Traditions

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Anonymous
Deweeb Tradition Five

An individual who has never drank alcohol is not an alcoholic and cannot possibly qualify as a member of
Alcoholics Anonymous. I hope "your group" doesn't call
itself an A.A. group. It doesn't appear to be one. ANONYMOUS

Anonymous
3rd Tradition

Suggestion: Re=read the long form of our Third Tradition, then re-read "Problems other Than Alcohol" pamphlet by Bill W. Thank you, m

anonymous
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Joined: 2012-03-04
Re:Tradition 5

As Bill sees it:

“…All sorts of outfits have tried to move in on us, including communists and heroin addicts, prohibitionists and do-gooders of other persuasions.

Nearly all of these people, who happened to have an individual problem with alcohol, not only failed to change AA, but, in the long run, AA changed them. I have a number of them among my closest friends today, and they are among the best AAs I know.

You also have some people who are not alcoholics, but are addicts of other kinds. A great many AAs have taken pity on these people, and have actually tried to make them full-fledged AAs. Of course, their identification with alcoholics is no good at all, and the groups themselves easily stop this practice in the normal course of AA affairs

Thoughtful AAs, however, encourage these sponsors to bring addicts to open meetings, just as they would any other interested people. In the end, these addicts usually gravitate to other forms of therapy. They are not received on the platform in open meetings unless they have an alcohol problem, and closed meetings are, of course, denied them. We know that we cannot do everything for everybody with an addiction problem…”

“…And also, if various hippie addicts want to form their own sort of fellowship along AA lines, by all means let us encourage them. We need deny them only the AA name, and assure them that the rest of our program is theirs for the taking and using--any part or all of it.."

- Bill W. (Extracts, 'The Traditions in Action', AA Grapevine March 1971) http://da.aagrapevine.org/

Key points on drug addicts:
1) “..their identification with alcoholics is no good at all..”
2) “..They are not received on the platform in open meetings unless they have an alcohol problem, and closed meetings are, of course, denied them…”
3) “..if various hippie addicts want to form their own sort of fellowship along AA lines, by all means let us encourage them. We need deny them only the AA name, and assure them that the rest of our program is theirs for the taking and using--any part or all of it.”

I think your group and yourself are seriously off beam with AA Traditions. I suggest your group has a workshop on AA Traditions and how these relate to the pamphlet “Problems Other than Alcohol” http://www.aa.org/pdf/products/p-35_ProOtherThanAlcohol.pdf
And why there is a separate fellowship called NA

AD010416
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Joined: 2012-01-18
Re: Tradition 5

"Anyone that thinks the AA's 12-steps is only for the alcoholic or only about alcohol probably hasn't worked all the steps and probably hasn't yet identified their own real problems yet.... they are still blaming it all on the booze."
Your entire letter smacks of someone who knows little or nothing of the Traditions.
First, a little AA history. Bill w.'s first draft of step twelve said we should carry this message 'to others, especially alcoholics.' The other members and those friends of AA who read the first draft made him remove 'to others' and focus on alcoholism.
I suggest you read the long form of Tradition Three (Big Book, page 563). It clearly states that AA is for alcoholics.
In the essay on Tradition Three Bill included the story of the first person who approached AA with another addiction. addicts who quote the Traditions always ignore the final sentence of the story: "Never did he trouble anyone with his other difficulty." (12&12, page 142).
Tradition Five: "Each group has but one primary purpose - to carry its message to the ALCOHOLIC who still suffers.
I strongly urge you to read the pamphlet, "Problems Other Than Alcohol".
You might also consider changing yourself to fit AA rather than insisting that AA change to suit you.

anonymous
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Joined: 2012-03-04
Re: Tradition 5

With a constant influx of newcomers, I guess history will go on repeating itself. General Service Conference advisory Action 1972:

“NARCOTICS, DRUGS AND A.A.
There was much discussion, during which a show of hands indicated that more than one-half the delegates are concerned with this problem in their areas. After discussion, it was moved that "G.S.O. prepare a clear-cut statement of what A.A. is and what it is not." (Box 4-5-9 June July 1972, pp. 6, 8) http://aa.org/lang/en/en_pdfs/en_box459_june-july72.pdf

AA is not NA, and the meaning of 'clean' is not 'sober.' If confused about this, try looking up their meaning in a dictionary. I think addicts should stop saying "I'm clean and sober" in AA meetings, and save the 'clean' bit for treatment centers and NA. AA has a single purpose. Whether an alcoholic is sober and clean, or sober and dirty is irrelevant. If he hasn't had a drink of alcohol today then he's sober. If he's squeaky clean or decidedly dirty, these are problems other than alcohol.

Anonymous
Your thoughts on Bill W's Grapevine article.

Below I are excerpts from a letter written by Bill W. It can be read in it's entirety in the Grapevine archives.

Problems Other Than Alcohol
What can be done about them?
The Grapevine's 20th Anniversary reprint from the February, 1958, issue

"PERHAPS there is no suffering more horrible than drug addiction, especially that kind which is produced by morphine, heroin and other narcotics. Such drugs twist the mind, and the awful process of withdrawal racks the sufferer's body. Compared with the addict and his woes, we alcoholics are pikers. Barbiturates, carried to extremes, can be almost as bad. In AA we have members who have made great recoveries from both the bottle and the needle. We also have a great many others who were--or still are--victimized by 'goof balls' and even by the new tranquilizers."

"Now there are certain things that AA cannot do for anybody, regardless of what our several desires or sympathies may be."

"Our first duty, as a society, is to insure our own survival. Therefore we have to avoid distractions and multi-purpose activity. An AA group, as such, cannot take on all the personal problems of its members, let alone the problems of the whole world."

