Conference Approved Literature

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

Conference Approved Literature

Postby bkoranda » Thu Feb 20, 2003 2:02 pm

Ok folks, I haven't started a topic as of yet. Here's something I've had many discussions about and I'm interested to hear the views of everyone on this issue.

I attend and have attended many meetings that offer for sale and sometimes read from non-Conference approved literature at AA meetings. I'm referring specifically to Hazelden literature, books by past members but not conference approved and various recovery related "self-help" books and on occasion books relating to specific religious faith.

I'm not critizing the content of these books nor am I suggesting that AA members not seek a variety of material on their own. It raises questions, nonetheless.

Is this advisable? Does it run counter to the Traditions? Can this be construed as endorsing outside organizations or religious belief? Is this a matter for individual groups based on autonomy or could this practice affect AA as a whole?

<small>[ 02-20-2003, 01:04 PM: Message edited by: BigFish ]</small>
"The power of God goes deep!"
Pg 114 - Alcoholics Anonymous
bkoranda
Forums Enthusiast
 
Posts: 18
Joined: Thu Jan 30, 2003 2:01 am
Location: NE Ohio

Re: Conference Approved Literature

Postby LindaC » Thu Feb 20, 2003 4:19 pm

Good topic! At my home group, people read the Preamble, How It Works, and the Twelve Traditions -- but then someone reads from one of the meditation books (the same book each week). I am new to this state so I don't question how this meeting does things (as far as I know, there's not been a business meeting since I arrived). I find it irritating really, but consider it just my own problem. Still, it seems that even if it is a popular book (and this one isn't the most familiar one but another one), it seems to me more of a commercial for a certain treatment center that sells these materials than something that should be part of a meeting. I have my own meditation books, and it seems to me that reading them or not is my own choice as a part of how I work my program, but I don't want someone else making that decision for me at a meeting. Also, by the time all the preliminaries have ended, it is ten minutes into the meeting. This one doesn't actually end at an hour, though. It tends to go on until everyone who wants to share has done so, no matter how long that takes. I figure God is trying to get me over my control issues and need for consistancy. All that said, I really believe that we're not a shopping mall and only conference-approved lit belongs in a meeting. People who want more can encourage someone to open a lit place. Friends of mine did just that, and created a store with all sorts of materials, including "chips," etc.
LindaC
Forums Enthusiast
 
Posts: 44
Joined: Sun Nov 10, 2002 2:01 am
Location: Wisconsin

Re: Conference Approved Literature

Postby Barry » Thu Feb 20, 2003 11:38 pm

Thanks Fish and Linda.

I agree, this is really a good topic. There's so much stuff like this that comes up at meetings--and nobody questions it. As responsible members of Alcoholics Anonymous, it only makes sense we would at least discuss it.

I'm with Linda. It's so dang hard to talk about stuff though, people just get so darned offended when you bring this up.

But bring it up we must.

I'm here in northern California where I got sober 12 years ago, visiting my sponsor... my first sponsor.

You know, way back then... in that first year... I couldn't be concerned with stuff like the Traditions. I was too busy doing the Steps. I mean, perhaps I could have been... but I guess I was grateful there were oldtimers around who knew how to run a meeting--and pay heed to the Traditions.

Of course, looking back on those early days and early meetings and early AAs in my life... I've come to realize they weren't perfect.

That's what I'm having a hard time now with 12 years and a lot of knowledge about the Traditions... and some with regard to the Concepts.

But, for instance, I went to an early morning meeting this last Wednesday... and a woman was secretarying, someone I knew from my first year sober.

Turns out she's been chairing this same morning meeting for 10 years!

Of course, during the meeting she was friendly, and I was friendly too. Hey! That's what the fellowship is all about.

But after the meeting... I asked her point blank... if it was really true she'd been running the show for that long of time. She said "Yes, isn't it terrible?" And I said "Yes, it is."

I said, "What about the spirit of rotation?"

She kind of laughed, but I got the feeling she'd never heard that phrase before.

In situations like these I have to remember I can't save AA... it's been doing fine without me all these years.

I do, though, have a responsibility to talk about the Traditions with my fellow AAs.

Bill would have wanted it that way.

Learn, I must, how to speak effectively to the issues that come up... kindly... gently... but ever with the importance of Unity and the Traditions in my heart of hearts.

I'm traveling so don't have some of the literature at my fingertips I normally might. It would be fun here to find some things written on these subjects... conference-approved literature and what not.

Thanks for posting... thanks for caring!

