Magazine Discussion Topic
Great news, the General Service Board has already solved your problem for you. No bureaucratic delays or paper shuffling advisories. They have empowered YOU to take care of it yourself! It is all spelled out in a simple, easy to understand book entitled Twelve steps and Twelve Traditions.
Tradition Four gives you (your group) the power to manage your affairs as it pleases you. Of course you would have to tiptoe lightly around Tradition Three's "...only requirement for A. A. membership is a desire to stop drinking." since you want to add the requirements not being sent by the courts and not being a criminal. Three really is troublesome when you look at it in the contents; "Early intolerance based on fear. To take away any alcoholics chance at A.A. was sometimes to pronounce his death sentence." Then there is Five where we are to carry A.A.'s message to the alcoholic who still suffers. Believe me the courts know how to see to it that we alcoholics suffer.
You know, I just hate it when somebody asks me for something and then they don't use it. I've wondered how God feels about us asking for courage and then my not using it. I used to be frightened by someone who admitted having been served time in prison. Now it seems like anyone who hasn't isn't very interesting.
By the way, I think the term "Court ordered" is a misnomer. Participants that I have been familiar with were asked if they wanted to serve the prescribed punishment they had earned or accept an alternative program including attending AA. They weren't ordered they CHOSE to join us.
I actually laughed pretty hard she I read you say "The issue is that courts are sending criminals to our meetings". What a concept! All those outstanding alcoholics mixed up with criminals sent there by the courts, how could that ever happen. I suppose none of us ever did anything that would land us in jail/ prison or did any time in our drinking days, we just woke up one day and decided that we were alcoholic and should check out this AA thing.
Maybe that was your experience but it sure wasn't mine. I had to get a piece of paper signed when I first came in and because of it I learned what my condition was. Everyone with a drinking problem should be welcomed in AA with open arms no matter what they did in the past or will do in the future. leave the judgement to the one thats qualified to do it and there is no one thats qualified to judge another in AA!
It surprised me when I began taking meetings in to jails & our state prison that most of the prisoners I met were just like me. They were incarcerated for things I had done myself in a different era. I even came to love a couple of guys who will never see freedom because of what each did on one drunken night. They always showed up to our prison meeting with Big Book in hand and a few newbies in trail. Their message was as hopeful and strong as any I've heard on the outside. I would be honored to sit next to them at my home group some day.
I am just going to listen.
This article, "Sophie's Cake," has come at a time when one of my recovery buddies and I have been bantering back and forth about this very topic. The wife in the article mentions that the recovering husband may have to change his clean time because he ate slices (plural) of the whisky-laced pound cake; he never says he did in fact have to pick up a white chip. So, if someone inadvertently (without knowing) eats a piece of cake laced with alcohol, takes a sip of alcohol by mistake, or without intent consumes alcohol in any other way (candy??) and immediately recognizes it (oops!!) and stops, have they lost their sober time? By contrast, if a person makes a conscious decision to drink a new alcoholic product but feels nothing from it, have they lost their sober time? On the former case, where he/she did not "intend" to drink, I say they did not lose time; in the later case, when they consciously decided to drink, I say they lost time, even though it was actually a dud and they did not get buzzed. The intent and follow up action to drink was there.
At about 9 mos sober, someone switched my coke to a beer and I took a drink. I knew it was beer in my mouth and looked around for a trash can or even a cup to spit into. There was not. I swallowed it because my bosses boss was sitting right across the picnic table. I was so full of dread and shame. I was praying like crazy...Please help me!
As soon as I could, I called a tough oldtimer that I knew wouldn't pull any punches about whether or not I had to announce having a drink. He asked if I had been sitting there wanting a drink. I told him no, I was sitting there glad to be drinking coke. He said that if I was lying, I would get drunk. He said that others had accidentally had a drink and didn't lose their sobriety. I was afraid that if I didn't take a 24 hour chip, I'd be lying and yet I didn't want to dishonor the gift of sobriety either.
