82: Tradition 5 – Each Group Has but One Primary Purpose – To Carry the Message to the Addict Who Still Suffers (Sort Of)

We are talking the 5th Tradition – each group has but one primary purpose, to carry the message to the addict who still suffers. Tradition Five says that the 12 step fellowship has one primary purpose. Does this leave room for secondary purposes? Can a 12 step program also have other goals or objectives? Why is it that we come to a program to get clean, but our primary purpose in the Fifth Tradition isn’t to get and stay sober? Are we aware that our primary purpose is to carry the message? What is the message we carry? That an addict, any addict, can stop using, lose the desire to use, and find a new way to live. We examine how our groups can be proactive in carrying that message: by creating an environment of empathy, honesty, caring, sharing and service. Is one addict helping another truly without parallel? Is the group more powerful than the literature when it comes to carrying the message? What would happen if the group had a different purpose? We talk about all this and how we might be able to apply Tradition 5 in our lives outside the 12 step program. Join the conversation by leaving a message, emailing us at RecoverySortOf@gmail.com,  or find us on TwitterFacebook or Instagram, or find us on our website at www.recoverysortof.com.

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recovery sort of is a podcast where we discuss recovery topics from the perspective of people living in long-term recovery this podcast does not intend to represent the views of any particular group organization or fellowship the attitudes expressed are solely the opinion of its contributors be advised there may be strong language or topics of an adult nature

welcome back it’s recovery sort of i get really excited when i do that i don’t know why i am excited to be here though uh just to talk i don’t know i’ve been looking forward to tradition five right and i gotta be honest before we even get into tradition five i really thought the tradition episodes were gonna be boring as hell i was like is this to suck like we debated doing these is it going to be terrible and maybe it is to listen to them honestly i don’t know but but the actual episodes for me have been great i feel like my understanding has improved to the traditions and i got a new grasp on some of them we did get a little political in the first couple i think but yeah and and i have enjoyed it too i always like talking about the traditions i feel like there is so much more for me to learn there you know because you go to so many meetings and people talk about steps and you hear about steps and step meetings and you’re asked to speak on steps you know you just get a lot of information about the steps right and the traditions are kind of like meh people aren’t that interested when i first was getting clean a lot of step meetings also had a tradition meeting like once a month or whatever or they’d run through the step then the tradition maybe not a lot but at least some it existed i feel like that doesn’t exist at all now like very rarely do you see a tradition meeting anymore where they talk about it and even then people just told their goddamn story they didn’t really talk about the tradition yeah because they don’t know how to relate it to anything right so in my home group we don’t even read the traditions i don’t i don’t ever want to read any of it uh and i don’t know if it matters we didn’t actually introduce ourselves there we just went right past jason i’m in recovery and i’m billy i’m a person in long-term recovery good catch all right let’s get into business too unfocused all right tradition five may right tradition five each group has but one primary purpose to carry the message to the attic who still suffers so i i definitely do feel like we’re i’m having a harder time relating these to anything outside of a 12-step fellowship as we move into these traditions i don’t know why that is but each group has but one primary purpose to carry the message to the addict who still suffers i’ve at least relied on this in some group conscience decisions before in my life so i i’ve at least thought about this tradition once or twice yeah it’s it’s pretty important as far as directing i think our home group and decisions we make there um it’s it’s been talked about whether that applies to the service body or not whether the service body is considered a group i mean to me it encompasses everything we do within the fellowship like that should sort of always be our primary purpose is carrying this message of recovery in all aspects of service not just at the group level and i’m sitting here picturing like does a dance does an n a dance does an a a do they have dances in a do they do special events yeah do they yep that’s so weird what yeah they have retreats and camps and all kinds of stuff i’ve been invited to some i’ve never actually went but i don’t go to that many n a like camps and you know there’s a weekend like getaway you know i had a friend who’s really involved in aaa and they would do weekend men’s spiritual retreats and things like that and i’ve been invited a few times do the aaa dances do they wear like poodle skirts and dress up like they’re from the 50s like i don’t know about the dance yeah all right so but does the dance does that serve the primary purpose and that’s the question because one part of me says hell no you’re just there having a good time but the other part is you know i guess you’re showing people that you can lose the desire to use and find a new way to live by having a good time at weird 12-step dances yeah so one of the first things that becomes important is that you know identifying like what is our primary purpose and in narcotics anonymous we say that the primary purpose is to carry the message to the attic who still suffers well what is the message the message is that an addict any addict can stop using drugs lose the desire to use and find a new way to live right so now i don’t know for sure if that’s aa’s message or not i it’s yeah it could be something i know i want to know i don’t know i don’t i don’t not have never been involved enough to know that i’ve been to some meetings but i don’t know aa’s message is that an alcoholic any alcoholic can stop using alcohol and be announced to thoust and i have to be honest i did i read the tradition five in the aaa book and it’s terrible their literature is terrible yeah i i’m sorry to offend aa people the pro the fellowship is wonderful we’d have none of this if it wasn’t for aaa and the steps and you know bill wilson dr bob like kudos to all them i appreciate everything they do the literature needs a [ _ ] update art thou trying to carry the primary purpose in thine life when you’re trying to read something in 2021 that has doubts and these and dies in it it’s like what the [ _ ] is this the bible

yeah yeah i don’t i don’t know i don’t know what the aversion to updating that is so the other thing in the this is going to turn into making fun of aaa literature is it in the tradition five it has a big story about a guy going into a facility to help another guy and how not getting bogged down with religion and money and prestige it’s it’s just weird it’s the whole literature is very weird so if we say the message is that an addict any addict can stop using drugs lose the desire to use and find a new way to live does an na dance carry out the primary purpose of carrying that message this is like every other tradition is very debatable yeah and it’s meant to be i think open-ended and loose like so finding a new way to live yeah i can go out to uh whatever a club or wherever this dance is and and hang out with a bunch of people and and be clean and sober in an environment where there’s not drugs and alcohol and all those things around and still have fun and be myself and and you know that’s a new way of life i mean i don’t know about you i wasn’t doing a lot of that stuff i didn’t do anything that didn’t revolve around getting high and then whatever the other activity was was fine it could almost be anything like as long as we were getting high that’s bro you want to smoke this joint in crochet sure yeah man sounds cool let’s eat acid you know do something crazy like okay right right sounds good so yeah i could see that like learning you hey