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

Thursday, February 19, 2009

PRINCIPLES BEFORE PERSONALITIES
















PRINCIPLES BEFORE PERSONALITIES

tradition twelve of alcoholics anonymous

Don't forget to check out Syd's blog on this same Tradition Twelve, if you haven't been there already. We both have thoroughly enjoyed this time with you in this two-sided study/discussion of the past three weeks. Thank you for staying with us--or it would have been lonely out here! -grin!

TRADITION TWELVE!
How many of these things ARE there???

This tradition, I believe, has much more to do with each of us personally. We are--each of us-- ambassadors for Alcoholics Anonymous, wherever we go, especially when we 'announce' ourselves as being sober members of AA. So if I am sober I must ACT sober, right?

Tradition Twelve states: "Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities."

1. It behooves me to never, never, ever, ever break the anonymity of another AA member. It also behooves me to never say, even whisper, anything of the private life of an AA member, which could somehow, in some way injure, or hurt him or her. I am bound to not even hint by association that another is in (or 'out of') our program. It is the ONE thing that is honored, must be honored, by every AA member.

This IS our spiritual foundation. This IS the binding which holds us together, though in every other way, on every other issue I may argue and disagree. God will surely judge me in how well I perform--or not--in this part of my program.

Let's move on:

2. Recently a fellow, 17-years-sober--a self proclaimed guru in my 6 AM meeting--had rudely cut me off while I was sharing, before I had finished. This has happened more than several times during an eight-month period. So my sponsor said I must confront him, short and sweet, get it over with, and never mention it again. That I must not let someone get away with running over me or another. I said, "OK".

Well, the next morning, I thought long and hard about this for a minute or so, and remembered I had given up fighting anybody or any thing. So I decided to let go of the matter (again). But, the real decision to do nothing, was this: the fellow has quarreled with me several times in the meeting room. So, instead of fabricating a disturbance for our group, I am letting it alone. My sponsor (bless him) agreed that "I may be right". I'm calling this "placing principles before personalities". This is part of Tradition 12 for ME.

3. Among millions of AA members, of which I am, what...a micro-organism? (NOT orgasm, you people!) You would think I am not important, right? WRONG!! To a new person entering our room for the first time I am 100% of the AA he meets, sees, or knows, for that first hour. I am what I see as his 911 call for help, his 911 call for support, his 911 call between him and possible premature death, his 911 call between him and, yes, his GOD! I can be his 'angel'--several have (seriously) mistakenly called me that (or, more likely, the 'devil'), which will guide him back through the wall of hell, to a more pleasing place. Each of us is as important to AA as we are to the God Who made us. When I remember that, I'm in "Tradition 12" mode...

4. In regard to AA (and life in general--believe me!) I am confident and enthusiastic--REALLY! My brand of recovery is finally attractive enough to me and others, that I willingly and readily reveal my AA affiliation in private conversations. This may occur in grocery lines, parking lots, doctors' offices, or in the "bike maintenance garage" to a mechanic. It may happen in a church, a coffee house, a symphony rehearsal, or a line at the ATM.

I am never ashamed of AA, always ready to help another, or to spread the word where another may find me/us. And I'm always ready thereby to help ALSO that most important person...myself. Whenever I'm doing AA work, I have gotten--at least temporarily--out of myself, and into the spiritual life of my fellows. That is the best way for me to stay out of all kinds of trouble, mental, physical, moral...which includes spiritual.

5. In fulfilling my own AA responsibilities, I probably am a little bit lax. Did I say a little bit? Try "doing less and expecting more"! Always ready to help another, I sometimes shirk on performing my duties as best they could be done. I am a master of excuses, having culled the 'best of the best' from 25 years of practice "out there". I promise to do better in this activity. Ha! Maybe I'll volunteer me an assistant, some new guy who is feeling sorry for himself. But, as "head librarian", I still get to tell the jokes!

5. Many of us in AA complain rather constantly about the "way things are run", or the way work is performed, especially by necessary paid professionals. We complain about those who complain, and about those who do not.

Funny, I sobered up--only to find I was still exactly ME, the same as always, except I did not drink any more. Everything else was the same. I was still the same old ass-hole. There had to be some changes made. I had to realize that AA includes many who might never have associated with one another...well, isn't that true? It is for me! So I had to learn to tolerate, respect, and love each and every one of us. That is not easy in some instances, but IS necessary. "Principles, before Personalities." Remember?

I was exactly like that farmer on page 82 of the Big book, who, after the tornado, saw everything as "hunky-dory". I completely overlooked the chaos all about, the havoc everywhere. Actually, that WAS me--for a long time ("Blong" Time?). In AA. I thought 'not drinking' was about all I needed to do, to live that life of productive fulfillment. A rebuilding from the ground up was an absolute for me.

Through working over and over the Twelve Steps, and observing to my best, the Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous, I have built, and am still in the process of building, a new and better life for me and those around me.

I've NEVER ever been more happy, relaxed, serene, and at peace, than these past ten or so years. March 18 will be the 35th anniversary of my last drink. And it seems like yesterday. I continue to attend two or three meetings every day at this time, because I love them...and because I CAN!

And I am so full of gratitude, and love, that I'm fairly bursting with joy most of the time. Thank you all who have labored with Syd and myself through these traditions the past several weeks. They are not easy--but they ARE simple! AMEN!

Steve E

14 comments:

Mary LA said...

How I have enjoyed reading these discussions on the Traditions!

Than you so much Steve.

xxMary

Shadow said...

simply you say? meaningful too...

Syd said...

Excellent Steve. And many thanks for what you wrote.

Mary Christine said...

Nice job. Thanks.

Prayer Girl said...

Loved your blong. Love you.

All 12 traditions came alive for me in a very personal way through the way you presented each one. Quite a blessing.

Thank you so much,
PG

Lou said...

This was the best of the best. Nice job, Steve-0-Explained.
BTW, see you at TSR. I think you will bring a great perspective.

Syd said...

Yep, let's do the steps in a couple of months. Thanks for the suggestion.

Femin Susan said...

enjoyed reading your post.you have got an interesting blog indeed!
Cheers!

clean and crazy said...

You guys really summed up so much for a lot of readers. It has been so refreshing to go through these traditions between you and Syd. Thanks to both of you for the great work you did, it was very enlightening and insightful.

Queenneenee said...

yes, I have a problem with this tradition at times. It only becomes an issue with ONE AA in particular. I want to choke him. I did let him know how I feel and he has calmed down a bit, so maybe I did the right thing? I dunno, but in any case-thanks for splainin' the traditions. You, my friend, ROCK

Femin Susan said...

thanks for your lovely visit....
cheers!

Femin Susan said...

Hi
Thank you for reading and the comment,……....am happy you liked it..

Zanejabbers said...

Bravo. Bravo. I am giving you a standing ovation. This is my favorite of the traditions. I have to be very careful about this one, I am so inclined to put personalities before principles, but I am coming around quite well.
I will tell a story about this on my blog tonight. Thank you.

Findon said...

I agree with all you have said. The letting go of the guy in the meeting is something I have adopted lately. Thank you very much for all your hard work and persisitence. I have learned a lot from someone with vastly more experience, who I have never met, but who I respect enormously. Takce care of yourself in all those meetings.