Six—“An A.A. group ought never endorse, finance or lend the A.A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.”
Six— Problems of money, property, and authority may easily divert us from our primary spiritual aim. We think, therefore, that any considerable property of genuine use to A.A. should be separately incorporated and managed, thus dividing the material from the spiritual. An A.A. group, as such, should never go into business. Secondary aids to A.A.such as clubs or hospitals which require much property or administration, ought to be incorporated and so set apart that, if necessary, they can be freely discarded by the groups. Hence such facilities ought not to use the A.A. name. Their management should be the sole responsibility of those people who financially support them. For clubs, A.A. managers are usually preferred. But hospitals, as well as other places of recuperation, ought to be well outside A.A. — and medically supervised. While an A.A. group may cooperate with anyone, such cooperation ought never to go so far as affiliation or endorsement, actual or implied. An A.A. group can bind itself to no one.
THE moment we saw that we had an answer for alcoholism, it was reasonable (or so it seemed at the time) for us to feel that we might have the answer to a lot of other things. The A.A. groups, many thought, could go into business, might finance any enterprise whatever in the total field of alcoholism. In fact, we felt duty-bound to throw the whole weight of the A.A. name behind any meritorious cause.
“It is what we learn after we know it all that really counts” John Wooden
“Give me a woman who loves beer and I will conquer the world.” – Kaiser Wilhelm.
I should specifically outline why we felt it necessary to Part Company with them. (The Oxford Group) To begin with, the climate of their undertaking was not well suited to us alcoholics. They were aggressively evangelical; they sought to revitalize the Christian message in such a way as to “change the world.” Most of us alcoholics had been subjected to pressure of evangelism and we never liked it. The object of saving the world — when it was still very much in doubt if we could save ourselves — seemed better left to other people. By reason of some of its terminology and by exertion of huge pressure, the Oxford Group set a moral stride that was too fast, particularly for our newer alcoholics. They constantly talked of Absolute Purity, Absolute Unselfishness, Absolute Honesty, and Absolute Love. While sound theology must always have its absolute values, the Oxford Groups created the feeling that one should arrive at these destinations in short order, maybe be next Thursday! Perhaps they didn’t mean to create such an impression but that was the effect. Sometimes their public “witnessing” was of such a character to cause us to be shy. They also believed that by “converting” prominent people to their beliefs, they would hasten the salvation of many who were less prominent. This attitude could scarcely appeal to the average drunk since he was anything but distinguished. Bill W
Now It was our turn at bat we had the answers that the whole world had been waiting for. We had all the answers to a lot of the Wolds woes, but all this takes money, property and prestige. Where were we to find the where with all?
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it, you can you say that again.
History is gossip well told in order to tease the dead
Here are some of the things we dreamed. Hospitals didn’t like alcoholics, so we thought we’d build a hospital chain of our own. People needed to be told what alcoholism was, so we’d educate the public, even rewrite school and medical textbooks. We’d gather up derelicts from skid rows, sort out those who could get well, and make it possible for the rest to earn their livelihood in a kind of quarantined confinement. Maybe these places would make large sums of money to carry on our other good works. We seriously thought of rewriting the laws of the land, and having it declared that alcoholics are sick people. No more would they be jailed; judges would parole them in our custody. We’d spill A.A. into the dark regions of dope addiction and criminality. We’d form groups of depressive and paranoid folks; the deeper the neurosis, the better we’d like it. It stood to reason that if alcoholism could be licked, so could any problem.
“You begin saving the world by saving one person at a time; all else is grandiose romanticism or politics.” Charles Bukowski
The march was on, the grandiose distraction was ready to hit the road with banners unfurled and flags flying. Our intentions were of the loftiest and noblest ever conceived the work of self could easily be put on the shelf for we had bigger fish to fry. Mrs. Pauls
It occurred to us that we could take what we had into the factories and cause laborers and capitalists to love each other. Our uncompromising honesty might soon clean up politics. With one arm around the shoulder of religion and the other around the shoulder of medicine, we’d resolve their differences. Having learned to live so happily, we’d show everybody else how. Why, we thought, our Society of Alcoholics Anonymous might prove to be the spearhead of a new spiritual advance! We might transform the world.
Brain: We must prepare for tomorrow night.
Pinky: Why? What are we going to do tomorrow night?
Brain: The same thing we do every night, Pinky – try to take over the world!
Yes, we of A.A. did dream those dreams. How natural that was, since most alcoholics are bankrupt idealists. Nearly every one of us had wished to do great good, perform great deeds, and embody great ideals. We are all perfectionists who, failing perfection, have gone to the other extreme and settled for the bottle and the blackout. Providence, through A.A., had brought us within reach of our highest expectations. So why shouldn’t we share our way of life with everyone?
Bankrupt idealist that he has been, his ideal is no longer a dream. After years of lonely search it now stands revealed. The reality of Alcoholics Anonymous bursts upon him. For Alcoholics Anonymous is saying, “We have something price-less to give, if only you will receive.” That is all. But to our new friend, it is everything. Without more ado, he becomes one of us.
