70: Tradition 2 – For Our Group Purpose There is But One Ultimate Authority (Sort Of)

Tradition 2: “For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority— a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.” We talk about the difference between group conscience and group opinion. We explore the idea that spiritual principles can never be in conflict. We mention that we have to pick the right person for the individual job, not just the person we like the most. We mention how egos and personalities can get in the way of group conscious, and our responsibility to the group to clear our ego out of the way before proceeding with a vote. We try to extend the principles and concepts of tradition 2 into the family, community, and government levels as to how it might look if we practiced it there. Further, we explore whether we would be better parents and partners if we led by example and with humility versus leading by dictating. Join the conversation by leaving a message, emailing us at RecoverySortOf@gmail.com,  or find us on TwitterFacebook or Instagram, or find us on our website at www.recoverysortof.com.

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 guy in long-term recovery

and we’re going to talk about tradition two which says for our group purpose there’s but one ultimate authority a loving god as he may express himself in our group conscience our leaders are but trusted servants they do not govern that’s long as [ _ ]

and that’s the title of this podcast that is not going to fit on youtube in a search nobody’s going to look for it because nobody gives a [ _ ] about stop tradition all those words and three or four words in i’m not gonna lie like so my fear of doing the traditions was that oh my god these are gonna be extremely boring and i was like well we’ll have to do our best to make them fun by not you know yeah let’s give a little explanation of how they apply an n a like that seems pretty straightforward i honestly think

i know we do tradition work but i’m like these seem pretty [ _ ] straightforward to me but then like hey let’s take most of the episode and put these out in the real world so that they’re more interesting and expound on how to apply them in our lives and i don’t know man after reading this one i was like this is going to be a [ _ ] challenge like this is work and i said this is the one where i take probably the most out of it and probably find the most useful in my daily life i think this goes back to tradition one when we talked about how you have an interpretation of the traditions as things

you need to do in your life and i think traditions only work when they’re done as a group because i don’t see any people interacting healthily as a group i’m like we can’t work traditions outside of n a it’s impossible we can’t even work them in nna i mean there’s factions splitting off from world and literature printing and knows what’s going on but oh i read a bunch of that funny stuff but definitely outside of n a like these don’t apply because the group doesn’t act in them or on them yeah and

i look at the steps when i look at the steps i think i apply them in a way that works really specific to me i don’t just apply them to drugs and how drugs affected my life so you know for example when i say i turn my will and my life over the care of god well i don’t just apply that to addiction like apply that to a lot of areas of my life but in the same vein

i don’t go to the [ _ ] restaurant and sit down to look at the menu of what dinner i want to order and then go what is god’s will for me to eat today like i don’t put it into that context either but there are people that do they make decisions in their life based on you know how how much they’re trying to follow god’s will and you know what that means to them what that looks like and i just find for me the traditions sort of fall in that same category of like i can take a lot of these principles i mean they’re written specifically for narcotics anonymous so they apply more specifically to technically they’re written for alcohol technically they were written for alcoholics anonymous yeah we borrowed borrowed borrowed it’s a more spiritual term borrowed the spiritual principle of borrowing stealing with someone’s knowledge yeah and never to return so you know

i take these principles and even though they apply or should hopefully apply specifically to our service structure and our groups and some of that stuff i can take the same principles and apply them in different aspects of my life did you have a moment of clarity early in recovery where like things just made more sense to you or you saw them differently than you ever had before like huh if

i stopped getting high i won’t have the problems of getting high like just something really oh i had that actually before i got clean actually but yeah but all the times before that you couldn’t see that even though it was probably evident long before you had that revelation oh yeah so to me that moment of clarity is is like an outside event or at least an outside inspired event because i wasn’t in control of it right like i couldn’t have it when i wanted to yep it just kind of happened so i say when i go to a restaurant and i order there’s some similar outside event thing that happens that creates a feeling in me that has a desire for a specific taste of a certain food and i don’t have anything to do with that so i would have to call that god’s will like

i don’t know i can’t make myself want a certain food i want whatever the [ _ ] i want in that moment and i don’t have any control over that yeah but do you always eat what you want if i’m looking at a menu i do i eat whatever my body’s telling me to order off that menu well and where i mean i i guess where i was thinking with that and i don’t know how this would change that is this part of the tradition yeah right is uh like i’ve been trying to eat exceptionally healthy lately cut out sugar cut out carbs [ _ ] if

i don’t want some ice cream and a bowl of cereal like apple jacks looks delicious and we got it right in the cabinet and i want to eat that [ _ ] and i i guess if you wanted to say like for me following god’s will is like no i want to take care of myself physically i’m getting a little older i want to be you know at my best and the way i can be at my best is to physically take care of myself and so i try to make healthy choices when i eat i don’t just eat what i want i eat what’s good for me i will not spend an hour arguing about menu choices with you as much as i want to so i

i read through the basic text about this tradition and really i was like how in the world are we going to apply this outside of na i mean i’m not saying it can’t apply it just doesn’t seem like it works as well and and i don’t think if anything i saw that hey the world’s [ _ ] up and maybe it’s because we don’t live like this like maybe it’s because we don’t listen to any ultimate authority you know or any higher power helping us along which kind of leads me back to that whole you know oh you took god out of government and that’s where everything got [ _ ] up and

i honestly don’t like people who say that i’m like yeah god doesn’t belong in government because we all have different gods but it would be nice if we all had a a higher power understanding and i don’t know how you do that in a world full of people who don’t believe in god i mean can you express to them hey the will of all of us together the collective good of people is the higher power like i mean is that what you would say is the higher power for you like you don’t really specifically have god yeah i would say the betterment the advancement the improvement of the quality of lives of everyone should you know sort of trump

