Friday, February 6, 2009


AMENDED: After you read this, or before,
please slip over to Prayer Girl's blog...
it is dedicated to her husband.
He likes it, and you will also!


"An A.A. group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the A.A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, and prestige divert us from our primary purpose."

Recently, a DAILY 'meeting' of alcoholics--which had grown to between 70-90 participants--decided, after ten years of 'keeping it simple', to register properly, and create a group. Certainly a wise decision, prompted by a group conscience meeting of some of the "older" members...then a vote of all who were interested. OK, that's a sketchy background.

At one of the first 'business' meetings, it surprised some of us to learn that the coffers of this 'meeting' had grown to THOUSANDS of dollars. Who knew? I had been a member of this 'meeting' for only a half year, and just never had a clue that it was not a registered GROUP.

As I looked about the room as they were discussing 'financials', it amused me to watch the eyes of some as we were voting on methods of disbursement of funds. I could just "SEE" dollar signs dancing in those reflections (of a few) as they might have been envisioning really REALLY great places to put a bunch of those thousands of dollars. No mistake--there was not a doubt in my mind of the lofty motives abounding in that room that morning. I believed the ceiling was about to open at any moment, and the Second, or Fifth (or whatever) Coming would take place anon!

Well, I have since joined another group, the one that pulled me into its arms--literally--34 years ago. I still do attend the daily morning meeting of 90 souls, though. I learned there--first hand--that money can and WILL become a problem in Alcoholics Anonymous, if allowed to accumulate. We at the group level--or at any level--must remain poor, so that our focus will remain on our Primary Purpose. That is, to stay sober and help others to stay sober...

A.A. is not a business...however we ARE "in the business" of saving asses (as in "save your ass", phew!)--not souls, OK? A.A. does not intend to provide plush meeting places, card rooms, TV rooms, etc. A group in A.A. should not enter into leases of buildings, rooms, or other long term obligations. Heck, the group could split up in a one-hour session. A quick vote, a grab-the-books-and-grapevines, and "get outta Dodge in a pickup", and who pays the lease?

Money is not the lifeblood of A.A. It should be little more than a mere nuisance. We do not need it, would do well without it entirely. A.A. is--at its very core--one alcoholic talking to another, one ex-drunk helping another. Two people can get together in a coffee shop, a park bench (Brrrrr!), a curbstone, a home, or a meeting. That's what we are about. That's how we began. One drunk, explaining to another, how I stay sober.

NOW, having said all that--how does this affect ME? By joining the group and attending their monthly business meetings, I learned something about how to LIVE, other than just NOT DRINK! I learned how to eat (didn't follow what I learned though), how to dress (bought a tie, and a new pair of shoes...with soles), how to date (met a girl in sobriety, and we're going on 20 years of marriage at this time).

Also learned a little about money Well, I may choose to run my life in a similar fashion as what I learned in A.A. Understand that A.A. does not give me a job, health, house, wife, car, boat, etc. A.A. MAY teach me to be frugal, watchful, conservative where money is concerned. Or I could "fake it, make it, spend it, end it". (Don't know what I meant there, but it sounded good -grin).

A prudent reserve is essential, just as in an A.A. group. I had no idea how to handle money, or what role money played in my life--when I came to A.A. In a business meeting setting I did learn something by listening, by asking, by sharing, just as I learned about SOBRIETY!

I must reiterate, this SIXTH session of the TRADITIONS discussion is of and from my own personal experiences, CERTAINLY NOT endorsed--in any way--by Alcoholics Anonymous. Just one person's viewpoint. Hopefully I will not lead anyone astray, or offend any one with these snippets of E,S, and H. (Experiences, Strengths, and Hopes)....of mine own.

Love, and PEACE, somehow they seem to be always together in my mind. Please stay with us here, only six more to go...Why, oh why, oh why, Steve? Why did you DO this to yourself? -grin!


Queenneenee said...

Hi Mr. Roni~Thanks for guiding us through these Traditions. Being fairly new to this program, I certainly have much to learn. My home group barely makes the rent every month, and if there is any abundance of cash in the kitty it goes to AA for alkathons, phone service etc. I can't believe a pot could get sooooo big like your former group. Even as new as I am I know that is wrong, wrong, wrong!

Hope said...

I belong to a very small home group. Our membership is less than 10. We were so happy to be able to send money to the NY office and our area and district this last time we had a business meeting. We kept just enough in the pot to pay the rent for a month or so and to buy some more literature. Our needs are few.

steveroni said...

Queenie, the big pot was not in a 'group', it was simply a very large MEETING of AA recovering people, which went on for ten years, until they decided to get their act together. Thanks for dropping by, I sure like you!

Hope, you are fortunate to belong to a group which believes in and abides by the Traditions, and you no doubt play a big part in that correctness. Thank you for your comment, which supports the real meaning of Trad Six.

Shadow said...

...i've been there already. i think she kinda like you, heee heee heee

Syd said...

I remember reading about the discussion between Bill and Dr. Bob about starting up a series of hospitals around the country to treat alcoholics. Eventually, it was revealed (by God no doubt) that would be a bad idea. Keeping it simple was a much better idea. I'm glad that AA didn't become a huge hospital organization. What a mess that would have been.

Gabriella Moonlight said...

Great post a roni! Very true, I belong to a very small home group...five of us, we make rent, we do okay, but we do as the traditions states...that's it. Keep it Simple!

Banana Girl said...

Service in kind, service in heart, service in wallet. It all adds up. But always we must remember, this is a voluntary thing as guided by the group conscience as directed by a HP. You can't give away what you don't have and that includes cash. Struggling groups need to remember to simply do what they really can in furtherance of the primary purpose. The rest will come. Thanks for pointing out that each group is different for a reason. J.

vicariousrising said...

I was secretary of my home group for awhile, and we were definitely not in a "business", thank god. We were the biggest contributor in our area, but we sent all the nonessentials to the district level. One of our toughest group decisions was to raise our own rent for the church facility we use because the church hadn't done so in like 10 years and they needed repairs done and were barely making their heating bills.