you are, newly arrived in AA after having gone through the required
'shake, rattle and roll'. You feel like death warmed up, your life's
a mess, the wife/husband/partner/kids/friends don't particularly want
you around. They tell you that they love you but you know they're
pretty much done. The job, if you're lucky enough to still have one,
is looking pretty precarious and your employer is making all sorts of
subtle hints .. like easing you gently towards the door! A court
case for drunk driving is probably on the cards as you spend yet
another night behind closed doors courtesy of the 'law' wondering to
yourself what the hell you're in for. You hope it's not for
something worse. The rehab centre has installed revolving doors
especially for you so frequently have you graced their humble
establishment whilst lodging yet another generous deposit of your
money – or someone else's - in their ever burgeoning bank account.
Your GP's looking slightly bored at your latest visit to the surgery
as you report yet another mysterious ailment which causes you to
blackout at the most unexpected moments (mostly after imbibing the
second quart of vodka that day). Your body aches, you feel
exhausted, your mind can't take the strain anymore. Quite frankly
there doesn't seem to be much point in going on......
out of the blue 'chummy' arrives and sticks their hand out in your
direction. Eyes gleaming with newfound fervour they're virtually
bouncing up and down right in front of you. Grasping the
outstretched appendage uncertainly you oscillate it in the approved
fashion not really wanting to go through this pointless activity.
But you have officially been greeted, the hand of AA liberally
extended! Before you've had time to gather your wits (or what's left
of them) 'chummy' asks you if you've got a sponsor? 'What the hell
are they talking about?' you ask yourself. 'I didn't know I had to
get a sponsor to join AA? Sponsor. Sponsor. Do they mean Nike or
something?' Your evident confusion doesn't go completely unnoticed
as your brand new bestest ever friend goes through their carefully
rehearsed spiel. 'Sponsor. Sponsor. Someone to take you through the
steps', they exclaim, their eyes by now virtually popping out of
their heads whilst a rictus smile remains firmly welded to their
lips. 'Steps. Steps. What the hell are steps?' you again enquire
internally. By this time the remainder of the pack have moved in. On
every side you're jostled by a whole band of newest even more bestest
friends. “Sponsor, sponsor” they call in unison though not
pausing even for a moment to properly explain. “Am I in a
madhouse?' you ask yourself, and look vainly around for some means of
escape. But then you don't like to offend and allow yourself to be
carried along in the rush. The first part of the 'grooming' process
has now been completed.
may come as a surprise to some amongst you but 'deferred
gratification' has never been a particularly strong suit amongst
alcoholics. Think about it! For years on end you've been plugging
bucket loads of a highly toxic substance down your throat in an
effort to reach some non-existent nirvana. Sometimes you've almost
made it or at least so you've managed to persuade yourself. Along
the way nothing but turmoil and disaster follow you and yet you
remain strangely oblivious to the general chaos. It's not as though
you don't know it's happening. It just doesn't seem to register in
the way it would with normal people. But just this side of death
crunch time comes and you're faced with the awful reality... and some
of you end up in AA..... the pits! But then there's 'chummy' and
all his wonderful promises … nay even guarantees! Apparently by
just following a few simple 'directions' (sorry..... suggestions) you
too can be ushered into the holy realm. “Happy, joyous and free”,
“beyond your wildest dreams”, “rocketed into” this that or
the other “dimension”.. it's all yours for the taking, and no
need for any delay, or even any really serious work along the way.
Just ring your sponsor and pester a couple of other newcomers every
day (plus a few other things) and you need never have another bad
one! 'Misery is optional' they chant in unison, and with all those
happy, happy smiling faces it seems churlish to disagree. So you
join in … after all you've been orbiting the outer limits for too
long now. Ain't it great to be part of something so exhaustingly
wonderful! Soon you find yourself singing along with the 'choir'.
