Tradition 3 & Checklist

The 12 Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous, the principles that hold our groups and society together.

Tradition 3 & Checklist

Postby Tommy-S » Mon Sep 03, 2012 4:35 pm

Tradition Three – Our membership ought to include all who suffer from alcoholism. Hence, we may refuse none who wish to recover. Nor ought AA membership ever depend upon money or conformity. Any two or three alcoholics gathered together for sobriety may call themselves an AA group, provided that, as a group, they have no other affiliation.

The 12 x 12 essay calls us AA’s to the very real and practical application of Love and Tolerance,
“...No matter who you are, no matter how low you’ve gone, no matter how grave your emotional complications --even your crimes--we still can’t deny you AA” (12 x 12, pg 139)


Other than our cherished Anonymity, this principle of non-conformity was second most in importance to ensuring my sobriety. I did not have to worry about being cut of the right cloth, judged for my past, coming from the proper background, education, social status, etc. All I needed to be, have, or do was a desire to stop drinking.

I belonged if I said so...PERIOD. They couldn’t even question my desire to quit drinking!!!

But they didn’t have to... John Barleycorn was undefeated heavy weight champion, whipped my butt time & again, and I kept volunteering for rematches...Until AA.

It was fortunate for me AA experience had been hammered out our Singleness of Purpose long before I came to need the Hand of Alcoholics Anonymous, as quite frankly, there was little else I was capable of ‘buying’ other than Sobriety.

It was not only my ‘state of mind’ that qualified as savage. My whole demeanor reeked of the twists Mr. Hyde had performed behind that First Drink. I hated the Guy in the Mirror for what he had done & become behind the first drink. I wanted him to die, and no one else's life was safe near me.

At first, I hated those happy, smiling alkies in the early meetings, and was none too shy about telling them so. Yet, some part of me recognized I needed them...they knew the way out, they had an answer.

Had there been any other ‘requirement’ to AA, I surely would have stayed a shivering denizen in King Alcohol’s mad realm.

Today, blessed with some 24 hours, I need to guard against personal opinions or bias creeping in when someone has a different background than mine, or even when, after some time, they aren't doing enough or as much as I think, knowing that their life, like mine, hinges on the fact
“that we must never compel anyone to pay anything, believe anything, or conform to anything.” (12 x 12. pg 141)


I need never forget where I came from, nor of my debt to pass it on to others no matter who and where they come from. I owe my life to those old drunks who kept the AA door WIDE open, so a guy like me could have a second chance at life. And its a GOOD life.

Thanks

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Practice These Principles…**

Tradition Three: The only requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking.

1. In my mind, do I prejudge some new AA members as losers?

2. Is there some kind of alcoholic whom I privately do not want in my AA group?

3. Do I set myself up as a judge of whether a newcomer is sincere or phony?

4. Do I let language, religion (or lack of it), race, education, age, or other such things interfere with my carrying the message?

5. Am I over impressed by a celebrity? By a doctor, a clergyman, an ex-convict? Or can I just treat this new member simply and naturally as one more sick human, like the rest of us?

6. When someone turns up at AA needing information or help (even if he can’t ask for it aloud), does it really matter to me what he does for a living? Where he lives? What his domestic arrangements are? Whether he had been to AA before? What his other problems are?

** These questions were originally published in the AA Grapevine in conjunction with a series on the Twelve Traditions that began in November 1969 and ran through September 1971. While they were originally intended primarily for individual use, many AA groups have since used them as a basis for wider discussion.

++++++++++++++++

http://www.aa.org/1212/
http://www.aa.org/en_pdfs/smf-131_en.pdf
12 & 12 and Traditions Check List reprinted with Permission AAWS
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Re: Tradition 3 & Checklist

Postby avaneesh912 » Tue Sep 04, 2012 6:18 am

This is one of the most abused traditions around our area. Early on, when I was new to this gig, i was in a meeting, when an AA member opposed a drug addict in the meeting, he was silenced by the Chair person (He himself being a drug addict). His question to the person was 'Do you have a desire to stop drinking today?' and when the Addict said, 'I do', he proudly said he can stay and moved on with the business. Then I thought, what a smart deal. However: later on when I gained the knowledge of why there are traditions, I realized the damage this group was committing. And recently my friend had visited this group where I sobered up, he said, it no way resembled an AA meeting. People where discussion all other problems other than alcoholism.