you can dance without being primed with alcohol first or you can talk to people and socialize and be at functions without getting high i think that’s why dances are traumatizing to me though because it just reminded me of like hey when you’re not getting high you’re going to stand on the wall like an idiot and not know what to do yeah the other thing with you know this learning this new way to live is that’s how you learn through those experiences i mean if you’re not really that comfortable you know in your own skin or like you said being being the person who’s kind of the wallflower that stands back i mean the only way to kind of get through that is to have some of those experiences and then maybe you figure out that’s not for you like that isn’t like i i don’t particularly care to go to dances and stuff my best self is not coming out of the dance that’s for sure i’m not doing nothing i’m feeling awkward about not being able to to really dance i’m feeling awkward that i can’t really talk because the music’s too loud and i probably check out the girls and that’s not really my best self yeah but maybe you become a person not you specifically but someone else can go in and become a person that does enjoy you know figures out they like dancing or they like a certain kind of music and then they can really get into that like having those experiences and going out and living a new way of life clean opens us up to new endeavors new ideas new prospects that we would have probably not come across that we’ve been using or have we been focused on using yeah and i mean the the pictures from the events which i this is a whole nother topic of should you post n a event pictures on facebook but the pictures make everybody look really happy so i guess they’re having a good time yeah are there pictures of people not looking happy i was just thinking about that like a picture thing popped up on my phone it was like memories of my kids and they were smiling and all of them i was like oh good i didn’t ruin their day any of those days but i’m like did i just not take pictures when they were right i agree with them or they know you’re taking a picture so they fake smile and this is a picture i don’t know anyway back to tradition five primary purpose carried a message to the act who still suffers when this has come up for me in a group conscience and i don’t remember the specific instances of whatever we were debating or talking about implementing in our home group but i definitely think to this when i’m thinking which way do i want to vote on a topic or how hard do i want to press to have these changes made right like i i i like changes in home groups i join home groups i change home group names i you know not all by myself obviously i’m not that powerful but i i petition or or try to get people on my side because i don’t like things i try to change readings out i try to leave readings out all kind of stuff and i always think like is my purpose here to please me or is it do i really think this is something beneficial for those involved right i made my last home group a beginner step meeting because it seemed like people in the area were new right like that’s what they needed to hear steps one two and three i don’t know i i try to take into consideration like what’s best for the people walking in the door to to hear the message i guess and i was lucky i had an earlier sponsor that was huge into like that being the first question you ask if you’re even at area service level you know wanting to make a new policy or want to make a change to a policy if you’re in the home group you know which was so that was the same guy that took a bunch of these readings out of the our format at the time we used we just only read like two or three things he’s like if you were a new person coming in off the street what are these readings would pertain who is an addict and why am i here like and maybe the steps and that’s it that’s all we need to read kind of like what and that was kind i mean just that was his his point was you know that like we’re we’re bogging down the meeting with all these readings and we got 20 minutes of of format and pomp and circumstance and it is that really the best way to utilize that hour’s worth of time and those things are discussions you can have i’m sure some people would say that’s the only real recovery you get in some meetings you know which is can be true but the the point was that was where the conversation should start you know what i mean how is this affecting our primary purpose and are we you know are the decisions that we’re making here in alignment with carrying the primary purpose and you know so you don’t get steered off you know looking at other stuff i know at area service especially when we’re getting into policies like his opinion a lot of times was if it’s a policy that doesn’t you know carry the message or focus on you know the addicts who are still suffering it’s [ _ ] irrelevant and it’s stupid and we shouldn’t even have it that was i mean i was just he’s like oh we got enough with the traditions you know that guides us we don’t need a bunch of policies and procedures and guidelines for [ _ ] you know we have them if it’s if it’s going to carry our primary purpose that’s the only thing we need guidelines for interesting so and again i don’t know i can’t say that that’s necessarily i agree 100 but the idea was there that that was one of the first very first questions you should ask when you’re trying to make decisions you know focused around at least in this case narcotics anonymous right so let’s get into some of what the reading had to say now i will say the reading was relatively short for tradition five and i felt like i pulled almost the entire reading out to say here so we’ll see how that goes um so the first thing it says i thought we were here to get clean right because we’re talking about our primary purpose being to carry the message and i thought we were here to get clean that makes sense i thought we were here to get clean i thought that our primary purpose was to recover from drug addiction for the individual this is certainly true our members are here to find freedom from addiction and a new way of life however groups aren’t addicted and don’t recover so that was interesting yeah i don’t i don’t know what i think about that though but i i guess i would say if i walked into my first meeting and somebody read the traditions and i was like our primary purpose is to carry the message like that sounds like a cult right shouldn’t i be here to help me not everybody else ah yeah i can’t remember i i don’t know that i cared at the moment i probably didn’t even hear half the streaks the traditions that sounded like that like corporate rule [ _ ] that i hear later i’ll figure that [ _ ] out just yeah i broke them all before i learned about them yeah well that’s usually how you learn about them is after you break them somebody that you like comes up and gives you a bunch of [ __ ] does anybody do that anymore i don’t i don’t feel like i follow people around telling them they broke a tradition i mean i will do it with people that i know if we’re having a discussion you know i don’t like run around like the n a police and try to correct people or they used to call them n a nazis i don’t know if you’re allowed to say that anymore probably probably should be n a police but anyway i don’t really do that unless it’s someone i really know and in a like kind and loving way usually it’ll come up in a conversation i don’t know the more we talk about these traditions i don’t think anybody ever actually breaks them i don’t think they’re rules if there is a way to break them right so groups aren’t addicted and don’t recover they don’t need to find recovery groups need to carry the message so as i guess as an individual i that’s not my primary purpose my primary purpose is to recover but then as at the group level that’s interesting i think that distinction might come in handy at some point yeah and i don’t know if this will come up later but i’ll might be one of the i can’t remember that exact reading but they also talk about uh we have a saying in n a that the only way we keep what we have is by giving it away and i don’t know that i agree with that a hundred percent i know plenty of people that are clean and have recovery and don’t specifically you know go out of their way to