i hate to use that word but you know should trump my own personal desires and wants for myself basically i guess in n a the way this works and and the point of this tradition that i understood so like let’s tackle the n a version first that seems easy right it’s that we don’t want any leaders we don’t want any uh like people say in meetings no big eyes and little use right there there’s no one or a group of people that are more important than everybody else everybody’s equal that’s the entire goal of the whole anonymous fellowship idea is that we don’t have any president dictating orders we don’t have any governmental form you know sending down laws to us the service structure is upside down like

i think you mentioned in the last tradition where at the top of the service is all the home groups every home group is at the top and then we dictate what we need to the larger bodies of service that are beneath us like hey we need a committee to make events like do that for us and then they do our bidding they are humble servants and i will say that is one of the things i do love about this tradition the idea that leaders should be humble servants they should be you know the people that are there to help not people that are there to rule and when i was reading some of this what

i found sorta interesting not to get away from n a stuff but i look at ideally i believe that’s how the democracy that we have was supposed to be set up and the idea that we had periodic voting was so that you could hold your leaders accountable and so that if they weren’t serving the will of their constituents that they would be if you’re not doing a good job we’re going to kick you out and that it’s not about you serving yourself it’s about you serving the will of the people you represent the difference in n a is our system i’m gonna say for the most part hasn’t been too corrupted at this point at least in a spirit of the groups that still exists like it typically isn’t individual members taking over and deciding how things are supposed to run

i mean that happens from time to time but in the big scheme of things or if you were to generalize you would say for the most part meetings happen independent of the individuals that run them yeah i would agree with you the idea behind democracy is that there is but one ultimate authority which is the group itself we are the ones voting on this ultimate authority so as you know it says a loving god as he may express himself in our group conscience and maybe we don’t believe in god as a society as a whole but the democratic idea is the idea that as a group together we will decide what’s best for us and that is our ultimate authority no one individual and

i think that’s why they came up with term limits for president so that nobody got deified or made into a larger than life figure that couldn’t be removed that was the idea behind that was that they didn’t want anybody to get that kind of power or hold over people they wanted to keep switching it out so that no one per the nation didn’t follow one person like it’s we keep changing that right and i believe in our fellowship like that’s sort of the way it’s again supposed to go we have different individuals that serve the groups and so not to get too into the weeds on what is a group and what isn’t a group but there’s some argument or discussion about what in that tradition it says you know for our group’s purpose and so typically what

i think of as a in a group is the individual meetings the service structure doesn’t technically qualify as a group based on the description of a group in the group pamphlet like the group pamphlet talks about a n a group is two or more more addicts meeting regularly for the purpose of recovery and a service committee that meets to discuss business stuff i guess you could argue and i don’t know how i feel on either end of this and this is nerdy recovery argument [ __ ] people if you get really bored and you want to get into some of the weeds and some of this it’s it’s kind of interesting to me but is a service structure a group and does the service structure have to adhere to n a traditions and yes

i mean i believe so too i think so too but there’s an argument that that you know that’s not what we do at business meetings we don’t necessarily i mean unless you’re saying a vote is a group conscious you know which i don’t necessarily think that it is you know does a service committee qualify as a group i mean this tradition specifically says for our group’s purpose there’s but one ultimate authority not for the fellowship of n a there is one ultimate authority

i don’t know if this changes anything or not but it doesn’t say groups apostrophe s that says for our group purpose yeah i don’t know if that changes the meaning of it like to me that just means that’s not just like it’s not a capital g group this is the group as defined as a n a group this is any group of people in recovery it’s another one of those technicalities where they could have used a better word like we should rewrite these to make them more i mean i really think our our fellowship

yeah okay i mean i can go with that that’s how i personally have always applied all this i’ve always applied traditions you know and any my behavior in any service boards or committees i’ve ever been a part of has been to try to adhere to the traditions and follow them as my guiding principles you should have brought on somebody that disagreed so we could have told them how wrong they were so yeah i think this in general the idea is hey no one person’s personality or influence no matter how long they have clean how many steps they’ve worked how great of a meeting they share they don’t run a group they don’t take over you know the group doesn’t take on their personality the entire area doesn’t take on decisions and vote just for them because that’s what they want and everybody believes in them the whole point of this is that people are not leaders they’re trusted servants and going back to the democracy example

i think our elected officials are supposed to also be public servants like that is their goal to serve the public that’s not what we see happen we elect the president as if they’re a leader they call them the leader of the free world and all that great stuff but yeah i think one of the things i do love is the idea that when i’m leading best i’m leading by example i am just being a trusted servant and doing what’s best for the group to the best of my ability humbly without a whole lot of dictating out things that people need to do that i’m not willing to do myself yeah and we do have leaders in recovery like they’re they do exist

i mean it says our leaders are but trusted servants they do not govern meaning like we have people that we appoint to positions yeah they’re not ceos and managers right and i think in the spirit of this tradition like one of the sayings i picked out of the basic text that i really liked about leadership was we have learned that leadership by example and selfless service works direction and manipulation fails and that’s i think what we hope our political leaders are gonna do but that feels like such a [ _ ] joke you know nowadays like that is so far away from where we are in that realm and you see though how disgruntled agitated annoyed that most people are either on the left or the right you have people on the left that are upset about a lot of ways the government runs people on the right that are really upset about a lot of ways the government runs because we’ve lost our as you said we’ve almost lost our way of our common welfare of what’s what should be important what we’re focused on our common goals are common good like all that seems to be lost and it’s nice that we’re in a fellowship that we have these sort of traditions laid out that keep us on that path so that we don’t stumble down the same [ _ ] road right right so