My sponsor and some other old timers told me that I did not lose my sobriety. Given that I worked in criminal justice,and was trying to be anonymous,
there was a good chance that a number of people at the table were in on the prank. It sure did get quiet when I picked up that can without looking at it.
I renewed my surrender to my higher power and did not give up. Today, I look at that as a test of my desire for sobriety and my willingness to surrender.
I got the chance to pass that on several years later when a dear friend with severe emotional disorders and 10 years sobriety had a chemical slipped into his coke. He was wackadoo for a few days, and many staff thought he had deliberately picked up. He wasn't sure what happened, and he was confused, hurt and praying like crazy. I was able to help him look at how it all happened and see what had happened to him. I encouraged him to keep his sobriety date, and if we were wrong, he would want to drink again. He didn't. He had honestly been slipped a mickey. He is still sober and prayerful.
I am really happy that the topic of Crosstalk is being addressed! Just last week in a meeting I expressed concern about this very topic. When I arrived in AA (in June of 1984) I was out of gas and bankrupt in all areas of my life. I was greeted with love, compassion, understanding and a helping hand. I was told - "your life will get better if you do what we did". I attended several meetings where people said the same thing time after time, some people were wandering around and some were sitting in a corner and rocking. I was gratified to see that each situation was just plain okay with the group. When I asked my sponsor when "Suzie" was going to move on to another topic, I was told that Suzie would move on when she was ready. We get what we need in AA. It was pointed out to me that we don't discuss what people say at meetings because we hear things the way we are - not necessarily the way a share was intended. Quoting others either in or outside of meetings simply was not done! People who share should be allowed to say what they need to say without comment by anyone in or outside of the meeting (except with one's sponsor). Recently I've seen some old timers relax on this area of Crosstalk to the point of disruption! It disturbs me to hear comments made about another persons share during the meeting! I believe it intimidates the newly sober people preventing them from speaking. Also - our sponsors (in the old days) were referred to as "my sponsor" - not by name. This (use of names) too is happening all too frequently for my comfort. I don't pretend to have the solution except to say that we need to examine our behavior to be sure we are carring AA's message. It is the purpose of every meeting - I believe - to practice and share how the 12 steps are working in our lives. Without the 12 steps and the sharing of our members at meetings, I would be dead today. Thank God for AA.
Each group has its way regarding keeping crosstalk in check. Where I frequently go, it's given a lot of latitude as long as it remains civil or harmonious. Needless to say if it consists of aggressive confrontation, then the group puts a stop to it. I have seen some groups that have a low threshold for crosstalk and some are relatively lenient. Either way, I'm okay with it.
If the author believed what he/she said, he would never written the article in the first place and I quote from the final paragraph, "...it is not our responsibility to try to control others in a meeting." I am not sure that is a true statement as there is a reason why we have a chairperson or secretary. However, as we, or at least I, have learned in sobriety, there are not many black and white answers to most situations.
I am writing this in response to Drug Talk from the September 2013 issue. I have been sober since June 1988 and in recovery from alcoholism. I attend a women's meeting and there are several young women from a nearby rehab for women. They mostly introduce themselves as addicts. I also attend other meetings where members identify themselves as "addict/alcoholic", "alcoholic/addict", or simply "addict." That being said, there a couple things to consider. First, recovery is recovery, whether it is from alcohol, drugs, or both. Second, the AA meeting may be their best chance at recovery "from a seemingly hopeless state of mind." I am reminded of a story that Bill W. tells in Tradition 3 in the 12X12 on page 141. Briefly, a newcomer asks for admission to a meeting and admits he "has an addiction worse stigmatized than alcohol." The members, fearful that he would bring ruin to their meeting, debate about allowing this individual to attend their meeting because "we deal with alcoholics only." In the end they decide to let him and he proves to be an upstanding member. So do we want to keep everyone out who doesn't identify themselves as alcoholic or do we want to be examples of what recovery is all about.