Barry

P.S. Someone said to me, the message gets watered down if other works or points of view get brought into the meeting.
Barry
Forums Enthusiast
 
Posts: 179
Joined: Sun Feb 25, 2001 2:01 am
Location: Monterey, CA

Re: Conference Approved Literature

Postby Dean C » Fri Feb 21, 2003 10:26 am

The General Service Conference (United States and Canada), a year-round and continuing process, culminates each year with a meeting in New York City. (There are now many Conferences throughout the world, all autonymous; however, the US/Canada Conference still is considered the "senior" Conference.)

Every AA group has a right and responsibility to participate in the Conference process.

Conference "advisory actions" are expressions of our "collective conscience" on matters affecting AA as a whole. Advisory actions may range from a statement of AA principle to a decision to publish a new pamphlet or a new edition of the Big Book.

Here are two advisory actions:

1977. It was suggested that AA groups be discouraged from selling literature not distributed by the General Service Office and the Grapevine.

1988. The spirit of the 1977 Conference action regardig group literature displays be reaffirmed, and recommended the suggestion that AA groups be encouraged to display or sell only literature published and distributed by the General Service Office, the AA Grapevine and other AA entities.

The above have to do with literature displays and sales. However, the problem and difficulty is the same when a group "adopts" non-AA published texts to read at meetings. A group's stating that it endorses a text is quite different from an individual AA's saying "here's something that works in my life." (I'm not suggesting, in other words, that mention or quotes from other literature be disallowed; only that such things should be the province of individual AA members -- never a group.)

It could be that by coincidence, accident, or design passages read from non-AA texts have something to do with the AA message. Sometimes, and sometimes often, they do not. For example, where I live, there's a saying that came out of the recovery centers and general recovery literature that goes like this: "I have to learn to love myself before I can love others." It's repeated often in AA meetings. Yet, it is in opposition to the AA program. And that's the problem with outside literature being adopted by a group.

There were and are numerous books that helped me. Here are a few: "The Little Prince," "The Tao Te Ching," "The Star Thrower," "The Greatest Thing in the World." (That last one, by Henry Drummond, was actually one of the main texts read by AAs before there was a Big Book. It's in the public domain; you can find it on the Web.)

Should we adopt "The Little Prince" (or one of the others) as a group reader? If not, why not? It has as much to say about life and living on life's terms as any book published by any recovery press.

See the problem? Because a book has on its cover "daily reflections," or something similar, does not mean it has anything to do with, or reflects, the AA program of recovery (the 12 Steps).

I enjoy hearing about what others read, and I enjoy hearing short passages that work for others. I don't think a group should adopt outside literature. I don't think I could participate in that group or its meetings if it did.

Thanks for listening.
"Whatever can be said can be said clearly."
-- Ludwig Wittgenstein
User avatar
Dean C
Forums Long Timer
 
Posts: 569
Joined: Thu Oct 26, 2000 1:01 am
Location: Seaside, CA USA

Re: Conference Approved Literature

Postby leona9111 » Fri Feb 21, 2003 5:03 pm

AA Conference approved literature is the only literature I discuss at meetings or with those I sponsor.

I have actively opposed the selling or reading of non-AA literature at meetings.

Trouble is, after a number of years, it becomes the misinformed general understanding that this is AA material.

Folks still think I am silly in politely refusing a chip for an anniversary. They think the triangular logo on the coin is proof that it is an AA item.

What a pleasure, therefore, to find this topic discussed in this forum. I can only echo with my own voice as loudly and as clearly as possible...

After all, whose message are we carrying???


Leona
leona9111
Forums Enthusiast
 
Posts: 28
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2002 1:01 am
Location: N Y State

Re: Conference Approved Literature

Postby dnswwood » Sat Feb 22, 2003 8:14 am

Jeff here ,And I have to say I agree with Leona.When in meetings I stay with the AA approved literature.I'm not saying I don't read other recovery based stuff,I just dont use it in meetings for the very reason Leona stated.


P.S. I dont accept chips either Leona ;)
As always your friend in sobriety.Jeff
dnswwood
Forums Enthusiast
 
Posts: 23
Joined: Sat Feb 15, 2003 2:01 am
Location: North Carolina

Re: Conference Approved Literature

Postby beginningagain7 » Sun Feb 23, 2003 6:01 pm

I will not disagree with the fact that we should use only A.A. material. Although personally outside of A.A. meetings I do use them.

Although we should not use other material I do have a question. Other organization that deal with addition, overweight, and etc. have taken A.A. material and used it for their benefit. And I haven't heard too many complaints for A.A. about them using our material. I do believe that a copyright ran out on some material.

So my question would be how do the folks here feel about other organization using A.A. material. But in the other way we are not allowed to use the material they put out.

Could it be that A.A. Traditions work and their don't?

