68: Tradition 1 – Our Common Welfare Should Come First; Personal Recovery Depends on NA Unity (Sort Of)

This year we are going to examine the traditions and how they apply to life inside and outside the 12 step program life. Sounds incredibly boring, for sure, but hopefully we can find connections and ways to make it interesting. We explore themes such as “does having a singular purpose in our program ensure unity?”, “can you have unity without having a common goal?”, “is unity a spiritual principle, or the outcome of working spiritual principles?” and “is there a time when it makes more sense to not act in unity?” How often have you thought about the goals or purpose of your family? Or your community? Or country? Amazing that we don’t ever consider what the goal or purpose of our family is, much less what other members of our families think the goal or purpose is, and what goal or purpose actually unites us. Maybe this is why family units struggle to find unity, they are all working towards a different goal. Listen in and see if you agree with the idea of how unity works.

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Transcript:

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 i’m a guy in long term recovery and i’m billy i’m also a person in long term recovery and we’re going to talk about tradition one which sounds extremely boring so stick with us because hopefully it won’t be tradition one our common welfare should come first personal recovery depends on n a unity i think it’s the shortest tradition right word wise like yeah the other one seemed long as hell why traditions why does it matter well because it gives us something to talk about at least once a month where we don’t have to worry about coming up with a topic but why else well the steps help us apply spiritual principles in our lives and the traditions help us apply spiritual principles in group or communal situations i think is the goal like yeah we can always live in tune with the steps and that helps our side of the street but i think the tradition’s goal is to kind of help us learn the tools of living in a society right and working with other people to achieve common goals whether it’s at work or like say in our community or maybe if we’re involved in a church religious organization you know we’re going to have to deal with other people at some point in our lives one of the basic principles we learn in our first step in recovery is that we left to our own devices make a mess of [ _ ] and that we need the help of other people the guidance of other people the input of other people to help us along at least in n a i would assume in most of the other a programs that opens us up to a whole world of people who not all of them are going to give you the best advice and in fact some of them are going to have some really terrible information right and you know there are ways we can navigate that and we learn those skills through the tradition yeah so we talk about tradition one in the fellowship or the program as in our common welfare coming first right the common welfare being the goal of the group the purpose of n a or a a or whatever a you’re in or maybe you’re not an a but the goal for n a specifically is to carry the message to the still suffering addict and that is our only goal and so whenever there’s a difference of opinion usually it can be settled by kind of reminding yourself well what’s our purpose here right to help the still suffering addict so do we need to argue about whether we’re using group money to buy a cake for an anniversary is this affecting the primary purpose somehow so a lot of times just reminding ourselves that we do have a common purpose can be useful in deciding which way to proceed and when it’s not when two people have different ideas about how to reach that primary purpose i think it’s easier to remember when we’re on the side that gets outvoted that we’re still working towards that goal right it might not be the way i believe if we needed to work towards it but hopefully this other method that we voted on that won the group conscience is going to lead us to the same goal that i was hoping we would get right and in our steps we learn about turning our will over to the powers greater than ourselves and sometimes that power greater than us is a group of people that voted the way opposite of what i think you know and i make a decision in this program that i’m going to turn my will and life over to that you know a lot of times and it’s hard it might not be what i want it might not be what i agree with you talk about surrender surrendering and accepting that a higher power is a group of wrong people that’s gross yeah very tough yeah it definitely is and we’ve been in that situation before any if you get involved in the service structure of any of these fellowships so one of the amazing things about most of these a fellowships that doesn’t get talked about a lot at least in an area level like in an area like this people within our fellowship coordinate with the local treatment centers to get meetings in there they coordinate different outreach things they schedule and manage events when we have unity events or group events and you know none of us are professionals at this but we come together and we use these principles again hopefully we’re guided by this principle of you know hey this is helping people stay clean helping people recover the structure of the traditions keep us sort of in line with what our common welfare not professionalism we don’t know what we’re doing and not professionals and we do not get paid for any of that that’s all what we do because we believe in what we’re doing and also serves a purpose for us too it helps us to feel involved and connected and a part of and unity part of this step right i think what i always seem to focus on this is the personal recovery depends on n a unity the idea that if the fellowship didn’t exist i would have never been able to come in and find recovery at least not that way you know i know now that there’s some alternate methods i didn’t know that then and if the fellowship were to fail or fall apart or fracture i don’t necessarily know that that means i won’t recover because i found some other things that help my recovery but it ruins a resource that a lot of people find and find help in and so in order for us to continue to help the still suffering individual we need to all be on the same page right and maybe for some people this is the only way that would work or maybe for some individuals other thing they’ve tried everything else i mean we talk about we’ve tried medicine religion psychiatry obviously we’ve spent some time in recovery now for a while but someone knew without this fellowship they might not know what to do or how to stay clean or they could not make it so even if we could it doesn’t mean everyone could so i think one of the easy things about this tradition for the 12-step group is that we know what our common purpose is we have our one singular goal that is above all others of what we do and that i think makes it easier to unite behind that idea the