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 (who, by the way, is F.I.N.E.) and I are writing in tandem, exercises on the Twelve Traditions. Please visit, if you have not yet, his blog for an Alanon view of Tr Eight.. I admire his talents on so many levels.
EIGHTH A.A. TRADITION
But first...a flashback to Tradition TWO:
Our traditions are not asking me to develop a belief in a Higher Power which I call God. The Traditions are saying there IS one--Period! When all is said and done, he is calling the shots--no one else: no matter how important I or you think we are. (I read that, or heard it somewhere...)
Tradition Eight states, "Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers."
Almost entirely unorganized, and completely nonprofessional, a mighty spiritual current flows from alcoholics who are well, to those who are sick. One alcoholic talking to another--that's all. No money, no commercial services are exchanged. Only happening is the wisdom of experience shared, strength passed on, and hope embedded.
I am NOT an expert on alcoholism, recovery, medicine, sociology (romances or finances), psychology or spiritual matters. I am NOT even an expert on A.A., and certainly not an expert on HUMILITY!!! All I've got is experience in staying sober, on day at a time....and that's the truth!
Only in our Big book are guidelines, actually instructions, on how any one of us will handle a Twelfth Step call (where we go to meet with another who asks for help). In fact, any A.A. would just not allow anyone to tell him exactly how to present our program to a prospect. The one-on-one thing is very private, and is likely blest by God...if He is invited.
I am aware that there was a time when Alcoholics Anonymous members ran homes, or farms for alcoholics. And the membership was up in arms, declaring that this was a "selling" of our Step Twelve activity. A.A. reacted out of fear (anybody recall that word? -grin!), fear that I, or you would next be running an A.A. business out of our homes, competing with other members for 12th Step work. Imagine! The implications are enormous.
Experience has shown that an alcoholic will not listen to a "paid" 12th Stepper. It is, however, really impressive to a new person to realize that, "Hey! These guys want to help me--for FREE. They won't even allow me to buy breakfast." That is the first thing I learned here.
The whole concept of one helping another, of God's gift of sobriety having come to me through A.A. people, has been well noted. This gift, freely given and then freely accepted by me, must be freely given away--in order for me to keep it. Sobriety' gifts, the results of staying sober, are metaphorically like the water in a pipeline, they keep flowing, until everyone is satisfied, or happy. And, unlike the water in the pipeline, the supply is never-ending.
Imagine one of us charging a surtax because a Twelfth-Step call came in after 1 AM.
Now, enter the professionals! Our clubs do need caretakers, we do sometimes need secretaries and maybe other staff, who must be paid. So what? I personally do not know more than two here in Naples area who get paid for working in the A.A. settings. I know a few more who should receive remuneration (big damn word!), but I leave that to the 'trusted servants' to deal with. Hey I'm ONE of them! Ha! Who would EVER have guessed that I might be called 'trusted' one day?
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE you guys and girls. Let's stay sober now, and be (or act) HAPPY!