AA MINORITY REPORT 2013

Click here

Saturday, 1 August 2015

A-wandering!


Yes. It's that time of year again - time for us to go a-wandering … and generally commune with nature. Gripping though the blog is we're quite sure you'll find ways of amusing yourselves

Cheers

The Fellas (Friends of Alcoholics Anonymous)

Friday, 31 July 2015

Shake, rattle and roll!


So there 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......

But then 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.

Now this 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!

Maybe 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 doesn't it!

Cheers

The Fellas (Friends of Alcoholics Anonymous ..... remaining stubbornly 'unrocketed'  ..... and rather boringly sober)

PS For AA Minority Report 2013 click here 

PPS Plymouth Intergroup corruption

Thursday, 30 July 2015

The Art of Chivalry


From our correspondent:

Picture 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?


Well, 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 David C (aka the Icon).

You 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.

Tally-ho Sir Knight! And …..Alleluia !


All 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.

Of 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 conduct (Big 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 (ibid 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 Book.

Back 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 puppets.

Chivalry may exist somewhere at some times, but cult chivalry is well and truly dead. In fact, it never existed in the first place. “

Comment: None needed

Cheers

The Fellas (Friends of Alcoholics Anonymous …. and far too liberated to engage in archaic and irrelevant romanticism)

PS Thanks to our correspondent


Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Threats!


Every now 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!

We received the following notification via our Twitter account (the offending account has already been reported and blocked):

John Doe @aacultwatch I would strongly advise you remove the 2 pictures of me or there will be consequences. You have been warned!”

Of course 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 images


this 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!

But the 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!!!!!

Cheers 

The Fellas (Friends of Alcoholics Anonymous .. and masters of the exclamation mark!!!!! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!! …. and also EXCESSIVE CAPITALISATION BY THE WAY!!) 

PS For AA Minority Report 2013 click here 

PPS Plymouth Intergroup corruption

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

A rationalisation for economic insecurity (or greed)


Source: The Twelve Concepts for World Service (and AA Service Manual)

pp. 60 – 65

See also “profits” (on blog) together with details of AA (Great Britain) accounts at Charity Commission website

Concept XII

General 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........

Warranty 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?

The 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.

In 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.

We 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 by example.

Warranty Two: “Sufficient operating funds, plus an ample Reserve, should be its prudent financial principle.”

In this connection we should pause to review our attitudes concerning money and its relation to service effort.

Our 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.

Above 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.

But 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.”

But 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.

When 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.

We 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 The 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)

These reassurances of course cannot be taken as a basis for the abandonment of the policy of financial prudence.

The 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 This 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.

In 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.

These 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 they raise.

Let us therefore try to test them. Do these views represent genuine prudence? Do we lack faith when we prudently insist on solvency?

By 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 answer: Yes)

As 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].

The 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 above]. 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]

Happily, 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.

It 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?

Now 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.

Next 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 point!] the going price. It appears to be altogether clear [is it?] that our world services need those book dollars far more than the buyers do.

Some 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.

While 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 …..]

________________

1
2013—about one to seventeen thousand, U.S. and Canada.
2
At 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.”

(our emphases)(our comments in red)

Comment: 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!

We 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.

Cheers

The Fellas (Friends of Alcoholics Anonymous … and NOT funded by profits from book sales ….. or indeed ANY other kind)

PS For AA Minority Report 2013 click here

PPS Plymouth Intergroup corruption

Monday, 27 July 2015

Five ways to stop the NSA from spying on you …..


. or anyone else for that matter!

See here

On 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, here, here, here, here and finally.....here. As a stage for the self-obsessed narcissist Facebook provides the ideal conduit for the ultimate in banal expression!

Cheers

The Fellas (Friends of Alcoholics Anonymous .. and almost entirely anti-social …. media that is!)

PS For AA Minority Report 2013 click here

PPS Plymouth Intergroup corruption

Sunday, 26 July 2015

'Plastic gangstas'!


Yet more 'feedback' from the Road to Recovery Plymouth cult group.

Wayne with one of his little chums 'carrying the AA message':


Hardly 'attractive'!

'Tramp stamp'


Proud to be a Roadie”

Maybe a little bit sad!

And yet another incisive observation from a Roadie (using actual words this time!)


No surprises there then!

Cheers

The Fellas (Friends of Alcoholics Anonymous)

PS Keep 'em coming Wayne!

PPS For AA Minority Report 2013 click here

PPPS Plymouth Intergroup corruption