Tradition 9: Focus on ServiceThe most important person that walks into a group of Alcoholics Anonymous, is the newcomer, without him we will surely die as an individual and as a whole. If we try to organize him, he will flee, after all his life is already unmanageable.
How then can we structure him into becoming a recovering AA who will be responsible for reaching out to the still suffering alcoholic?
When I first came into the rooms of AA over 18 years ago, It was the tail end of what used to be, and can only speak for a large area of Long Island, NY, where we had steering committees.
Steering Committees where old timers in the group who didn't have an on-the-surface committment, such as coffee maker, chairman, literature, secretary etc. They were the voice that carried the message via of experience, strength and hope, to help the group stay focused on the principles and traditions in various areas. They would share their knowledge at a meeting, business meeting or sometimes one-on-one to let a person know why the traditions were so important, and if not followed, could harm or relapse a newcomer's sobriety.
The years of expierence in AA of those who keep coming back is where the value is of what works in AA and what does not -- all those years of seeing things proven over and over again. If all the old timers have left and a group is in trouble, GSO would send a GSR to help restructure the group.
Today there are many, many groups in my area where the old timers have left. There are no steering committees. New members are taking committments too soon, such as a person with under a year being a GSR and going out and drinking before they have two years sober, because they got right into the politics of AA rather than personal recovery and had no foundation.
Most people in this area do not know that a GSR would come out and help restructure a group. There aren't many who are willing to lead a tradition meeting and not many who want to attend one. The membership of old timers has declined more and more with the new thinking: I have my sobriety, I did all the work already, I did all my steps, I only need 1 or 2 meetings a week (sometimes you hear a month), I am fine, I don't need to go, I. I. I. Opps! Where is the we?
More about Tradition 9
Tradition 9: Authority
By not being highly organized, 12 step groups keep the emphasis on true fellowship and the focus on their primary purpose.
"Sometimes just offering a telephone number is being responsible to those we serve."
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