Wednesday, February 11, 2009

There IS one rule, though:
1. There are no rules!

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.)


"A.A., as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve."

From "Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions"

WHEN Tradition Nine was first written, it said that "Alcoholics Anonymous needs the least possible organization." In years since then, we have changed our minds about that. Today, we are able to say with assurance that Alcoholics Anonymous--A.A. as a whole--should never be organized at all.

Then, in seeming contradiction, we proceed to create special service boards and committees which are organized. How, then, can we have an unorganized movement which can and does create a service organization for itself?

Well, my understanding is that certain special services--deemed absolutely necessary for effective and plentiful Twelfth Step work--will, by their very nature, need some form, some stability, some organization. Who is to complain? Whether I call GSO in New york with a question, or the local Central Office (Intergroup) with an order for materials, I expect someone to answer that phone. I expect that contact to be able to speak to me in a couple languages.

Also I can agree wholeheartedly that we need boards and/or committees, to plan for state conventions and other Conferences, and follow through to their completion. Now, these people are not usually paid professionals, but--again--are what we/I call "trusted servants". Their work is unimaginably valuable to their sobriety and to our fellowship.

OK! Now! How does this all affect ME? Well, I have to ask myself certain questions, or at least give myself some answers. The questions appear in the answers....somewhat...maybe!

1. I do not try to "run things" in my meetings, or A.A. in other places. (However, I DO see this being done. Only this morning, someone really yelled at me to "SHUT UP!" Shhhhhhhh, whisper--I had very quietly whispered four words to my seat partner. And ya know what, I didn't even THINK about that until now--no resentment, no feeling whatever. How's THAT for growing? Well, y'all don't know the "real" me!

2. I do not normally question the informal "rules" of some groups. I don't care if we say "The Lord's Prayer" or the "Hail Mary", quote the Talmud, or recite Homer's "Odyssey" in the original classic Greek. (I studied the Odyssey, Ha!)

3. I'm allowed to "do" A.A. without a godfather looking over my shoulder.

4. Mostly I am patient, and "sometimes???" humble, in any job I do in A.A.

5. I am responsible to those I serve in A.A.

6. Groups to which I have belonged were never organized. After almost 35 years, I continue to wonder how they hold meetings--consistently, and regularly, with speakers, chairpersons,coffee makers, etc. And how do we ever, ever, get anything else done? Beats me! (Maybe it takes a village? Ugh!)

7. I 'intuitively' know when and how to step down/away from a job in A.A.--long before burnout or even singe-out!

8. Important: Rotation of jobs in A.A. I know everyone should have a chance at these jobs. They helped me to grow...and do the same for each of us who is willing to give a little time. It also has a way of keeping me/us humble, leaving a job after a year or so, trusting that another can do it as well, maybe even --"Shhhhhhhhhhh, whispering-- better?"

That's my take on Tradition Nine. Click on: SYD and I have agreed to take the weekend off from Traditions. Back on Monday-Wednesday with 10, 11, and 12. Maybe this weekend I'll write about something other than A.A., such as "Staying Sober"...Humility"..."Working with Others"...BLOGGING!!!..."Helping others"...(NOT blogging?) Who knows? Reminds me of my page: YA NEVER KNOW!

Hey! Let's ALL OF US Stay Sober today, OK? And Happy Thursday to y'all!

Peace, and yep!...LOVE, from
Steve E.


Findon said...

Nice post Steve, and thanks for ALL the hard work. Yes, letting the group be without bending it to my rules. Notice that " MY Rules" so much work still left to be done.

clean and crazy said...

You know my take on the 9th is this, when it says "As such ought never be organized..." what I believe the not organized part is the meeting. We share what comes out and no one dictates what comes out. That is the only part for me it says "NA as such" and it refers to the meeting and what get's shared. And I heard a member tell me that "God doesn't get burnt out, so if I am doing his will in service, then I will never get burnt out." I really love the insight you two are doing on the steps. Great work hope a lot of members hear it.

Syd said...

Thanks Steve. I like doing service and I like the idea of rotating service. I wonder though that more people don't step up. Service can be just little things. I'm glad that we are 75% of the way to completion. What a good thing this has been for me though. It's one thing to read about the traditions in meetings and quite another to put this down for others to read.

Anonymous said...

I'm always amazed at how seamlessly (!) things seem to run in terms of AA (non) organization. I often believe that this program is so divinely inspired that Bill and Bob are still looking out for us from above (God, too ;)

Syd said...

Steve, is it okay that we start back on Tuesday? Monday is a holiday here and I'll likely be on the boat. Thanks!!

Prayer Girl said...

I loved what you had to say about Tradition 9 - makes so much sense. I appreciated it as much as all the other traditions you've written about so far.

My only "down" is that I'll have to wait for you and Syd to complete them next week.

I'll wait!


Gabriella Moonlight said...

Great post, Tradition Nine is one of those explicable one's that beyond how you think it would work, it does and that's a miracle.