Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The 1st Tradition

I went to a meeting tonight; in fact, I've been to meetings every night since Sunday. I've been in a difficult place; a lot of personal things going on. Tonight's topic was the 1st Tradition, each group should be autonomous . . . .

It got me thinking about what kinds of meetings I like to attend. The town where I live has one meeting per night, so there isn't much choice. I hit most of them from time to time, Sunday night is my home group. There is one meeting in town, though, that I don't attend. It's an "everything has to go exactly like what is on the format" or the poobahs that started the meeting will have apoplexy. I call it a control issue, but what do I know?

I know as an addict, I don't like authority, never did, and despite many inventories and a new Fourth Step in progress, probably never will. I didn't come to NA to have someone else's ideas of how to behave or what direction the sharing in a meeting "must" go, right or left, pushed down my throat. If that attitude will cause me to rebel, imagine what it will do to newcomers.

Tonight I shared about the type meetings I support. To my taste, the best meetings are relaxed; yes, there are some ground rules, but there is a good deal of bantering that could be construed, in those oh-so-rigid meetings, as crosstalk.

I like meetings where we don't read everything NA has ever written, nor take up the entire hour reading from literature at a literature study. Even with my years clean, I can't pay attention that long.

I also like meetings where people don't share to correct members who spoke before them, no matter how much clean time the "correctors" have. The program I work may get someone else loaded. There are a few things I've learned that I think are musts, but that's my path and I don't have to correct everyone who differs with the way I think the Program works.

My favorite meetings are those that make a big fuss over newcomers, greet new people to the meeting they may not know, and that start on time and end, reasonably on time. I don't like candlelight meetings because, as I learned from my old friend Red, newcomers needs to look you in the eye so they know you aren't bullshitting them about staying clean.

One local meeting just had a group conscience and decided to outlaw text messaging in the meeting. I don't like meetings that change their format to address one problem rather than talking to the "problem" and straightening it out, or not. Personally, if someone wants to sit in meetings and text message, who is it hurting but him?

If there is scandal revolving around a meeting as we've had here for a few months, I refuse to listen to the gossip. I simply tell people that "I don't want to hear it." A meeting that is spiritually unfit will die; it is that simple. If I don't like the things that I believe are going on in a meeting, I can either attend it and hope to steer it back toward center (not my center, an atmosphere of recovery that our literature describes), or not support the meeting and simply say, if asked, that "I don't go to that meeting." It's not my duty to run around town spreading more gossip about the meeting to try to stir up support and "save" the meeting.

Our First Tradition is a strong tie that can bind us together if we remember that it's all about our "common" welfare, not my group's welfare at the expense of another group's.

And here's another opinion. If your sponsor, after taking you through the Steps, doesn't then take you through the Traditions, offer to go through them together with him or her. They may never have done so.

The Traditions are just as important in our recovery, if we want to keep what we have, as are the Steps,
in my opinion, anyway.

Well, I am exiting my soapbox for an early bedtime. Tomorrow is another day.


Meg Moran said...

You make some good points. My favoite meetings are the ones where there is enough "space" for God to be present. That means we can't have too many egos crowding up the room. Regardless of format, when HP is in charge that "atmosphere of recovery" miraculously just happens.

Syd said...

Amen to all that you said. I don't like control and there is one meeting that I attend where there is a dominant person who corrects, runs, and scolds. I've seen a person run off from the meeting. I don't like control at all. I still go because it is close by but prefer my other meetings and the central AA meeting now. I can take what I need and leave the rest.

msb said...

I my area there is a bunch of controversy about something, something I remember having alot of issues around in days gone by. If someone asks me I just ask whats the spiritual priniple being to support whatever it is. I don't seem to have the attachment to all that stuff that controversy is made up of today but I think I'm really just getting senile. a new freedom really. bliss.

ScOuT said...

Agreed with the importance of the Traditions. My home group is a Tradition Study meeting. And despite being through all of them countless times now, I still learn something new and useful nearly every meeting. After all, the Traditions are there to help us in relationships -- I need all the help I can get.
What I have found, in my newcomer view, is that many members who know anything at all about Traditions, use the "application of" the tradition as a way to justify whatever hair happens to be up their butt at the time. And they completely miss the spirit in which it was written. But those are also usually the same members who think they can puff out their chests because they know about the know what my defiant, righteous ass thinks about that kind of crap. Well, whoopee-dee-fricking-doo! ;-) Anyway, I digress because I am cracking myself up here. lol!
As for meetings and formats and all of that? I really like how Meg put it. I need meetings where G-d is allowed to present. If G-d can't find a chair, then I consider that meeting too crowded.
Thanks for another great post. I needed it!
Peace and Love to my 2 dawg,

vicariousrising said...

Great post and great comment contributions. Gives me a lot to think about. Thanks everyone.

Pam said...

I hear ya sista !!!