112: Tradition 12 – Anonymity is the Spiritual Foundation of all our Traditions (Sort Of)

Tradition twelve: Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities. We explore the ins and outs of what the Twelfth Tradition is all about. What is anonymity, and how is it used in this tradition? What is it to be the spiritual foundation? What does it mean to place principles before personalities, and how do we put it into practice? How long is the proper amount of time to hold a particular service position, according to the literature? Why would there be a limit on the amount of time we should hold a position? How does humility apply to this tradition? Join the conversation by leaving a message, emailing us at RecoverySortOf@gmail.com,  or find us on Twitter, Facebook 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’m jason a guy who can’t wait to talk about anonymity and i’m billy i’m a person in long-term recovery and it’s tradition 12 and the only exciting thing about this for me is that we don’t have to do it next month we’re done the tradition oh thank god thank god um so tradition 12 it’s anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions ever reminding us to place principles before personalities what in the hell does that mean anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions so i guess anonymity is a spiritual principle of being anonymous and it always is supposed to keep in mind for us that we place these spiritual principles before other people’s personalities but what does that even mean like what is the way i understand it is that we are encouraged supposed to if you want to use that word and we’re not supposed to do anything but we are encouraged expected uh wanted to try to place the needs of the whole ahead of our own individual needs that our own individual wants and desires and beliefs should not overcome the needs of the groups so when it says ever reminding us to place principles before personalities does that mean our own personality like we’re supposed to place the principles and what’s best for the group of above our own personal wants and yes is that what you say yeah that is never how i’ve read that before i thought of that as like being a good person even when other people are dicks

but i should be working within the group to try to serve the group i mean again this stuff is whatever predicated on the idea that everyone is doing the same thing not that you have one guy that comes in and acts like a dick and runs the meeting poorly so that’s what everybody does because they’re putting their groups needs ahead of their like not that you’re right you’re predicating that on the idea that everyone is bringing that you know spirit to the discussion one of the things i found fascinating that’s a little off topic from this tradition is on youtube we got a comment on one of our tradition episodes it was either 8 or 9 i can’t remember maybe even 10 who the [ _ ] knows at this point it all runs together but they were like i thought you were gonna have more uh program-based information and i’m just i don’t remember the exact quote but something about i thought you were gonna be more specific with the program literature and there’s this guiding principles book and you guys should read the literature and really figure this out and i was like wait everything we said is like taken from the literature it’s straight out of the basic text and it works out why so that’s interesting what made me wonder was does the guiding principles workbook like deviate from our original text i have no idea i haven’t read it but it did make me question that yeah i don’t think it deviates it does go a little deeper into each of the principles and uh i mean each of the traditions and spiritual principles that are in them maybe they feel like we’re missing some or not discussing some in a way that it specifically says in the book i mean i our literature at least says that you know our hard-won experience gave birth to the traditions and it is only through understanding and application that they work um so most of my understanding has been through years of service work and hard work being involved and right actual doing it not necessarily just what i read in a book somewhere i guess that’s my snarky way of saying get involved and do some service and then figure out if you’re what your ideas are it sounded like billy gave him the middle finger whoever that was i i don’t know justification yeah i commented back something along the lines of like most of this episode is straight out of the literature but whatever it was just an interesting thing to me i didn’t like get hugely offended by it or nothing i didn’t care enough to get offended honestly it’s like tradition episodes suck well i heard jimmy k and i’d have to find it i have it on one of my speaker tapes or cds somewhere say that all this talking about traditions and steps does not serve the fellowship and is actually makes it more complicated and confusing than it needs to be so all this new literature and stuff maybe isn’t the best thing yeah well maybe it’s easier to keep it simple and apply it in basic terms and make it easy just be honest and show up a dictionary definition of anonymity is a state of bearing no name in keeping with tradition 12 the i becomes we the spiritual foundation becomes more important than any one group or individual so that’s a you know one of the first pieces out of the the basic text version of this the spiritual foundation becomes more important than any one group or individual it’s hard to picture where this is gonna be profoundly infused into anything that i’ve ever done like i don’t nothing i’ve ever seen or witnessed really placed the uh again this kind of goes back to the last episode talking about feeling like i need to protect n a or something like yeah there have been some things that i thought well that’s kind of shitty or that’s just all about that guy that home group right that’s all about what he wants to do in that meeting but none of that i ever thought was like oh my god n a is gonna fall apart if we let this go like i’ve never thought that like any one group or individual was gonna