From the March 1988 magazine.

You Mean There's Already a Solution?

As the AA Steps contain the message of recovery, so the AA Traditions contain that of unity. I knew this fact in spirit sometime before my head caught on to it. While still very much a newcomer to the Fellowship, I first became aware of the Traditions while observing the running of meetings. Despite my newcomer's confusion I could sense that the chairman and secretary had little power to get people to do anything--other than their power of persuasion through their own sober example. It soon seemed clear, too, that their only guidelines were the Traditions, which at most meetings hung in full view for easy reference. I noticed that the Traditions guided the groups in the many small jobs necessary to make each meeting available as scheduled. My curiosity about the Traditions was sparked and kindled a little at a time. There were not many Step meetings then--and no Traditions meetings--so we depended mostly on osmosis to absorb these principles.

Over the years this situation has altered considerably since AA practices have changed, much as I have grown in sobriety. Nowadays Step meetings in many communities have become our most important topic discussion meetings--well attended and deeply interesting. The principles in the Step under discussion at these meetings cast an uncanny light on our day-to-day problems in sobriety and guide us on the path to an AA way of living. However, although the message of unity remains as vital as ever, and possibly more crucial than in simpler days when AA was less popular, Traditions meetings are hard to find. Even when one can find such a meeting one often is besieged by downgrading, trivializing remarks beginning with, "If I'd remembered that this was Traditions night. . ." And, too, the speakers, often as not, are inexperienced in AA service where the Traditions are experienced at work.

-- Boyce B.

Brooklyn, New York

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