Vocatus Atque non Vocatus Deus Aderit | Deo Duce, Ferro Comitante | Vox Populi, Vox Dei

The World Needs Less Junior Therapists and More Spiritual Mentors
Life is not Relative – There Are Absolute Rights, and Absolute Wrongs

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Plumas Undique Collatis | どこでも羽 | Plumas, En Todas Partes| Feathers, Everywhere

     O tongue!  You are an endless treasure!
O tongue!  You are an endless disease.


     “Let us also remember to guard that erring member the tongue, and if we must use it, let's use it with kindness and consideration and tolerance.”

--Dr. Bob's Last Talk, July 30, 1950.  1st. Int'l A.A. Convention at Cleveland, OH

     Gossip barbed with our anger, a polite form of murder by character assassination, has its satisfactions for us, too.  Here we are not trying to help those we criticize; we are trying to proclaim our own righteousness.

--Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions (67:1)

     25-Aug-15 | Happy Tuesday everyone!

     In the Parable of the Feathers we learn that gossip, like feathers, once thrown into the proverbial wind cannot be reclaimed.  Bill W., while selling the traditions always maintained that if AA were to fall, it would be destroyed from within.  

     All our traditions are engineered to prevent this from happening, which is why I find it especially disconcerting when people flout the traditions while pridefully acknowledging their disdain for them.  If I had to rank the two greatest threats to Alcoholics Anonymous today, I’d have to rank our seeming collective disdain for ‘singleness of purpose’ at the top, followed very closely by gossip.

     In my experience AA is much like any other society in two important respects:  1). 20% of the people seem to do 80% of the work ( by 'work' I do mean step AND service work), and 2) The non-doers in the 80% quite often gossip, malign & trash talk the 20% that do.

     One poignant example of this comes to mind. 

    While chairing a Big Book woman I started once upon a time, a very beautiful, graceful, young and shattered woman came to our group.  Having gone from one two-fold solution group to another for years, she quite frankly was amazed that within AA there was actually a real message of hope.  She took to our Book like a duck takes to water and has been sober ever since.

     However!  In that particular neighborhood at that particular time there were – and I am not exaggerating – no women in the solution.  Not one.  This woman was dying of alcoholism for the want of a sponsor.  In desperation she asked yours truly, and while flattered, I cannot personally sponsor a woman for a boatload of very good reasons, but that is just me.  However, I did offer to guide her in getting her first four steps lined up while she sought a female spiritual advisor with which to share that vital step and hopefully get sponsored by.  So – we met before and after every meeting in our home group – never anywhere else, and never alone.  This went on for about three weeks until we finally found her a sponsor many miles away.

     Shortly after I handed her over, the rumors started reaching me.  First in the group itself, then from shopkeepers and then complete and total strangers in that town – all over town – and a very small town it was at that.  The talk – and it was always presented to me as fact, not a question, was that I was and had been sleeping with this (married) woman for quite some time, that she was leaving her husband for me, etc. etc. etc.  

     This disgusting tale revolted me to no end, for while I am by no means perfect, everything I do in AA I TRY I TRY I TRY to keep above board, for this program, this process, these gifts; your souls and God’s grace are all very special and precious to me.  

     Ultimately we found the source of the gossip, and surprise!  It was from a very unhappy & manipulative member of our group living the problem rather than the solution.

     What was the aftermath of all this?  

     Well, my friend, being deep in the solution under the tutelage of a loving and capable spiritual advisor walked through this test with grace and dignity, though hurt she bounced back and came back stronger.  

     As for me, I too got angry, bounced back and came back stronger – but as the women in my home group can attest, I go out of my way – way out of  my way – to avoid physical contact wherever possible with the female members of my group to avoid even the merest hint of impropriety.  I try to walk a powerful program, and because of that there are those souls choosing a life of darkness that are sadly and perpetually waiting for me to fall.  Therefore, as they say – ‘Caesars wife must be beyond reproach’.

     As for the woman who started all this gossip unfortunately she picked up a drink shortly thereafter.  Last I heard she was still locked up in her trailer blotting out the dreariness of her daily existence.  Let us hope and pray she finds her way back to us.  Without spreading the spiritual cancer of gossip we can only hope.

     I would like to end on a high note, for AA is certainly not all gloom and doom; it’s just the gossip that is downright evil.  I am reminded of that closing line from the Desiderata:  ‘with all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.  Be cheerful.  Strive to be happy'.  And so goes my journey in Alcoholics Anonymous.

     Thank you for my life.

     Yours in love and service,

--COG, 1st. Class

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Welcome as a witness to a fools journey out of the darkness. I welcome all tidings - you are all my teachers on this path toward a meaningful and purposeful sobriety.

COG, 1st Cl.