Your home group is the best in the world. Your sponsor (assigned to
you) is the best in the world. Your friends are definitely the
bestest best in the world etc etc. Everything is proceeding
absolutely swimmingly. But then the first stirrings of independent
thought begin to arise. You might even venture to express an opinion
or two. After all you've been in AA nearly four weeks now and you're
already on Step Eight … but then you're not entirely sure what
that's all about! And worst of all you still get the odd craving for
a swift bottle or two. Of course you can't mention this to your
sponsor because he/she's far too busy being “happy, joyous and
free”. But then you finally summon up the courage to express your
doubts only to be greeted with a stern rebuke. “You said you were
prepared to go to any lengths”, your sponsor points out while
drawing your attention to that part of the contract. “Well yes”,
you reply but only to be drowned out by the chants of “happy,
joyous etc” going on constantly in the background. Things maybe
have turned a bit cold and you suddenly discover you're no longer
'flavour of the day'. Maybe you've acquired a bit of reputation for
being a 'difficult' customer. Suddenly even your bestest friends
don't seem so keen. You try all the harder shouting louder than
everybody else about how wonderful everything is. But deep down it's
all beginning to sound a bit fake and you start to wonder if anything
they (or you) say is actually true. And then those cravings you've
had finally kick in for real and off you go on a brief but
devastating bender. Beaten into submission by the bottle you drag
your weary bones back to the best group in the world. But now
everyone looks at you like you've got the plague. You're stuck at the
back of the room like some leper whilst others look on pityingly at
the newest reprobate. But the final straw is when your sponsor,
shaking their head, 'fires' you: “Wasn't really prepared to go to
any lengths”, they mutter. It's official ….. You're a
failure...... An alcoholic who drinks!!!! Who would believe it!
you'll decide it's all over, and AA is a load of old s**t, and then
maybe you'll just wander off in search of either a bottle or another
solution. On the other hand you might decide to give it another shot
and go to one of 'those other meetings' where everyone is 'sick' and
no one's got the 'true' message. You walk through the door and
maybe someone'll look up and give you a nod. You'll get yourself a
tea and maybe someone else will say “Hi” and ask you how you are.
What you won't get is a 'pack' descending on you like you're the
'kill of the day'. When the meeting starts maybe they'll talk a bit
more about drink than usual but then they'll talk about themselves as
well, and the ups and downs which are part and parcel of a more
mundane 'realm'. No 'Disneyland' recovery here. Nobody will offer to
save you or make you promises they can't deliver. What they will do
is “share their experience, strength and hope” and encourage you
along the way. The rest is down to you, your judgement and a Power of
your own understanding (whatever that might or might not be). In
other words you'll be treated like an adult with all due respect.
As for the “instant gratification” .. well maybe that's for
another day. Just for now being drink-free feels pretty good
(Friends of Alcoholics Anonymous ..... remaining stubbornly 'unrocketed' ..... and rather boringly sober)
this: a crusader Knight, clad in medieval armour, helmet & chain
mail; proudly riding his trusty steed. Sword by his side, Banner in
hand. Is he off to fight a new crusade ? Or perhaps on his way to
rescue a damsel in distress imprisoned in the lofty tower of a
far-away castle? Or maybe he is off to do some jousting with the
local chapter of the Knights of the Round Table?
no, actually. He is more likely to be heading off to his local AA
cult home group - call it Joys of Recovery or Road of Recovery,
either title will do. You may wonder what on earth this is about.
Well, this is based upon the latest brainstorming idea of cult guru
(aka the Icon).
see, David C, like Wayne P, is preoccupied with “promoting chivalry and the ideal of
the catholic gentleman”. Is it coincidental that David's website article on
chivalry appeared the day after aacultwatch posted (on the 13th
July) an article on Wayne P's hypocrisy in presenting himself as a
Catholic gentleman entitled to lecture us all on personal conduct, in
spite of his own adulterous caprices? What we know for sure is
David C has produced an Icon (below) of a knight with a horse; a
sword; and catholic prayer book (lying on the ground for some
reason); and an article intended to inspire and inflame our hearts
and minds to acts of chivalry and true masculinity.