In this day and age I doubt if we could find more than one or two "Pure Alcoholics" in our meetings. In my class of 74, at least half the folks I was in treatment with were duelly addicted to alcohol and something else. (but some of us would not admit that was the case us). My first sponsor used to say "a drug is a drug is a drug" and he would carry on for a while longer with words I won't repeat here. My Point is, that it was not until 2001 that perscription drugs took me to the same place alcohol had done 26 years earlier. I had 5 different doctors perscribing for me at the end. Drugs are a part of my struggle to find recovery. I believe that there are others out there, who like me, need to hear that they can find recovery from duel addictions in the program and meetings of AA....Anonymous
I came into AA in 1977, nobody in that "class" was just a drinker. But myself, I identified more with skid-row bums than with junkies, so I knew where I belonged. I believe that identification is what it's about, not necessarily history. As Janis Joplin said: "When the acid trip is over, we all get back to mother booze."
I hear members identify themselves in those different ways like, "alcoholic/addict." And some even have other unique monikers, like "My name is . . . and I'm in long term recovery." I think it's okay because eventually, they will see the beauty in just being an anonymous member. Also, where else are these addicts and "unique" named alcoholics going to go?? Remember, this is the last stop for many of us. I hear them, smile to myself, and LISTEN to what they say next.
Bill is said to have been talking about a man who was homosexual. The founders were drug users also...heavy sedative narcotics. They refer to this first on page 7 of the Big Book and again on page 22. Both Bill and Dr. Bob mention it in their stories.
one of the 7 earmarks of Alcoholism is dual addictions.
Are the other 6 earmarks of alcoholism on the ears? I heard one of the seven was sarcasm. was it one or number 1 in the 12x12 Pride leads the procession
"one of the 7 earmarks of Alcoholism is dual addictions."
Several months before AA found me I was prescribed Valium to help me over the shakes. I took them, didn't care for the side effects and stopped.
In Treatment we were given Antabuse. I stopped taking it when I began the AA program.
Over the years I have been given medication for pain. Most of those medications were thrown away after I no longer needed them.
I have never felt a desire to try any of the illegal 'recreational' drugs that are so popular today.
Since you've never met me and know nothing about me except that which I've told you, please don't diagnose me as an addict.
You are an addict, alcohol is a drug
the other addiction mentioned in the 12x12 is refering to a sexual.deviant. the sexual deviant was an alcoholic. we must remember that AA was not always for drunks. at first family members were let in and really anyone who was intetested could join. after awhile. it was found that these well meaning nonalcoholics couldn't give an alcoholic testimony from the podium or do one on one 12 step work. that's. when tradition. 1,3,&5 were developed. the alanon family groups, overeaters., and the origional narcotics anonymous were started. most of the 200 12 step. groups also use the 12 traditions. they. all have tradition 1,3,&5. our unity, one requirement, and singleness. of purpose revolve around alcohol. if you have a better idea for a new non AA fellowship, go for it. if it works we will join you. if it doesn't, we will be waiting for you as long as we adhere to our singleness. of purpose. when we try to help everyone, we help no one.
What do you say, just because they are not just an alcoholic we can't help everybody?
no, you at least have a problem with alcohol -you cam het help for other problems in an appropriate fellowship or professional.
"What do you say, just because they are not just an alcoholic we can't help everybody?"
I don't know who all said what, but our traditions say that as long they are alcoholics we can help them with their alcoholism regardless of their other problems. This is stated very clearly in a number of AA publications, such as the Preamble, the Tradition section of the 12&12 and the pamphlet "Problems Other Than Alcoholism."
I personally know a number of AA members who also attend GA and OA. I have yet to hear a compulsive gambler or an overeater insist that AA get rid of the Traditions in order to accomodate them. Yet that is precisely what many addicts demand. They use as a rationalization the short form of Tradition Three and refuse to look at or listen to the long form which clearly states that our focus is on alcoholism.
great share; i was immediately drawn to the book "AA Comes of Age", page 109
which states, "Long afterward we saw something else; the more AA minded its own business the greater its general influence would become"..."Today we understand this paradox; the more AA sticks to its primary purpose the greater will be its helpful influence everywhere." Now a days, we all are dually addicted
but I don't see that as an excuse to focus on outside issues. Regardless of our differences we as alcoholics have a common problem and a common solution. We are not united by our differences but bonded together by our common problem. If Bill and Bob were so concerned with drug addiction, they would have started Narcotics Anonymous not AA.
