Sure I drove drunk. And did a lot of other antisocial things drunk. But I never said to myself, "Driving drunk gives me a high, so I'm going to get drunk and drive."
alcohol dulled my inhibitions so that I did things I wouldn't do sober. I've never been arrested for being sober in or about an automobile. I've never been pulled over for safe driving. I broke the law after I darank, not before.
And whether or not I respected laws, rules or regulations before I got sober, I respect and obey them today. I also respect the Traditions Of AA, whether I like them or not. addicts who insist on changing AA can't say that. Nor can they give a legitimate reason for attendign AA meetings instead of NA. Only a bunch of lame excuses.
During a recent Regional Forum I heard a comment, " If AA is an addiction center, then where am I supposed to go as an alcoholic" ?
I hear all the time the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. It is quite different in the long form, you can read it for yourself. These traditions were approved around 1946 and put in the short form which we see on the shades on the walls along with the 12 Steps at meetings. This idea of the short form came from Ernie T. to make groups Tradition conscience. Ernie T. whom started A.A. in Chicago, ( Dr. Bob was his Sponsor )You can read this for yourself in AA Comes of Age on page 213. Hopefully being better informed we can stick to our Primary Purpose in Tradition 5.
I was recently elected Assistant Coordinator for my home group. My first priority is going to be to try to better represent the Traditions. We are a large group in a major metro area and have 23 meetings a week.
The only time that a Tradition is read as part of regular business is once a month at our Group Conscience meeting; at which, we read the long form of the corresponding tradition for the month (Tradition One in January and so on).
Additionally, out of almost 1200 meetings a year only 10 are dedicated to the Traditions - that’s less than 1%! (For those of you who are curious, the break down is less than 4.5% to BB study, NO 12/12 Study, 10.7% Speaker, and the remaining 83.8% Discussion).
So here is what I need from you... I am looking for suggestions - how do you guys represent the Traditions in your meetings?
So far all I have come up with is adding the recitation of the tradition(s) after How It Works &/or exchange one of our 19 discussion meetings for some sort of dedicated Tradition Study.
Keep it simple....At the discussion meetings the topic can be a Tradition
If I had the "power", I would delete the reading of HIW,
and replace it with the reading of the Twelve Traditions at every meeting.
The Reading of How It Works aloud at meetings is a tragic
mistake. The ignorance of our Traditions is one major cause of our
decline in effectiveness. We haven't changed the Traditions; we just ignore them. Good luck at changing anything. ANONYMOUS
I believe that we are elected to Serve, not lead. The group conscience leads.
Much can be learned reading the pamphlets "Question and answers on sponsorship" and "The AA Group". Study those and "The AA Service Manual" and whatever else you can find and approach the group conscience with your informed recommendations.
Understanding the Traditions is really simple for most. Reading them off the wall explains most of it. A few more words should clarify anything left. That's likely why tradition meetings go over about like the plague.
Don't get me wrong, the Traditions are terribly important but that doesn't make them a popular topic. The history behind them in the 12 x 12 and other literature shows their importance and makes us more willing to practice them. An important part of every sponsor's job.
I think you are absolutely correct in writing that most tradition meetings go over like a plague.
IMO the reasons for this are mainly due to the basic nature of alcoholics. Without doing an in-depth 5th step it goes without saying that we/I are rebellious, selfish and self serving in the extreme. I like people to do things my way or there is the highway.
I don't like being told what to do, never mind how to do it. Many will seek doing it their way even at the risk of destroying our life-saving and life-giving fellowship.
I happen to be a step, tradition and Big Book thumper. I rarely find these topics at meetings and therefore rarely attend other than 1 or 2 birthday meetings every couple of months).
I got tired of leaving meetings feeling more frustrated, resentful, angry and depressed than when I arrived. I would join a home group (if I could find one)that did more than pay lip service to the traditions.
I still work the steps and traditions daily to the best of my ability and have much more serenity today than when I was attending meetings 3-4 times per week.
It is my experience that I can maintain good sobriety without going to meetings; ask thousands of loners who can't attend. To do so I must continue to keep my higher power, steps and traditions foremost in my life one day at a time.
Thanks for listening/ reading.
Mike B. I have attended various AA meetings almost on a daily basis for over four decades. I never for a moment
thought that I would leave a meeting frustrated, resentful,
angry and depressed. But it has happened.
