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TRADITIONS 5 & 10 – IS THERE A CONFLICT HERE
I think that if AA was to get involved in issues outside of AA then that would be really bad and it would take AA from its primary purpose ‘to carry its message to the alcoholic that still suffers’ (Tradition 5).
However, I feel that there can be a problem around Tradition 10 when outside issues come into a meeting. When I think of a meeting I count the meeting as the moment I walk through the door until I leave. You see, because in my early days I was confused and all over the place, the calmness and security of meetings provided me with a lot of reassurance. Someone having time to speak to me helped me a great deal.
So, a meeting may have the sharing part focussed on recovery but the meeting around the coffee might be more loose. People might be talking about sport or some political issue that is current. This might be okay in a general way but the problem comes when the chat focuses on a particular issue and the chat becomes focussed on that rather than reaching out to each other in a spirit of fellowship. If a newcomer was to hear this then they might draw the conclusion this is how AA operates. The newcomer risks being overlooked, as the focus of the meeting has been diverted.
The way I look at Tradition 10, then, is what is going on when I walk into a meeting. Are people looking out for each other or are they wrapped up in what is going on in the wider world? The latter can cause a problem if people hold similar views as it means that people who hold different views can feel isolated and the group has moved away from its primary purpose. Also, if the way people express views are strong then that can isolate other members and it just upsets the feeling of the meeting.
Like I said, in my early days I was drawn to meetings because of the calmness they offered. I am still the same. If I walk into a meeting and a discussion is going on about sport, politics then it makes me feel uncomfortable. To me it does not feel right.
I know I most likely have gone into other Traditions but for me I tend to find some of them cross over.