Note: This is a duplicate post -- it goes here in Tradition One -- but, I also felt it would be a good "Recovery Forum" topic also....
"Our common welfare should come first;
personal recovery depends upon A.A. Unity."
(Tradition One of the Twelve Traditions â€“ Alcoholics Anonymous)
â€œThe unity of Alcoholics Anonymous it the most cherished quality our Society has. Our live, the lives of all to come, depend squarely upon it. We stay whole, or A.A. dies. Without unity, the heart of A.A. would cease to beat; our world arteries would no longer carry the life-giving grace of God; His gift to us would be spent aimlessly. Back again in their caves, alcoholics would reproach us and say, "What a great thing A.A. might have been!" (Bill W., Twelve Steps & Twelve Traditions)
I consider Alcoholics Anonymous as one of the most precious gifts -- that God has ever given me. Without it, I wouldnâ€™t be alive, let alone sober â€“ happy, joyous and free. I was the equivalent of a dead-man walking â€“ when God, through A.A., resurrected me and gave me a life with opportunities beyond my wildest dreams.
In A.A., I discovered a new design for living â€“ the 12 Steps and the 12 Traditions. It gave me the tools to resolve and remove my conflicts with myself, with a God â€“ that I can sometimes understand, with the people in my past, and those in my present. It gave me tools that I use â€“ to resolve any current conflicts, and to dress and treat and heal emotional hurts and pains. It gave me tools to use to re-create my life, and to continue to create and build a new life -- to help me develop positive objectives and ideals, and the tools to take my new dreams and turn them into reality.
Iâ€™m sure that Iâ€™m like many of us â€“ who have suffered some horrible and painful experiences of the past â€“ life is not easy for an alcoholic â€“ especially those who have not found the sobriety that so many of us enjoy today. If life for us had been such a Paradise â€“ or, if we had been born with marvelous coping skills and tools to deal with our conflicts â€“ I doubt if some of us would have ever turned to alcohol for the relief that we needed to survive.
The greatest emotional difficulties that I experience today â€“ is when I see one member of Alcoholics Anonymous going after another member of Alcoholics Anonymous, and tearing them down, with words and character assassinations, or gossip, or rumors â€“ all because they didnâ€™t get something that they wanted â€“ in the way that they wanted it. Their feelings were hurt. So they dress their wounds with words of bitterness which deceives themselves.
One example that Iâ€™ve seen is when one alcoholic member of the Fellowship â€“ feels threatened by another member â€“ because the other member is getting some attention or recognition, possibly for helping others â€“ and the one member starts talking negatively of the one thatâ€™s getting attention. Soon, gossip and rumors are floating around the fellowship â€“ and now several members get involved, and a spiritual sickness has infected the A.A. Group. Not only does this cause harm to all who have become involved â€“ but it now diminishes the effectiveness of the member who was getting some attention for helping others â€“ and, it makes it more difficult for the effective member to help newcomers. The newcomers to the Group see it and it reflects on A.A. as a whole.
Another example Iâ€™ve seen is when one member borrows money from another member â€“ and, they are not able to pay it back. A squabble starts â€“ and, the two members can be hurling words of criticism and accusations at each other â€“ and, it not only harms them â€“ but it harms the Group, it harms potential prospects for the Group, and it gives a black-eye to A.A.
Sober alcoholics â€“ as sensitive as they are â€“ are typically emotionally fragile. They often seem to break easy. Without alcohol â€“ all of their senses are magnified. They feel the full effect of intense emotions â€“ whether itâ€™s hurt and pain and fear and resentment â€“ or positive feelings of love and care and concern.
We often discuss our selfishness, our self-centeredness, self-seeking, and Egoism -- and the fact that some how, some way -- we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate â€“ and we are supposed to look and find our part â€“ of how we placed ourselves in a position to be hurt.
However â€“ there is also another side. And, Iâ€™m reminded of a few sentences from the Dr.â€™s Opinion, that discusses other attributes of A.A. members â€“ and sometimes, itâ€™s while demonstrating these attributes â€“ that members place themselves in a position to be hurt â€“ even when their motives and intentions are right.
In the Doctorâ€™s Opinion, on page xxv (3rd Edition) or page xxx (4th Edition) I read: â€œThe cases we have followed through have been most interesting; in fact, many of them are amazing. The unselfishness of these men as we have come to know them, the entire absence of profit motive, and their community spirit, is indeed inspiring to one who has labored long and wearily in this alcoholic field. They believe in themselves, and still more in the Power which pulls chronic alcoholics back from the gates of death.â€