P.T.Barnum is famous for saying "There is sucker born everyday" one of his lesser know quotes is, "You can't sell any peanuts till you get em the tent". The point is if you do not identify with alcoholics you probably will not stay past the "rigamarole"."Shoemaker stick to thy last" is what we better be doing or we will be of no help to anyone.
I could give flying burb less if you believe in anything let alone God, but don't screw up the fellowship and program that saved mine and million of others lives. Go start you own deal. Good Luck. M.
Most comments I have been reading are copied and pasted here from a anti-AA site. Look for yourself, easy enough. It's unfortunate that this forum has been hijacked.
Well my friend, in my humble opinion, you have really gone off the tracks with your post; but do keep trying.
If anything it is comments like yours that appear to hijack this site. What anti- AA site are you talking about? What comments have been copied and pasted to this site? You seem to be one who is talking in generalities that lack any credible evidence to support your claims.
Most comments I have read here have been well thought out, logical and supported by the Traditions as described in the 12 and 12, Big book and other AA approved literature.
These posts talk mainly about how today’s issues either detract from or reinforce the unity of AA. They are about the Traditions and that is what this thread is about.
The posts here talk about AA members experience and concerns regarding our Traditions; about how the Traditions are ignored, misunderstood or just plain violated by the majority of AA members.
They are about the problems that reflect little if any concern for the common welfare of our fellowship. They are about issues that threaten AA’s unity, growth, survival and the dismal recovery rates of our members, especially newcomers. They are about the issues that, over the past 20+ years, have resulted in millions of alcoholics failing to receive AA’s real message of recovery.
I for one have never cut and pasted anything to this site that was not my own work and I doubt that the majority of others have either. They are referenced to AA literature that supports the writtings.
I am so grateful to those who take the time to share by writing. By reading them I learn I am not alone in my beliefs and my resolve is strengthened to try and fix the problems.
Thanks for the part you play in my sobriety.
I don't know what that means but that's OK.
A wonderful thing about anonymous postings on the internet is that the words have to stand on their own two feet. They gain no credibility from the lofty perch or personality that they came from. They could be from the Bible, Socrates, Charlie Manson's cell or the restroom wall. No one in their right mind would accept them as being factual without comparing them with their own knowledge or some verification.
I try to connect my posts to some well-established AA principal and spell out the connection to it. If someone doesn't like what I'm saying they don't have an argument with me (an anonymous internet poster). They have a beef with the principal. They certainly have a right to do that. Let he reader see both sides and decide for themselves.
It would be lovely to get some feedback about an idea I am working on. Soon there will be a conference.Part of which will be the question: Should we change the short form of the eleventh tradition? The thought is that no mention of the internet allows for potential breaks of anonimity since the internet is not specifically mentioned in the short form of the 11th tradition.Be that as it may,the 12x12 says on page 14,the introduction:The 2002 general service conference discussed this issue and it was unanimously recommended that:"The text in the book twelve steps and twelve traditions,written by Bill W.,remain as is,recognizing the Fellowships feelings,that Bills writings be retained as originally published." What do you all think should happen?
Bill W. wrote in the April 1963 edition of the AA
Grapevine, page 345 in The Language of the Heart, an
article: "Our Critics Can Be Our Benefactors".
If we are criticized by anti AA sites, we ought
to pay attention. If it is completely false we can
ignore it. But if there is any truth we need/ought/
must pay attention and make corrections.
Stop reading "How it Works" aloud at meetings. Remove the
24hr book from our rooms, Stop all forms of chanting,
stop sharing by "show of hands", delete today's form
of sponsor (if we do this, the real sponsor will
re-surface), stop the holding hands and praying.
