This morning on one of the most universal popular holidays in the world, I attended an “in-person” Alcoholics Anonymous meeting @ 0600 the day after the big 2021 New Year’s celebration.
While I was sitting there, I looked up on the wall and read the following:
If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through.
We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.
We will not regret the past, nor wish to shut the door on it,
We will comprehend the word serenity,
And we will know peace.
No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.
That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.
We will lose interest in selfish things and gain insight into our fellows.
Self-seeking will slip away.
Our whole attitude and outlook will change.
Fear of people and economic insecurity will leave us.
We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.
We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.”
Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us – sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them. (BB pgs. 83-84)
Yes, they are definitely “extravagant“! But, then as I was reading them it occurred to me that all of them have come TRUE for me. In fact, I believe that was a “Spiritual Experience” similar to Appendix II in the AA Big Book. However, why do I continue to have trouble with “Patience, Love and Tolerance”? So, I began going back over some previous journal entries and read the following excerpts:
Forest through the Trees
It is very challenging when I run across people who appear to be so simple minded that they can’t figure out the simplest problems. Their minds are like great big empty voids of any kind of logical thought. This is why even though they can see the trees their simple minds can’t grasp that’s the forest.
“…discovered the joy of helping others to face life again, there will be no stopping until everyone in that town has had his opportunity to recover— if he can and will. Still you may say: “But I will not have the benefit of contact with you who write this book.” We cannot be sure. God will determine that, so you must remember that your real reliance is always upon Him. He will show you how to create the fellowship you crave. Our book is meant to be suggestive only. We realize we know only a little. God will constantly disclose more to you and to us. Ask Him in your morning meditation what you can do each day for the man who is still sick. The answers will come, if your own house is in order. But obviously you cannot transmit something you haven’t got. See to it that your relationship with Him is right, and great events will come to pass for you and countless others. This is the Great Fact for us. Abandon yourself to God as you understand God. Admit your faults to Him and to your fellows. Clear away the wreckage of your past. Give freely of what you find and join us. We shall be with you in the Fellowship of the Spirit, and you will surely meet some of us as you trudge the Road of Happy Destiny. May God bless you and keep you — until then.” (WB pg. 169 and pg. 210 and pg. BB pg. 164)
Let’s turn again to the deposed founder and his friends. What becomes of them? As their grief and anxiety wear away, a subtle change begins. Ultimately, they divide into two classes known in A.A. slang as “elder statesmen” and “bleeding deacons.” The elder statesman is the one who sees the wisdom of the group’s decision, who holds no resentment over his reduced status, whose judgment, fortified by considerable experience, is sound, and who is willing to sit quietly on the sidelines patiently awaiting developments. The bleeding deacon is one who is just as surely convinced that the group cannot get along without him, who constantly connives for reelection to office, and who continues to be consumed with self-pity. A few hemorrhage so badly that— drained of all A.A. spirit and principle—they get drunk. At times the A.A. landscape seems to be littered with bleeding forms. Nearly every old-timer in our Society has gone through this process in some degree. Happily, most of them survive and live to become elder statesmen. ~ AA 12&12 pg. 135
TRADITION 12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.
“We also use telephone meetings with two or more members, using the three-way calling feature available in many cities. Some members subscribe to discount long-distance phone service for considerable savings. Speaker phones enable a loner to sit in remotely.” Read more => http://saphonemeeting.org/blog/three-way-calling-feature
“The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop lusting and become sexually sober… does not wish to engage in any controversy; neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sexually sober and help others to achieve sexual sobriety.” AA Grapevine / SA WB pg. 201
“Anything you have heard at this meeting is strictly the opinion of the individual participant; the principles of SA are found in our Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. This is an anonymous program. Please keep the name, address, and phone number of anyone you meet or learn about in SA to yourself. And what we say here, let it stay here. Remember that we never identify ourselves publicly with SA in the press, radio, TV, or films. Neither does anyone speak for SA.” SA WB pg. 199
Then we resolutely turn our thoughts to someone we can help. Love and tolerance of others is our code. And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone— even alcohol. For by this time sanity will have returned. We will seldom be interested in liquor. If tempted, we recoil from it as from a hot flame. AA BB pg. 84
TRADITION 11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, films, and TV.
NOTICE: Sexaholics Anonymous added the word “TV”. They could probably add Internet and tele/videoconference today (e.g. Zoom and/or www.freeconferencecall.com)
“In some sections of A.A., anonymity is carried to the point of real absurdity. Members are on such a poor basis of communication that they don’t even know each other’s last names or where each lives.” – As Bill Sees it, page 241
“…[Dr. Bob] said there were two ways to break the Anonymity Tradition: (1) by giving your name at the public level of press or radio; (2) by being so anonymous that you can’t be reached by other drunks.” – Dr. Bob and the Good Old Timers, page 264