Sir Knight! And …..Alleluia !
this could be laughingly dismissed as the harmless musings of an
eccentric buffoon living in a fantasy world. However David C has a
track record of imposing his prurient and fundamentalist catholic
beliefs upon unwary AA newcomers and sponsees. All done (falsely) in
the name of “carrying the message and working the AA program”,
For example he made it quite clear to an AA acquaintance of mine,
that practicing artificial birth control (i.e. condoms, the pill etc)
was “not on the program”. The ultimate reason given was that the
“Holy Father” (aka the Pope) disapproves of it, It would seem
that, in David C's mind, the Roman Catholic Pope should have
authority over AA members and how they run their lives and work their
programs. So much for our Traditions, and our AA Preamble which talks
about not being aligned to any sect or denomination. And notice
also how David's self-justification is always based upon an appeal
to authority, either his sponsor's or the Pope's. True to this
fallacious and lazy mindset he also abhors sex before marriage.
Indeed sex of any kind should only be for the procreation of children
within the context of heterosexual marriage. And masturbation?
Another heinous heresy! Strictly forbidden in accordance with true
catholic dogma. And please don't even mention same sex relationships.
And as for saunas.... don't ever go into one! They are to be avoided
like the plague for fear of encountering the “disorder” of
homosexuality. Get on your knees and say a pious prayer in a church
instead. David C's fanatical prurience and voyeurism in sexual
matters reached a sordid climax a while ago, with the creation of his
so-called “Big Book recovery” document and webpage, in which he
commanded those who wish to do step 4 & 5 to relate, in a
detailed and voyeuristic way, the most intimate and devious sexual
practices, including sex with children, animals and bottles. I believe he removed
this creepy demand only after being shamed by aacultwatch and others.
course, all this is in stark contrast with the clear and simple
message of AA as found in the Big Book, and other AA literature.
Which wisely cautions us not be be the arbiter of another's sex
Book page 69);
to follow our own conscience in spiritual matters (ibid
pp 95 & 132)
- not someone else's (e.g a sponsor's), and not to lecture or talk
down from a spiritual hilltop (ibid
pp 18 & 95).
And to choose carefully who we share with – allowing more than one
person if necessary, an AA member or an outsider, to hear our story
p 74 ff).
Believe it or nor, we in AA are also allowed the freedom to follow a
Higher Power OF OUR OWN UNDERSTANDING, and spiritual expressions AS
WE UNDERSTAND THEM
(ibid p 47) –
which may not be the same as David's narrow understanding. (In my
case, and in many others, it will never be the same). It seems David
C,, Wayne P., and similar cult clowns and dunderheads, have great
difficulty in grasping and understanding the simple and liberating
concept of spiritual freedom and practice as suggested in the AA Big
to our noble Knight. Think of chivalry, and maybe, like me, you think
of good manners, courtesy, tolerance, respect and defense of the
weak and down-trodden. Not so cult “chivalry” David C's
“chivalry” in his homeland of England is remembered with disdain.
Examples are too numerous to mention here. But it will suffice,
perhaps, to relate just a few to give readers a flavour of his
so-called “chivalry”. Some years ago, in a “Vision for You”
cult meeting in Eaton Square, London, he cross-shared and silenced,
in front of the entire meeting, one young lady who had begun to share
about a painful personal experience regarding her young son who was
ill in hospital. Oh dear! No emotional or “negative” sharing
allowed in David's pure and knightly presence! The end result was the
lady left the meeting, sobbing, never to return. On another occasion
I recall a young lady was sharing her experience of Step 9,
describing how she had made her amends to her mother, who, in turn,
had received and accepted the amends very well. No sooner had the
young lady finished sharing her lovely story, when our Sir chivalrous
Knight David C came charging in, cross-sharing just about everything
she had said, and making it clear that, in his opinion, (first taught
to him by his sponsor, the sponsorless David B), she had NOT done
Step 9 properly. After the meeting ended, David C skedaddled out the
door as fast as he could. And well he might. The young lady in
question was hurt and tearful, having been shamed and humiliated by
him in front of an entire meeting. Yes, such is David C's “chivalry”
and gentleman like manner. To date, there has been neither apology,
amends, nor even an expression of remorse or regret from the
self-appointed chivalrous Übermensch.
