For a while now, some of my friends have been at odds with each other, and lines are being drawn in the sand, and discussions have been ongoing as to “What side of the argument I would fall on,” and questions like, “what decision do I make, because I don’t want to vote against my friends?”
The Third Tradition reads: The Only Requirement for Membership is a Desire to Stop Drinking. If you read the tradition in full, it states: “You can declare yourself in; nobody can keep you out. No matter who you are, no matter how low you’ve gone, no matter how grave your emotional complications – even your crimes – we still can’t deny you A.A.
There are many people who come to our meetings. Most are solid alcoholics. Many of those people have abused drugs as well, but they primarily admit powerlessness over alcohol, some admit the others, but most do not.
Then there are those who come to meetings, with drug problems, and are clean, but they come through the A.A. system because meetings are plentiful. Most of my guys have primaries in other addictions other than alcohol, and they cover their primaries in those other meetings, but they also do A.A.
And to satisfy the requirement, they admit they are alcoholics as well.
Some are, Some are NOT.
There are some addicts, who come to meetings, who do not drink. They identify as addicts, who do not drink. Which falls into a grey area. They might not drink, but do they have a desire NOT to drink? My friends who identify as such, have a desire not to drink.
This contentious issue has divided groups for some time now. Some alcoholics want to take the battle to the group conscience, and deny access to A.A. for those people who are not alcoholics. In order to combat this problem, the Friday night meeting has rewritten its preamble to state the following …
“North End English is a closed meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous meant for open and honest sharing, is meant for alcoholics only. It goes on to state this note: We stress the Third tradition which states, “You can declare yourself in, nobody can keep you out.”
The first statement states that we are a closed meeting, for alcoholics only.
The second statement states that You can declare yourself in nobody can keep you out. For all intents and purposes, this opens the meeting to anyone who declares themselves in. Nobody can keep you out.
You can’t close the meeting to others – other than alcoholics, then contradict what you have said by quoting the third tradition.
Last weekend a good friend of mine walked into another meeting and stated his wish to see that we ban certain members from the Friday meeting, and that he was going to be the one who did that.
At the end of that meeting, another friend walked home with me and questioned me as to what side of the argument I was on for barring someone from a meeting. He wanted to know how I would vote, and to tell him how I think he should vote, because he was undecided because he did not want to vote against our mutual friend. He thinks that voting against a friend is akin to treason against a friend.
At home, I called the member who is the target of this issue. I told her what I was hearing, which led to conversation over a week about those people fighting about this issue. I’ve stated my opinion on this issue quite clearly.
I left for the meeting, got to my bus transfer, and there was no bus, so I walked it all the way to the meeting. As I walked up to the church, another friend (the room mate of the woman in question) was standing out front talking with the shit stirrer and another member. And I heard him say to him, “You cannot demonize someone and bar them from the meeting.”
I did not say anything but walked into the hall.
After the meeting, I get fists in my face, and my friend screaming at me that I should never speak for him again. Yet, he began the argument, I just wasn’t going to sit by and let him demean a woman I highly respect and bar her from a meeting.
I’m not sure who said what to whom, and/or how my name came up in the discussion, unless one of my friends, told him, I was the one who spoke out.
My lady friend did not show for the second week in a row, so I called her on my walk home, and we discussed what had happened tonight. She told me not to worry that she would take care of it this weekend.
No two alcoholics think the same. We are not saints.
I would never vote to bar anyone from a meeting, especially the Friday meeting, of all meetings in the city. We are the most welcoming meeting, and as a whole, I’m not sure there would be consensus on barring people from attending.
Oh, the drama…
Tomorrow is The Family Day Picnic.
More to come.