tear na apart honestly um i don’t know that i ever felt that a group was gonna tear the fellowship apart i will say we had and i’ve talked about this before but we’ve had was it one group with two meetings a week that took on this attitude that if you were smoking cigarettes or drinking coffee that you were using and that you weren’t clean and they shared that openly in their meetings and would say things like you need to get a white key tag and things like that and and it was very contradictory um from everything that i understood you know that was not the basis of the fellowship but anyway uh and they were on the meeting schedule and we were sending people to that meeting and i didn’t know that it was gonna tear the fellowship apart but what i thought most directly for me was imagine coming out of treatment with no days clean or you know whatever 30 days clean whatever getting out of treatment coming home and hitting that as one of your first meetings or one of your early meetings and being like oh that’s what na is about [ _ ] that like i’m gonna smoke cigarettes and drink coffee like i you know that’s [ _ ] crazy and you know that was always my fear what is it if that’s your introduction or your takeaway from that meeting as a representation of narcotics anonymous that from everything i understood was wrong anyway you know we had we should be trying to do something to stop that but any stance was no uh yeah pretty much well i mean they said it was really up to our area whether we decided to have a meeting on our schedule or not and you know they didn’t have a hard stance on that that our area makes up whatever guidelines for having a meeting on your schedule it was really up to the area so all the groups in an area can vote a group out so you can’t close a group right we would not have been able to stop them from existing voted out that was the one thing they did tell us yeah um so you can’t and this is now my understanding that wasn’t my understanding at the time but my understanding now is you can’t vote them out of the area because the area is there to serve the groups like it’s you know the earlier tradition says we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve we have another tradition that says our leaders are but trusted servants they do not govern so these are people that are of positions of service they’re not in positions of authority or governance so that group can exist and by all my understandings now back then it was very different back then i was wholeheartedly [ _ ] that group we should shut them down we should take them off the schedule and again that was based in this idea that people are going to die as a result direct result of getting dismissed information um so yeah so i just thought we needed to do something to stop them from quote-unquote killing people with this bad information that they had it was interesting coming up here and seeing in the susquehanna area area service that when a new meeting shows up to area service and says we want to be a new meeting we just say welcome hey go get a newcomer packet from literature or whatever and coming from the northeast freedom area they take a vote about a new meeting joining the area whether that’s a newly established meeting or a meeting coming from another area into the area they have to vote to decide that which seems contrary to what you just explained that they don’t have the ability to do that the groups decide what the [ _ ] they want yeah and my understanding of all of that is i guess the only thing that you’re technically allowed to approve them for is addition to your meeting schedule like if if you’re if you have a service board you’re whoever it is in our case it’s our literature committee that uh makes up meeting lists that that subcommittee is directly responsible to the groups that it serves so if the groups say hey we want to make sure that a meeting at least meets three months in a row or whatever criteria you put on before we add them to the schedule that’s one thing but you shouldn’t have the ability to keep them from meeting or approve them from meeting or you know what i mean like they can still show up there and meet and call themselves an a meeting and your subcommittees are responsible to try to serve them in any way that they can so they could always just send a gsr to area even if you don’t vote them into the area correct and they can vote they have a valid vote uh in my understanding they should yeah i mean there’s probably some technicalities about if the groups have to because i was talking with that about some of that with my wife it’s like what do you do if you’re a service board or committee directly responsible to those you serve but then the people that you serve tell you to do something that is contradictory to traditions or principles like what do you do do you serve them or do you allow your higher principles to sell i said i would probably step down or quit or say i’m not going to do that but yeah and it says in like the explanation of what the job of the gsr is at area service is that look your home group elected you to carry the information back to the group from area and from the group to area but it also states in there specifically like you’re also elected to to you know basically follow tradition 12 and and benefit the program or the fellowship as a whole and not to act in ways that are contradictory to that that are just beneficial for one or two groups right so it like kind of says like use your best judgment don’t you know bring a vote here from your group about you know this group should get like star treatment or something like that that’s not a thing and so it’s just fascinating that all that but and that’s that approval of groups is i’m gonna say somewhat new it’s not that new but it wasn’t always that way there was a process where group and i believe that was again just brought up and discussed within that service committee where it was like we don’t have a right to tell people they gotta jump through these hoops or do these things to start a meeting like if you show up and you wanna open and start a narcotics anonymous meeting our [ _ ] attitude should be