Member: richard m.
Location: sarasota, floria
Date: 26 Apr 1999
Time: 17:54:00


thanks for the topic name is richard, richard m.......i am an alcoholic ! with 4867 days since my start in this way of life ....i have attended many neetings ( over 4,000 ) and some comon things have occured ....i haven't gone back to drinking..... neither have some ofthe others ......some didn't make it .but returned ..some commited suicide ..some died natural deaths ...... as a group we simply have one simple purpose .to stay sober and help another alcoholic achieve sobriety !!!! i have come to understand that each group may administer "the program"....A.A. big book...confrence approved.material it finds appropriate !!!!!...the only problem ...when a group tries to change A.A.'s sugested way ......and still maintain that its an a.a. program....well thats when the problems start..i have seen it all to often ..we must really practise these traditions as well ....and of course being sober it should be a little easier .heh? It is vital to our indvidual health as well as our group health....

Member: Avril G
Location: Driffield UK
Date: 26 Apr 1999
Time: 18:23:37


Thanks for opening the sharing on Trad.4, Richard. Not much difference here on the computer, to usual Tradition meetings - People are usually conspicuous by their absence at Trad. meetings(LOL) I stayed away from the traditions meetings for long enough myself - Until I got sick of being sick, then I attended any meeting available. The best literature, IMHO, which explains Tradition four in its simplicity, and in Bill W's own words, is The Language of the Heart(Bill W's Grapevine Writings) Pages 80-82. "...With respect to its own affairs, the group may make decisions, adopt any attitude it likes. No overall or intergroup authority should challenge this primary privilege. We feel this ought to be so, even though the group might sometimes act with complete indifference to our Traditions...." Today, I try to practise all of AA's principles in all my affairs, and since I am very involved in service, and have been for some time now, I have to have a good working knowledge of the traditions as well as the steps. In certain areas of service (eg. PICPC) it is so easy to go off 'Half-cocked' with a big ego which says "I AM IMPORTANT - Look at ME" (I speak from early experience of service in this area - LOL) Thank God it was much later that I was entrusted with the post of P.I. Officer at Intergroup level, and through earlier mistakes (And a damn good service sponsor) I had learnt a few valuable lessons in 'How NOT To' Thank God, that the meetings in which I found sobriety (Mainly South and West Yorkshire - UK) the traditions were discussed regularly (Usually, after every fourth step, there was a tradition meeting) which was never well attended, but the people who DID attend, knew what I needed to hear. I am grateful to all whose experience was passed on to me, and I have found a whole new circle of friends here in Cyberspace, and I wanna thank each & every one of you for being here for me. God Bless you all

Member: Mary H
Location: NH
Date: 26 Apr 1999
Time: 18:44:34


This tradition helps us to keep it simple.

It also allows us to have God decide how each group individually should operate. One time we formed a group named mother's hours. It was in the basement of a church were children were encourage to come and play in the play room while the parents had the meeting. I also have been involved in a meeting that paid a babysitter with the collection. Again, so parents could listen at the meeting while children played in the other room. But then there are closed meetings, were it is suggested that children not be present. Imagaine the kaos if one group tried to put it's practice across the board. There wouldn't be autonomy, that's for sure.

I love A.A. and I thank God for it in my life.

Member: BOB T
Location: St. Louis, MO
Date: 26 Apr 1999
Time: 20:52:04


On investigating the Traditions I like to look at the long form of which the 4th trad says.

"With respect to its own affairs, each group should be responsible to no other authority than its own conscience. But when its plans concern the welfare of neighboring groups also, those groups ought to be consulted. And no group, regional committee, or individual should ever take any action that might greatly affect A.A. as a whole without conferring with the trustees of the General Service Board. On such issues our common welfare is paramount."

The traditions ask me to set aside my personal desires and ambitions for the well being of the whole. This tradition asks that I do my part as a group member and a member of its conscience to be responsible for the groups health in carrying the message of AA. And not to depend on those who are not group members. Also I feel it important that I dont take on the responsibility of seeing that someone elses group is taken care of, for they must do that themselves as this principle is of extreme importance for our future.

