Wednesday, December 16, 2009

AA Renewal



I'm reluctant to post this here but it seems like I need to at least mention this on this blog for, well, I don't know - integrity?

There is a minority of folks in Alcoholics Anonymous who feel that AA may be sick as an organization and, perhaps, as a fellowship.  We are not sure what, if anything, could or should be done about it but we see symptoms of this illness in our meetings and our AA business endeavors (e.g. our service commitments).

We are not among those who feel the need to bash AA or that AA as an institution is actually harming people.  To the contrary, all of us involved in this thus far feel we owe our sobriety, our very lives to AA as it existed when we found it in that it led us to accept the grace of God and become spiritually awakened as a consequence of AA's program of recovery.

We are convinced that, if AA is to change (a big if), it will change as a consequence of people talking about what changes might be made at coffee around our meetings, at our groups' business meetings, at our assemblies and our General Service Conference.  What a few of us realized this past fall is that we wanted to have an area where we would be able to brainstorm and collaborate about what AA could do to fix what we feel are fundamental problems in our organization.

Or, perhaps what we know as "AA" today should just be allowed to disappear and that the next organization (if any) to come up will be born anew from the ashes of that old organization?

I don't know the answer.  I don't think anyone who's participated in this effort so far feels that we know all the answers.

What I do know is that, for me as a member of AA today, if AA were to pass into obscurity by, in part, my lack of action, I would wonder if "I should have done something..."  So, I am participating in this new site where we hope to be sorting out some of these thoughts.  Again, this is not a new "movement" or a set of folks who want to do anything other than seek some clarity about the hard issues we need to face and deal with as a fellowship.

Or deliberately decide not to.

So, if you care, check out aarenewal.org.  Participate and/or register if you want to.  Mention it to others if it seems useful.  Ignore it completely if it seems irrelevant or against your principles of participation in AA.

All that said, I think what I've generally been doing on this blog is completely separate from my participation on the aarenewal.org site.  While I might share my experiences as a sober member in both places, what I see is that this blog is only a reflection of my personal experience trying to apply the AA principles in an imperfect life.  That other space is a place we're trying to improve an organization we think is imperfect by applying these principles.  Related but not the same.

But, I thought some readers here might want to know something about where my head has been at when I'm not writing here...

4 comments:

Syd said...

Is it AA that is broken or is it the people within AA who are the imperfect ones? As an analogy, I see that Al-Anon is a good program. I can't see any fault with the steps and traditions. However, I see a whole range of membership and all that brings with it. I don't think that it's possible to rid humans of character defects. We still cling to those, even though they take us down like a stone.

Mary Christine said...

You are so good at writing responsibly about this. I just made a mess of it - again.

Mike said...

Thanks for the post.
AA can be a wonderful experience, or it can be an awful experience. It truly is what you make of it. This program doesn't need to change. It does have flexibility becuase it does care about it's members.
I know that when I was a beginner, AA was there for me. I know after a number of years, I don't attend as much because my life is much more in order than it was when I first came in the door.
I don't have the same fears. I have my character defects of course but I am more capable at looking at them.

Doc in Al-Anon said...

I followed your links and read what you have posted on the aarenewal.org website. Thanks for sharing this. As a member of Al-Anon I often look around and notice the ages of people in the room. We're an older crowd! I sometimes wonder if 'the hand of Al-Anon' will still be there for me, or anyone else who needs it, twenty or thirty years from now.
Your research into online recovery is very, very interesting reading. I've been blogging a very short time. I was looking for away to keep Al-Anon fresh, and thought this would force some daily discipline into my practice. So far, it has worked beyond my expectations. Al-Anon is back in the forefront of my mind, again. Interesting to read that you've had a similar experience.
I wish you all the best with your renewal project in our sister organization.