I just refuse to accept and support what AA in its entirety has become. I honestly question whether today's Alcoholics Anonymous does more harm than good.
I have become tired of listening to HIW and the 24hr book,
when I know they are harming AA. I cannot tolerate the
chanting. Hi Joe! is a chant when it is a group response to
the first part of the first step. But there is only one
way to stop it. The group has to take action.
Although I believe the BB to be the second greatest
book ever written, I do not consider myself to be a
BB thumper. I believe Bill wrote it in simple language.
I don't think it needs to be taught. Bill himself explains
the BB in his further writings.
Please stay with us on the Forum. Could you point out
some things that bother you? I have a list of my own, the
less than 5,000 new members in 2012 tops this list. That
is appalling. ANONYMOUS
Thanks for letting us know what bothers you about AA practices. I couldn’t agree more with your comments; readings, chanting, non- AA approved literature and loss of informed (tradition driven) group conscience are serious issues.Some other pet peeves include group prayer, prayer circles (spirituality yes religion no), and all outside issues including drugs, smoking, food, sex, sectarian religion, politics and sexual orientation.
The traditions are the cornerstone of our fellowship; failing to uphold them will be the downfall of our society. The traditions were forged on the anvil of experience so that we would not repeat our mistakes. From my perspective we have not learned much from those mistakes. I believe Bill W. was thinking traditions when he stated, “if AA disintegrates it will do so from within”.
Statistics published (GSO and Grapevine)show AA has experienced reduced growth and recovery rates. From 1935-1990 membership doubled every decade; from 2 (Bob & Bill) to over 2 million.Membership has remained stagnant for the past 20+ years. Had our initial growth rates continued today’s membership would exceed 8 million. In 1955, 50% of all newcomers stayed sober immediately and another 25% succeeded after some relapses (Big Book- 2nd edition). A 2010 GSO survey of central offices in major North American cities concluded less than 5% of newcomers stayed sober more than 5 years.
These numbers suggest serious problems threatening AA unity, growth, recovery rates and our very survival. I believe there are many reasons for AA’s present dilemma but our failure to follow the traditions leads them all.
Thanks for the part you play in my sobriety.
"angry and depressed"
"I just refuse to accept"
"more harm than good."
"I have become tired of listening"
"I cannot tolerate"
"The group has to take action."
With your own words, you put yourself squarely on page 52 of the Big Book and conclude that the group needs to change to solve your problem. There are only thirty one pages between where you are and the promises. Fifteen pages later, on page 83 Bill condenses the solution into twenty nine words.
“Burn the idea into the consciousness of every man that he can get well regardless of anyone. The only condition is that he trust in God and clean house.”
“There is one who has all power, may you find Him now.”
Big Book, page 417, works for me in these situations: "And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation--some fact of my life--unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment."
While I can agree what you and others are saying about reading "How it Works," saying the prayers, and AA's singleness of purpose, I can also look around the room of my home group of 70 men who I know and love dearly. Three years ago, these men helped me to get sober and recover from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body.
We know who the newcomer is, and we practically knock each other over trying to get to him. He does not leave without an exchange of phone numbers. We have found a way that works despite all the doom and gloom that is prophesied in these forum pages by a few alleged alarmists.
I offer a message of hope. Despite all the apparent failings of AA as a whole, we seem to continue on. I think that there are ways to achieve change that don't entail so much upheaval and controversy. Also, keep in mind that change takes time; especially with a large organization that is governed by servants instead of dictators or leaders.
If positive change is to take place, I believe it will happen with us all working together, just as we have worked together to stay spiritually fit and sober. One renegade coming off half cocked proclaiming that we are unknowingly scaring away many of the newcomers obviously does not go over too well. On the other hand, an AA group that is doing something different and having better results and then sharing this with others is a much more welcoming discussion.
Look at the upside down triangle of the A.A. Structure of the Conference and see who has more say in making changes. (go to: AA.org-For Groups and Members-Getting Involved in General Service-Structure of the Conference) Now granted your group cannot dictate how other groups run their meetings, you do have an argument that things that they are doing are affecting AA as a whole. Or, at the very minimum, you have a platform to get the message out to other groups that use the Traditions and Concepts to help the still suffering alcoholic. This platform will have a much larger audience than you will ever see on these forums and I believe that this change will have a higher chance of succeeding. We also have another advantage. The minority opinion is always allowed to be heard.