i had that exact quote too and the rest of it the next couple sentences say we choose not to have presidents masters or directors instead we have secretaries treasurers and representatives these titles imply service rather than control and i i like that part of it too i thought it was a great quote all together and talking about what you’re talking about i was having a conversation with stephanie yesterday and it just really baffles me i you know you talk about losing our way if you put a group of five and six-year-old kids in a room and said hey what should we do for people who have needs you know outside of what the normal or average everyday person needs like what should we do for all the five and six-year-olds unanimously would say well we just meet their needs we just take care of them right like oh you you got people with addiction problems well we just have services for people with addiction problems oh you got people with mental health yeah well we just you know we have services for people with mental health and every five and six-year-old in that in that room is going to raise their hand and vote that yes you should just have the needs met for people and then somehow when you talk about losing our way we turn into adults and then decide that like a

i think we first come to this realization that’s j that’s just not how the world works and then b we kind of get on board with like well the best way we can proceed is this way or that way or another way and i just i feel like we’ve lost our way so much the only reason the world doesn’t work that way is because we don’t just do it and if we have the resources we know the world has enough resources for people so why don’t we just meet people’s needs i i’d like it seems so easy to five and six-year-olds and where the [ _ ] do we get lost and jaded that we don’t just think that it’s adults like yeah yeah there’s needs to be met let’s just meet him yeah i don’t have any of these answer for that one i mean that’s yes i i agree i think our society has lost its way as far as living by principles for the united states i mean we live by some principles

i don’t think we adhere to them near as much as we like to believe we do i think in general and even including myself are way more selfish than i like to admit you know we just had a sort of brief conversation before this about volunteering for something and i’m like i’m [ _ ] volunteering and my heart’s been in wanting to volunteer and i say i want to volunteer for [ _ ] i’ve said it for years but the actual following through of giving up my time freely is like ooh that seems like such an inconvenience like how much they paying for that volunteer spot but i i will say and this gets back to unity and and same with trying to adh here and follow the will of a higher power because a system is [ _ ] up and failing and not working doesn’t give me the right to go well it’s [ _ ] up failing and not working so i’ll just do whatever

i want to [ _ ] it doesn’t matter i want to be a person that has integrity so if i am involved in a group whatever i describe decide that group is to be so if i’m involved in a group let’s put it back to a service committee i’m in area service and it turns into you know a bunch of arguing yelling people debating over [ _ ] i don’t believe that gives me the right or i shouldn’t say gives me the right i have the right to do whatever the [ _ ] i want to do i don’t think that justifies me turning into someone who now gets to argue and yell and scream at someone because they’re arguing yelling and screaming at me so

i obviously get to do that back like that’s not the person that i want to be right what i learned through recovery is just doing what i feel like i want to do and throwing out my morals and values you know leads to like a degradation of self you know and that i want to live by my morals and values in spite of what’s going on around me in spite of what’s going on in area service so when i’m trying to be the person who’s you know trusting this higher power to work in that group just because the rest of the group threw that out the [ _ ] window and said [ _ ] that i’m going to argue about what i think is important i don’t want to fall into that

i want to be the stronger person that kind of rises above and tries i might even fail whether i fail or succeed isn’t the point the point is that i try to stay on the path of living those principles of turning my will and life over to the higher power of being the one that tries my best to focus on unity to focus on our common welfare to focus on all those things and then just leave the outcome up to the higher power you know leave the outcome up to whatever’s going to happen because i don’t have as you would almost say like i don’t have a [ _ ] choice anyway of what happens it’s all god’s will whatever the outcome is anyway so whether i argue yell and scream and throw my values out the window and act like a [ _ ] child or whether

i try to rise up be the better person go home at the end of the day and say you know what i did the best i could i did what i feel is right in my heart i live by values that i think are important what happened really isn’t the most important thing the most important thing isn’t winning or being right or being the best are you sure about that yeah well it feels like that a lot you know and i’ve learned again learned that through n a you know i’ve learned that i think i’m right a lot you know i think my way is the best all the time you know and i think you’re right a lot too until we disagree but that’s not always what’s most important you know what i mean that if i’m serving the will of a higher power if i’m serving the will of a higher good then me being right isn’t what needs to matter the most and so is that i think maybe that stems from the fact that it’s almost impossible to trust that it’ll work out when you don’t have that faith or belief in some power greater than you taking care of it if

i don’t believe that there’s a god or a universal power or a common brotherhood of man then i’m gonna have to live in the idea that i need to exert some control in this situation because if not it’s gonna get [ _ ] up i don’t have any trust that it’s gonna be okay and when i don’t have any trust that it’s gonna be okay i now live in fear and that fear is gonna make me act in ways that aren’t spiritual right because that’s what i think kind of like the combatant of spiritual principles is that self-centered fear that core of fear that this won’t work out if i don’t step up and make a change and i think that’s where all this anger and hatred in politics in the world comes from people are living in fear if i don’t do something this is going to all turn out terrible right there’s no trust that it’ll turn out fine and that’s what the news stations pander to like they they say this [ _ ] like it’s all fear all democracy is going to fall apart all the world’s going to end if we don’t elect this per like it’s it’s all fear-based and like that’s where

i think outside of a 12-step program there’s a struggle because a lot of people don’t anymore really talk or think or believe in a bigger power and i’m not saying that bigger power has to be god specifically or the starbucks chick universe power that i love but we got to believe in some kind of bigger power than us and not think that we have control over everything right and i agree with that totally that’s sort of i’m going to use that as the argument of of why i don’t get too hung up into the political stuff anymore it’s like it’ll work out well that and that all those people that i think are so wrong are still my brothers and sisters and people that are in the same community as me whether they acknowledge that or not what’s important

i acknowledge that these are still people that you know my higher power has entrusted me personally to love and care about and try to do good for you know and and to try to be like a servant of in my life i’m just picturing that old you know saying the whole the student has become the master or whatever and one day there’ll be memes like the sheeple has become the shepherd and this is one of the concepts that i don’t feel like has applied much in our world i look at the president as a public servant and i say why are we electing a president based on his political views or ideas about which way we need to go because i don’t personally believe that’s the president’s job i don’t give a [ _ ] what the president believes i want him to do what the people want him to do period like i don’t think the president honestly needs any beliefs politically or any direction because that’s not his [ _ ] job he’s not supposed to guide me we are supposed to tell him what we’re looking for as a society and he’s supposed to make that happen so