You see, as far as David C and Wayne P are concerned, they never do
anything wrong. It is the rest of us, the 99.99% bog standard AA
members who are always wrong. We have long been judged as the
“walking wounded” and the 'do nothings” no matter how long we
are sober, or how much service we have done over the years. However,
reality and practice reveal the exact opposite. And if we replace
the word chivalry with hypocrisy and humbug, we have the true picture
of David and Wayne, and all their co-dependent cult groupies and sock
may exist somewhere at some times, but cult chivalry is well and
truly dead. In fact, it never existed in the first place. “
of Alcoholics Anonymous
…. and far too liberated to engage in archaic and irrelevant
and then someone decides to post threats directed against someone
they suppose to be the instigator of aacultwatch. Labouring under
the misapprehension that we are some kind of sinister conspiracy
cooked up by a deeply embittered and resentful 'lone wolf' they
desperately cling to the belief they know who's behind it all. Well
who is behind aacultwatch? Quite a few AA members it would seem
judging by the feedback and contributions we receive. So good luck
with finding the 'ringleader'! But then anyone who follows the blog
will know precisely what we do when we come across such conduct. We
expose it! Who'dve of thought!
received the following notification via our Twitter account (the
offending account has already been reported and blocked):
Doe @aacultwatch I would strongly advise you remove the 2 pictures of
me or there will be consequences. You have been warned!”
it was the exclamation mark at the end of this piece of advice that
really set our knees a-trembling! As you will see from the following
fellow has been handing out sundry bits of advice (and rather
colourful accusations .. kiddy fiddling, drugged up etc (yawn)) but
mostly so far for the delectation of his 2 followers (makes our own
little collection look positively gigantic by comparison!). But he's
only a neophyte. Only 14 tweets in all that time!!! Interestingly he
'outed' our supposed ring leader back in September 2009 giving some poor chap's full name!
reference to “2 pictures” awakened the suppressed sleuth buried
deep within our hearts. It's only recently that we've put any such
photos on the site which means there are relatively few candidates
who match the profile. We could use this as an opportunity to run
our Rogues Gallery past your eyes once again but then realised
there's only such much suffering our readership can take. By a
process of elimination we've narrowed it down to two. David B
doesn't figure …. because he's rather dead!. Similarly Clancy
(who's been dead for years but hasn't yet realised it) is excluded
because he can probably spell the word “sponsor” what with him
being so fond of the whole sponsorship thing. But rather than spoil
the fun we'll leave it to you to figure out who it might be (answers
on a postcard sae). Of course it's always possible the outburst
reflects yet another cult member's 'wet dream'! Some of them will do
anything for a bit of notoriety!!!!!
(Friends of Alcoholics Anonymous .. and masters of the
exclamation mark!!!!! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!! …. and also
EXCESSIVE CAPITALISATION BY THE WAY!!)
Warranties of the Conference: in all its proceedings, the General
Service Conference shall observe the spirit of the A.A. Tradition,
taking great care that the conference never becomes the seat of
perilous wealth or power;
that sufficient operating funds, plus an ample reserve, be its
prudent financial principle; that none of the Conference Members
shall ever be placed in a position of unqualified authority over any
of the others; that all important decisions be reached by discussion,
vote, and whenever possible, by substantial unanimity; that no
Conference action ever be personally punitive or an incitement to
public controversy; that though the Conference may act for the
service of Alcoholics Anonymous, it shall never perform any acts of
government; and that, like the Society of Alcoholics Anonymous which
it serves, the Conference itself will always remain democratic in
thought and action........
One: “The Conference shall never become the seat of perilous
wealth or power.” What is meant by “perilous wealth and power”?