"the other addiction mentioned in the 12x12 is refering to a sexual.deviant. the sexual deviant was an alcoholic"
Can you provide any documented evidence of this besides gossip? According to the 12&12, page 142 and "Dr Bob and the Good Oldtimers", page 240, the man said he was the victim of an addiction.
below is from the GSO archives:
Excerpt of Bill W. presentation
General Service Conference, 1968
Monday night opening dinner
(General Service Office Archives CD GSC 68/1, part 2, first audio clip)
Re: Tradition Three – relates to “Double Stigma” member; From Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 142-143: “I am the victim of another addiction even worse stigmatized than alcoholism…”
“…The group conscience began to say to us, ‘The common welfare comes first. We do not have these biases [of power, prestige, or money]. Let us take thought for the general welfare, and after that, let’s see where the leadership stands.’ So we turn up as leaders who have not power in the usual sense, not prestige in the usual sense. We turn up as genuine servants with a discretion from the group conscience to act for them. And that’s our state here. The general welfare comes first.
Take another which at first glance might seem a little remote. At about year two, of the Akron group, a poor devil came to Dr. Bob in a grievous state. He could qualify as an alcoholic, all right. And then he said, ‘Dr. Bob, I’ve got a real problem to pose you. I don’t know if I could join AA, because I’m a sex deviate.’ Well, that had to go out to the group conscience, you know. Up to then it was supposed that any society could say who was going to join it.
And pretty soon the group conscience began to seethe and boil, and it boiled over. And, ‘Under no circumstances could we have such a peril, and such a disgrace, among us,’ said a great many.
And you know, right then our destiny hung on a razor edge over this single case. In other words, would there be rules that could exclude so-called undesirability? And that caused us in the time and for quite a time, respecting this single case, to ponder, what is the more important: the reputation that we shall have? What people shall think? Or is it our character? And who are we, considering our records? Alcoholism is quite as unlovely. Who are we to deny a man his opportunity? Any man, or woman?
And finally the day of resolution came. And a bunch were sitting in Dr. Bob’s living room, arguing, ‘What to do?’ Whereupon, dear old Bob looked around and blandly said, ‘Isn’t it time, folks, to ask ourselves, what would the Master do in a situation like this? Would He turn this man away?’
And that was the beginning of the A.A. tradition that any man who has a drinking problem is a member of A.A. if he says so, not whether we say so.
Now, I think that the import of this on the common welfare has already been staggering. Because it takes in even more territory than the confines of our Fellowship. It takes in the whole world of alcoholics. Their charter to freedom, to join A.A., is assured. Indeed, it was an act in the general welfare.”
I hope this is enough information. If not, right to GSO yourself and they will send you the same letter.
Okay, you've proved that the alcoholic with the other addiction was a sexual deviant. Again, I ask, so what? He came to AA for help with his alcoholism, not for help with his other problem. and to quote the 12&12, "Never did he trouble anyone with his other difficulty." Addictss make a point of troubing others with their addiction, using the flimsiest excuses as justification.
When did Bill or Dr. Bob identify themselves as addicts? Bill used a total of nine words to mention his drug use. Dr. Bob mentions sedatives in two sentences, "Most of the time, therefore, I did not take the morning drink which I craved so badly, but instead would fill up on large doses of sedatives to quiet the jitters." (page 176)and ".....taking large doses of sedatives to make it possible for me to earn more money, and so on ad nauseum."
AA is and always has bee open to anyone who suffers from alcoholism. That includes alcoholics who are addicted to other substances, who are compulsive gamblers (an AA member named nemed Tex started Gamblers Anonymous) those who are "sexual deviants of one sort or another, even those who suffer from ingrown kneecaps. The first sentence in the long form of Tradition Three states, "Our membership ought to include all who suffer from alcoholism." It says nothing about including the addict who drank when he/she didn't have drugs available.