Let's work together on this instead of against each other. In my own experience, change has not happened the way that I thought it would!
One way to stay in the literature is use the 12 & 12. One meeting a step, next meeting a tradition.
Step 1 at a meeting, Tradition 1 next meeting.( Long Form )
Works for us.
Does anyone know the proper procedure online for anonymity breaks? I know GSO sends a letter explaining anonymity to AA members that have been broadcast or been on the news and said they were AA members.
according to AA pamphlet "understanding anonymity", it say's to treat basically any online forum that does not require a password to be treated the same as a public broadcast.
I have been following this app called the recoveryapp. Even though it is an app, it also has a web version where all the posts are available to read online without having the app. Everytime i mention that someone has broken their anonymity by full name, or full face photo along with a reference to being a member of AA, they get uptight. Sometimes they say live and let live, rule 62, ect. I only mention the anonymity break if someone has their full name or picture and metions being a member of AA. I feel it's part of my responsibility to safeguard our program. I now have started to screen save the anonymity breaks and attach it in an email to GSO, hoping a letter from GSO will help end the daily anonymity breaks.
Any experience or thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
If you know that the person is in your AA Area, you can contact your Area Conference Delegate. Otherwise you may have to contact the GSO.
At AA.org there is a "Internet Guideline," under A.A. Literature, that is helpful and you could forward it to the offending parties.
I would agree that it is part of all our responsibility to respect the traditions, but ultimately we have no individual power over others of course. The Traditions, Steps, and Concepts are all suggested guides, not laws. I just hope that you don't get caught in a mental twist over this.
Where I live there are two neighboring communities. One has flourishing NA meetings and the AA there has relatively few young people in it. The other has very few NA meetings and the AA there has lots of young people in it. My impression I have from speaking with the young people in these meetings is that nearly all of them have had problem with both drugs and alcohol. They say they will attend whatever meeting is available and will tailor their stories accordingly.
I wonder whether this whole drugs vs alcohol discussion will simply fade in coming years as nearly all of the people in both fellowships will have the same experience of having problems with both drugs and alcohol, and realizing that abstinence from both was and is needed.
I'm actually surprised now at the persistence of the discussion. I'm over 60 and my story involved both drugs and alcohol. Seriously, who is left who needs to have a pure, alcohol-only message to identify with?
Me ! I am starting to hear that question and comment more and more. I am 40 years old, came to AA at 33 with «only» an alcohol problem. You question means « people comming to AA with «only» an alcoholic problem are weird and their insistance about sticking to their alcohol problem is anoying». Many people people did not take drugs! Many newcomers will not stay in AA if they can't relate. I caught a newcommer in the door, leaving, because she was offended at a drug message and asked me : is AA always like that?.
The traditions work very well, they were meant for a reason, let's trust them.
I, too, am surprised at the persistence of this discussion! Well said. Where I go to meetings (in a big city) AA is absolutely thriving, especially among young people. I go to lots of meetings and meet hundreds of newcomers under 30 every year. There are also many old timers (including myself with 20 years). I don't feel threatened by discussion of drugs other than alcohol. I don't think many of the other old timers do either. When drugs are part of people's stories, people share about them. I hear the circumlocutions sometimes ("I also had another addiction", "my drinking led to other things") but they seem pointless to me. As our friends in NA say, alcohol is a drug, period.
I do think that the anxiety about the "singleness of purpose" has to do with generation and maybe social class. As I understand it, in the 1950s and 1960s when the "singleness of purpose" statement started to become a big deal, there were tremendous social changes going on. Drug use was associated with youth culture, counterculture, disreputable black jazz musicians, protesting the Vietnam War, etc. etc. Moreover, scientists didn't understand the common biochemical roots of both alcohol and other drug addiction like they do now.
I find that even though the "singleness of purpose" statement, as printed, says "...we confine our discussion to our problems with alcohol..." a lot of meeting chairs change it, unconsciously or consciously, to "problems with alcoholism." People take that to mean they can talk about all their addictions to drugs, including alcohol. That makes sense from a biological point of view.
But if someone is uncomfortable with others talking about drugs, for whatever reason, there are meetings here where such talk is frowned on, so they can attend those. To me and nearly everyone else I know in the program, it's a non issue.