welcome you know thanks for showing up we what can we do to serve you what can we do to help your meeting be successful that should be our idea not wait a minute uh you know do you have blah blah blah do you have some money to start do you have you know all that [ _ ] like that is not our responsibility well i mean that’s definitely what it was in northeast freedom area now that you say that it was like do you have your positions filled do you have like a [ _ ] interestingly so you could keep them off of the areas uh you know schedule which would in turn in 2021 keep them off of the internet’s schedule for the area right but if it still works the same way and it’s been [ _ ] 15 years at least since i’ve done this but if world still works the same way they could contact world and get put on as the person who runs that group or the contact person for that group and have it entered into worlds database of meetings which would correct people in the na meeting finder app whether your area approved in them or not that is correct yeah they can still be on world as a meeting wow interesting all right moving on uh as we find ourselves growing closer together the awakening of humility occurs humility is a byproduct that allows us to grow and develop in an atmosphere of freedom and removes the fear of becoming known by our employers families or friends as addicts therefore we attempt to regular rigorously adhere to the principle that what is said in meetings stays in meetings i get what they’re trying to say in here and i don’t like the way they say this i think we talked about this a couple weeks ago like what you see here let it what you hear here let it stay here like i think what you hear in meetings is supposed to leave the meeting with you it’s just not who said it or who it’s about like you don’t leave in a gossip way with that information like oh so and so did such and such but like the good information i heard in the room and the meeting was supposed to be what i carried out of there to practice in my life i thought yeah and i’ve had interesting discussions with people about the idea that if you and i are friends with someone else and that someone else shares in a meeting that they’re going through struggles you know that should i come and tell you what they said in the meeting you know should we talk about that like and my understanding of that has sort of been yes if it’s coming from a spirit of like love and care and concern and i know you’re a person that knows that person well or that has connection with them or we know a friend that needs support like hey man he’s going through a really [ _ ] rough time you know he shared his [ _ ] wife left or whatever maybe you can reach out to him see how he’s doing to probably help like i don’t think that is the spirit of this what you hear here let it stay here idea i believe that’s meant more outside of meetings and in a public space it’s like you know again i’ve talked about it a week or two ago i had someone show up at my work to get someone a job and then you know shows up at my work like hey this is a person that’s in recovery like us you know and this kind of [ _ ] i’m like whoa wait a minute like people here don’t know me in that right way i mean and it’s i wasn’t ashamed or embarrassed or anything but that’s not what that environment is it’s my [ _ ] job where i’m a supervisor at work i don’t need you know people to know anything about my personal business like that yeah no absolutely i think i’ve always gotten around it by just when in that friend situation just saying hey i think so-and-so is going through something it’d probably be cool if you gave a call right so i’m like i didn’t really say anything you know i just kind of gave the the gist of the situation but yeah i it is really a lot about motives and what are you doing it for and some stuff’s tricky i mean like you and i have had plenty of conversations about some pretty intimate stuff and then i don’t always know like i have to think real hard sometimes to myself like because i’ll talk to my wife to get her input and advice on different things and ideas i mean she’s a great resource in my recovery but then i have to try to think like oh is that something that was set in confidence or is that something that’s more general information that’s been like shared in a meeting and things that you’ve talked about that you don’t care about and that can get tricky you know like because i you know you never want to violate someone’s intimate you know stuff so it’s tough and then again nowadays i know better than to think that i have all the answers or that my [ _ ] opinion is the best like sometimes i need some other people to give me insight and advice on things and you know hmm i’ll i’ll clear it up for you and i’ll take the onus i i don’t think anything’s private i don’t give a [ _ ] share whatever anywhere for you i mean that might i’m just saying in general though with other people that i sponsor or other friends you know that might say some things to me well and i think it is tricky i mean i don’t want everybody to know everything about my life and at the same time like i think that comes from a place of the fact that we shame people and we belittle people about ways they live their life that might not be the norm and i want to move away from that to a place of like just accepting that we don’t have to keep [ _ ] behind closed doors like it’s all okay like that’s my stance and i guess i gotta live that way first so it’s not always comfortable but yeah [ _ ] it share whatever right i don’t know i mean i don’t want to hide behind it if i live it i’d do it so in that context it’s okay but what if someone went to your work and said those things like that might be different ah no i i carry myself this way pretty much everywhere like i i say i’m gonna keep to myself i’m not gonna tell those work people my [ _ ] and then i’ll sit there and [ _ ] bab babble on about all my [ _ ] and so in general i’m that way too people at work probably think i’m [ _ ] crazy because i say all kinds of stuff all the time you know i don’t care about sharing a lot about my history or all the crazy [ _ ] i did on drugs