Saturday, January 31, 2009


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.

Steve sez:

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?

Steve E.


Syd said...

I like that God is the ultimate authority and not a person who dominates or tries to run the meeting. Thanks for a great post on AA Tradition Two. I'm learning a lot from these.

Calli said...

Hi Steve~ The Lemonade Award is for sites which show great attitude and/or attitude!

I have one for you!

Thank you for being you!!!

vicariousrising said...

Steve said: "Please be at peace, be happy, serene, humble, prayerful, giving and LOVING to all. And LET'S ALL STAY SOBER TODAY! OK?"

Will do, Steve-O! I'm grateful for what sobriety has brought me and I am grateful to get to read your "-grin*" joy for life in your blog. Keep on grinning.

Gabriella Moonlight said...

I love that God is the ultimate authority; that takes it right out of my hands and others where I can just work toward staying sober.

Thank you for taking this on Traditiona a Roni!!!!

Anonymous said...

hi steve how are you

Anonymous said...

steve you are teaching me

indistinct said...

There is a whole lot of humbleness in that tradition.

Thanks for sharing.

clean and crazy said...

I love the Traditions, and I heard a speaker recently put them into a perspective i had never heard before. He said the steps teach us how to live, the traditions teach us how to have relationships with others. I feel he is right. I love how you explained this one. Vito shared that if we apply this to our family unit and growth with in our household we can't go wrong. I just can't put into words the way he put it but it really makes sense. You know learning to listen to other points of views, and being able to let go of our own as you shared. I never had that capability before I got involved with service. Have a great one

steveroni said...

Thank you, Syd...we could make a "Different Perspective" team!

Calli, have to pick that up tonight, don't throw it away, PLEASE!

Vicarious...what can I say? {{{J}}}

Gabi...you "got it" girl, in more ways than one--er, uh, I mean BOTH the Steps and the Traditions! (WHEW!)

Indistinct: I know just enough about humility, to know I sure wish I had more OF it...I believe it's the key to LOADS of life!

Dear Crazy-Clean, And....I wanted to respond to your thoughtful comment, but...well, do you have 'comments' turned off? And I could find no @gmail.com address for you either.

Anyway, thanks...but I really had more to write! That's ME, though, always MORE, never "That's Enough!"
Steve E.


mile191 said...

wow. I CANT tell you in words HOW much I NEEDED to read to STAY SOBEr. I am so sad right now and struggling so much and it is so nice to have someone to come read and TELL this too. THanks for the love and the email and the caring. I know I have stayed distant. I do see our FUTURE meeting and me being OKAY. I just have to hang in there. THanks for caring and being a safe place for me to fall apart. love and appreciation. thanks. mile 191

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...

I am beginning to Love and Understand the Traditions in a whole new way, because you are willing enough to not only tell us about the tradition, but you are willing to talk about your experience with it.

I'm having a hard time at my regular home group meeting because it's a discussion based group, and even when we read out of the book, it still seems to (I don't know why) turn into discussion that really doesn't have much to do with what we just read. The group is extremely large (Maybe that has something to do with it... i don't know) Well, I guess that's just it, I don't know.


Love you so much!

Atiyanna said...

Oh boy...group conscience.
We, our home group, are scheduled to do a group inventory at our next business meeting. I am not looking forward to it, as I really don't like confrontation (who does really). But I have to say, that I deal with it better these days than I did when I was out there...100 times better!! Thank you Steve E for you for sharing your insight on the 12 Traditions of AA.