give it away i don’t you know what i mean and they’re still clean and the my point though was that is one thing i really liked about the aaa reading is they have a similar saying in there but it’s like seldom have we seen a member you know keep what they have by giving it away but it still gives that opening for it does happen you know it’s not this close-ended you know thing some people luck out lottery i don’t know see i always debate that too because uh that whole 12-step idea of if you leave n a you’re no longer working you never really work the 12-step because you’re not sticking around to give it away to people or whatever but i think we can give it away in other places in our life i agree i remember i there was a guy when i was uh doing steam fitting and i happened to be working with a plumber that was in our union too and he was like highly christian and believed in this certain sect of christianity that was like a certain preacher from the 30s that really i don’t know had this profit sizing kind of ministry or whatever it was interesting right i listened to some of it i didn’t dislike it but i didn’t buy in so much either but he kind of you know we would have a lot of talks because we were working together and he would say like his only real goal was to carry that message to people and let them know and have it be heard and i was like well then why the hell are you a plumber all right like shouldn’t you be a preacher

and he he said well how would all the plumbers hear about it if that was the case and i thought that made a good point right and so maybe the people that aren’t technically going to n a to give this stuff away anymore maybe there’s somewhere else where other people that don’t go to n a need to hear about recovery from addiction yeah or people can become more open-minded to different ideas maybe again not to go down this road but maybe a i mean or n a isn’t like the perfect recovery for everyone all the time and you can go down a road of like hey i’m more open to whatever kind of maintenance program or this other kind of recovery that lets you smoke pot or take acid or psychedelics

and now does that mean you’re not giving it away or trying to help other people i don’t you know you can still help people in other ways than just giving them the narcotics anonymous message like well that’s not the only message are they keeping clean time or are they keeping recovery those people that aren’t here giving it away anymore what what are they keeping maybe neither i mean yeah i was meant for the select few that are that are still clean like oh are they really keeping recovery are they still are they like angry bitter people do they i’m sure there’s some of those you know there’s there’s the of course this we all sort of knew the old dry drunk person and hits a meeting every now and again when you see them they’re kind of miserable you know i mean i know at least one or two of those people and would i say they don’t have recovery because they’re not using anymore like no i mean one of them was a guy that sponsored me for a long time and he gave me a lot maybe i i don’t know if he’s keeping it or not i really couldn’t say hmm i don’t know i guess this for me in my life right now it just comes back to the concept of i’m often called to teach what it is i need to learn better that’s where i’m at and that’s what i think of the whole giving it a way to keep it like i’m constantly put in position to teach things to people or give them information that is the exact information that i need to be reminded of or strengthened in my understanding when they’re like why do i have to hit a meeting and then i got to explain why and then i understand why i bet right like i don’t know i never thought about it let me figure this out real quick yeah let me come up with a good answer all right next little quote uh all our groups can do is plant the seed for recovery and bring addicts together so that the magic of empathy honesty caring sharing and service can do their work the purpose of this tradition is to ensure that this atmosphere of recovery is maintained so if your home group does not uh bring addicts together to plant the seeds with the magic of empathy honesty caring sharing and service then you’re not following this tradition i i don’t know i don’t know how that works i thought it was interesting i’ve never i don’t even know if i’ve ever read that line i swear i’ve read the basic text all the way through yeah i was like really empathy honesty caring sharing and service huh what was interesting for me when i read that having done this podcast now for a little while and and researching different ideas around addiction and what causes addiction and what helps people it it definitely sparked that idea that people that are using drugs for the most part at least addictively to the point of causing harm in their life not people that you successfully but people that typically yeah whatever that means i want to see this i hear people do it yeah i don’t know many but uh those people are typically you know suffering they’re they’re in pain they’re hurting and either emotionally physically both you know and having this empathy and love and compassion towards those people is the most likely way to get them to start to love themselves and care about themselves and look for a new way i mean empathy has definitely been a process for me in recovery i don’t feel like the things i aspired to be early in my 12-step fellowship membership were necessarily empathetic it was like follow the rules [ _ ] yeah that’s and i was just thinking the same thing like that’s what i thought early on i was like i just i don’t give a [ _ ] who you are you come in here you quit getting high you start doing this work and you’ll be fine you know and sit down and shut the [ _ ] up right and i don’t agree with that today no i’ve i’ve baffled myself voting for things in group conscience like uh we should really be more welcoming here guys what should we yeah yeah apparently we should that’s what the tradition says be nice be kind we need to take out of the reading where it says if you use today you’re not allowed to share you know i have voted to have that in the reading and at this point in my life i would definitely take that [ _ ] out i don’t care who you are just from us talking about that stuff my opinion of that change yeah you know it’s like nope that is not carrying the message to the addict who still suffers right you know that guy’s [ _ ] suffering or else he wouldn’t still be getting hot yeah oh my god though and look i i tell you this in the in the podcast right and i tell you my mind has changed and yet i was at a meeting last night and they said does anybody have a burning desire and some lady who has been around for a long time but doesn’t have much clean time or recovery uh she speaks up and the first words out of her mouth this isn’t a burning desire but i wanted to say like shut the [ _ ] up pull somebody up answer to me like why are you talking and all that compassion and empathy was right out the window yeah he’s like no man the meeting’s over shut up i don’t want to hear your [ __ ] about whatever that’s not a burning desire when they just ask for a burning desire yeah but did you do anything with that or did you yeah i looked at my buddy and rolled my eyes which was rude yeah it was i mean but i still did it and then i talked about her in the car

