Sunday Sundries … Traditions Night
The weather is holding. It was bright and sunny this afternoon, but over time, it became a little overcast. I started off this evening and packed up and started my journey out the front doors and got a few steps out and realized that I had forgot my phone and hoodie, since I didn’t bring one the other night.
I came back up and got what I needed and took off. My helper girl was waiting for me at the church. She is coming along after browbeating herself up and dissing her ability to stay sober in the rooms. But sufficient light has shown in her life lately which acted as a huge “pick me / her up” And she is smiling for the first time in a long while. We are proud of her.
So we cranked out set up and went outside to enjoy the evening, and as we stepped outside I went around the bushes to look at I don’t know what, or why, but we were rewarded with a HUGE brown butterfly with white dot markings on her wings. She was exceptionally beautiful. I’ve never seen a butterfly like that on the property before, so it was a real treat. And she said that the butterfly was a good omen, I had to agree. She took a phone shot of it before it flew away down the hedge away from us.
At first it seemed we would have a sparse crowd, thankfully a handful of folks came in and we sat a fair number. Tonight, being the last Sunday of the month, was a tradition. Tradition #8.
“Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional but our service centers may employ special workers.”
The tradition speaks of the need of a non-payment 12 step work. That money and sobriety do not mix, for specific reasons. The discussion went around the table with several thread going on at the same time.
Historically, after good press for the fellowship in the early 40’s by Jack Alexander and others, requests for literature and books flooded the New York office where Bill was located, and where became the General Service Office.
He didn’t have a staff to answer all those letters, so Bill would mail letters to sober members located all over the U.S. as A.A. blossomed from city to city and suburb to suburb. In time, the first edition of the Big Book was printed and started to go out.
Someone had to work in the office and in the beginning it was Anne, Lois, Bill and a few others. But as the fellowship grew, Bill addressed all these problems as the traditions were written, they were discussed at several general sessions of sober folks at the time, ever before they were codified and Bill introduced them as solid traditions.
Those traditions were highly scrutinized and discussed before they were passed by general council. The traditions are there for the groups, as the steps are there for the individual.
Today there are a handful of people – working in the New York Office answering mail, taking requests, handling the seventh tradition that comes into New York from groups all over the world, for operating and publication expenses. Someone has to man the phones, and pay the bills for the building that we use in New York City.
Just so, here in Montreal, there is a small staff who work at the general service office here. Doing all the paperwork, the newsletter, the literature counter and then the volunteer GSR’s DCM’s and so on. A A would gind to a halt if there was no one to answer the phone lines or do the work that is necessary to carrying the message.
If you would like to find out who works at General Service in New York, you can always read the BOX 459, that is issued monthly by GSO New York and is sent to registered groups around the world. It gives you all the information on how A.A. affords its rent, pays its bills and who it employs, and why.
The word anonymity comes up in this tradition. And that sparked a lively discussion about recent events in pop culture with certain celebrities and their breaking anonymity on a professional level, which dismayed many folks tonight.
There should be NO spokesperson for the fellowship. Even Bill had this problem after he handed off the business to the fellowship and Bill retired into private life after spending years at the helm.
It troubled him to his death, that he could not go to a meeting anywhere, where someone did not know him, and he was idolized and put on a pedestal, he just could not go out as himself. On his gravestone is his name, and birth and death dates, and nothing more.
A.A. is for the people, by the people. There is no supreme leader or specific spokesperson. And that’s the way Bill wanted it.
After the meeting we had a short business meeting and we doled out the jobs for September and all. It was all good.
A good night was had by all.
More to come, stay tuned …