No district, area, or conference committee can tell a group what to or what not to do, however, this tradition also asks that each group take its own inventory. Each group has the right to learn from its own mistakes, but it has the responsibility to consult with those who MIGHT be affected by their actions. I have seen well meaning groups and self appointed committees try to implement "good" ideas. Only to find that the local AA community request they not go ahead as the good is sometimes the enemy of the best.

And those who trust in the conscience of their AA community to subject their ideas to analysis before acting really demonstrates the power of humilty and its importance for the unity and preservation of alcoholics anonymous. The practice of the traditions is the guarantee that AA will be here for our children.

Member: Elvis Z
Location: Princeton, Minn
Date: 27 Apr 1999
Time: 13:21:04


Elvis, alcoholic. Tradition 4 gives us the latitutude we need to become happy, joyous, and free. Different areas have different customs that work for them. I have been fortunate to have attended meetings across much of the U.S. and in spite of minor differences the thing that stands out the most is our sameness with one another. Also please read the 12 & 12 about this tradition and adhere to Rule #62. Love to all in this wonderful program.

Member: Elizabeth S.
Location: Southeast
Date: 27 Apr 1999
Time: 16:06:03


hi, my names is elizabeth, I'm an alcoholic! my experience with the fourt tradition came the first year i served as gsr of my home group. the group conscience was concerned that another group (in the same clubhouse) were telling their members to celebrate with our home group instead of planning and buying their own cake. It was brought before the group and they decided that they would ask the other group not to announce that their members should celebrate their birthday at our group (not that they could not celebrate, but we (group conscience) did not want them to "announce" that they celebrate at our group. Well it caused some controversy but because of the fourth tradition, the controversy was short lived. The other group began to celebrate the birthdays of their members at their group. Our groups was literally bearing the cost of their members' birthdays because they would not celebrate birthday! I thank God for "principles before personalities!"

Member: Larry M.
Location: Virginia Beach
Date: 28 Apr 1999
Time: 14:39:07


Larry, alcoholic

This Tradition protects the groups from AA and protects AA from the groups. Part of the Tradition deals with not allowing AA to become a bureaucratic ruling body that imposes its will upon the groups. The other part of the Traditions asks the groups to respect and be considerate of other groups and AA as a whole. In other words, with freedom comes responsibility.

The result is a dynamic, diverse fellowship where everyone should be able to find a group where they feel at home or, failing that, the freedom to start their own group! Like Elvis, I also love to visit different groups around the country. They are all a little different, but at the core they're all the same. The variety of meetings - speaker meetings, beginner meetings, step study meetings, Big Book study meetings, etc. - all adds to the richness of our fellowship. The different group personas - from the easy-going to the "tough love" - also ensure that everyone gets a chance to find what they need.

Without this Tradition, AA today might be a very rigid, hierarchical "organization" rather than the wonderful fellowship it has become.

Peace & Serenity

Member: Bill T.
Location: Ridgefield, Wa
Date: 28 Apr 1999
Time: 23:17:57


Hello there MY name is Bill T. I'am a member AA, Trad. 4 good one reading down the comments there sure is differents of opion. But I belong to group that pastes the basket twice, one for the rent etc. and once for the babysitter. After comeing to this program 20yr + and have not had to take a drink, my thought is these: each group is going to do what they think is best. Sorry to say but thing's have changes since I came into the program, but one thing stays the same, no matter what we only have one day at a time. So what ever your thought is on a Trad. there are here and they do work no matter what we think. Group's vote on the way they are going to run them=self so if you don't like the way a group is run.. Join it and voice your opions.

In Service Bill

Member: Rich B.
Location: Ridley Park,Pa.
Date: 29 Apr 1999
Time: 10:25:34


Hi everyone,Rich have a question that relates to this tradition. My home group is going to have a picnic to celebrate it's anniversary and they want to use some of the monies collected when we pass the basket.Some members say this brakes tradition and others say "Each group is autonomous," and can do whatever group conscience decides. I WELCOME ANY FEEDBACK, as I'm not sure what is the right thing to do.