I agree, all AA literature says alcohol, not other substance. also, I have yet to hear a tape of dr bob or bill w introducing themselves as even alcoholic.
does anyone know when the custom began in AA to introduce. yourself. as alcoholic?
"the other addiction mentioned in the 12x12 is refering to a sexual.deviant."
Perhaps you'll steer us to your source of this knowledge? Is it actually written somewhere in AA literature?
the easiest is xaspeakers.com. search barry L. he put the booklet "living sober " together. listen to his story, he had first hand knowledge. if that isn't enough, email GSO and ask for archival information on the subject who had the "other " addiction more stigmatized than alcohol in the 12x12.
good luck and always remember to watch for contempt prior to investigation.
So Barry L put "Living Sober" together, a book in which the first sentence on page 1 is, "This booklet does NOT offer a plan for recovery from alcoholism."
In the first place, why is it so important that the person was a 'sexual deviant', a drug addict, a compulsive shopper or a cat hater?
Addicts like to cite nine words in Bill W.'s story as permission to turn AA into NA. But they purposely ignore the nine words in the story about your 'sexual deviant', "Never did he trouble anyone with his other difficulty."
And concerning Bill's mentioning "... drinking both gin and sedative." In the paragraph before his "drug use' story he tells of having a brawl with a taxi driver. Why don't we hear blow-by-blow tales of brawls in our AA meetings?
I stand by what I've been saying for years, the only reason anyone insists on violating AA's Traditions is to prove they are different from the rest of us.
Donna, you left out the most important sentence in the anecdote from the 12&12, the second to last sentence on page 142:
"Never did he trouble anyone with his other difficulty."
The long form of Tradition three is pretty specific: "Our membership ought to include all who suffer from ALCOHOLISM."
"Any two or three ALCOHOLICS gathered together for sobriety ....."
Tradition Five and the pamphlet, "Problems Other Than Alcohol" are very clear on who can and can't be a member of AA and therefore who should and should not be permitted to share at AA meetings.
I am writing this in response to Drug Talk from the September 2013 Grapevine. I have been sober since June 1988 and in recover from alcoholism. At meetings I hear new members saying they are "addict/alcoholic" or "alcoholic/addict," or just simply "addict." I have also heard members comment that these individuals should not be identifying themselves as addicts. I attend a women's meeting where very young women come from a women's recovery house. They too identify themselves as addicts. We tolerate their self-description and keep the meeting focused on alcoholism. Alcoholism is the problem; alcohol and/or drugs is the symptom. I agree it is difficult to relate to the addict if alcohol is not part of your experience. That being said, there are a few things I would ask for your consideration. First, recovery is recovery, whether it's from alcohol, drugs, or both. Second, the meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous may be their best change at recovery "from a seemingly hopeless state of mind." I am reminded of a story that Bill W. relayed in Tradition Three in the 12 and 12 on page 141. Bill writes, "A newcomer asks for admission to a meeting with an addition worse stigmatized than alcohol." The members agonized over allowing this individual entry to their meeting because "we deal with alcoholic only." In the end they let him in and he proved to be an upstanding member. And he never gave them a problem with respect to his other addiction. So do we want to keep everyone out who doesn't identify themselves as alcoholic or do we want to be examples of what recovery is all about?
I am not a fan of crosstalk in general and specifically I am extremely uncomfortable when I'm the subject of comments in a meeting. The comments are meant to be complimentary, I believe, however, I find them very off-putting and mostly embarrassing. I have no more knowledge than anyone else. I have been around for several 24 hours and have learned everything I know today at AA meetings. This does not make me want to set myself up as a guru and I prefer not to hear others speak of me in "glowing" terms. I'm not sure how or if I'm to publicly or privately handle this when it happens. And, I've been told it does, even when I'm not necessarily at the meeting in question. Suggestions anyone?
I read with much interest "Anonymous" article on Cross talk. While I would be the first to try to redirect a meeting that is becoming a therapy session with everything focused on one person and how to fix them, it has been my experience that cross talk can promote solid recovery. My home group specifically allows cross talk and it says so in our opening. We have a wonderful mix of old timers, those with several years of sobriety and newcomers. The meeting is at 5:30 PM we laugh, we cry and we have gotten to know each other very well. It's the healthiest meeting I attend.