Freaks: We accept you, one of us! … Frieda: It wasn’t your fault; it was only the bottle you wanted
Consciously or unconsciously, every one of us does render some service or other. If we cultivate the habit of doing the service deliberately, our desire for service will steadily grow stronger, and will make, not only for our own happiness, but that of the world at large Mahatma Gandhi
Whereupon we tried A.A. hospitals— they all bogged down because you cannot put an A.A. group into business; too many busybody cooks spoil the broth. A.A. groups had their fling at education, and when they began to publicly whoop up the merits of this or that brand, people became confused. Did A.A. fix drunks or was it an educational project? Was A.A. spiritual or was it medical? Was it a reform movement? In consternation, we saw ourselves getting married to all kinds of enterprises, some good and some not so good. Watching alcoholics committed willy-nilly to prisons or asylums, we began to cry, “There oughtta be a law!” A.A.’s commenced to thump tables in legislative committee rooms and agitated for legal reform. That made good newspaper copy, but little else. We saw we’d soon be mired in politics. Even inside A.A. we found it imperative to remove the A.A. name from clubs and Twelfth Step houses.
Too many chiefs and not enough Indians as the hunting party sat poised on top of the hill, for there was no meat that day only a view to a kill
Running water “Big Bill”
Everybody is an art director
If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.
Malcolm X (parachutists anonymous)
These adventures implanted a deep-rooted conviction that in no circumstances could we endorse any related enterprise, no matter how good. We of Alcoholics Anonymous could not be all things to all men, nor should we try.
A project or undertaking that is especially difficult, complicated, or risky
A unit of economic organization or activity; especially: a business organization
Do one thing and do it well. .. When you do fail, fail noisily and as soon as possible.
Years ago this principle of “no endorsement” was put to a vital test. Some of the great distilling companies proposed to go into the field of alcohol education. It would be a good thing, they believed, for the liquor trade to show a sense of public responsibility. They wanted to say that liquor should be enjoyed, not misused; hard drinkers ought to slow down, and problem drinkers— alcoholics— should not drink at all.
Love at first sight is possible, but it pays to take a second look.
My third wife cooed the thing that drew me to you and what I find most attractive about you is that of your ability to “talk”. During the divorce she said with great disdain and in no uncertain terms “don’t you ever shut up”
In one of their trade associations, the question arose of just how this campaign should be handled. Of course, they would use the resources of radio, press, and films to make their point. But what kind of person should head the job? They immediately thought of Alcoholics Anonymous. If they could find a good public relations man in our ranks, why wouldn’t he be ideal? He’d certainly know the problem. His connection with A.A. would be valuable, because the Fellowship stood high in public favor and hadn’t an enemy in the world.
“He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends.” –Oscar Wilde…
Have we got a job for you, a drunk of the highest caliber and esteem partnering up with the distilling industry with an official A.A. badge for the entire world to see, while touting the dangers of over consumption? He could speak to the gospel of occasional and moderate destruction.
Soon they’d spotted their man, an A.A. with the necessary experience. Straightway he appeared at New York’s A.A. headquarters, asking, “Is there anything in our tradition that suggests I shouldn’t take a job like this one? The kind of education seems good to me, and is not too controversial. Do you headquarters folks see any bugs in it?”
Garth Algar: Did you ever find Bugs Bunny attractive when he put on a dress and played girl bunny? …
At first blush the proposition seemed more than tempting until we attempted to lock down the nuts when we found that our ship would be sinking so we bolted.
At first glance, it did look like a good thing. Then doubt crept in. The association wanted to use our member’s full name in all its advertising; he was to be described both as its director of publicity and as a member of Alcoholics Anonymous. Of course, there couldn’t be the slightest objection if such an association hired an A.A. member solely because of his public relations ability and his knowledge of alcoholism. But that wasn’t the whole story, for in this case not only was an A.A. member to break his anonymity at a public level, he was to link the name Alcoholics Anonymous to this particular educational project in the minds of millions. It would be bound to appear that A.A. was now backing education— liquor trade association style.
Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught. Oscar Wilde
Besides where would it stop, A.A. TODDLER DAY SCHOOL to a summa com laude with advanced degrees in anti-social behavior
The minute we saw this compromising fact for what it was, we asked the prospective publicity director how he felt about it. “Great guns!” he said. “Of course I can’t take the job. The ink wouldn’t be dry on the first ad before an awful shriek would go up from the dry camp. They’d be out with lanterns looking for an honest A.A. to plump for their brand of education. A.A. would land exactly in the middle of the wet-dry controversy. Half the people in this country would think we’d signed up with the drys, the other half would think we’d joined the wets. What a mess!”
He used to stroll about in full daylight with a lamp; when asked what he was doing, he would answer, “I am just looking for an honest alcoholic” Diogenes
I don’t suppose you know what kind of alien life-form…leaves a green spectral trail and craves sugar water? Wait. That was on ” Final Jeopardy” last night. Damn, Alex said it was— Zed, we have a bug. MIB
“Nevertheless,” we pointed out, “you still have a legal right to take this job.”
“I know that,” he said. “But this is no time for legalities. Alcoholics Anonymous saved my life, and it comes first. I certainly won’t be the guy to land A.A. in big-time trouble, and this would really do it!”
Rights that do not flow from duty well performed are not worth having.
Concerning endorsements, our friend had said it all. We saw as never before that we could not lend the A.A. name to any cause other than our own.
A borrower nor a lender be, for you lose your purpose and a great life fraught with the gold of endless friends, and the silver of self-less opportunities