The 12 Traditions

Discussion related to the 12 Traditions
garden variety
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Postby garden variety » Wed Nov 28, 2007 4:33 pm

Wow Dallas. Great post!

It really helps me to see things clearer when you (or anyone else) posts things that way and your feelings spill out.

There is such a big difference in those meetings you go to and the ones we have here. We also have clubs, but some sort of have this attitude that "keeps out" - kinda opposite of what you're describing. They "keep out" longtimers because they (we) comment about singleness of purpose and many of us don't really know how to carry a message to drug users. They keep their club leads limited to "drug and alcohol" leads and some sound like NA leads. And if I comment about singleness of purpose, I damn near get my butt whooped! I stay away from that club.

But we also have been taught those "old time AA" unwritten things too. Like "clubs" are not AA because they exclude people and let in people - the clubs around here are the ones that are like you described as "clicky".
The old-timers and long-timers around here let it be known exactly what meetings they go to. And if you don't like "real alcoholic" leads without detailed "drug adventures", you stay away. Not that they haven't used drugs, but they respect singleness of purpose. But away from the podium they will talk about other issues if you need or want help. They say things like, "I won't mention drugs in my story out of respect for AA, but if you have an issue that involves drugs we can talk after the meeting."

The oldtimers and longtimers walk their talk, and they won't think twice about putting somebody in their place - sort of like Don here online. In Akron and Cleveland, if you want to hang with the longtimers, you really can't be full of BS because someone will call you on it. And I mean I've heard guys with 15-20 years say I won't go to your home group - those guys are like AA Nazi's. The guys that say that are still holding onto things that they probably would do better letting go of - but if you don't want what we have, there are plenty and plenty and plenty of other meetings to attend. But you'll find literally hundreds and hundreds of years of sobriety at our home group - and I love it.

Oh and the oldtimers. Man there's this guy I call regular who has 47 years and you always see him with a new man stuck to him like velcro. It's a different neck of the woods bro, but I'm beginning to see just how different.

Thanks so much for showing me with your feelings - I need to hear stuff like that!

God bless

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Postby Danni » Wed Nov 28, 2007 4:40 pm

I've had a sheltered experience in A.A.

In our smaller meetings the Secretary was required to have at lease one year sober. The GSR was required to have 3 years sober. Intergroup Reps 1 year sober. Larger meetings required 5 years sober and a larger meeting required 10 years sober to be the main speaker. In our H&I Panels, 1 year sober was the minimum, with some panels requiring 3 years and 5 years sober. Before the GSR elections the GSR would be asked questions about the 12 Traditions before the election. In the business meetings and steering committee meetings it was necessary to be a past secretary of the meeting to be able to vote on group conscience matters. I think this was good for the group because it kept a strong foundation of A.A. structure and Tradition. The important group decisions were made by sober members of the group who had a history of sobriety and service. All members could vote for elected positions.

Love & hugs,


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Postby Dallas » Wed Nov 28, 2007 7:40 pm

I remember the days when I could attend the good old-fashioned type of A.A. meetings that helped me establish a foundation in my A.A. recovery. But, then I moved away from a big city to moved to a small town that doesn't offer that luxury. Each time I get to visit a larger city I gravitate to the meetings that are focused on A.A. Kind of like what we try to do here at -- keeping it focused on A.A. for those of us who love A.A. and love the things about A.A. that make it A.A. and not Some-other A.

I feel a responsibility to be in the place where I can be most helpful. The clickity meetings don't need my help. And, I'm much better at 12 Stepping newcomers than I am at trying to reform those who've got it figured out.

So, I figure that God want's me to be in the place where I can be of maxium service to A.A. In newcomer meetings -- where it gets real crazy, and where I'm out-numbered, where I can share in the same precise way that I would share in an Old-timer meeting, talking about alcoholism, the difference between hard-drinking problem-drinking non-alcoholics and the real alcoholic, singleness of purpose, the 12 Steps, the Big Book, and what A.A. recovery has done for me.

A few years ago I started looking at it and asking myself questions like "If the A.A. Old-timers are gone and can't handle the heat -- how are those newcomers ever going to hear the A.A. message? Who will be there to share A.A. with them? How will they ever have the opportunity to hear that there is a different way to do it, other than the way they are doing it?"

For me, these are the alcoholics who are still suffering. They want sobriety. They want recovery. Many have bounced in and out of different 12 Step programs and rehab centers, and had their heads packed full of crap that isn't going to work. So, what do we do, as A.A. members? Just give up on them, let them die, and think that their alcoholic insanity will get a brief moment of clarity, that they will come seeking some "real deal" that's being held in closet and private meetings?

Some may find it -- while thousands of others perish in their disease.