I really i’m kind of baffled by the whole presidential election stuff where we look at their views and which way they want to go like who gives a [ _ ] which way they want to go they should if you were elected president and you don’t want abortions to ever happen again but 75 percent of the population is polled and they come to you and say dude we think abortions are necessary you’re just supposed to [ _ ] do that whether you believe in it or not that’s my idea of what the president’s supposed to be it’s not about what the [ _ ] you want as president it’s about what is best for the most people i think yeah well politics again is is rough because there’s so many misconstrued values there there’s so much manipulation and financial misaligned incentives you know like all that [ _ ] is so corrupt right now that it’s hard to look at that and figure out how we apply this because you know if and we’ve seen this in recovery fellowships in n a people get in charge and try to run meetings and run areas and people get involved in different subcommittees and run those committees their own way

i mean we have those same issues within our fellowship we just are lucky enough to sort of have an outline that guides us back you know what i mean for the most part until where we need to go when i look at this and how it applies to my life now i try to look at my role and what i can do and and what kind of person i want to be not necessarily you know what’s the least common denominator like you know because i can fall right into that least common denominator i have an opinion on all those things too immigration abortion you know [ _ ] the drug epidemic like i have strong opinions on all that stuff you know so do i just want to pick a side jump on a team and start battling it out or do

i want to look at a different approach to that and say well i don’t know maybe maybe my approach to those things isn’t right and it’s not about me being right or wrong or you being wrong it’s about all right we’re all people how do we [ _ ] get everyone together in a room to have an actual conversation about the best path forward like how do we get people to sort of come around to see like look hey what’s going on over in this community that’s like ravaged with poverty and ravaged with kids that are being raised you know uneducated and poor like that matters even though i live over in this neighborhood that’s nice and has manicured lawns and a gated [ _ ] community like how do we make that connection instead of jumping on a team and saying well i’m on team gated community and [ _ ] those poor people you know

i want to try to be a person that focuses more on bringing that [ _ ] together and i think that’s in the spirit of unity and then in the serving you know a higher powers will in my life yeah i’m i need a new political party because none of them meet what i’m looking for and you know to get back a little bit to n a and like this tradition like how it applies in my life so the whole first paragraph in our in our basic text they talk about tradition two and the whole first paragraph is exactly how i live most of my life for me not how i think everyone else lives i’m thinking about for me in my life and uh it says in narcotics anonymous we are concerned with protecting ourselves from ourselves our second tradition is an example of this by nature we are strong-willed self-centered people who are thrust together in n a we are mismanagers and not one of us is consistently capable of making good decisions that is me and my life you know what i mean before i found recovery i was exactly that

i was incapable of making good decisions that can be me now still today you know i can still be a person that is a complete mismanager and incapable of making good decisions if i don’t keep my eye sort of focused on recovery the guiding principles of in this case the 12 steps because that’s a fellowship that i’m in and a part of right now but if i don’t keep my eyes squarely on that i will become a [ _ ] i’m a mismanager with the guidance of the fellowship you know well and i think the key word in there is consistently right yeah like all of us can make some good decisions here and there and maybe a few in a row but i yeah i don’t think any of us i agree with that and i had that one written down

i don’t think any of us can consistently make decisions that are in the best interest of all like at some times we just start thinking about us man we get an edge we want a car we wanted this then we’re like willing to sacrifice some of our values to get there and it just happens it’s hard to be self-aware and in tune every [ _ ] day of the year and there’s gonna be days i’m not it’s just the way it is there’s gonna be days i’m more tired there’s gonna be days i’m more angry lonely hungry like all those apply there’s gonna be days when i’m sad i’m gonna lose people i’m gonna go through grief like there’s just gonna be times when

i don’t make good [ _ ] choices right and so in that context like that whole sentiment there for me personally doesn’t necessarily apply to the united states although you could substitute the word narcotics anonymous with united states and read that statement again and it would be applicable to i’m gonna say is as optimistic as i am like 90 of our populations are mismanagers and incapable of consistently making good decisions i can apply that so again it’s hard to look at that on like this global or this national level like what does that mean in my life but i can apply that consistently at my job or in my family like i can say hey at my job even though i’m in a leadership role even though i’m in a management position where i make decisions and have authority and that sort of thing i have to remind myself that i’m a [ _ ] mismanager and i am incapable of consistently making good decisions and that if

i really want things to go really well i’ll look to the group and talk to everyone and say hey this is what’s going on these are some decisions we need to make that doesn’t necessarily mean i’m going to do what they say yeah because we’d have popsicles for dinner right but it means that i can talk to people address their concerns approach things in the spirit of unity be a person that says you know what maybe my way isn’t the best let’s talk about it let’s let’s make some decisions and and work through this and see where everybody’s at see how what everybody thinks and feels and then try to proceed with a path that is the best going forward yeah maybe we can have popsicles after dinner or maybe even we can have ice cream for dinner one night out of two months or something just not every [ _ ]

this night 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 dot voices of hope cecil md.org and consider donating to our calls

i think reading this was a very good reminder of like the leader i want to be i want to be a leader by example right and i try to do that in my daily life trust me i got a bunch of kids that don’t pick up after themselves and it’s super [ _ ] frustrating i got kids that will if i if i just watch they will walk over the trash or the sock or the [ _ ] hoodie that is laying on the floor in the middle of the hallway they’ll walk over it for a week nobody will ever touch that [ _ ] it will just sit there and so my original statement is ah these [ _ ] people don’t do anything right well neither have i neither have