Does it mean that the Conference should have virtually no money and
no authority? Obviously not. Such a condition would be dangerous and
absurd. Nothing but an ineffective anarchy could result from it. We
must use some money, and there must be some authority to serve. But
how much? How and where should we draw these lines?
principal protection against the accumulation of too much money and
too much authority in Conference hands is to be found in the A.A.
Tradition itself. So long as our General Service Board refuses to
take outside contributions and holds each individual’s gift
to A.A.’s world services at a modest figure, we may be sure that we
shall not become wealthy in any perilous sense. No great excess of
group contributions over legitimate operating expenses is ever
likely to be seen. Fortunately the A.A. groups have a healthy
reluctance about the creation of unneeded services which might lead
to an expensive bureaucracy in our midst. Indeed, it seems that
the chief difficulty will continue to be that of effectively
informing the A.A. groups as to what the financial needs of their
world services actually are. Since it is certain therefore that we
shall never become too wealthy through group contributions, we need
only to avoid the temptation of taking money from the outside world.
the matter of giving Delegates, Trustees and staffs enough authority,
there can be little risk, either. Long experience, now codified in
these Twelve Concepts, suggests that we are unlikely to encounter
problems of too much service authority. On the contrary, it appears
that our difficulty will be how to maintain enough of it. We must
recall that we are protected from the calamities of too much
authority by rotation, by voting participation, and by careful
chartering. Nevertheless, we do hear warnings about the future rise
of a dictator in the Conference or at the Headquarters. To my mind
this is an unnecessary worry. Our setup being what it is, such an
aspirant couldn’t last a year. And in the brief time he did last,
what would he use for money? Our Delegates, directly representing the
groups, control the ultimate supply of our service funds. Therefore
they constitute a direct check upon the rise of too much personal
authority. Taken all together, these factors seem to be reliable
safeguards against too much money and too much authority.
have seen why the Conference can never have any dangerous degree of
human power, but we must not overlook the fact that there is another
sort of authority and power which it cannot be without:
the spiritual power which flows from the activities and attitudes of
truly humble, unselfish, and dedicated A.A. servants. This is the
real power that causes our Conference to function. It has been well
said of our servants, “They
do not drive us by mandate; they lead us by example.”
While we have made abundantly sure that they
will never drive us,
I am confident that they will afford us an ever-greater inspiration
as they continue to lead
“Sufficient operating funds, plus an ample Reserve, should be its
prudent financial principle.”
this connection we should pause to review our attitudes concerning
money and its relation to service effort.
attitude toward the giving of time when compared with our attitude
toward giving money presents an interesting contrast. Of course we
give a lot of our time to A.A. activities for our own protection and
growth. But we also engage ourselves in a truly sacrificial giving
for the sake of our groups, our areas and for A.A. as a whole.
all, we devote ourselves to the newcomer, and this is our principal
Twelfth Step work. In this activity we often take large amounts of
time from business hours. Considered in terms of money, these
collective sacrifices add up to a huge sum. But we do not think that
this is anything unusual. We remember that people once gave their
time to us as we struggled for sobriety. We know, too, that nearly
the whole combined income of A.A. members, now more than a billion
dollars a year, has been a direct result of A.A.’s activity. Had
nobody recovered, there would have been no income for any of us.
when it comes to the actual spending of cash, particularly for A.A.
service overhead, many of us are apt to turn a bit reluctant. We
think of the loss of all that earning power in our drinking years, of
those sums we might have laid by for emergencies or for education of
the kids. We find, too, that when we drop money in the meeting hat
there is no such bang as when we talk for hours to a newcomer.
There is not much romance in paying the landlord. Sometimes we hold
off when we are asked to meet area or Intergroup service expenses. As
to world services, we may remark, “Well, those activities are a
long way off, and our group does not really need them. Maybe
nobody needs them.” These are very natural and understandable
reactions, easy to justify. We can say, “Let’s not spoil A.A.
with money and service organization. Let’s separate the material
from the spiritual. That will really keep things simple.”
in recent years these attitudes are everywhere on the decline; they
quickly disappear when the real need for a given A.A. service becomes
clear. To make such a need clear is simply a matter of right
information and education. We see this in the continuous job now
being done with good effect for our world service by Delegates,
Committee Members, and General Service Representatives. They are
finding that money-begging by pressure exhortation is unwanted and
unneeded in A.A [tell that to group treasurers
who regularly use emotional manipulation to raise funds eg.