Sure, I have some who look at me and say "Oh! You go there? Why don't you go somewhere with us where you can get quality sobriety?" :lol: :lol:

The Old-timers who passed this deal on to me, said, that my guiding principle was supposed to be that I was "giving away quality sobriety" not going to try to find it and get it for myself.

They also said things like "as long as your going to meetings because you need a meeting -- you'll always need a meeting." :lol:

Or, things like "your job is not to go to the meetings to try to get something for you -- your job is to go there to see what you can give to the guy who is still suffering. As long as you're going to get something -- you'll always have an empty place inside you that needs to get something."

They said things like "A.A. works just the opposite of how we learned that things work in the real world. Here, to get something, we give away something, and that's how we get. We get what we need, by giving away what we need -- to the other guy. And, this is what gets us out of Self and keeps us out of Self, so that we can recovery."


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Postby Dallas » Wed Nov 28, 2007 9:39 pm

BTW: I forgot to mention, that on Monday nights, I Co-chair a meeting at 8 p.m., with a guy that I sponsor, and that meeting is always on the 12 Traditions, and how they relate to A.A., the AA Group, and AA as a whole, and how we can practice the principles of the traditions in our lives and relationships, on our jobs, in business and outside of A.A. And, how to incorporate those principles into our own individual recovery and in our problem solving. Each week, we rotate through each one of the 12 Traditions as the topic for the meeting.

And, on Tuesday nights at 8 p.m., I Chair a Speaker/participation meeting on the 12 Steps. Normal format is that I speak for about 50 minutes on one of the 12 Steps, starting at Step One, and each week going on to the next Step, until we finish up on Step 12. Then we repeat the cycle through the Steps, again. Sometimes, we'll take one or two weeks at the end, and it will be on A.A. History and the A.A. Roots. We usually have about 10 minutes of questions and answers at the end of the meeting... unless I go over-time. And, we'll always stay late after the meeting to meet with anyone who has additional questions, a burning desire, or that needs individual help. At these meetings I try to prepare hand-outs or use illustrations, so that those who attend can follow along and have something to take with them when they leave.

These are good solid singleness of purpose A.A. meetings. No crap. No B.S. No jive. All Big-Book-based solution and recovery oriented. It's two nights a week where if someone doesn't want to hear A.A. they can stay home and watch TV or pick another meeting that feels more comfortable to them, or more inline with what they choose to understand. :lol:

They are open A.A. meetings and sometimes members from other 12 Step fellowships come to listen and learn some of the principles that can help them in their recovery. Naturally, in keeping with A.A.'s Traditions -- only alcoholics actually participate in the meetings.

And, if anyone is ever in the area on Monday and Tuesday nights -- I sure welcome you to come and attend!!!


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My name is Anne, I'm an alcoholic

Postby musicmode » Sat Dec 01, 2007 1:01 am

The last town I lived in before moving here, I was told that the old-timers meeting was a "mens only" group, and was given the general sense that it was a 'clickety' type of group that you describe. I believed that story, too. I got to the point, though, where I was craving the type of meeting that is similar to what we have here at Step12, and that is the singleness of purpose. Based on my share after one particular meeting at what was my home group, after the meeting, a couple of the old-timers who had visited approached me to shake my hand, and one suggested to me that I was welcome to attend "their" meeting anytime. I couldn't help but look a little surprised, and I said what I had believe, that I thought that their meeting was a mens only group. Now, they looked surprised, and said that, indeed, anyone could go to their meeting if they so chose. The next meeting that this old-timers group held, I went. And, it was such-a-relief. Here was a group who did not shun the spiritual angle, and their meetings were directly out of the Big Book, and so, singleness of purpose. This was what I had been missing, and what I had been craving. I had missed out because I believed what I had been told by members of this other group. I'm not saying that this is the way of all old-timers group, but, I'm still a relatively new puppy at this ball-game. The old-timers do, indeed, have something I need, they know their program. It's actually saddening to me to see, that in fact, there is a generation gap in this fellowship. I know of one old-timer here who is openly mocked and criticized at the only group available to her, and she has a lot of experience, a lot strength, and hope to share. She feels that the 'young ones' don't want to hear...she feels this way because she sees the wave off sluffs and the rolls of the eyes around the table while she shares, so she doesn't go. She relies on phone contacts and literature.

As for question 2: If individuals in the group do not already have a conscience that is guided and directed by a loving God, the how can they possibly allow God to express Himself in their conscience-which collectively would form the group's conscience?

When I first moved in to the last town I lived was about a week afterwords that they held their monthly business meeting, I was invited to stay. Eager to be a part of my new group, I accepted the invitation. Among other things discussed, it had already been decided, in group conscience, that the clubhouse would post a newly painted sign. This had already been decided on, and the decision was to proceed. One member had volunteered to construct it (an oldtimer), all they needed was someone to paint it. I volunteered to paint it. For me, this little project was about service, and it would be a fabulous opportunity to connect to the group. I would work with this old-timer, and it would keep me sober., a few months later and some paint. The sign was finished in my own garage. I felt like I was contributing to my group...felt good. The old-timer came by to pick it up when it was finished, and he and I had ourselves a "tail-gate" meeting. This was AA. I was comfortable. The sign was posted, and a big happy ending, right? Wronn-ng.