"Sobriety--freedom from alcohol--through the teaching and practice of the Twelve Steps, is the sole purpose of an AA group. Groups have repeatedly tried other activities and they have always failed. It has also been learned that there is no possible way to make nonalcoholics into AA members. We have to confine our membership to alcoholics and we have to confine our AA groups to a single purpose. If we don't stick to these principles, we shall almost surely collapse. And if we collapse, we cannot help anyone."

"Suppose, though, that we are approached by a drug addict who nevertheless has had a genuine alcoholic history. There was a time when such a person would have been rejected. Many early AAs had the almost comical notion that they were pure alcoholics--guzzlers only, no other serious problems at all. When alcoholic ex-cons and drug users first turned up there was much pious indignation. "What will people think?" chanted the pure alcoholics. Happily, this foolishness has long since evaporated."

"We cannot give AA membership to nonalcoholic narcotics addicts. But, like anyone else, they should be able to attend certain open AA meetings, provided, of course, that the groups themselves are willing."

"AA members who are so inclined should be encouraged to band together in groups to deal with sedative and drug problems. But they ought to refrain from calling themselves AA groups."

"There seems to be no reason why several AAs cannot join, if they wish, with a group of straight addicts to solve the alcohol and the drug problem together. But, obviously, such a dual-purpose group should not insist that it be called an AA group nor should it use the AA name in its title. Neither should its straight addict contingent be led to believe that they have become AA members by reason of such an association."

"Certainly there is every good reason for interested AAs to join with outside groups, working on the narcotics problem, provided the Traditions of anonymity and of no endorsements are respected.""

"In conclusion, I want to say that throughout AA's history, most of our special-purpose groups have accomplished very wonderful things. There is great reason to !hope that those AAs who are now working in the grim regions of narcotics addiction will achieve equal success."

"In AA, the group has strict limitations, but the individual has scarcely any. Remembering to observe the Traditions of anonymity and nonendorsement, he can carry AA's message into every troubled area of this very troubled world."

Bill W.

phonedude2
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Joined: 2012-02-09
anonymity break

I announced my discovery that I was an alcoholic in a newsletter sent out to my fraternity from college. This was before social media, before the internet. I want to share my hind site.
I am not a celebrity, other than in my own mind.
It turned out bad, because I wasn't the only one in my family who belonged to this fraternity. It never occurred to me to discuss what I was planning to do. Thus,it caused alienation within my closer family.
My motive was that I wanted attention, although I told myself that I would be casting light onto the dark world of alcoholism. It would have been better if I had asked my sponsor at the time what he thought.
Since I have been sober a long time, there have been times when I drew attention to myself that way. Never did it leave me any sense of peace.
I wasn't prudent, nor was I self-sacrificing.
It did draw a phone call from another one of us within the group who had discovered he was alcoholic.
When he called me to talk about it he was friendly, and gave me a brotherly input.
But, the negative outweighed the positive.
The good was the enemy of the best.

Anonymous
Tradition 11

When a celebrity takes pictures of them self with the Big Book and posts it on a social media site, how do you guys feel about it? Are they breaking Tradition 11?

Deanr.
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Joined: 2013-07-23
Tradition 11

To me it wrong for a celeb to go on any source of media and say of sorts "hey look at me! I'm great as I have joined AA, so give me points for that" what is the message sent should the celeb fall on their butt?

Anonymous
re tradition 11

Google "AA guidelines internet " for following. AA traditions on the web. Tons of great information.

Anonymous
Celebrity Pictures with the Big Book

I feel that they are breaking Tradition 11.The news of their membership in AA may be known by the public,but they don't need to be looking for public or media attention on any level by having such pictures taken and posted on a social media site or printed in news papers and or magazines!

The 12 Traditions Illustrated-The Twelfith Tradition:We do not want to sell our program as a "surefire remedy" in the extravagant terms of a promotional campaingn (Tradition Eleven),nor dramatize it it by identifying noted people in A.A., thereby implying that recovery has been for each of us an individual accomplishment.

Anonymity - Sacrificing person ambition for the common good.

Let us always remember that anonymity - not taking credit for our own or others' recovery - is humility at work.

anonymous
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Joined: 2012-03-04
Re: Tradition 11

Yes. When a celebrity takes pictures of them self with the Big Book and posts it on a social media site they are breaking Traditions 11, 12, 4 (long form) and 1. The Traditions are a set of interrelated principles which all combine in the spirit of Tradition 1: “Our common welfare should come first…” Other Traditions are each a specific application of Tradition 1. In this case the words “actual or implied” in Tradition 6 comes to mind. Anyone who discloses their full name or picture in any public media giving an “actual or implied” message that they are an AA member breaks the spirit of tradition 1. Any justification for such behaviour would simply be an alcoholic’s deluded rationalisation. As Bill sees it:

“A.A.’s of worldly prominence sometimes say, ‘If I tell the public that I am in Alcoholics Anonymous, then that will bring in many others.’ Thus they express the belief that our anonymity Tradition is wrong-- at least for them.

They forget that, during their drinking days, prestige and the achievement of worldly ambition were their principle aims. They do not realize that, by breaking their anonymity, they are unconsciously pursuing those old and perilous illusions once more. They forget that the keeping of one’s anonymity often means the sacrifice of one’s desire for power, prestige, and money. They do not see that if these strivings became general in A.A., the course of our whole history would be changed; that we would be sowing the seeds of our own destruction as a society.”