One thing I noticed is that the selfish nature of human beings encourages this trend. I have seen family members/friends encouraging their kith and kin to go to a AA meeting knowing well the singleness of purpose traditions. Recently I saw a Alcoholic father encouraging his teenage son, a heroin addict to stay in an AA meeting. However the son is still out there because he couldn't identify with alcoholism.
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)
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Re: Tradition 3 & Checklist

Postby Tommy-S » Tue Sep 04, 2012 7:13 am

Thanks, Aveenish

One of AA's 'unique' traits is a lack of 'rules'. Rules require a means of enforcement. An AA Police,Courts, Legal Representation? (I'm being extreme :)

This Tradition is concern with the minimum to 'get in the doors', with Tradition 5 (Primary Purpose) pertaining to what we do afterwards.

There was a time when the AA literature read
"The only requirement for membership is an Honest desire to stop drinking". (Forward to the First Edition)


But who do we appoint to ascertain the honesty of any person, let alone a drunk coming off the street? One wrong assessment, and we've become the judge, jury, & executioner of a fellow alcoholic? (Question 3 above)

That's not something I would wish to have on my head.

Great love or suffering are our two disciplinarians... AA is self-cleaning. It has survived 77 years, and I imagine, will continue to do so
"in unity for so long as He needs us" (12 x 12, pg 131)


Tommy
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Re: Tradition 3 & Checklist

Postby PaigeB » Tue Sep 04, 2012 10:23 am

4. Do I let language, religion (or lack of it), race, education, age, or other such things interfere with my carrying the message?


I needed them to accept me even though I came in very defensive about being an atheist. I am Lucky that we have strong AA here and the Traditions and sponsorship is well embedded. It didn't take long for my temp sponsor to convince me to look around and see that no one cared, even though she herself had questions. It was true. They didn't care, but some had questions. There was a tiny meeting on a Saturday night and 4 of the 5 people there had long term sobriety. I asked them straight out. They lovingly talked about the 3rd Tradition and never once said, "You will come around some day".

That being said... I have trouble with people who come in saying, "I am an alcoholic and a child of a loving creator..." then going on with Bible verses. I remember the loving hand of AA that met me at the door and try to keep my share to ES&H on the Program that saved me. I am a work in progress.

One more thing. Addicts in an AA meeting. I have seen groups break up over it. I have been part of an almost annual group conscience in my home group. We're a women's meeting just a couple blocks from a treatment center for women who bring their children to treatment with them. We so far have decided they are welcome in that at anytime we might have become drug addicts had circumstances be different and those of us who also abused drugs (being the type that I never had enough) even though alcohol was our MAIN problem.... combined with a treatment center who teaches that alcoholism is an addiction to alcohol... We all agree to allow them to come and treat them as one of us, following up about home group membership, Big Books and phone numbers and sponsorship. We have found that alcohol is usually a problem in the scheme of things. What they say when they "identify" is really beside the point for us. These women living with children in treatment may never otherwise see women with children living free of all substances.
If I'm not able to say how I'm working my program today, then I'm not working my program.
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Re: Tradition 3 & Checklist: charging admission to meetings