and now you’re taking ownership i am and i acknowledge sorry at fault whatever your name was that didn’t have a burning desire but shared anything right oh there’s still weird [ _ ] like that that bothers me meetings all the time all right uh the therapeutic value of one addict helping another is without parallel for the newcomers this is how they found narcotics anonymous and learned to stay clean for the members this reaffirms their commitment to recovery therapeutic value of one addict helping another is without parallel i mean my personal experience with that has been pretty true i know i feel like i’ve gained the most i don’t know what you want to call it energy or momentum in my recovery when i have sponsees that are active and working and doing step work like that [ _ ] is contagious you know so as a member carrying the message to other people you know it’s def i personally have found it very motivational and inspiring i agree with that like it’s it’s you know been quite a few times when uh sharing a meeting and realizing i’m sharing that i haven’t picked up a step in many many months and then i pick up a step right like or or having a sponsor and be like hey you should do these things then i’m like oh [ _ ] i should probably do those things i get that i just think for a program that teaches us humility it’s awful bold to say that our method is without parallel it’s a little much and i’ve gotten a lot out of different relationships whether that be therapy relationships when i was in therapy or you know some other kind of ways i don’t know that i would say the therapeutic value of one addict helping in others without parallel and it’s weird that you say that i’ve always liked that saying a lot i really do because i think there is some relevance to it you know yeah an addict can identify with another addict we understand you know the traumas we understand what it’s like to use you know with all these consequences on the line whereas a lot of other people don’t you know they just don’t get it like why don’t you just stop you know like that [ _ ] but at the same time my personal experience was that the person that sort of impacted or what i felt like at the time impacted or reached me the most was a counselor that was not an addict he was an earth person and yeah and i’ve never really thought of those two ideas conflicting before i mean i i think there is something to somebody being able to understand something real similar to what we went through right nobody’s got our direct exact experience but somebody who’s been through drug addiction understands what it’s like to not be able to fight the urge to get one more to do horrible things to people you love to get one more like i do appreciate that i just don’t think in 2021 they’re the only people that can understand and empathize with that like i think other people also understand from their own struggles of in completely different ways right well and just to over analyze the words a little bit you know does it does saying it’s without parallel mean that something is better or worse or does it just mean you won’t find something that’s the same you know that’s like saying if i go and sit down and you know talk to a professional counselor you know that’s not the same as going and sitting down and talking to my buddy at the coffee shop you know what i mean like there’s is saying it’s without parallel mean like you have to pay for the counseling and this is free i don’t know i feel like yeah and i’m not saying it says it’s better or worse but i’m sitting here thinking like if i said this chair i’m sitting in is without parallel to me that means there’s no other [ _ ] seats on earth like because another seat of any variety would be a parallel to this seat like it’s very similar right it’s running on the same lines we’re doing the same thing like i don’t know yeah let’s not over analyze i’m never gonna say that again i probably will yeah i just totally lied i’m gonna say it probably tonight right at the meeting uh the group is the most powerful vehicle we have for carrying the message i like this part um when a member carries the message he is somewhat bound by interpretation and personality the problem with literature is language the feelings the intensity and the strengths are sometimes lost and i love that i mean i definitely felt some of the stories because they have stories in the basic text if you’re not familiar with that uh i won’t call you earth people because i was told not to by recovery cafe um but yeah there’s stories in there and i felt some of them but i agree like there’s something to somebody’s experiences and i honestly think it’s some of what we do here right if we can put an analogy or a personal experience to a lesson it just seems so much more easy to learn i guess or easy to understand or take in right we can relate to people more and i feel like that’s been true but i i have never once because i always i’m one of those people i i probably flip-flop on this but i’m like the literature’s the program the meetings are just some [ _ ] hangout spot right but then i’ve also been the person that that you talked about where i’m like and i want to take the readings out but they might be the best thing we hear in this meeting like people are full of [ _ ] they say some crazy stuff so i don’t know the group is the most powerful vehicle we have for carrying the message that’s that’s a statement yeah that yeah but is that only because newcomers ain’t gonna pick the book up or is it because that’s where they can come and see people actually living a program a recovery i mean you can read all the literature you want but it’s way easier to be like that’s some you know that’s someone else that’s someone different that’s you know that terminal uh uniqueness that addicts suffer from whereas for myself i could come into meetings and hear people share and have pieces of things that i could identify with like i had people that i actually knew and used with that were in recovery when i came around because i used in this area that i got clean in and so i could say like yeah that’s a person that was similar to me because even the stories in the basic text like you don’t get a lot of history of like so where did you grow up and what were your parents like and are they even still mary you know like you don’t understand people’s full history yeah they were it was like i went to the only n a meeting on earth or something right it was one of the stuff like really there was only one well now they got all new ones have you read all the new ones in the sixth edition of the basic text they added all well i can’t say all new stories they kept i want to say three of the old stories and added some new ones that have newer drugs and [ _ ] because the old stories didn’t include need newer yeah don’t tell anybody but i didn’t read the old stories i never thought they were cool i didn’t like the stories either i was like if i need a message i’ll go to a meeting where they just and maybe it was that because the speaker tapes you know i’m not going to date myself there even but they just have them on tapes you know or listening to speaker cds was way more interesting to me billy had speaker a-trax back in the day speaker records um yeah i don’t i don’t know but i i think that’s interesting when a member can i don’t like why does it say when a member carries a message he’s somewhat bound by interpretation and personality i figure i feel like that’s like contrary to what this whole paragraph is talking about huh i guess it’s just saying there are some limitations on the member carrying the message but the literature’s more limited the individual member is going to have a limit i mean right like i shared about this at an anniversary of someone the other day i don’t know why i like certain people or gravitate towards certain people you know i i don’t know why that is it but there are certain people or certain personalities or or whatever that you know if you’ve been around meetings you know you just meet someone you’re like hey i really [ __ ] like that person or other people you meet and just you know for me it’s i get a weird feeling i’m like i don’t really like that person i don’t think that’s a person i want to be around and it’s not always like the obvious like the guy talked about stealing from his job and raping women and you know killing babies you know sometimes they seem like nice enough people but there’s just something about them that is like i am not interested yeah and i think i get into judgment there because it’s not just that i’ll say that i’ll look to see what the crowd says to and if the crowd agrees with me i’m like ah it’s definitely that person instead of being like there’s just some people for me and there’s just some people that aren’t right because that’s the reality of the way i understand the world yeah and where i was going with that i want to say is

