From the May 2001 magazine.

White Noise

One of the basic realities of Alcoholics Anonymous is that none of us as individuals represent AA as a whole. Each of us represents only ourselves. When we share, we tell what it was like for us, what happened to us, and what it is like for us now. Or, as it is sometimes differently put, we share our experience, strength, and hope. Any of us is free to walk into an AA meeting and say whatever is on our mind. In this regard, AA is supremely democratic. There is no condition that what we say must conform to any dogma or doctrine.

This wonderful freedom of thought and speech means that the statements people in AA make can be wildly different and are often contradictory. Some will insist that there is only one way to do the program of AA--exactly as it is written in the Big Book. Others will claim that there are as many ways to do the Twelve Steps as there are people who do them. A few point out that the Twelve Steps are but a suggested program of recovery, and need not necessarily be done at all. There is, after all, only one requirement for membership--the desire to stop drinking.

-- Russ H.

Walnut Creek, California

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