Postby davyd » Thu Oct 24, 2013 10:40 pm

Hello everyone. This is my first post on this site. I did a search to see if my question had been discussed here already, and could find nothing pertinent. Please pardon me if I have missed something.
In my area, there is a rally held annually. The rally is set up as an autonomous function, with a committee separate from the District. (The history of this is separation from District is interesting in itself, but i won't go into it here).
At an AA meeting this evening, the subject of the rally came up. The ticket price was announced, $20 for registration, and $40 for the "full meal deal." As there was a newcomer present, I pointed out that she could attend the AA meetings held during the day without paying. Two members, (both of whom are on the Rally Committee), quickly corrected me, saying that the $20 registration feel was required to attend the AA meetings. I was stunned, partly because I had previously been told that attendance at those meetings was free of charge. But most of my consternation was at what I perceived as a violation of the 3rd Tradition: "nor ought AA membership ever be dependent upon money or conformity."
In practical terms, if someone shows up at the rally and wants only to go to the AA meeting inside, it would depend upon who is at that registration desk as to whether they would be allowed in, or required to pay $20.
This seems an awful violation of the spirit of inclusivity that is the core of the third tradition. But I can find no clear statement in the AA literature that definitely forbids such a charge being levied for attendance at a meeting.
What do you think? And can anyone direct me to further documentation clarifying the issue?
Thanks for your time and attention!
-David H.
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Re: Tradition 3 & Checklist: charging admission to meetings

Postby Squawking Hawk » Sun Oct 27, 2013 4:30 am

Hello Davy and welcome to e-AA. I've been thinking about your question since I saw your post 24 hours ago. I've been around the rooms for quite a few 24 hours, but I'm not sure that I have any relevant ESH for you. In my area and district there are events, some of which are sponsored by the district or the area and some of which are not, that charge a fee for event. And these events often have meetings. While newcomers will often pay the fee and go to the event for some AA fellowship, most of the time the events are not in places where people are looking for their first meeting. I may be splitting hairs, but I tend think of the fee being for the event. And if someone was looking for an AA meeting in the town where the event was, I'd direct them to that meeting.

I'm not sure if my response has helped you and may not be what you are looking for. In the meantime, I have to scoot and start my day.

hawk


davyd wrote:Hello everyone. This is my first post on this site. I did a search to see if my question had been discussed here already, and could find nothing pertinent. Please pardon me if I have missed something.
In my area, there is a rally held annually. The rally is set up as an autonomous function, with a committee separate from the District. (The history of this is separation from District is interesting in itself, but i won't go into it here).
At an AA meeting this evening, the subject of the rally came up. The ticket price was announced, $20 for registration, and $40 for the "full meal deal." As there was a newcomer present, I pointed out that she could attend the AA meetings held during the day without paying. Two members, (both of whom are on the Rally Committee), quickly corrected me, saying that the $20 registration feel was required to attend the AA meetings. I was stunned, partly because I had previously been told that attendance at those meetings was free of charge. But most of my consternation was at what I perceived as a violation of the 3rd Tradition: "nor ought AA membership ever be dependent upon money or conformity."
In practical terms, if someone shows up at the rally and wants only to go to the AA meeting inside, it would depend upon who is at that registration desk as to whether they would be allowed in, or required to pay $20.
This seems an awful violation of the spirit of inclusivity that is the core of the third tradition. But I can find no clear statement in the AA literature that definitely forbids such a charge being levied for attendance at a meeting.
What do you think? And can anyone direct me to further documentation clarifying the issue?
Thanks for your time and attention!
-David H.
Ms. Hawk

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Re: Tradition 3 & Checklist

Postby clouds » Wed Jul 08, 2015 6:24 am

BUMP BUMP!
" Burn the idea into the consciousness of every man that he can get well regardless of anyone. The only condition is that he trust in God and clean house." page 98 A.A.
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Re: Tradition 3 & Checklist

Postby clouds » Fri Jul 10, 2015 7:58 am

I'm sorry if I offended anybody with my last post.

Other sites I have been active on people will"bump" treads they think are great instead of posting more of the same thing themselves to indicate its a great read. I thought this tradition was really great with what others were saying about it but couldn't add more myself atm.