I also am a duly addicted person-over 60-In my community AA is very strong-well supported-yet we do have NA-I in the past have attended NA meetings and have found them not as structured as my AA meetings-which I need-they are both important for the recovery process-yet I attend AA meetings and my homegroup is an open AA meeting. We welcome people from both sides yet try to restrict our conversations to that of alcoholism-and then we try to steer people in the direction that might work best for them.I try to keep an open mind about these matters and still uphold our traditions. What came first-the chicken or the egg?
Read Dr. Bob’s nightmare, he “briefly” mentions taking sedatives to make it through work. Read Bill’s story, he “briefly” mentions morphine or sedatives. AA’s cofounders both mention drugs “briefly”. Bill W. wrote our traditions. He’s the author of AA’s singleness of purpose. If your at least an alcoholic, we don’t care what your other problems are. You are welcome in AA, but you have to at least have an alcohol problem. If you are in AA without an alcohol problem, you can’t give a straight alcoholic talk from the podium or around a table. When talking to newcomers, you can’t through your own experience share how you drank and how you recovered from alcohol. No matter how open and loving it may be to allow everyone in, it is also very selfish and dishonest. By letting nonalcoholic drug addicts in AA, we are robbing NA of their chance to grow and help other nonalcoholic drug addicts.
The addicts that should be able to relate to other addicts, are sitting in AA meetings. They could be sharing their experience, strength, and hope with other addicts, but insist on attending AA meetings because they don’t have the willingness to start their own NA meetings. How selfish is that?
Good question! I'm no longer surprised to hear those old-timers get excited about listening to young folks talk about their drug history. My experience is similar to yours, in that recovering druggies learn to tailor their stories to the meeting topic and they generally don't dwell on their drug of choice.
I agree that many of us have had both alcohol and drug problems and "that abstinence from both was and is needed." However, I get concerned about diluting and/or confusing the experience, strength, and hope offerred by so many alcoholics that have gone before us.
Further, the word "exactly" appears 7 times in the main Big Book text and throughout AA literature. Whenever I read that word, I need to study the context and message for me. Seeking advice from self-help experts during the drinking days only made the hole I was in deeper.
Giving up doing things "MY WAY," meetings, my sponsor, the Big Book (my text book) , AA Comes of Age, As Bill Sees It, Came to Believe, and other conference approved pieces have kept me from drinking for many years. I easily tolerate reading and talk about drug related issues; I'm not so sure about combined meetings, especially for newcomers.
hi everyone, my name is sarah and I am an alcoholic. alcohol? drugs? sex? food? does not matter what the problem is... as long as I live one day at a time doing my Higher Power's will, by the steps and traditions, our code of love and tolerance may grow. thank you.
That is a lovely sentiment for you to live by as you choose. Unfortunately, it is not the message of AA and a member of AA is not living by the Traditions if they choose to ignore what they say and do it "their way". "We alcoholics are undisciplined. So, we let God discipline us in the simple way we have just outlined." Pg 88 Big Book
Breaking traditions using our own code of love and tolerance is hiding a bad motive under a "seemingly" good one. The desire to be rebellious, undisciplined, do things your way not God's way, and use love and tolerance to justify selfish, self-centered, dishonest behavior is exactly why we have the traditions in place. As spiritual safeguards to the cunning, baffling, nature of alcoholism. Try living the AA way and not your way and you will know a new happiness and freedom; the true from the false.
Can't speak for N/A but the AA I've attended from the first meeting over three decades ago to the one last Saturday included those with problems with drugs other than alcohol.
So no one misses the subtlety, I just called alcohol a drug. It is just in a unique category since it has always been so easy to make almost everywhere on the planet for thousands of years. Anybody think it wouldn't be a controlled substance if it was just discovered today?
"So no one misses the subtlety, I just called alcohol a drug. It is just in a unique category since it has always been so easy to make almost everywhere on the planet for thousands of years. Anybody think it wouldn't be a controlled substance if it was just discovered today?"
Caffeine is a drug. Would coffee, tea, cocoa or soda pop be controlled substances if they were invented today? And make no mistake, caffeine is just as addictive as alcohol.
Nicotine is one of the most addictive drugs known - ask anyone who is trying to quit smoking. I would love to have a dollar for every time I've heard someone insist he or she is 'clean' and sober, then drink his coffee and/or light a cigarette.
