“RECOVERIES ANONYMOUS should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.”
1. In the 12 & 12, on page 166, in the middle of the first paragraph, in the center of the fifth line, it says:
“Almost no recovery from alcoholism has ever been brought about by the world’s best professionals, whether medical or religious. We do not decry professionalism in other fields, but we accept the sober fact that it does not work for us. Every time we have tried to professionalize our Twelfth Step, the result has been exactly the same: Our single purpose has been defeated.”
2. Receiving financial compensation for carrying the Twelfth Step's message of recovery invalidates the whole concept of giving of ourselves without any thought of reward.
3. The concept of compensation is self-centered and diametrically opposed to the God-centered philosophy of the program.
4. In addition, as was shared before, therapy, whether individual or group, support groups and other forums where people can share their lives, do provide great comfort. People do feel better within them. However, they don’t get recovered within them.
5. Reaching a point at which we feel better is quite a bit different from permanently solving our problems or stopping our behaviors. Why is there such a difference in the result?
6. For an answer, all we need to do is look at the focus. Most therapy sessions, and many of the other fellowships are designed around the premise that self-knowledge is the answer. They are designed to produce an understanding of ourselves at a deeper level.
7. Since our problem from the start, has been that we are self-centered, what invariably happens is that we reinforce the problem. Therapy that is self-centered simply doesn’t work.
8. On the other hand, many therapists have embraced the concept of the Twelve Steps and use the Twelve Steps to help get their patients out of themselves. They find that helping someone get out of themselves, and become God centered instead of self-centered does work.
9. That’s the main difference. Anything that enables us to become more self-centered, very often makes us sicker. The focus of this program is diametrically opposed to most standard forms of therapy. This explains why R.A.'s program works for the kinds of problems and behaviors that bring someone to a Twelve Step program, and therapy sometimes does not.
10. The other aspect of the Eighth Tradition is the issue of employing workers.
11. On the top of page 167, in the middle of the first line, it says:
“Caretakers who swept floors, cooks who fried hamburgers, secretaries in offices, authors writing books—all these we have seen hotly assailed because they were, as their critics angrily remarked, ‘making money out of A.A.’ Ignoring the fact that these labors were not Twelfth Step jobs at all, the critics attacked as A.A. professionals these workers of ours who were often doing thankless tasks that no one else could or would do.”
12. In an office, someone has to answer the phone. If that individual is not a member of that fellowship, then obviously they should be paid for their services of answering the phone or doing whatever a secretary or receptionist would do. Why should a member not be paid for doing the same service for which a non-member would automatically be paid? The answer is that of course, they should be paid.
13. The very fact that they are members, by the way, enables them to answer the phone far more effectively than a non-member would be able.
14. The Twelfth Step, the carrying of the message of recovery, the doing of that type of service, is not paid for; it couldn’t be paid for.
15. However, any white-collar or blue-collar service that would normally be paid for if the fellowship needed to employ a non-member should also be paid for even if it is a member performing it.
16. In the 12 & 12, on page 167, the second paragraph says:
“At last, however, a plain line of cleavage could be seen between professionalism and nonprofessionalism. When we had agreed that the Twelfth Step couldn’t be sold for money, we had been wise. But when we had declared that our Fellowship couldn’t hire service workers nor could any A.A. member carry our knowledge into other fields, we were taking the counsel of fear, fear which today has been largely dispelled in the light of experience.”
17. Bill Wilson, for instance, was paid royalties on what he wrote for the fellowship. These royalties were his source of income. If the fellowship had hired a professional writer, that person would of course, have been paid for their services as an author. Why shouldn’t Bill have been paid for his services as an author?
18. Bill was never paid for working with others, for speaking at meetings, for carrying the message of recovery. That’s the distinction. That’s the difference.
19. In the 12 & 12, on page 171, the last sentence of the chapter says:
“Our Twelfth Step is never to be paid for, but those who labor in service for us are worthy of their hire.”
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