idea of trying to take these traditions out into our lives and apply them in other groups or communities that we’re a part of got my attention and i was thinking about this if you were to sit here and ask me today in fact i’ll ask you it makes it even better what is the goal of your family i would say i don’t think we have specifically a goal we do have common what i would call values or guiding values that we try to live by and mostly thanks more to my wife probably than me we talk about those things you know sometimes at dinner time the idea that we are a family we’re like a little tribe and we have to help and support each other we never leave each other behind we don’t turn our backs on each other if someone is picking on one of the members of our family we need to stand up for them to help them to guide them those sorts of things well that’s better than anything i had if you’d asked me again i wish i could take more credit for that i’m not as good at talking about that stuff as my wife right so she’s helped with it no i get it and it’s great i just i don’t know like i think of goal i guess that definitely fits in when i think a goal i’m trying to think of like where are we going what’s our ultimate outcome that i’m hoping for and i don’t i don’t think na’s goal is really an outcome it’s to show up and help the still suffering addict it really doesn’t say what the outcome is so i guess it doesn’t have to be an outcome i’m just that’s what i was thinking i’m like well where are we headed what’s our ultimate purpose and can we accomplish it well i would say in that i mean i do have some goals i guess once i get to a certain age i gotta let them free maybe not but i want my kids to be thoughtful caring loving people and go out into the world to like have the confidence to pursue their dreams pursue their interests and have a meaningful life yeah but that’s your goals for them that’s not really the goals for your fam and that’s where i get a little twisted up so i think the reason that na’s overall general purpose and goal works is because everybody agrees on it like that’s the highest commitment we could fulfill is to continue to carry this and give it to others because it was freely given to us and so that benefits our common welfare and we’ve learned that in carrying it we are actually helped just as much and and i guess that’s just where it gets weird when i start thinking about family and even when i carry it further to community i barely talk to my neighbors much less what i know that we all have a common goal and then if i carry it to country and the united states and i’m like [ _ ] is the point of our country honestly like i know we aspire to something democracy or freedom or i don’t really know completely but like what is the point of our country what is its goal and i don’t know that got me a lot to thinking about like that seems like why we don’t have unity not only do we not know if we only have one singular goal we don’t even know if we have a goal at all do do you have a goal for the united states i mean i guess my goal for my community which depending on what circle i’m traveling in could expand out to the entire country but my goal in my community i guess in the spirit of what i would call like powerlessness and step one stuff is like i can only control my actions and my deeds and what i want so i can’t convince anyone else what their goal for the community needs to be so let me give that statement now right but for me when i go out into my community i want to be loving and kind and have a good relationship with my neighbors whether i know him or not maybe i run into him the first time tomorrow i’ve lived in the same place for over a year but maybe i run into a neighbor tomorrow is the first time i met him i still want to be loving kind and caring towards that neighbor i want my community to be a place that’s safe i want it to be a place that people take pride in their community take pride in the things around them and we don’t live in like trash and shitty neighborhood they’re descriptors they’re like descriptors but i feel like you could put those descriptors on any n a home group too you could say oh well we want to clean up the alley behind the meeting because it looks funky and we want to mop the floor in the meeting because we’ve dirtied it up and contributed to that and we want nobody to hurt each other here we want to keep it safe and i guess i feel like that common purpose really keeps us more unified even though i mean there’s still some disunity obviously but i just don’t feel like people have a purpose in their groups anymore well they may not but i feel like i don’t want this to sound too arrogant but i feel like that’s part of my responsibility is to lead by example to step up and show the way and and as a person that’s trying to live a spiritual life like in my community like i go out when there’s trash out on the street in front of my house i pick it all up you know what i mean almost every day i go out you know i come home from work i walk around out front pick up all the trash out in my yard my part is keeping my side of the street clean you know what i mean like i go out and i clean up my area when i see my neighbors i say hey how are you how’s it going and i don’t live in the best neighborhood there’s not always the nicest people we have prostitutes walk up and down the street they’re super nice homeless people that walk up and down the street you know it’s a i guess main thoroughfare they’re nice too yeah oh and that’s just it like i don’t look my nose down upon them i don’t give them [ _ ] you know i say hey how’s it going you know how are you and sometimes they grunt at me and sometimes they say hi and there’s a few of them now that kind of know who i am and you know my wife and i put a bench out front because we have one of our neighbors decided they like a lot of signs in their yard that say [ _ ] like don’t sit on our wall and stay off our property and don’t park in my driveway like they have like three or four different signs out there because they hate the [ _ ] neighborhood and all the neighbors think that they’re [ _ ] you know and it’s like that’s the relationship they’ve decided to take with the community but i don’t i mean i don’t know what you should call common welfare in that case but their values aren’t my values and it’s not up to me to go change their mind to make them be different i can just be different on my side so we put a bench those are things that i try to do to be the example of what i’m supposed to do like if i just sit around and look at what everyone else isn’t doing or what they should do or what i feel like they should do that’s serving the opposite purpose of unity instead i’ll focus on what i can do i i guess that leads me to the question i’ve always assumed the traditions were something that the groups acted on together whereas from your description it seems like you’re coming from a place of the traditions are ways that groups can act individually in the group to make it work and i i’ve just never looked at them that way i’ve never looked at the