Addicts ignore several documented facts when comparing alcoholics to addicts.
Nine out of ten drinkers never have a problem with alcohol. One in ten is or will be alcoholic.
Nine out of ten drinkers seldom if ever get drunk. They don't drink simply to get drunk or get high, or get a buzz. There is only one reason to use drugs, to get high.
I know several AA members who are also compulsive gamblers. In over forty years I have never heard a compulsive gambler insist that AA change the traditions to allow non-alcoholic gamblers to become members.
I have yet to hear a legitimate reason for addicts to avoid NA meetings in favor of AA meetings.
my sponsor is 40 yrs sober and never did drugs. my newest sponsee is 9 months sober and did no drugs. 3 members of my homegroup are 1 year sober or less and have never done drugs. they all say the same thing " when problems other than alcohol are discussed at AA meetings, none can relate through personal experience. the main reason AA has lasted this long is groups continue to follow traditions 1,3,&5. if you need to discuss problems other than alcohol, talk to your sponsor after the meeting.
Me! And millions of other alcoholics. ANONYMOUS
I think we all agree that an AA group or meeting calling itself "Christian" would be in violation of the Traditions. The same goes for one calling itself Jewish, or Buddhist, or Muslim. Why then do we not say the same for Atheist groups? If you believe that Atheism isn't a religion, search "Atheism Megachurches" and see how many articles come up.
I have never heard of a Atheism meeting. I have, of course, heard of A & A meetings. (Agnostics and Atheists). With 38 years of sobriety in AA, and still agnostic, I see a great need for meetings like these. The first time I admitted in a meeting to my lack of belief in God, I was roundly condemned and severely chastised. The only reason I am still alive today was the very kind man who stopped me from running out and told me he had recently heard a speaker with 18 years who was an agnostic so not to let the rabid crowd keep me from AA. Just this last week, when I spoke of my agnosticism, I was, again, roundly chastised by the meeting leader. From my 38 years perspective, I just inwardly smiled, and felt no need to argue or run. But if I had been a newcomer, I'm not so sure I would ever have returned.
I'd like to hear more about your agnosticism.
I just read that an astronomer estimated that there are 8.8 billion planets in our solar system that have a mass and temperature similar to earth's. Multiply that by billions of solar systems. Do you suppose us geniuses here on earth are by ourselves? I don't. I think that information puts a strain on our religions. Abraham, Jesus, Mohamed, the Buda exercised free will to become who they were. Were they robots with billions of clones with the exact messages on the other planets? I doubt it and I'm skeptical of anyone telling me that any one of them has THE ONE TRUE MESSAGE.
On the other hand, anyone from a small child to a Cambridge professor can see an incredible clockwork of nature in the universe. Interacting, unvarying laws powering the engine of the universe. From that enormity to my tiny experience of trying Step two as suggested by Alcoholics Anonymous shows me over and over that my senses coupled with my reasoning reveal not only the existence of a Higher Power but the nature of that Force.
Can you really look at a hummingbird, and elephant, the Milky Way and honestly say "I don't have any idea whether anything designed all this? Seriously, I'd like to hear an explanation.
"I have never heard of a Atheism meeting. I have, of course, heard of A & A meetings. (Agnostics and Atheists). With 38 years of sobriety in AA, and still agnostic, I see a great need for meetings like these."
If that is truly the case, you should also see a great need for Christian AA meetings. Many newcomers coming to AA today are still active church members. When they talk of their religion they are pounced upon just as strongly as the Atheists and/or Agnostics.
For what it's worth, I turned my back on organized religion in October of 1954 and have't turned back. I don't believe AA meetings are the place to preach any religion, whether it be Christianity, Judaism. Budhhis,. Islamism, Atheism or Agnosticism. Nor are meetings the place to put down any religion.
To me an agnostic is someone without knoweledge of God. An athiest says there is no GOD. Could you please take a moment and elaborate on your agnostic belief?
