A.A. HAS NO OPINION ON OUTSIDE ISSUES
Before I begin recalling any experiences I've had in regard to Tradition TEN, I need to write this. In some groups I have recently noticed infringement on our traditions. These traditions are the only guarantee we have for preservation of our unity, our very life-blood--the program of Alcoholics Anonymous.
A lonely feeling for me is to be the only person in a group who will point out the importance of the traditions. It seems many A.A. members have either never heard of them, or never paid that much attention. I also used to think, "Those Traditions are for the old-timers, the 'A.A. Police', the gurus, the groups". In fact, dear ones, they are for you and me. They are for our children, and our grandchildren who might one day have this, their only hope. The twelve are my only guarantee for the preservation of A.A. as I know it--a way of life which will produce freedom and happiness in my life. And I will become useful in helping others discover the God within them, and which will lead them and me to a life, beyond our wildest dreams!
Now that I'm off the soapbox, I'll write today's blog:
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.)
SYD and I are writing in tandem, exercises on the Twelve Traditions. Please visit, if you have not yet, Syd's blog for an Alanon view of Tradition TEN. I admire his talents on so many levels.
Tradition ten states: "Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy."
I have an opinion on almost everything. You name it, I'll tell you what I think of it. But no politics, please--if I tear up any more of those popular T-shirts, I'll wind up in jail! Oooops, that WAS "politics", I think. My bad! (My blog!)
1. Anyway, I DO have opinions on Tranquilizers, Doctors, Hospitals, Churches, Temples, Antibuse, Psychiatrists, Jails, Alcohol, Legalizing Marijuana, Vitamins, Alateen, The federal government, The state government, Government anywhere, even Alcohol. Alcoholics Anonymous does NOT have opinions on any of the cited institutions or products.
The problem arises if and when I give the impression that when voicing my own opinion, I am speaking for A.A. There I have a No-No. NOTE: There ARE people who speak on national TV as A.A. spokes-persons. And THAT'S called breaking this Tradition TEN (in my opinion -grin!).
2. There is NO SUCH THING as "A.A. Opinion" on ANY of the above issues, or anything else. OK?
3. Alcoholics Anonymous learned from a group from which it sort of sprung, the Washingtonian Society. Early in its existence, Washingtonians were almost all alcoholics. So successful were they, that they became involved in politics of the day, and more (read about this, page 178 in 12X12). Eventually, embroiled in controversy, they began to lose credibility, and ended up being somewhat non-functional as a life-saving program for alcoholics. The sayings, "Shoemaker, stick to thy last" and "Stick to your own knitting", apply to A.A., and become the goal--of Alcoholics Anonymous--to NOT become involved in outside issues.
4. Here's the rub. I am SURE that on occasion (I hope infrequently) I have breached this tradition--and maybe others--by declaring certain of my own beliefs--religious or political--to individuals or groups, not realizing it might be construed that I was speaking for A.A. Any time I hurt A.A., it is like kicking my own self in the leg...it hurts ME. Having taken this good look at Number TEN helps me to be more vigilant, careful. This moment, this peak of awareness I will not forget.
5. Most people with whom I associate are aware that I have been sober AND in A.A. for a long time. So when I'm in conversations with those who "R Not US", they tend to think, that what I say IS AA opinion. So I must make it so much more clear when my opinion is just that...my opinion, no more.
My prayer tonight is that these discussions which Syd and I have taken on, will tempt or tease many of us to continue to learn more of these traditions. We attend Step meetings, Big Book meetings, Discussion meetings. Why not suggest that our groups consider a Traditions meeting?
And why not right this moment know that Steve E. (steveroni) loves from his heart each of you bloggers, and wishes for you all--that Peace, which surpasses all understanding. Amen? -grin! (Get it?)