traditions as like something i personally need to do it’s what we need to do all at the same time and so while i think you are acting in the common welfare of your community and i think that’s beautiful i don’t know that that really promotes unity or or keeps your community united because if it’s only you doing it and the other 99 people out of 100 in your community all want you to [ _ ] off their property and get off my bench and my wall they’re actually all acting for the common welfare of what they want together whereas you’re not does that make sense like i thought it was kind of we had to come together as a group and decide we were going to act on these traditions yeah i mean i guess you would have to have some sort of agreed-upon common welfare but i guess that gets back to like my optimism as human beings i tend to think most people most people not gonna say all but most people they’re not trying to go out and like infringe upon other people’s rights and make other people miserable and wreck other people’s lives most people want to live their life and be free to do what they want and you know enjoy their time with their kids and their family and all this other i think people get lost along the way of who’s to blame for their problems and you know like we get misguided on what our values should be but i think in general if you ask most people do you hate your neighbors and do you want to be rude to them and unkind to them and tell them to [ _ ] off like i don’t think people live that way yeah i don’t think i disagree with that i don’t know maybe i’m that guy maybe i maybe that’s what i think everybody else is like i don’t know if i like i’m not saying people don’t because that i i mean that seems to be at least from talking to my neighbor so that seems to be the way they are and they’re that way with me i mean i get along with them well i’ve tried to help them with a few projects and [ _ ] right they still constantly have complaints like our trees [ _ ] dropping sticks in their yard and will we cut down this tree and will we fix our fence and they just always have something to complain about but to me it’s like okay that that’s like the example of how i don’t want to be but i don’t think they represent most people you know i don’t at least in my little street because we walk our dog around the street so especially in the summertime we live in a poorer community so a lot of people don’t have air conditioners so in the summertime there’s a lot of people sitting outside and i’ve had a chance just to chat with most of them almost all of them are friendly and nice and they want to pet the dogs and their kids come up and pet the dogs and you know if they feel like people that are like hey people that are decent and kind how refreshing like that’s what i like to think our common welfare is you know what is and that’s what i think maybe where we’re getting lost nowadays in in 2021 is that i don’t generally think we have a common welfare anymore throughout history the common welfare has been we need to [ _ ] pull together to survive right like death is around the corner whether it’s going to be a evil plague or we’re going to get wiped out by a neighboring country or anything maybe we’ll just [ _ ] not have enough food or potato famine like a world war there’s always death around the corner we need to survive and now we don’t have any reason to come together like life’s so simple and set you walk to the store and buy your food and it’s there and you don’t need people is common welfare the same as common goals i don’t necessarily think they’re the same so i think common welfare to me represents how do we make things better how do we improve things how do we move in a positive direction yeah no i would agree common welfare to me i’m thinking you know for the good of us not just so much a common goal but just what is best for the common good but i think that’s where our differing opinions come in nowadays because we don’t have a very obvious you know we’ve talked about before maslow’s hierarchy of needs like right when you’re worried about staying alive that’s the common good that’s what we’re all concerned about let’s just [ _ ] stay alive once you’ve kind of met some of that once you’ve met okay well we’re probably going to be alive tomorrow right nothing’s going to probably kill us randomly most likely we’re going to have food probably all going to have shelter for the most part and of course you have these communities and it’s unfortunate that we all don’t have food and shelter there are people who don’t have these but the general majority of the population have these things right we’re clothed well now we start getting down into where our needs are they’re wants now right they’re not needs anymore we’ve got our needs met and so there’s no more common agreed upon welfare now there’s a lot of things that could be good for us and we might live next to each other but your idea of what the neighborhood really needs might be very different from my idea of the next thing we need to spend money on in our community and that’s where i think we start losing unity we don’t have life’s too [ _ ] good for us life’s so good for us we have enough needs met that now we’re down to nitpicking once and i decide my wants are more important than your once of which direction we need to go and now we don’t like each other and we each got different presidential signs in our front yard hating each other and that’s where it goes off the rails so what i learned about you know is character defects is you know when we talk about character defects in step six and seven like character defects are assets that are overblown so if i take my values and my morals to the point of self-righteousness to start telling other people that they’re wrong now because you don’t agree with me you’re wrong and that because obviously my values of whatever caring for the homeless outweigh your values of caring for addicts yeah or stray dogs whatever you know that you’re wrong and that you’re stupid you know and that that’s where it goes off the rails like at that point of my self-righteousness or ego minimalizing other people’s values is where we get lost i’m going to go with an n a example we’ll use a recovery example and then hopefully you’ll follow where i’m going with this so if you go into a meeting and you’re sitting in the meeting and some guy newcomer guy to three to five years got everything figured out knows how it’s all supposed to work tell everybody what they’re supposed to do yeah that guy you know and he starts spouting out something to the effect of well if you’re on methadone you don’t belong here and you need to get the [ _ ] out of here and you’re using and you need to pick up a white key tag you’re not clean and this isn’t the place for you and narcotics not you know all the [ _ ] that i’ve probably said at points in my life i mean i’ve been that guy so i’m not trying to down anybody but in your life now how would you approach that situation how would you deal with that do you feel a responsibility to go talk to them about it do you not do you i would