it doesn’t mean those people don’t have something good to say or something to offer me but i’m definitely going to be way more critical and way more judgmental of the guy that like i’ll give you something am i going to say names but i know some people that have lots of years of time that steal money from their home group cheat on their wife run around and they’re hungry well they use the home group money to go out afterwards to go to dinner and eat and really [ _ ] like that yeah that just seems over 20 years thinks that shit’s okay that just seems like selling your soul so cheaply fellowshipping that’s what that’s what the justification is i mean i don’t i don’t agree with it i you know whatever now we’re gonna go down the road we are so here’s the worst part i’m like ah cheating on your wife i get that that makes sense you know you’re getting something out of it something big right you’re selling your soul for like the 20 bucks of the home group money like that just seems so cheap i’m gonna sell my soul way higher like if the home group money was buying a new car for me [ _ ] yeah i get that i understand that right at least you’re selling high but like selling it for a hot dog that’s crazy and i only know these things because a newer member had this person as a sponsor and then came to me and said i think i need to get a new sponsor and we started talking about why and he started telling me these things and then but if you went to a meeting and heard the guy share you’d think he walks on water and is you know the greatest thing and he’s heavily involved and sponsors a bunch of people because he shares [ _ ] great very entertaining i don’t know if i want you to tell me who this is afterwards or not and it’s that’s where like so now anything that guy says when i’m around is [ _ ] because because i know how he lives you know and and you can come in and talk all kinds of good literature nonsense [ _ ] it seems like [ _ ] when it’s coming from a guy that doesn’t live that way and and contradicts himself i we had some guys like around baltimore that shared really well but there was always and i feel like this almost goes hand in hand if you share well you’ve got like this other secret life right but there were they were like there were stories about how they shared really great but then picked up prostitutes on the way home from the same meeting they shared some of them too some stuff along those lines and you know at some point it’s like how much can i let that and so this is what happens the people who i have that weird feeling towards already i’m like yeah [ _ ] them they’re dirty bastards right the people i genuinely like when i interact with them i’m like well you know we’ve all got our struggles so i i don’t know i don’t know what to do with that yeah it’s hard i mean i i still try to recognize that we all have her demons and you know i got my shortcomings and [ _ ] that i do that i’m sure people be like what a [ _ ] hypocrite that guy is like you know but i ain’t spending the goddamn homework for a donut yeah i don’t know so this this little piece the whole point about the group carrying a message and the literature being bound to me it just sounds like me with books like i won’t make time to read books but i’ll listen to audiobooks that’s what that sounds like to me like you’re not going to get somebody uh nodding out spilling their coffee reading the basic text but they might wake up long enough to hear part of the message in a meeting like i just i don’t know i mean i personally outside of fellowship stuff just think there’s something way more powerful and individuals getting together in like face-to-face one-on-one communication there’s a level of intimacy and and hopefully intimacy vulnerability uh shared you know whatever emotional energy when you’re interacting with someone face to face that’s why i don’t like the zoom meetings and stuff you know i think all that’s lost but anyway we’re gonna have to do a a a media meeting [ _ ] episode on how to cultivate vulnerability in groups of men when they go out because i feel like groups of men go out and and i do enjoy that right and and we have fun but sometimes it’s like all right we’re going to talk about football right we know that the draft just happened we’re going to talk about that we’re going to talk about women we’re going to talk about like when can we it’s very difficult to to bring up and so one on one it’s easier right because then i can kind of like it’s just me and that person but when there’s like the group of two or three or four and i say something vulnerable that quickly gets turned into joke time right it’s like how do we cultivate this like ability to be more in touch with these feelings i don’t know we’ll do that episode one day yeah that would be fun but uh one last thing about this section and then we’ll move on you mentioned just having that feeling of liking people or just not clicking so much with them even if they seem like nice enough people and that’s one of the things that has helped me the most when i go to share is that i think it’s in the 12 step in the step working guide maybe i don’t know don’t quote me on that it’s definitely somewhere in there but it talks about each one of us has a one-of-a-kind personality that is sure to be an attraction to many and when i read that i was just comforted by it right like yeah i’m not gonna be everybody’s cup of tea but if i’m just me there are people that need me to be just me and that’s exactly what they’re gonna get right and so i it it frees me up i don’t have to worry about oh did i sound profound enough did i do that like i just go up there i say it a prayer i beat me and that’s enough and that’s and i doesn’t really do with this tradition but since you brought up liking people and not liking me no that’s great i like that

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and consider donating to our calls um okay the next one what would happen if our groups had another primary purpose i’ve wondered this myself we feel our message would be deluded and then lost if we concentrated on making money many might get rich if we were a social club we’re not uh if we were a social club we could find many friends and lovers i’m pretty sure we’re social i’m pretty sure we’re a social club if we specialized in education we’d end up with many smart addicts if our specialty was medical help many would get healthy if our group purpose were anything other than to carry the message many would die and few would find recovery that’s a big leap i’m not sure that’s necessarily true that’s an awful big leap like why couldn’t we be healthy clean addicts or rich clean addicts or i don’t know i just felt like oh if we did these other things a whole lot of people will die don’t do it would they really yeah that is a big leap i agree and i didn’t i read through it you know this morning and i didn’t catch that but when you just read it now it was obvious like wow really

i’m pretty sure we’re a social club at least for 50 of the people that come in we are definitely a social club yeah i mean i i was definitely no no i can’t say that i wasn’t really trying to date nna at some point i was but it’s been a long point since then i mean that might not be our primary purpose but we are definitely a social club to say that we’re not as i mean christ we tell people don’t hang out with people that aren’t in recovery when you come in only hang out with people that are here only come to our events you know if you’re [ __ ] another addict and not working the steps your primary purpose is definitely a social club

you are not 50 there for the right message if you’re coming and you don’t have a sponsor social club i don’t know i i mean i get it i think we do need a primary purpose i think it’s good to keep in mind i just don’t know that you can’t have a primary purpose and then also some secondary ones yeah it doesn’t say it’s the only purpose right it says primary which means our most important yeah so why can’t we have a primary purpose and then oh hey as a secondary purpose we’d also like to be a social club where you can meet friends and lovers that’s interesting though because i would say i mean that line you just read says we’re not i mean our primary purpose the way that it reads in this tradition makes it sound like our only purpose not just our primary purpose yeah the way i understand this is it’s not just the primary it’s our only purpose and in fact other purposes even secondary or is it third airy i don’t know tertiary that that those would divert us and millions would die or whatever right everyone will be thrown into the pits of hell i i don’t know man i’m a little jealous now i feel like n.a should have had a secondary purpose of getting rich then i could have stayed clean and got rich right why couldn’t we do both yeah man oh yeah if we had a secondary purpose of wealth that would be great right education free wealth education and health i kind of really lived it up and still been clean with the primary purpose yeah i don’t know that’s interesting it does make it sound like it’s the only purpose yeah shame on una it’s a good purpose i mean for for what it what it does for the fellowship i mean it keeps gives us goal posts gives us you know a lane to stay in are we kicking field goals yeah all right so the last little piece and we kind of already covered this what is our message the message is that an addict any addict can stop using drugs lose a desire to use and find a new way to live our message is hope and the promise of freedom which gets twisted around so many different ways for convention topics yeah and then i start to think all right well it says stop using drugs does it just mean illegal drugs or all drugs what does that mean like obviously we don’t want to tell people to stop taking psychiatric medication from a doctor is caffeine a drug yeah i don’t want to stop that i don’t want to find any way to live without i just had a coffee now so i’m i guess about 15 minutes

