AA Tradition

I tend to get on my soapbox a lot about the 12 Traditions of A.A., I can’t help it, I was raised in early A.A. meetings where they were studied, practiced and debated amongst people with long term sobriety (that was 12 – 16 years of sobriety at the time that I was less than a year). I soaked up as much of that as I could, attended group conscious/business meetings, went to the DCM meeting, the Area Assembly, the Area Conference… I loved this stuff, it was one part of that triangle that makes up our program (Recovery, Unity, Service).

the AA circle and triangle

Every week at my first Home Group they read these paragraphs from page  561 in our basic text:

The AA Tradition

To those now in its fold, Alcoholics Anonymous has made the difference between misery and sobriety, and often the difference between life and death. A.A. can, of course, mean just as much to uncounted alcoholics not yet reached.

Therefore, no society of men and women ever had  a more urgent need for continuous effectiveness and permanent unity. We alcoholics see that we must work together and hang together, else most of us will finally die alone.

The “12 Traditions” of Alcoholics Anonymous are, we A.A.’s believe, the best answers that our experience has yet given to those ever-urgent questions, “How can A.A. best function?” and, “How can A.A. best stay whole and so survive?”

And then we’d read the Traditions, usually the short form, occasionally someone would read the long form but I can’t remember why. Contrary to what I’ve been told lately, it doesn’t really take that long to read the short form of the Traditions. 😉 We were, in my humble opinion, a better group for following the traditions and learning from our history.

In our book Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age – Bill creates a fictional character, Mr. Grassroots,  who talks about the Convention here’s one of the excerpts from that:

“On Sunday morning—the last day of the Convention—I found those Twelve Traditions still on my mind. Each of them I saw is an exercise in humility that can guard us in everyday A.A. affairs and protect us from ourselves. If A.A. were really guided by the Twelve Traditions, we could not possibly be split apart by politics, religion, money, or by any old-timers who might take a notion to be big shots. With none of us throwing our weight around in public, nobody could possible exploit A.A. for personal advantage, that is sure. For the first time I saw A.A.’s anonymity for what it really is. It isn’t just something to save us from alcoholic shame and stigma; its deeper purpose is actually to keep those fool egos of ours from running hog wild after money and public fame at A.A.’s expense. It really means personal and group sacrifice for the benefit of all A.A. Right then I resolved to learn our Twelve Traditions by heart, just as I had learned the Twelve Steps. If every A.A. did the same thing and really soak up these principles we drunks could hang together forever.” page 42

So I say if A.A. groups really followed the advice of the Traditions perhaps we’d have less meetings that are stagnant because of an old-timer or two that wont let go of the reins. Or maybe a Group here in DC wouldn’t have made the cover of Newsweek back in 2007. Maybe we’d have stronger meetings that focus more on the path to recovery as described in our Big Book and less that focus on how sad life can be.

I have a couple of friends who carry around a pocket-sized red covered book that has the contents of the Big Book inside it. This book is not our text-book and it is not “Conference Approved”. [Recently online I saw a discussion where someone said there was no such thing as “Conference Approved” they’re mistaken, http://aa.org/en_pdfs/smf-29_en.pdf <== that link should take you to information on Conference Approved literature.] There are also several “recovery” or “A.A.” apps available in the many App stores, but only one of those is Conference Approved, this one: http://aa.org/lang/en/subpage.cfm?page=440 It’s clunky, but someone probably donated the time and energy to make the app. So if you can help them out, I’m certain our Central Office would appreciate it. [The Grapevine, has actually started to publish books in Kindle and Nook format, which is really much better and I hope A.A. follows suit as their current application seems to need the internet to access and if I’m 30,000 feet above the earth and want to read the book I’d be unable to.]

Why does it matter?

It matters for a few reasons, one if because of the Conference Approved literature bit… “This process assure that everything in such literature is in accord with A.A. principles. Conference-approved material always deals with the recovery program of Alcoholics Anonymous or with information about the A.A. Fellowship.” [please note: the recovery program and the A.A. fellowship are two separate things] If you’re not buying it from A.A. then there is no guarantee that what you’re getting is what we’re selling… for lack of a better word. (I always think of Orwell’s Animal Farm when I see these red books… I know that’s not what happened in that book, but it’s what comes to mind.)

and from Bill himself:

A.A.’s far-flung Twelfth Step activities, carrying the message to the next sufferer, are the very lifeblood of our A.A. adventure. Without this vital activity, we would soon become anemic; we would literally wither and die.

Now where do A.A.’s services—worldwide, area, local—fit into our scheme of things? Why should we provide these functions with money? The answer is simple enough. Every single A.A. service is designed to make more and better Twelfth Step work possible, whether it be a group meeting place, a central or intergroup office to arrange hospitalization and sponsorship, or the world service Headquarters [now the General Service Office] to maintain unity and effectiveness all over the globe.