--- Bill W. (As Bill Sees It, page 198)

Anonymous
Promotion and Tradition 11

Yes. If one person is turned off on AA by a celebrity touting AA one day and behaving like a buffoon the next, it is too many. Personally, I think any posting regarding AA membership on Facebook, for example, is a violation of Tradition 11, even if I am the one person who sets his privacy controls perfectly so that only select people can read my posts, those who are aware of my involvement in AA. If there is any chance someone else might see it, I wouldn't post it. As a friend noted regarding other postings on social media, best to only post those things that you would not be embarrassed by if they showed up on the front page of the NYTimes tomorrow -- as we tell our children. If it doesn't pass that test, kiddies, don't post it. Not that my children ever listen...

Anonymous
Dress Code

We have a newcomer to our AA Group that has created quite a stir. The group is coed and we sit in a circle. The newcomer has been attending the meetings in short shorts which is causing some of the men in the group to feel quite uncomfortable. I keep going back to the third tradition but feel that this needs to be addressed. Any ideas what the correct AA response should be? Confused group secretary.

anonymous
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Joined: 2012-03-04
Re; Dress Code

Wearing Mini-skirts is OK. Love beads too. Wearing thongs of theological doctrine is not. If the newcomer wants to go completely women’s lib and burn her bra then that’s fine as well. You might find the following AA Grapevine articles from the digital archive http://da.aagrapevine.org/ helpful to spread around your group.

“Editorial: On Cultivating Tolerance” by Dr. Bob (AA Grapevine July 1944)
‘The Fundamentals in Retrospect’ by Dr. Bob. (AA Grapevine September 1948)
‘The Traditions In Action’ (AA Grapevine March 1971)
Also, AA Tradition How It Developed page 12 http://www.aa.org/pdf/products/p-17_AATraditions.pdf

I suggest taking a lead from Bill W. and Dr. Bob

"Some weeks ago, there was a young people's convention of AAs. Shortly thereafter, lour of these kids visited the office. I saw one young gal prancing down the hall, hair flying, in a mini-skirt, wearing love beads and the works. I thought, 'Holy smoke, what now!' She told me she was the oldest member of the young people's group in her area--age twenty-two! They had kids as young as sixteen. I was curious and took the whole party out to lunch.
"Well, they were absolutely wonderful. They talked (and acted) just about as good a kind of AA as I've seen anywhere. I think all of them said they had had some kind of drug problem, but had kicked that, too. When they first came around, they had insisted on their own ideas of AA, hut in the end they found AA plenty good enough as it was.” Bill W. (extract from a letter to an AA member; The Traditions In Action, AA Grapevine March 1971)

“YET, withal, there are no "shibboleths" in A.A. We are not bound by the thongs of theological doctrine. None of us may be excommunicated and cast into outer darkness. For we are many minds in our organization and an A.A. decalogue in the language of "Thou shalt not" would gall us indeed.” Dr. Bob, (The Fundamentals In Retrospect)

Underneath their phoney respectability it sounds like some men in your group are wearing their thongs far too tight. Maybe they'd sit more comfortable if they let it all hang loose.

Anonymous
Re dress code

Oh my dear what is really the big fuss here? I mean the person isn't naked, and besides I've seen worse. Read tradition 12 in the 12 and 12. As far as I'm concerned if this bothers you, it's your problem, not the alcoholic with short shorts. another thing what did you look like when you first went in the rooms of AA? I only mean to say this for you to look at yourself. I don't judge others no matter what age, sexual background, race, religion and how a person appears.

Anonymous

Anonymous
RE: Dress Code

What night is that meeting? Time and location, please.
Joe

Anonymous
... joe

... you are funny ! & obvious.

Anonymous
Possibly the best thing to do

Possibly the best thing to do is to draw a chart with three columns:
I’m resentful at - The Cause - Affects my:
The new member -her sexy dressing - ?????

You can find the rest of the instructions in chapter 5, How it Works.

Anonymous
re dress code

If you are their den mother you might need to do something but as secretary, relax, you’re off the hook.

Anonymous
re dress code

AA is a great place for men (and women) to grow up. Growing up includes being able to deal with discomfort. If the newcomer meets the local ordinances she's dressed. She's not responsible for anyone else's feelings.

navysteve
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Joined: 2013-06-22
Tradition 7

The A.A. groups themselves ought to be fully supported by the voluntary contributions of their own members. We think that each group should soon achieve this ideal; that any public solicitation of funds using the name of Alcoholics Anonymous is highly dangerous, whether by groups, clubs, hospitals, or other outside agencies; that acceptance of large gifts from any source, or of contributions carrying any obligation whatever, is unwise. Then too, we view with much concern those A.A. treasuries which continue, beyond prudent reserves, to accumulate funds for no stated A.A. purpose. Experience has often warned us that nothing can so surely destroy our spiritual heritage as futile disputes over property, money, and authority.

Honestly now, do I do all I can to help AA (my group, my central office, my GSO) remain self-supporting? If I do not have money ( and do not let anyone shame you into putting what you don't have in the basket) what else can I do? Consider the story of Bill's sponsor Ebby:

Ebby called Bill on the phone (personal cost) and then got into the subway (personal cost) Spirituality and money began to mix. One without the other would have amounted to nothing at all.” “Right then and there, Ebby established the principle that A.A. in action calls for the sacrifice of much time and a little money.”So, perhaps you don't have money for the basket this week. Can you provide a ride to and from the meeting? Can you make a phone call to a newcomer instead of waiting for them to call that 1000 pound phone? Can you give up some time outside the hour-long meeting to ensure AA remains self supporting?For additional reading, refer to the pamphlet where money and spirituality mix- http://www.aa.org/pdf/products/f-3_selfsupport.pdf

Anonymous
STICK WITH TRADITION ONE

No sense in even doing the other Traditions if you cannot grasp TRADITION 1
Like tiring to do 11 steps without taking or understanding Step 1
Upon careful reading not your administrators interpretation !!