really hope somebody in the home group would tell them that’s an outside issue and to shut the [ _ ] up well they don’t okay where i was going with that just to kind of follow was like so let’s say i’m out in a restaurant and i hear some crazy person ranting about some crazy political thing i don’t agree with like is that now my responsibility to go correct him and fix him and set him straight are you saying you wouldn’t say anything to the guy in the meeting no i probably wouldn’t really now i may try to talk to them after the meeting or catch up with i mean we’ve had specifically that happen in my own group so but that’s not the guy that i’m worried about it’s the guy that’s hearing him so while i’m pulling up the guy who spouted that dumbass [ _ ] during the meeting the guy who heard him and is offended is leaving to go die because he’s never gonna come back to n a that’s the common welfare guy that i gotta worry about which is why i need to cut that [ _ ] off now while he’s talking and let it be known to the group for our common welfare that information is not right if it’s not that specific saying have i mean i’m sure at this point you’ve heard people say some like crazy bizarre [ _ ] that either has a complete outside issue whether it’s about religion or mat whatever and again as trying to be in alignment with our common values what is my responsibility or what should i do in that situation my goal is usually but what i want to do is crosshair directly after them and contradict all that [ _ ] but i try to respect that we don’t cross-share generally and i just try to share something contradictory that doesn’t mention their share at all but that is just completely what i believe that n a is afterwards just to you know hey that’s one opinion and here’s opinion number two the right one uh we’re kind people and we love you welcome okay but i do feel responsibility i would do that if i had no intention of sharing at that meeting i could have been sitting there thinking i will never share at this [ _ ] meeting and then that happens and i’m like oh [ _ ] i guess i got it i feel a responsibility because it’s our common welfare it’s for everybody i need to look out for everybody but you try to do it in a way that’s not contra i mean you said you try not to point that person out because i don’t want to alienate them either right you know and i would agree that’s probably something similar to what i would do for me though those values have come as a result of step work and recovery like there was a point in my life and even sometimes still now on the wrong day where i will say like that’s [ _ ] stupid you don’t know what you’re talking about you know what i mean you need to educate yourself and learn and hear some resources and you need to go [ _ ] read but what i’ve found is that’s not in alignment with my value for me maybe it is for other people but for me that’s not in alignment with my values if i can approach this person in a loving caring compassionate way and talk to them about that i feel like i have more of a chance of influencing them than if i just start yelling at them and telling them how wrong they are because i know more than them and yeah i’ve heard this sentiment from you and others and i don’t disagree right i don’t disagree i don’t think you reach people telling them they’re wrong arguing i really don’t even think people honestly in 2021 i don’t think people even surrender to losing debates like i really don’t i just don’t think we learn anything anymore i think we’re all in this close-minded bubble to some extent where i don’t i don’t even know like i don’t know how basically i mean they’ve done studies on this you can’t convince people of other things other than what they want to believe now that doesn’t mean that people don’t change over time and adapt and learn some new things but it’s such a weird process of how it happens and generally the first step in doing it the most useful thing is to put them on the spot and show them that they don’t know what they’re talking about honestly like that’s step one because we all overestimate our own intelligence and so do you read facebook most people miss the whole point of being pointed out that they’re wrong ran onto something no i agree um i get it right but i i think the thing is like if somebody says hey what they’re about to do with this policy says this the goal of the research what they found was most effective was to say oh explain the policy to me because the more they get into it and don’t understand it and you call them one not understanding it they start to question themselves and then once they question themselves there’s room for more knowledge but until people question it there’s not and i generally think that’s just where we’re at people don’t [ _ ] change their mind and i would say there is a major key point there when you say oh can you explain the policy to me what you’re saying to people is hey you have an opinion and i’d like to hear it and maybe you have a nefarious motivation for doing that because you think that you can let them talk themselves into a corner but what someone hears is hey here’s a person that wants to hear me out that wants to hear my ideas that wants to hear what i have to say and that is inviting and opening to people it’s not saying well you don’t know what you’re talking about you need to go back and read blah blah blah blah and pointing out that they’re wrong but they don’t know what they’re talking about that may be true and then i think of another like another recovery example is again you’ve been involved in area service meetings that’s for those that don’t know these are where we do like our business meetings where we discuss policies and how we handle some of the issues outside of the specific individual meetings i’m sure you’ve been to some service meetings that have kind of for lack of a better word like turn into like a [ _ ] show of people like arguing and yelling and debating heatedly where it gets kind of ugly yeah so what is the person you want to be in that situation or what is what do you feel your responsibility in those situations are who i want to be in my fantasy world i stand up and i spout this useful rational loving heart emotional speech that everybody’s just like holy [ _ ] what are we doing why we what were we thinking this guy’s got it all figured out and then i become jesus and everyone follows me and we fish for men or something but i would think most of the time that speech goes something along touching on common values common goals are common welfare yeah not pointing out the flaws of one side or the other not right but you know what happens at the end of it nobody gives a [ _ ] not a soul i’ve done it i’ve given this great impassioned understanding of the [ _ ] outside view of the dilemma and nobody gives a flying [ __ ] nobody changes they go right back to arguing so agreed and this is in our conversation the other day this is one of the things i forgot to say no it’s not pointless because do you really believe in your spirit that if you had joined aside or started arguing one point or the other or started cussing out the people that you thought were wrong and then you sort of won the argument would you feel better about yourself because that’s the way you acted or is trying to be the person that promotes peace and unity and coming together for the common good is that more in line with the values that you want to have we can’t look at the outcomes so this is not to get too far off but or to cut you off from outcomes the same that’s the problem the outcome is out of our control that’s that’s outside of us we can only control our behavior and our actions and live in accordance with our values whether we ever achieve unity is not the point of working towards unity

