Tag Archives: bill w. and dr. bob

Outside Issues (Tradition 10)

I get really tired of hearing the “book beaters” play the outside issues card every time someone in a meeting shares something that makes them uncomfortable. I’ve been reading AA-approved literature for nearly three decades, and I’ve not yet found anything that prohibits talking about drug, sex, shopping, gambling or hoagie addictions in an AA meeting.

Bill Wilson was a smoker and experimented with psychedelics. (His nicotine addiction killed him 36 years after the founding of AA, and we won’t even get into his extra-marital issues.) Dr. Bob was an admitted drug addict in addition to his alcoholism. Bill made it clear in a number of his writings that no one was to be excluded from A.A. meetings.

The long form of Tradition Ten reads as follows:

10 — No A.A. group or member should ever, in such a way as to implicate A.A., express any opinion on outside controversial issues–particularly those of politics, alcohol reform, or sectarian religion. The Alcoholics Anonymous groups oppose no one. Concerning such matters they can express no views whatever. [Emphasis mine.]

I have to wonder why there are still people, old-timers included, who don’t get that “outside issues” means things such as the above, not matters that bear directly on sobriety. Are we here to make smokers, overeaters, benzo users and others comfortable — to pick and choose our recovery — or to make newcomers welcome and support everyone’s recovery?

I’m inclined to think that some of these issues make some members really nervous, and that’s the reason for their objection to discussion of other addictions. As we all (should) know, substitute addictions are one of the most common by-products of abstinence from any “primary” addiction.

Bleeding deacons, show me some literature that contradicts what I’ve written here. Let’s get a discussion going in the comments.

A Few Remarks on AA’s Birthday

Every recovering person in a 12-step program has good reason to stop and reflect, on Tuesday, about the fortuitous meeting of Bill W. and Dr. Bob, and all it has meant to four generations of alcoholics and the members of every other group based on the 12 steps.

The Eleventh of those 12 begins, “Sought through prayer and meditation….” Well, here’s something to meditate on: what if Bill had gone into the hotel bar that night in Akron and plunked his butt down on a bar stool, instead of making a phone call?

Hmmmmm? Where would your butt be now?
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I’ve been hanging out over at The Second Road lately. I’ll be blogging regularly for them — and so are a bunch of other folks with some good things to say (some of them with names you may have heard elsewhere). Why not drop in, look the place over and, if you like what you see, sign up to be a part of a newly-formed support community? Great things will be happening. Come and see for yourself.