These simple changes (reversals) will begin the restoration of the effectiveness of our fellowship
(not Fellowship) of Alcoholics Anonymous. ANONYMOUS
Last week it seemed that a GSR and a DCM couldn’t read Tradition 4 on the sign on the wall. “HIGHER UP’S are looking into the problem and are writing to New York.” Doesn’t look that tough to me but that’s how it came down. Our central office is only an hour’s drive and I’m retired so I went and picked up a handfull of pamphlets “The AA Group”. A few people looked at them. The problem went away. I imagine that a letter from GSO will arrive in a few months encouraging the would-be leaders to re-read the tradition and maybe the pamphlet “The AA Group”. The dog barks, the caravan passes
Last week a member shared an experience he had at another group in town. His second AA meting in his life. There, he shared among other things that he was going to counseling. For that he was interrupted by the meeting chair with something like “This is AA. We don’t want to hear about your council ling, or your lawn mower or any other stuff. You talk about your alcoholism here.” He’s never been back. He’s been a sober, contributing member of our group for about two years. Now it’s my turn to confront him. I think sharing a negative experience at another group, by name violates the tradition – “principals before personalities”. The principal is that there is another AA group in town. The personality is that there was a jerk chairing the meeting the day he was there. I try not to pass judgment based on that one experience. Contempt before investigation. If someone gets mad at us and is willing to give AA another chance before they give up completely, I want them to try that other group. Maybe the jerk over there got drunk, got better or maybe the two will connect like Bill and Doctor Bob. I’ll share this information with the guy, one on one, and he’ll likely leave out the name of the other group the next time he tells the story. We always open the meeting reading one tradition. I’ll toss in tradition 12 this week . A free bonus tradition today, no extra charge.
Yesteryear’s AA does not exist. I can’t get sober in it. I can’t stay sober in it. I can’t carry any message in it. It’s gone. My recollection of it is flawed anyway. I compare what’s good about what I want with what’s bad about what I don’t want. If my recollection was unflawed and unbiased it wouldn't matter. It’s still gone. Tradition two tells me that what we do in THIS MEETING, RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW is driven by the conscience of this GROUP. If what’s going on violates AA’s principals, its counseling not AA, is not the way we used to do it (or any of a hundred other ways to say “I DON’T LIKE IT”) then AA has a very simple grievance procedure. If my clear, well researched, presentation of my grievance doesn't enlighten those who error in their ways (don’t switch to MY WAY) I still have options. I can change my thinking. I can leave. I can demonstrate that what I do has such marvelous results that no one can keep themselves from following my example. I can sit around feeling sorry for myself because I can’t get people to DO WHAT I WANT THEM TOO. If I opt for the last option and am the good AA that I think I am then I’ll quickly repeat 6 and 7 and God will happy to remove that self pity before I get drunk over it. Is that a WIN, WIN, WIN, WIN, WIN situation or what?
I don’t believe a two thousand year old prayer, thought by many to be handed down personally by the son of God, needs to be improved. If it did, would the world’s self-proclaimed all time losers be the best group to do it? I share this bit of genius once in a while in meetings. I stop at amen myself. I don’t use The Lord’s Prayer if I chair a meeting. It’s unique to only one religion, excluding all others, so I don’t think it belongs In AA. Most think differently. I don’t argue. Their thinking is as good as mine.
I didn't like holding hands with other men when I started either. I got over it. Didn't hurt me a bit. Found out where the discomfort was coming from. Got over that too. A new freedom delivered as promised.
Their thinking is a good as mine. I like that.
Alcoholics Anonymous of the 1970's does indeed exist. We
have a morning group where we do no chanting, and do not
"Hold hands and pray". We make a spectacle of no one,
and discourage anyone from making a spectacle of themselves.
We simply go around the room for sharing.
Recently, at the meeting a member from another group
attended and stated "my name is Mike and I am an alcoholic".
He was shocked that no one chanted HI MIKE! He repeated
himself, but still no one chanted.
It reminded me of the first time someone sitting behind
me at a meeting around 1980 when I was shocked by the first
Hi Joe! chant. Before that the meetings were reverent.
I am still trying to convince today's membership that
I have researched my grievances thoroughly. Chanting makes
us look like idiots in the eyes of the public. ANONYMOUS
Yes I agree Old School AA does still exist and works :-)
"Alcoholics Anonymous of the 1970's does indeed exist..."
Reminds me of a submission to the Grapevine a while back. I think the title was "Out of the Mouth of Babes"
In a meeting someone shared (in wonderful, ambiguous psycho-babble) that they had been "...acting out some old behavior..". A newcomer with only a couples of weeks in asked "if you're still doing it, why do you call it old behavior?"
very true! If I am still behaving that way, it is a current behavior!
So true ! brilliant !
Your last sentence is revealing. Since when does AA care what the 'eyes of the public' think of us? In many communities the public thinks that AA is a cult, for weak willed people, for those who are so morally bankrupt they cannot avoid the drink on their own.