i jason and so i really try on a regular basis daily to the best of my ability to just just clean [ _ ] up just do the next right thing does that mean i won’t [ _ ] about it to him later no but i’m at least i at least want to pick this [ _ ] up if i’m going to expect other people to do it i better be living it and doing it too and that’s where i want to lead by example i want to be the trusted servant that isn’t just running around telling everybody what to do like a king like no i’m here doing this too like i’m not expecting you to do something i’m not like let’s all participate in doing this and i just want to make sure that i’m humble enough to to still be that guy right that’s important i think i think so too and our children you know they have heard i’ve read a lot that they learn more by what you do and less by what you say right and so similar like these are principles that i learned through recovery that if i want to be a good leader in my family if

i want to be a good leader in my workplace what example am i sent and i don’t know about you but i know we’ve all worked for the guy that just barks a bunch of [ _ ] orders at you and tells you what to do and you think you probably couldn’t even do this [ _ ] job you know and i supervise i mean i supervise a bunch of people that i can’t do what they do you know what i mean they have a skill set that’s beyond me you know and my skill set why i’m supervising them is something different you know and i tend to think loud barkey guy uh has a really controlling wife and he doesn’t have a say at home maybe i’m just judging the [ _ ] out of him right yeah well that can be it i mean i know in my past that trying to be like just do what i say and don’t question my authority and all that is that it’s a little bit there’s a lack of confidence in myself and a lack of you know humility and and all those things

i try to include my kids in some of my parenting skills at times like whether it’s about them and i’m like hey look this is what i’m trying to accomplish this is what i see keeps happening and i don’t know how to best get you from this place to the next right or when we’re talking about the other kids i’m like hey look i’ve been trying this with you know your brother or sister and i don’t feel like it’s working do you have any suggestions and partly it’s i want them to feel important and think through things critically to try to come up with solutions but the other part of that is like i’m really kind of out of [ _ ] ideas do you have something else for me like think outside this box well even asking people sometimes what they think or how they feel or what’s going on especially for our kids like it gives them a sense of value and respect and dignity that you know as a little kid you don’t get a lot in your life especially if you’re going to public school you got somebody dictating what you do all day and what you need to do and what has to happen and then you go home you got parents barking at you all day what you need to do what you’re not doing what you have you know and to have someone actually acknowledge like hey you’re an individual with thoughts and feelings

i’d like to hear your input is so critical to their development and yet for the longest time i didn’t recognize that i thought my job as a parent is to dictate to them good behavior and then demand good behavior out of them and [ _ ] correct them when they’re not doing good behavior right you know and their input because i was felt like that was my job as a leader like their input into any of that was [ _ ] irrelevant you know because i thought i knew oh their kids would you know they’re not going to want to clean their room they’re not going to want to eat their vegetables they’re not going to want to you know do their homework what [ _ ] kid wants to do that not me but a conversation with them can lead them around to hey do you like the idea of having like bugs and [ _ ] in your bedroom like you know nah probably not well there are some ways you can avoid that and you know we can work on that

i haven’t found that useful yet yeah that’s the other thing with kids it’s hard is i might have to try different things yeah in narcotics anonymous we rely on a loving god as he expresses himself in our group conscience rather than on personal opinion or ego and i think this is a tough one in a world where people really don’t talk or think or believe in god much anymore and even if they do believe i don’t think it’s any thing they have a relationship with or a regular routine of talking to or listening for or and i know look there’s probably people listening to that like oh yeah let’s talk to the imaginary guy in the sky and listen for him to talk back that sounds like mental health issues right that’s not what i’m saying but

i just don’t think this is something that’s regularly used in people’s lives on a daily basis when you’re not looking to rely on this loving power bigger than you for the source of how to proceed you default back to personal opinion or ego like i think that’s what i took out of this quote it’s not so much i mean yeah i agree you know in n a we’re supposed to rely on this power to help make decisions over the personal opinions or egos of any of our members but i think when i apply this to like daily family life or i look at society or the community like this is probably part of what’s going wrong people aren’t including any kind of power bigger than them in their life which means they are relying on personal opinion or ego to make all their decisions all their parenting decisions all their decisions in business management like this is what everything is being judged by personal opinion and ego yes if we get too i want to say focused on like and this is where

i’ve backed away from mainstream media social media all that stuff i think the focus there so much is on the wrong things is so much you know we’ve we’ve sort of created a culture where we aren’t focused on the right morals and values on moving forward as a society luckily i have found some outlets through podcasts and different stuff that do focus more on those things which maybe leads to my optimism maybe that’s part of the reason i’m optimistic there is a movement called effective altruism which i don’t know if you’re familiar with that but it basically is like how do i use the resources and things that i have now to do the absolute most good in the world and not just in the united states and they do sort of when you get into it they do focus on all right

i have a certain responsibility to my community and my immediate community but then i also have a responsibility to the world at large you know for example you know if i can spend a dollar i think it was on a malaria shot for kids in africa so that they can get a shot and not die a malaria which kills you know millions of kids a hundred dollars literally saves a hundred lives you know and that as someone who wants to focus on doing good in the world you know i can look at different outlets and there’s some different resources for figuring out like which charities focus on which things i can focus on the earth i can focus on people i can focus on animals and then directing my money and resources towards helping those things

