Recovery meant standing on our own feet, personally, and as a group. I once heard in a meeting, “Alcoholics had a ten-foot umbilical cord, looking for someone else to plug in to, to feed and care for us.” As I grew in AA, and learned to take responsibility for myself, so must I share responsibility for my group, and AA as a whole.“Self-supporting alcoholics? Who ever heard of such a thing... Always we have had our hands out. Time out of mind we’ve been dependent upon somebody, usually money-wise. (12 x 12, pg 160)
(Being an 'e-AA' member is no different. Internet and website space cost money.)
Some of my sobriety has been on ship, and in war zones, and in service to Prisons. Because of the donations of groups, those service centers have always had the funds to remain in operation to answer a request for help no matter where it came from.
Self-supporting also granted us freedom, as ‘whoever pays the piper calls tune’. AA could remain free from outside influences ONLY if it funded AA services itself.
Lastly, in AA, we also ‘vote’ with our purses and wallets. If one AA wishes to run the meeting ‘his/her’ way, contrary to Group Conscience, or a District ignores Group requests, or the GSO takes us in a direction the majority thinks unwise, we AA’s tighten up the donations... Concept VII which insures AA’s ‘Ultimate Authority’ rests with the Groups and not our “Designated Authority” of the General Service Board. (AA Service Manual) http://www.aa.org/lang/en/catalog.cfm?c ... roduct=100“our Trustees...declared for the principle that AA must always remain poor. Reasonable operating expenses plus a prudent reserve... Approving editorials here and abroad generated a great new wave of confidence in the integrity of Alcoholics Anonymous... the irresponsible had become responsible...” (AA Comes of Age, pg 114)
Practice These Principles…**
Tradition Seven: Every AA group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
1. Honestly now, do I do all I can to help AA (my group, my central office, my GSO) remain self-supporting? Could I put a little more into the basket on behalf of the new guy who can’t afford it yet? How generous was I when tanked in a barroom?
2. Should the Grapevine sell advertising space to book publishers and drug companies, so it could make a big profit and become a bigger magazine, in full color, at a cheaper price per copy?
3. If GSO runs short of funds some year, wouldn’t it be okay to let the government subsidize AA groups in hospitals and prisons?
4. Is it more important to get a big AA collection from a few people, or a smaller collection in which more members participate?
5. Is a group treasurer’s report unimportant AA business? How does the treasurer feel about it?
6. How important in my recovery is the feeling of self-respect, rather than the feeling of being always under obligation for charity received?
** These questions were originally published in the AA Grapevine in conjunction with a series on the Twelve Traditions that began in November 1969 and ran through September 1971. While they were originally intended primarily for individual use, many AA groups have since used them as a basis for wider discussion.
Reprinted with Permission AAWS