If you don't like people acknowledging someone else in a meeting that's your opinion and right. You can always take your resentment, a pound of coffee, and a coffee maker down the street and start your own kind of meeting
Our public relations policy is based on attraction not promotion. We read that almost every meeting. It tells me we do indeed have a public relations policy and we do care about what the public thinks of us. We do not toot our on horn we rely on our friends outside the fellowship to do that for us. So in is imperative we inform the public as to what we do and just as important what we do not do. Hundreds of PI committees work tirelessly on those very items, maybe you might think of joining one of them. M
"Alcoholics Anonymous of the 1970's does indeed exist."
Before you make a statement like that you should check your facts. I've been sober in AA since mid 1971. In my first two years I attended meetings in five states and three foreign countries, and the meetings I attended then are the same as the meetings I attend now. The Twelve Steps I used then are the same Steps I use now. The Twelve Traditions I used then are the same Traditions I use now.
Yes, there have been some changes. People introduce themselves as an alcoholic anda. Speakers use the first part of their talk telling the drunkalogs of any relative who ever picked up a drink. The most damage, by far, is that done by malcontents who spend all their time posting their complaints to forums like this one. The ones who know what will drive each and every newcomer who comes through our doors.
If AA is so messed up, why hang around?
Yes, Jim, the A.A. PROGRAM is the same as it has always
been. The steps are the same. The traditions are the same.
But first and foremost Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship.
At least it still says so in the preamble. It will soon be
changed to Fellowship. Alcoholics Anonymous has been changed
from a fellowship to a TWELVE STEP PROGRAM. That is the main
reason we are failing. Our fellowship was never meant to
be a TWELVE STEP PROGRAM. Sure, some alcoholics like yourself do find sobriety in a PROGRAM, but most alcoholics
approaching us are turned away/off by such an approach.
Spiritual pride is nauseating to most alcoholics who
come to us. They see it and feel it, although it is not
apparent to ourselves. We lack humility, although we
think we have it abundantly.
Why don't we try this: let us simply talk/share about
our own miraculous recovery and end it there. Thank the
group or the prospect for listening. Stop saying, WELL,
if you want what I have, you will have to do what I did,
and I will tell you how to do it. Of course that is part
of "How it Works". Stop reading it AT MEETINGS! ANONYMOUS
"Our fellowship was never meant to be a TWELVE STEP PROGRAM."
Just a guess, but it seems the only part of the AA literature you are familiar with is the Preamble to the Grapevine. I belong to several veterans' organizations where I find plenty of fellowship among men and women with whom I have much in common. A fair number of local AAs belong to the same organizations but that's not how we stay sober.
How about those alcoholics who don't have access to meetings? You'd just write them off, wouldn't you? Tough luck, maybe if they really wanted to get sober they'd move to a place where they could find meetings.
A few quotes you must have missed while you were so busy telling everyone what's wrong with AA:
To show other alcoholics precisely how we recovered is the main purpose of this book." ('precisely how we recovered' is italicized for emphasis).
"The tremendous fact for every one of us is that we have discovered a common solution. We have a way out on which we can absolutely agree, and upon which we can join in brotherly and harmonious action."
"Further on, clear-cut directions are given showing how we recovered." (I'll bet the words, 'clear cut directions' really tightens some jaws.)
"Once more: The alcoholic at certain times has no effective mental defense against the first drink. Except in a few cases, neither he nor any other human being can provide such a defense. His defense must come from a Higher Power."
"If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it -- then you are ready to take certain steps." (What WE have, not what I have)
"At some of these we balked. thought we could find an easier, softer way." (Just going to meetings and telling everyone what's wrong with AA?)
"Though our decision was vital and crucial step, it could have little permanent effect unless at once followed by a strenuous effort to face, and to be rid of, the things in ourselves which had been blocking us. Our liquor was but a symptom. So we had to get down to causes and conditions.
Therefore, we started upon a personal inventory."
"Having had a spiritual awakening AS THE RESULT OF THESE STEPS we tried to carry this message to alcoholics....." How can we carry a message of a spiritual awakening if we haven't had a spiritual awakening? We might just as well insist the newcomers accompany us to church.
And from the 12&12:
"A.A.'s Twelve Steps are a set of principles, spiritual in their nature, which, if practiced as a way of life, can expel the compulsion to drink and enable the sufferer to become happily and usefully whole."
