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April 1956

Group Inventory

LET'S be as honest about our groups as about ourselves. Let's admit to ourselves, anyway, that even in the most circumspect groups all is not always well.

Just as it occasionally happens in the country club, the church choir and the college faculty, a lone wolf will howl and a Red Riding Hood will simper Invitingly,

Let's advert to that nice, inexpensive, comprehensive, paper Traditions booklet. Here we see that such people either achieve sobriety and slough off their amorous bents in the process, or they simply disappear from view. This relieves us of the burden of policing other people's morals and free to concentrate on our primary purpose which is "to help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety."

We saw a nice kid once, single, and engaging in his innocence as he tried to untie the apron strings. He fell into the clutches of a much-married lady who has yet to make the program. He stayed clutched exactly three months. Today he is happily married to a sweet young thing and his would-be "sponsor" is God knows where. We can thank his mother for realizing, along with the authors of the Traditions, that he had to work out that problem for himself, too.

In the hinterlands we see women members relegated to the kitchen and to the mercies of the wives of members. Oftentimes these mercies are in good working order and the lone she-male profits by an acceptance that is good for her morale. But it is no substitute for the fellowship of other alcoholics. Menial service in the canteen may be good for humility of the spirit but not when it is cutting you off from your fellow jugheads and the nonsense, wisdom and stimulating controversy of the coffee hour.

Selfishness can be a factor in this deal. We know of a group in which the women are banished from the table so the men can swap stories with a stench. Come, come, gentlemen, is this helping the little lady to achieve sobriety--our primary purpose, remember? What makes you think she hasn't earned her right to be helped?

Another form of selfishness is being supine about letting the non-alcoholic mates take entire charge of the refreshment detail from purchasing to policing (kitchen). This is declining outside help as our Traditions suggest? Who can cast a stone at the non-alcoholic contingent if it gets ideas and wants to have much to say about group affairs? Pertinent too is the fact that K.P. is just as good for the male soul as it is for the female.

These days we see some of the founders of groups "retiring" sulkily from AA after many useful, productive years. Often this "retirement" is precipitated by disagreements with new members over group affairs. Sometimes there have been shattering battles for power. If we all remember that "our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern" we may not mount our high horses and go riding off into Never-Never Land when our own turn comes.

These are only a few examples of the ways our too often overlooked Traditions can help us to solve our group problems. Try them, and you will find yourself free to pursue your primary purpose and to enjoy your own sobriety as well. Heavens knows mine would have gone out the window long ago without these twelve guides for sane group behavior.

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