Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Practise WHICH principles?

Every problem in AA (or any other fellowship) has indeed been encountered before. The natural instinct appears, oddly, to try to rethink the matter from scratch. What is great about the Traditions and Concepts is that they are the principles born of years of practical difficulties ... They need to be my first, not my last, resort.

The Steps prepare me to engage in the world and set right my relationship with God, which realigns my relationship with the world.

The actual endeavours I engage in with the world, when I run into problems, are best governed by the Traditions and the Concepts.

If I'm running into difficulty and getting bogged down in the muck and the mire, the most regularly useful Traditions and Concepts/Warranties to apply are these:

(1) Tradition 10 ... Let me have no opinion on that which does not concern me. And, as it says in the long form ... Oppose no one!

(2) Tradition 5 ... Let me stick to what this is really about!

(3) Tradition 4 ... Let others be wrong; let others do what they do; let's be sensitive to each other; but others have the right to go down the wrong path!

(4) Tradition 6 ... Do not let my NAME (i.e. identity) get dragged into the endeavour ... I keep the endeavour at arm's length from me, or I will make it personal, and that will distort my input.

(5) Tradition 9 .... Do not over-organise!

(6) Tradition 12 ... Principles before personalities.

(7) Concept III ... Right of Decision ... Let the people you appoint get on with it, as part of their DELEGATED authority, provided that there is a mechanism for them to be accountable to the whole, which is where the ULTIMATE authority resides (Concept I).

(8) Concept X ... Make sure that the authority is matched by responsibility ... Those doing the work are the ones who have the say; if you don't want to do the work, you don't get a say (cf. Right of Participation, Concept IV).

(9) Concept XII ... All important decisions are met by discussion, vote, and substantial unanimity ... Remaining democratic in thought and ACTION.

(10) Concept XII ... Avoidance of public controversy; silence in public when attacked; private correspondence when there is public misinformation.

The Big Book is really helpful, too, with tips on how to operate in the world in human endeavours:

"... cooperate; never criticize. To be helpful is our only aim." (89:3)

"We avoid retaliation or argument." (67:1)

"It is of little use to argue and only makes the impasse worse." (126:3)

"We do not mean that you have to agree ... whenever there is an honest difference of opinion. Just be careful not to disagree in a resentful or critical spirit." (117:3)

"Live and let live is the rule. If you both show a willingness to remedy your own defects, there will be little need to criticize each other." (118:2)

"Love and tolerance of others is our code." (84:2)

"... demonstrate that he can be sober, considerate, and helpful, regardless of what anyone says or does." (98:1)

In any situation, I need to practise the principles in all our affairs. So, once I have run the situation through the Steps, the Traditions, and the Concepts, and the advice in the Book ... THEN I can do the blue-sky thinking and brain-storming and reinvent. Thing is ... by then ... the path ahead of me is clear.

These principles have never let me down.

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