How To Think About The Traditions, 7

Read This First: How To Think… it’s important to understand that we as a greater society have lost the ability to think critically…

7. Every A.A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
The A.A. groups themselves ought to be fully supported by the voluntary contributions of their own members. We think that each group should soon achieve this ideal; that any public solicitation of funds using the name of Alcoholics Anonymous is highly dangerous, whether by groups, clubs, hospitals, or other outside agencies; that acceptance of large gifts from any source, or of contributions carrying any obligation whatever, is unwise. Then, too, we view with much concern those A.A. treasuries which continue, beyond prudent reserves, to accumulate funds for no stated A.A. purpose. Experience has often warned us that nothing can so surely destroy our spiritual heritage as futile disputes over property, money, and authority.

Here’s the real way to have a group, according to my sponsor. A core group of members commits to paying the rent – and the group rents a stand-alone office space building with a parking lot somewhere. The group or a member signs the lease without becoming a 501c3, in-so-doing.

In this way, the group itself, will not be subsidized by a church or a club and will therefore be able to act freely as a Spiritual Entity – giving out keys to Newcomers for coffee commitments, hanging up the literature, allowing group members to meet with sponsees in the place. Making their own hours, etc. However the group ought not own the building, because then it will be in business.

Instead of putting a dollar in the basket of every meeting you go to, support your own group. Be a member of only one group thereby having only one voice in the District.

Voluntary contributions does not only mean money.

It doesn’t usually work out to meet forever at someone’s house because that one person’s contribution far outweighs the others contributions. It leads to resentment. Of course, if it is possible to rent from an member who is recovered and understands the Traditions, that can make things easier, just so long as they don’t throw their weight around and try to control the group regarding membership at some later point.

The other thing to think about is putting a dollar in the basket. A dollar could buy a bag of groceries back in 1939. We go to lunch and spend $12.99 and then go to a meeting and put a dollar in the basket. Maybe if we were actually put $40 in the basket, we would care a little bit more about what actually happened in the running of our groups, huh?

It’s like any relationship – do we try to get something for nothing? Or do we really try to make the relationship work by going that extra mile? That’s kind of how an AA Group would go to that next level of Unity – if we went that extra mile for each other that we would do if we were friends – or if we really kept focused on our primary purpose, our common welfare, and our individual contributions adding up to really be something great! If we had more money in the till we could think about putting on workshops as a group – or holding a monthly speaker / potluck maybe combining Alanon and AA Speakers – like the old days – getting the whole family involved.

This brings up another aspect of the principle of non-financial contribution – back in the old days, when we started working with a new prospect, we would get to know the family. This is something which ensures sobriety for the prospect. If we go out of our way to get to know the family and explain our program – include them in our potlucks and our parties, take them to Alanon, if they want to go – we will be including them and helping to create a bridge to healing for our prospect instead of driving a wedge between them and their family where the family feels excluded. It’s discussed in the Chapter Working With Others – that we are not to neglect the family – and that if our prospect is to get well – like in Fred’s Story – his wife obviously was working with the wives of AA while Fred was out experimenting with taking care of his alcoholism on his own… it will help later when the alcoholic finally hits their bottom.