Thank you,
John T. [Begin]
Beginningagain4
John T.
User avatar
beginningagain7
Forums Contributor
 
Posts: 326
Joined: Wed Nov 07, 2001 2:01 am
Location: middletown, ohio

Re: Conference Approved Literature

Postby trent » Sun Feb 23, 2003 6:56 pm

First, I don't agree with an AA group selling non AA literature.

Second, I disaprove of the reading of it in meetings even though I also read much non aa lit on my own. For the reason, it can get out of hand if I read my books in meetings, you can read your books, and we all start feeling like we are trying to convert eachother . Even though a lot of the stuff may seem innocent enough, sticking to AA lit mantains a safe enviroment regardless of what our religous belief may be.

But I do take chips.

Third, the 12 steps are incredible. They really work and not just on alcoholism. It really works well that others have adapted them in there own programs. Some, like CA, even use the Big Book as there basic text. I have no problem with that. Others have created there own basic texts.

It helps us to maintain a singleness of purpose.

Thanks for the topic.

Trent

<small>[ 02-23-2003, 05:57 PM: Message edited by: roy_69 ]</small>
trent
Forums Enthusiast
 
Posts: 158
Joined: Sun Nov 10, 2002 2:01 am

Re: Conference Approved Literature

Postby Dean C » Sun Feb 23, 2003 7:36 pm

Originally posted by Beginningagain4:
Other organization that deal with addition, overweight, and etc. have taken A.A. material and used it for their benefit. ... Could it be that A.A. Traditions work and their don't?
There are well over 150 (give or take a few dozen at any one time) 12-Step programs now. Somewhere within their versions of the Steps, and Traditions if they have them, you will often find a statement such as:

"Grateful acknowledgement is made for permission to reprint and adapt the following: The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous are copyrighted by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., reprinted for adaptation by permission of the publisher."

AA long ago recognized that the Steps and Traditions would be of great benefit to a great many sufferers of this or that. There are staff members at the General Service Office (AA World Services) who work/cooperate with new programs.
"Whatever can be said can be said clearly."
-- Ludwig Wittgenstein
User avatar
Dean C
Forums Long Timer
 
Posts: 569
Joined: Thu Oct 26, 2000 1:01 am
Location: Seaside, CA USA

Re: Conference Approved Literature

Postby bkoranda » Mon Feb 24, 2003 12:15 pm

Wow, great feedback!

I'm of the mind that the message we carry needs to that of Alcoholics Anonymous pure and simple. Therefore, I object to sales of non-conference literature at a meeting or reading out of non-conference literature at meetings. I take alot heat for that. I'm told I'm closed-minded, that I should be open to many ideas. I inform them that I do seek other literature, OUTSIDE of the rooms of AA. I'm even willing to share what knowledge I have, as long as we're not in a meeting.

Basically, I KNOW AA works. I also have more confidence in conference-approved literature due to the exhaustive process each and every approved book or pamphlet has gone through. I find that outside literature selections at certain groups end up on the table more as a result of the will of some of the group's "deacons" and "gurus" than a group conscience.

Some people say, "Look, it talks all about how good AA is and the Steps and so on." I then reply, "Why not stick with the original and make up your own mind as opposed to what a particular author or treatment center is telling you what AA and the Steps are?"

And on and on it goes. I'm currently residing in an area where there is considerable controversey regarding these and other Traditions issues. As a result, one has to search pretty hard for healthy recovery around here. It's rather discouraging but not hopeless. I've found a group I can name as my home group and am getting active with that group. I just want to feel confident that the newcomer can walk into any group in our area and get the real AA message.

As my original sponsor told me, either quit complaining or get into action! So, here we go...I love this program of recovery and I'm willing to stand up for it at the expense of "popularity". It's been awhile, it's a little intimidating and counter to my desire for universal acceptance and acclaim! Self-will in other words. :D
"The power of God goes deep!"
Pg 114 - Alcoholics Anonymous
bkoranda
Forums Enthusiast
 
Posts: 18
Joined: Thu Jan 30, 2003 2:01 am
Location: NE Ohio

Re: Conference Approved Literature

Postby trent » Mon Feb 24, 2003 7:53 pm

I needed to say some more on this topic.

About 2 1/2 months ago I was chairing a meeting and had to interupt a person who chose to read from a book that was of a very specific religion. I stopped them in the meeting, politly as I could but it did not go over very well. I felt like the biggest jerk on earth that day becuase I did not get the chance to talk more to the person after the meeting and still have not seen him again.

Then a couple weeks later someone chairing a different meeting in my home group read from one of the non AA meditaion books. But, at the time I thought about it and chose not say anything, telling myself it was really allright and not a big deal, I am just splitting hairs if I say anything. Basicly I was justifying not saying anything to him even though the group has taken a group conscience to read only from conference approved lit.

So I guess what I am saying is it felt really wrong for me to confront one peson and not the other when neither book was conference approved. One just seemed more "innocent" then the other.

