MY THOUGHTS ON TRADITION FOUR
Each group thru its group conscience has the freedom to decide for itself the content of its meetings and the topics that will be discussed
The group can decide if the meeting will be opened or closed and when and where the meeting will be held each group can decide to change its meeting format and has complete authority to spend its funds as needed.
The group can also decide how it wishes to open and close its meetings some groups close with a prayer while others have a moment of silence each group has total freedom it is entirely up to the membership the group
The second part of this tradition matters affecting other groups or A.A. as a whole reminds each group that it has a responsibility also to the worldwide fellowship
By adhering to the traditions and principals of its program each group can assure that it will not stray too far away from the program's basic tenets of share their experience strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem
The "autonomy" provided in Tradition 4 does not mean an individual group has the authority to re-word the steps or traditions or to create its own literature
Many a meeting has gotten away from the look and feel of its primary purpose by using non-conference approved literature for my group we do have non-conference literature and we do keep it separated from conference approved by using a separate table
There is no right or wrong way to hold a meeting but we can cease carrying the message if we stray too far from its traditions and concepts
When I first came into this program I learned how it was in my little group as I went to the other groups in neighboring towns I would think They don't do their meetings right They have too much laughter and don't start on time and so on
Today these little things that use to bother me now make me realize that they are what makes all these groups unique and different.
I look forward to the different meetings now because we are unique in our own rights. As long as the guidelines of the program are followed and the basic message is there for us this is one more example of why AA works