this episode has been brought to you by voices of hope inc a non-profit grassroots recovery community organization located in maryland voices of hope is made up of people in recovery family members and allies together members strive to protect the dignity and respect of those that use drugs and those in recovery by advocating for treatment support resources and mentoring please visit us at www.voicesofhopecilmd.org and consider donating to our calls

those are real situations that we’ve had to deal with in our lives like you and i have been in those situations and we try to sort of learn from trial and error all right well in some cases i was the guy that was on one of the sides of those argument and i felt passionately about what i thought and i had some values that i thought were really important and i was voted down told i was wrong i didn’t win you know i was on the losing side i was and in those cases in this spirit of unity i said well you know what n a i believe in n a i believe in the fellowship i believe in the program so i’m going to keep walking this path and just trust that it’s a power greater than me that i’m just turn my will and my life over to i don’t [ _ ] get my way all the time yeah and i mean that’s exactly what i’ve done in those situations i think maybe what i just need to acknowledge right now in my life is i need to pick the [ _ ] six step up and look at my character defects because that’s where i’m at not touching it and realize that i still hold on to wanting to be [ _ ] right like i’ve done a lot of work on it it’s a lot better it’s a lot tamer but there is part of me that just does not i want people to [ _ ] realize how right i am still and i’m like god i don’t want to own that but it really really looks like it’s true when i keep looking at it and i do too and for a couple reasons you know i have to take a look at how committed i am to certain things that i feel passionately about in my heart so i have been around addiction and being involved in the stuff with voices and seeing like the suffering in our immediate community here in cecil county and seeing the suffering of of addicts the lack of treatment the lack of resources like it it gets me angry it gets me mad and then i know some of our local politicians who poo poo on addiction they’ll go to the policy forums or the public events and say how addiction’s our number one priority and then they’ll say and we need to arrest our way out of this and give more money to the cops that’s not exactly what they say but that’s almost a sentiment and i get pretty angry i’m like what the [ _ ] like how many more years do we gotta do this till we realize it doesn’t work and then i start to think all right i feel passionately about it what can i do i mean i envision in my head like you said at area service a lot of times i envision in my head like i’m gonna go to one of the county council meetings and i’m gonna use my three minutes of time to give this impassioned speech to tell them you know how immoral they are and how they call themselves christian but let they don’t live according to christian values and i’m not even a christian and i live closer to these values than you do you know that [ _ ] i listen right and you know i’m like yeah yeah that’s gonna work and

yep that’s gonna fall real flat and yeah so i think it’s more practical for me to get involved with my local community with local people try to have conversations try to just be an example of the kind of person i want to be because some of these people are my family members i mean these are people that i’m related to or close to i mean my family’s tied into some local political people and it’s hard you know because you want to build a bridge to kind of get them to sort of see you know hey look at it this way try to influence their thinking a little bit this way right and for me like say that the way to do that is not by telling them how immoral and how wrong they are and pointing out their lack of christian values that they claim to profess like that’s what i want to say but i don’t think that’s going to work let’s just beat him into submission disowned family [ _ ] i don’t know but again those are things that i learned through n a like i learned in n a i can come in and give the most impassioned argument i can come in and speak as much truth as i feel is right in my heart i can still feel in my heart that i’m 100 right and still not get my way yeah and learning to just trust like man that sucks it’s hard to trust at a country level we talk communities dude i’m not in touch with my community period i don’t know nothing about my community i barely know the name of it like that’s where it’s at really i’m i don’t know i just think the world’s gotten big i think it’s separated we’ve got our needs met and now we’re to a point where we struggle to have unity because we all got different ideas about what’s the next most important thing to take care of a lot of people think it’s one thing a lot of people think it’s something else a lot of people think it’s something else and we’re all sure we’re right like i am absolutely so sure that my priorities for what’s next to take care of in the united states are the best ones and you can’t convince me otherwise i know my vision is skewed i’m a biased right there’s no doubt in my mind we all are but we’ve all got our ideas of what the next right thing to do is and we all are so sure that that’s the right way and that’s the way we should proceed and it’s like i think that’s hindering all our unity and all our common welfare you could take it down to just the family level [ _ ] the country let’s stay away from the politics take it down to the family level if i went home tonight and i actually sat down and decided to make a list of the goal and purpose and common welfare of my family and then i came up with a list and i’m like this looks pretty good right but i can’t decide what’s best for my fan the family needs to decide what’s best for my fam so then i tell everybody else their assignment okay everybody’s gotta write down you know your goals purpose and common welfare for this family i guarantee you everybody’s looks different than mine so how do we operate in unity can we find some common pieces yeah but how do we operate in unity when we all got different purposes for that unit i don’t go to n a well i mean i might go to a meet girls but that’s not the ultimate highest purpose