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