Henrietta Seiberling had an intuitive thought in late April/early May 1935. That thought was that there was an immense spiritual connection between being able to communicate ones truth and healing. Therefore, she "arranged" a meeting of the Oxford Group, which she knew Dr. Bob would attend. By "arranged" I mean that she stacked the deck against Dr. Bob. She loaded the meeting with people willing and able to share their secrets. It worked. Dr. Bob admitted that he was a secret drinker and was willing to accept help in the form of the other attendees praying for him. The rest, as they say, is history.
The entire format of sharing at a meeting of A.A. is based on that thought being put into action.
There is another story of the early members "checking" each other during meetings. Today, we'd call that "taking their inventory" (and sharing it with them) or "calling them on their crap".
These stories are found in "Dr. Bob and the Good Old Timers".
Based on the anonymous article in Grapevine, all shares in a meeting would be totally unrelated to each other. We wouldn't be able to comment on Bills' writing in the Big Book or anything we learned from our sponsors. I wouldn't be able to share the two stories that I lead off this post with.
I'll never be sure, because the people that I attended meetings with, early on, didn't call their sharing "crosstalk". What they called crosstalk was what happened if two people started a "conversation" during the meeting. They said that was like starting another meeting within the meeting.
Thanks for letting me share.
Henrietta Seiberling's plan did not work. Dr. Bob continued to drink. If Henrietta Seiberling's plan would have worked, we would not have AA today.
"Henrietta Seiberling's plan did not work".
Henrietta Seiberling's plan did not work, instantly. From that I wouldn't conclude that it wasn't part of a plan that worked very well.
Thanks for your well researched and detailed share. I "grew up" in a group where tough love was practiced wholeheartedly. Anyone trying to dish out any crap could be expected to be called on it. I was even nailed on crap that I was keeping quiet about. Ouch! It didn't take long to find out who we were, what our character defects were and what to do about it. Anybody with thin skin was welcome to try a different group. To us crosstalk were private conversations usually whispered when someone else was trying to share.
The first time I encountered a different definition was at a Friends of Bill meeting on a cruise ship. A guy shared in so many words that he was setting himself for a drunk. I pointed the fact out to him. He freaked out and demanded that the meeting close right then. He didn't offer to leave, he didn't ask me to leave, by god everybody had to leave. I simply sat and watched him and those crazy enough to follow him leave. Viva la difference.
Thank God for the diversity of meetings in AA.
During my first year of AA, I attended a daily meeting in a club that was of the lovey dovey, "thank you for sharing" type. Cross talk was strictly forbidden. I loved it and made many good friends. I also met my sponsor there. I chose him as a sponsor because he talked steps and solutions. I wanted that.
I soon learned where he'd found his solution when he invited me to his home group - a men's step study. The meeting would begin in a large group with a lead on the step of the week. We'd then break into tables of 4-6 members with an experienced chairman at each table. You were to share on the step of the week if you'd worked it or on the step you were working on. Any member at the table could provide feedback during a share. This was always done in a loving way. Group members were encouraged to "deliver your message with love". Even so, we called this "getting nailed". I got nailed early and often. I soon realized that I needed to get called on my BS and that these guys knew me inside and out. There was nothing I could hide and nothing worth hiding. My AA foundation was built in that group that has served me for many years.
There are examples of two meetings that could not be more different; one with no crosstalk and the other built on crosstalk. Both were big and thriving meetings that met the needs of attendees. It seems like there is room in AA for both.
I have 29 years of sobriety thanks to the rooms of A.A. and our 12 steps. Like Jim F., who wrote "There are no must" in the September 2013 Grapevine, I have been criticized for the way that I run my program. I have my experience, strength, and hope and you have yours. If you know me, perhaps you will say that she works a watered down version of A.A. and is killing newcomers. I do understand that my ESH is not going to work for everyone. I get that. But in my own quiet way, I do think that I have some ESH that can help some. I don't come to A.A., either meetings in my town or online, to debate what is the right way to work an A.A. program.