For me, the purpose of the sign was over and done with. For me, it had nothing to do with how pretty it looked or anything else. Once the old-timer pulled out of my drive-way, for me, it was a finished project that had served its purpose for me. Next thing we know, all you know what breaks loose. Why? Because a couple of the members, who were on the executive, but did not show up for any business meetings, were profusely opposed to this sign. They weren't there for the meetings, so they knew nothing about it, and why weren't they informed or asked. (You see where this is going, right?). I have to admit, I found it all laughable--others did not. So now, there was this feud going on. The old-timer, you guessed it, went off to join this "men's only" meeting. The one lady, who I had yet to meet, when we met, and she put 2 and 2 together that I had painted it...wouldn't even look at me. :lol: . Long story short, another "business" meeting was held, the only business to be discussed was this sign...does it stay, or does it go? Each member got asked what they thought, so those who strongly opposed it (but were not at the previous meetings when this was initially discussed), were extremely vocal, and it was rather evident that their ears snapped shut when those who were for it spoke. When it came to my turn, I'd shared the story of a member that I knew who had been in the Navy, and when his time was finished, he decided to remain in the Far East to do some 'touring', one of the things was that he wanted to do was to check out some AA meetings, and there was one that, although it was in Arabic, if it weren't for the sign outside, he definitely would not have found it, so it's apparent other groups around the world, indeed, have signs posted, informing of meeting times. I'd also shared that, for me, the purpose of the sign was to contribute to my new group, and the highlight was the tail-gate meeting in my driveway. It really didn't matter to me one way or the other if it stayed or not. One of the people who was opposed openly admitted to being racist :shock: (ya...that's what I just said, right)...she heard one word I had said, that word was Arabic, and she heard nothing else. I felt like banging my head on the table. In the end, the sign was taken down. Those who opposed it...did not frequent meetings except for smatteringly, one not at all for months. They'd come in, made sure things went their way, and that was all. 3 years later (and about a month before I moved away from that town), I'd driven past this clubhouse and nearly ran over a pedestrian because, be darned...there was this sign??? :shock: :? O--kaa-aay??? Although I had made the oldtimers meeting my home group, I still attended the clubhouse and remained in contact. So, I got home, phoned one of the lady's and said: What the heck is that I just front of the clubhouse? :? I tell you what...gave a whole new meaning to baffling, let me tell ya? She giggled, asked if I liked it. I said, no...I'm puzzled...can't believe that this sign, obviously, was still an issue?? She said those who opposed it, none of them even live in this town now, so with them gone, the group conscience was to put it back up. Okay, I said...but hasn't the town evicted the group from this building (because the town wanted to turn it into a fine-arts center)? Yes, she says, they had to be out by the end of that month. Soooo, I said...why was the sign up :? :wink: , when, once again, it would have to come down anyway? :twisted: :roll: She just laughed and said that they decided to put it back up, knowing they would have to take it down...just for the sake that they could put it up.

So, then...If individuals in the group do not already have a conscience (can't be a part of the "group conscience" decisions if you aren't even going to be there when the discussions and the deciding happens), that is guided and directed by a loving God, can they possibly allow God to express Himself in their conscience-which collectively would form the group's conscience? The one lady who opposed the sign, who admitted to being racist, who also admitted to not believing in God (that's okay, too...not about to comment on someone else's belief), and who rarely attended could she be a part of this group conscience? I don't ask this to ruffle feathers...just curious of different perspectives. :wink:

Keep the ball rolling--looking forward to reading the responses.

In love and tolerance,

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Postby gunner48 » Fri Aug 14, 2009 5:42 pm

I really like the book 12 and 12. Bill W. and Dr. Bob wrote it for a reason. Not to replace the Big Book but for the reason they state in the introduction of the 12 and 12 ie: to share 18 years of collective expierence within the fellowship on how AA members recover, and how our society functions. This book also has not been changed since it was introduced in 1953.
In the forward of this book on page 17 it states , The book "alcoholics Anonymous became the basic text of the fellowship, and still is". This present volume (the 12 x 12) proposes to broaden and deepen the understanding of the Twelve Steps as written in the earlier work ( the Big Book).
page 18
It is hoped that this volume will afford all who read it a close-up view of the principles and forces which have made Alcoholics Anonymous what it is.
I have never used the 12 and 12 with a new person to work the steps. The guide of the Big Book does just fine. After they have built their foundation is when I introduce the 12 and 12 as a useful tool in recovery.

Love and Peace

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