Anonymous
Tradition 1

My name is Mike, Alcoholic.

I write this article not from any pious, holier than thou perspective, but as one guilty of breaking many Traditions in 23 years sobriety.

Tradition one is the foundation of all the Traditions. “Our common welfare comes first; personal recovery depends upon AA unity”.

For an alcoholic like me, selfish, self-centered and egotistical in the extreme, Tradition 1 is a tough pill to swallow. It asks me to put something (AA unity) ahead of my own selfish interests which was always first in 32 years of drinking. Most of us need the fellowship in order to get sober and stay sober.

I found I could not do it on my own but could with your help. The survival of AA is essential for most of us. Could AA have survived if we continued to think and act in our old selfish ways? I think not!

The remaining eleven Traditions talk about specific things that will destroy AA unity. In short the following is what I was taught by my sponsors.

1. Lack of an informed group conscience often results in too many self-centered egotistical leaders and too few humble trusted servants. Without group business and inventory meetings it is impossible to achieve an informed group conscience (Tradition 2).

2. Prospective AA members must have a desire to stop drinking (minimum) else they can’t qualify for AA membership (Tradition 3).

3. Groups that injure other groups or AA as a whole should not rationalize or justify doing so by claiming group autonomy and the right to be wrong (Tradition 4).

4. Our primary purpose, carrying the message to the still suffering alcoholic, is being lost or watered down. Discussions and sharing on other addictions such as smoking, drugs, eating and mental disorders are becoming more frequent and accepted during meetings. (Tradition 5).

5. Groups should not lend, finance or endorse the AA name to any related facility or outside enterprise. Treatment centers, hospitals and clubs have nothing to do with AA and are none of our business (tradition 6).

6. Groups must be financially self- supporting and not accept funds from outside sources. AA would be at risk to the will of those providing the funding. Groups have a responsibility to financially support all levels of AA service including their intergroup, district, area and GSO (Tradition 7).

7. AA must remain forever non-professional. All our 12th step work must be done without fee for service (Tradition 8).

8. The least possible organization is the goal of AA. Too much organization can cause disunity so let’s keep it simple. (Tradition 9).

9. AA has no opinion on outside issues including alcohol reform, politics and sectarian religion. In order to eliminate AA’s reputation of being a religious cult we should stop religious practices during meetings including chanting, group prayer, prayer circles, preaching and excessive God talk. Let’s keep our spiritual paths personal (Tradition 10).

10. Members should maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, TV, films and internet. Attraction not promotion is the key to a successful public relations policy including eliminating all promotional practices in AA meetings (Tradition 11).

11. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of our Traditions. We must place principles before personalities (Tradition 12).

The traditions teach me how to live within my group, other groups and AA as a whole. These same principles apply to AA groups and all levels of AA service.

The Traditions keep us in unity. Without unity our fellowship will perish and many of us will drink and die.

Thanks for the part you play in my sobriety.

Mike B.
Oliver, BC.

Anonymous
Tradition one - Unity

My name is Mike, Alcoholic.

I write this article not from any pious, holier than thou perspective, but as one guilty of breaking many Traditions in my 23 years sobriety.

Tradition one is the foundation of all the Traditions. “Our common welfare comes first; personal recovery depends upon AA unity”. For an alcoholic like me, selfish, self-centered and egotistical in the extreme, Tradition 1 is a tough pill to swallow. It asks me to put something (AA unity) ahead of my own selfish interests which was always first in 32 years of drinking.

Most of us need the fellowship in order to get sober and stay sober. I found I could not do it on my own but could with your help. The survival of AA is essential for most of us. Could AA have survived if we continued to think and act in our old selfish ways? I think not!

The remaining eleven Traditions talk about specific things that will destroy AA unity. In short the following is what I was taught by my sponsors.

1. Lack of an informed group conscience often results in too many self-centered egotistical leaders and too few humble trusted servants. Without group business and inventory meetings it is impossible to achieve an informed group conscience (Tradition 2).

2. Prospective AA members must have a desire to stop drinking (minimum) else they can’t qualify for AA membership (Tradition 3).

3. Groups that injure other groups or AA as a whole should not rationalize or justify doing so by claiming group autonomy and the right to be wrong (Tradition 4).

4. Our primary purpose, carrying the message to the still suffering alcoholic, is being lost or watered down. Discussions and sharing on other addictions such as smoking, drugs, eating and mental disorders are becoming more frequent and accepted during meetings. (Tradition 5).

5. Groups should not lend, finance or endorse the AA name to any related facility or outside enterprise. Treatment centers, hospitals and clubs have nothing to do with AA and are none of our business (tradition 6).

6. Groups must be financially self- supporting and not accept funds from outside sources. AA would be at risk to the will of those providing the funding. Groups have a responsibility to financially support all levels of AA service including their intergroup, district, area and GSO (Tradition 7).

7. AA must remain forever non-professional. All our 12th step work must be done without fee for service (Tradition 8).

8. The least possible organization is the goal of AA. Too much organization can cause disunity so let’s keep it simple whenever possible. (Tradition 9).

9. AA has no opinion on outside issues including alcohol reform, politics and sectarian religion. In order to eliminate AA’s reputation of being a religious cult we should stop religious practices during meetings including chanting, group prayer, prayer circles, preaching and excessive God talk. Let’s keep our spiritual paths personal (Tradition 10).

10. Members should maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, TV, films and internet. Attraction not promotion is the key to a successful public relations policy and should include eliminating all promotional practices in AA meetings (Tradition 11).

11. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of our Traditions. We must place principles before personalities (Tradition 12).

The traditions teach me how to live within my group, other groups and AA as a whole and apply to AA groups and all levels of AA service.