right if i had to choose one night between getting some butt and helping a newcomer stay clean another day i’ll [ _ ] cry the whole time i’m helping that newcomer stay clean another day i have my singular highest purpose there and i feel like everybody kind of does and without that i just feel like that really greatly affects our ability to have unity okay well two things first with the getting tail or helping the newcomer would you say through your entire time in recovery that’s always been the case [ _ ] no okay so and that almost proves my point is that yeah people are gonna be wrong you know what i mean and they’re gonna be misinformed and they’re gonna have poor information and they’re gonna be uneducated all those are realities of of life so not everyone has all the information that we have and then we don’t even have all the information that we’re gonna have five years from now to know that our opinion might be [ _ ] completely different five years from now don’t tell me old people are the way to go because i don’t believe many of them either ah i don’t necessarily believe that either i’m just saying in five years from now there’s a chance that on a lot of these issues that i’m majorly passionate about that i have a different take or a different opinion and i can’t say today that i’m a hundred percent sure that i’m 100 percent right yeah and i i agree i have a jaded view the other thing in our first tradition one of the i read through it just looking at the reading and one of the major things i took out of it was that in a section they talk about unity isn’t being about always in agreement all the time we’re going to have conflicts and differences of opinions and those sorts of things and what it says in there is that we learn to disagree without being disagreeable and that is the part you know that i’m striving for now in my life there’s a guy at work that has a completely different political view than me and loves to talk about it rants about it to anyone he can corner in the in the warehouse or in the shop or if he catches you out by the dumpster man you’re [ _ ] you’re 25 minutes into a political rant that you probably just want to get away from her but i’ve known him long enough and i don’t get heated and offended he’s a complete opposite of me and i just throw out a few things here and there to what i hope is plant seeds of doubt in his head but i don’t try to like convince him of anything i don’t try to tell him how misinformed he is and he is very misinformed you know and that’s a result of recovery you know what i mean it’s a result of i don’t think he’s right i think he’s very misinformed he lives in a what do they call that like the bubble of influence where he’s only listening to one set of information with one limited you know source of input and it’s not good and and what he says most people i can say with certainty that everyone else at our work also thinks that he’s crazy so um this isn’t like uh he’s pretty normal and i’m picking on him right everyone at work knows like this [ _ ] guy is out there but you know i don’t need to go in and spend all my time convincing him how wrong he is but what if it was me as a friend as a close friend we’re close friends say like this guy is not close to you yeah you can just ignore him and he goes the [ _ ] home and whatever that guy’s nuts you can laugh about him right we’re close friends and i come in here one day talking some wild [ _ ] yeah so i have that with my relatives i mean most of my relatives especially my wife’s family they’re all very opposite values and things of us from your description it doesn’t seem like you’re super tight with these people though what if this was like your best friend that just came to you one day you all have this great relationship like and for me i’m saying that because i would like be scared to lose them as a friend because if they’re [ _ ] nuts i can’t be around that crazy yeah i would feel like it’s my job to kind of talk some reality into that i only seem to be friends with people that have shared values with me you know what i mean like and that comes from like almost what i’ll call a recovery lesson is is like i tend to look for people that are living by values and principles that i think are important in their lives if i have friends that are doing a bunch of shady [ __ ] that i don’t agree with i probably slowly start to back away from that friend group i tried to talk my wife and move into new zealand so i want to live in a country that’s about what i believe yeah and i tend to end up surrounding myself with people that have shared values i mean i i guess i see what you’re saying and the truth is i don’t really know because i’ve never had a really close friend that has really extreme values because of the situation i’ve put myself in in my life i don’t i don’t know other than family members and you’re right we’re not incredibly close so these aren’t people that i have to talk to all the time or or whatever but even on things you know you and i disagree about or have differences of opinions about like i still don’t feel a need to try to change your mind i mean obviously i’d feel like i got to score a point somewhere if i did but i i’m not like that’s not my goal like my goal wasn’t like yeah i gotta change jason’s mind

mine might be i might be trying to change your mind i’m not sure well i mean i’m sure somewhere everyone wants to feel validated and wants to feel like what they say is correct i mean nobody wants to feel like you’re wrong so going back to the idea that everybody in my family is going to have a different common goal or common welfare idea or main purpose for our family you know my daughters their whole point of the family might be somebody to stay connected to as they go out and venture into the world and grow older and bring their kids back to sea my idea of the family might be people to take care of me when i get old i don’t know right like all these differing opinions i’m starting to wonder maybe the common welfare factor comes in and the unity factor comes in with the sense that it’s more important for us to keep that family together than any issue that can come up between us kind of like you said we can disagree without being disagreeable that’s a lofty goal because i’m a [ _ ] disagreeable dude but we can disagree and no matter i don’t say how ugly it gets we know ultimately there’s a point where it’s like you know what yeah we don’t agree on this but this unit and our cohesiveness our common welfare together is just more important than you and i not agreeing to this and maybe it’s between me and my wife and there’s times when i’m like you know what i just don’t give a [ _ ] at this point like i know i don’t agree with what you’re gonna do but do it and this family’s more important it’s not gonna make me leave i’m not going anywhere so i might as well just get the [ _ ] over it and stop this argument that makes sense for n a we have a primary purpose a goal that is above everything else and as long as we keep agreeing with that we keep unity right we keep the common welfare if everybody