, but not details. And apprently some will take ten minutes giving the rawest detail.
My purpose here is to suggest that we consider taking the drug talk to the parking lot more than not, and that we try to remember that experience, strength and hope do not need to include topics beyond those related to alcoholism. There are other fellowships for that. If your town, like ours, is too small for another fellowship to form, then can't we responsibly sponsor our newcomers to identify with us on an alcohol level, and to share more generally than specifically when they tell their stories?
Let's be inclusive, but encourage the included not to be objectionable or controversial. We can't offer a solution to druggies, gamblers or overeaters from anything but alcoholism at it relates to them.
That is completely unfortunate. I have witnessed this as well on several occasions. I used a variety of substances however, alcohol was my go to always.
I have been reading different posts about this same issue and opinions vary.
When I first came to A.A. in 1983 as a young pup it was hammered home at each meeting that this is A.A. and if you have other issues than alcoholism please refrain from speaking.
The culture has changed drastically in a few areas-this being one of them. Fortunately the meetings I attend always have several old-timers whom will politely, albeit poignantly tell anyone to sit down if they go off on the drug tangent. One suggestion that I used in the past was attend the business meeting where issues can be brought up. Another would be contacting Intergroup or General Service and bring up this issue. As an active GSR rep these issues are brought up, discussed and acted upon accordingly. It is the responsibility of GS to ensure the program is not altered despite the changes in members.
Anyway, best of luck.
The chapter, in the third edition of the big book (sorry, havent bought a fourth edition) "Doctor, Alcoholic, Addict" , includes some graphic descriptions of drug use. You know, the one often quote "pg 443" ... acceptance is the key to my sobriety...
Its in the big book, fyi
In my opinion we should not quote anything from the BB (beyond the doctor's opinion and the 1st 164 pages) to try and justify our own sharing of drug use at AA meetings. Beyond pages 1-164 are we quoting from other personal stories to justify our own misguided conduct.
Personal stories, even those read in the BB or the Grapevine, are still only individual AA members sharing their experience, strength and hope. Stories printed in AA approved publications do not make the stories AA gospel (pardon my religious connotation).
One of the questions we should all ask when reading these stories should be, "Are the authors adhering to the principals laid out in our 12 Traditions"?
When I am asked to share at any AA meeting I do my best to follow the Traditions; hence no drug talk from me as per Tradition 5 and the principal of singleness of purpose.
Quoting Pg 443 of the BB (Doctor,Alcoholic,Addict)to justiy talking about drugs is wrong. FYI two wrongs have never made a right and never will.
I truly wish AAWS and the Grapevine would make a little better use of our Traditions when selecting stories for publication.
If you're going to start beating people over the head with it, perhaps it's time you familiarize yourself with our Big Book.
From the first 164 pages:
Bill's Story (page 7): "A doctor came with a heavy sedative. Next day found me drinking both gin and sedative."
There Is A Solution (page 22): As matters grow worse, he begins to use a combination of high-powered sedative and liquor…" "Perhaps he goes to a doctor who gives him morphine or some sedative…"
Dr. Bob's Nightmare (pages 176-77): "…I did not take the morning drink which I craved so badly, but insead would fill up on large doses of sedatives to quiet the jitters…" "…gettin drunk, morning jitters, taking large doses of sedatives…"
This idea of "pure alcoholics" is quite outside the tradition of anonymity. Why do we need to look like we're better, or more pure, alcoholics than someone else? In the essay on Tradition 12 Bill writes about learning to let go of our desire for distinction as A.A. members.
It's generally newcomers who are the type to talk about drugs in meetings. Most alcoholics who stay sober and keep coming back figure this stuff out and conform to our traditions. Those who don't, well, they tend to stop doing it too, whether they stop coming, get drunk, or whatever. But again, it's newcomers who generally do this sort of stuff. I believe that newcomers are the life-blood of AA. So instead of criticizing and ostracizing our future, I try to remember to be as patient and tolerant of newcomers and their habits that they come in with as the old-timers were with me when I came in. I didn't know any better then, but as a sick alcoholic I learned more from those who demonstrated the principles than from those who told me I was wrong.