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December 17, 2008


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I asked for someone to step up to take over the beginner's meeting come January. And after the meeting, someone asked me to be their sponsor. Amazing how all of this works.


My primary purpose? I know that helping the still suffering alcoholic is the primary purpose of the AA group but does it have to be my primary purpose. I have started hearing this is the rooms in the last few years and I think it is one of those phrases that are subtly distorted by the more "cult-like" groups and members. I think the people who wrote the steps and traditions (Bill W and others) were quite intelligent in putting this as the purpose of the group and not of the individual. Granted it is also the goal of the steps and is talked about a lot in the Big Book, but I am not sure it remains, or was ever, my primary purpose. Bill W. writes somewhere in As Bill Sees It (is that what it is called now) to an oldtimer something like "whether you take that 12 step call or not is your decision." I would also add that telling me what my primary purpose is (if that what AA or its members are doing) goes contrary to my religious beliefs and I was promised by AA when I came in that there would be no infringement of my right to believe as I wished. My religious beliefs tell me I have another primary purpose. (I will not go into that here in detail, but I am sure you can gather that many people in AA may have religions which tell them that they have other primary purposes in life.) Finally, a story, a gentleman I know and like entered AA (one of the big cultish meetings on the upper East Side of NYC) late in life after he married a woman who was a big wig in that meeting. I knew him for years and saw no indication of even heavy drinking. He told me that AA was great for him "gave him a purpose in life" since now he could take others through the Big Book. A light went off in my head. See I would not say it was great primarily because it gave me a purpose in life. As a real alcoholic I am grateful for AA because it stopped me from drinking and gave me a way up and out. On the basis of that I carry the message and do so because it keeps me sober. I am uninterested if it gives me a purpose (primary or otherwise) in my life. But I'm an old-fashioned AAer.

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