The Traditions keep us in unity. Without unity our fellowship will perish and many of us will drink and die.

Thanks for the part you play in my sobriety.

Mike B.
Oliver, BC.

Anonymous
"excessive God talk"? Really?

Hi Mike, I'm Kay, alcoholic. Question:
Given that the main object of the Big Book is "to enable you to find a Higher Power greater than yourself"(Big Book p. 49) --how can there be "excessive God talk"?
Kay M

Anonymous
RE: "excessive God talk"? Really?

Too much God and God talk in AA. How could that be
possible? That would be like having a girl too pretty
or a car too fast. I stole that from a song.
There is a delicate balance when it comes to truth
and grace. If we tell them they have to find God in order
to get sober, they may not be inclined to stay with us
long enough to find Him. Bill wrote about feeding new
members with teaspoons instead of buckets.
Are we willing to be a little less than truthful,
if it keeps an alcoholic close enough to absorb the
message of recovery? That is the basic meaning of
Doctor Silkworth's "cart before the horse idea". Bill
wrote several times that without that IDEA, AA would
never have been born.
Sure, we can be completely honest up front. If the
prospect isn't "ready", additional research may be in
order. But I believe any alcoholic who comes to an AA
meeting looking for help to stop drinking is ready. If
he is told that he/she has to "Find God and Find Him Now", he/she may think: just another religion. I've tried that before/already. Thanks to Kay M. and Mike. ANONYMOUS

Anonymous
Traditions are notLike the Steps

Unlike the Steps, which were intended to be done in order, the Traditions are not "done" in a specific order. They are a set of guiding principles by which we and out Fellowship live. If they need to be done in order, might no Tradition 3 (The only requirement for membership is the desire to stop drinking) might have to come first.

navysteve
Offline
Joined: 2013-06-22
Tradition 1 inventory questions

The unity of Alcoholics Anonymous is the most cherished quality our Society has. We stay whole, or A.A. dies. TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 129

Can you find examples of where your selfishness or self-centeredness got in the way of unity, love, or "our common welfare."?

Can you be a peacemaker without being an enabler?

Is there a type of personality you find yourself unable to open up around? That you tend to withdraw from or remain silent or become aggressive toward?

What are your strong points and what are your weak points in your communications?

We can add to this list if we wish, but the point is to find a way to add to the unity of the group rather than satisfy our own wants. It is all too easy to brow beat others to see our way, or the other extreme- sit silently and go along with the group when our own inner voice is against the group decision. The minority voice can often be the only voice worth hearing in a group, and it is selfish to not let our voices be heard. It can be the difference between unity and division.

Anonymous
Skip to 12...

I sometimes think tradition 12 (long form) should come first, as the achievement of the humility (anonymity) it contemplates makes the principles embodied in the other 11 seem obvious and "second nature."

Anonymous
... Ahh ! the long form - tradition twelve.

... of course, the steps are in somewhat of a "different ballpark". the concepts, i had tried to comprehend, long ago. Ahh ! the traditions. they are so helpful when in doubt - most of what we learn in a a makes "perfect" sense. most all is simple yet not always easy. i, personally, find the traditions reassuring. a circle th@ revolves & is "never ending". many of what we learn can be seen in reverse. like the personal recovery depends upon a a unity - a a unity depends upon personal recovery. a a must continue to live or ... most of us would surely die. the wit of a a persons is uncanny. i had heard so many true variations. & our lives had become unimaginable. or thoroughly have we seen a person fail who has rarely ... don't just do something ! sit there. anyway i just wanted to say here here for the long form of tradition twelve. not to mention the preamble. some say, now here is what a a is & is not. most all a a "info" is for the alcoholic NOT to weasel out of taking a look ! & you never know where you'll find a big book. frozen in a fifty gallon drum in the middle of nowhere - or the bottle of booze th@ shows up @ the greenland ice cap ! i can say off hand th@ maYbe the only one word th@ "could" be changed in the first 164 pages is the word ... too. as in "if you are not too, an alcoholic / if you are not too, alcoholic". th@ is so minor. the meaning was (i figure) ... also. if you are not ALSO. hey, this is just a point denoting the providence divinely of & for a a ! no one could have dreamed up this stuff - it had to have been delivered. as is said - let's be friends with our friends. medicine religion & psychiatry (i think it is). carry on ... otis.

Anonymous
RE: Skip to 12

Tradition one is the most important of the traditions. Bill
must have thought so, making it number one. But the rest
follow very closely. I used to think that Anonymity was
the spiritual foundation. Today I see that HUMILITY,
expressed by anonymity is the spiritual foundation of
our fellowship. IMO, most of today's A.A. membership have
not a nodding acquaintance with humility. If we ever acquire
humility, maybe our effectiveness will resume. ANONYMOUS

Anonymous
re humility

Humility is a quality we have right up to the moment we think we have it, then it's gone & replaced by pride.

I need to remember that most of today's AA members are sober. whether they have humility or not is none of our business, unless it affects our group or AA. Even then we can only make suggestions.

Anonymous
RE: re humility

Most of today's A.A. members are sober. But how well
are we carrying the message to others? Nearly everyone
knows that our fellowship has stopped growing. Our lack
of humility has certainly harmed our groups and A.A.
Agreed, humility has been replaced by pride, which
leads the procession of the seven deadly sins. We are
doomed to failure. We haven't even a glimpse of humility.

Anonymous
and the rest

Two through twelve explain to me exactly how to achieve this unity.

Anonymous
Group Prayer

Many people think that praying is religious. It doesn’t matter if it’s the Lord’s Prayer (Christian denomination) or some other prayer. By virtue of it being a prayer it is religious. In a church, where group prayer often takes place, there may be some people who attend but don’t participate in the group prayer for various reasons. But it would be difficult to convince most people that the group prayer ceased being religious simply because some people don’t participate.

