I have other articles at this website defending why and how Alcoholics Anonymous is a personal program. I have defended and stood up for the principles the program teaches us. I have been an open and compassionate person to those other websites and people who are leary, critical, or suspicious of A.A. I could always understand why people had turned sour of A.A., or would call it a cult. I could have empathy and feel sorrow for their anger and bitterness. In fact, I have always loathed those traits of some members in A.A. who judged people for that. “If God chases you out, alcohol will chase your ass back in.”
Whoever says that? Fuck them! They’re talking to be clever.
Unfortunately, due to some A.A. members and their callous remarks, alcohol never had a chance to bring those “asses” they speak of, back in. They thought a better resolution would be suicide. I could see why they’d feel that way… We often hear that A.A.’s the last stop on the block for us and we give it our all. We believe it’s the last stop for us cause that’s what everyone said right? So when the sickest groups of A.A. no longer can function in a healthy degree, I can see how some people would then assume it’s their insanity…and then go back to drinking, drugs, both, and/or eventual suicide.
Example taken from the Annals of Early Recovery: I’d been sober for about 6 months. It’d been the longest I’d not have had a drink in 7 years or so. I was stone cold sober and without any chemicals at all – except still sugar, caffeine and nicotine, and some of my ADD, HSP, and EBV thrown in for extra fun and giggles along the way…A friend was picking me up for a meeting when I forgot to check the mail. “Oh wait. I think I forg…” She says: “Who said you could think?” WTF? I called up my sponsor later and tested her recovery: “Am I allowed to think?” Naturally she said yes. I would later learn that this friend of mine took narcotics habitually. So much for “A.A. Time” and “Sobriety.”
Lesson: If something someone says or implies doesn’t feel right, trust yourself. Read the Voice of Knowledge, understand Codependency, and understand that even anger comes from your integrity. A.A. literature may say that anger is the “dubious luxury of normal men” but I couldn’t disgaree more. Anger is not a luxury. It’s a feeling and normal people have them. Anger initiates action. Done with drinking, we can now hopefully put that action into right action as opposed to internalized [self] or externalized [others] hate.
Depravity from One Person to the Group Level
Other clues that I may be dealing with A.A. people under the influence of narcotics or illicit drug use, still drinking, acting from ego, a cult-like mentality, or from their own opinions rather than A.A. guided principles or an otherwise spiritual foundation, is that it will be in opposition to the Twelve Traditions. One person opposing them okay. Even a few is still manageable because we hope that people who have been there and have an understanding of the Traditions would be there to guide them back. But when most people in a group are not observing the very bedrock that A.A. itself claims as How the Group Functions, then it ceases being an A.A. Group – I don’t care what it calls itself.
The Last Hope for Others Not yet Burned Harmed or Disillusioned
For people still in Alcoholics Anonymous I want to share something with you that can hopefully save you or your group from the pestilence of disease, untruths, misconceptions, and rot that has killed my former group. As much as it pains me to say this, one person cannot change a group for the better always. The majority has to first see it. And then, the majority [like they stress to the individual in A.A.] has to be willing to go to any length to get it. My group was not. As a result, I had to leave before it brought me further down. I say further, because I still have the aftertaste of anger and intense hostility toward many people there and against the group as an entity. [I do not have hostility against A.A. the program; the 12 Steps, the Principles, the institution, or the Traditions in any way. I have hostility that people’s lives are ending, relapses are happening, and my personal recovery has had to change shape due to where I got sober being the sickest stop on the block.]
The Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous
1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A.A. unity.
2. For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority- a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
3. The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.
4. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or A.A. as a whole.
5. Each group has but one primary purpose to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.
6. An A.A. group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the A.A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
7. Every A.A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
8. Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever non-professional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
9. A.A., as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
10. Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films.
12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.
The Twelve Traditions – taken as a whole – is the bedrock for the successful recovery of an individual while in the Group. The Traditions is what makes it manageable that a room of even mostly new alcoholics in recovery can still recover. At the personal level, I can have a really rough day and be mad at the world…but if I go into a meeting and abide these Traditions I can be assured that from my mouth and actions I will not contribute to another person’s decent into sickness and may even help them. And they me.
In short, if these Traditions aren’t observed it’s no longer an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting – it’s a hang out.
As for me, I continue to enlarge my spiritual life and associate with others who do the same. This is how I will stay sober. And this is the foundation of the program.