This week's HTYH will begin a discussion of Step Six, but first I want to share that Dick S. who's retired and living in Oklahoma visited WUMC's Monday night 12 & 12 meeting to celebrate his 28th year of sobriety. Dick was one of three people who started WUMC's 12 & 12 meeting and was pleased to see it's survived and thrived. The topic for discussion was Tradition Ten, Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the AA name ought never be drawn into public controversy. Dick said it pleased him to see our meeting talking about the Traditions and recalled being a patient in a local hospital and reading the traditions. Dick said, "As I read through the traditions I wondered how any corporation large or small could survive with just one membership rule ("a desire to stop drinking"). Without any rules or people to enforce them it sounded like anarchy." The third tradition said, "We are, but trusted servants, we do not govern," and others stated that the only authority over any group is the Will of a loving God as he may express himself through that group's collective conscious. Furthermore, it said there were no dues or fees for membership and that it was a program of attraction and not promotion?
Tradition Ten is especially important because it makes everything except alcohol and alcoholism an outside issue. Approximately ten to fourteen percent of the world's population suffers from the fatal disease of alcoholism and the program of Alcoholics Anonymous has an effective solution for the malady. AA's solution will not cure the disease of alcoholism, but it will keep it in remission one-day-at-a-time, so long as the patient is willing to do a few simple daily actions. The diagnosis for alcoholism is: alcoholism is, but a symptom of a greater malady which is spiritual disease, spirit disharmony, negative soul polarity or bad attitude and the remedy is a complete psychic change, spiritual awakening, to be re-born, or a 'Hank William's' attitude adjustment.
Although many people mistakenly believe AA is anti-alcohol or in favor of prohibition, nothing could be further from the truth. AA's sole purpose is to maintain sobriety in people afflicted with the disease of alcoholism and to help others who wish to do the same. There's not enough space in this column to fully discuss Bill Wilson's Twelve Traditions, but if we hang around enough AA meetings we will eventually hear all the steps and traditions fully discussed.
Step Six: "Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character." Bill Wilson said in his 12 & 12 book that Step Six is necessary to spiritual growth; it's the beginning of a lifetime job and the recognition of the difference between striving for objectives and perfection. Why we must keep trying! "Being ready," is all-important and knowing that delay is danger necessitates action and that our rebellion may be fatal, we abandon limited objectives and move toward God's Will for us.
Next week's HTYH will be more about Step Six and it will be taken from professor Chesnut's book "The Higher Power of the Twelve Step Program," Sgt Bill's book, "On the Military Firing Line, " and Bill Wilson's, "12 Steps and Twelve Traditions."