How can AA sit by and say nothing about the many social evils which seem to go unchecked in the world? ~ Anon
The key word in Tradition #10 is neutrality. We stay in our own lane = alcoholism and sobriety because we are uniquely qualified in just that. Nothing more and nothing less. When we are tempted to bring our political, religious, or any other special interest into the mix, we need to stop and think: Does this keep me and others sober? Is this improving upon the silence? How important is this when it comes to offering the new person the solution to sobriety? Emotional and spiritual sobriety means acceptance of life on life’s terms. Nothing less and nothing more. Does this mean we must be in sheep-like agreement and not have a passions in life? No. We are welcome to our opinions and our feelings. They just do not belong in an AA meeting. Goodness knows, I sure have them!
Here is how tradition #10 worked for us at a recent business meeting. We are coming up on elections, and as always there are openings but not many applicants banging at our door to be of service. This drives me bonkers. But, somehow people end up stepping up for service every single time. The process changes each year, as the people making decisions are different each year. It is much like herding kittens…..they are all over the place and each going its own way. Staying in neutral, not having a vested interest in the outcomes, and staying calm helped a lot. Staying on topic when others less experienced kept drifting off topic also helped. We got a lot done. We came to a consensus about how to proceed, and everyone’s voice was heard. Our personal beliefs, feelings, and political stances would have kept us apart. We need neutrality so that we can remain united in the interest of our sobriety. Stay calm. Stay in your lane. Enjoy neutrality.
Feel, deal, heal. ~ Anon
We have a 3 part dis=ease that requires recovery on all three levels. Alcoholism is a physical, mental and spiritual dis-ease. In order to recover and regain our health on all three levels, we need to seek balance. The old analogy is the 3 legged milking stool. To have one leg that is shorter or longer would create an imbalance. If we were to attempt to sit on said stool, we would run the risk of falling on our collective keister. One assignment that I give the new person and anyone who suffers a relapse is to do an autopsy: list the 3 things that are causing you the greatest level of pain today…..it could be a physical, mental, or spiritual symptom.
Physical could be cravings, headaches, heart burn, etc. Mental could be depression, isolation, anxiety, etc. And spiritual symptoms could be anger, no prayer life, distrust, etc. I then suggest they ask HP daily for direction on what to focus on first. Somewhere around day 11 or 12, they will be led to what needs to happen. As sponsors, remember Tradition #8 encourages us to not try to fix anyone else. The more we can encourage the person to depend on HP/G.O.D, the stronger their sobriety will become. Consider the very possibility that we won’t be there tomorrow. Each of us must depend on a HP/G.O.D. that is greater than ourselves. As members of AA, we can support each other and offer our experience, strength, and hope. But, that is about it. The rest falls upon the alcoholic to develop a balanced sobriety and a solid relationship with his/her own HP/G.O.D.
The vast good that AA does for alcoholics in this world on a
whole is done as nonprofessionals. ~ Anon
AA suggests that those of us in professional careers or who have degrees or licenses in our given lines of work; to leave our professional hats hung outside the rooms of AA. When it comes to recovery, we are all equals. We have just our experience, strength, and hope to offer the still struggling alcoholics. That is enough. I have some tradition #8 questions that may come in handy to ask of your groups, you as the individual in recovery, and then to see how they may apply to your personal life. You will be amazed.
- Do we try to fix other people in AA with professional advice, or are we content to offer our experience, strength, and hope as it relates to sobriety?
- Do we speak as professionals in AA meetings? (for example: medicine, psychology, legal, nutrition, religion, etc). Are we the Big Book experts?
- When we have a struggle, do we pretend that all is just fine? Do we ask others for help, or pretend we can handle things ourselves?
- Do we set up other AA’s as gurus or experts just because they appear smarter, more educated, or more together than we feel?
- Do we make others (old timers, volunteers, etc.) more responsible for our sobriety or meeting success than we should be ourselves?
- Can we distinguish between the AA workers from the AA members who share their experience, strength, and hope?
- Can we distinguish between the work therapists, psychologists, and treatment professionals do from the sharing of other AA members? These questions will help guide us toward better fellowship with our peers in AA and keep us more sober in our daily lives. Be a part of, not apart from.
Can we help others in relapse? Love and prayer VS confrontation. Can I help you with food/steps to recovery? Can everybody recover? You don’t have to die this way. Attraction is not passive. ~ Anon
Recovery is for everyone, but not everyone is for recovery. I had to learn that the hard way. When I first got sober, it was like a new lease on life. I felt great. I had an appetite again! I loved all the new energy I discovered. My mind for the first time in years was clear and clean. I could actually wake up refreshed and ready for work each day. I knew where I was, who I was with, what I had done/said, and what I had consumed the night before. What a huge relief that there was no more walk of shame or guilt over anything. There were no surprises in the mail box or at my bank.
I started doing the AA 2 Step….you know: I got a problem, and I am going to fix yours! I wanted those around me (that I loved dearly) to find this program too! I wanted them to experience the joy, relief, and spiritual drive that I was going through. Wouldn’t everyone feel the same? Guess what: It fell flat. People started to shun me and find other people to go to bars and enjoy parties with. I was dazed and confused at first, then I got judgmental and angry. At long last, I got real and learned that this AA program is for everybody that wants it, but not everybody will or does want it. This is a We program, but it is for self. Take what you like, and remember the rest. Eventually, it may be of help. If they like what they see in you and really want change, they will ask. Focus on those who did ask for help. Attraction is an action verb.