"More sobriety brought about by the admission of alcoholism and by attendance at a few meetings is very good indeed, but it is bound to be a far cry permanent sobriety and a contented, useful life."
Finally, your statement: "Spiritual pride is nauseating to most alcoholics who come to us. They see it and feel it, although it is not apparent to ourselves."
How can you possible know this, unless you have spoken to each and every alcoholic who has come to us?
"If AA is so messed up, why hang around?" Believe me, I have
asked myself that question many times in the past five
years. If I had no children and had no concern for future
generations of suffering alcoholics and their families,
I would/could just walk away. Many, if not most, alcoholics
have just walked away from what they find. Many leave due
to what A.A. has morphed into, a strange religious cult.
I stay because I still believe that A.A. can still be
saved. The greatest obstacle is convincing members that
A.A. needs to be saved.
We have at our fingertips, the greatest gift ever known.
We have a method of getting free from a life of misery.
We have a method of sharing that gift with others who
suffer our affliction, a technique that rarely fails.
Denial and apathy are our greatest enemy. I really
do not understand how posting concerns on this forum
could harm an alcoholic looking for help in an
A.A. meeting. ANONYMOUS
A truly informed group conscience ought to decide how to
close the meeting. Not you or any other member. If the
group votes to use the Lords Prayer in closing, that is
what should be done. Bill W. wrote a letter to his
friend Russ explaining why it is OK to use Christ's prayer
in closing. Search for Dear Russ Letter, Bill Wilson. I
found it very imformative.
It puzzles me that we close meetings with the third
step prayer, a personal prayer written by Bill. Bill
writes that it was meant to be taken with one other person.
or taken alone with God. I went to a four speaker recently
and we used the clock to close the meeting. "The meeting
has ended. You are welcome to have coffee and cookies.
So you got used to holding hands with men. How does
that help you to stay sober? I simply stopped holding
hands with anyone at meetings. I don't know where those
hands have been. Let's leave hand-holding to the romantics.
We started that ritual in eastern states in the early 1980's. How well has that blunder served us? ANONYMOUS
"So you got used to holding hands with men. How does
that help you to stay sober?"
Perhaps it's not as much a method of maintaining sobriety as a symptom of sobriety "...we have stopped fighting anybody or anything."
"A truly informed group conscience ought to decide how to
close the meeting."
I couldn't agree more. I (and other group leaders)choose one of several traditional closings. Being rigid was one of many character defects that severely limited my participation in and enjoyment of life. I sometimes see that in newcomers and try to exhibit an example of freedom from these shortcomings.
To Rigid: I would like to inform you that "you (and other
group leaders)" do not form a truly informed group
conscience. Not even close.
So you have "stopped fighting anybody or
anything." If you were not trying to prove a point
you would not be here on this forum. We both want the
best for the future of Alcoholics Anonymous. We are
responsible for A.A. future. Will it survive or will
it die? I have come to see that our main point of
disagreement is in the method used to carry the message
to the alcoholic who suffers. You seem to believe that
we ought to teach. I believe it is the group's job to
teach, not you, me or any other individual. Attraction,
no promotion of any kind. I am not talking about
advertisment. I am talking about example. Don't tell
anyone in A.A. what to do. Tell them what we did and
what happened to us, and end it. ANONYMOUS
Sobriety-that is my single purpose.What is sobriety?Simple:"No drinky,no druggy."You can't have your cake and eat it(or drink it),too...Is there wiggle room?I'm not sure.But,for me,I'm not gambling.The only thing I remember from my first 20 white chips is:every time I gambled my sobriety("Well,AA says this is not a good idea,but here goes!"I lost it.To quote my first sponsor 20 years ago:"We all want something to take the edge off.You are not suffering from a librium deficiency."And:"If you smoke grass,you'll drink."He did.....................My sobriety doesn't qualify me to condemn anyone.I do resent anyone who tries to run anybody out of AA because they aren't a "pure alcoholic".Alcohol is a drug.Learned that in 6th.grade."Alcoholic"is an adjective,not a noun.We are alcohol addicts;therefore,drug addicts.These are the people with whom I identify.Running a crack addict out of AA is a cruel crime.A mind-altering substances is what got us all here.To quote my sponsor again:"Don't let anyone run you out of AA."KEEP COMING BACK
Thirty+ years ago I heard a speaker at an AA conference say, "Teaching what you've never learned is like coming back from where you've never been."
