July 28, 2013 step seven in mind: there are so many different types of meeting of the Fellowship of AA around me, there is bound to be something I can learn from the experience strength and hope of other people on the same road of recovery. We may be on the same road of recovery, steps and traditions and everything else, at the same time everyone is learning different things and different experiences and that is the beauty of sharing, we most often hear something from other people which will keep us on track.
It was my turn to share at the beginning of a meeting this weekend, and my contribution was about tradition seven which is about being a self-supporting Fellowship. And having read the seventh tradition in the 12 and 12, it reminded me that within each tradition, there is always something to be learned about me and my behaviour. There can be grandiose gestures on my part to give and support not only within the Fellowship itself, I can be quite grandiose in contributing to single individuals and to society as a whole. Given my own personal circumstances, I probably give more out than I ought. I do wonder sometimes if it is a grand gesture or grandiosity, or something I do because I always have, because I see a need and try to help.
It is always good to get feedback from anyone and everyone. And when it comes to the traditions and what they mean to me, I know I can be criticised for not being as orthodox or constrained as some might wish me to be in my attitudes and behaviour. At the same time I would not wish to stop anyone anywhere doing anything which might help other people in their struggle for sobriety. We can often violate sensibilities even if there are no rules, laws or regulations governing us. And there is a good reason why some constraints were put into the traditions when the Fellowship was much younger. And unfortunately, some of these constraints are simply the constraints of economy rather than sensible suggestions. Whatever happens within Fellowship, it becomes transparent and obvious what works for people and what does not work for people.
The beauty of transparency: what you see is what you get. The difficulty associated with closed doors and secrecy is the problem of power control and manipulation. And even when there is good reason for anonymity in the eyes of many, there can be many difficulties in one's own personal life and also what society knows about us generally. If there is fear at the level of press radio and film, it can be a sign of grandiosity? Anyone in Fellowship knows full well just how easy it is for people to slip and hiding this fact and the fact that people can slip who are very famous for whatever reason, does not mean the 12 steps and 12 traditions are fallible, it simply means people are fallible and the sooner we recognise that we are all fallible the better we shall be for it. Mind you that is just me and my outlook. As we are all equal in Fellowship, we are all equal in our fallibility as well as strengths which come from living a road of recovery, admitting and accepting where things go well and things do not.
And being the start of holidays in the UK for schools and colleges, I was not surprised by quite a few fellows being missing from meetings I attend. The holiday season can be a very testing time when it comes to step six and step seven. A step six attitude to travel and holidays, where we can be looking for what can go wrong and delays and poor weather and fractious people… Or step seven attitude to travel and holidays, that these are out of ordinary situations and anything can happen, so with a bit of courage to change, faith in things going okay and confidence that it is not only happening to me but to everyone, life can be okay.
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