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Grapevine : February 2011
Grapevine 35 the 25 years I've been sober, and watching attendance flag is ripping my heart out. Consensus at our monthly business meet- ing supports staying the course. We seem incapa- ble of conceiving of, much less accepting, the need to change something. And maybe that's the root of the problem. Attendance at other meetings assures me that AA membership isn't declining or straying any farther from the Steps and Traditions than in years past. But I cringe every time I hear an announce- ment during the secre- tary's report that men- tions a meeting or group "needing support." I've promised myself that---if or when the time comes---I will face the certain fact that everything changes, with gratitude, grace and good humor. So rigid is the group conscience that, without much discussion, we voted to send our treasurer begging to the church administrator for a rent reduction, inadvertently breaching Tradition Seven. Our voluntary contribu- tions don't cover anything close to the cost of a similar facility at market prices. But we want to keep the doors open, the lights on and the hand of AA available to sick and su ering alcoholics the same way it was available to us. It's been a while, though, since we could a ord donations to the dis- trict, central o ce or AA's General Service O ce. I keep thinking of the counsel in the essay on Tradition Two that a newly sober alcoholic o ered Bill W. when Bill returned from Towns Hospital with the words, " e laborer is wor- thy of his hire," circling in his mind. "What we've got won't run on ethics only," the newcomer said. "It has to be better." It was a reminder that a loving God expresses himself in our larger group conscience, not in our individual good intentions. e essay in the "Twelve and Twelve" closes with the newcomer remind- ing Bill of his own claim that "sometimes the good is the enemy of the best," which is meant to persuade Bill---and me too---that good intentions do not inevitably make for the best outcome. So at this month's business meeting I'm going with the experi- ence, strength and hope expressed in the "Twelve and Twelve"---the text our group is all about. I'm going to propose we move the meeting to a smaller room, pay our own way, and keep the doors open, the lights on and the hand of AA available on a smaller scale. My heart will ache while proposing we humbly comply with our Traditions. It does right now as I think about it. But I think I'll stick with the Traditions and the older, larger group conscience. Besides, nobody ever told me living the program was going to be easy. Anonymous Without much discussion, we voted to send our treasurer begging for a rent reduction.