One reason the general public thinks that AA is religious is because so many meetings have group praying. Saying that the praying is “spiritual” will not change the public’s view that praying is religious. Saying that attendees don’t have to participate in the group prayer will still not change the public’s view that it is a religious practice. Thus, the AA meeting itself is viewed as religious.

In earlier posts there was a comparison of AA to the Boy Scouts, Consider this: if a Boy Scout troop always opened or closed their meeting with a group prayer, would the general public view that group as religious? Probably. There might be some people who would say that the group was “spiritual,” rather than religious because the troop’s group prayer did not occur during a church service. They would likely be a small minority of the general public.

I don’t know if Boy Scout troops engage in group prayer during their troop meetings. If they do, perhaps the majority of parents think this is a good thing, for the child’s own good. Similarly, many parents thought that prayer should be a part of the school day for their children because they thought it was beneficial and were not happy when this practice was discontinued. However, whether the parent liked the group prayer or not, it is unlikely the parent would have said the praying was “spiritual” rather than religious simply because the prayer did not occur during a church service.

The point is not to compare the issues of group prayer in public schools to group prayer in AA because there are clearly so many differences – AA members are adults and this does not create the same issues of subtle coercive pressure that it does in the elementary and secondary public schools, and AA members are voluntary attendees, whereas children must go to school, and schools are public institutions, whereas AA is a private organization. And so on.

The point is that in the previous decades when the battles over prayer in schools and prayer in other public and governmental institutions occurred, the awareness and sensitivity of the general public to the religious nature of group prayer has been elevated. We have become a society that less and less hears prayers outside of a church service. In Bill W.s era, group prayer was much more common - in all sorts of places. People simply accepted it and didn’t think about whether it was religious or not. That generation thought that “religion” had to be in a church or had to be associated with a specific denomination to be “religious.” Now, many people think that “religion” can be practiced outside of a specific church. And they think that a generic prayer to God is just as religious as a specific Christian prayer.

Ironically, the public’s view of prayer was changing in the very same decades that AA started increasing the practice of group prayer in meetings. Sort of like a perfect storm. As long the public continues to view prayer as religious and group prayer is a common practice in most AA meetings, the public’s view that AA is a religion / religious is unlikely to change.

Anonymous
RE: Group Prayer

When I think of a spiritual attitude toward prayer, I think of the words of Christ in the Matthew 6: 5-13 passage in the bible:

“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the heathens do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this: Our Father in heaven…”

Many modern people react negatively toward the ritualized group prayer in the church services of established religions. These people have an attitude similar to that expressed by Christ in Matthew 6:5-13. They prefer to view faith as an individual relationship with God, rather than a belief system that must be shared by all in the church. For many people, group prayer is a symbol of this type of regimented shared belief.

In AA’s 11th Step there is an emphasis on setting aside quiet time for private prayer, listening for God’s voice, meditation and study of spiritual matters. These are things the individual does for daily enrichment, spiritual growth and peace of mind.

In many ways, group praying seems antithetical to AA’s practice of spirituality, where each individual cultivates their private relationship with the God of their understanding. It doesn’t seem like publically declaring a relationship with God through group praying is really necessary to practice spirituality.

It seems like it would be more productive for the newcomer to have their sponsor work with them outside of meetings on learning to pray, meditate and study spiritual matters. Group prayer is a form of pressure to conform, and many newcomers are very uncomfortable with that, as they were in the established churches of their youth. Let them come to believe at their own pace and develop their individual, private way of praying - between them and God.

navysteve
Offline
Joined: 2013-06-22
Group Prayer

" Group prayer is a form of pressure to conform"

It certainly can be that. It can also be the place where we make a connection that we are a spiritual community.

"“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others."

I read that as outward acts of piety for the reward of acknowledgement. I can remember being overseas in a non-English speaking meeting where the joining of hands in prayer was extremely powerful. I am not religious myself, and do understand the concerns about religious prayers in meetings.

Anonymous
antithetical?

I have to admit I had to look up antithetical, I guess I'm not as learned as I thought! Anyway, group prayer is and has always been a part of AA meetings and individual members sobriety. starting the meetings with the serenity prayer started in the 1940's and using the Lords prayer was a custom carried over from the Oxford groups, I believe.
If you use step 11 in the big book, on page 87 it says " if circumstances warrant, we ask our wives or friends to join us in morning meditation". Another example is in tradition 3 in the 12x12, page 143. The salesman Ed (really Jim B. author of the vicious cycle in the big book)on page 144 "Ed" asks Bill W. and another friend if they have had their morning meditation yet.
You can find extensive reading in AA conference approved lit "Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers" about prayer and meditation. Also the non AA book about Ann Smiths journal is enlightening as well.

Anonymous
RE: antithetical

I doubt that Jim B., Bill W. and Bill's friend held hands
when they prayed. This ritual began in the meetings I attended in the 1980's. This is only one of the changes
which took place in that decade. Collectively those
mistakes (called blunders by Bill W.) have almost
destroyed our fellowship. The evidence is our stagnation,
our lack of growth for two decades. ANONYMOUS

Anonymous
prayer

I don’t like prayer in AA meetings. Haven’t liked it for over 33 years. Didn’t like getting vaccinations when I was a kid, didn’t like homework, don’t like a Mediterranean diet instead of steak and potatoes, don’t like taking a handful of meds every day for heart disease, don’t like exercise, would rather spend money as soon as I get it.

I have a life-long history of not liking what’s good for me, why would prayer be any different?