so and that’s interesting right and and i kind of heard you upstairs talking with bud a few minutes ago and i was like we can’t use suboxone in n a to treat addiction like that’s the distinction right suboxone treatment that seems to be this distinction but i mean my belief is generally that we use as a coping mechanism to life right it’s a reaction to life in order to cope and stay alive and if we don’t use we’re probably going to end up committing suicide because it’s just too much to deal with like drugs are our escape and they’re a powerful one so if that’s the case and we were escaping depression or anxiety then wouldn’t treating those with medicine just be the exact same thing as treating addiction because that’s why we were using so i think we feel like sometimes multiple things can’t be true at the same time and i would say they can so my answer to your question would be yes 100 and and even nowadays with medical marijuana do i think that’s incredibly beneficial for certain people with certain you know anxiety disorders and and things like that versus being on like ssris and antidepressants 100 percent i think you know that’s definitely a better avenue just in what little bit of research i’ve done and what little bit i know about it does that mean that n a is the place that they should come no in my opinion you know that that those two things can exist at the same time yes that’s fine if that’s what they need and that’s what they you know feel works best for them that’s great i have no judgment against that i don’t think there’s anything wrong with it i think it’s wonderful if they find what’s going to give them the best quality of life the best health what’s best for them in their recovery kudos i will do nothing but support you but does that mean i think the fellowship should begin to change its beliefs or or start to change you know what it is to accommodate everyone and my answer would be no and see i i’m thinking i almost and i don’t have this well thought out but i almost think i disagree like if this was 1982 and there was seven meetings in the baltimore area per week and that was the extent of n a and we had the opportunity to grow a more fully encompassing fellowship first and then n a could be like an offshoot somewhere for people that specifically wanted to do it that way but the actual recovery community met in a different place a social club probably that works great that works great right as it is it’s 20 21 and n a by de facto of how successful it was or how it was the only thing in treatment centers pushed people there for years and years and years has become the [ _ ] hub whether it wanted to be or not it didn’t ask for it it asked for success that’s the pyramid scheme aspect of it and it got that but in getting that it got this expansion into becoming the recovery hub and so there’s like two options either n a shrinks back to this little tiny thing and goes off into its corner like like a smart recovery or recovery dharma and something else bigger takes its place to be the recovery hub whether that’s recovery cafe or you know some other recovery sort of anonymous whatever the [ _ ] we come up with right our own fellowship or na’s gotta [ _ ] change to keep up with what it has become the fellowship has become something different the fellowship is just everybody in recovery goes there to meet other people in recovery but would you share that same opinion of aaa do they have that same problem well you’re ex i mean they say specifically they deal with alcohol so but they don’t everybody in aaa takes pills snorts coke not now but i’m just saying that that was all part of the at this point in time in 2021 there i don’t think there’s many pure alcoholics out there i’m sure there’s some not many i would say the people that go to that fellowship would disagree you think so yes somebody from aaa reach out and tell billy he’s wrong okay we we need some aaa influence i don’t think so i think most of them know they are not purely alcoholics anymore i think they understand that they just stick with that program honestly the only reason i think people go to aaa now because i know heroin people who go to aaa like strictly heroin go to aaa is because they think that program has a different demographic than n a and they’re right yeah but do they call themselves alcoholics they do do they feel like they’re okay to freely talk about their heroin use maybe not in a meeting right but with their sponsor it’s like the understood elephant in the room that you know we talk about alcohol in the meeting some meetings some meetings are more open but generally we know everybody did something but i don’t think if someone came in here and said they were clean and and worked steps and talked about recovery and didn’t share that they were on maintenance marijuana prescribed by a doctor that it would come up it would be the same thing you know what i mean it only comes up when people make it public opinion or make it part of their sharing and open discussion on recovery i mean we had a guy for years and years came around the meetings had a i mean he was here for sex addiction really he had a sex addiction and he didn’t even ever did drugs wasn’t even about drugs right but there was no sex addicts anonymous meetings around here so we came to n a and everybody kind of knew it he i mean he if you talk to him privately one-on-one with a few people he talked about but when he shared in meetings and talked you would never know you know he used the right language he talked about it in the right you know context it’s got to be hard for one he must oh yeah he’s smart oh yeah he’s an amazing guy actually so i and and not so much for that guy but going back to your statement of in n a if you just don’t talk about your your marijuana medically or your uh toxins you could say i’m on medication prescribed by a doctor yeah but i i first i’m smoking weed every night okay so the guy in a a who knows he shot heroin also or only right no he doesn’t walk into that meeting thinking i’m keeping a secret because if they find out i won’t be accepted he’s saying everybody in this [ _ ] meeting i would disagree with that a lot i’ve been to meetings where they’ve told people you’re not allowed to talk about drugs and drug use right that’s not what we are no i got you but i’m saying he’s not walking into that meeting thinking he wouldn’t be accepted over that information like if he went out in the parking lot and told everybody and after the meeting like after the meeting’s over like yeah yeah i also used some heroin nobody’s gonna be like oh you don’t [ _ ] belong here that you know if if he said do you understand like the the guy in nh i understand but i think that’s why na exists in the first place because that’s what those people that came and talked about drugs were told that this is not the place for you and you need to go find a new place and we’ll even help you start it you know what i mean we’ll we’ll let you use our traditions and [ _ ] but you coming here sharing about your drugs and your drug use and that lifestyle is not what we’re about so we started a whole new fella they’re not sharing about it in there so the