“Every A.A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.”
Overriding Idea of T7:
Spirituality and Money DO Mix
12&12: Pgs. 160-165
From the Foreword of the 12 & 12: “A.A.’s Twelve Traditions apply to the life of the Fellowship itself. They outline the means by which A.A. maintains its unity and relates itself to the world about it, the way it lives and grows.”
Spirituality and Money DO Mix
Twelfth Step work is the lifeblood of Alcoholics Anonymous — carrying the message to the next suffering alcoholic. Without it, the Fellowship would wither and die. Yet, even at its simplest level this vital contact between one alcoholic and another involves an investment of time and money.
The paradox of A.A. is that financial independence and the support of our Fellowship by alcoholics and alcoholics alone not only enhances A.A.’s importance to each of us, but stimulates our engagement in our own recovery.
While the Fellowship has always faced problems of money, property, and prestige in one form or another, through the wisdom of the Seventh Tradition we have never been diverted from our primary purpose of carrying the message to the alcoholic who still suffers. This is our fundamental work, and to ensure that the hand of A.A. will always remain outstretched, money and spirituality must continue to mix. And for that, we are all responsible.
Download A.A. pamphlet, “Where Money & Spirituality Mix”
The seventh tradition is linked to the sixth tradition just as the seventh step is the natural outcome of working the sixth step. What do I do when I become entirely ready to give up my defects of character? I humbly ask God to remove my shortcomings. What do I do when I become entirely ready to give up pursuing outside contributions to my spirituality by not lending my name to related approaches or outside relationships? I avoid the problems of money, property, and prestige – carrying a message that will be believed because it is carried with a spirit of poverty and not greed.
I seek to be financially self—supporting, not wealthy. The seventh tradition, completed the seventh step this way: Father I humbly ask you to remove my major shortcoming, not placing you first life but placing false Gods first, including money. Please teach me to be self-supporting in my relationship with you! “Fear” automatically results when I think I should handle any situation in life by myself. As soon as I place God first in my thinking and try to hear his voice through prayer and meditation, “fear” is removed.
(Excerpts from the text above come from the Traditions Study developed by the Unity Insures Recovery Through Service A.A. Group, Los Angeles, CA.)
As it states at the top of this page, the 12 Traditions were created to help each A.A. group maintain unity and relate better to the world about us. With that in mind, they have been widely used in helping us learn how to be in better relationships with everyone in our life. Below is a snapshot inventory you can take to see how well you are honoring the spiritual principle found in this Tradition (in and out of the rooms of A.A.).
(The foundation of this inventory is from the A.A. Tradition’s Checklist first published in the A.A. Grapevine)
- Honestly now, do I do all I can to help AA (my group, my central office, my GSO) remain self-supporting? Could I put a little more into the basket on behalf of the new guy who can’t afford it yet? How generous was I when tanked in a barroom?
- Should the Grapevine sell advertising space to book publishers and drug companies, so it could make a big profit and become a bigger magazine, in full color, at a cheaper price per copy?
- If GSO runs short of funds some year, wouldn’t it be okay to let the government subsidize AA groups in hospitals and prisons?
- Is it more important to get a big AA collection from a few people, or a smaller collection in which more members participate?
- Is a group treasurer’s report unimportant AA business? How does the treasurer feel about it?
- How important in my recovery is the feeling of self-respect, rather than the feeling of being always under obligation for charity received?