Friday, February 01, 2008

Tradition 3 - The only requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking

This tradition, kept me coming back at a time when I had lost the obsession to drink and I thought I had other problems which needed addressing first. So I was ready to not come back.

In my opinion, no step or tradition really works entirely on its own, but I hope to have covered a few things here which have come up for me over the last few years.

I DO NOT SPEAK FOR AA, this some of how you explained it to me and most of my interpretation of this tradition from the literature, my own experience and the strength and hope I have gained from it all :) I am sure you will shed some further light on it too, its a fab tradition, I think. All inclusive, unconditional, for all drinkers who've been to a hell (of your own understanding)

Keep it simple though
Keep coming to meetings until you decide you are in the wrong place
rather than spending lots of energy fighting against whether you are an alky or not

better to be in a meeting and find out you are not an alky
than drink yourself to death never knowing there is a solution

Tradition 3 - The only requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking
It doesnt say you have to qualify your membership with anyone
It doesn't say you have to qualify your desire to stop with anyone
It doesn't say you have to be sober to be a member
It doesn't say you have to be continuously sober to maintain membership
It doesn't say you have to be clean
It doesn't say you have to promise never to drink again
It doesn't day you have to believe it works
It doesn't say you have to understand anything
It doesn't say you have to want to be in a meeting
It doesn't say you have to know you are an alcoholic
It doesn't say you have to accept you are an alcoholic
It doesn't say you have to like being there
It doesn't say you have to get a sponsor
It doesn't say you have to do and step work
It doesn't say you have to believe in God
It doesn't say you have to sit at the front
It doesn't say you have to share
It doesn't say you have to speak with anyone
It doesn't say you have to be a certain type of alcoholic
It doesn't say you have to be a certain type of drinker
It doesn't say how much you must have drank
It doesn't say how bad it had to have got
It doesn't say you have to announce you are a member
Some special interest groups exclude some people...

It doesn't say you have to qualify your desire to stop with anyone

Full stop.

It doesnt say you have to qualify your membership with anyone
Full stop.

It doesn't say you have to be sober to be a member
Sometimes quickly sometimes slowly
The 1st time I came to AA I the though of stopping drinking was not there
I had no desire
For somepeople, the desire is there, BUT the obsession is massive
which is why the need to keep coming back to meetings
getting a sponsor and doing the steps is so important
to build up a mental defence with HP/God (as you understand it)
ie if we could stay sober without meetings alone
we would have done
so If you are unable to stay stopped and have a desire to stop
keep coming to meetings regardless, but please do not disrupt the meeting

It doesn't say you have to be continuously sober to maintain membership
keep coming to meetings
follow suggestions and eventually
if you have a desire to stop drinking
and are wiling to go to anylength
you will connect with HP'God
which will give you the Power you are lacking

It doesn't say you have to be clean
Many of us come in with other problems
me, obsessions, with people, places,things, thoughts, behaviours habits
AA deals with the drink problem
the principles of the steps if applied to other life areas
(all our affairs) will help solve our problems

It doesn't say you have to promise never to drink again
minute/hour/morning/afternoon/evening just try it NO PROMISES
easy does it, small chunks
not, I am going to stop drinking for xx amount of time
cinch by the inch, hard by the yard

It doesn't say you have to believe it works
I did not believe I would be happy joyeous and free
I did not even know what good felt like
I did not half the time know what it works meant!
I just did what you said works for you because you encouraged me to aswell and said I am not special or different. You were right.

