“R.A., as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.”
1. In the 12 & 12, on page 173, in the first full paragraph, in the middle of the second line, it says:
“Neither its General Service Conference, its Foundation Board, nor the humblest group committee can issue a single directive to an A.A. member and make it stick, let alone mete out any punishment. We’ve tried it lots of times, but utter failure is always the result. Groups have tried to expel members, but the banished have come back to sit in the meeting place, saying, ‘This is life for us; you can’t keep us out.’ Committees have instructed many an A.A. to stop working on a chronic backslider, only to be told: ‘How I do my Twelfth Step work is my business. Who are you to judge?’ This doesn’t mean an A.A. won’t take advice or suggestions from more experienced members, but he surely won’t take orders.”
2. Nor does he have to. Part of our program, our traditions is that no one can tell anyone what to do and make it stick.
3. On the top of page 174, in the top paragraph, the last sentence says:
“We recognize that alcoholics can’t be dictated to — individually or collectively.”
Skipping down to the middle of the next paragraph, it says:
“Unless each A.A. member follows to the best of his ability our suggested Twelve Steps to recovery, he almost certainly signs his own death warrant. His drunkenness and dissolution are not penalties inflicted by people in authority; they result from his personal disobedience to spiritual principles.
“The same stern threat applies to the group itself. Unless there is approximate conformity to A.A.’s Twelve Traditions, the group, too, can deteriorate and die.”
4. That is why the fellowship could afford to recognize that each group has a right to be autonomous. If a group doesn’t adhere to the traditions, if it doesn’t work toward a common goal, it won’t survive for long. Many groups have ceased to exist because they did not adhere to the traditions.
5. And it’s the same for individuals. When they don’t adhere to the traditions, they may not recover.
Please use R.A.'s Questions and Answers Forum to ask any questions or make any comments about any of this.