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The Prescription
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Only A.A. Material????

I don't know who in hell came up with the "Only A.A. Approved Material" dictum ... but occasionally we have a "bleeding deacon" who is so afraid for his/her own sobriety, that any new or "outside" information or inspiration brought to group might upset his/her tenuous hold on reality or sobriety, and then proceeds to make an ass of themself in meeting insisting that "Only A.A. Conference Approved" material be brought before the group.

Hehhh!!, as if some of the spoutings of members bears the "A.A. Conference Approved" stamp. The ONLY reason the "This is A.A. General Service Conference-approved literature" is imprinted on AA literature is to replace the Circle Triangle logo, long since removed as the result of potential ill-advised lawsuits, to indicate that the material is copyright by Alcoholics Anonymous General Service Office, and published by AA-GSO.

The Term "Conference-approved" describes written or audiovisual material approved by the General Service Conference for publication by GSO. This process assures that everything in such literature is in accord with AA principles. Conference-approved material always deals with the recovery program of Alcoholics Anonymous or with information about the AA Fellowship.

The term has no relation to material not published by GSO. IT DOES NOT IMPLY CONFERENCE DISAPPROVAL of other material about AA. A great deal of literature helpful to alcoholics is published by others, and AA does not try to tell any individual members what he or she may or may not read.

To quote from the Big Book ...
Page 565 ...
Tradition 4, Long Form ... With respect to its own affairs, each A.A. Group should be responsible to no other authority than its own conscience. But when its plans concern the welfare of neighboring groups also, those groups ought to be consulted. And no group, regional committee, or individual should ever take any action that might greatly affect A.A. as a whole without conferring with the trustees of the General Service Board. On such issues our common welfare is paramount.

Read the rest of the long form Traditions ... no where in them is there any authority to make a dictum to a group ... they are free to follow their conscience as a spiritual entity having but one primary purpose -- that of carrying its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.

To quote from Page 164 ...
"Our book is meant to be suggestive only. We realize we know only a little. God will constantly disclose more to you and to us. Ask Him in your morning meditation what you can do each day for the man who is still sick. The answer will come, if your own house is in order. But obviously you cannot transmit something you haven't got. See to it that your relationship with Him is right, and great events will come to pass for you and countless others. This is the Great Fact for us."

The above and the 12 Steps are all the instructions needed.

The charts on the wall of the 12 Steps and the Short Form of the Traditions give us, in 472 words or less, a total and complete philosophy for successful sobriety and life, Happy, Joyous and Free. All else of whatever nature, whether "A.A Conference Approved" or not, is merely by way of explanation.

All the problems in the world today are the result of the "Theologians" "the Bleeding Deacons," "the Inerrantists" generating the inerrantist nonsense that "only our way is right"... in religions, in civil, secular and fraternal groups, in politics and government, and in A.A.

Of course, if a true group conscience is reached by consensus, not birddogged and browbeaten by some heavyhanded individual or clique, the theologians and bleeding deacons are usually left behind ... and if that true group conscience says "only A.A. GSC approved material" will be used by the group, then so be it, the voice of God has spoken.

Early A.A. groups and many today use(d) all sorts of aids and books to carry the message of the 12 Steps of A.A. for the recovery of the sick alcoholic ... everything from Varieties of Religious Experience by James, The Sermon on the Mount by Fox, the various Hazelden books and others, and even to the various scriptures, ie. the Bible, the Torah, etc, (After all is said and done, it was from the understanding that Bill had of these, especially "The General Epistle of James", that the the 12 steps came into being.), to aid the individual and group members in understanding the tenets, the principles and ideals, of our basic text, Alcoholics Anonymous, The Big Book, to which we should adhere ... and the understandings given in all the various A.A. published literature, especially A.A. Comes of Age and the other histories of A.A.

The "Only A.A. Approved" thing smacks of what was happening in A.A. a long time back when long lists of rules were formulated out of fear that the then struggling members might become "contaminated" by those who did not conform to their sensibilities ... and resulted in Rule 62 ..."Don't take yourself too seriously" ... Remember, always, who is in charge ... it isn't any one of us ... K.I.S.S.

I, myself, will use any damn thing I can lay my hands on to reach through to a sick alcoholic right down where he lives, that will give him the spiritual understanding and connection available in the many non-AA resources, so that he can learn to practice and live the 12 Steps in his life in all his affairs and stay sober a day at a time.

Love and Peace, Barefoot



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