or stuff i do nowaday you know like when i make mistakes or like i have become pretty transparent in that stuff yeah and and i’m thankful to have a place in my life where like my work i don’t feel like there’s i mean there might be some judgment or some behind closed doors like oh my god do you hear that like but i don’t really i’m not gonna outwardly feel a whole lot of that or get punished and fired or over like i’m sure there’s environments where that is a problem and i would not like to live that way right but in general i don’t ever outside a meeting specifically like i don’t ever i mean we have cases where i know people in meetings and then i see them in environments outside of meetings and people be like oh how do you know so and so and it’ll be like uh like oh we’re just we’re friends we met somewhere a lot of times i’ll say through my wife and that’s just a cop-out because my wife was in recovery longer than me so most of the people that she knows that we know she’s known before me so it’s easy to say oh i met him through my wife and that gives me a good out from saying we go to these weird 12-step fellowships yeah well this happens outside of our program too so like i you know got into a local union and i would be like they’d be like who you know when i’m working with people who do you know in the union and i talk and blah blah blah and they’re like oh how do you know so and so and like i met him in prison they don’t want me to tell everybody that like that was kind of low-key for them so it was like oh man we’re just old friends or some [ _ ] but yeah this isn’t just an n a specific thing like this is elsewhere too and it’s it is tricky right when people have things that they don’t want the world to know about in certain arenas and like i just personally whatever like here i am this is it and not always but more so today like i don’t give a [ _ ] yeah and in the spirit of anonymity it’s like like you said am i gossiping about a person am i just coming to you to say oh man did you hear so and so is [ __ ] cheating on his wife with so-and-so

but the point of that is is that really serving that group is that really serving the fellowship as a whole or is that just serving me trying to get me some sort of you know points or whatever with you and are we so fun to share that [ _ ] sometimes it’s just like i just need somewhere to talk about this crazy [ _ ] that happened for instance uh and this has nothing to do with me or anything else and it’s all in the news so whatever there was a rock concert that just happened over this past weekend or something and some lady from this band that like plays they play like orchestra covers of rock music or something but she’s the lead singer and apparently during the middle of their [ _ ] set she invited some dude on stage and literally pulled down our pants and pissed on his face like that’s the craziest [ _ ] i’ve ever seen right so i was like i was in such bafflement and shock from it that i had to share it with people and it wasn’t like i wanted to gossip about her like whatever some weird [ _ ] but i’m not judging right but it was just like i can’t believe this happened and i got to tell people about it so i’m always looking for like a safe people that i can do that with that it’s not going to negatively impact the person but it’s like i got this information i want to talk about it because it’s so [ _ ] weird to me and yeah and yeah when somebody like some crazy [ _ ] happened where the guy who’s been with his wife for 20 years is cheating on her with a newcomer and got caught and he’s got pictures of himself and women’s panties being sent around to people like i gotta talk about that right somewhere like i can’t just keep it all to myself yeah and i guess i’ve been in situations i’m gonna say similar not necessarily that specifically i don’t know anybody peeing in anybody’s face or whatever but i’ve had situations where i can go to people my sponsor or other people and say like i can keep it anonymous by saying i have a sponsee that’s going through this or i have a friend that’s going through this and i don’t have to name specific names and i mean we all know that obviously we want to know who they’re talking about because when people come to me and say that [ _ ] the first thing i want to go is well who the [ __ ] is it right right but i try to practice this principle of anonymity and think well i’m just going to try to not you know i’m not going to feed into that try to guess who it is i get three guests right right do they have a beard how about blonde hair and luckily the men that i’ve had in my recovery have honored that as well i don’t i’ve never felt pressured to be like well who is it is it my wife

oh my god we’re so off topic uh we’ve done talked about pissing on people’s faces at concerts and everything else um throughout our traditions we speak in terms of we and our rather than me and mine by working together for our common welfare we achieve the true spirit of anonymity it sounds so nice and pleasant i don’t know that i have any thoughts about it but it just sounds so nice well we as in you and i have gotten a little bit of grief from sharing as we in us right that’s what my goddamn traditions told me to do so yeah we got permission from this tradition to speak is also as a fellowship there you go but uh yeah that’s another one of those tricky you know things of like am i sharing my individual opinion or am i trying to represent the fellowship as a whole there’s some it is tricky because we’re taught to speak in we in our program it’s very much like we talk about we all the time um one of the things i had heard about this tradition at some point or read somewhere was that this idea of anonymity it’s not so much about being anonymous in the sense of you not knowing who i am or that i go to meetings it’s more doing service in the spirit of anonymity right this idea that like i do service without expecting any recognition or it’s not about the fact that i did service it’s the fact that service got done and people were helped right right this idea of anonymity which i thought was when i heard it pretty cool it sounded way better