'gratitude week' – the implication being that if you don't
contribute you are in some way being 'ungrateful'!]. They
simply portray what the giver’s service dollar really brings in
terms of steering alcoholics to A.A., and in terms of our over-all
unity and effectiveness. This much done, the hoped-for contributions
are forthcoming. The donors can seldom see what the exact result has
been. They well know, however, that countless thousands of other
alcoholics and their families are certain to be helped.
we look at such truly anonymous contributions in this fashion, and as
we gain a better understanding of their continuous urgency, I am sure
that the voluntary contributions of our A.A. groups, supplemented by
many modest gifts from individual A.A.’s, will pay our world
service bills over future years, in good times at any rate.
can take comfort, too, from the fact that we do not have to maintain
an expensive corps of paid workers at World Headquarters. In relation
to the ever-growing size of A.A. the number of workers has declined.
In the beginning our World Service Office engaged one paid worker to
each thousand of A.A. members. Ten years later we employed one paid
worker to each three thousand A.A.’s. Today we need only one paid
helper to every seven thousand recovered alcoholics.1
present cost of our world services ($200,000 annually as of 1960) is
today seen as a small sum in relationship to the present reach of our
Fellowship. Perhaps no other society of our size and activity has
such a low general overhead. (with
the current employment level standing at 13 in Great Britain this
ratio of “one paid helper to every seven thousand recovered
alcoholics” would suggest a membership of 110,000. The actual
membership is estimated
to be 40,000 requiring therefore only 6 to 7 staff)
reassurances of course cannot be taken as a basis for the abandonment
of the policy of financial prudence.
fact and the symbol of A.A.’s fiscal common sense can be seen in
the Reserve Fund of our General Service Board. As of now this amounts
to little more than $200,000—about one year’s operating expense
of our World Office.2
is what we have saved over the last twenty years, largely
from the income of our books.
This is the fund which has repeatedly prevented the severe crippling,
and sometimes the near collapse, of our world services.
about half of the last twenty years, A.A. group contributions have
failed to meet our world needs. But the Reserve Fund, constantly
renewed by book sales, has been able to meet these deficits—and
save money besides. What this has meant in the lives of uncounted
alcoholics who might never have reached us had our services been weak
or nonexistent [we'd be curious to know exactly
how many alcoholics GSO has been responsible for saving directly?
We'd guess NONE …. directly. Recovery begins with one alcoholic
talking with another – which would happen with or without the
General Service Office], no one can guess. Financial prudence
has paid off in lives saved.
facts about our Reserve Fund need to be better understood. For sheer
lack of understanding, it is still often remarked: (1) that the
Reserve Fund is no longer needed, (2) that if the Reserve Fund
continues to grow, perilous wealth will result, (3) that the presence
of such a Reserve Fund discourages group contributions, (4) that
because we do not abolish the Reserve Fund, we lack faith, (5)
that our A.A. book ought to be published at cost so these volumes
could be cheapened for hard-up buyers, (6) that profit-making on our
basic literature is counter to a sound spirituality.
While these views are by no means general, they are typical. Perhaps,
then, there is still a need to analyze them and answer the questions
us therefore try to test them. Do these views represent genuine
prudence? Do we lack faith when we prudently insist on solvency?
means of cheap
A.A. books should we engage, as a fellowship, in this sort of
financial charity? (how
does selling literature at cost price constitute “financial
charity”? Nobody is suggesting giving the literature away - just
not making a profit on it!)