You say, "Alcoholic"is an adjective,not a noun.
An online dictionary says,
"al·co·hol·ic (lk-hôlk, -hlk) KEY
Related to or resulting from alcohol.
Containing or preserved in alcohol.
Suffering from alcoholism.
A person who drinks alcoholic substances habitually and to excess or who suffers from alcoholism."
Tradition Five: "Each group has but one primary purpose -to carry its message to the ALCOHOLIC who still suffers."
When churches say alcoholism is a sin we call them stupid and argue that it's an illness.
When law enforcement says alcoholism is a crime we call them stupid and argue that it's an illness.
When the treatment industry says alcoholism is an addiction we say the AA traditions are out of date and we should call ourselves Assorted Ailments.
From the pamphlet, "Problems Other Than Alcohol,"
Experience says loudly that we can admit no exceptions, even though drug users and alcoholics happen to be first cousins of a sort." First cousins, not identical twins.
In most states it's illegal for first cousins to marry because of the probability of their offspring having disabilities of one sort or another. Bringing NA into AA is the same as trying to bake apple pies using apples and tomatoes. They are both fruit, usually red, usually round, juicy and healthful. A fruit is a fruit is a fruit, right?
The treatment industry also says relapse is a part of recovery. (Drinking is a part of sobriety?) Apparently you believe that, based on your "first 20 white chips."
If "a drug is a drug is a drug" and an alcoholic using any addictive substance must change his/her sobriety date, why don't the alcoholic/andas pick up a chip whenever they drink a cup of coffee or smoke a cigarette?
Let me try to explain: When we say to a non-alcoholic, who has come to AA for recovery, that we cannot help we are not saying we do not care. Non-alcoholics in AA exhaust their recovery energy comparing their particular addiction with our alcoholism. Strongly suggesting that non-alcohlics find recovery where they can relate is the kindest most loving thing we do. To do otherwise is to risk their lives. AA Tolerance, M.
I am a new Grapevine chairperson for my district. I am having my first district Grapevine meeting this week. In developing various choices in which to carry the word of the Grapevine to meetings around town, I thought of using the idea of having local home groups hold a raffle. Both the winner and a new member of AA could earn a Grapevine subscription. I gave it a test run by bringing the idea to my own home group at a business meeting. I was immediately set upon by some of the members of the group who believed that holding raffles at an AA meeting were a violation of the 7th tradition. I asked that the motion be tabled until the next meeting, allowing me the time to look into GSO's interpretation of selling raffle tickets for the explicit purpose of carrying the message through the Voice of AA. What I found out did little to placate my dilemma. GSO’s consensus was as follows.
"The General Service Conference, the closest thing we have to a group conscience for A.A. as a whole in the U.S. and Canada, considered raffles several times, but no Conference recommendations regarding raffles have been made. Some service people at the General Service Conference have tended to voice their dislike of raffles. Others shared their areas’ acceptance of raffles. The final decision about raffles lies with the informed group conscience."
Striving ahead I looked for a more definitive answer. I was not content in going back to my home group and informing them that it was their decision as to whether passing this motion may possibly be a violation of one of the traditions. Nor could I in good conscious be the catalyst in steering them into approving a resolution which would sit badly with any knowledgeable outside members who attend our meetings.
There was one item that I found that brought it home for me. It was the following statement.
"Fundraising activities conducted in the group setting change our group to a "business" activity rather than a "spiritual entity". Our founders of the traditions cautioned in the creation of Tradition Five that business and spirituality should not be mixed, that discussions of money should be kept to a minimum, that we embrace the notion of corporate poverty and that we be ever vigilant in matters of money. Beware. They are seldom as emphatic as when discussing the subject of money and the 12 step fellowship.”
What this said to me was that by turning our spiritual AA meeting into a "Vegas style" night was not what the founders envisioned. It illustrated that my attempted endeavor of goodwill for both newcomer and Grapevine was not as well thought out as it could have been. But more important, it showed me that the Traditions have an unanticipated way of keeping AA on the proper path. I now have the correct incites to take back to my home group. And with the informed group conscience; we will come up with a better plan which I am certain will be more in line with the founders’ vision of AA.
