When those old-timers piss you off -- remember, often their intentions are good. They're trying to help you save your ass -- rather than stand by and watch you fall off a cliff that they already fell off of.
True. Sometimes, the intentions might not be right. But, you can always use everything for your advancement -- even good stuff that comes from bad intentions.
AA Conference approved simply means: "It was printed by AA World Services or the Grapevine." That's all it means. It was printed in-house by AA's printing presses.
AA Groups can do what they want. Each is given the opportunity to succeed and the right to fail. So, let each group do as it does -- and when we don't like it -- we find another group -- or, we get our own coffee pot and start one.
I think most of us AA's go through phases... if we stay sober and active long enough to go through phases. We'll get too relaxed. We'll get too rigid. We'll take life and AA too seriously. Then, we'll take it not serious enough. Changes. Like the seasons. The changes do us good. The phases do us good. It eventually helps to mold us into something that can relate and identify -- and be able to be of maximum service... in a peaceful and non-threatening way. Some might call that love. I think love would be an over-statement. After we go through the Halo phase... some of us just try to hang on to our hair!
I understand the need for structure and discipline and focused AA Groups. It's something that we need more of. But, since we don't have more of it... we have to find a way to live comfortablly with "what is." And, that's not always such an easy thing to do! Trust me. I understand.
Once upon a time, in one of my Rigid Phases... of thumping the book about "AA Approved Literature" I was reading some AA approved literature... "Dr. Bob & the Good Old-timers" and "Pass it on"... when I discovered they wrote "we used anything we could get our hands on, we read anything and everything if we thought it would help".
That thought turned a light bulb on in my head, and it was like: "Duh!!! The objective here is to stay sober! That's our own individual Primary Purpose. If I'm not sober... I can't do anything about anything!"
So, then, it helped me to recognize... that yes, in AA we need structure and discipline in our meetings... Keep it that way... but, remind folks that "what you do outside of the meeting is what's going to determine your sobriety... not what you're doing inside the meeting." AA, the Fellowship, the meetings, can not keep you sober. The instructions in the book can help you to keep sober -- if you follow the instructions in the book by taking actions on what you comprehend.
Then, what's the secondary purpose of meetings, if the primary purpose is to "carry the AA message to the alcoholic"? I believe the secondary message is: "This is our experience inside AA, and inside the book of actions that I took... that teaches and taught me a better way of living outside of AA."
Hey, I'd suggest to read the fine print on the bottom of the trash can -- if it helps you to not pick up the next first drink.
It's easy for us to forget, and get all wrapped up into "theory and thinking"... that our real enemy... the thing that's really is out to get us... is not our self, or anything like that... it's our ALCOHOL-ISM.
We notice the words in the Big Book that says "We FEEL as though... we were safe and protected"... and if we stay sober long enough -- we discover that "feelings are not facts." We feel safe and protected... and once we buy into the feeling and think "yes! I'm safe and protected!" I've seen it over and over and over again... the alcoholic does something stupid... and the next thing he/she discovers is that they are sitting there at a table... or bar... or curb... asking "How the hell did that happen? I was so safe and protected! How did this happen to me!"
Yes. We do have an official plan of recovery. The 12 Steps. Yes, we do have an official book of instructions, "The Owner's Manual for the Alcoholic Brain"... (the Big Book)... and Yes, we still must keep mindful that there are certain times... we just need to read or do whatever it is that we need to read or do... to not pick up that next first drink. So, we do it.