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Grapevine : August 2011
30 August 2011 THE intellectual ar- rogance and grandi- osity that I brought with me when I first came into Alcohol- ics Anonymous were quickly and expertly enlisted into what was to become a ferocious, on- going battle: Me vs. the Eighth Tradition. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the royal rumble. e word "nonprofes- sional," in AA parlance, means that I ought to act in a way that neither a rms nor implies that I am anything other than a recovering alcoholic in a fellowship of other recovering alcoholics. If professional help is what I need, I should go where such help is available, outside AA. Seems clear enough. Yet, before I was 90 days sober, I had become legal advisor to a newcomer who was in divorce court; instructed another to stop taking his medication that a qualified doctor had prescribed; and coun- seled two AAs in a lover's quarrel. I no longer play doc- tor or therapist and I don't give legal advice, but I still catch myself wondering whether the latest newcomer in my home group is really an alcoholic. On what basis would I question any- one's qualification, you might ask? What else, except my expertise on AA and alcoholism itself. Sometimes, in my zeal when encourag- ing newcomers to get involved with the Steps, I talk about them as if they were the be-all and end-all. If anyone had told me, even by infer- ence, that I had to get on with the Steps, I wouldn't have stopped long enough to remark, "What an order! I can't go through with it." I simply would've run like hell. Sometimes, I com- plain about the way of- ficers conduct business in my home group and set myself up as the "expert" on our group. There were times when IwassosureIknew everything there was to know about AA history. When speaking from the podium, I would hook my thumbs in my vest like a professional nineteenth century politician pon- tificating about the way things should be. Another area where I am made particularly aware of the Eighth Tra- dition is in speaking to non-AA groups. I have found myself on panels with experts in the field of alcoholism and have been introduced as an "expert" myself. I make it a point to remember something I was told by a member of our local intergroup public infor- mation committee: "We need to maintain our Before I was 90 days sober, I had become legal advisor to a newcomer who was in divorce court; instructed another to stop taking his medication that a qualified doctor had prescribed; and counseled two AAs in a lover's quarrel.