i mean the fact that people don’t even know that there’s things out there like that that exist or how easy it is to help people in other countries that are dying children i’m talking about this isn’t even the adults this is kids like to me that’s sad that we’re not aware of how easy and these resources to help other people so for myself like i’ve decided these are values that i want to focus on and and my kids will hear me listening to these things there are things that i’ll talk about with them i try not to sell you know they’re [ _ ] kids they don’t want to hear about my weirdo hippie [ _ ] so they don’t listen a lot but they pick up on that stuff you know what i mean they start to understand like hey there are values more than what the [ _ ] going on on fox news or cnn or what’s going on on facebook or whatever as far as i know none of my kids have facebook and only one of them’s involved in an instagram group that they do a lot of farm pictures they’re involved with a farm and stuff like that

i [ _ ] chalk that up as a win you know and i don’t know if it’s any luck of mine i mean if luck or whatever but i’m like that’s a win they’re not influenced by what i feel like are the lost values of our society right now yeah i’m jealous my kids are on like tik tok and instagram and don’t seem to give much of a [ _ ] about things that aren’t the popular societal culture and even that i mean that’s okay i didn’t at their age either you know i didn’t learn until i was older and and i got a little smarter and figured some [ _ ] out and figured out hey man this is a big planet there’s a lot of people here like i don’t want kids to suffer anywhere you know right like kids you know should be important to people and you know so all that to go back to for me like looking at my higher powers will and how do

i serve that and what does that look like you know when i’m acting in groups and all that stuff it’s like do i really [ _ ] care whether you want to have abortions or not like is that really the biggest thing that i need to get focused on i know there are people that feel that it is i mean if you’re talking about saving kids that would be their same argument right and again i don’t disagree that that’s an important thing but for me is it worth trying to get an argument with them that they’re wrong you know like i don’t feel a need to bring that up and be like look we can’t [ _ ] be friends or we can’t talk or be on the same team because you feel this way and i feel this way so we’re on different teams [ _ ] you like

i thought you were just supposed to be friends and then leave like metal hangers in their mailbox every day what’s a metal hang i don’t know that’s how they do the back alley abortions oh okay uh yeah i mean that’s i’m sure they have better ways now that’s like the very crude version another quote that came out of this is there is often a vast difference between group conscience and group opinion as dictated by powerful personalities or popularity and that just reminded me a lot of the direction that our society seems to go a lot of times we vote for popularity right and i’m not talking about the popular vote i’m just saying the person who spends the most on advertising wins most of these elections like because they’re the name you’ve seen and so when you walk in the polling booth you’re like i don’t know who the [ _ ] i want for judge number 13 oh i’ve seen his name on somebody’s front lawn like well he was on a billboard

i mean so it’s interesting to see that we follow group opinion and that’s group opinion is different because it’s influence whereas group conscience is not influenced by any one person yeah and i believe it was in our it works how y of n a which i didn’t bring a copy with me but it does talk a little bit in there about our responsibility as a member of a group so we bear some responsibility for our decision making and being a part of having a good and healthy group conscience having our egos in check having our you know facts in order sort of thing right and again that’s where i feel like in politics that all breaks down like me as a voting member of society i have some responsibility there one i have to [ _ ] show up and vote

i mean i don’t have to i don’t have to educate yourself anything right but if i want to be informed and i want to do my part and i want to be you know serving my higher powers will what i think is for the good or betterment of the society at large i’m going to do a little research i’m going to do a little reading i’m going to try to pick who i think is the authentically best person that’s available for that position not necessarily what party i think is right you know what i’m gonna do those types of things in my decision making not just you know expect someone else to do all the work and then me just take credit for the group you know it’s it’s like

i bear responsibility if i want to carry out a higher powers will in a group conscience that i’m involved in yeah i mean we i and i agree and i think that’s kind of where all this goes astray is that we don’t actively think about a bigger power than us on a daily basis and so when we enter into any of these things like it said we’re taking in our ego and that’s what’s making our decisions our opinion and our ego and i got a lot of ego and a lot of opinion and that [ _ ] gets me nowhere regularly i’m always better off when i’m in a humble place of just trying to be my best like that’s where i operate best from another quote you and i both found was true spiritual principles are never in conflict they complement each other

i don’t believe that [ _ ] yeah and i’ve heard that over the years and that’s always kind of i’ve always questioned that i’ve never spent too much time delving into it we did a little bit earlier but i felt the same way i’ve been like ah that doesn’t sound right yeah well especially because then we talked about this the other day because it came across my radar like principles are kind of completely made up right and spiritual principles are even more so made up and we just kind of act like they’re a thing and they really don’t have definitions or that’s weird yeah it’s really hard to define what is a spiritual principle and i mean the definition of principle is like a bunch of people agree that this is a good thing for some people

i’m like wow that says nothing right and that can definitely change this one i found interesting the person we feel safe to talk to when our heart hurts may not be the same person we would choose to be our group treasurer and i thought that was interesting that like this was focused on who’s best for these roles right like let’s not elect somebody who’s just our favorite person like we shouldn’t go you know what as a society we might all think that denzel washington is a great [ _ ] actor usually like he’s usually pretty good right i don’t think that makes sense that we should go electing for president just because we all like him as a great actor or majority like him as a great actor you know what i mean like

i think that’s was interesting to read that in this tradition that the idea isn’t that we just elect people because we like them or because they’re good at something that we like that they do but that they fit the position we’re hiring them for denzel washington probably has people who manage his money and has never ever had to like balance his checkbook or any of that stuff so like to elect him as the guy who runs our treasury or something wouldn’t make much sense no matter how much we like him and no matter how good of an actor he is and no matter how smart he is dude you’ve never even messed with money like maybe that’s not a good idea right right or at least even questioning like what is your experience in those areas what practical experience have you had managing something of this size or well and look i i’m not trying to fix politics or talk too too much about it