Thank you thank you thank you. The spiritual principle of self-support is alive and well thank you very much! Ray
Ray, How can you say that the spiritual principle of
self-support is alive and well? More than half of the
funds used to support our General Service Office is derived
from the profit from our book and literature business. I
believe more than half of that profit comes from sources
outside of our fellowship. Alcoholics Anonymous has never
been self-supporting and will never be self-supporting.
Even the goal of becoming self-supporting is being ignored.
The "in 1986" paragraph has been removed from the service
manual. Today's management at GSO has accepted that we
will never be self-supporting. They consider member's contributions and profit from our Book and Literature
business to be legitimate sources of income. ANONYMOUS
Could u please post where u found the furt
her info on Raffles? I would like to read it
An AA Minority report can be read online using the search terms: AA Minority Report 2013. The report and appendices cover many topics of concern raised on this forum. The report represents a minority opinion covering the breadth and depth of AA as a whole; via conference, board and regional reports, forums, AA Grapevine; from countries including USA/Canada, Great Britain, Israel and Australia. The report also draws on A.A. experience dating back to the meeting of AA’s co-founders. Contributors to the report from this AA Grapevine “What’s on Your Mind” forum need no further acknowledgement. The revised minority report was invited for consideration for the General Service Conference (Great Britain) 2013 (AA Service News, 149, winter 2011 (pp 16-17) http://www.alcoholics-anonymous.org.uk/members/index.cfm?PageID=98&Docum... but has since been not accepted by the current Conference Steering Committee because now, in their view “…the principle of the report was based on “issues outside of AA GB”. Because the subject of the report includes AA as a whole as well as Great Britain, some AA members using these AA Grapevine forums might appreciate the information contained in the report. The purpose of filing a minority report is given in Concept V.
“In the light of the principle of the ‘Right of Appeal,’ all minorities – whether in our staffs, committees, corporate boards, or among the Trustees – should be encouraged to file minority reports whenever they feel a majority to be in considerable error. And when a minority considers an issue to be such a grave one that a mistaken decision could seriously affect A.A. as a whole, it should charge itself with the actual duty of presenting a minority report to the Conference.
In granting this traditional ‘Right of Appeal’ we recognize that minorities frequently can be right; that even when they are partly or wholly in error they still perform a most valuable service when, by asserting their ‘Right of Appeal,’ they compel a thorough-going debate on important issues. The well-heard minority, therefore, is our chief protection against an uninformed, misinformed, hasty or angry majority.”(Extract, Concept V) http://www.aa.org/pdf/products/en_bm-31.pdf
The following is a newsletter to profesionals from about aa in 2002
Singleness of Purpose
George E. Vaillant, M. D.
Class A (nonalcoholic) trustee
A.A. General Service Board
“Singleness of purpose” is essential to the effective treatment of
alcoholism. The reason for such exaggerated focus is to overcome
denial. The denial associated with alcoholism is cunning,
baffling, and powerful and affects the patient, helper, and the
community. Unless alcoholism is kept relentlessly in the foreground,
other issues will usurp everybody’s attention.
Mental health workers, however, have great difficulty with
A.A.’s Fifth Tradition: “Each group has but one primary purpose—
to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.”
Since mental health workers often admire the success and geographic
availability of Alcoholics Anonymous, they understandably
wish to broaden its membership to include other substance
abusers. They also note that pure alcohol abuse is becoming less
frequent, and polydrug abuse more common. In addition, mental
health workers sometimes view singleness of purpose as outmoded
and exclusionary. They worry that the Tradition is a holdover
from the early days of A.A. and that the young, the poor and the
minority with a criminal record will be barred. Besides, when
there is no professional drug treatment center or Narcotics
Anonymous (NA) group easily available, mental health workers
find it hard to understand why A.A., with its tradition of Twelfth
Step work, won’t step in and fill the breach.
As both a mental health worker and a researcher, it seems to
me that there are two arguments that trump these concerns. First,
the Third Tradition of A.A., “The only requirement for A.A. membership
is a desire to stop drinking,” renders A.A. nonexclusionary.
Each year A.A. welcomes many thousands of minorities,
many thousands of poor, many thousands of alcoholics with coexistent
drug problems and tens of thousands of convicts into its
membership. Nobody with a desire to stop drinking is excluded.
