Alcohol and Drug informational resource

Decm, Tradition Ten

Ten—–“Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy.”

Ten— No A.A. group or member should ever, in such away as to implicate A.A., express any opinion on outside controversial issues— particularly those of politics, alcohol reform, or sectarian religion. The Alcoholics Anonymous groups oppose no one. Concerning such matters they can express no views whatsoever.

NEVER since it began has Alcoholics Anonymous been divided by a major controversial issue. Nor has our Fellowship ever publicly taken sides on any question in an embattled world. This, however, has been no earned virtue. It could almost be said that we were born with it, for, as one oldtimer recently declared, “Practically never have I heard a heated religious, political, or reform argument among A.A. members. So long as we don’t argue these matters privately, it’s a cinch we never shall publicly.

I have opinions of my own — strong opinions — but I don’t always agree with them. George W Bush

Opinion is ultimately determined by the feelings, and not by the intellect Herbert Spencer

If you have fifteen alcoholics in a room, you will get twenty opinions.

We are never, well almost never, divided by major controversial issues as we are too busy being divided over minor controversial issues.  For instance what’s the best way to run a meeting, what is the role of a sponsor? The role of court documents in A.A.  And always the interpretation of the Traditions, the placement of the meeting chairs, just to name a few. As you can see the big picture has no room in the rooms, for our concern is the individual’s recovery, for if we loose sight of that, all else including the world is lost to us.

As by some deep instinct, we A.A.’s have known from the very beginning that we must never, no matter what the provocation, publicly take sides in any fight, even a worthy one. All history affords us the spectacle of striving nations and groups finally torn asunder because they were designed for, or tempted into, controversy. Others fell apart because of sheer self-righteousness while trying to enforce upon the rest of mankind some millennium of their own specification. In our own times, we have seen millions die in political and economic wars often spurred by religious and racial difference. We live in the imminent possibility of a fresh holocaust to determine how men shall be governed, and how the products of nature and toil shall be divided among them. That is the spiritual climate in which A.A. was born, and by God’s grace has nevertheless flourished.

May you live in interesting times.

(May you experience much disorder and trouble in your life.)

It was a turbulent time… The world markets had crashed, Capitalism had produced bread lines. The growth of communism and the rise of National Socialism (Nazi’s) the world was edging to the brink of war.  What were we to do? We had discovered that if we didn’t stay the course and had invited in outside issues our demise would have been the cry over a divisive spilt milk.

If it was not the end of the world for all of us, it would have surely been the end of the world for some of us.

It was the best of times; it was the worse of times. Charles Dickens

The more things change the more they stay the same. There will always be (political, religious and economic) outside issues, and needs be left outside.  Anything to help the next sufferer attain and maintain sobriety in A.A. is not an outside issue.

Be ‘quick’ to see where religious people are right. ‘Make use’ of what they offer. They may not all be right, but try to see where ‘anyone’ may be right.

Let us reemphasize that this reluctance to fight one another or anybody else is not counted as some special virtue which makes us feel superior to other people. Nor does it mean that the members of Alcoholics Anonymous, now restored as citizens of the world, are going to back away from their individual responsibilities to act as they see the right upon issues of our time. But when it comes to A.A. as a whole, that’s quite a different matter. In this respect, we do not enter into public controversy, because we know that our Society will perish if it does. We conceive the survival and spread of Alcoholics Anonymous to be something of far greater importance than the weight we could collectively throw back of any other cause. Since recovery from  alcoholism life itself to us, it is imperative that we preserve in full strength our means of survival.

We have agreed to stop fighting everything and everyone, including alcohol,

We do the next right thing, for now we had a new employer God. We could take personal     responsibility for our religious, civic and economic well being and could leave the outcome to God. The group had no chorus of voice in such matters as we had bigger fish to fry, the welfare of the group insuring that the individual could always find sober recovery each and every time.

We need to stop fighting. I have no time for anything but trying to love and to be of maximum service, if done right it’s a full-time job.