To me AA is very agnostice in nature. Even though I had no relationship with any GOD (besides myself and alcohol), I was willing to work the steps using the higher power of my understanding. I said prayers to a higher power that I did not know, I asked direction from a higher power I did not know. Over time as I worked the steps I was given many spiritual awakenings. I could see the God of my understanding in nature,drunks, and children. in fact just this winter i was walking down the hallway of a large ice arena with my kids, finding our section for the hockey game. a 4 year old girl with downs syndrome held out her arms and said "hold me!" I picked her up, she gave me the tightest hug I ever had. I think God felt I needed a hug and maybe the girl did to.
It's hard for my to deny the existance of a higher power when I have had these experiences over and over again.
I found a higher power as soon as I was willing to try, that's all.
I have had many conversations with agnostics only to find they are more spiritual than most religious people I know. they called themselves agnostics, I see them as the children of an all powerful loving creator.
Threw a practce of praye meditation and prayer on any problems, desires, or directions, the will of god is in my life in the most surprising ways further telling me that THE WILL OF GOD WILLNEVER
LEAD ME TO WHERE THE GRACE OF GOD WILL NOT PROTECT ME. THATS IS MY EXPERIANCE
I fully agree with Bill. Bill allowed NA to use our twelve steps, traditions and concepts. We have open AA meetings and I see no reason that non-AA's cannot attend. As a chairperson, I request that all who share be alcoholic and confine their discussion to problems relating to alcoholism only.
I also fully believe that people that have problems other than alcoholism be allowed to be AA members as long as they are or have been alcoholics. However, when they do share, I do recommend that they confine their sharing to problems that relate to alcoholism. If they venture too far afield, it is the responsibility of the chairperson to correct them. If the chairperson does not do so, then some person in the group should take the responsibility to correct the person who is in violation of this very essential tradition!!
"As a chairperson, I request that all who share be alcoholic "
The long form of the tradition "Our membership ought to include all who suffer from alcoholism..."
That's a group to INCLUDE. Fine so far.
Lets leave those who mention drugs other than alcohol for a different thread.
Does it say only those who call themselves alcoholic. No.
Does it say exclude those who are coming to decide if they are alcoholic? No.
Does it say to exclude heavy drinkers who are not alcoholic who have a desire to stop drinking? No.
Your attempt at making a logical argument contains an error called "Assuming the consequent".
The argument below "When a real alcoholic comes to an AA meeting and hears everything but alcoholism.." doesn't require a course in logic to see through. Kindergarten should be enough.
The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. Says nothing about alcoholism. Our literature points out that there are plenty of people who drink a lot that aren't alcoholic. I didn't have a doctor diagnose me as alcoholic so I guess I'd be out. Meetings focused on the solution don't dwell on the chemical we want to stop using. If you want to lord over drunkalog meetings, those trying to recover from addiction will clear out anyway.
please read tradition 3 long form. the tradition 3 you quote is the short form. trad 3 long form says our membership ought to include all who suffer from alcoholism. tradition 3 was put into place because groups wanted to exclude "alcoholics" who had other problems, not people with other problems.
I know it's hard to understand that a newcomer alcoholic is not going to recover if your talking about "addictions" at meetings when we all know that addictions are addictions. The fact is that alcoholics don't think they are alcoholics. we focus on alcohol to overcome every alcoholics denial to alcoholism. Just listen next time you attend an AA meeting. listen to how many people intruduce themselves as everything "but" simply "alcoholic". Then you will see the extent of our denial to alcoholism. When a real alcoholic comes to an AA meeting and hears everything but alcoholism, they turn there head to the wall and die. I know, I am an alcoholic who feels out of place at AA meetings were problems other than alcohol are the topic. In fact, there is a pamphlet titled "problems other than alcohol". study that pamphlet so you can carry the message instead of the disease.
There was a time when our reputation was "better than our
actual character". Hardly anyone had anything negative to
say about Alcoholics Anonymous. That is simply not true
today. With today's level of communication, many know about
If we had stayed with our original purpose: alcoholics
helping alcoholics on an individual and group basis, If
we had become self-supporting through our own contributions
we would still be favorable to everyone. Doctors would tell
their alcoholic patients: AA can and will help you, instead of saying AA might help you; it does help some people,
If we had remained a fellowship instead of a twelve step
program, or a religious cult we could and would still be
saving hundreds of thousands of suffering alcoholics every
year. They are out there and, I believe, growing in number.
Their families are suffering. They are all suffering needlessly, standing by, while we complacently ignore
that sledge hammer Dr. Silkworth left for us. It is
hanging on the garage wall. It is the IDEA, offered by
"the little doctor" and used by Bill W. when he met Dr.