than the whole yeah nobody knows our names or whatever like i don’t know yeah and i’ve definitely uh worked on focusing on that spirit of anonymity you know when you look at each of the traditions none of them really talks about you know the anonymity of not talking about people outside of meetings and gossip like the spirit of anonymity that we talk about through our traditions is about you know having a loving god that directs us through our group conscience and working in a spirit of unity and you know our primary purpose being to carry a message to addicts that still suffer like it’s it’s all in a wee sense you know i don’t know why we put so much emphasis on this don’t talk about who’s in meetings yeah i know i mean that is an important piece don’t get me wrong i think that’s important but that is not the spiritual foundation of all of our traditions right the spiritual foundation of all of our traditions is the wee part yeah that’s kind of like how in seven uh we we look basically it’s fully self-supporting we only think of money right we don’t think all the other ways we’re fully self-supporting which is another interesting episode if you want to go back and listen to that so this says we have heard the phrase principles before personality so often that it is like a cliche while we may disagree as individuals the spiritual principle of anonymity makes us all equal as members of the group no member is greater or lesser than any other member the drive for personal gain in the areas of sex property and social position which brought so much pain in the past falls by the wayside if we adhere to the principle of anonymity anonymity is one of the basic elements of our recovery and it pervades our traditions and our fellowship it protects us from our own defects of character and renders personalities and their differences powerless anonymity in action makes it impossible for personalities to be to come before principles yeah that’s a lot but what does it mean

the drive for personal gain in the areas of sex property and social position falls by the wayside if we adhere to the principle of anonymity i think it’s just looking at each other as human beings you know what i mean we come in it doesn’t doesn’t necessarily matter how successful you are or how big your house is or how you know successful your career is like when you come into a narcotics anonymous meeting you’re expected to just be equal to everyone else in the room we don’t have leaders you know we don’t have people in charge right back to our spokesman and all that stuff right yeah and i’m thinking like if you’re living in the spirit of anonymity if i’m showing up to be the area chair just because the area chair position needs to be filled and i want to be of service okay cool if i’m trying to be the area chair because i think it’s going to get me laid or because people are going to hold me to a higher social position or whatever like that’s i think what it’s saying like if i’m doing it for those reasons i’m going to act in ways to try to bring attention to myself as area chair whereas if i’m just doing it to be a service it’s really not about me and hopefully nobody even notices that i’m the one standing up there just i’m just filling the position to be of service right and for myself like i’ve and maybe this is a cop out this may be my excuse but i’ve had to watch getting in positions of authority in service commitments because i do tend to start thinking i know what’s best and i’m in charge and i mean i think i’m a smart person i think i’m good at leadership right you know so i think highly of myself um and that can be a dangerous place for me so what i tend to do in service now like most recently when i showed up and got involved is i walked in a room i kind of looked around i went and sat at a table i figured out what needed to be done and said okay i’ll do that and i don’t go in with an agenda or an attitude i just show up with a willingness to serve and if ever i was going to say i let god take the wheel and steer where it needs to steer like that’s the case where i show up and wherever fate happenstance whatever you want to call it like that’s what guides me not like you said well what’s it i want to be in a position that’s going to get a lot of authority i want to be someone who’s going to get noticed i want to be the person that’s going to have a lot of say like no i don’t want i mean i want all those things i got to watch because that’s not a healthy place for me to be i don’t feel like being a service i’ve had that issue but with sharing at meetings i’ve definitely from day one you hear a good share and you’re like i want to be the guy up there it sounds like that right and i have fallen into this fantasy of like i’m gonna share these conventions and like after my share bras and panties are gonna rain down from the audience onto me like that has never happened i’ve been so disappointed i’m like it was a good message where’s all the nobody brought me a bouquet of flowers afterwards or nothing and yeah so i i have to watch my own [ __ ] because i’ll be like oh my god i sound so good up there i should be you know celebrated in some kind of way in this anonymous program and that’s something that somebody pointed out early on it’s crazy to try to be someone in an anonymous program and i think that’s kind of the spirit of this 12th tradition right like we’re not trying to be anyone special in the fellowship or just trying to be of service and give back and understanding that comes there’s like a freedom that i get from that of saying you know what i am just as good as anyone else whether i share at that podium or not i am just as important and worthwhile and a you know valued member as the guy that does share at the world convention main speaker meeting i mean and i think we all say that and then snicker because that’s not the feeling that in general that exists but that’s the spirit that it should be is that you know i am not great at everything nor do i need to be to earn my place here or to have my seat here or have value in this fellowship well i share again in nine days so there’s still a chance still a chance it could happen this episode has been brought to you in part by voices of hope inc a non-profit recovery organization made up of people in recovery family members and allies together members strive to protect the dignity of those that use drugs and those in recovery by advocating for treatment harm reduction and support resources and mentoring please visit us at www.voicesofhopemaryland.org