alcoholic who also snorted coke but he’s asked not to talk about the coke in the meeting he’s not unaccepted over that is unaccepted a word i don’t know he’s not he’s not shamed in the parking lot because he says oh yeah yeah i did some lines while i was getting drunk too nobody gives a [ _ ] they’re like yeah we did lines too that’s great buddy if you got in the parking lot of an n a meeting and say oh yeah i’m on medical marijuana no that’s the elephant in the room that’s that’s judgmental and shameful for you so yeah yes there’s definitely some blurry lines there i would say in that marijuana is a tough one because up until what four or five years ago that was a street drug that everyone used that wasn’t was the gateway typically prescribed right and everybody smoked weed and it was illegal you know it wasn’t a legal drug so that one’s a little weird because like my whole experience using it and everyone i ever used it with it was always assimilated with illegal drug use um so now it’s and i know it’s wrong but in my head it’s [ _ ] comedic when people say they’re on maintenance marijuana it’s like you’re just getting high and i know that’s wrong like i intellectually i know that that’s wrong but when someone says it that’s my impulses ago you’re just [ _ ] smoking weed like that’s all you’re doing and i am working to change that in myself i’m i’m trying to you know even though that’s my first thought i recognize that’s not necessarily true and let’s say i’ve spent some time researching it and looking into a lot of it and the benefits and what it should and shouldn’t be used for what if they don’t paint management medi marijuana is not for pain management people that tell you that that’s kind of a lie there’s no actual evidence but whatever you know there’s certain things that it has benefits for but in my head you just like to smoke weed what if they don’t smoke it then you just like it for the psychedelic aspects of eating what if they don’t eat it they use the tincture or whatever i don’t think i even know what that is yeah there’s like ointments or creams or i don’t know what the [ _ ] it is but like you just i don’t i don’t even know i don’t know if you put it in your mouth yeah i don’t really i don’t know enough about all the using ways but apparently yeah apparently i met somebody who used like such a minuscule amount and it was the tincture that’s a fancy word it’s like from the 1840s but in any case the the weed thing or marijuana thing thc whatever is a little bit tougher like if you went and said oh i’m on uh you know i know it’s some what’s a psychiatric medication like valium you know oh i go to uh xanax i’ve yeah xanax i’m on xanax you know prescribed by my psychiatrist because i have you know anxiety disorder or something you kind of go huh okay you know i get i’m not really gonna tell you me that’s what i would say if you’re taking it as prescribed by your doctor i’m gonna tell someone to stop i’m not gonna tell anybody to stop but i am way more sketchy about the guy who says he’s got a prescription for xanax then i am the one who says he’s home medical marijuana well what i mean oh you’re getting high buddy would you tell that person they don’t belong in n a or that they shouldn’t be here or that now i’m not telling anybody anything i’m like [ _ ] you come in we’re changing this [ _ ] would you sponsor them and work steps with them yep yeah sure i don’t [ _ ] do i care and see i probably would too like again if it’s prescribed by a doctor now would i tell them they’re probably gonna have some resistance you know they’re gonna they’re gonna meet people with some pretty strong opinions about that probably um you know i just think that’s going to happen but back to the aaa thing i could tell you that fellowship is the same they’re going to have a varying degree of people whereas some are going to tell you our first step says alcohol we’re about alcohol that’s all we’re about and then you’re going to have some other people who are way more open-minded and say no i did everything and this applies to all these areas and you know obviously to me the latter is way more appealing that’s the person i want to be today and my recovery in n a i want to be a person that’s more open-minded and more welcoming to people that are on you know medically prescribed medications whatever they are you know because i think in our again in our research with traditions and literature and all this stuff i i believe that’s what the fellowship wants to be i have no reason to believe it this way so we need to find out from aaa people yeah i think your version of the people who are strictly alcohol versus the other side is like 10 to 90 at this point i think most of their fellowship understands they are not just there for alcohol and they’re just in aa because it’s the only fellowship around or because they have a different type of person at least in their minds i don’t think there’s a whole lot of them people that you talk about that used to be there when we got clean i really i i don’t know i’m making that [ _ ] up it’s just the thought of my head and so well yeah and i i can’t now i’m going to ask you to in your made-up version in your head is there another mate because there’s people online who talk about their their why they go to aaa and i’ve interacted with some of them and all of them and most of my experience with aaa is 20 years plus a go i mean i went to both fellowships in the beginning of my i was probably 17 18. i felt way more comfortable in n a i had people you know say the things not in any and no one ever attacked me but if you talk about drug use people say we’re alcoholics you know what i mean they have these n a meetings stuff like that um i’ve also traveled around the country and went to meetings in different areas and had different experiences of like there’s been areas we’ve been to where n a almost doesn’t even exist right you know it’s almost non-existent so don’t say all the addicts go to the aaa they’re all there say an alcoholic right but does that mean they’re allowed to smoke weed and drink and i mean smoke weed or use other drugs or probably not you know let’s go to somebody because i’ve also heard that about aa2 that you can do other drugs oh yeah california’s sober yeah which i don’t know if that’s you know yeah and i’m sure it’s just like n a i mean everybody every fellowship is made up of such a varying degree of people you’re never gonna find like the average i mean there’s probably an average but i mean there’s always gonna be outliers on either side of let’s go to some aaa means billy okay i would go i would do it i would probably be miserable while i was there but i’ll do it all right so real quick uh running out of time here how would you take this tradition outside of a 12-step program so uh if you had a primary purpose what’s the primary purpose in your life like not for the group of n a what’s your primary purpose yeah i should have thought about this before i asked i don’t know and i have thought about this at different times i mean i would say for me it’s to try to go through my life and be a loving caring compassionate person like that’s that’s probably my primary purpose whether that’s with my kids whether that’s with you know people i interact with at work or or whatever just to try to be a loving kind and compassionate person oh so i i think what i want my purpose to be is to find an inner peace that allows me to be true to my most true version of my inner self i don’t think that actually is my primary purpose though because i honestly think that i will buck my own inner truth when it doesn’t look good on the outside right like if my inner truth is [ __ ] my family today i want to go do what i want to do i don’t want to i don’t want to honor that like i don’t there’s times i don’t want to accept the not so pretty parts of me so but my my primary purpose i think i would like it to be just to accept me perfectly right oh i want to be a douche bag today cool whatever like that’s just where i’m at i gotta be here to learn from it i guess i don’t know so i think my purpose is probably more like yours like i want to live in harmony and get back and you know be a understand that i’m i’m not just one person like the whole of society is the one person that i’m acting you know when i decide what i’m doing in life i want it to affect everyone well not just me