The second argument, that “Singleness of Purpose” is necessary
to overcome denial, is even more compelling. Given a
choice, nobody wants to talk about alcoholism. In contrast, drug
addiction commands newspaper headlines, research funding and
the attention of clinical audiences. After two years of work at the
Lexington, Kentucky Federal Narcotics Treatment Center, I, a
mere assistant professor, was invited around the world to lecture
on heroin addiction. In the late 1990s, as a full professor and after
25 years of research on alcoholism and its enormous morbidity, I
was finally asked to give a medical grand rounds on alcohol in
my home city. My assigned topic, “Why alcohol is good for your
health.” In short, the greatest single obstacle to the proper treatment
of alcoholism is denial.
I first began my psychiatric career at a deeply dedicated community
health center. The community had voted alcohol abuse as
their biggest problem. After its first ten years of operation the
center was still confining itself to addressing the community’s
most pressing second, third, and fourth problems. No resources at
all were devoted to alcohol treatment.
I moved to another community mental health center that had
listened to its citizens and had opened an alcohol treatment center.
In being asked to fill the position of co-director of the clinic I
was the last staff psychiatrist hired by the mental health center.
Significantly, I had had no experience with alcoholism, but no
one else wanted the job.
With the exception of cigarettes, alcoholism is a bigger health
problem and family problem than all other drugs of abuse.
Alcohol abuse costs the nation more than all lung diseases and
cancers combined. After smoking and obesity, alcohol abuse is
perhaps the nation’s third largest killer. But it is terribly difficult
to hold this danger in mind. Alcohol abuse claims 100,000 lives a
year, and on medical and surgical wards it costs two to six times,
as much to treat the 25% of patients with coexistent alcoholism
as to treat the other patients. Yet cost conscious 21st century
medical and surgical residencies steadfastly exclude alcoholism
from their curricula.There is not enough time, they argue, to pay
attention to alcoholism. To combat such denial the principle of
singleness of purpose becomes a necessity.
Put differently, the experimentally documented success of
A.A. in the treatment of alcoholism is in part because A.A.
groups are the only place in the world where the focus is on alcoholism
and nothing but alcoholism. There is simply no other way
to overcome the denial.
I found this article gives great insight to why AA must continue to have a singleness of purpose.
My group started a weekly "step study" and after we'd made it through the 12 steps, my sponsor encouraged us to continue on with the 12 traditions. At first, I was disappointed. I loved the steps and was experiencing how they impacted my life. Like many fellow AA's, I was not overly enthused about the traditions and found that meetings about the traditions sometimes strayed from personal experience and devolved into opinions and arguments. My sponsor had a twist though that made this work for us...he asked us to relate each tradition to our own lives. This changed everything. "Self supporting through our own contributions" and "principles before personalities" took on a whole new meaning. By trying to work traditions in my own life it made it easier to see how to work them in our group and vice versa.
I do not think it is a good idea to alternate between
the Step meeting and the Traditions meeting. I am easily
confused and appreciate structure. Keep the Step meeting
as a step meeting. Add a separate Traditions. The Twelve
Traditions are for the protection of our fellowship. Of
course they are in the same book, but I feel that the
meetings ought to be separate. I find the Traditions
interesting and almost exciting. ANONYMOUS
In my experience, members won't support traditions meetings. No people attending = no learning traditions.
Our group opens every meeting (14 per week) reading among other things the tradition corresponding to the month. Month one - tradition one. In addition to the one read it draws a newcomer's attention to the sign with all twelve. The message - there is stuff on this sign that I'm supposed to know about. There's not much information that needs to be conveyed to provide the basic information. The short form hanging on the wall gives just about anybody enough information to protect anonymity, not seek outside donations etc.
Should move it up to a one week rotation. Eleven months is too long to cover all twelve. Wish me luck selling something with math that tough.
The group I go to does not read traditions at meetings.
If i bring up a tradition subject gets changed.
Been at this group 4 years now, it does not attract newcomers.
Wonder why that is.
