Parts of the following are taken from literature which is listed under the following copyrights:
Copyright © The A. A. Grapevine, Inc., and Alcoholics Anonymous Publishing (now known as Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.)
When first I encountered in my dumb head that I might undertake to "explain" our Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous to you, my ahhhhh, wonderful blogger friends, it was with an intention of showing you how much I know. This afternoon I sit here and realize that I 'know' NOTHING!
"Having had a spiritual awakening as the result"...of this realization (-grin!) I plan to approach this brief look at the traditions in the spirit of my unwavering fidelity -grin! to myself. This means I will take time to tell you all about something, of which I admittedly know very little. That's what I as an alcoholic do BEST...tell you what I do not know! NOTE: I'll use the "long" form, it's not too long.
1.) Each member of Alcoholics Anonymous is but a small part of a great whole. A.A. must continue to live or most of us will surely die. Hence our common welfare comes first. But individual welfare follows close afterward.
OK, here goes. When I walked into the rooms (three of them, a smoker-beginner, a non-smoker long-timer, and a smoker-discussion) Tuesday March 19, 1974, the Naples group of Alcoholics Anonymous had about 60 members. I did not know that A.A. was any more nor less than "right here, right now"... and maybe it wasn't / isn't. So I figured I was one-sixtieth part of this 'great whole'.
I had not the benefit of Treatment Center "Teaching" of our World-Wide Organization and it's A.A. Principles. First paragraph above is written, "....I 'know' NOTHING!" And that's exactly what I knew.
However, even in that small group, I sensed that we either will live together--or die together. These people were serious I had already been to hell, knew what THAT was like, so death held not much in the way of secrets, for me. I was ready to look at the 'other' side--LIFE! (Just a quick look, mind you...)
My two preceding blog entries have to do with my foggy brain. We talk here about a 'pink cloud'...I had been 'in the clouds' for between 20 and 30 years, who knows? It became time to climb back down that ladder I had climbed up 30 years prior, and hit the ground. I had to turn the "M" in ME upside down. They told me it was "WE" which would save my ass, not ME. They told me lots of things those first weeks, months, years. I talked very little (THEN--HA! -GRIN) and did listen, no doubt more then than now.
I was free to go or stay, free to do or not do (the Steps), free to attend the four meetings a week, or not. I chose "not". In order to keep my job, I could attend one meeting a week. they said, OK! (Surprise!) So I attended THIRTEEN meetings in NINETY DAYS! I had not a clue that "ninety days" had ANY significance in A.A. I now believe it still does NOT -grin (IMO!). Oh, it might to some, have a connection in some way, to a judge slamming down a gavel, shouting out "NINETY DAYS--NO BAIL"
"Ninety days" has no more significance than "Thirty Years" (IMO!). This moment is what really counts, it is all I have. I recall receiving my 30-year chip, everyone applauded (I don't know why?), and we ate cake. On the way out, I slowly walked through the crowded threes and fours, who were talking about Oh! so many important things. Not ONE person said anything like, "Come back!" "See ya later!" "Good going!" "Go FK yourself!" Nothing! (It was my own little experiment.) Sincerely, I really, REALLY DO love this program, life-saver, God inspired, passed on to me/us by Dr Bob and Bill W, through the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions .
Recently someone approached me, saying, "You are age 75, and sober 34 years...so what has Alcoholics Anonymous given you?" Since I thrive on verbal challenge, I responded (did not make this up) "Alcoholics Anonymous has given me 75 years of life, 34 years of them SOBER!" Who could ask for anything more?
I realized early in sobriety that I'd have to not only stay sober, but do some work--with other people, like a sponsor, a group, interactivity with members. IF I did not do these things, I would die. And it would not be pleasant. And I knew that. And I cared.
In other words, A.A. Tradition 1 allows me to DO or DIE. What a choice! And to implement (one time a guy asked me, "Just how do I implement the Fourth Step?" I answered him, "Don't 'implement' it...DO-IT" --a four-letter word!), to abide in the First Tradition of this program, I needed OTHER RECOVERING PEOPLE!!! Remember, turn the "M" in "ME" upside down to make the word "WE". We do this together, one-on-one, and group-to-one, and one-to-group...and yes, group-to-group.
My hand is always held out to grab yours! Is your hand always held out to grab mine? With you bloggers (God, how I love you all--you'll never know...well, I guess you do by now -grin!), with you bloggers I KNOW your hand is there for me and for each other--always! From "A" to "Z", "ATIYANNA" to "ZANE" (my "favorite witch" to my favorite.........-grin, "Chief Zane", who sleeps naked in cars!")
If this "Tradition" discussion seems worthy to you, I'll do Tradition TWO some time next week. Gotta lemme know, though, because, as important as the Traditions are--they are still not my favorite "writeable" topics...HOWEVER....Hmmmmm?
Who published this? ...and When?