i am definitely a guy who says man the problem with politics is that we have politicians doing it but honestly i’m starting to wonder if i might not be wrong about that like if you put somebody in there with no experience in politics with no ability to be a politician she could get way worse i don’t i don’t know i just i think maybe we do need to really question like when we’re going into these situations maybe i shouldn’t put the kid who has not shown any cooking ability and doesn’t really even like a lot of different foods as the guy making the dinner tonight right like you know what i mean like i should dole out chores in my house based on who does them well and and just take i got to think more about the bigger picture i guess is what i’m saying you know

i just i never knew that about this tradition honestly yeah and i i mean as far as again the political thing like i really don’t feel like we have near as much power to be frank i don’t know that i consider myself a part of that group i don’t consider myself a part of the federal government group like you know what i mean like that’s its own thing that runs its own way that’s its own machine i like that i mean we have media that tries to tell us our votes matter and all that [ _ ] i don’t think that’s true and i have voted and i i mean i guess i think voting matters i just feel like that system has become so corrupt so again it gets when it gets back to these like traditions and because we talked about this with unity and stuff like that and i guess from the unity perspective i would say

i feel like we’re a united states because someone decided so like and as a continent we are stronger the way that we are than separated maybe right i haven’t really spent a lot of time thinking about that or if we’d be stronger if we were divided whatever but when i talk about the unity that i want i try to keep it more focused on things closer to home the broader that circle gets out the less invested i am in that circle so like the broader as we get out to like the whole united states and how serving a higher powers will and all that one i feel my influence is almost irrelevant and two i don’t even know if it works but i’m still gonna try like i’m still gonna try to be a person that votes and tries to educate myself when it’s time to vote and tries to research opinions and things that are going on in politics just so that i have some input that

i feel like is valuable although it totally feels irrelevant yeah i don’t i don’t really want to talk too much about politics in general i think the traditions in my brain like that’s the first outside entity outside of a program that comes to mind when i think of where traditions might be useful family unit community unit governmental unit is basically the places i think you always bring up work i don’t ever think of work [ _ ] work i don’t do traditions at work i don’t know why but no i think just from this tradition specifically at least so far it was less about like let’s talk about politics and more like i could see why the world seems in disarray right now because we don’t have something like this tradition in place we don’t collectively agree that there’s some larger power guiding us whatever that may be the betterment of humanity or christ like we don’t all collectively agree that that is what guides us and

i could see why we’re where we’re at because we don’t have that like it it just i guess it was more looking at it as without this tradition or without this kind of practice going on it makes sense that we’re not cohesive yeah and it almost feels like we actually somewhat do have i don’t want to say exactly a tradition like this but we have like a constitution and a bill of rights that theoretically were supposed to be adhering to and we have these laid out political procedures and things and that’s where the corruption comes in like none of that seems to be followed anymore and it’s funny because one of the things i read in there that i loved and again i apply these mostly for me and my immediate life but this definitely

i feel like applies to politics and it’s that ego unfounded pride and self-will destroy a group if given authority and i feel like that’s what’s happened in our politics is that ego and special interest and you know let’s change the tax law so that these people contribute to my [ _ ] campaign fund and you know that’s where it’s all gone we were at one point a country that had some unified values and unified rights and i feel like that’s all gotten lost and for me like again in my life like i have to remember that my ego my self-will you know will destroy a group that i’m involved in if i don’t keep it in check if i don’t watch my own self i can be the person that destroys the group versus the person that helps hold the group together yeah i mean politics today you’re talking big special interest money that is funding a lot of it and twisting it and corrupting it and i think you’re also talking what

i saw on reddit was an australian dude explaining that freedom in australia and and what they believed was in a lot of other countries that have freedom as well as us looks different to their individual citizens than freedom does to us like their freedom and and i can’t remember the great way he explained it but like australians collectively appreciate their freedom and are more willing to do what’s asked of them as opposed to arguing for their individual personal freedoms of whether they’re allowed to wear a mask or not in a store like it was like it was an interesting dissection and i’m not picking on anybody

i’m not saying one way is right or the other but it was interesting to see that their idea of freedom was different than our idea of freedom it’s like the same word right but we really as a collective society look at them very differently and apparently we’re like the only country that looks at it the way we do where it’s all about my individual liberties not the collective freedom we all share and enjoy together and what we need to do to keep it yeah like a lack of responsibility you know it’s like we don’t have a responsibility for the whole we only have responsibility for our individual well it sounds like we’ve lost track of the collective power greater than us and that our egos and opinions about me me me are the ones running the show

i mean that’s so without a tradition like this going on yeah why wouldn’t all these other things that it warns against happen like these people probably had all these things happen and then wrote the traditions afterwards and said oh we don’t want that [ _ ] to happen again this is how you avoid it and then people in the world just haven’t realized that we need a tradition to avoid continuation of egos and opinions um this one i found especially useful for my own personal life we learn to stand up for a principal without feeling like we’re fighting for our lives i definitely struggle with that so i was like that’s crucial information i could just stand up and be about a principal and not feel like it’s life or death no matter how this works out it’s gonna be okay and

i don’t have to like think that i’m gonna burn somewhere on a cross because i lost yeah well and being as i would say i don’t know another way to say it so i’ll say strongly opinionated as you are with the god’s will part like that’s where i’m like you know why does it matter how strong-willed you are against an opinion anyway it’s gonna go the way it’s gonna go to regardless of how married to the idea you are or not i’m god’s right hand man i’m here to do his will i’m here to enforce his will i’m like the guy that killed them two cities in the bible or something no i don’t know yeah i it doesn’t make sense and i’m the opposite which is even more funny it’s like i don’t think god’s will works that way at all but

