Traditions? What Traditions?
The other day I went to yet another “Alcoholics Anonymous” meeting only to hear the speaker say, “Drugs are in my story. It's how I got here. If you are offended, too bad.” What gives this person the right to dismiss our Traditions? And on top of that, come to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting and not talk about alcohol?
Tradition Three tells me, “The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking." While this is true, Tradition One also says, “Our common welfare should come first, personal recovery depends upon A.A. unity.”
Too many times in Alcoholics Anonymous we “alcoholics” go to an AA meeting only to hear something other than an AA lead. There are many stories going around about how “old timers” have stopped going to meetings because they have lost their primary purpose. Remember - “Each group has but one primary purpose-to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.”? What kind of message is a drug addict, over-eater, or pedophile carrying to this alcoholic? I need to hear a message about ALCOHOL!!!
Some may not know or believe they are alcoholics but still wish to live a life free of alcohol. I have no quarrel with this. For those of us who are alcoholics and do not wish to share a meeting with those who are not, what are we to do? Let others continue to over-run our meetings until all we have left are "secret" meetings in out of the way places? It says a lot when you see a flyer for an AA meeting, with a bold ALCOHOLICS ONLY-NO COURT PAPERS SIGNED.
The reason that Tradition Three was emphasized by the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous was to protect the fellowship from outside influences; to insure that the meetings would maintain their primary purpose and not be diluted by the influx of others issues.
Some believe that the fellowship has, in fact, been diluted by the inclusion into our meetings those who are primarily dealing with issues other than alcohol, such as drug abuse. They feel that the program has gotten away from its spiritual foundations and primary purpose and may become diluted to the point of ineffectiveness. They feel helpless and, therefore, stop coming to meetings. It has been said that to find an AA meeting in Wooster you have to go outside of Wooster. Is that going to happen in Akron? In the years that I was married I never asked my wife to lead a meeting for me because her lead was a drug lead. As much as I loved and cared for her the fact remained that she had a drug lead and I felt it had no place behind the podium of AA.
I would certainly hope that anyone who wishes to stop drinking will have the freedom to choose AA as their means of support. One does not have to become a member of Alcoholics Anonymous. We still have freedom of choice. If drugs or other issues "got you here" then maybe you need to make another choice. We must honor our AA Traditions to protect the spiritual foundation of Alcoholics Anonymous
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