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      I thought age had a very important effect on the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous because most of the old-timers, those who joined the fellowship in the Fifties, and Sixties, were indeed more two-fisted type drinkers than the majority of those who joined in the seventy’s or eighty’s. These old-timers were the back bone of the fellowship, and would be glad to tell the new-comers, what they could or could not do, after all that was the way they learned to stay dry, unfortunately very little attention was paid to the Twelve traditions as they were adopted in the July, 1950, Convention of Alcoholics Anonymous, At the convention it was widely appreciated, for the first time, that nobody had invented Alcoholics Anonymous, that many streams of influence, and many people, some of them non alcoholic’s, had helped, by the grace of God, to achieve A.A.’s purpose.

      We should welcome any newcomers, assure them that their experiences, are a vital link, to the continuing sobriety of everyone in this fellowship. It is important to remember that what is heard at meetings, is only the individuals opinion, no one at meetings can speak on behalf of the entire world wide fellowship, of Alcoholics Anonymous, or indeed any of its groups.

      I know when I came to the program people accepted me for who I was, and told me, if I wanted what they have, all I needed to do is to stop drinking one day at a time, they suggested, that I keep coming to meeting, ask for help, get a sponsor, and get active. I was encouraged to tell my experiences, at the podium, what happened to me, before I got here, its only by remembering what happened, to me, was important for my recovery, and if I help someone else that was a bonus.

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

By following the examples of unconditional love, tolerance, and acceptance, I have continued to stay sober, and to help a lot of other alcoholics to stay sober, with God’s grace.

      Today when I hear someone at the podium, sharing there experiences, and I can’t identify with their stories, I have to remember, not all the people who listened to me, could identify, and that was all right then, and it should be all right today, after all

A.A. can’t be all about just ME. Can it?

      I guess age is not such an important factor, as we first thought, the problem seem to be in whether we are Elder Statesmen, or we are again littering the landscape with bleeding deacons, the only thing we need to remember, is when we came to this fellowship, we also, were considered different from the ones who were already here, we were accepted, for who we were, so who are we not to accept the newcomers of today? God’s grace allowed us to find the way out, why not let, His grace, help them find their way out.

      Each newcomer need to share his experience, exactly how it happened to him, so he will have the prospective to help build character and spiritual values, Some people have been conditioned to believe the horrors of life, instead of the wonders of life, they have been given a despicable value system, in early childhood, and are now being ostracized, because they have tried, on their own to change their lives in the past, and have failed.

      To tell someone, especially a newcomer they don't belong, can only add to their bewilderment, frustration, and self-esteem. To me as a member of A.A. it is embarrassing, and humiliating, to have someone being ostracized, because they are a little different than me. If the Bleeding Deacons are afraid, the newcomers, will ruin the A.A. program, then they have not learned much about the history of A.A., and its growth in the past 63 yr., as long as God’s grace is here, this fellowship, and the twelve steps of recovery, will be here, for all to share, in their own way.

      If you want to know why your group is becoming stagnant, just check the way your group treats the newcomers, stop fighting each other, accepting change is the very principle we use to stay sober. It's time we all unite, so we can all recover and help those who come after us. If you don't like what is being said at the podium, take your comments to your business meeting, for a group conscience discussion, make a group statement, reflecting the groups opinion, not your own.

      Who determines whether or not newcomers qualify, whether they do want to stop drinking? Obviously, nobody except the newcomers themselves, everybody else simply has to take his word for it, in fact, they don't even have to say it aloud, we are alive because the road to A.A. stayed open to us. How will the newcomers ever know? If they can't share their stories at meetings, like we were able to share, all our related experiences. To hear is to identify, let's give every alcoholic the same chance we were given, to tell their experience, and not ostracize them because their a little different.

      Most of us know, real tolerance, of other people's shortcomings and viewpoints and having respect for their opinions, are attitudes which make us more useful to others, Our very lives, as recovering alcoholics, depend upon our constant thought of others, and how we may help meet their needs, helping others is the foundation stone of our recovery, a kindly act once in a while isn't enough, we have to act the Good Samaritan every day, or perish in the sea of despair.

7-20-98                      written by LT                     design by LT