does anyone anyone anywhere have a clue what in the world i was trying to say here because i have no idea all that grand lovely i wish i thought that deep i mean for me it’s mostly going through my day and like oh here’s an opportunity to hold the door open for this old lady you know like oh you know somebody asked me the neighbors over there shoveling a hole i’m not doing anything maybe i could go give him a hand it’s more simple like that’s exactly why i need mental world or save the world let’s save the world yeah let’s shave the world i’m not trying to save the world or do any grand you know all right yeah change the trajectory of the united states so what would the primary purpose of your family be

is there united states i don’t think we have a primary purpose as a family i mean i would say huh yeah i don’t think we do i don’t think we do either but i feel like we should i feel like there should be a primary purpose what’s the primary purpose of our community cecil county oh i would say there’s not a primary purpose of the community well this is the [ _ ] problem in the world our families don’t have a primary purpose our county doesn’t does the united states have a primary purpose well do we should we have a primary purpose i mean i would think live in harmony love and respect all something that is typically i mean you get into the politics thing that is typically what i think people mean when they talk about you know american values and these these old fashioned american values and getting getting back to what the us used to be or whatever all that [ _ ] what they’re really talking and it’s a beautiful sentiment i just think most people say those words with zero meaning behind it or even i should say more of an understanding of the meaning of what that is right and i would say that is what you know when we talk about the best parts of american values it is the unity of purpose and the looking at the bigger picture versus our individual selves because for me that’s how this tradition kind of plays out it’s like all right i have my individual wants needs desires all that stuff that i work on and learn about through the 12 steps and living a spiritual life but then i also have a responsibility or obligation to the group or which depends on what the group is maybe the group is my family maybe the group is you know the the school that my kids go to and interacting with that maybe the group is my work and at each of those areas the primary purpose might be different than what my individual purpose is you know at work our primary purpose is to make money i mean that’s we’re a business we’re there to make money now it doesn’t throw all our other values out the window in order to make money but what i’m saying is that the primary purpose at my job is not my primary purpose as an individual what would happen if the primary purpose at your job changed from general to make money to we want to make enough money to pay everybody what they’re worth the end like we don’t really want to make more than that what would happen i feel like every company needs to do that yeah i mean i always like the profit sharing ideas better but the hard part with worth and stuff is like how do you who determines what your worth is who determines your value and is it just what you need to live and then if it’s just really what you need to live then live at what level of comfort you know okay and so yeah so that stuff gets tricky so take worth out real quick we just our company’s new primary purposes we want to make enough money to pay everybody what they’re making now and give them a raise each year what would happen would you guys make less money would you charge less for services uh i don’t know i mean would you just donate the excess effort to me if it was up to me what we would do probably donate or do a lot of charity work i mean that’s what i would do it’s not my business though so i don’t get to make that choice right but i mean just because that’s more in alignment with my values of of being a compassionate person and helping people that i can and you know maybe do one of those things like a restaurant does like hey we’re going to come in and do a service you just pay us what you can or what you think it’s worth you know we’re going to come fix your [ _ ] it’s broke we’re going to come fix it pay us what you can or pay us what you think it’s worth i don’t know if you’ve heard there’s some restaurants that do that kind of thing and wow you know yeah that’s really interesting yeah i wonder what i pay and i mean according to the the models of that kind of stuff most places do very well because people that really enjoy it will actually pay more you know for the the quality and then people that can afford it go there and eat and will support you and what we find out about society most of the time is most people want to be honest and do the right things even though that’s what you know doesn’t seem to be the popular opinion the truth is it’s just like working from home what they found out when all these people started working from home they’re like oh [ _ ] people actually work and more [ _ ] gets done imagine that we never thought that would happen right like yeah because most people aren’t shitty [ _ ] you know they exist i mean i’m not saying they don’t but most people most people want to be decent human beings but in any case yeah this tradition for me more in my personal life because this one was harder to actually say how does this apply my personal life versus you know the fellowship and for me it had more to do with looking at i need to look at my individual role in groups outside of my own individual needs and benefits all the time that you know the the purpose when i go out and get involved in other things the purpose isn’t always about me um i can still like right now just what’s going on in my life with you know little league like i got i help coach little league and it’s a volunteer thing you volunteer to help i find myself engaging more with certain kids and not engaging with certain other kids because they’re shitty or they’re [ __ ] or they have i’ll say bad parents because that’s who makes bad kids i think wow but uh no shots fired yes there’s just certain kids that i tend to same as people i just get along with them better we interact better the communication’s better and so i’ll interact and give more information to them there’s other kids that act like they don’t give a crap what you have to say or they don’t want to listen to you or they just blow you off and are disrespectful so i don’t interact with them and i don’t know if that’s the best way to go about that you know but that’s a struggle like i try to remember like i’m here to help these kids and try and be a mentor and so i will on certain days not every day but on certain days i’ll try to push myself to engage a little bit more with some of those kids that i don’t get along with so well or that i think are struggling in certain areas right so there you go i guess the point of this is uh evaluate the purpose of the groups you are in in your life and see if you are living up to that right are you just in certain groups in your life to get something out of it like is it just for you or are you there to try to contribute to the group’s purpose and and if you don’t like the group’s purpose then why are you a member of that group right maybe switch some groups up around that could be an interesting an interesting thing to do like i’m not sure all the groups i participate in believe in something i like and focusing on what what do i have to give or what do i have to bring to this group not so much what is this group doing for me and what am i getting out of it right my primary poke focus my primary focus should be giving back or or putting into the group not taking away from yeah and then maybe realizing that putting into the group will actually give me the thing i wanted in the first place out of it yeah all right got anything else no cool tradition five is done see y’all next week did you like this episode share it with people you think might get something out of it check out the rest of our episodes at recoveryswordup.com also while you’re there you can find ways to link up with us on facebook twitter instagram reddit youtube anything we’re always looking for new ideas got an idea you want us to look into reach out to us