Read This First: How To Think… it’s important to understand that we as a greater society have lost the ability to think critically…
2. For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority- a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
Here are some questions: What is a group? The AA Group pamphlet delineates the difference between a group, a club, and a meeting. I will give you my experience here.
Dictionary defines ultimate: last in a progression or series
Dictionary defines conscience: the inner sense of what is right or wrong in one’s conduct or motives, impelling one toward right action.
A group is it’s own entity. Every member of a group takes responsibility for the group and owns it as their own. We rent a space and equally take care of the rent – not just putting a dollar in the basket. We make sure the rent is paid through our contributions. The group exists in between meetings – for a 12-step call, or to do a workshop or to go do a CPC presentation to a facility, where we might take a commitment. A group also has a conscience. The conscience is developed slowly over a period of time. There are no hasty decisions made. We don’t just take an hour once a month to talk about business – we talk to each other in between meetings of our group because we are all friends – and we develop our conscience. We meet and discuss group business and make decisions, using the Traditions as a guide. God is the ultimate authority because of the prayer, the time taken and the use of the Principles.
A meeting is a gathering of individuals who meet at a certain time but there is no conscience and the group doesn’t exist in between meetings. They may or may not see each other between meetings. There may be a personality who takes care of everything so that the individuals don’t have to take any responsibility. That personality is the ultimate authority, not God. If an issue comes up that members of the meeting don’t like, the personality acts like a thug and deals with it in their own way, no questions asked. The individuals don’t care because all they want is a support group for people who don’t want to drink anymore.
A club is a place where a group or groups rent space to hold meetings. Sometimes a club may grow out of a group and buy or rent a building and think they are combined and that that’s ok but unfortunately that cannot exist as AA because the group will be bound to the club by affiliation and cannot leave if they needed to. Also the board will be the decision makers for the club, and therefore the group, if the group is not on their game – and the club will also need to make money – so will charge for coffee and membership. The club might say that group members can’t be at the club in between meetings unless they pay membership fees. If the group is not clearly delineated from the club, it is not really AA because it won’t be able to have God as the ultimate authority – the board will be the ultimate authority. If the club and groups are clearly delineated, the other problem is the rent. Most clubs take 80% of the basket leaving very little for the groups to save to send a GSR to the Area Assemby. Some groups get around standing up to the club by passing the basket a 2nd time to get the money for the GSR. See – we are total cowards – rather than standing up to the club, or looking for another place to move to – we just rob Peter to pay Paul.
A group meets and discusses their business in many different ways. My group is so small (5) people – that we discuss our business, if we have any, at the beginning of the meeting. We don’t make decisions immediately. We pray, and discuss, and pray and discuss, and wait, until we come to consensus. Everyone has a chance to share and voice their point of view – then when we all agree – we’ve got a conscience. No personality is in charge of deciding things in our group. God is the ultimate authority. God’s voice speaks through everyone’s participation and sharing and the time we take to make decisions. No one person makes the decisions through coercion, overpowering, tyranny or underhandedness…
One more thing I want to add about Tradition 2 is the idea of God being the ultimate authority. This is very hard for us alkies to comprehend. We so desperately want a human power, either ourselves or somebody else – but God is the authority. We are all God’s kids -God does not have grandkids. Our leaders are but trusted servants, they do not govern. We are having a very hard time getting this right now, I believe, because of the tyranny in our Society outside of AA. Our “leaders” do govern through violence and taxation and we citizens have the State as our authority – so we have a very hard time placing our faith in God as the authority in AA. We just don’t have any experience with it. We really want human authorities because we know how to deal with them in Society and in AA and there are plenty of psycopathic personalities who are happy to step in and be our Daddy. What we don’t realize is that if we let God be the ultimate authority in AA, we can learn to Trust God as the ultimate authority in our Society and not give those other people in Society the authority they are taking rapidly from us.
I have not seen too many females do this – except in women’s meetings – which I don’t attend, by the way, but I will write a post about this at a later date. I guess most drunks have Daddy issues and we want a Daddy Guru personality to be the ultimate authority in our group lives so that we don’t have to stand up for Principle.
I get it. It is terrifying to stand up in a room full of my peers and say what’s on my mind if I see what we are doing as violating the Traditions. It sucks. It almost feels like I am fighting – which the book says I no longer do – I have ceased fighting – but that’s just because I’m a coward that standing up for principle feels like fighting. It’s really that I my worst character defect is that I want people to like me – even if I hate them, I still want them to like me and I feel invalidated if they don’t. So it takes so much courage and willingness to go against all those feelings of rejection to stand up – that I often succumb to just wanting to be liked.
We are in a state of Involution as a society now – AA is and our Society is too. When we are in Involution (retrograde development; degeneration) – going with the flow is just increasing the velocity of the degenerative cycle. We are going to have to use an act of Will to stand up for Principle. That’s Capital-W Will. That means we are going to have to pray to God for help, and knees-knocking, dry-mouth, get up and say our piece – maybe even reading it so we don’t let our fears interrupt us.
It is not going to feel good and we are going to be opposed by all the other people that just want to go with the flow and have it be the way it was when we were in Evolution. (the process formation or growth; development – the opposite of Involution).
We are not developing anymore or growing – we are degenerating. If we want to turn this ship around we are going to have to STAND UP for God and it is going to feel hard and unpleasant.
But that’s what it means when it says Our leaders are but trusted servants, they do not govern. Our leaders are trusted servants of the Principles – the Principles and God govern, not our leaders. Yes, we have leaders in AA. Read the Leadership article in the 9th Concept in the Service Manual – before 2017. Here’s a link to it. Our leaders do not govern us. We are self-governing or God-governed – we were given that ability to be inner-monarchs from the 12 steps and God. To Thine Own Self Be True. But that’s Capital S-Self – I am being True to my own relationship with God, not to my comforts. That’s what the 12 steps teach us how to be. As a group however, we need leaders, principles, prayer, and our individual wisdom to find the group’s wisdom and actions.