August 2, 2013: step and tradition meetings: for three weeks usually, steps are discussed, and in the fourth week a tradition. This means that all 12 steps are covered yearly quite regularly and the 12 traditions are covered once. Not so bad if you like step and tradition meetings. And yet when it comes to the traditions which are all about unity service and recovery and how the group conscience works, and how the Fellowship works, people seem to be less interested. Sometimes we seem to leave things to other people and then complain bitterly when things aren't the way we would wish them to be.
I was very pleased to be invited to do a tradition seven share recently. And it highlighted to me just how important matters of money are, not only in Fellowship, also in real life. After all, is it not finance and romance which give us the biggest headaches whether we are in recovery or simply another person living their life? Half the population at least has become more money conscious and is finding it difficult to make ends meet. Ego pride and fear can drive anyone to donate to good causes? One of the questions facing anyone is affordability and generosity of heart. Usually according to statistics, it is the least well off who give the most.
Fellowship: works on the principle of needs met, no need to accumulate funds above what is necessary to keep the whole show on the road with a prudent reserve. Just in case matters of money start to influence decision-making which would bend Fellowship out of shape. These were good reminders for me, because often I feel the urge to give generously when in fact I don't have the funds to be that generous. And yet I do. When I can see the immediate need, I will give the entire contents of my wallet. And then, something else happens and we wonder why we were so generous, when some ingrate, "con artist," is selling a sob story meeting after meeting and raking in the good living.
Of course I could be wrong, but when you have known somebody for a long time, that they have run out of relatives, that the tragedies experienced happen over and over again, that for whatever reason they still can't seem to survive, gossip becomes rampant as the many start to feel conned and less inclined to keep giving money on the back of an old, old recurring story of loss and all the rest of it. It has been bugging me, simply because gossip kills the emotional and spiritual element we all need to live. When a person cannot find the means to make a living in a conventional sense, who am I to judge how they go about it in which I would not engage in doing myself? I don't feel I have a right to judge, in the sense of their way of life, at the same time it does not mean I continue to be generous financially, because I don't like it. So in a general way around here, I do not gossip about it, and leave it up to each individual to make their choices based on the evidence. And in saying this, it says a lot about me, just for today. And tomorrow I'm sure my outlook will change, after all it is always about survival and if a person has not found another way to keep heart and soul together, I prefer not to judge, because, simply because it could be me.
I was very lucky to attend a step seven share recently and all my videos in July are about step seven, which cannot be really understood without living the experience of step six. When a person is stuck in step six, and unaware of the defects of character which haunt the active alcoholic, and actually recovering alcoholics as well, defects of character will send a person backwards rather than forwards if there were no step seven. Someone mentioned recently that they couldn't understand the difference between step six and step seven. Character defects are extremes of fear, pride and ego and all the vices which follow. Shortcomings, step seven is quite clear to me, lack of courage to change, lack of faith in doing the next right thing and little or no confidence. As time goes by, the extremes of defects and shortcomings become more balanced. Enough of pride and ego and fear to recognise the impact they have and how they can become overwhelming on any given day. And also, recognising that shortcomings can be extreme if there is no foundation and no understanding of what it is to develop courage, develop faith and develop confidence one day at a time.
And having said that, when we start to judge someone who has an uncanny knack of trying to elicit and con people out of money, just because it might be right in your face, it does not mean their behaviour is any worse than some institutions in society and some business enterprises which rip customers off badly and seem to do it legally. Each person need understand their own personal integrity, and if I try imposing my standards of integrity on another person I'm sure I will get a black eye or worse. And if I were to show them up and advocate their expulsion, what would it say about me? So, I come to my own conclusions, understand the can-do cannot do on a personal basis and let time do its job. In this universe, what I do is important to me, and what the universe is doing is over different time scales, and the same is true of society, any society and changes can only be made through generations of influence, persuasion and cannot be fixed in the moment of now. Even if we were to try and fix it, more harm sometimes is done than good... Letting go can be difficult… I simply do not rule the world…
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