Clay Cutts, L.C.S.W. | Alcoholics Anonymous – A True Fellowship?

Alcoholics Anonymous – A True Fellowship?

Alcoholics AnonymousTradition nine of the Alcoholics Anonymous program says that “A.A., as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.”

Lack of organization rails against our every instinct. We see rules and regulation everywhere we go. Our teacher tells us that we must sit in our seat. Our boss tells us that we must show up at a certain time. Even the sign at the swimming pool says that we must not run or dive.

How can a group of any significant size lack specific organization? Alcoholics Anonymous does just that.

Alcoholics Anonymous has no leaders, only trusted servants. Each AA group elects a “board” of individuals from among its members. These members meet regularly, usually once per month. The positions are similar to other boards. A secretary convenes the meeting and calls for others in attendance to follow the agenda. An assistant secretary takes minutes for the meeting. The treasurer gives an account of how much money was taken in via donations and how much was spent on such items as rent, coffee, and literature.

In this way, Alcoholics Anonymous is very similar to other organizations. But, an important distinction exists. These people are “directly responsible to those they serve”.

Being on a board in AA does not mean holding a position of power. In fact, it means holding a position of subservience. Members are refereed to as “trusted servants” because they are expected to be of service to the group, always looking out for its best interests.

Alcoholics Anonymous And Being of Service

One of the distinguishing characteristics of AA “leadership” is the expectation that they be of service to the group. This means that, rather than sit in a position of authority, they uphold the will of the group at large.

Board members have absolutely no authority at all.

Alcoholics Anonymous And The Importance of A Fellowship

This lack of organization is why they proudly claim the label of “fellowship”. They are a group of fellow sufferers who are loyal to and beholden to the themselves and each other.

Each member is suffering from a deadly disease. To go against the group…to rock the boat…would be tantamount to signing his own death sentence. His very survival depends on upholding the will of the group for the good of the group.

This is why no “shalls” and “shall-nots” are necessary.

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