I come because I need A.A. to stay sober a day at a time. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. And I know how to use my feet and find another meeting if one meeting is not working for me.
For those who say, "but you didn't" __________. I'll say that I have 29 years of continuous sobriety, I must of done something right. Or as a couple of my buddies tell me (one of whom has his sponsees go through the BB and underline "must" and "should"): "I want what you have."
I love it when I can talk to some folk I know from the rooms where we have, shall we say, very divergent views of how we work our program. We are having a nice time catching up on our lives and our sobriety.
It send shivers up my spine when I hear and read of some of the intolerance of those who are either verbally or with their body language pointing their finger at me saying: "people like you in the rooms are killing newcomers."
I am often quiet at meetings, and when I share I try to relate my share to how I am working the program to stay sober today. Or to address whatever the topic is. And I know that I am helping people because people will sometimes come up to me after the meeting, thanking me for my share and thanking me for coming to the meeting.
After spending a few years of "dumbing down my shares to " better fit into A.A. meetings", I am working on being honest. And yes, I try to respect our singleness of purpose. Even if being honest goes against the grain of local A.A. If you don't like what I say and you don't want your sponsees to talk to me, well that is your right. But please be nice, respect that we have different ESH and different ways of working our program. It doesn't mean that one of us is right and the other is wrong.
I have a right to be in the rooms of A.A. For the most part, while I can say that some at both the meetings in my town and online don't always like what I share, no one has ever told me that I am not welcome at A.A.
"I have 29 years of sobriety thanks to the rooms of A.A. and our 12 steps. Like Jim F., who wrote "There are no must" in the September 2013 Grapevine, I have been criticized for the way that I run my program."
Please, help me on this because I'm totally confused. Where in the AA literature does it say there are no musts? I'm sure it must be somewhere or I wouldn't hear it from so many different members, yet in my forty-two continuous of sobriety in AA I haven't come across it.
there literally are no "musts " in the big book or 12x12. literally zero! the word "must " is written 134 times in the big book and 12x12. it's .like a big practical joke Bill W is playing on us. I think Bill would say stop the semantics and work with a newcomer.
in AA comes of Age, Bill wrote AA has 2 authorities. God who is waitin for u to do his will and alcohol who will kill you if you don't.
If you really want sobriety, there are actions you "must " take. if you don't and you don't die in the meantime, we will be here to help when your ready to take those 12 actions.
Shame on you and me and anyone else with 42 years sobriety
who has not read LOTH, AACA and the other sources filled
with information. I finally opened these books (and my mind)
when I discovered that our fellowship had nearly collapsed
in the 1990's. Bill wanted AA to be available to alcoholic
sufferers for the next thousand years. We made it to 1992
helping hundreds of thousands every year. For the past
twenty years we have only been helping ourselves. ANONYMOUS
I think you can find the answer to your question in Tradition One, the Big Book and elsewhere in A.A. General Service Conference Approved literature.
“Our Twelve Steps to recovery are suggestions; the Twelve Traditions which guarantee A.A.’s unity contain not a single “Don’t.” They repeatedly say “We ought….” but never “You must!” (Tradition One; The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions p. 129 http://www.aa.org/twelveandtwelve/en_pdfs/en_tradition1.pdf
“Alcoholics Anonymous has no “musts.” – Bill W. (Tradition One, The Language of the Heart p. 76; AA Grapevine December 1947)
“Our book is meant to be suggestive only.” (Big Book p. 164 http://www.aa.org/bigbookonline/en_bigbook_chapt11.pdf )
For me there is no “right” or “wrong way” in which to work the AA program. What is the "right" way for me may be the "wrong" way for other alcoholics and vice versa. If an alcoholic hasn't had a drink of alcohol today, then he "must" have done something "right" even if he or someone else judges him to be doing it "wrong." I try not to judge myself or other alcoholics. My experience of judging myself tells me that sometimes when I have judged myself as doing things "right" I have found this attitude to be nothing more an ego trip, painful to others who have had the displeasure of being in my company. Eventually this attitude ends up in being painful to myself, but only when I am willing to admit that my behavior towards others has been "wrong." I think it is what's called making a searching and fearless moral inventory of myself in Step 4 and when I am "wrong" promptly admitting it in step 10. And, therefore, not taking others inventory for them with the conscious or subconscious purpose of inflating my own ego at the expense of deflating their spirit.