The Twelve Traditions are a protection to groups of people like me conflicted. The first tradition reminds me that I am only a part of the group, not the most important, only a part of the community. Tradition Two reminds me I'm not the boss of the group, make me handsome, I must hear the views of the group members and respect their decisions. The third tradition protects the group of my pride, forcing me to admit to anyone and forcing me to not turn anyone away who wants to stop drinking. Tradition Four tells me to respect the decisions of the other groups, even those that disagree with my views, except for activities affecting other groups or AA as a whole, should also seek advice from other groups when I perform activities affect them. The fifth reminds me that I am smarter than I am and not seek more goals than I can find. Tradition Six reminds me that I should not lend the AA name to other companies to avoid power struggles that I like both. The seventh reminds me that I have to adjust expenses as income and not try to pretend a social category that I have, both as a person as a member of the group. Tradition Eight reminds me that I am not a great professional, but I am a server group. Tradition Nine reminds me that I am not the leader, I must ask the opinion of the members of the group. Tradition Ten reminds me that I should not comment on what is not. eleven and twelve traditions remind me that I must not indulge my pride and vanity and trying to be a celebrity or important leading to dreams of grandeur that I really might not be fulfilled.
My District meeting has started a Traditions meeting immediately before it. So GSR's(who must have a working knowledge)to perform their duties &(DCM's the same)& hopefully others can learn what it is that holds our fellowship intact.
GREAT idea ! Will bring this up at my next district meeting.
After re-reading some of our history, it became even more important to remember the 3rd Tradition. How many thousands of times have I hear people say "I'm an alcoholic and a ......." We learned from the Washingtonians and the Oxford Group that to split ourselves into exceptions is to lead to the death of a movement. I feel very frustrated to hear these "and a's." We're AA. Not AA and a. Thanks. Michael F., Pharr, TX
"And a's" are usually just uneducated. It's our job to educate them about the 12 Traditions in a kind a loving way. Our district has just decided to invite a past delegate to lead a Traditions workshop.
Recently at a discussion/closed meeting I was asked to share. I started by saying that I wanted to read, "The Dash." This is a poem written by Linda Ellis. I explained that I wanted to share this poem as it has been a wonderful poem that (to me), has put into words what the 12 Steps of A.A. mean to me. I also said that I would welcome individuals to share their thoughts on the poem or any topic that they wish to discuss. After completing my reading of the poem an individual stated (with intrusion on my time), that what I just did is against the Traditions of A.A. He said that I can not start my sharing by reading a poem. He also said the particular poem was not A.A. approved, thus not allowed to be read. Well, I have since gone back to the traditions with a fine toothed comb and can not locate these two objections he raised. I was under the impression that an individual may share anything they want. I also do not understand where this verbiage comes from about A.A. approved literature. I also looked in the 12 Concepts book and found no clear indicator that I did anything wrong or against A.A. I would really like to hear from others.
The member was quite correct Quoting from unapproved literature has no place in a meeting, If we stick to our experience strength and hope we wont go to far wrong.
The place for renditions of Poems is not a AA meeting.
And as I always hear in meetings when something like this happens....if you are bent out of shape by it talk to your sponsor.
The silly notion that nothing other than AA material can be read by a speaker (not the meeting the speaker) doesn't even acknowledge AA's earliest days when Bill and Bob would be meeting with the Oxford group telling their stories. Often times the Bible would be read at these meetings. Today that would be unacceptable unless specifically voted on by the group.
i might also point out the Tradition Four has some really good advice for allof you bleeding deacons out there
"I was under the impression that an individual may share anything they want." Well, within reason. We share our experience, strength and hope, and say what it was like, what happened and what it is like now. We don't discuss politics or religion, for example: we "quit the debating society". To say you have found a poem etc helpful seems fine but to read it in its entirety would not be sharing your experience, but the poet's/
A living example is not good enough ? Show it don't poet
You were right,it would have been better if you did not reveal the source of the poem. But she is not an"outside enterprise"unlike the "24 Hour Book" which is a Hazelden publication.
Kris Kristofferson's song, "Why Me?" puts into words what I've felt may times in sobriety.
Jim Reeves' "Why Do I Love You?" lists a few the many reasons I love AA and AA members.
Neither of these are proper topics for discussion at a closed AA meeting, regardless of how I feel about them.
This response is pure opinion: If you were the speaker at
a speaker meeting, if I had been present I would have just
let it go. If it were a discussion meeting and you were
just a member sharing, I would have objected to the
reading, as not being appropriate.
A proper group conscience meeting is where this ought
to be brought up and discussed. The format could read that
only conference material is to be used at this meeting.
The solution would have already been in place, and
made by the group, not one individual.
Personally I feel that the only thing which out to be
read at an A.A. meeting is the preamble. We are there to
share/talk, not to read to each other. Several traditions
may have been violated, mostly Tradition Two. ANONYMOUS