This has become a lively discussion!
Kewl! Can I join it?
I was going to post last night... we'll early morning... but one of those nasty thunderstorms came roaring through and kept knocking out my Internet service. So, I probably forgot most of what I was going to reply. And, I've only had a 1/3 cup of coffee... nuked from last nights pot... and the new pot is brewing. So, I may read what I write and change it a few times -- after I wake up!
A few pointers that I wanted to include:
1. Most AA's that I know are pretty friendly. They'll go out of their way to help most anyone. Of course, they're not all that way. It's no different than any where else... there are many good people on earth that will go out of their way to help someone. For me, I see it as the majority of people. That's been my experience.
And, most AA's will try to be as helpful as they can and inclusive as they can be -- for newcomers that come into AA searching for answers.
The deal with "Are you willing to go to any lengths?" And, the "move on to the next one if they are not willing to work with you" Yes. It sounds harsh.... if not looking at it from the perspective that it's actually being referred to.
1. "Are you willing to go to any lengths?"
These comments are generalized and not directed at you or to you, or anyone else. So, PLEASE don't take them personal! Just think of them as "talking points" -- or "ideas being expressed". Not as suggestions, or anything else. (Tim1 likes to think I admonish and correct him... but, I"m powerless over his thinking! And, I don't admonish or try to correct anyone.
If your house was on fire -- would you be willing to go to any lengths to get out of the house?
If you only had a short time to live unless you got medical attention... would you be willing to work with your doctor?
If you were an attorney in a free legal clinic and you had a line of people waiting to see you for help... would you spend a lot of time with a client that wouldn't follow your suggestions or work with you... while a line full of families were getting evicted from their homes... and they needed an injunction or stay to keep them in their house?
If you were just a normal person in every way, volunteering your time to help others... and you were watching as people die, families are torm apart, children are abused, homes and furniture are being broken up, jobs are being lost, or jobs are being sought... and you felt it was your job to help those people... would you spend your time helping those people or spend your time trying to help someone that wouldn't work with you?
The idea of "are you willing to go to any lengths" is in reference to "taking certain steps" (pg 58, BB). It doesn't refer to "are you willing to do what I or someone else tells you to do?"
So, the question might be rephrased to: "Are you willing to go to any lengths to take the 12 Steps?" It was AA's way of saying "this is what we had to do... and you'll probably need to do it too, if you want the type of sobriety we found. We haven't found an alternative... yet!"
2. "Could you imagaine placing a large sign outside a church, which touts itself as a congregation of "attraction" and which clearly has as its mission to bring new people to whatever faith that is, that reads "ONLY THOSE WHO ARE WILLING TO GO TO ANY LENGTHS TO BE SAVED NEED ENTER."
a. Where AA and the church are different is... church is trying to get people into heaven... and in AA we're trying to help alcoholics get out of hell!
What the alcoholic does after they get out of hell, and whether they stay in hell... is their business, not our business. We often care for them regardless if they are living or dieing, regardless if they are sober or drinking. We understand their plight and their problems. We've been there.
b. The church tries to help people because they're good church people doing what comes naturally to them and trying to do God's will.
In AA, many of us are not good church people... and, some of us are pretty rotten to the bone...
We're not trying to help someone because "we're good"... or "that's what God would want us to do"... we're trying to help another alcoholic... because... it will help us to keep from going back to the hell that we lived in for so long! We're trying to save our own ass -- and this works!
a. There is no rule in AA that anyone has to have a sponsor. I've known many fine AA's that never had a sponsor. Or, they used everyone and everything as a sponsor. They watched other people... and by observing the people... some taught them what not to do... and others taught them what to do!
b. There is no rule about opposite sex sponsorship. I've known a lot of fine ladies that have sponsored men and a lot of fine men that have sponsored ladies.
Most AA's look at the outside world and perceive it "to be as they are." Kind of like a criminal. Guilt breeds suspicion. Or, like the guy that's jealous over his wife... always thinking she's cheating on him... because he would cheat if he had the opportunity to cheat!
And, often... they think that "all alcoholics, AA or not... are just out to cheat and manipulate to get what they can." -- Some are. Some are not. Most of the one's I know are not.
It actually comes down to "peer pressure." And, some people walk around with closed-minds... with a negative perception... while telling others to "you've got to keep an open mind!"
The un-written rule is: "Don't have sex with your sponsor." If you're going to have sex with them... let them be a friend or a mate or a bed buddy or whatever... just don't think in terms of sponsorship.
My sponsor is a male. If he died on me... there are many AA ladies that I would consider to be my sponsor if I needed, or wanted to do that. Of course, I'm one of the fortunate guys... I know a good bunch of AA men that I might consider as a sponsor.
Whatever I chose... male or female... my rule would be that I'm not sexually attracted to them... and I wouldn't get involved with them on an emotional level. And, I wouldn't pick them just because I thought they were popular in AA... or for any other benefits other than for them to help me keep honest.
Because in reality... that's a big role for the sponsor: Help the person stay honest with themselves.
Let's see here... what were the other points???
Heck, I don't remember and I've probably gone on too long and added a bunch of ready-to-burn ideas to the fire!