Anonymous
re prayer

good point! I really, I mean really liked alcohol. I really didn't like being sober. That got me a good case of chronic alcoholism. I didn't and still don't like self examination, meditation, prayer, and working with others. I do however like the effects of doing so. If I waited until I liked this program to do it, I would be dead by now.

Anonymous
Group Prayer and religion:

My name is Mike, alcoholic.

Thanks for the interesting and thoughtful articles on group prayer in AA meetings, especially as they adversely affect AA’s public relations and reputation.

How AA got the reputation of being a religious cult or some type of religion is self- evident to me. I have been sober for 23 years and have attended AA meetings in many parts of the USA and Canada. These are my general observations of the thousands of meetings I have attended.

The vast majority of AA groups in North America (I estimate a minimum 90%) open their meetings with the Serenity prayer and close with the Lord's Prayer. The Lord's Prayer, a Christian prayer, is conducted in a prayer circle, another religious practice. Meetings are punctuated with many chants practiced by numerous religious cults. Many groups hold their meetings in church buildings but few ever disclaim being part of the church and only rent the meeting rooms. Individuals often share at length their concept of God quoting from the Bible or other religious books.

Seeing and hearing these meeting practices, what is the newcomer, visitor or professional attending supposed to think or believe? Many members share at meetings that AA is a spiritual program and non- religious. This statement would be great if only it were remotely true. It has now become (IMO) an oxymoron of the nth degree. If we want AA and our meetings to be strictly spiritual then we need to stop all religious practices. In my, probably less than humble opinion, we can’t have it both ways.

I no longer participate in and openly discourage meeting prayers, prayer circles, chanting, and religious sharing (for or against). I do not share my concept of God or Higher Power during meetings. Our spiritual paths are personal and no one else’s business.

I am in the minority on this issue and I am grateful that AA goes to great lengths to protect minority opinions. I believe the religious issues we face in AA today play a large part in our negative public relations, lack of attraction and growth as well as record low recovery rates over the past 20+ years.

We no longer live in a Judeo/Christian church going society of the 1930’s when AA was founded. We now live in a multi cultured, pluralistic, non-religious society. Many AA members attend religions other than the Christian and Jewish faiths.

AA needs to maintain unity, continue to grow and carry the message to the still suffering alcoholic. To do so we must be as inclusive as possible without the outside issue of religion destroying those things we work so hard to achieve.

Thanks for my sobriety.

Mike B.
Oliver, BC

Anonymous
Mike B. Oliver, BC

It still fascinates that you have such an understanding
of our mistakes at the meeting level. Most of these blunders
had already taken place by 1990. But, as you wrote before,
you have had some wise members around you.
By 1990 the 24 hour book had become part of A.A. Tradition. Daily Reflections was published about the same
time. This reader is a slightly watered-down conference
approved version of the 24 hour book. I am convinced that
Bill and his friends would not have accepted Daily
Reflections as acceptable for our fellowship. Religion
had already made its entrance. The reading of HIW solidifies
the religion element.
I recently was at a meeting where conference approved
books and literature was placed on a separate table from
non approved material. This non AA material must be
removed from the A.A. rooms, not placed on separate tables.
One big problem is the lack of Group Conscience meetings.
How can we depend on the integrity of the group conscience
when we don't even have one. The group conscience ought
to decide how to close a meeting. Bill W.'s Dear Russ
letter helped me to understand that process. The letter
is easy to access.
Let me describe the "Format Of The 1970's: First of
all there was absolutely no chanting. NONE. We did
not "hold hands and pray". We closed meetings with
the Lords Prayer. Most of us knew the words. We did not
force anyone to join in, like we do today with the
kindergarten "ring around the rosy" circle. This has
proven to be a serious mistake.
Members and speakers talked only about themselves..
No one told anyone else what to do. We did not say,
well, if you want what I have you will have to do what
I did, or even worse, what I tell you to do.
We did express our own beliefs. My release from near
death came to me from God, through Jesus Christ. I share
that part of my life when I tell my story. I feel I
would be remiss if I failed to share that part of my
story. "Express the spiritual feature freely". I tell
exactly what happened to me. The desire to drink was
lifted from me 43 years ago and has never returned.
A stiff drink of liquor will bring it back, if I
ever decide to have even one drink. I respect that.
We shared "round robin" No one was made a spectacle
of. No one was allowed to make a spectacle of himself/herself. Meetings were reverent. Some would
call us a glum lot. We were serious. Alcoholism is a
serious illness. We get well by using the steps. But
this has nothing to do with carrying the A.A. message
to others who suffer. This is very difficult to
understand. It took Dr. Silkworth twenty years to
figure out the technique. And He discovered it as
an experiment while working with Bill W. It has to
do with the rebellious nature of the alcoholic. If
we give the alcoholic absolutely nothing to rebel
against, we can't go wrong. When we start telling
them what to do, they fade away. They do not say
"don't tell me what to do". They just quietly vanish.
We may seem to be in the minority, but I feel
that a lot of current members share our opinions.
It is very difficult to stand up and speak out.
We have two million members. But we have another
six million members who will return if we can restore
A.A. to the Format of the 1970's. And these members
who know about A.A. can attract the other twenty five
million out there suffering. I describe them as
"on the loose". Thirty million in the US and Canada.
We can again become a fellowship of attraction.
How could any alcoholic refuse what we have to offer?
Thanks for your continued service. As someone else wrote:
A true friend of Bill's. ANONYMOUS

Anonymous
Meeting mistakes- Breaking with Traditions

Thanks for your feedback on my post regarding Group prayers and the breaking of Traditions in AA meetings. Your history lesson how AA got into the mess we are in today is greatly appreciated. It’s reassuring to know I am not alone in my observations and opinions and that others share my concerns and fears for AA’s future.