Member: Betty L.
Location: Southeast coast.
Date: 29 Apr 1999
Time: 11:27:25


“Each group is autonomous.” I personally find it very difficult to put something in the basket for a group that spends money for food. I have seen too many of these eating meetings turn into a hot bed of resentments. IMO the money in the basket is to pass the message, at local, state and national levels. My home group adheres to that, and that is one reason it is my home group.

Member: Jean-Claude T.
Location: Belgium
Date: 29 Apr 1999
Time: 14:09:49


My name is JC and I'm an alcoholic. The Traditions stand for the sanity of the group like the Steps stand for the recovery of the individual. If I don't follow the Steps, I'll punish myself, noone else will. If the group don't stick to the Traditions, it is bound to split or worse its members will go back drinkin' again. At least that's what I heard through the experiences of many an alcoholic. I'm grateful for the 4th Tradition, it's the guideline of AA's unity. It is garant that, anywhere I go, I can walk in an AA meeting, feel home and continue to save my life, one day at a time. I thank God that my home group is discussing the Traditions on a regular base and is following them guidelines. When our elders wrote the Traditions, they've established a fellowship that now lives for more than 60 years all over the world. They have planified to save this alky some 60 years ago, can you figure that (yes, I'm still a little bit egocentric). I'm bound to be grateful to them, to AA, to my group and to my HP. Thanks for letting me share.

Member: Paul N
Location: New York
Date: 29 Apr 1999
Time: 17:02:55


My name is Paul and Im an alcoholic. Whenever we have food meetings or events we bring a dish to pass or have a seperate basket for special events.

Member: BOB T
Location: St. Louis, MO
Date: 29 Apr 1999
Time: 17:54:01


TO Rich B.: I will share with you that, if you ask God to give you the answer that is right for you, you will recieve it in your heart and in your gut. That doesnt mean that you are necessarily right as God does not take sides but all the yesses and nos are part of God expressing Himself in the group conscience and are all a part of the whole answer. It may mean that your group makes a "so-called mistake", I say so-called because it may be God directed. If it is then see what you can learn either way. As our friend Bill T. above knows, what is more important to AA is that a member such as yourself learn to ask God for the right thought or action and learn to distinguish between the letter and the Spirit of these traditions. That will be more important than anyone telling you what you should logically think about a given situation. This was not intended to answer your question but, I got to share with a drunk and you got to listen to one and we both stayed sober.

Ask with your heart, Bob

Member: John M.
Location: Ventura
Date: 30 Apr 1999
Time: 07:23:49


My name is John and I am an alcoholic. I love this tradition because it allows for a variety of meeting "styles" to exist. Sometimes I want to go to a meeting where newcomers and out of towners are encouraged to share, and other times I just want to here the same old rhetoric you get from less open meetings. One meeting I like to attend is always a "volunteer" sharing type, this is my favorite but sometimes it gets chaotic and way off base. Another meeting I attend is very close minded where a select few call only on each other, but they use their control to keep the message clear. Also I the the fact we can have group discussion on the format and type of meeting without any dictates from a central authority. Yhe best part of this is if a meeting fails we have no one to blame but ourselves.

Member: Caroline P.
Location: Austin, TX
Date: 01 May 1999
Time: 01:19:49


Hi Everyone! How are you? One of the things that interests me about this Tradition is that it allows each group to decide things on its own. In early recovery it was scarey for me to decide things, and make my own decisions, because I was terrified to fail. So, I think it is healthy for each group to risk, and learn from their mistakes and successes. The members have to take on jobs, vote on issues, make decisions.....if the group was not entirely on its owns for these things - how healthy would its members be? Well, its late, and I am tired....One Day at a Time to all, and to all a good night. Caroline

Member: Doc S.
Location: South Korea
Date: 02 May 1999
Time: 05:21:23


My server at honam.honam has been down, so I lost my last posting and anything relevant to it. If you are trying to reach me for any reason including taking inventory write

I've been reading Raymond Carver's stories which concern recovery among other things. Does anyone know "Cathedral"? It's uplifting and beautiful, I recommend it. Another one "Where I'm Calling from" is about life in a rehab retreat.

Best Wishes, Doc (a nickname sometimes given to piano players, cardsharps or lost travelers like "Doctor Livingston, I preseume." Gotta go.