Archive | Recovery Programs RSS feed for this section

Principles Before Personalities

25 Nov

There is no place for personal prejudices, squabbles, etc., in the rooms of recovery. That is a sacred space where people come to stay sober, addiction free, more sane and/or to help others do the same. For over 70 years the Traditions have guided people from all walks of life, all religions, races, creeds; the believer and non-believer in their quest for recovery from their particular addiction through the unified focus of “singleness of purpose.”

A friend of mine recently experienced a personal attack from another member of AA, whom we’ll call “Miss Self-Importance.“ The attack came in the form of gossip outside the rooms, but the repercussions have spilled back into the room. It’s a small town with few meetings and everyone pretty much knows everyone – in the meetings, as well as in the town.

The good of this situation is that a good number of people have approached her and said “Miss Self-Importance” had tried to spread her story to them and they simply told her they weren’t interested – referencing the Traditions.

The unfortunate part of this situation is that there is a tension there that others have picked up on. In addition, this individual has felt so compelled to enlist a local free-lance reporter to her “cause” of exposing my friend(her issues) who has come to the meetings as a recovering alcoholic. So Tradition 3 states that “the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking.” Only the individual can determine whether or not that applies – and it’s not up to anyone else to question. My friend has expressed her concerns to me, and feels there are some telltale signs of deception – but there’s no place that she can go with that right now.

In the meantime, she has maintained herself in accordance with the 12 Traditions and has gone back to staying on topic as far as the discussions go. There have been several very good discussions lately about the Traditions, the “I am Responsible” statement and the right of each to determine their own relationship with the God of their understanding.

My friend has acknowledged the gossip within the meeting without naming names, and the response has been rewardingly “Traditional” amongst the members present. So it’s back to the business at hand – helping each other stay sober one day at a time.

As my friend was relaying this experience to me the other day, she blurted out, “Thank God it was me…and not some new person, or someone more fragile in their recovery. I’ve been blessed with the gift of a solid foundation by many sponsors and Sisters and Brothers in recovery who have shared their experience, strength and hope with me as they faced life challenges. So I wasn’t about to go off and drink.” But she was forthcoming that she had provided some “rent-free” space to “Miss Self-Importance“ in her head for a bit. Also, admittedly, she’s had to really work at what she feels has been a gross disrespect of the 12 Traditions (also her issue).

But what if the object of “Miss Self-Importance” had been a new person, or someone on rocky ground? No one is responsible for another person’s using, but those present need NOT be contributing to someone else’s self-doubts, or sense of belonging in the fellowship.

One has to THINK about how what they do or say is going to affect others in the rooms. There is NO PLACE for personal attacks, not according to the 12 Traditions.

The main purpose is to help each other achieve or stay in sobriety. That’s called support. You don’t have to like everyone in the rooms – and if you have personal issues with someone, park them at the door!

My friend has done everything she can to keep things at “Principles before Personalities” and stay within the tenants of the 12 Traditions. That’s all she can do. Bottom line is: you can’t control anyone else, you can only take care of our own behavior. For my friend, as well as for the others, it’s definitely been an exercise in growing, “practicing these Principles in all our affairs!”

I welcome your response, or sharing of solutions to any similar experience. 🙂

©2014 Deborah Adler and Silverstream Corporation. All rights reserved. (NOTE: ALL quotes and/or materials from other authors or sources remain the sole property of the original authors/source.)

Bookmark and Share

Stumble It!

%d bloggers like this: