Love and tolerance are included with this reply
Someone wrote: The traditions, FOR ME, hold the core of AA, the BB, together so that it does not get misintrepreted by some who would like to make up rules and regulations and make the program mandatory rather that suggested.
1. The traditions were written to help the "fellowship of AA"... that form the "Autonomous Groups" survive while they work with other "Autonomous Groups" to carry the message of AA. (Not every member of AA is a member of an AA Group).
2. The traditions were not written to help the BB to survive.
3. The BB was written to keep the AA fellowship from misinterpreting what AA's program of recovery is
4. The BB came first.... it is AA's Program of Recovery. And, without recovery (which must come first)... there would be no need for the traditions... and without AA Recovery... the AA Traditions will never be understood by those who desire to understand them.
Just because someone is a sober member of AA, whether it be for 24 hours or 24 years... it doesn't mean that they are "recovering from their alcoholism... or that they are indeed using AA's Program of Recovery." Heck, they don't even need to be sober... to be a member of AA.
Can an alcoholic stay sober... in AA, without using the AA Program of Recovery? Sure. It's done all the time.
Can they stay sober many years without using the AA Program of Recovery?
Sure. Very unfortunately, it's done all the time. It's unfortunate, because when alcoholics who are suffering and are going to die as a result of their alcoholism... don't get the message... that in AA we DO have an Official Program of Recovery to treat their alcoholism. Official? Yep. Official! The real deal! Not the imitation flavor! Not the counterfeit! Not the pamphlets. Not the suggestions!!!
5. The word "suggested" can be used all that anyone wants to use it. However, right in the beginning of the Big Book, and all the way through the first 164 pages... I'll lay odds on a bet... that you'll find the word "must" many more times that you'll find the word "suggested."
(Measurable facts... are facts... regardless of how they suggestively measured).
6. I find that it's most often the AA members who have not read or studied the BB, and didn't follow the Program of Recovery in the BB, who have the most difficult time in understanding the difference in the "AA Program of Recovery" and the "AA Fellowship." They are two very distinct and different things.
7. The AA Program of Recovery in the Book will survive... even if the entire fellowship of AA members fell off the face of the planet just like the Washingtonians did. (That's why the Big Book was written... to preserve the Program of Recovery precisely
like it is in the book).
8. The AA fellowship and the AA meetings "IS NOT" the AA Program of Recovery.
9. The 12 Traditions deal with AA's being able to work together. It deals with the AA Fellowship... not the AA Program of Recovery. The Traditions are "suggestions" which deal with "membership" in the Fellowship... and it has nothing to do with "who can or who cannot attend AA meetings."
10. A close read of the 12 Traditions... shows that the intent of the traditions was to help the "Groups" survive while those "Groups" worked with other "Groups" in their efforts to reach out to other "alcoholics." (The same reason that the final wording of Step 12, was changed from "carry this message to others" to "carry this message to alcoholics." (Singleness of Purpose).
11. What "message" is Step 12 referring to? You have to read the Big Book to answer that question. A simple way to answer the question, would be to start reading on page 58, Chapter 5, "How it works"... that is read in MOST AA meetings around the world. "this message" IS the "12 Steps." But, don't take my word for it... read the book.
If you're still not convinced... that the Program of Recovery is "in the Big Book" and NOT in the Pamphlets.... or in the meetings... or in the sharing... that the AA members do... then, read from the Beginning of the Book... "The forward to the First Edition"... which is in all 4 Editions... and the "Prefaces" to each edition. (It isn't very long, and it's very precise. It only takes a couple of minutes to read it.)
Bill, wrote something like "If you've read the book up this far... and you're still not convinced" (Original MS Chapter 5, but not verbatim)... "then EITHER READ THE BOOK AGAIN, UP TO THIS POINT.... Or ELSE? THROW IT AWAY!!!"
I personally believe, that the reason most of the newcomers to AA don't make it, and they either die drunk and don't recover... or, just like in a few of the other stories in this forum... they kill themselves, without recovering... is because so many members in the AA fellowship don't understand what the AA Program of Recovery is.... and then they feed "their own individual message" to the newcomer... and the newcomer doesn't make it.
Then, when the newcomer doesn't make it... they often do not come back to AA for another try, because they believed that the AA members, who fed them "their own message of recovery" was telling them the truth... and they say "I tried AA and it didn't work."
Why do I believe that? For the last 19 years... I've heard it from alcoholics who are almost dead on skidrow... and are living homeless under bridges. "I tried AA and it didn't work".... When asked "what did you try in AA?"... they say "I went to the meetings... and the meetings didn't work..." or "I tried their suggestions and it didn't work". When asked "Who's suggestions?" They say "the suggestions I heard from the members in the meetings." When asked "Did you ever read the Big Book?"... Most often the answer is "No. I read some of it. Some of the stories in the back I liked."
It's too bad that every AA member, out of a "sense of duty and responsibility" for what AA has given them... doesn't get clear on what the message of AA is... and what the Program of Recovery is. And, it's unfortunate, that we have so many AA members, who are following in the footsteps of the "Washingtonians" (who disappeared)... The "Washingtonians" carried a "word of mouth message.".... Perhaps, if they had of had a Big Book, and a Program of Recovery, "other than suggestions"... we would all be sober members of the Washingtonian Movement... rather than members of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Thanks for allowing me to share a message, that it's so unfortunate... that it needs to be shared.