Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Our Primary Purpose

Is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.

Is that your group's primary purpose?

Do you understand what this means?

Our primary purpose is not to:
  • be nice to people when they are drunk
  • be nice to people when they "keep coming back!"
  • be nice to people who have no desire to stop drinking
  • be nice at all.
There are missions and shelters and other community services to "be nice" to people.  

AA is here to help people get sober.  Sometimes the things that people need to hear are not soft on the ears.  Sometimes it hurts like hell to stop the habits we acquired when we were living our own way - and therefore drunk.  But we have to or we will not recover.  

How nice is it to let someone sit in an AA meeting and not share our message with them?  Do we have a message?   I think that to be "kind" to someone who has no desire to get sober and welcome them with open arms and water down our message for them, is really cruel.  I think that to be "kind" to someone and fail to share with them that they need to do more than just attend meetings is cruel.  

If you want to quit drinking - AA is the place for you.
If you want to quit drinking - you not only need to go to meetings, but you need to get a sponsor and get to work.  

That's what I have to say today. 


Banana Girl said...

Thank you thank you thank you. Exactly correct! I love this and trust me, will use it when it pops from my head to my mouth. It is something I have been feeling for a time and you put it just the way my brain needed to process it. J.

Anonymous said...

One of the first things my sponsor taught me was that "being nice" as you descibed, and feeling sorry for an alcoholic will kill them. Thanks for carrying the message today and everyday!

Pam said...

Oh you know I'm a-lovin' ya today!

To me it's like folks going into a "Best Buy" and demanding they sell milk and bread.
Best Buy is not a milk and bread store and should not have to feel "guilty" or "socially unjust" because they are not feeding people. They sell electronics and there is nothing wrong with that.
Hey....that's a pretty good analogy huh?

dAAve said...

Good. As always.

I understand that you're flying to Houston to help Pam. Let us know when you'll be here.

steveroni said...


Findon said...

Very True. I am often irritated by people being kind. Its self centerdness on their part. They care more about what the other person would think of them, than to tell them the truth and possibly have the other person think badly of them.. In other words, they don't mind you dying, so long as you like them. Now that really is bad.

Trailboss said...

Well said.

Syd said...

I hope that the message doesn't get filtered down. I hope that it stays a message that remains true to helping the alcoholic.

Cat said...

Nice message in this post!

Scott W said...

I cannot disagree with any of that.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. If people had not been nice to me, I probably would have gone out and killed myself with booze. Thankfully people did carry the message to me in a way I could digest it (which wasn't very much) and here I am 8 years out. I think kindness is a byproduct of gently guiding people to do our work and carrying an accurate message. Whether or not they stay, well that's God's business not mine!

Mark said...

Thanks MC. Can't believe I didn't see this post yesterday but I'm in full and complete agreement.

Wow! Gently guiding? Is that why a Catholic priest had to get in my face and tell me I was an "f'ing" alcoholic? Thank you Fr. Tom!!!

Baby-sitting AA has all the potential to give people everything they need to kill themselves. I won't allow myself to be a part of that. Those crusty old goats cared little about my feelings when I got here and they helped save my life. Through them God told me the truth and I heard it because the pain of the truth got through to me.

Had they been kind to me I no doubt would have used those manipulation skills I'd developed to "get over" on them like usual.

God alone knows where that would have put me today but I'll choose to believe it would be six feet under.

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...

Amen, and thank God for those like you who did not make my recovery soft and fluffy. Thank God for people who were willing to look me in the peepers and tell me the truth about myself, the REAL truth, the UGLY truth. The point is, you are willing to tell the truth, then tell me you've been there, dig your hands into all my crap with me and pull me out as I learn to clean myself up and learn how to stop hurting and hating (myself and others).

Thank you! Bless you! I love you!