Endigar 584 ~ What We Know Best

From the Daily Reflections of October 23;

“Shoemaker, stick to thy last!” . . . better do one thing supremely well than many badly. That is the central theme of this Tradition [Five]. Around it our Society gathers in unity. The very life of our Fellowship requires the preservation of this principle.   (Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, page 150)

The survival of A.A. depends upon unity. What would happen if a group decided to become an employment agency, a treatment center or a social service agency? Too much specialization leads to no specialization, to frittering of efforts and, finally, to decline. I have the qualifications to share my sufferings and my way of recovery with the newcomer. Conformity to A.A.’s primary purpose ensures the safety of the wonderful gift of sobriety, so my responsibility is enormous. The life of millions of alcoholics is closely tied to my competence in “carrying the message to the still-suffering alcoholic.”




The Fifth Tradition of AA states, “Each group has but one primary purpose—to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.”

For me, there are two implications of this tradition for the individual member of AA.  The first is that the multitude of personal desires and other goals that come with a very active ego must be extinguished within the recovery rooms.  I cannot proselytize for my religion or system of belief within the rooms.  I cannot focus on improving my finances or fulfilling relationship desires.  I cannot bring into the rooms my personal political schemes.  I began to learn this lesson early in my sobriety.  I remember in one meeting, a beautiful young woman came up and sat in the chair next to me.  There were other empty seats.  Her leg touched mine.  I was attracted and she could hardly keep still in her seat.  I interpreted that she was also feeling the energy.  I determined that after the meeting, I would talk to her and if nothing developed, give her my number.  What a great meeting this was going to be.  Then she shared with the group that she really needed a meeting because afterwards she was going to go visit a friend who had been drinking and driving and was in the hospital after  a car accident.  The intoxicated driver’s friend in the passenger seat had been killed and she was going to have to tell him about it.  I was horrified at how inappropriate my self-interest would have been that night.

So, I do not pursue sisters in recovery.  I am open to a relationship if I and the other are fairly free of the duress of the addiction and have found a way of emotional-spiritual stability and growth.  For me now, going after females who have just entered the room is akin to recovery rape.  The girl is not capable of giving clear-headed consent to interaction.    This goes the other way as well.  Women who go after new males in recovery are threatening their lives.  This is the primary area of self-interest I sacrifice in the rooms.  There are others.

The second implication for me as an individual member is that it is expected and needed for my sobriety to always hold top place in my list of personal priorities in my day to day living.  Words alone will not provide a saving message to other alcoholics or addicts.  They must be reinforced by example in order to have the needed substance to truly share experience, strength, and hope.


Art Credit:  Demon of Lust by KJ Kallio

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: