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Twelve Traditions and TEOTWAWKI/Civilization Anonymous September 3, 2009

Posted by frostwolftfirerose in Civilization Anonymous, Personal Journey.
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Right now, in my 12 step work to stay abstinent from the EWPs a day at a time, I am working what are called “traditions questions.”  The 12 Step programs also have 12 attendant traditions.  The two working together are shorthanded thus:  The 12 Steps help us to keep from killing ourselves.  The Traditions help to keep us from killing each other.  These prinicples have evolved over time and have proven to be quite resilient, finding a necessary balance between recognizing that we all need to make our own mistakes, but we also need to learn to live by and to strengthen adherence to basic spiritual principles.

The traditions and the helpful book Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, are for the most part the source work for my exploration of the traditions, and they illuminate certain patterns in addicts’ interactions with the larger world that impact the workings of a group of addicts in miniature.  Somehow, the organized anarchy of the Anonymous fellowships and their attendant “Anon” programs does keep us, as it says in the AA 12 & 12’s chapter on Tradition Nine, that the poles of great suffering and great love somehow keep us right where we need to be.

Anyway, as we all contemplate these bizarre times, it occurred to me that it would be a good idea to apply the Traditions to the transitions we are undergoing, because I need to start to understand how to radiate out a new way of being for others and to call support to myself that will enable me to continue the circuit.  “I can’t keep it unless I give it away.”

Tradition One states: “Our common welfare should come first.  Personal recovery depends upon [fellowship] unity.”  “Fellowship” can be replaced by other words: tribe, clan, organization, society, association, town, neighborhood, region.  I will for the time being eschew other artifices such as “state” and “nation” for now.  “Province” would be another one, I would imagine, as would “county.”  (Also I’m not really sure about “city” right now.  I tend to think that this word at the moment is also problematic, but at the same time, there needs to be some recognition of its import.)

The thing about this tradition is that it is something that permeates through all levels.  It osmoses into an individual’s consciousness through his or her own selfish perceptions, as all recovery messages do.  They are homeopathic reprieves for the psychic/social/spiritual/physical maladies of addiciton, whatever the compulsion might be.  We wake up to our common welfare as addicts afflicted by our apparent cravings after booze or drugs or shopping at bookstores (guilty! :)), or the EWPs hiding inside the various delivery methods of pastries, ice cream, breads etc.  We see that somehow others are managing to do just fine thank you very much without said substances, and that they have a quiet and serene ease and perhaps even joyfulness about them.  But they recognize they can’t keep it unless they share of their own understanding and experience, and strive to in something approaching humility, but at least honesty.  So the group has to encourage the commmon welfare, and again, this goes all the way through the great chain of a fellowship’s being–Intergroup, Area, Region, World Service. 

In terms of the addiction to our taker culture, our personal recovery depends upon unity across fellowships as well as across our relations.  The common welfare extends then to rivers, trees, stones, egrets, wolves, trout, mosquitoes (ugh!), rats, lichen, algae, mountains, deserts, as well as to the aforementioned entities of towns, neighborhoods, villages, watersheds, etc.  All our relations have to have a say in the Council of Beings that indigenous tribes hold as conclaves for all the species.

And it doesn’t just stop there, for aren’t our ancestors and descendants, our artworks and inventions and disciplines, our divinities and deities and guides also a part of this equation?  And what about fire, air, water, earth and ether?  (Especially the last one!)  Not to mention whatever other galactic citizens and entities might feel an impact due to our activities, and I’m sure they do. 

There is so much more than meets the eye to this reality we inhabit, more than mere “meatspace.”  And lo, there are many, many addictions out there beyond Oxycontin or Jack Daniels or Twinkies.  Southern Baptist Churches and eBay might spring to mind.  (Again, bookstores in my case, though the spark of buying a tome or stacky doesn’t have the same zip as it used to.) 

It is this recognition of our common welfare that spurs us to come together in the first place, just as it did for Bill W. in his initial meeting with Dr. Bob.  Bill telephoned a “random” church because he was scared he’d drink unless he met another person in trouble.  It is in part why I even blog about “Civilization Anonymous,” because I need to try and find people who can identify with what I’m seeing and feeling, sensing and intuiting and fearing.   And some people email me or comment here and I really do appreciate it. 

It helps me.  And I hope this helps someone else.  I trust it will, even if I can’t see it.




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