glad to read you have long term sobriety. the key to long term sobriety is, don't ever drink and don't die!
my point is that all alcoholics are drunks, but not all drunks are alcoholics. it's been my experience that drunks can put the plug in the jug, attend AA and be reasonably happy and sober. alcoholics who attend meetings and put the plug in the jug without working the steps progressively get worse until they drink again or find another addiction.
this is my personal experience as an oldtimer.
I don't like it when people stay sober the wrong way ; )
You do have a right to attend AA meetings. Absolutely.
It also sends shivers up my spine when you say that you’ve heard or read, and even experienced, the intolerance of those who are saying “people like you in the rooms are killing newcomers.”
Unfortunately, many still suffering alcoholics are now starting to avoid AA because many AA groups no longer seem to be “spiritual, but not religious.” Instead of practicing openness and tolerance to agnostics, like in the old days, there seems to be a new AA culture determined to force feed religious beliefs and practices down every newcomer’s throat.
Please continue not to dumb down your shares. You mentioned that people will sometimes come up to you after the meeting and thank you for your share. There are lots of intelligent and open minded people in AA who appreciate an intelligent message. Honesty can be achieved while at the same time being respectful of others personal beliefs and how they practice their program. Newcomers need to hear your message. They, like you and me, need acceptance and peer support to stay sober a day at a time. That is what AA groups have been able to provide in the past. Let’s try to keep that intact for the next generation (and ourselves).
They, like you and me, need and peer support. Not peer
pressure, PEER SUPPORT. Love and tolerance must again become our code. Spiritual, NOT religious can be
confusing. I believe spiritual growth is necessary for
recovering/recovered alcoholics. I see the four Oxford
Group absolutes as measuring sticks. Strive to be more
honest, more pure, more loving and more unselfish. Of
course these are goals of the religions. I would like to
see Alcoholics Anonymous become an altruistic society
once again. The ship can be turned around. ANONYMOUS
I was at a small meeting (five of us) last night. I guess I had shared something about my observation that "whatever works best is best" in the context of AA, that I am glad others have found what works for them, glad they share that with me, but noting that I stop listening when anyone starts suggesting what I need to do (other than "don't drink). The two newer folks, both less than a year sober, shared that what they appreciate about this meeting is the absence of proselytizing. We read from the 24 Hour a Day book, notwithstanding the fact that it is a pretty a-religious bunch. I will attend another meeting tonight, where our "fearless leader" is in his sixth decade of sobriety, but has never read the big book, has never done the steps. My observation is that he has more serenity than some of the big book and Bible thumpers I encounter in the rooms, but then who am I to judge. I worry about those who have "found the answers," as my own experience has been that yesterday's answer rarely works on today's issue. Paraphrasing Pope:
For means of sobriety let fools contest - whatever works best is best...
In faith and hope the drunks will disagree - but all AA's concern is charity.
Speaking of proselytizing...
If I drink I will get drunk- therefore I MUST not pick up the first drink. The program and the fellowship has taught and continues to teach me that there is price to pay for what I want and need. All it costs me is a desire not to drink today, to be honest with me so I can be honest with others. But mostly is to share my experience, strength and hope with the people who cross my path. I have not had to drink since May of 1989. Since then I've gotten married to a fellow member, buried 2 of our 4 children, had a heart attack. Never mind the normal crap that happens to everyone, everyday. Yes I wanted to drink, but I refuse to pay the ultimate price. IF I DRINK, I WILL DIE! Just for today, I CHOOSE not to die.Today I have the choice. All because Bill and Dr. Bob met. And for that I am grateful. My name is Mary and I am an alcoholic.