Tradition Three - The only Requirement........

Discussion related to the 12 Traditions
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Tradition Three - The only Requirement........

Postby Woodstock » Wed Nov 16, 2005 2:05 am

Tonight I was the “chipper’ at my usual Tuesday meeting. I suggested Chap 4 in the BB for the topic and the chair read an excerpt from pg 56, 2nd Para.

Midway thru 2 people walked thru the door; a newbie in the midst of incomprehensible demoralization and a relapser back with less than 30 days.

The chair reread the text for their benefit and turned the meeting over to me and I shared about my spiritual experiences associated with the unique moment of clarity when I could accept the need for change. This poor guy (newbie) hung his head and cried the whole time I talked. The whole room shared and I could see the looks in their eyes. “There but for the Grace of God go Iâ€

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Postby Spiritman » Thu Nov 17, 2005 12:47 am

It's great that you were at the meeting today for the person you wrote about, and for yourself. You helped him, and yourself, by just being there.
Recovery works in many ways.
A similar thing happened in my home group today at the lunch meeting.
The Spiritman

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Postby Rusty Zipper » Fri Nov 18, 2005 11:49 pm

hey you two, what you both talked about. getting out of "self " my 1rst. sponser drumed that into my selfish little ( big, ego, lol ) head way early on. AA, is about give, and take. freely, and unselfishly to realy work it's best. we also hear its a selfish program for selfish people. if we dont take care of oneself first, and properly. how can we be of help to another. have a good one you two. kcb, xo Zip :wink:

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Tradition 3

Postby wareagle10 » Sun Apr 09, 2006 2:28 am

I was at my regular meeting last night in Huntington Beach, California and the subject of our 3rd tradition popped up, mainly because we read chapter 5 and the traditions at the beginning of the meeting, and when they get to tradition three and finish reading it I say very loudly, "that's right". So when it came up I was also given an opportunity to speak on the subject. If it weren't for the third tradition that states" the only requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking", I would not be here today.
Just before the meeting I had been reading some stuff about Clarence Snyder and the Cleveland groups. Clarence would call on a newcomer before taking them to a meeting and ask them if they were serious about not drinking, they had to say "yes", then he would come back two more consecutive nights and ask the same question, on the third night if they answered in the affirmative, he would then ask them to drop to their knees and they would pray, if they would not he wouldn't take them to a meeting. Had that been the requirements for membership when I came in to the program in 1983 I would have given them the finger and left, never to return.
The third tradition was the foundation of my being able to stay here and get the rest of the program. I am a hard headed, anti-establishment and authority, rebellious, contrary SOB. Those who helped me knew this and told me to just not drink today and to hold onto the desire not to drink. They told me that since that was the ONLY requirement everything else was a suggestion and I could do it or not. It took me seven years to start a fourth step and 7 1/2 to give it away because I was not willing to get honest until then, they told me it didn't matter, I could do it when it was time for ME TO DO IT not a sponsor's time.
I am forever grateful to the people who wrote this program for guys like me, it enabled me to stick around and get the best life I have ever had.
Don't know if this helps anyone, but it sure helps me. I liked it so much I read it again. Ha.
Take care and straight ahead, John.

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Postby Dallas » Sun Apr 09, 2006 3:29 am

Hey John,

Thanks for sharing that! I, too, would have never made it under the preaching of Clarence S., nor would I been one of the choir boys in anybodys choir.

When I finally got my second chance at sobriety... I didn't know if there were a bunch of Gods, or what... but I hit my knees in a coin operated car wash and prayed out trying to reach the God that was keeping those drunk sober in AA.

I had already tried the Gods of religion and once it did work for a few months.... then, I ended up worse than I had been to start with.

The God that I found as a result of the 12 Steps was bigger, more loving and more merciful than anything that I could ever imagine... let alone any God that I had ever heard about before! (To this day, as much as I try... He never ceases to amaze me about how Big He is! I still can't fathom it!).

I personally believe that God is so big and so loving... He knew we needed those 12 Traditions to go along with our Spiritual Awakening, to keep some of us from going off the deep end with our heads impoding as a result of some religion being attempted to get pounded into our alcoholic minds... and for same some of us... not to louse His deal up with a bunch of non-sense technicalities and rules that would keep some of us from ever even having the opportunity to say "yes... I would like to be sober!"

Religion wanted me to "believe something first" ... and I couldn't believe. Step 2, allowed me to get results before I could believe. Then, one day, I discovered I was still sober! (Which I didn't believe was possible!) And, those results, eventually made a believer out of me! I figured there had to be something other than me... because I had spend years trying to fix me with everything that was in me... and I couldn't make it happen.

What I could do though was to follow some suggestions, and as my sponsor would say "if the horse is blind... go ahead and load the wagon anyway." A program of action... that made room for an antagonist like me! (When I was new... I thought the Chapter to the Agnostics was the Chapter for the Antagonists... and I thought that was what they meant... by "read the book and don't be surprized when the day comes that you read about yourself in the book!") Later, when I discovered that the title read "Chapter to the Agnostics" I figured that it was going to say what I already believed... it was going to say "for guys like me... here is the proof... it will never work for you!" (When I was new I didn't have to read the Big Book to know what was in it... I could just reat the titles to the Chapters, and intuitively... I knew what it was about!) :oops: :roll: :wink:

Thanks for sharing your experience John. It means a lot to me. I don't know totally your experience then or now... but a lot of the parts of your story I really identify with. I know a lot of people who had problems just we did... who are still sober today, after many years, of doing something different!