Should this sort of giving [paying
for a book is not 'giving'. It is a straightforward financial
transaction. 'Giving' constitutes a charitable act and does not
constitute a contract. A financial transaction clearly does]
not be the responsibility of individuals? Is the Headquarters’
income from A.A. books really a profit
after all? (Short
this is written, 1960, our Headquarters operation is just about
breaking even. Group contributions are exceeding our service needs by
about 5%. The A.A. Grapevine continues in the red. Compared with
earlier days this is wonderful. Nevertheless this is our state in the
period of the greatest prosperity that America has ever known. If
this is our condition in good times, what would happen in bad times?
Suppose that the Headquarters income were decreased 25% by a
depression, or that expenses were increased 25% by a steep inflation.
What would this mean in hard cash? [what
this means is that you retrench, economise, lay people off, cut costs
just like the rest of us! In the “good times” where “group
contributions are exceeding … service needs by about 5%” you are
able build up a reserve to be drawn upon when the bad times come.
This is called prudent financial management].
World Service Office would show a deficit of $50,000 a year and the
Grapevine would put a $20,000 annual deficit on top of this. We would
be faced with a gaping total deficit of $70,000 every twelve months.
If in such an emergency we had no reserve and no book income, we
would soon have to discharge one-third of our thirty paid workers and
A.A. staff members [see
Much mail would go unanswered, pleas for information and help
ignored. The Grapevine would have to be shut down or reduced to a
second-rate bulletin. The number of Delegates attending our yearly
General Service Conference would have to be drastically reduced (no
bad thing in itself).
Practically and spiritually, these would be the penalties were we to
dissipate our Reserve Fund and its book income. [but
despite all this AA, its meetings and its essential services would
continue unabated. Most people would hardly notice the difference]
however, we do not have to face any such slash as this. Our present
reserve and its book income could see us through several years of
hard times without the slightest diminution in the strength and
quality of our world effort.
is the fashion nowadays to believe that America can never see another
serious business upset. We can certainly hope and pray that it will
not. But is it wise for us of A.A. to make a huge bet — by
dissipating our own assets — that this could never happen? Would it
not be far better, instead, for us to increase our savings [by
how much? And when will these be enough?] in this period when
the world about us in all probability has already borrowed more money
than can ever be repaid?
let us examine the claim that the presence of our Reserve Fund
discourages group contributions. It is said that the impression is
created that A.A. Headquarters is already well off and that hence
there is no need for more money. This is not at all the general
attitude, however, and its effect on contributions is probably small.
comes the question of whether A.A. as a whole should go in for what
amounts to a money charity (see
above. Selling books at cost does not “amount” to a “money
charity”. Therefore the entire argument subsequently presented by
Bill Wilson on this theme is entirely fallacious)
to individual newcomers and their sponsors — via the selling of our
books at cost or less. Up to now we A.A.’s have strongly believed
that money charity to the individual should not be a function of the
A.A. groups or of A.A. as a whole. To illustrate: when a sponsor
takes a new member in hand, he does not in the least expect that his
group is going to pay the expenses he incurs while doing a Twelfth
Step job. The sponsor may give his prospect a suit of clothes, may
get him a job, or present him with an A.A. book. This sort of thing
frequently happens, and it is fine that it does. But such charities
are the responsibility of the sponsor and not of the A.A. group
itself. If a sponsor cannot give or lend an A.A. book, one can be
found in the library. Many groups sell books on the instalment plan.
There is no scarcity of A.A. books; more than a half million are now
in circulation. Hence there seems no really good reason why A.A.
services should supply everybody with cheap books, including the
large majority who can easily pay [hardly
the going price. It appears to be altogether clear [is
our world services need those book dollars far more than the buyers
of us have another concern, and this is related to so-called book
“profits.” The fact that A.A. Headquarters and most of the
groups sell books for more than they cost is thought to be
spiritually bad. But is this sort of noncommercial[simply calling something “noncommercial
doesn't make it “noncommercial”!] book income really a
profit after all? In my view, it is not [according
to the standard definition of profit
it it clearly is]. This net income to the groups and to A.A.’s
General Services is actually the sum of a great many contributions
which the book buyers make to the general welfare of Alcoholics
Anonymous. The certain and continuous solvency of our world services
rests squarely upon these contributions[but
they are not actually 'contributions' in the voluntary sense. They
are financial transactions]. Looked at in this way, our
Reserve Fund is seen to be actually the aggregate of many small
financial sacrifices made by the book buyers [or
more properly – financial transactions. Bill's repeated attempts to
reframe the argument here simply constitutes a form of semantic
camouflage which fails entirely to obscure the underlying reality].
