Sunday, 24 December 2017

Discussion

In AA, we share our experience, strength, and hope. We offer and explain, rather than attempting to convince or persuade.

In AA, however, there is sometimes discussion about the programme, the Big Book and the interpretation thereof, etc. This discussion takes the forms of exchanges that go back and forth in which each side presents its views, taking up individual points of the other side and contradicting them, all apparently with the view of convincing the other side that it is wrong and should adopt the first side's point of view. It's very rare to see anyone actually changing their view on the basis of such discussion. It is unclear whether such discussion serves any good purpose. In fact, it often serves a very ill purpose: division, contention, and so on. The result is reminiscent of Proverbs 23:29.
Who hath woe? Who hath sorrow? Who hath contentions? Who hath babbling? Who hath wounds without cause? Who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine.
Or the keyboard.

Particularly rich fodder for discord is to be found in questions such as, 'Is alcoholism a disease?' 'Are alcoholism or drug addiction the same or different?' 'Is what we suffer from twofold or threefold?' 'Do we recover or are we forever recovering?' 'Is the Big Book sufficient or do we also use the book Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions?' 'Do we read each line in the Big Book in context only or do we derive general spiritual principles from it?' 'Is the Big Book the last word, or has more been revealed since then?' 'Is there more than one way to recover?' I'm sure we could all add to the list.

I now try to avoid even entering into these so-called discussions except one-to-one with my friends, and then only if there is a genuine sense of openness and enquiry; as soon as I realise I'm engaging with an entrenched view, I stop. I recently made a mistake and engaged on a particular topic, and it is this that has reminded me to quit the debating society, once again.

As with the first drink, it is the first verbal exchange that does the damage, and I seem to develop a craving for more.

At my homegroup, we do not comment on each other's sharing in our own sharing. It is just possible this might be the only sane way to conduct oneself on AA Internet forums. Sadly, the design promotes endlessly expanding trench warfare.

My motto today: how can I promote unity?


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