Bob in the spring of 1935. That method will still work
"if we work it". And it is not the twelve steps. It has
little to do with the steps, maybe step 12, helping
other alcoholics. ANONYMOUS
Its easy to put too rest any worries about the world’s perception of AA being in trouble. I reviewed the results of a Google search of “AA fails”. The first source that I recognized was Scientific American which discussed the limited appeal we have always had and quoted from a VA study that gave us good marks. The Washington Post had something about “AA fails to support young Addicts”. I guess they could follow up with how we fail to provide the Olympic team with pole vaulters or don’t offer car repairs. There are many things we don’t do or claim to.
After that there were those selling their own books or treatment programs. Then the expected number of sore heads complaining that the spiritual program of recovery offered by AA should leave out that God business.
In any other area, if its there, an internet search will find it. AA failing is not to be found except in the minds of a few who seen to use their overloaded imaginations for a reference library.
Thanks for the referral to "AA fails". It reassures me
that I am not the only one who sees what a disaster we
have become. Sometimes I wonder if I am "viewing with
alarm for the good of AA". (I really no longer have any
doubt that as a TWELVE STEP PROGRAM Fellowship we do
more harm than good).
I have seen the mistakes we have made over the past
three decades. I watched silently as they were being made.
I did not have the information, knowledge or the experience
to question distortions being made. I greatly participated in one of them. I insisted that we use the 24 hour book
as accepted as AA material. I know today, after much study,
that using this material at our meetings was and is a
Contributors to "AA fails" only add to the evidence that
today's AA has lost most of its effectiveness. But none
of them were around when Alcoholics Anonymous was saving
lives by the hundreds of thousands every year. We can
return to that rate of success. Remove the 24 hour book
from our AA rooms. Stop reading How It Works at meetings.
Return HIW to chapter five where it belongs. Stop all
chanting: Hi Joe, spoken as a group is chanting. Remove
the title Sponsor. Today's concept of sponsorship makes
AA a cult. Sure, cults work for a few. Stop making a spectacle of the newcomer. Stop encouraging, or allowing
the newcomer to make a spectacle of himself/herself. Stop
sharing by "show of hands". Stop the "hold hands and pray"
These are some of the reversals of changes made at the
meeting level over the past three decades. All of these
blunders have been covered in this forum; some many times
especially "How It Works". That was our most tragic mistake.
You complainers are the only ones I come across that have a low opinion of AA. Doctors, judges, social workers, personnel directors, psychologists and ministers all refer to AA regularly.
The IDEA was how to make a twelfth step call not to throw the program that works away. Before anyone buys this guy's opinion, read it for yourself.
The IDEA is how to present the solution to other
alcoholics whether in the context of a twelve step
call or at an AA meeting. We lay the tools at their
feet. Don't even tell them they have to pick them up.
They are offered as suggestions. If they see what we
have and like what they see, maybe they will pick
them up. Attraction, absolutely no promotion. In
the final analysis I see this as the IDEA offered to
Bill W. by Dr. Silkworth. I don't say to throw the program
that works away. Just leave it at the prospect's feet.
Do not try to force it on anyone else. Don't even say
"Well, if you want what I have, do what I did. Let the
prospect decide all by him/herself what they want to
do. Just share experience, strength and most important, HOPE. Give the prospect nothing to rebel against. ANONYMOUS Yes, alcoholic patients are still being
referred to AA. We tell them right up front "That One
is God! May you find Him now! The minister could have
given that sermon.
"The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. Says nothing about alcoholism."
A wise person once said, "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing."
It's true, the short form of Tradition Three 'says nothing about alcoholism' but the long form certainly does.
So does Tradition Five. Not to mention Steps One and Twelve, the AA Preamble and the pamphlet "Problems Other Than Alcohol. There are two reasons for addicts to insist on attending AA meetings. First, there are no NA meetings in the area, in which case he may attend open AA meetings as a guest.Second, to prove to himself and everyone else that he's special, that he's different from the rest.
The excuse that NA meetings don't focus on recovery like AA doesn't hold water. If that were true, he would find other clean addicts and start a meeting that does focus on recovery.
While it sound very high minded and noble to say you want to give everyone a chance to recover, you intentionally leave out the alcoholic who didn't use other drugs. And like it or not, there are many alcoholics who didn't use them.
