Orders from A.A.?

A.A. Authorities, Directors, Managers, Conference or Board Leaders Give You an Order or Tell You What You Can’t Do, Say, Discuss, or Read
Some Words of Comfort for Those Who Receive Such Messages
By Dick B.
© 2014 Anonymous. All rights reserved
[AAs seldom appear at meetings or offices looking for a scrap! Many are attending meetings not only to overcome their drinking problems, but also to escape the miserable consequences of their own excessive drinking. Even better, they’s like a new life. They want a way out. They don’t want a way into the boxing ring. Yet scarcely a week goes by that we don’t receive heart-wringing emails, letters, visits, or phone calls from some fellowship member who has encountered a purported authority or “bleeding deacon” at an A.A. office, group, or meeting who has just told them what they can or can’t read. What they can or can’t say. What they can’t bring to a meeting. What they can’t name their group or meeting. Or that or they will be denied an A.A. listing because some office manager, secretary, or clerk asserts “authority” that supposedly says it violates some Tradition or is not Conference-approved. Of course you can always vote with your feet and attend some other meeting, group, or office. You may also get a coffee pot, take it and your resentment out the door, and form your own meeting. I’ve been at meetings where police were called, fist-fights occurred, insults were hurled, and shouting had become the norm. There has even been A.A. backed-litigation instituted.
But don’t you really want peace, freedom, friendship, help, and victory over the ravages of alcoholism? We have yet to see an armored vehicle, a machine gun, or tear gas. But the consequences of riotous behavior may be getting drunk, getting disgusted, getting mauled, or getting as far from A.A. as your feet will carry you.
However, overcoming alcoholism and its consequences may be your objective, or if fear and shame and anger are ruling your life, or if you haven’t yet learned to cease drinking, trust God, clean house, and turn your attention to helping someone still suffering, your time has come.] And here are some thoughts from A.A. literature that may help:
“This Is Life for Us; You Can’t Keep Us Out.”
“Tradition Nine states: ‘A.A., as such, ought never to be organized, but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.’ . . .
. . .
What we really mean, of course, is that A.A. can never have an organized direction or government. . . .
. . . It [Alcoholics Anonymous] does not at any point conform to the pattern of a government. Neither its General Service Conference, its General Service Board, nor the humblest group committee can issue a single directive to an A.A. member and make it stick, let alone hand out any punishment. . . . Groups have tried to expel members, but the banished have come back to sit in the meeting place, saying, ‘This is life for us; you can’t keep us out.’ . . . An A.A. may take advice or suggestions from more experienced members, but he surely will not take orders. . . .
One would think that A.A.’s Headquarters and General Service Conference would be exceptions. Sure the people there would have to have some authority. But long ago Trustees and staff members alike found they could do no more that make suggestions, and very mild ones at that. . . . We recognize that we cannot dictate to fellow members, individually or collectively.
. . . Great suffering and great love are A.A.’s disciplinarians; we have no others.”
[Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age
(New York: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1957), 118-20]
Gloria Deo

About mauihistorian

Uses pen name Dick B.: Writer, Historian, Retired attorney, Bible student, CDAAC, and active and recovered A.A. member with over 25 years of continuous sobriety. Published 42 titles and over 650 articles on the history of Alcoholics Anonymous and the Christian Recovery Movement. www.dickb.com
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