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!
The Twelve traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous were--I had thought--for the 'elite' of our program, the gurus, those 'bleeding deacons' we hear--or know--of.
I have come to believe the traditions are for ME! Ha! This whole program, of which they are a huge part--is for ME! It was given to me by God...through the minds and hands of Dr Bob and Bill W and those millions who follow in their path. So, given that light, my description of the Twelve Traditions--one at a time--is experiential, and not intentionally instructive in nature.
IF anyone wishes 'instruction'--and even if NOT!--I strongly suggest buying, borrowing, begging, or steali--NO!--the book TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, available at most A.A. meetings, and Central Offices and the many clubs where A.A. meetings take place. OK? GO!
2.) For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority-a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience.
I have an imagination that will not quit, ya know what I mean? Long ago, I 'saw' in my mind (I did not really SEE this -grin!) a few anthropoid apes (Pongidae) standing around some half-eaten legumes, deciding which way to journey that day. One of them sort of walked, hobbled in a certain direction, turned, ogled, and realized the others were not following. THEY then began walking in the other direction. The first ape had a choice, to follow or not. He wisely followed the group. NOTE: I always behaved like the first ape, except I did not wisely stick with the "winners"--had to be ever "different", the loner, the self-exiled "poor baby".....
To me, this (apes, above) was basic lower level AND higher level "Group Conscience" in action. And throughout history I see kings, presidents, godfathers, boards of directors, popes, and leaders of any description adhering to the advice of counsel, the group, the advisory committees. And so I see it within Alcoholics Anonymous.
Whether for a two-hour-knock-down-drag-out session, or a quick, two-minute meeting of the minds, our decisions regarding the exteriorities of our groups are made in loving prayer. Once a decision is thus reached, I've noticed, that is that. (Until the next time! -grin)
About thirty-two years ago I found myself in a small farming community in Northeast Missouri, where the dwindling membership of A.A. had stagnated to four people, who "ran" A.A. in that town. Two of us got together, started another group, and it became very popular. We had drunks coming out of the woodwork wanting "what we had"???--OMG! I had been drink-free only between 2-3 years, my partner one year!
One of our newly-sobered members was a professor in the nearby university, and he became group chairman after I 'organized' us in a slight fashion. He was a "student" of the Steps and Traditions, having memorized thoroughly the pertinent points. During a business meeting, he and I disagreed on some small matter, and I shall never forget how he screamed at me, "You're just a 'Bleeding Deacon', that's what YOU are!" All I could do was laugh--there I was 3 years sober, age 43, being called a bleeding deacon??? Holy Crapola! We laugh about that to this day...
And yet, our issue was resolved. Against "MY" better judgment -grin!, we held our B-B-Q at a public park instead of a private home--see what a little piece of crap WE were arguing about?
God's will was done, through a group conscience effort, and a prayer that God be there with us. As it turned out, the owners of the 'private home' would have been pissed off! Over 150 people attended--imagine what chaos would have been created in their beautiful thickly-carpeted home. Imagine the havoc, had I "got my way".
Wherever in these United States I have attended a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous, it has always been the same guiding force--that Ultimate Authority, that Loving God and His Will, as expressed in the group conscience. Meetings on the beach, Candle-lit meetings, Meetings in church basements, parks, parking lots, living rooms, clubs, back rooms of bars, jails, everywhere it is the same. The group, guided by God, rules--ever so gently.
What I was told years ago, but am now finding out finally for myself, our Traditions are very much a part of my individual program, a real part of my everyday life...and a necessary part of my SPIRITUAL way of life. Ah! My spiritual life, that strived-for goal--perfection--which no matter how I try to hide it, keeps rearing its beautiful head, as I scan the horizon of life, only to glimpse far off in the distance, the barest of outlines, of our purpose, my purpose--God's purpose!
Please be at peace, be happy, serene, humble, prayerful, giving and LOVING to all. And LET'S ALL STAY SOBER TODAY! OK?