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in personal recovery we seek to replace self-will with the guidance of a higher power in our personal affairs see and this isn’t the whole statement but i got to stop here i it’s so hard for me to think of just spiritual principles in the place of a higher power when they make statements like this i’m always like how can you not think that means god in personal recovery we seek to replace self-will with the guidance of a higher power in our personal affairs so i i guess yeah like the higher power is just i’m just going to live in these principles no matter what the hell i think or no matter what i want yeah so trying to balance out things like well i think this is the right approach to this you know problem but the group doesn’t seem to think it’s the right approach to this problem so you know do i just trust in the spiritual principle of autonomy and go along and support the group you know or do i try to buck interesting all right so in personal recovery we seek to replace self-will with the guidance of a higher power in our personal lives in the same way the traditions describe a fellowship that takes its collective guidance from spiritual principles rather than individual personalities that kind of selflessness is what the 12th tradition means by the word anonymity and it is the spiritual foundation upon which narcotics anonymous is built tradition 12 is all the traditions rolled up in one summarizing and reinforcing the message of the previous eleven i mean what that tells me is you have to go back and listen to all 11 tradition episodes that we did in order to understand this more fully that’s interesting so it’s almost like they’re saying that the traditions describe a fellowship that takes its collective guidance from spiritual principles rather than individual personalities it’s almost like people who who don’t necessarily have a specific god who use the spiritual principles as their higher power or or you know way to establish what is right for them that’s kind of what the fellowship does in the traditions right so it’s almost like people who don’t really necessarily have a specific god are using the way the fellowship uses traditions and the spiritual principles to guide it in their own life as their higher power that’s interesting right that we’re going to just trust in the process of principles you know as being our guiding force and the last quote i have about it which i think these tradition episodes are definitely making for our shortest episodes ever uh and i only wrote this in here because it just seems so contrary to everything that i’ve ever seen almost all our groups service boards and committees rotate different members through their service positions rarely asking one individual to serve in a particular position of responsibility more than one or two terms in a row the practice of rotation emphasizes our fellowship’s belief in the value of anonymity and service i have heard this idea like you should turn that over to somebody else you don’t want the committee or the position to take on your personality and yet that is not what i have seen in service ever i have seen in my old area there was definitely like the area chair was area chair like five [ _ ] years straight uh in our current area our treasurer has been treasurer for like eight years or something crazy like we do not rotate because nobody wants to step the [ _ ] up to do anything uh well i would say it’s not true that no one wants to step up to do it because i will only ever hold a position for two terms and i don’t know where i got this from i would love to say that i took it out of there but i didn’t i i just i was like i’ll do two terms and then i quit i mean i don’t consider it quitting i fulfilled my terms yeah and i remember i was a literature chair at one point and no one i had no other people on the committee it was just me and i took care of all the literature and i would tell them my term is up in july i think it is and i said and in august i’m not doing this so if no one steps up the boxes will be here in the cabinet and i said i might be here doing something else but i am not doing this after august and i didn’t and it happened and someone else showed up and someone did it it’s kind of like i think as members sometimes we have a responsibility to step out of positions and trust that a loving god is going to fill those positions if you want to look at it this way or maybe if no one is willing to do it it’s not a need no one ever wants to look at that you know we never want to look at you know well maybe if we have this going on and it’s not getting the support or the direct uh you know participation that we want maybe it’s because it’s not serving in the way that it should that’s fascinating and i don’t totally disagree but i want to go further with it which committee do we not need like which committee could you be okay with it just dissolving and like if nobody would step up to do doesn’t mean there’s not a need for the community what it means is so if we create a service border committee directly responsible to whom it serves and then none of the people that it serves show up to participate in its involvement then they don’t want that committee you know what i mean like it’s an indirect

