Tradition 5 & Checklist

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

Tradition 5 & Checklist

Postby Tommy-S » Wed Sep 05, 2012 5:47 pm

Tradition Five, Long Form: Each Alcoholics Anonymous group ought to be a spiritual entity having but one primary purpose – that of carrying its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.

A century before (1840-1847), the Baltimore Washingtonian Society
“had almost discovered the answer to alcoholism” ...“Had they stuck to their one goal, they might have found the full answer” (AA Comes of Age, pg 124, 125)
. A lesson not overlooked by Alcoholics Anonymous.
“...Better to do one thing supremely well than many badly... but one high mission – to carry the AA message to those who don’t know there is a way out” (12 x 12, pg 150-151)


I thought the insistence of old timers, based on incidents a century before, seems somewhat of an overreaction when it came to ‘Problems other than Alcohol' http://www.aa.org/lang/en/catalog.cfm?c ... product=10

And perhaps, there was some fear I would be asked to leave IF they found out all the Others I had used besides Alcohol. But they accepted me with the simple request to, “Put it all in the Cup & don’t pick it up.” So I changed ME to fit AA, rather than changing AA to fit me, as AA had a way out of the madness that I obviously and painfully did Not..

Still, it wasn’t until accidentally researching the history of Alcoholism Treatment in the US that I came up with a correlation (maybe only coincidental train of events) that helped me understand better, and it was with an example more modern than the 20th Century Washingtonians.

Back in the 1970’s, Federal Laws were put in place decriminalizing public drunkenness, preferring treatment over incarceration (Uniform Act 1971) which opened the door to Federal & State dollars for Treatment. In 1980, this funding was reorganized to include Alcohol, Drug Abuse & Mental Health. The change in funding, along with the 1980’s rise of EAPs & insurance coverage for treatment, fueled a Public/Private Treatment Industry growth in a “one-size fits all” approach to the varying needs.

The influx of people discharged, maybe misinformed or mistakenly thinking AA could fix all problems, was followed by a renewed emphasis on AA’s Primary Purpose (“The Blue Card” for Open/Closed Meetings, Conference Action 1987).

(NA has a similar “Clarity Statement”, though their Archivist Desk can not pin point the date of origin, only to say it was probably before the NA 1990 Conference)

Whether there is a correlation, or it's just sheer happenstance, learning about these changes outside AA and their possible affect on the people coming through the doors has helped me understand our Primary Purpose a little better.

AA is not Anti-anything else. It wasn’t out of meanness, elitism, or lack of compassion those old timers insisted I keep to the primary purpose, but simply survival based on experience.

Just a thought... Thanks

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

Practice These Principles…**

Tradition Five: Each group has but one primary purpose—to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.

1. Do I ever cop out by saying, “I’m not a group, so this or that Tradition doesn’t apply to me”?

2. Am I willing to explain firmly to a newcomer the limitations of AA help, even if he gets mad at me for not giving him a loan?

3. Have I today imposed on any AA member for a special favor or consideration simply because I am a fellow alcoholic?

4. Am I willing to twelfth-step the next newcomer without regard to who or what is in it for me?

5. Do I help my group in every way I can to fulfill our primary purpose?

6. Do I remember that AA old-timers, too, can be alcoholics who still suffer? Do I try both to help them and to learn from them?

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

** 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
Reprinted with Permission AAWS
Together, we don't have to cave in or wimp out to that Fatal First One, no matter what today!
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Re: Tradition 5 & Checklist

Postby PaigeB » Wed Sep 05, 2012 10:20 pm

3. Have I today imposed on any AA member for a special favor or consideration simply because I am a fellow alcoholic?


Is it an imposition to ask an AA'er who has rental homes if they have any openings or a contractor if they have any job openings as long as you are willing to go through the usual process for securing said rental or job?

If so, then guilty as charged. I haven't done it today, but I have asked the question. And asking only once for their business card. I hope my asking did not put pressure on them.
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 5 & Checklist

Postby Tommy-S » Wed Sep 05, 2012 11:55 pm

Hi Paige,

I don't believe so, unless one is asking for a 'discount off the normal rent', or 'the brother-in-law' rate for a repair or remodeling job simply because we're a fellow AA.

I have a tendency to use tradesmen and services of people in AA if they are available, but always expecting and paying the rate they would charge a non- AA... No special rate or considerations asked.

It's worked out well (99 % of the time). They get business, and I get to deal with someone I know who is practicing an honest way of life. It's been a win-win.

Thanks
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Re: Tradition 5 & Checklist

Postby Todd M » Thu Sep 06, 2012 7:10 pm

I would point out as well... In meetings, my home group anyway, we do NOT tolerate things like
"I got a Car for sale, 500 bucks" or "I need some labor workers, 10 bucks an hour"

but, in the parking lot... these are regular occurances
in fact, if im talking with a struggling member, willing and able to work,
I might tell em go talk to Jack over there, sometimes he has oportunties.
Parking lot, the gathering at the coffee shop, etc
There is Hope, Todd M
Keep it Simple

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Re: Tradition 5 & Checklist

Postby PaigeB » Fri Sep 07, 2012 12:29 am

Thanks guys. I think I did go about it in the proper manner. I won't ask every time I see them... like I say, got a business card and passed it on.
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 5 & Checklist

Postby Tommy-S » Sat Sep 22, 2012 6:59 pm

Another helpful item pertaining to Tradition 5, our Primary Purpose (keeping us out of controversy per Tradition 10) is the "What AA does Not do", from the pamphlet, "The AA Group...Where it all begins", pg 39 http://www.aa.org/lang/en/catalog.cfm?c ... product=41

1. Recruit members or furnish initial motivation for alcoholics to recover.

2. Keep membership records or case histories.

3. Follow up or try to control its members.

4. Make medical or psychological diagnoses or prognoses.

5. Provide hospitalization, drugs, or medical or psychiatric treatment.

6. Provide housing, food, clothing, jobs, money or other such services.

7. Provide domestic or vocational counseling.

8. Engage in or sponsor research.

9. Affiliate with social agencies (though many members and service offices do cooperate with them).

10. Offer religious services.

11. Engage in any controversy about alcohol or other matters.

12. Accept money for its services or contributions from non-A.A. sources.

13. Provide letters of reference to parole boards, attorneys, court officials, schools, businesses, social agencies, or any other organization or institution.


Also posted in discusssion: "What AA does Not do"
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=5253

Thanks
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