stopped agreeing with that they leave the [ _ ] program or or the program splits or whatever through recovery through one of the what they call the concepts of service is about like consensus-based decision-making and coming to a consensus not you know necessarily getting into this place of where we just here’s two sides now we vote whatever the outcome is that’s what we do like we’re sort of coming around i think well maybe that’s not the best way to solve problems maybe a better way to solve problems is to keep talking about these things like you said to hash through some of our differences to to see like hey is that decision really based in something important or is it based in some misinformation and so with our values with our families and our kids i mean we might all have different ones but the spirit of unity like we’ll sit down and talk about those so maybe my kids is yeah i want to you know i think we need to have a bunch of money so that i can have a [ _ ] new whatever the latest xbox is or whatever you know i want to oculus 2 or whatever you know maybe that’s his value because he’s 12. you know what the [ _ ] he doesn’t know he just thinks money should be our value dummies 12 year olds yeah and of course obviously i’m like well that’s stupid but if i treat him that way if i say well that’s dumb that’s not our value and just dismiss it without like saying hey well let’s let’s talk about some of the good things about that and some of the bad things about that you know is it more important for you that daddy works seven days a week or that i show up for baseball games and you know i mean how much money are we talking here i might be on board with that value too i might move in but the idea is in a spirit of unity i would want to talk to each person about what their values are and maybe we do have some different ones but we can like said probably find a couple that are agreed upon and then maybe those are the values they’re not necessarily what i think they should be maybe i have five and maybe we only have a consensus on three so am i okay with saying well these three are our values and these other two things that i think are important they’re only important to me and i have to keep that in mind that that’s not the common welfare of our family i’m just wondering if like tradition one only works as long as the institution is needed or wanted or desired like i guess i just feel like at some point if we decide that our common welfare isn’t important then really what we’re deciding is we just don’t want to be here anymore whether that’s a family system breaking up or england or britain or whatever you want to call it decided it didn’t want to be part of the eastern union anymore right the european union it just said the common welfare is not working for us we want to separate so i guess the idea is tradition one works as long as every party that’s a part of the group is still willing to put in the effort and decide that the group is more important than any singular piece of it at any point in time the group’s purpose is the ultimate goal the common welfare is the most important thing and as soon as a piece of it decides it’s not that’s the end of it if a family decides it’s not then they split up true but does that mean i want to give up all my values because someone else gave up first no and i i don’t know that you necessarily have to give up i don’t know that anybody in that scenario has to give up values it’s just a decision by at least one party that says our common welfare is not more important than me anymore nobody says that’s wrong right nobody’s saying that that’s terrible it’s just this isn’t working for me i don’t want to be a part of this group anymore and i think that’s when groups stop working i think as long as you can keep the members cohesive to we are working towards this group being more important than any one of us it’s the we before me it’s our common welfare first i i think that’s what keeps groups together i agree that i mean from the country perspective or any group perspective i guess you’d have to decide like are we stronger together or are we stronger apart in the spirit of you know when n a was founded it started with you know some drug addicts we’re going to some aaa meetings and the people in those meetings didn’t like them and they’re talking about drugs they said we’re not about drugs we’re about alcohol we don’t know we don’t want to hear your [ _ ] stories of shooting dope and all that [ _ ] that’s not what we do here but what i would call a spirit of unity some members decided to help those members go start their own thing so they did break off they did start a new thing but the new thing started with the help of some of those other members you know what i mean like so it was still a breaking apart of something you know it was like hey look this maybe isn’t the place for you but we can help you start a place that is yours it was definitely some angry alcoholics like get the [ _ ] out i don’t care if you take the traditions and the steps just leave i’m sure they were there but which one of those people do i want to be me personally in my life no i gotcha but it took both because without that uncomfortability the people never would have left if they were just made to feel comfortable by everybody if there wasn’t the pushback we’d still be an aaa we would be aaa members and that would be [ _ ] sad maybe i mean i don’t know yeah no i’m just saying i i think it takes the the pushback for one to say and you probably don’t belong here that feels almost like saying spiritual principles don’t always work no it’s saying that god’s will happens no matter what people foul up or that spiritual principles aren’t always the best solution no it’s that everything will work for good no matter what the [ _ ] your intention but i don’t think i can use it as an excuse to act like a shitty person it’s not an excuse for me it’s not an excuse for me but if i get pissed off at a meeting and get a resentment and take a coffee pot and start a meeting across the street that meeting can still prosper even though i had the worst intentions my intentions were to put the [ _ ] original meeting out of business because they pissed me off but then we could have two prosperous ass meetings on that night like there’s no saying just because something is done with ill will that it turns out bad uh yeah i mean i would agree with that i don’t think just because something started with bad intentions everything everything turns out good it’s all [ __ ] roses

