DRINKING ALCOHOL TAUGHT ME HOW TO FLY
THEN IT TOOK AWAY THE SKY

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A.A. SEVENTH TRADITION


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.)


SEVENTH TRADITION

"Every A.A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions."

Steve sez:

When I stopped drinking, I assumed the world was going to pat me on the back. At the least, was not I worth a little monetary handout? For being sober? For saving taxpayers the money it would have taken to lock me up for many years? You wouldn't miss a few bucks, along with maybe an award as a "good, interesting and honest blogger" --wait a minute! NO! We didn't have blogging in 1974--

There was not yet

an Internet.
but I had bet
I could get
good and drunk.
A little libation?
(A little donation,
that would do).
A little reward from you
for my being such a caring, sharing, newly sober member of--what was that again? Alcoholics Anonymous? Holy Shit! That sounded serious!

And it was! It was so serious that I'm still here, still sober, 34 years after. I have not killed myself, nor anyone else yet. But, IF someone had handed me a few bucks, I'd have taken it as an omen--to begin again that "one last fling" at pretending to be someone other than me. Nothing wrong here, just give me a dinner, give me a bed, give me shelter, comfort, a little credit, security...gimme, gimme, gimme. Well, 'Nobody' coughed up the loot. Thank you, 'Nobody'! You also saved my life, 'Nobody'.

It was and is so with our groups. Once my group accepts donations from an individual, business, philanthropy, or (shudder) government, we are beholden to somebody, somewhere, somehow. There is no escape from that axiom.

And where then goes the "God in charge of my group", Who meets with us in group conscience? Where goes our autonomy as is promised in Tradition Two? Where goes our justifiable JOY of having breached the walls built between each of us and God?

Our (my) independence shall not become dependence. And 'dependent'--that's where I've been all my 25 drinking years. Now, I have a piece of my mind back, along with 'peace of mind'--and that certain independence called free will.


The whole group-decision process, the carefully guarded quality of self-governance we cherish, would be in dire jeopardy if it were not for our Traditions. We are kept safe from ourselves (and others!) by virtue of strict observance of our beautiful Traditions.

Oh, something else. I've got to say this. In the beginning I was told that if all I had was a little loose change...do not put it in the basket. If that is all I have, AA does not want, nor need it. A dollar was customary 34 years ago. A dollar is no longer what it used to be. A pack of cigarettes probably costs at least $2 by now. A couple bucks is the (basket) norm today. My gosh how much does a 35 cent bottle of beer cost now? (I have not a clue.) Of course, this IS a private matter, but I had to bring up that we ARE self-supporting, even with no dues or fees! And coffee did not come down in price like gasoline.

I can also--if I'm broke or not!--make coffee, do dishes, set up room, wipe off tables and chairs, empty trash, sweep, mop, paint, be a greeter and meet everyone who comes in the door. this all comes under the heading "self-supporting"...


One more thing. It was the practice of my first sponsor, and adopted by me, that I neither lender nor borrower be. When, on rare occasion, I'm inspired to put some cash in someone's pocket, it is never intended as a loan. It is strictly a gift. That way, there is never hard feelings, misunderstandings, or problems, resulting from a necessary exchange of some bucks, now and then.

However, I frequently buy an A.A.-type book, or a special meditation book for another...and always, always it is with the sure knowledge that one day he will pass it forward to another.

Please do realize that A.A. in no way has anything to do with my own observations and opinions. Thank you for understanding this.


Even after the riskiness of writing my private thoughts on Tradition Seven...

I still LOVE you ALL. Believe that!

Peace, from me.
Steve E.

28 comments:

Zanejabbers said...

As usual, ole Steveoni, a smart and stimulating post. Thanks.

Shadow said...

a good read. keep it going.

Syd said...

Hey Steve. I've got my seventh up too. Good stuff here. I'm glad that we are self-supporting through our own contributions.

Mary Christine said...

At my old home group, they used to say "if you have a buck or two, leave it... if you need a buck or two, take it." Really.

TraceyBaby said...

Aaaah, so no one enabled you? How lucky you were! Our posts are very related today, Steve. Like the new pic. ~T~

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...

I continue to grow with you! God is amazingly good to me, and you are some of that result of goodness in my life!

(I'm tearing up..well when the Spirit beacons...go with it I say!)

I want you to know I'd be hugging you daily if I could!

Akannie said...

Good post, o'roni...

Gotta love that 7th Tradition....

Cat said...

I really do like the tradtiions that you and Syd are doing together!

Prayer Girl said...

Mr. Steveroni,
I am truly loving ALL your tradition blogs.

Each one is different, informative, and I loved the addition of some rhyming verse in this one.

KUTGW! -VBG-

PG

Banana Girl said...

Caught your Monday...great minds think alike Einsteineroni! J.

mile191 said...

thanks for the reminder that God is definitely in charge. Hope you have a good day. Thanks for being there for me. I have a valentine for you on my blog, and I reposted all the posts I had been hiding. So embarrassed to be me. Thanks for the support. I am trying to overcome my depression right now, and really appreciate you.

Syd said...

Steve,when do you want to blog on trad 8?

Findon said...

Good observations Steve. We have one particluar individual who likes to donate Stuff, food , money time to the groups. Only problem is after he has done it, he then complains when no one thanks him. Just imagine what it would be like if we were accepting outside donations.

clean and crazy said...

very nicely done and the two (you and syd) have been complimenting each other quite nicely. Might i say "you complete him?" hee, hee

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I am Rusty K – sober 39 years. This past year I was secretary of a group. The groups in this area have a habit of contributing funds from group accounts for dances, Christmas parties, and in one case to pay for a tent damaged at a camp out for all 12 step recovery groups.
Just before Christmas of 2009 a member of the Christmas Party committee began asking our Treasure, C.S. for $20 for the Christmas Party. Both C.S. and I asked for a group conscience and asked that a donation not be made because it would be contrary to the 7th tradition. The rationale given was that when a member puts the dollar or more in the basket he feels and thinks that he is helping to support the Primary Purpose of AA. The rationale for supporting activities is that they are both a way to attract members and provide them with safe and stimulating ways to socialize away from environments where alcohol is prevalent. A member of group called a District Committeeman in another state for an opinion, who suggested donations for outside activities were OK. I wasn’t sure of how AA as a whole practiced the application of the 7th for outside activities. I randomly canvassed by email 10 district committee chairmen across the United States. Only 9 responded. Eight out of those 9 stated that the groups in their districts did not give out donations for activities for social events, parties, etc. Most of the DC’s responding said that their groups did not provide money for birthday cakes nor birthday parties.
I observed that at a District Meeting held weeks later that a motion was approved that donations not be made to social activities. I would appreciate ideas and feelings about the issue of providing group donations to outside activates – i.e., dances, parties and excursions. I believe that such donations violate the Primary Purpose. I support the autonomy of groups, but the other side of that coin is the need to live the principles of AA