Interviews - August 2015

SEPIA Monthly Newsletter
Interviews - August 2015
Interviews - August 2015
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TRADITION EIGHT

Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever
nonprofessional, but our service centers
may employ special workers.

1. Is my own behaviorScreen Shot 2015-07-30 at 5.47.40 AM
accurately described by
the Traditions? If not,
what needs changing?
2. When I chafe about
any particular Tradition,
do I realize how it affects
others?
3. Do I sometimes try to
get some reward—even
if not money—for my
personal AA efforts?
4. Do I try to sound in AA like an expert on alcoholism?
On recovery? On medicine? On sociology? On
AA itself? On psychology? On spiritual matters? Or,
heaven help me, even on humility?
5. Do I make an effort to understand what AA employees
do? What workers in other alcoholism
agencies do? Can I distinguish clearly among them?
-from “The Twelve Traditions Illustrated”

STEP EIGHT

“Made a list of all persons we had harmed
and became willing to make amends to them all.”

“When I approached the Eighth Step, I wondered how I could
list all the things that I have done to other people since
there were so many people, and some of them weren’t alive
Screen Shot 2015-07-30 at 5.47.51 AManymore. Some of the hurts I inflicted weren’t bad, but
they really bothered me. The main
thing to see in this Step was to become
willing to do whatever I had to
do to make these amends to the best
of my ability at that particular time.
Where there is a will, there’s a way,
so if I want to feel better, I need to
unload the guilt feelings I have. A
peaceful mind has no room for feelings
of guilt. With the help of my
Higher Power, if I am honest with
myself, I can cleanse my mind of
these feelings.”

Concept 8

The trustees are the principal planners and administrators of overall policy and finance. They have custodial oversight of the separately incorporated and constantly active services, exercising this throughScreen-Shot-2015-07-30-at-5.47 their ability to elect all the directors of these entities.

  • Do we understand the relationship between the two corporate service entities (A.A. World Services, Inc., the A.A. Grapevine) and the General Service Board?
  • How can the business term “custodial oversight” apply to the trustees’ relationship to the two corporate service entities?

Bill Wilson on Professionalism in AA

“Throughout the world A.A.s are “12th stepping” with thousands of new prospects a month. Between one and two thousand of these stick on our first presentation; past experience shows that most of the remainder will come back to us later on. Al- most entirely unorganized, and completely non-professional, this mighty spiritual current is now flowing from alcoholics who are well to those who are sick. One alcoholic talking to another; that’s all.

Could this vast and vital face-to-face effort ever be professionalized or even organized? Most emphatically, it could not. The few efforts to professionalize straight “12th Step” work have always failed quickly. Today, no A.A. will tolerate the idea of paid “A.A. Therapists” or “organizers”. Nor does any A.A. like to be told just how he must handle that new prospect of his. No, this great life-giving stream can never be dammed up by paid do-gooders or professionals. Alcoholics Anonymous is never going to cut its own life lines. To a man, we are sure of that.

But what about those who serve us full time in other capacities — are cooks, caretakers and paid Intergroup secretaries

“A.A. professionals”?

Because our thinking about these people is still unclear, we often feel and act as though they were such. The impression of professionalism subtly attaches to them, so we frequently hear they are “making money out of A.A.”, or that they are “professionalizing” A.A. Seemingly, if they do take our A.A. dollars they don’t quite belong with us A.A.s any more. We some- times go further; we underpay them on the theory they ought to be glad to “cook” for A.A. cheap.

Now isn’t this carrying our fears of professionalism rather far? If these fears ever got too strong, none but a saint or an incom- petent could work for Alcoholics Anonymous. Our supply of saints being quite small, we would certainly wind up with less competent workers than we need.

We are beginning to see that our few paid workers are performing only those service tasks that our volunteers cannot con- sistently handle. Primarily these folks are not doing 12th Step work. They are just making more and better 12th Step work possible. Secretaries at their desks are valuable points of contact, information and public relations. That is what they are paid for, and nothing else. They help carry the good news of A.A. to the outside world and bring our prospects face to face with us. That’s not “A.A. therapy”; it’s just a lot of very necessary but often thankless work.

So, where needed, let’s revise our attitude toward those who labor at our special services. Let us treat them as A.A. associ- ates, and not as hired help; let’s recompense them fairly and, above all, let’s absolve them from the label of professionalism.

Let us also distinguish clearly between “organizing the A.A. movement” and setting up, in a reasonably business-like manner, its few essential services of contact and propagation. Once we do that, all will be well. The million or so brother alcoholics

who are still sick will then continue to get the break we 60,000 A.A.s have already had.

Let’s give our “service desks” the hand they so well deserve. Bill W. (The A.A. Grapevine, July, 1948)

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