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Grapevine : August 2011
aagrapevine.org 31 amateur standing." e practical side to being a nonprofessional means I don't have to worry about giving a letter- perfect presentation every time. Tradition Eight also suggests that our service centers may employ special workers. Some of the experience that helped formulate this Tradition was played out in the days of the Forty- first Street Clubhouse, when members had a hard time distinguish- ing between Twel h Step work and o ce employment. In the early 1940s, this controversy was still new and I can just imagine the faces turning blue with resent- ment as alcoholics tried to understand that the secretary, for instance, was not being paid to stay sober or to do Twel h Step work, but to answer the phone, write letters, keep records of business transactions, and so forth. Newcomers still ask, as I did, why we have paid workers (profes- sionals) in AA. As it was pointed out to me, the sta at our local intergroup o ce, for example, is not paid to do Twel h Step work. By opening up and help- ing keep the doors to institutions and correc- tional facilities open, by collecting data on local groups and publish- ing updated meeting directories, along with many other fundamental activities, the intergroup sta is paving the way for Twel h Step work, it's allowing for Twelve Step work to happen. Carrying the message of hope and recovery is the real "business" of AA. Attempting to conduct such an enterprise on a solely volunteer basis would be highly impracti- cal. Sticking close to sim- ple, basic AA principles keeps me right-sized. Every recovering alco- holic at every meeting tells me, whether by word or deed, that non- professionalism in AA is one of the best ideas we ever had. Friends in my corner are quick to remind me of this when- ever I get too big for my AA britches. So, in the fight for the heavyweight title, I choose to throw in the towel and surrender to the Eighth Tradition. is way, we both win. W.H. New York, N.Y. I no longer play doctor or therapist, and I don't give legal advice.