What if...ya thought of it this way?
At one point, someone(s?) thought-a the bumper sticker...then, at another point, there would-a had to have been a group conscience as to whether or not the bumper stickers, etc., were "appropriate". If they're out there, then the decision has been made, they're ok.
Our group wanted a sign posted outside of our clubhouse, stating meeting times. We leased this building from the town, and actually, it was the town that requested that a sign be posted. There were meetings held to discuss this sign. In lieu of a group conscience, the sign was passed and it was a 'go'. This was prior to my moving in to this particular town. I got here, and was informed of another meeting--a business meeting, and I was invited to stick around. Among other things, discussed was what the sign would look like, who would work on it, etc. Being new to this particular group, I volunteered to paint it (service, right?). There's an old-timer who would build it, and I painted it. Now--for me
, this little project wasn't
about the sign itself at all. The old-timer put it all together, delivered it to my place..when I was finished, he came to get it--and there we were...we had a "tail-gate" meeting in my drive-way. For me
, the 'point' to doing this little project was connecting to this new group, working with another alcoholic--an old-timer yet, to boot...and that little "tail-gate" meeting, even to date, was one of the best meetings I've ever "attended". The sign was just the tool that was used. Anyway--the sign goes up...it's up for a few days only when
: all hell breaks loose about this sign???
. Word gets back to me about this, and apparently, there were a couple of members, who were not at any of the meetings where this sign was discussed--who were extremely upset because they felt that now that sign was there, anyone who saw them walk into this building would now know that they were AA--they felt that this sign was a breach of their anonymity. Soooo...another meeting was held. I'm tellin' ya...this sign caused such a ruckus...serenity??? Out the window...not for me, though--because I was still firm and comfortable with what the sign meant for me...the purpose of the sign had already been served for me. Opinions were shared at this meeting, and I shared mine honestly and from the heart. I really didn't know what to think about whether it should stay up or come down--that part--I honestly felt--was neither here nor there for me
. I knew of another story of another member who had been overseas w/ the Navy, so I knew of one place in particular that had a sign outside of their meeting room written in Arabic--so I ventured to guess that it must be alright to have a sign posted?? But all I could offer was that, and how I felt. Well...the sign came down. The old-timer was extremely hurt by this...he didn't come back to meetings for months. Guess what? Neither did those few, except for 1, who weren't there for the vote for the yea/nah in the first place. I'm like what-ever
...not willing to allow this to have an affect on my sobriety one way or the other...we don't stay sober for signs, or bumper stickers, or cakes or coins...or-at least for me, that's not what it's about for me. That sign, for me--had more of a hidden
meaning for me..another member (Pat), who was for the sign, comes up to me during all of this hoopla, and quietly says (of what I'd said): "Now that's
AA--and that's what I'm tellin' the others."
So---now...it's 3 years after all of this...I'd been attending a different meeting at a different place (oldtimers meeting
)...I drive by the clubhouse, and there posted all bright&shiny as the day I painted it--there's the sign
. I nearly drove into another vehicle--absolutely stunned. I go into the bank, there's a member there in the line-up...I tap him on the shoulder and point across the street--confused. Ya, he says, I guess they decided to put it back up cuz the ones who raised a fuss don't even live here anymore. O--kay??? I go home and phone Pat, and she's gigglin', cuz it's been up for about a week. Then, she proceeds to tell me that the group is going to have to find some other place to have the meetings cuz the town has other plans for this particular building. So after all of that--the sign hung there for about 3 months in total. I shake my head at the weirdness of it all, because...still--for me...today...it was never about the sign itself.
I was taught when I first came in that eventually, we would come to recognize each other simply based on our personalities and traits. I was taught that, eventually, there'd come a day when I would pass somebody in a store, and I would just know
. Of course, it didn't make sense to me at the time, but--sure as everything else I've been told about this program, that to has materialized. I reckon the point is, not to get so focused on the "politics" that it diverts us from what the purpose of what we're really supposed to be focused on. If we get caught up in chaos, and now I've also seen it inside
AA, that in itself can divert us from our primary purpose...stay sober and help others achieve sobriety.
KEEP IT SIMPLE,