i get the theory but it doesn’t mean that so i will say it doesn’t mean there’s not a need doesn’t mean do i think we need a phone line yeah but if we aren’t willing to show up and do the work to carry out a phone line then we don’t need a [ _ ] phone line because we’re not willing to do the work necessary good ideas [ _ ] happen all the time it’s the work and the effort that goes into enacting good ideas you know that is required to make things happen i don’t know though i’m just trying to picture like would i be able to sit back and watch like h and i fold because nobody shows up to carry meetings into hospitals and institutions like that seems like such a fundamental so we currently have or did have now after covert things are all crazy but we have serviced meetings outside of our immediate area because other areas weren’t willing or able um and so the same thing could happen if we dissolved one of these that you know like for example i’m just using phone line i don’t know you know if they are overly great or not but i shouldn’t say overly great i don’t know if they’re overly supported or not how they’re you know how they’re feeling in their position of service but if we just said look we can’t fill these positions we don’t have the manpower the willingness then someone else you would think would take those responsibilities you know and if not it was it pain motivates change like maybe some people would get motivated to be like oh [ _ ] no one’s gonna do it really like i think it’s a great idea when someone else does it but i’m not willing to do it i’m looking at like public relations i’m like not that they don’t do more than this but i feel like generally what they mostly do is just drop pamphlets off at places i’m like yeah i could probably go away and i wouldn’t give too much of a [ _ ] all right i don’t know that anybody’s reading that pamphlet in a you know probation center and thinking oh this is the answer so i’d like to say i was involved in public relations and we did a little more than that the idea was a little different i think more has been done at different times i just don’t hear a lot about anything more happening there right and that is part of the reason for the need for change in some of these positions you know what i mean it’s just new ideas and the fact that you know when i was chair of literature or chair of pr whatever like just because i did it one way doesn’t mean that was the right way or the best way you know obviously other people have stepped in at different times and done things differently and i mean even within our subcommittees in our area different positions have changed you know committees have taken on different responsibilities that used to be in this subcommittee or that subcommittee and that’s the whole point of the autonomy like what we should be focused on first and foremost is are we best serving this need in the way that we’re doing it or do we just hang on to some rigid structure and ideology because that’s what exists and now we feel like we have to yeah i mean at least the current pr people while they’re dropping off their pamphlets aren’t like sharing any scared straight programs or nothing no it’s a so it’s a it’s a cool tradition i like the idea that the goal or the aim is to not better myself in any way through the service i’m doing it’s really just about this is a job that needs to get done and i’m willing to step up and help facilitate that job getting done for an amount of time i’ve always been willing you know going back to this idea of like rotating people i’ve always been willing when there is newer members like in a home group level like oh hey i’ve been secretary for a while or i’ve been gsr for a while oh we got newer members yeah well you guys need positions like i need to step back out of that and maybe i can take on a different position or if they’re all filled maybe i don’t need to maybe i can do something else to serve the meeting right maybe i can pick up supplies for the coffee or something but i i have always been hesitant like i understand the draw to well nobody’s stepping up i guess i better do it so that it gets done because i want the job to get done but yeah i think you’re right maybe not at a home group level when you have a small home group and there’s nobody else to step up maybe you can’t step out of that after one or two cycles but at an area level i i have seen many times where it takes the person saying i’m not doing this anymore and in order for somebody else to step up and do it yeah and that’s i mean at least for me it’s just having faith in this process that i don’t need to be in charge and involved and have my say so directly into [ _ ] that it’s gonna happen and it’s gonna exist and it’s gonna be what it is in spite of me or with me or you know whatever and that i’m just a very small grain of sand in a beach full of effort yeah and trying to keep that perspective i feel like that is probably like if you stopped doing the service work in that particular spot for that reason that’s beautiful right but i feel like most of the time what happens is people just can’t do that [ _ ] anymore like i have done this for five [ _ ] years i am just not trying it next year and that’s somebody else so that is more one of the motivations that i have stepped out of service positions when i have what i used to do early on and again i had kids and a wife and a job and was busy as [ _ ] and so i would say all right i have a server i’ll take a service position for two years and then i step out for a year take a year off and then after a year sometimes a little longer because it’s hard to get back in sometimes i’m going to go back and get a service commitment again because i didn’t want to develop a resentment and attitude and i didn’t want that subcommittee or service to be either my identity or the identity of that committee you know what i mean like it’s dangerous for both it’s dangerous for me and it’s dangerous for them yeah when you come in you do you have all these fresh ideas you’re excited you’re pumped you’re motivated and then after time you you know you put some of those ideas into practice and you’re pretty happy with where it’s at and it does get stale you’re pissed off because they’re not giving you the money that you need and nobody’s showing up and these [ _ ] people yeah and you’re just not as motivated anymore you don’t have new ideas you’ve already changed the [ _ ] you wanted to change for the most part or saw why you couldn’t yeah and now it’s time for someone else to come in with their new ideas and change things and do things differently and then to be on the other side of that and