Tradition Ten: Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside
issues; hence the AA name ought never be drawn into public controversy. ~ AA 12 X 12
Tradition #10 was a tough one for me to wrap my head around. I struggled to dismiss my education and training in the helping profession and just be one of the members; not the fixer in the groups. Or AA as a whole. After all, I was over qualified, right? I knew best, right? I struggled. I can tell you that. Until one day, I was told (a bit abruptly, I might add) to pretend as if I knew nothing; to put the cotton in my ears in my mouth and listen. Wow. Just wow. I had hurt feelings for a long time. But I realized then and now that truth hurts. If I wanted what they had; I needed to do what they did. Dang. How simple is that? The traditions are the glue that binds us. We keep outside opinions out of the deal, so that we can focus on being sober and helping others get sober. In today’s lingo, it is called “staying in our own lane.” We are “experts” at only one thing only: Alcoholics Anonymous. That is it.
Here are some questions for your consideration:
1. Do I ever give the impression that there really is an “AA opinion” on Antabuse?
Tranquilizers? Doctors? Psychiatrists? Churches? Hospitals? Jails? Alcohol? The
federal or state government? Legalizing marijuana? Vitamins? Al-Anon? Alateen?
2. Can I honestly share my own personal experience concerning any of those without
giving the impression I am stating the “AA opinion”?
We will do more tomorrow. Take care. Be kind and gentle. Enjoy the process.
We usually found that our defective ways in dealing with others were
a source of pain for us. `Anon
This to me is the phenomenon of being an addict. We will desire the very thing that will cause us the greatest amount of pain. It is tantamount to going out into the yard, picking up the nearest cement paver, and conking our heads with it; and, then wondering aloud why we are in pain and bleeding. That is the essence of addiction. Alcoholics/addicts will lie even when it is easier and simpler to just tell the truth. Even when the truth will reap rewards, and the lie will cost them punishment, they will choose to lie. This is not because we are bad people, we just have alcoholic, self-defeating ways in which to react to the world. We need self-discipline that is offered in step #8.
In Step #8, the key word is self-discipline. What does it take to be self-disciplined? The other night, I got a call from the AA help line. The young person on the other end of the line was struggling. I listened politely for about 2 minutes to her pain. I then asked her to tell me about H.A.L.T.: what was going on re. her hunger, anger, loneliness, and tiredness. She was able to tell me how distressed she was in all these areas. I then made some suggestions. What happened? Well, she had an excuse for why none of what I suggested was going to work. For every problem, there is a solution, but when we choose the pain and lies over recovery and the solution inherent in AA and sobriety, we choose the dis-ease. I am powerless over what others choose to do. We are either focused on the solution, or we are feeding the dis-ease. Choose recovery.