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Sunday, 19 April 2015

Alcohol research – Study examines the relationship between marriage and alcohol

Study examines the relationship between marriage and alcohol, American Sociological Association (ASA), Science Daily, 19 August 2012

See also Links and downloads 

PS For AA Minority Report 2013 click here

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Conference questions not quite up to par! (contd)

Can the Conference be broadcast via the internet by means of a webcast or podcast?

The intention is to provide more transparent operation of the service structure/conference. As I understand it there is no current facility for interested group members/members of the public to attend Conference and hear its deliberations. I think it would aid transparency and stimulate interest in the activities that occur in York/GSO if any interested parties could view or hear the proceedings on the internet. 

Terms of Reference No. 6/7 Not possible to safeguard the anonymity of AA members at Conference and insufficient background material

Comment: Good idea (although watching paint dry might be a more entertaining option for many members). We reckon we should adopt an X Factor format with the delegates doing a 'turn', the one giving the best performance getting the most votes! That should bring 'em in!


The Fellas (Friends of Alcoholics Anonymous) 

PS For AA Minority Report 2013 click here

Friday, 17 April 2015

Alcohol research – Does sponsorship improve outcomes above Alcoholics Anonymous attendance?

Does sponsorship improve outcomes above Alcoholics Anonymous attendance? A latent class growth curve analysis, Widbrodt J et al, Addiction, 2012 Feb; 107(2): 301-311


See also Links and downloads

PS For AA Minority Report 2013 click here

Conference questions not quite up to par!

Would Conference agree that a statement such as the following should be made at the beginning of every meeting and that a sign be made available requesting the same?

"To maintain the best possible spiritual atmosphere, to protect newcomers and AA as a whole, it is requested that mobile phones and any other recording devices are turned off until the meeting is over." 

Terms of Reference No. 7 Issue is best addressed locally

Comment: To which might be appended: “It is requested that all sponsorship obsessives, Big Book 'nutters', recovery 'experts', 'circuit speakers', local 'gurus' and assorted cult control freaks be similarly turned off until the meeting is over”.

Wouldn't that be bliss!! 


The Fellas (Friends of Alcoholics Anonymous) 

PS For AA Minority Report 2013 click here

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

'Chit system' - experience from the US ... all bad!

An email we received (with thanks to the contributor)


Please accept this healthy criticism in the spirit in which it is offered.

In fact, it is actually an amend from across the pond.

Your recent post on the AA conference questions (2015) and in particular the Revised chapter Nine 'Probation/Criminal Justice Service' lacks sufficient input as to the requirements of how to practice the Traditions when approaching new or potential expanding opportunities to serve and to practice the 12th step.

We here in the "States" did not practice the required fore-vision to determine where our "Cooperation with the Courts" would have unintended consequences. In fact, my amend to you is that we did not practice that part of our requirements to assess where our precious autonomy would effect neighboring groups and AA as a whole in regard to any such cooperation with outside agencies.

Simply put, the Groups here have been unable to manage and keep the "Cooperation" from spilling over into "AFFILIATION". I would caution you that the long-form of Tradition 6 states, "While an AA group may cooperate with anyone, such cooperation ought never to go so far as affiliation or endorsement, ACTUAL OR IMPLIED". Emphasis mine.

Fresh probationers reeling from a serious alcohol arrest (or even a minor one) cannot discern between the punishment and the offer of help. Court/Probation departments cannot discern between an alcoholic and a party that made a mistake. From the governmental agencies side they feel "what can it hurt to send someone who is not an alcoholic to AA"? We fell for the same trap.

The effort to do the most good for the most drunks got us into huge problems. Here are but a few:

1-Anonymity is broken at both the level of the media AND personal anonymity in your own community. At the level of the media, national celebrities have their sentences published that they are to attend AA as part of the probation and then when they re-offend AA is seen as less than effective or the problem. Worse, violent criminals are given reduced sentences if they attend AA. Then this information is digested by potential members they are less likely to want to go a fellowship that is attended by convicted violent felons who are forced to attend. Again when the violent party re-offends it is front page news. The media is so expansive today that the Conference simply cannot control it with annual letters to the press.

On a personal level, your anonymity will be broken. You will be attending AA with parties that do not want to be there. Not having a desire to embrace the AA way of life they are not required to follow our Traditions. And they don't! Your meeting mate will leave your meeting and spread the word but it won't be the word of recovery. When he is a co-worker of your spouse or your boss or your child's teacher it can be very damaging to the relationships you are trying to rebuild. Many people in the United States travel 20-30 miles to attend a meeting when there is one just down the street. Many start underground/invite only meetings. 