It doesn't say you have to understand anything
Whats the steps?
Whats the traditions?
Whats an alcoholic?
Is my drinking that bad?
Dont worry, just keep coming back
Understand we have a solution which works for us, it will work for you to, if you want to give it a go, we will tell you what we did and show you
You dont have to understand it, just do it anyway
You will understand once you have done it
and what you dont understand, you wont worry about
Bizarre but true
Even the control freaks amongst us (me), just trust we dont need to understand
EVERY infinite detail of everything to KNOW its worked and works nowadays

It doesn't say you have to want to be in a meeting
Thank god for that
Like its not pleasurable being in a meeting for ages
But the effect it has seems to make it alright
Healing, safe and unconditional love without us having to do anything except turn up and listen

It doesn't say you have to know you are an alcoholic
It took me nearly 3 months sober to know I am

It doesn't say you have to accept you are an alcoholic
It took another 6 months or so to begin to accept it
ie stop comparing myself with other people's drinking habits and stories
It took me another couple of years to fully accpept I am an alcoholic

It doesn't say you have to like being there
Yeh its true too
Act as if your life depends on it
Because it may well do
Act as if you may be the only person apart from the newcomer that may turn up that evening, go with an attitude of service

It doesn't say you have to get a sponsor
I found it imperative in my recovery
Most of the people I know have be taken through the steps with a sponsor who was taken through the steps with a sponsor
The steps and everything came alive once I started working with a sponsor
AA is all inclusive not exclusive
Its your recovery
Its not a MUST

It doesn't say you have to do any step work
I found that after abit, I saw people cahnging and getting happier, calmer
these were the people doing the steps, with a sponsor
I wanted that, so I did what they did
Its your recovery
Its not a MUST

It doesn't say you have to believe in God
I didnt believe in anything atall, possibly ghosts and the others side
I just came to believe in what you "people" shared which was experience, strength and hope, my belief in God came upon me gradually

It doesn't say you have to sit at the front
When I got crushes AND RESENTMENTS about other members, I obsessed about them instead of listening to sharing, so I was encouraged to sit at the front in front of the speaker, that way I would have less distractions
When I was shy (pride/self centred/fear) about sharing, I was encouraged to sit at the front and share for the newcomer, not for my ego or to impress who may be sitting behind me, JUST SHARE my experience strength and hope AND GET IN THERE FIRST

It doesn't say you have to share
Thank goodness, I was frightened of saying thewrong thing for ages

It doesn't say you have to speak with anyone
thank goodness, I had nothing to say much at first except yes i am FINE!
or I dont want to speak cos I dont know what to say
and when I did speak, fear it wont be good enough... or you'll think i am weird
Nowadays I have too much to say!
Which is why working with newcomers is good to pass on stuff

It doesn't say you have to be a certain type of alcoholic
there is no set drinking pattern to fit to
just possibly if you try and stop and find you cant, or try and control your drinking and cant, you may be alcoholic

It doesn't say you have to be a certain type of drinker
It doesnt matter how much you drank or how little
what time of day or night
what type of drinks
it doesnt specify

It doesn't say how much you must have drank
shorts or pints
bottles or cases
it doesnt specify

It doesn't say how bad it had to have got
It got bad enough

It doesn't say you have to announce you are a memberYou are a member when you feel you are

Some special interest groups exclude some people...
This is not in keeping with tradition 3
AA is inclusive not exclusive
BUT in London for instance there are "special interest" meetings which are listed as non-restrictive, if someone comes who announces they do not fit, or obviously does not fit with the meeting, its generally accepted they will receive the welcome of any newcomer, and given the details of the nearest general meeting. Tradition 4, All meetings are autonomous except in matters affecting AA as a whole.

Keep coming back :)

9 comments:

ann without wine said...

Great post Johno. I was reading some of your early entries, very good stuff. :o) I'm a confused mess, but I am not drunk.

molly said...

i sooooo needed this. all of it. thank you thank you thank you. have a great weekend.

Kathy Lynne said...

Perfect!

indistinct said...

Thank you for posting this.

It's appreciated.

dAAve said...

whew!

Gledwood said...

What if you have the desire to stop but you JUST CAN'T DO IT?

I'm more NA than AA... but hey they're both 12 step and sprang from the same source...

if you have ANY advice please tell me chez moi at my main space:

gledwood2.blogspot

also: have some LOVE!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

it's a tag so pass it on!!

Shadow said...

nice thoughts there!

Rhonda said...

love this!

thanks!

Syd said...

Good stuff. I save posts like these in a file. It helps me to read and reread them.