Ottawa Area Intergroup newsletter, Our Primary Purpose,
Area Intergroup, May 2002
As an individual, my primary purpose is to stay sober
and to help other alcoholics achieve sobriety. As a group,
our primary purpose is to help the alcoholic who still
suffers. This is pretty simple stuff, isn’t it?
But is it too simple? At meetings recently, I have sensed
something else going on. I couldn’t quite put my
finger on it until I heard one member say to another,
“Yeah, I really liked that validation that we did
last night.” I immediately had a sick feeling in
my stomach and was glad that I had missed the meeting
where everyone “validated” each other. If
that had happened at my first meeting, you wouldn’t
be reading this now. I’d either be drunk or dead.
I’m talking about is a tendency to bring other ways
of staying sober into our groups. How can I argue if people
are not drinking? In this question lies my dilemma. Has
our purpose changed from “not drinking”? At
another meeting recently I heard someone say, “There
are solutions.” This statement struck me as odd.
I found myself wondering why BillW. Didn’t write:
“There are solutions” instead of “There
is a solution.” Just yesterday after the meeting,
I saw a brand-new newcomer - I mean first meeting - standing
apart while everyone talked about what churches they go
does this weigh so heavily on my mind? Well, the answer
I’ve come up with is this: If I ever begin to believe
that there is “another way,”, “a “back
door,” I am on my way back out there. It wasn’t
easy for me to come into AA. It took years of drinking,
lying, cheating (both kinds), stealing, and denial before
I picked up the phone and called AA for help. That Friday
morning I knew it was over. There were no more back doors.
No more cons to pull. No more lies to be told. It was
over - period. All of my ways had failed, and I finally
had given in to reality. I was an alcoholic and needed
help, and somehow I intuitively knew that I would find
the answer in AA.
wonder if we are really helping newcomers when we introduce
"other ways" of staying sober in our meetings.
I am grateful that when I came into AA there was only
one signal coming through at the meetings I went to: Don't
drink. Go to meetings. Get a sponsor and work the Steps.
Maybe this other stuff was being discussed back then too,
but after my first meeting a guy named Sam came up to
me and sort of swayed his bottle of Dr. Pepper under my
nose and said, "Don't worry about a lot of the stuff
that was said here tonight, just keep coming back. We're
here every night at 8:30." Thanks, Sam. Had I heard
of personal growth retreats, church groups, or validation
meetings, I might have wandered down another path and
not be trudging the road of happy destiny today.