2-Bureaucracies being what they are, they have never met a concept that isn't worth expanding. We started with Drug Courts then added Sobriety Courts, Mental Health Courts and Veterans Courts. In spite of studies that these courts are neither successful nor healthy they continue to send parties from all issues to the rooms of AA. The court does not share our purpose of to carry the message to the suffering alcoholic. Their goal is to say they did something! When things go wrong they feel their bases have been covered. They can pull out a folder filled with court slips (chits in your land) and say, "What more could we have done?" We sent them to AA! I have attended AA meetings with Court ordered child molesters, shoplifters, wife beaters, marijuana smokers, crack heads, pill heads, bad parents, bad employees and the list goes on. The issue is NOT that this was their crimes. My fourth step includes some of these very offenses. The issue is that these parties did not think that AA was the solution to their defects. They thought it was the solution to their legal issues. They thought it was the solution to a reduction in their jail sentence. Some weren't even problem drinkers let alone alcoholics.

3- AA stratifies. There is a line between those who meet the requirement and those who do not (remember the Big Book calls upon us to determine if a man is alcoholic AND willing before working with him. Such a discernment is not hard to do). Newcomers that have the desire to quit drinking get mixed in with the legions who do not. Most newcomers of either stripe consider existing AA to cliquish. They are right!

4-Cult activity increases. Senior members who long for a day when the Traditions meant something but are afraid to confront it was THEM who did not follow the Traditions, try to clamp down and re-create an AA that they once knew. Unfortunately that utopia can only exist when ALL attendees meet the only requirement for AA membership. The result is they practice "hardcore AA". That is except for the old time practice of presenting a simple spiritual toolkit and leaving it to the prospect to pick it up. The AA member cannot practice this style of AA because the "prospect" is sentenced to another 100-200 meetings.

5- You simply cannot practice "Working with Others" "To the Wives" and "To the employer" with someone who is coerced into attendance. If you do not believe me please re-read those chapters looking for the theme of not forcing anyone to do anything. It actually says that you may spoil a future opportunity.

6-All of these unintended consequences damage AA unity in a manner you cannot imagine. After 25 years of the wide scale practice, the percentage of parties that were around when the process started and can act as "elder statesmen" shrinks. The parties that cry we have always done it this way (they have always done it that way because they have less than 15 years sobriety) grows. Any mention of even taking a look at the issues is met with frothy emotional appeal and worse.

7-Unity is constantly in jeopardy. You cannot practice the "we" of the first step. The step says "we admitted" not "some of us admitted".

I hope my information makes up for our error of not performing our own due diligence in some small way. Please do not let our mistakes travel into your land and harm your groups. Read the Traditions with an eye to how ultra inclusiveness may lead you break other Traditions. Go to AA.org and read their guideline on "Cooperating with the Courts" ( link provided http://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/mg-05_coopwithcourt.pdf ). PLEASE read it with a focus on sections on how to solve the problems because by doing that you may be able to AVOID the problems. Read it scanning the horizon for damage you can do if you practice your group's autonomy without due diligence as to how it may effect AA as a whole.

There is a video on the website AA.org (link below) that specifically address the issue you face. Putting aside the implied affiliation caused by the fact that one of the chief speakers is a Non-alcoholic Trustee AND a former sobriety court judge; please listen to her advice to the Professionals she is addressing. She says that the probationers ought only be sent to Open Meetings. More importantly she says "if I were setting up a Sobriety Court today I would NOT rely on any system that requires that AA verifies attendance. In stead, I would train my professionals (probation officers) to be able to discern if the probationers were involved in the AA recovery program. In other words, she would make the government do their job! 


Please accept my sincere efforts to make amends for our mistakes. Please follow the Traditions in this and in all other matters. Please be aware that we fell for one or two court mandated attendees couldn't hurt. Now our meetings have 60-70 and even 90 per cent Court Affiliated Attendees. Our mistakes do not have to be yours. Once the toothpaste is our of the tube you will have a devil of a time getting it back into the tube.

As always use this email as this as you see fit or not at all,

Your friend, 


(edit to preserve anonymity)


The Fellas (Friends of Alcoholics Anonymous)

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

AA Conference questions (2015) contd

2. Review the revised Chapter Nine ‘Probation/Criminal Justice Service’ of the AA Service Handbook for Great Britain 2013.


Revised Chapter Nine ‘Probation/Criminal Justice Service’.

Comment: Sounds a doozy! Go for it! But only so long as it doesn't end up with a load of hapless non-alcoholics being driven through the doors of AA just so the government can save themselves a bit of cash at our expense!


The Fellas (Friends of Alcoholics Anonymous)

PS For AA Minority Report 2013 click here