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Postby cinderbobble » Tue Apr 25, 2006 1:10 pm

I've just got to share this. Love the third tradition! When I was so new, I was so convinced that many did not like me, or accept me (constant re-tread), that in anger, I used the third tradition like a ball peen hammer, beating them over the head with it. I was sober! And in 'their' meeting, and there was nothing 'they' could do about it, because the traditions hung on the wall! (I'm sure now they didn't all reject me, or 'hate' me). But, I hung on to sobriety triumphantly based on the pleasure this thought gave me for a long time. Finally, though, I had to realize that my novelty was wearing off, and I had to get a sponsor. Also, too, in those early days, when I was convinced that everybody hated me, I called this old timer, a gentleman who has since died w/30+ years sobriety, and told him I didn't like going to meetings because everybody hated me. He responded with, 'M.... what makes you think that you're so gall-darn important that everybody has nothing better to do than to sit around hating you!?' I've never forgotten that. It is so funny, that it is always those who can shake you out of your tree that are the last ones you want to call! :lol: Does anybody ever wonder, in reality, how we must actually look to them old timers, and how seriously we took ourselves?

Another thing was I used to go to another sponsor, and say, 'I didn't like so and so because of .....' and she would say, 'come off it M, don't tell me you've never done anything like that to somebody else!' Nowadays, if I'm lucky, I will stop and ask myself if I've ever done what I am finding offensive in somebody else (usually snubbing, rejection, anger, etc.) and I really do think of them differently!

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3rd tradition

Postby wareagle10 » Wed Apr 26, 2006 12:19 am

I know of a lot of people, newcomers, that used many parts of the program to beat people over the heads with that ball peen hammer. I have also seen program people that beat people over the head with "their" version of the "program". I refer to those chanters that like to say "90 meetings in 90 days", there is no such thing in AA. It states in the 44 questions that; "there are no set number of meetings that a member must attend in a specified period of time"....... "most members try to attend at least one meeting per week". They also like to mention that you MUST work the steps, that same piece of literature states two things; 1) there are no rules, regulations or MUSTS in AA; and 2) "Acceptance of the twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous is absolutely not manadatory in any sense".

I used these pieces of literature, as well as the soft literature "A Newcomer Asks" and "Questions and Answers on Sponsorship" which states that to have a sponsor in AA is absolutely not the case. I used these as defenses against the AA Nazis, the Commandants, The Dictators of the program. I am now, and always have been, a renegade, non-conformist, anti-authoritarian socially unacceptable alley drunk. The program is a suggested program of recovery and that is what I held onto for many, many years. If it had been any other way I would, more than likely, be drunk or dead. I am a true believer in the 3rd Tradition, it was my salvation. Just for me, others may find something else, that's the incredible thing about AA. Each of us has the widest degree of latitude of freedom to apply this program so that we may recover and lead as normal a life as is possible for drunks of our kind.

I remember making a statement about a person, it was derogatory and not nice, and the old timer that I was talking to said to me, "Gee, that's odd, he has always spoken highly of you!". It was the last time that I made such comments about that individual or any other, may have thought them, but, never spoke them. Ha.

Take care and straight ahead, John.

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AA rules?

Postby Dallas » Fri Jun 16, 2006 4:47 am

A newcomer showed up to an AA meeting that was held in the basement of a church. It was understood that it was a non-smoking AA meeting.

They read the Preamble, Chapter 5, the 12 Traditions, and had started sharing. The topic they were talking about... was that in AA, you only have to have a desire to stop drinking... and that there are no rules... anybody can come... no one can ask or make you leave... these are only suggestions... no one has any authority... you can pretty well do anything you want to do, and everyone else can pray for acceptance etceteras, if they don't like it!

When it came time for the newcomer to share... he pulled out a cigarette, fired it up, and said "I'm going to pass... but does anyone have an ashtray?"

Several AA members got furious and proceeded to tell the newcomer "You can't smoke in here! This is a non-smoking meeting! You have either got to put that cigarette out... or leave!"

The newcomer smiled... and asked "Are those rules or suggestions? I thought you just said that no one can ask or make you leave. And, that no one can make you do anything. Are you asking me to leave? Are you telling me that I have to do something? Didn't you just say that you couldn't do that?"

:lol: :lol:

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Postby wareagle10 » Sat Jun 17, 2006 7:09 pm

I don't think that is the same thing. Maybe wrong, but, I don't see the same association with drinking and smoking in a non smoking meeting, what if he had urinated on the floor? Yelled, fire? Pulled out a gun? These have nothing to do with the program of AA, they are separate issues, IN MY OPINION, for whatever that's worth.

Take care and straight ahead, John.

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Postby Jim W » Sat Aug 05, 2006 1:45 pm

I regards to the new comer smoking in the non smoking meeting, the group does have the right to ask him to leave if he is endangering the well-being of the group as a whole. An AA group can determine who can attend it's meetings and who be of a member of the group.

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