C.
" Burn the idea into the consciousness of every man that he can get well regardless of anyone. The only condition is that he trust in God and clean house." page 98 A.A.
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Re: Tradition 3 & Checklist

Postby PaigeB » Sun Jul 12, 2015 2:02 pm

Great Idea clouds! I love talking about the Traditions and my response WILL bump this to the View New Posts list!
If I'm not able to say how I'm working my program today, then I'm not working my program.
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Re: Tradition 3 & Checklist

Postby Tosh » Sun Jul 12, 2015 3:09 pm

I listened to a great share by a guy called Barry L on XA Speakers on Tradition 3. Barry L was the guy who wrote Living Sober, he was British, a very funny guy, a very early AA member and he was gay.

It's a class share; I can't post a link, but it makes me proud (in a nice way) to be a member of such a fantastic spiritual entity that is A.A..

If anyone wants to be educated and entertained at the same time, it's Barry L at XA Speakers.

Highly recommended.
Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.” Rumi (No sniggering from the sex addicts)
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Re: Tradition 3 & Checklist

Postby Randall josephj » Thu Apr 20, 2017 1:16 pm

Hello I am new here and looking for onsite on something going on in my home group.

At our last group business meeting that I wasn't at unforntantlly they passed a new no profanity rule witch was really surprising because we all Kinda somewhat young and we do cuss a little bit. Well we have a an older winter texan who joined the group who has 30 years of sobriety and she felt that us allowing people to cuss was not giving a good example. Our group has lacked some structure witch we have adopted from other meetings thats fine. but i feel that our meeting is getting out of control with the rules we are passing. They passed another one that says you have to have at least a year sober to chair. Witch in our group leaves only 3 people to chair but even those three would chair meetings when they first started it's what helped them be part of the group. Plus niether have completed the steps I feel that the lady is trying to turn our meeting into another meeting. I feel we should have structure but not infringe on personal freedoms there are no musts in AA. Our metting started with four guys with less then a year who were sierous about getting sober and staying sober. Our group grew to 10 diehards and up to 20 paper signers. So it has been going fine without rules. It's what makes our meeting our meeting. Is this a battle I should fight
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Re: Tradition 3 & Checklist

Postby Tommy-S » Wed Apr 26, 2017 3:43 pm

Hello Randall & welcome to the site.

My current home group reads a Group Conscience Decision at the beginning of each meeting asking attendees to refrain from profanity, but this isn't about ruling the meeting or singling out individuals... We meet at a Church, and our rental agreement includes a list of unacceptable behaviors such as smoking on church grounds, profanity, and not parking motorcycles on their sidewalk.

In Tradition 1, I learned that there are times when an individuals preferences, ideas, or 'rights' sometimes NEED to take a back seat to the Group Conscience.
viewtopic.php?f=13&t=10317

For instance, in my home group's case, NOT adhering to rules could get us thrown out of that church, which could be the end of the group. If the group were to die, it certainly isn't helping any of us to stay sober, and surely Not carrying AA's message to the sick and suffering Alcoholic who's dying. It's an AA failure.

And, "The Vicious Cycle", Jim B's story in the 3rd edition Big Book, tells how he used to give Bill W and the early New Yorkers crap about the 'God side'. They would hold pray meetings to asking how to get rid of Jim, and when he finally slipped, they refused to answer his call for help... (BB, 3rd Ed, pg 246-247: 12 x 12, pg 143)

Also, in a Tradition 10 post (viewtopic.php?f=13&t=10368), there's a story of a group written (in the April-May 2008 Box 459) who hung out after the meeting, getting loud and boisterous like many 'meetings after the meeting' I've participated in. Unfortunately, the neighbors did not appreciate the noise at that hour of the evening. The writer pointed out that this put AA into Public Controversy in a Negative way in that community... (pg 7 of) http://www.aa.org/newsletters/en_US/en_ ... -may08.pdf

Is this a battle I should fight


That is something I would take up with a sponsor. It's a FACT of my life, that 'The right answers will come, IF I want them' (BB, pg 69)

And a not-in-the-Big-Book lesson I've learned the hard way over the years is that even a dog won't crap where it eats :)

Hope that helps and thanks for dusting off this old post... Tommy
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