Doing these things certainly wont win anyone a "popularity" contest. For me it is tough stuff to bring up and bring to peoples attention. But it is real important to, as kindly as possible, assuming the group has taken such a conscience.

Thanks

Trent
trent
Forums Enthusiast
 
Posts: 158
Joined: Sun Nov 10, 2002 2:01 am

Re: Conference Approved Literature

Postby dnswwood » Tue Feb 25, 2003 6:40 am

Hi folks,Jeff here and I'd like to say to Trent that when i was drinking I was a very confrontational person.I would argue the smallest points for no other reason than to hear myself argue.After I found AA I became less confrontational.I let things slide that before I never would have.I also dont sweat the small stuff like the occasional flare ups we have in AA.
However I think that the reason you confronted the first man about the literature not being AA approved is a sound one.The reaction from your group troubles me greatly,especially when the group had voted that only AA literature would be used in meetings.
As for not mentioning this to the second person,I can understand why.I have found in my new soberlife that if the argument is a valid one, In my opinion ,its worth the trouble and pain to correct it.
I think maybe mentioning this to the people in the group conscience,or maybe the steering commity
If it affects the newcommer coming to the meting for the first time by pushing non aa literature upon them,I feel that it affects AA as a whole.I hope you can get this situation resolved so that the newcommers get the full ,true scoop on AA life
Thanks for listening to me ramble
As always your friend in sobriety.Jeff
dnswwood
Forums Enthusiast
 
Posts: 23
Joined: Sat Feb 15, 2003 2:01 am
Location: North Carolina

Re: Conference Approved Literature

Postby bkoranda » Tue Feb 25, 2003 9:33 am

I should clarify that the discussions I note here take place after the meetings or have taken place during group-conscience/business meetings.

I'm very-VERY retiscent to stop someone in a meeting. I've only done it twice that I can recall. I very carefully suggested we were getting "off-topic". I made sure to grab the guy afterward to explain myself.

Most of the time, I do my part in a meeting to pull us back to AA recovery when its gotten off-track. Other times, I've been at a meeting and been asked to read out of a non-AA meditation book and have politely asked if I could read something else. Sometimes I'm declined, other times not.

Basically, I utilize the principle of I am Responsible as my touchstone. Frankly, some stuff that is read is fine and doesen't require a great deal of bluster. In my view, it's sort of a "slippery slope" deal.

Here's a scenario. Let's say I'm chairing and I read from "Book X". "Book X" is favorable towards AA by and large. However there is a chapter in the back that says by the author's theory you have to eat tree bark and howl at the moon in order to stay sober. Well, a newcomer may have enjoyed my readings so much that he buys the book then reads the nonsense in the back. I've failed him because I didn't carry OUR message.

On the same token, you're chairing this month and now you decide to read from "Book Z" which extolls the Steps, which you read from, but in the back tells its readers that they need not worry about the occasional beer. What can I say? I read my book, you get to read yours, right?

This is why I strongly reccommend to any group calling itself AA to stick with conference approved literature. If I read page 12 in "As Bill Sees It", I can have complete confidence that if you turn to page 97 after the meeting, you're still getting the AA message.
"The power of God goes deep!"
Pg 114 - Alcoholics Anonymous
bkoranda
Forums Enthusiast
 
Posts: 18
Joined: Thu Jan 30, 2003 2:01 am
Location: NE Ohio

Re: Conference Approved Literature

Postby trent » Tue Feb 25, 2003 8:52 pm

I hope I did not give the impresion I am running around meetings interupting people sharing all the time or confornting people simply for the sake of confronting them. It is not the case. And that is not right to do. This is the only time I have ever interupted some one in a meeting, and would rather not do it again.

I agree completly that these things need to be brought up at the group level and outside the meetings. And NOT while some one is sharing.

It was just a bad experience/situation that I had related to this topic, that really left me questioning my own actions and opinions.

Sorry if I gave any one the wrong impression.

Thanks
trent
Forums Enthusiast
 
Posts: 158
Joined: Sun Nov 10, 2002 2:01 am

Re: Conference Approved Literature

Postby bkoranda » Wed Feb 26, 2003 9:18 am

Roy,

I didn't get that impression at all. I was not bouncing off of your post as much as sharing my experience as well. Based on your contributions to the forum I know you love sobriety, other drunks and AA.

I really want newcomers to know that there isn't a bunch of people waiting at the meetings to jump on everything they say.
"The power of God goes deep!"
Pg 114 - Alcoholics Anonymous
bkoranda
Forums Enthusiast
 
Posts: 18
Joined: Thu Jan 30, 2003 2:01 am
Location: NE Ohio

Next

Return to The 12 Traditions of AA

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests