“Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy.” This is tradition ten of the Alcoholics Anonymous program.
Though plenty of opportunities exist to do so, Alcoholics Anonymous never takes sides in public debates. They even avoid important conversations to which they could lend much insight. They do not back any political candidate. They do not decry organizations that endorse alcohol. They simply do not get involved any public controversy.
A large, well-known, widely respected organization such as Alcoholics Anonymous could certainly have a positive impact on the world by putting their weight behind carefully selected issues. So, why would they intentionally keep quiet when they could possibly do so much good?
The answer is that their “mission” is to stay sober themselves and help other alcoholics to get and stay sober. Changing the outside world is simply not on their list of objectives. Further, members of AA rely upon the availability of the group for their very lives. Taking a stand that would jeopardize the group would mean also putting the members’ lives at risk.
Alcoholics Anonymous In the News
Recently, a well-known actor railed publicly against…well everything. This actor, who is just as famous for his struggles with drugs and alcohol as he is for acting, verbally laid waste to everyone around him including his boss. Oops…now his show is canceled.
In his rants he decries the failings of AA and challenges anyone to debate him on the efficacy of the organization. Rather than be baited, countless AA members around the world quietly smile and say a prayer for this troubled man. They will not get involved in a public debate, but they will help him if he asks for it.
History Repeats Itself…Maybe…
AA learned from history. The Washingtonian Movement was a fellowship founded in 1840 that very nearly had the answer for Alcoholism. The group was founded by several hard drinking buddies. They focused of helping alcoholics in a “man to man” style similar to that adopted later by AA.
Their numbers swelled into the hundreds of thousands. But, with in a few years they were all but gone because they became fragmented in their primary purpose, becoming involved with all manner of controversial social reforms including prohibition, sectarian religion, politics and abolition of slavery.
Not wanting to fall prey to the same end as their predecessors, AA, like Switzerland, does not get involved in outside conflicts. Instead, they keep a laser-like focus on the purpose of their existence…helping alcoholics get and stay sober.
After years of battling alcohol, Clay was lucky enough to find the strength to get sober. The transition to a sober lifestyle has not been easy, but the rewards have been well worth the struggle.
Getting sober is a very personal experience and Clay does not specifically endorse any one method over another. The bottom line is that…if you have a problem with alcohol, drugs, sex, gambling or some other addiction, there is hope! If you are willing to do some hard work, you can overcome!