to sit back and watch some of the things that you’ve done be changed and not be resentful about that or to take a little bit of slight from that you know it’s it’s humbling it is i have seen people change my [ _ ] after they came into my position and i’m like the [ _ ] is wrong with you that was great right i am very thankful uh not that i wouldn’t do this area chair position for a little longer but i’m very thankful that there’s already somebody that you know i’m pretty sure wants to take it next year so it’s like okay cool yeah you can have it i will step down quietly i mean services is to do service from a very spiritual place is difficult it’s incredibly difficult i think not just in 12 step fellowships or whatever i just think in general right i think you see it a lot with people in volunteer positions in you know whatever health care workers in addictions counseling in regular counseling you know therapies and stuff like it is hard to be in a position of serving others for a long time like i think you it’s not a natural state for most people and uh i think it’s you know for me i start to get resentful and jealous i mean i do that with my own kids sometimes i’m like these ungrateful [ _ ] titles like don’t you’re right right and i can get that way about anything these people take me for granted i show up and do a great job don’t they see them the best chair that they’ve had in years and they’re giving me [ _ ] because they didn’t get a [ _ ] report on them you know before the meeting you know just dumb [ _ ] like that that you start to get right sort of resentful over something stupid any other thoughts about this anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions ever reminding us to place principles before personalities i guess that’s just like hey this isn’t about you this is just about making everything run in in a way that’s beneficial to the still suffering addict or you know the person who needs to help or this is just about showing up and trying to be of service and give back yeah the only other thing i thought was uh i i’ve heard this same idea of anonymity expressed in how we introduce ourselves at meetings and what we call ourself and in the language that as an experienced member you know i don’t need to be putting all these unique twists and spins on the way i you know i’m a dressed up human garbage can named jason right right that you know i should be doing that in in all my affairs within the fellowship i should be trying to be as unnoticed and on center of attention as i can you know and that if i’m doing that that is really serving in a position of anonymity not that we don’t use our skills and abilities that we have again some people are great speakers some people are are good at connecting with people you know but it’s it’s that point that it’s not about me being the center of attention it’s about you know trying to help others feel connected to feel part of a whole for me to be part of a whole it talked about that in the literature and i didn’t pull that piece out because it didn’t seem all that relevant but yeah the idea that like you know the old saying there’s no big eyes and little use right it’s not about me but they also don’t want us to think that it’s like we all need to be grayed out and opinionless like it’s it is our personalities and our diversity that’s our strength so we still want to have that but it’s not about how great i am it’s just about oh this is the way i do it oh that’s the way you do it how cool right maybe we can find some way that this works for both of us or maybe when i’m in service i’ll do it this way and when you’re in service you do it that way and that’ll benefit different populations through that like it’s it’s interesting to because when you say it’s about anonymity like the beginning of that sounds like oh yeah we all need to be these dull hey how are you doing how’s the weather all right so you’re around like and that’s not the goal the goal is not to be grayed out or or opinionless it’s just to not seek i don’t know money property and prestige what does it call sex and social you know prosperity like not to seek any of those things for us it’s just to be of benefit to the many yeah and so i would like to say in my personal life i use this idea a lot more now than ever um and we talked about a little bit in the work episode like at my job now we have you know work meetings once a month i’m the supervisor i pull everyone together hey this is what’s going on catch them up on everything um these are some problems that we’re having does anybody have any input does anybody have anything you’d like to say and allowing other people to have uh i don’t say as much i mean i’m still the final authority a lot of times at work but people appreciate being heard being listened to feeling like what they have to say matters um and trying to talk to them as human beings like yeah i mean i’m in charge but i don’t push that in their face like well you do what i say because i said to do it it’s like nobody what’s your idea and then we’ll talk about that idea and go well here’s one of the problems with that this is kind of why we have to do it this way or or this is why we approach that this way maybe we can think a little differently and try to figure out how to overcome this but you know this is why we’re doing what we’re doing now and that helps tremendously with just interpersonal connections you know again we’re here to serve at my job as we’re here to serve the whole we’re here to make the company successful we’re here to make everybody’s life a little bit better you know including the employees it’s it’s not a hierarchy where i need to punch down on people and rule over with iron fist like that doesn’t work or at least in my experience that hasn’t worked so well right and those ideas to have that humility have come from being involved in service so there you go hopefully throughout this year we have made the traditions a little less painful to comprehend and think about and study uh and hopefully we’ll come up with some good plan for each month next year until then see you next week

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