I think I’ve discovered the secret of life – you just hang around until you get used to it. ~Charles Schulz

Maybe this sounds as though the alcoholics in A.A. had suddenly gone peaceable, and become one great big happy family. Of course, this isn’t so at all. Human beings that we are, we squabble. Before we leveled off a bit, A.A. looked more like one prodigious squabble than anything else, at least on the surface. A corporation director who had just voted a company expenditure of a hundred thousand dollars would appear at an A.A. business meeting and blow his top over an outlay of twenty-five dollars’ worth of needed postage stamps. Disliking the attempt of some to manage a group, half its membership might angrily rush off to form another group more to their liking. Elders, temporarily turned Pharisee, have sulked. Bitter attacks have been directed against people suspected of mixed motives. Despite their din, our puny rows never did A.A. a particle of harm. They were just part and parcel of learning to work and live together. Let it be noted, too, that they were almost always concerned with ways to make A.A. more effective, how to do the most good for the most alcoholics.

Natural man is an enemy to God and has been so since the fall,  winter doesn’t look much  better  for it  is fraught with discontent. Spring comes with renewal as a rule and the birth of new  beginnings. And by summer solstice the cotton will be high and the catfish they be a jump e’n.

No matter how bad things get, there will always be one more  S.OB.  than you had counted on..

We are carnal not because we are evil, we are carnal not because we are bad, we are carnal because we are human and the alcoholic is the extreme example. When it comes to character flaws it could be said with a certain degree of accuracy that we are super human beings.

Do you want to be happy? Or do you want to be right? I am always pleased to be right happy.

The elder statesman wearing the venerable robe of the loose garment lives in acceptance and is opened mind of his fellows and is not perturbed by change.

I will come to be at total peace with everything and everyone regardless of how they might still view me. I will have cleaned myself, through Gods grace and mercy, to become of maximum service to Him.: At the moment we are trying to put our lives in order. But this is not an end in itself. Our real purpose is to fit ourselves to be of maximum service to God and the people about us. Pg 77

Some people don’t know me and they don’t like me, just as some people get to know me and then they don’t like me. It’s none of my business what you think of me, because you think so little of me anyway, if not in stature, surely in time.

The Pharisee rigid in application of understanding and the original member of the flat earth society will spew chapter and verse and will yield no quarter as he pronounces his curse.

The spirit of the law giveth life as the letter of the law bringeth death, so please bring a covered dish casserole with depth and breath as all may partake of this recovery fest.

The Washingtonian Society, a movement among alcoholics which started in Baltimore a century ago, almost discovered the answer to alcoholism. At first, the society was composed entirely of alcoholics trying to help one another. The early members foresaw that they should dedicate themselves to this sole aim. In many respects, the Washingtonians were akin to A.A. of today. Their membership passed the hundred thousand mark. Had they been left to themselves, and had they stuck to their one goal, they might have found the rest of the answer. But this didn’t happen. Instead, the Washingtonians permitted politicians and reformers, both alcoholic and nonalcoholic, to use the society for their own purposes. Abolition of slavery, for example, was a stormy political issue then. Soon, Washingtonian speakers violently and publicly took sides on this question. Maybe the society could have survived the abolition controversy, but it didn’t have a chance from the moment it determined to reform America’s drinking habits. When the Washingtonians became temperance crusaders, within a very few years they had completely lost their effectiveness in helping alcoholics.

“When the solution is simple, God is answering. Albert Einstein

The ex-problem drinker who has found this solution, who is properly armed with facts about himself, can generally win the entire confidence of another alcoholic in a few hours. Until such an understanding is reached, little or nothing can be accomplished.

“The important thing about a problem is not its solution, but the strength we gain in finding the solution” Arthur the Unknown

Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics. It works when other activities fail. …

Butch Recovery and the Sobriety Dance Kid

Marshal: And just what in the hell do ya think you’re doing?

Salesman: Well, you got the crowd together. That’s half my job, so I just thought I’d do a little selling.

Marshal: Well, I’m trying to raise a sober posse here if you don’t mind?

Salesman: I got a short presentation. (To the crowd) we can abolish slavery and force everybody to temper their drinking of demon rum, and we will even throw in a bicycle the latest and the best above ground transportation known to man and all for the ridiculous low price of 29.95.

The lesson to be learned from the Washingtonians was not overlooked by Alcoholics Anonymous. As we surveyed the wreck of that movement, early A.A. members resolved to keep our Society out of public controversy. Thus was laid the cornerstone for Tradition Ten: “Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy.”

You are not entitled to an opinion. An opinion is what you have when you don’t have any facts. When you have the facts, you don’t need an opinion Solomon Short

We are building an arch through which we shall walk a free man at last. ~ Alcoholics Anonymous, 2011, p 75 the corner stone was in the Tenth Tradition keeping the arch upright, stable and alive for the rest.

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Joseph