Though not costly, these service agencies are absolutely essential to our continued expansion—to our survival as a Fellowship. Their costs are a collective obligation that rests squarely upon all of us. Our support of services actually amounts to recognition on our part that A.A. must everywhere function in full strength—and that, under our Tradition of self-support, we are all going to foot the bill.” Bill W. October 1967 Grapevine

So if you were to buy these items from our GSO you’d be helping to ensure our continued message across the globe, keep our offices open and you know what, just do it! that’s what my sponsor would have said… 🙂 There is a small, pocket-size version of the Big Book available from GSO or your local intergroup office. There is an app put out by GSO.

I’ve also recently seen a post on Facebook about Tradition Three—The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking. That doesn’t mean you should just come and occupy a chair in a meeting, that’s all you need to get in the door. If you want the solution that we have to offer then you have to take certain steps. And if you want those steps to be here for the next guy then you should study and practice the Traditions, they matter and our program is too important to let them slip by the road on our journey. You’re responsible…

I am Responsible.  When anyone, anywhere, reaches out for help, I want the hand of A.A. always to be there.  And for that:  I am responsible.

We can’t wait for the guy after us to pick up the torch and be a safeguard to our legacy, it has to be us and it has to be today. It’s a program of action and that program needs to be protected by the people that hope the program is still here for many years to come.

Ok, I’m done… I think… now tonight I’ll go to my meeting and cringe as we only read one Tradition.. but at least we’re reading one of them.

Bill Nye: Creationism is not Appropriate for Children – hear, hear

Women!!

I have a confession or two to make, women get on my nerves. I don’t date women, so not like they get on the nerves of people who have relationships with them, but they do get on my nerves. It’s something I think I’m supposed to work on and not have an issue with but here I am annoyed with women again.

One of the reasons is when I hold a door open for you or let you go first out of an elevator, because someone instilled in my head that I’m supposed to do those things… and then you go slow as molasses and take your damn sweet time with your friends or take up the whole walking area… hell no, then I try to get around you and you look at me all annoyed, move your ass. It’s certainly not worth me opening the door or letting you go first if you’re going to slow me down even more.

That’s one of the many reasons…

Or like this weekend I was at Pentagon City Mall and wanted some ice cream after dinner, so I walked over to Haagen-Dazs. The line to Haagen-Dazs was 5 people long, but three of those five people were women and its possible that two were together, which is worse than three or four individual women. You just know at a those women have more questions about the ice cream than you thought was humanly possible and if they are together they are easily distracted by one another and offer one another suggestions and, lets face it, they cannot make a decision. So I walked away. One woman in line in front of me is the max I can take for that kind of situation. One woman with 5 children is faster than two women together in an ice cream line – because that woman just wants those children to be quiet with mouths full of stuff

Women in pairs… gosh, that can be bad.

And then there is the woman’s bags. The purse, the other bag and sometimes the other bag… what the hell they need all these bags for I don’t even want to know. But what’s annoying is they let those bags have their own space on the escalator so you can’t walk past… and if you say excuse me, you get the look. If your bag doesn’t know by now that you stand on the right and walk on the left that’s your problem lady. I was trying to explain this to my best friend a few years ago, but with sidewalks and how women just walk in the middle and don’t pick a side… I said “there is a right side and a left side” and Suzanne said something like “it’s all ours, deal with it”. lol

Don’t get me wrong, I love women – to shop with and to have as a best friend and as other friends… but they sure can get on my nerves. 😉

ok, I feel better now that I have that off my chest, thanks, yeah I might pay for this post later but that’s ok

Men – Eye of the Beholder

I’ve been thinking recently about what I find attractive in a man. Partly because as I age I’m gaining more and more of the qualities that I like to see in others. It really isn’t just about what’s swinging between his legs … no really.

Immediately I notice and am attracted to men with facial hair, but not really long beards or funky sideburns from the 70s. This attraction increases significantly if they have gray hair, it’s always been this way, just something about a man with a gray beard or goatee turns the right knob in my system… heh heh, I said knob.

 

If they have their shirt off I love to see a hairy chest  unless he’s black, it’s the only exception, I love the look of a black man with a hairless chest, i think that’s weird but there you have it. 

 

 

They can have a full head of hair or be bald or have a shaved head all that is good, but i’m not a fan of long hair on a guy – there are exceptions to this rule

1 exception

yummy

Generally I’m a fan of barrel chested, hairy men – I don’t like them skinny bitches, I do not like them at all. The men can have a belly but no man boobies – that’s a big turn off too. Here is an example of the max amount of man boobies:

I’d be ok with this

in a more intimate setting their eyes matter, I love blue and green eyes; love some men in glasses and some men without. The feel of callused, a working mans hands, the smudge and smell of grease and sweat, thick build, tattoos, a rough half-smile, not too cheery, certainly not girly at all.

probably TMI, but it’s been floating around my head now for a week and it had to come out.