if five of my family members in my household decided that money was more important than anything else to them like you were talking right and i started seeing behaviors in them that were like hey we’re gonna you know step on people to get raises at work and advancement at work and we’re gonna treat people poorly you know we’re gonna sell people bad shitty business deals to make money off of them and scam people and stuff like at some point if that’s just who they were and who they became i’m gonna step out of that family like that common welfare is no longer going to be the most important thing to me i need to leave this because you guys are not on the same page as me anymore i love my family i think we’re really important and things don’t come above us right now but if that’s the direction they go i don’t have any interest in that the things that are more important to me would outweigh that at that point my values outweigh the common welfare from that i can’t buy into a common welfare that’s that deviated from what i believe so for me personally i mean when we get into common welfare you could get into unity maybe but to get into common welfare it’s like for the good of things like how are we making things better how are we improving so if the other people are acting in ways not in accordance to the common welfare i don’t know that that means i don’t have to anymore either and i guess so where i think immediately and i don’t know maybe this will trigger a different thought or give me a different way of looking at it but i think all right what would happen if one of my kids got heavily into drugs and started [ _ ] stealing from me lying to me all the time not coming home when they’re supposed to stealing my car all the [ _ ] i did to my parents you know all the [ _ ] i did to my parents right and creating chaos am i getting arrested [ _ ] calling me to come bail them out of jail how do i want to deal with that you know and and i don’t know that’s where it gets hard it’s like sometimes we do have to parse through these things of like i don’t exactly know what i would do in that situation well that’s one that’s one family member and yeah they’re they’re in a twisted mental health crisis situation where you know yeah i hope the rest of the family pulls together in common welfare and we do our best to navigate that however we decide to do it i’m saying to me yeah i assume common welfare is for the good and advancement of it but common means agreed upon by most people generally right so if the common welfare of more than half of my family became about money and not about spiritual principles or values and not about treating people well and became more about self-serving stuff that becomes the common welfare they believe that’s what’s for the best for them and i just can’t get behind that i mean i yeah i mean i guess you’re right you’d have to decide you’d have to figure out what point for you is the tipping point between my influence is no longer yeah there comes a point where my values my safety and my yeah the commonwealth yeah and that’s when things break so for tradition one in your life common welfare comes first as long as everybody’s working towards betterment of the group the society the people around you that’s when we can practice unity and when that stops working then maybe we need to reevaluate if we need to be a cohesive unit anymore yeah and maybe it’s important to look at our different areas of our lives and like really kind of identify what our common values are or at least what they should be you know whether it’s at work like i’m a you know i’m a supervisor at work i decided we started a monthly service meeting where all the service guys get together and i was doing that to try to promote unity for one because we have different little departments you know there’s a service department there’s an install department and they don’t always talk to each other or interact with each other and then slowly there starts to become this almost divide of like oh well the [ _ ] service guys you know they go out all day and they’re hanging out at wawa half the day and if they’re not busy they get to go to the [ _ ] hardware store and hang out nobody keeps track of where they are and then the install guys you know the service guys say about them oh they get done their jobs at one o’clock and then they go the [ _ ] home and they’re still on the clock and they get paid for a whole day it’s like everybody thinks the grass is greener on the other side and you know the other side’s got it better and they’re different they’re not us anymore we got night shift first day shift at my job yeah so i started bringing in you know i was like all right now we have a meeting and we have donuts and we talk about what’s going on and any problems and like i hear the bitching from all the sides and i try to come up with a really passive way of bringing up these differences like no and and identifying what our common values are what our common welfare is hey we’re all here working together we want to make money for the company that’s number one we’re a business in our case it is money it’s about money we’re here to make money that’s what we do if we don’t we all can go to [ _ ] home and not get paychecks anymore so money is a value there and it’s an important one right but we also have some other values too we’re fair we treat people with respect we treat their homes with respect you know we we value our customers like those are things that go along with the money thing where we can achieve a common unity and it’s important that we got to sit down and talk about those things you know so that we are all in agreement like oh yeah we talked about this we know what these values are and like you said doing that with my family like that’s an important thing to do it’s important to identify like what are our common goals how do we help each other how do we support each other i’m going to go home and ask my family what their primary purpose is yeah what is your primary purpose bastards well there’s little nuancy differences between some of these words it gets difficult you know common welfare and then unity and just real quick we’ll wrap it up but like we had talked about is is unity a principle or is that a result of principles and you know i’ve been back and forth now i think unity is a principle i can go into things with unity as a driver as a in the spirit of you yep acting in the spirit of unity and that’ll work in accordance with my spiritual principles you know honesty humility acceptance open-mindedness right you know i need those things too to achieve this spirit of unity so do that go home ask your families what their common goal and common purpose is find that stuff out ask yourself what’s your common goal for your family and common purposes i have no idea i got to think more about that traditions matter they can help be the ties that bind us together so as long as we think that the group’s purpose is more important than our singular wants and needs we can remain functional and united that’s all i got if you want to hear the other episode that we decided we weren’t releasing on here i’m going to release that on the other podcast at some point once i get done editing it so it’ll be out there all right have a good week share this podcast with people in your life who might enjoy it check out recoveryswordub.com to find our episodes and link up with us on facebook twitter and instagram we’re always looking for new and interesting ideas for topics sort of if you have any ideas for episodes or think you have something to come on and talk about reach out to us

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