I have a friend who is a member of Overeaters Anonymous.
He often says that years ago he was told to go to open
AA meetings. He is not an alcoholic or a drug addict.
His only addiction is food. OA meetings are not that
plentiful, so he goes to open AA meetings. He says that
he does not share at AA meetings; only listens.
My strong opinion is that this person ought not be
made welcome at AA meetings, open or closed. Open meetings
are open to the public; yes, but ought to be limited to
individuals interested in alcoholism. They may be there
to "check us out", before even admitting that they may
be an alcoholic.
I think this is the purpose of "open meetings" although
we have strayed from that purpose. ANONYMOUS
Open meetings are for anyone interested, including non-alcoholics/addicts, i.e., those not addicted to anything. They are also open to gamblers, sex-addicts, over-eaters, etc. Our open meetings attract medical students interested in learning more about addiction and AA as a resource for their future patients. Many of our closed meetings start with a brief statement regarding the nature of the meeting, that those who think they have a problem with alcohol are welcome to stay, also reminding folks to restrict their comments to those that pertain to alcoholism (as opposed to any cross-addictions).
I have read material when monitoring an AA meeting from a book of daily readings for Overeaters Anonymous (Hazelden), those more general and addressing the struggle to live life on life's terms a day at a time as opposed to anything specific to that affliction. I have done so in part because I was moved by the reading, and in part because I feel it is important to demonstrate to others that the message I need to hear may come from a variety of sources, not just from fellow alcoholics or AA published literature. In case you are wondering, I am ectomorphic.
The time may have come for all meetings of Alcoholics
Anonymous to become closed meetings. Maybe even a
Secret Society of recovered and recovering alcoholics.
Information about AA is available at so many sources,
there is little reason to have meetings open to anyone
who wants to investigate.
Almost everyone in the world today has heard of A.A.
I believe that anyone who is in need of us has heard
of us. Rose
There is always a new crop of Alcoholics every year. Many of those who have heard of us, do not have an accurate picture of who we are. I vote to keep the doors open to the still sick and suffering alcoholic who has no self knowledge of their dilemma yet.
No, I was not wondering. I could care less if you have a
slim body. It is the rest of your message, or mess, that
disturbs me. Individuals who are not interested in
stopping the use of alcohol or helping someone else quit
ought not be welcomed at AA meetings, open or closed.
If you are using material not approved by our General
Service Conference, you are violating our singleness of
purpose. It is this type of thinking that has ruined
our effectiveness. You can read whatever you choose on
your own time. You
are at complete liberty. But you cannot choose what is to
be read at meetings. That is what the group conscience
is for. Manny Q.
Respectfully, I think you are getting your concepts confused. Each group has the right to choose whether it wants readings restricted to AA published literature or not. Thus, one group I attend, per the group conscience (trust me, this issue came up), I can read from the 24 Hr a Day book, Sermon on the Mount, the Bhagavad Gita, or from an Al-Anon or NA text. With another group I attend, I would be restricted to those materials conference approved for publication. Singleness of purpose is an unrelated issue. As for "effectiveness," please cite the studies on which your statement is based, as my own experience suggests to me a different conclusion, that the intolerant big book thumping god fearing proselytizers drive more people away than the tolerant open-minded folks who don't preach.
Use of the Twenty Four Book at an AA meeting is in
violation of Tradition Four. This practice has greatly affected
AA as a whole. Even if the entire group votes to us it,
it is still a violation. The use of this book has steered
Alcoholics Anonymous to becoming a religion. Bill wrote
that nothing could be so dangerous to the future of AA.
Why do you think Bill and his friends rejected this
book when it was offered to AA. It would have been a
real source of money. The General Service Conference
rejected it again in the early 1970s. Today I am convinced
that it would (and probably will be) approved by a great
majority. It has already been approved by our
membership. This book and the reading of "How It Works"
aloud at meetings has been the cause of our loss
of effectiveness over the past three decades.
My concerns are based on the information that our
membership doubled about every ten years for the
first 57 years until 1992, reaching almost two and
a half million members. We have fewer members than
that, TWO DECADES LATER. But you will be unable to find this
information anywhere. "They" have hidden that information
in the vault, along with GSO employee's salaries. ANONYMOUS