Me letting the gray beard out

My Friend the Vegan

My best friend Suzanne is a vegan, she’s been a Vegan for a little over a year now. It’s a personal choice for her, I know she thought long and hard about it but ultimately decided that if she wanted to have a clear conscious about how people treat animals then she had to become a vegan. I’m sure there was more to it, I’m almost positive there is. She’s managed to become a vegan and still teach insane amounts of exercise classes that whenever I’m in town she drags me along to. So she gets enough protein, vitamins, sustenance or what have you to be totally awesome as a Body Step, Zumba and Body Pump instructor (for the record, I hate Body Pump and my body hurts so much after)… ok, really the vegan thing has little to do with the class instructing, but she can do that even without eating meat which I think is pretty amazing, because I live on meat. She even says that she loves the tastes of all the new vegetables and tofu she’s discovered on this journey.

She’s not pushy about being a vegan either, she doesn’t talk down to me because I eat meat, she just knows how she feels about it and lets me go on about being the person I am and she lives by example… that’s a novel idea isn’t it.  She’s a pretty amazing woman for that reason too (there is a long, long list for why she’s amazing, I’m just focusing on a little here).

This weekend I was going to try some of her fake milk, but I forgot – someone somewhere is probably saying “It’s not fake, it’s ALMOND milk.” or “soy milk”. Whatever… the point is I really was going to try, but this morning I had the bowl of oatmeal already in the bowl when she reminded me and I don’t take milk in my oatmeal, so I didn’t get to.

So because I didn’t get to try the fake milk (let it go people) I decided to post these really cute photos of her dog instead.

Farley loving the cool air from the vent

My Tattoos

More than a few men recently have commented on my tattoos (and piercings) and said that having tattoos means your into kinky sex. No really, this is what they keep telling me. This really kind of throws me, I’ve had tattoos much longer than I’ve been having sex. Also I’ve had sex with people who have tattoos and really – a few of those encounters were pretty boring.

In the gay community over the years they established lots of little tells to let other closeted gays know they were there or what they were into. Rainbow stickers are everywhere now, but 10 – 20 years ago and longer people had to be much more discrete about these type of things so they developed these markers for others. There is even a hanky code for what you might or might not be into – I should warn you clicking on that link might be TMI for you.

For me it’s about art, about expressing myself and the things I like. Each and every tattoo I have is based on something I like or something that means a lot to me. Superman, lightning bolts, Greek gods, AA, bear paw prints, old nicknames…

My first tattoo was done by my friend Ted or maybe his brother Tim (I was 14, stoned or drunk and my memory isn’t what it used to be) using a needle, some thread and india ink. That symbol was painfully put on one needle stick at a time and represented the 12 Greek gods. It was crude in comparison to what I have on my body now, but at that age it was pretty cool thing to have.

Since then I’ve gotten more complicated with what I want on my body – my first tattoo as an adult covered up that tattoo that I got when I was young, but I wasn’t very clear about what I wanted it to be and gave the artist too much leeway so it ended up being a question mark that isn’t really very pretty – it looks better now that I’ve surrounded it by a dragon (which was hand drawn on my arm by this guy at Jinx Proof, so cool. The next was the Superman symbol, then the lightning bolt, armband, bear claw print, tramp stamp (Zeus), AA symbol on my leg, and finally the ancient Greek Gods tat on my back.

None of those, well except maybe the tramp stamp and the arm band, says anything about sex. Well not that I know of. Its like when I wear a cross necklace – I don’t wear a cross necklace because I believe in crucifying believers – I just happen to like how cross necklaces look sometimes.

Recently with the Sikh shooter the press has been throwing this statement out there: 

An agent from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms told ABC News that the shooter had tattoos.

Tattoos don’t make a shooter anymore than sandals make a monk. That’s the motivation behind this post (even though I did have several men express that my tattoos meant I was into kinky sex – which I’m not…. well, what did you have in mind exactly? )

I do sometimes worry about my tattoos and them being misinterpreted by others. Lightning bolts, dragons and Superman can all be associated with the KKK and I keep my head shaved. But really, I’m just an ordinary gay guy that likes tattoos – I have no hidden agendas (well none that I’m ready to share with the world, my manifesto will be on the New York Times Best Seller list – I’m certain) or particular hates of any kind of people. I dislike humans in general, but I don’t target specific groups to hate, really it takes too much effort.

I just really don’t like when we associate bad/stupid/moronic/crazy people with what they wear or how they look. After the Aurora shootings movie theaters banned folks from wearing masks when going to the theater – the guy who shot those people didn’t buy a ticket, he came in through the back door. After Columbine schools across the country banned black trench coats. After the Amish school shooting in PA in 2006, our President expressed his concern of school violence (this last one I’m not sure which was the more bad/stupid/moronic/crazy  – the former President or the shooter).

You know the old saying: don’t judge a book by its cover.