This fund is not the property of private investors; it is
wholly owned by A.A. itself.
on the subject of books, perhaps a word should be said concerning my
royalties from them. This royalty income from the book buyers has
enabled me to do all the rest of my A.A. work on a full-time
volunteer basis. These royalties have also given me the assurance
that, like other A.A.’s, I have fully earned my own separate
livelihood. This independent income also has enabled me to think and
act independently of money influences of any kind—a situation which
has at times been very advantageous to A.A. as well as to me
personally. Therefore I hope and believe that my royalty status will
continue to be considered a fair and wise arrangement …..." [of
course an alternative would have been to employ Bill like other full
time workers. This seems to us another highly dubious
rationalisation. A matter of history now but …..]
one to seventeen thousand, U.S. and Canada.
December 31, 2013, the net assets of the Reserve Fund (excluding the
liability for pension benefits) were $15,301,600, and represented
10.9 months of the $16,879,500 of recurring operating expenses of the
operating entities. In 2012, the net assets represented a reserve of
11.3 months of operating expenses.”
emphases)(our comments in red)
The above is simply an extended rationalisation (much like Bill's
attempt to argue that recitation of the Lord's Prayer (Christian) in
AA meetings might not be regarded as implying any kind of religious
affiliation on account of its widespread usage elsewhere?) in support
of book sale generated profits subsidising GSO (a direct
contradiction of Tradition 7). The act of deciding to buy a book -
or not - is clearly, in itself, voluntary. However the distinction
between voluntary 'giving' and entering into a contract is determined
in this instance by who sets the amount. If you as 'buyer' decide
(including paying nothing) then it's a voluntary contribution. If the
seller decides it's a contract. Moreover it should be remembered
that literature is not only sold to AA members but also to treatment
centres etc. These are necessarily “outside organisations”.
This constitutes yet another breach of Tradition 7!
propose that books be sold only at cost for those who prefer that
kind of 'hard copy' medium (or do not have access to the internet).
With regard to digital publications these should all be made freely
available with the option to donate a sum if the reader wishes (with
the maximum set at the 'hard copy' cost price. A proviso should be
added that non-members (ie. outside organisations) donate nothing).
Only then will we be operating in accordance with those principles
which we, after all, set for ourselves.
Fellas (Friends of Alcoholics Anonymous … and NOT funded by
profits from book sales ….. or indeed ANY other kind)
the other hand if you absolutely have to hand information over to
other people we highly recommend Facebook (although we wouldn't touch
it with a bargepole ourselves). It's amazing the amount of idiotic
stuff people post about themselves on this social media platform.
See a few prime examples here,
As a stage for the self-obsessed narcissist Facebook provides the
ideal conduit for the ultimate in banal expression!
of Alcoholics Anonymous
.. and almost entirely anti-social …. media that is!)
aacultwatch has been set up by members of Alcoholics Anonymous who are concerned about the development of a movement within the Fellowship that we refer to as a cult.
It is our view that this cult has as its aims the control of AA in Great Britain and the promulgation of its own version of the recovery programme that is both a corruption of the message and the spirit of the Fellowship.
Our aim is to raise awareness of this threat and encourage members to act according to their conscience to marginalize this movement. Local members are in the best position to judge what should be done in their area but already some experience has been gained in the Fellowship on how to respond to this malign influence, and some of these ideas are also presented on the blog.
Finally we seek to restore AA to a healthily disorganised state where no faction within the Fellowship may seek to impose its will upon the rest, and that the rights of the individual are always upheld. For those AA members who are interested in supporting us in our efforts we can be contacted via our email address above