Our Primary Purpose – Tradition V
“Each group has but one primary purpose — to carry it’s message to the alcoholic who still suffers.”
That’s what the Big Book of AA says about this tradition, but then makes another statement in it’s preamble which apparently applies to the individual:
AA says its “primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics achieve sobriety,” while in a broad context the worldwide fellowship of recovery might observe:
“Our Primary Purpose is to stay clean and sober from our addictions, helping others who are afflicted do the same.”
Are these words Ex Cathedra (from the throne) for you?
Our traditions, printed as a part of the 12×12 in 1952, begin their thought train with the expression: “Our A.A. Experience has taught us”…………. and indeed it has in the 70 years that have followed.
But, AA loaned its principles to NA-OA-CA- Al Anon and over 200 other 12 Step movements adopted them. Yet, none has been more emphatic and incorrigibly stringent then AA, threatening to remove those groups who did NOT interpret this tradition (an agreement at its inception) and narrow-mindlessly oppose the inclusion of people with other addictive afflictions; as if Alcoholism had some Grandfather Clause that in spite of adaptations, allowed some groups to say that ANY discussion of anything other than alcoholism, even those situations and circumstances that were contributory to its insidious expansion, meant that the sacred primary purpose doctrine was being broken like one of Moses’s Tablets of Commandment.
I’m sure you all have your own positions, but NOW most everyone is dually addicted; most everyone realizes that your odds of recovery are enhanced by checking-in for a 30 day stay at a treatment facility and that most importantly, THERE ARE NO AA sanctioned facilities, even though many use the Big Book as a primary reference for recovery.
I have an opinion- and a right to express it. I support primary purpose and believe that those with other addictions or dual-addictions should be allowed to attend our “open” meetings, but only to listen and identify themselves if they do not have a problem with alcohol.
I also believe that dual addiction is a 40 year old reality, knowing that even one of AA’s founders, “Dr. Bob” Smith was a drug addict.
I believe that recovery is an international, totally inclusive fellowship of all those who suffer from one form of addiction or another, including alcohol, and that outside of AA Meetings – that’s as far as this tradition goes, as to primary purpose, other than to help those who suffer.
Now: under those terms and conditions, more inclusive than exclusive; more open-minded honest and willing ( the 3 essentials of recovery from HERBERT SPENCER’S quote pg 570 3rd Edition Big Book) here is the final essay from “Living the 12 Steps & Traditions” for May, the Fifth Tradition:
The Message of Suffering and Recovery
As members of A.A. we are firmly bound by the obligation of carrying the message to the alcoholic who still suffers. In so doing, we are gifted with another day of our own continued sobriety. It is our great paradox.
What is that message? There is a way out of the problem drinking that wreaks havoc in their lives, as it once did in our own. We are alcoholic, and once we admitted it our lives began on a new progressive path, returning to some level of manageability.
The spiritual message we seek is found in the acknowledgement
of a power greater than ourselves, it can restore sanity in our lives, ifwe but seek it.
Unity is our message. We carry it in the humble recognition of
the authority of a loving God, found in our own understanding. That presence is manifested in our group conscience and consciousness.
Our cornerstone: humility. The knowledge that it brings us an understanding of who and what we are and what we can be.
Life in the shadow of our Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions is
our message; one that we bring to all alcoholics who suffer and wish to listen.
The drawing is from the book: http://www.livingtwelvestepsrecovery.com/ which is available in a few remaining first Editions, signed by the author off of the site. You can also borrow the E-Book for free, or buy it by clicking the picture on the buy page which takes you straight to Amazon.
Want to have your ten cents on this matter? See the comments section.