I believe you are right regarding chanting, prayer circles, use of non AA approved literature (i.e. Hazelton’s 24 hour book – too religious) and the lack of group conscience on so many issues occurring in AA meetings.

I disagree with the use of group prayers at AA meetings whether the Lord’s Prayer, Serenity Prayer or any other prayer. I will pray on my time outside the meetings and I wish others would do the same. I believe prayer is something personal between me and my higher power. I believe in the practice of personal prayer and do so every day but do not participate in group prayer at AA meetings. Group prayer (IMO) is without any doubt a religious practice and has no place in AA meetings. The practice was as wrong in the 1930’s as it is today. When members expound on their concept of God be it Jesus Christ, Buddha, or any other Deity it crosses the line from spirituality into religion of which AA has no opinion as religion is an outside issue. The AA preamble states, “AA is not allied with any sect or denomination”.

I agree that the reverence and humility of our meetings has been replaced by treatment centre psycho- babble and all types of promotion that is getting progressively worse over time. Many meetings today remind me of 1960’s love-ins, high school pep rallies and religious revival meetings. I attended all of these in my youth and never thought I would have to relive them in AA meetings today.

It appears many attend AA meetings to have fun and socialize rather than carry their message of hope and recovery to the still suffering alcoholic. The purpose of all AA groups is to carry the message of recovery though the teaching and practice of our Steps and Traditions. This responsibility is serious business that should never be forgotten or lost in all the humour and frivolity that exists in many of today’s meetings. We are not a glum lot and I enjoy a good belly laugh as much as anyone providing I am laughing at myself and not others. I do believe that we need to keep things in perspective … first things first!

My primary purpose is lost when I attempt to conduct a stand-up comedy act or try converting others to my concept of God or religion. When asked I share my experience, strength and hope in a general way. I am not there to entertain but only to share my story; how I recovered from alcoholism; a seemingly hopeless state of body and mind.

Mike B.
Oliver, BC.

Anonymous
Bill's true friend

Those 6 million that you want us to set out chairs for, will they be returning wet or dry?

Anonymous
RE: Bill's true friend

Wet or dry, they will become sober members of A.A. if
we approach them as Bill approached Dr. Bob in the spring
of 1935, in weakness and humility. Pride became A.A.'s
worst enemy. Bill warned us in an article to the Grapevine
in June 1961. Humility for Today, Page 254 in The Language
of the Heart. Bill W. left us all kinds of warnings. He
predicted all of our blunders one by one. Pride is what
has ruined A.A. at the group level. Our leadership has
been spoiled by greed. And six million is a very
conservative number. If A.A. had sustained it's rate of
growth until today we would have ten million members
in A.A. today. Our membership ought to double at least every ten years. "Each one reach one". Don't put those
chairs away. ANONYMOUS

Anonymous
Wild Goose Chase

Another wild goose chase as usual. There is no dire warning of group anything.

“… yet we may not be within hailing distance of humility…”My plan is correct and yours is faulty…You are hurting AA and I’m going to stop you cold”
“We need only investigate ourselves… “
“When I inventory such defects…”

The reading tells about is about Bill learning how to take a moral inventory, prayer and meditation, continued inventory. Step four, step eleven, step ten.

Sounds like you want to do some kind of giant bait and switch (or maybe just bait). Just get the numbers up and everything will take care of itself. Come in, come in, sit and enjoy coffee with us for an hour and your life will become a bowl of cherries. No cost, no forms to sign, nothing to do. Just enjoy.

I came in to AA. I didn’t like the prayers or any other God stuff. I didn’t like the steps. I didn’t want a sponsor. I didn’t even want to stop drinking, I just wanted to get rid of the problems drinking was causing. Men and women were open and honest. Some talked about the same kinds of problems that I faced. They talked about the four items listed above working to solve those problems for them. Sometimes they had to turn the volume up about SUGGESTIONS. My thinking was screwed up, why wouldn’t it be? I had gone through life thinking alcohol was solving my problems. I sometimes needed a loud wake-up call. It’s called tough love and I got it and I give it and it works.

Lots of other alcoholics don’t like the four items. Some drink and die. Some drink and come back with a little more humility. Most we don’t know where they are. In any case men and women would rather face active alcoholism and all of its misery than surrender to some very simple concepts. We suffer from a severe mental disorder. Within some reasonable bounds our presentation of what we have to offer will attract them or it won’t. Any of us who have been around a while have seen brilliant people die, good people die, needless people die. They didn’t die because we didn’t pitch the product well enough.

Before you point a finger at me and MY WAY, check the source. I leave the remaining remnants of MY WAY outside the door when I participate in AA. Those suffering from Alcoholism deserve better, they deserve AA's way.

Anonymous
RE: Wild Goose Chase.

"Look what you people have done to us. You have
convinced us that we are alcoholics and that our lives
are unmanageable. Having reduced us to a state of absolute
helplessness, you NOW declare that none but a Higher Power
can remove our obsession." Most will recognize this as
copied from page one of step two.
Yes, this is indeed a clear case of "bait and switch".
But in the fellowship this is like baiting with a Chevrolet,
and switching to a Cadillac, fully equipped, for the
price advertised for the Chevrolet. Who could refuse such
an offer.
This tells me there is a time lapse between inviting
an alcoholic to join us for coffee, and telling him
he must find God and Find Him NOW. I believe that time
lapse ought to be more than 20 minutes. ANONYMOUS

Anonymous
RE: Wild Goose Chase

I believe that many have died because we have choked
them to death. We crammed the steps down their throats.
Bill W. explains this in a September 1945 issue of the
A.A. Grapevine. The article is printed in The Language of
the Heart, beginning on page 6.

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