Thursday, February 26, 2009

AA's Singleness of Purpose

AA's Singleness of Purpose

An excerpt:

“I am an alcoholic. I have a drug history as long as my alcoholism, but I am not an addict. The stories I have heard of addicts, gamblers, and so on elicit sympathy from me, but do not reach that place in me of identification that I find in the story of another alcoholic- that place where I actually begin to feel the pain experienced by the speaker and relate his experience to my own. Thank God you had alcoholics speak to me of alcoholism when I came into AA. Because identification is so vital to the recovery of alcoholics like myself, I do not wish to risk weakening my effectiveness by speaking of my drug use in an AA meeting.

“We alcoholics come with many “related disorders” of drugs, gambling, overeating, sex, depression, anxiety, and so on, but by choosing to join AA we have chosen a common ground on which to relate to one another- alcoholism and recovery from alcoholism. Given the diversity of people and problems in AA, the unity necessary to function as a group would be impossible and our effectiveness with newcomers diminished if we did not keep our focus on our common problem. I have to relate myself to the group as a whole for my own recovery and the recovery of those I would help. I would hate to see the day in AA where an alcoholic’s chance to recover was dependent upon whether we had the “right” person with the “right” set of problems for him that day on the answering service, Twelve Step call, and so on. I would hate to see the day when any real alcoholic finds himself unable to relate to a speaker or discussion due to too much talk of problems other than alcoholism that he does not possess. I want every alcoholic to have the chance I had to enter an AA meeting and come to realize, as I did,  that “those people are like me and maybe if I do what they did it will work for me too.” ”

21 comments:

CJ said...

Too bad "Control Freaks Anonymous" don't have open meetings and allow those AA types.

Anonymous said...

What types of AA types do you mean, CJ?

Anonymous said...

oops, one too many "types." What are those AA types do you mean?

CJ said...

I was being facetious. Seems Sober Girl is hell bent on controlling who attends and what they contribute. What we use to numb out or comfort ourselves is only a symptom. It's not about what we use but why we use. I would hate for some stoner to read this blog and think they have no place because AA doesn't accept druggies and all NA meetings suck. It just isn't that way at all. Some small towns only have AA and they lovingly welcome all addicts whatever their drug or chug of choice is. All there are many wise oldtimers in NA.

CJ said...

**And there are many wise oldtimers in NA

Anonymous said...

I see your point. But I wonder how the traditions fit into that. Since the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking, a stoner CAN go to AA if they have the desire to stop drinking, right? I tend toward the traditions, too, CJ. it's not a matter of opinion, mine, yours, sober girls, or anyones - but the traditions of AA are what they are. Who gets to change them? I'm seriously asking - can we just decide to? I don't know what to say about a small town with only AA and what an addict is to do. I really don't. I guess it would be up to the group. I'm pretty lucky and got sober in a large city, so could go to just about any kind of *A meeting I wanted. I reread the piece posted, that you originally commented on and it seems to be a quote from another page. There have been many heated discussions, with many more to come I'm sure, about singleness of purpose and all that goes with it. I heard some AA members say they go to CA also, not because they have cocaine problems but because they say CA is welcoming to everyone. But I will have to go myself before really having an opinion, even though just thinking about it, I wonder if I could relate, not being really eligible for that program. The idea, I think,is for us to be able to relate so that we can address the problems, right? My sponsor says that singleness of purpose will keep AA so that it's there for future generations. But I go to a lot of meetings that have both, addicts and alcoholics. Some people are both, some just one or the other. I don't have the answer!

sobriety girl © said...

Please contact me about "sober girl", i have a cease and desist letter because i currently have sober girl and sobriety girl trademarked and own the copyright to the name.

kim

sober living said...

Good for you sober girl. Overcoming the addiction is a new role for you. Share to help others.

-mike u.

Piggy said...

This is why I have begun to put AA meetings on the back burner. Not to blame anyone in AA, but I do not feel welcome in AA. I guess because the only problem I had with drinking was that it was always my last choice to remove me from myself. My only concern is... I hate NA. I don't feel very welcome there either. I never got into eating out of trash cans and I never related to being homeless. I never related to not having a job. I never related to cheating someone out of there money or drugs. I never related to put a needle in my arm. I never related to armed robbery. I never related to going to jail. I never related to selling my body for anything other than getting my rocks off. I never related to dirty hair. I never related to gang banging. I never related to smacking my bitch up. I never related to dealing anything other than cards. I never needed that next hit so bad that I would rip off my family to get it. So where do I belong?

::: tellin' it like it is ::: said...

Hi, Piggy-

Sober Girl here... You can attend any open AA meeting that you want. And while it's not my favorite answer, you can go to any AA meeting and introduce yourself as an alcoholic. While I still think you're not getting the help you need (because you're not really an alcoholic) it sounds like you're not getting it in NA either.

Maybe you can find some warm, open
AA meetings?

-SG

LaDy said...

this sounds much better...you've matured some in the past 7 months, or at least it appears that way.

LaDy said...

Pleaaaasee let that be some kind of pathetic attempt of a joke with the whole copyrighting the name "sober girl."

::: tellin' it like it is ::: said...

hey, LaDy-

This person has been harassing me for months about the sober girl name. I've even had my attorney check into this for me just to be sure - and, as I suspected, one cannot copyright common words (i.e., "sober girl") and one cannot trademark the same.

"sobriety girl" is a bully.

Andrew said...

I do not believe that alcoholism is separate from drug addiction. They both require you to give up all self control, therefore becoming a slave to it. It doesn't matter what physical form it takes.

Drew said...

Okay. In the end who cares what gets an alcoholic help, if they just get help!

Ginny in SC said...

Please read the Fifth Tradition in the book "Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions." You can also go to the AA website (www.aa.org) to download and read the pamphlet "Problems Other Than Alcohol." Our singleness of Purpose is explained there.

Ken said...

The NA Board wrote and distributed a wonderful letter with regards to the NA take on AA's tradition of "singleness of purpose". For those people that would suggest any of the "Programs" or it's members should change or violate their traditions because the other "Programs" in the area are weak or non-existent, try to improve your meetings instead of watering down the others.

The AA Traditions are in place to guide us through situations just like this without the Fellowship destroying itself. Please take the time to read and understand the history behind the AA Traditions before you violate them under the guise of "just trying to help". In the long run more harm than good may be the unintended result.

Terri said...

What don't you all understand about AA's Singleness of Purpose? I am the DCM of my district and it's sad how AA's message is being diluted so we don't make anyone comfortable. I prefer to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted. We must remember AA's Singleness of Purpose or we ALL perish.

Gene said...

Love and tolerance is to be our code. Ever hear about loving someone to death? Read the Traditions. They were hammered out from the successes/failures of our predecessors. If it was all the same, there would only be ONE program.

Gene said...

"Love and tolerance of others is to be our code". Have you ever heard of loving someone to death? Our singleness of purpose through the 3rd and 5th Traditions was hammered out from the experiences/successes/failures of our predecessors. If it's supposed to all be the same, doesn't it make sense that there would only be ONE program? What a profound saying; " Shoemaker, stick to thy last." Better to do one thing well than to do many poorly.

smackhead said...

wish the rooms worked for me
closet-junkie101.blogspot.com