i don’t think i’m supposed to stand up and defend my points to the vigorous end let’s just switch one of the other of those personality traits i don’t care which one we’re hypocritical in the opposite way let’s switch and at least get on the right page for each other we serve by being present and meeting the needs of the group as expressed by its conscience which i just think is a beautiful statement i kind of wish that’s what we did and i love the fact that it says by being present you can’t be of service if you ain’t there all right i was like huh i take that for granted but yeah if you’re not showing up you’re not being part of the solution but some of what

i heard in reference to the second tradition was individuals first getting into recovery and feeling like they didn’t have um say a voice or that they weren’t important or that they didn’t matter and as they got involved in service and got involved with the traditions and realized like you are an equal part of this like you’re you have a right to have a voice to have an opinion to have a say in what goes on and then learning to balance that with and just because you have a right and have a voice and have a say doesn’t mean you get to carry that to the extreme of being self-righteous arrogant and egotistical oh my god this dude with four months clean join my home group at one point and on the first night he joined it at group conscience brought up that we should vote on having an hour and a half long anniversaries and one of our other members agreed with them and i was just like what what kind of balls does it take not balls but what kind of ego like what kind of walking in off the street i’m gonna fix this n a meeting like

i was like wow and i’ve probably been there i’m not judging him in a negative light it was entertaining to me at that point in time i wasn’t offended or anything but wow sorry yeah so the beauty there is whether the group did that or not picturing like a conversation happening out of that and people being able to express freely ideas and and like hey maybe is this you know for me i look at all those things as opportunities to challenge my own thinking and to challenge my own values like i like debating people on different ideas when it doesn’t get nasty it gets it gets ugly when it gets nasty and in the name but i’ll talk about ideas and what i think and challenge you know myself or challenge other people because i feel like it helps me grow as a person like i don’t feel threatened by that so we have a weird at my home group we do some things so we had a guy you know moved down to our area he was from a different area and he didn’t like the way we did some [ _ ] in the home group and

i think he had a little more time than most of us and he was a loud brash the definite personality of a principal guy and so he got involved and we changed some things we did at the home group we stopped reading a bunch of readings we usually do like two readings we didn’t even read the traditions we didn’t read a bunch of stuff and sort of all of us were kind of like i don’t know he’s got more time than us and he’s awful loud about it so let’s just do that and that’s what we did and like to this day there’s still some things in the home group that are happening as a result that’s god’s will and he hasn’t been around for a while and he definitely hasn’t been in the home group god it’s probably been eight or nine years since he’s even been to the home group so he wanted less readings yes oh yeah less reading was he related to me i’ve tried to do less meetings in a home group before yeah that was it

i mean his point was now with all these [ _ ] readings the first 25 minutes of the meeting are reading a bunch of readings and [ _ ] you know i i’ve heard it both ways right so my point was look there’s there’s 55 people in this [ _ ] meeting in 1983 when you read all these readings there was 10 people in a meeting and everybody got to share now there’s 55 and like three people are sharing and we need more time for people so they’re not walking home but then you know i’ve also heard the idea that like hey at least when those readings are going on something sensible is being heard like you get all these new people sharing about nonsense [ _ ] like some of the most important messages right so yeah and the only reason i brought that up was to say like i don’t know that that was a right or wrong at the time now what it does for me is when i’m there and i notice we don’t read those readings which is regularly like it it reminds me of that person which i have a really fond memory of and a really fond connection to and so for me like and

i don’t know if that’s god’s will or whatever but it’s like that’s a reminder of that person and their relationship to me and my life and it’s kind of beautiful in a weird way that’s funny because i thought that story was about how one personality could change a group for years if you don’t have like the egos taken it is but it’s also about how at the end of the day is any of that really what’s all that important i don’t know we don’t know if people died from not hearing who’s an addict yeah i think we read that one we didn’t read traditions why are we here because his point was new people don’t care about the tradition i definitely agree with him now you definitely did the right thing i know god’s will happened at this point right and you know i guess for me that’s where this stuff kind of plays out it’s like

i don’t know if that was the right or wrong decision at the moment that was the conscience of the group and so that’s what we did and that’s what happened moving forward and now there’s a bunch of people that probably have no idea why that’s there or why it’s that way or or what any sort of they’re just like that [ _ ] those [ _ ] don’t even read the traditions like what kind of meeting is that or they’ll say occasionally people will be like oh you forgot one right right no we did that on purpose yeah yeah we didn’t forget stick it to your own meeting right so for our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority a loving god as he may express himself in our group conscience our leaders are but trusted servants they do not govern so the point of this to me is like when we’re making decisions for everyone and really honestly i really need to apply this when i’m making decisions for myself because decisions for my life also affect those around me so when i’m making decisions i need to trust in a loving power that’s looking out for everyone in their best interest and to remember that like not to let my ego get so in the way that i think i have all the answers that i

i need to like rule over people and dominate them like i just need to try to do my best and live by example and teach other people when they’re ready to learn and go from there yeah learn from other people when they’re ready to teach like all those things and the questions i came to as we’re kind of wrapping up here would be like would i be a better parent if i parented from service instead of authority i mean for me i think the answer is yes yeah i know it for me i mean i’ve had both but i’ve been both of those parents and the same the although the latter is definitely much more rewarding i don’t i can’t sit here and tell you that i know which one works better yeah i don’t know either but

i can tell you that i feel a whole lot better because the parent out of service at the end of the day definitely and my relationship with my kids i believe is better because yeah well dude i got an 18 month old or 19 months whatever she is at this point and like truthfully she don’t talk a whole lot she’s not very fun she’s [ _ ] loud and gets grumpy when you don’t give her what she wants and she screams at you in a pitch that really hurts my ears like i don’t really want to necessarily be around her i know that sounds kind of shitty but in a spirit of service

i am i try to make it a point to spend time with her daily to interact with her because that’s how relationships work that’s how things grow and build it’s just it’s important to me but i don’t do it because it’s highly [ _ ] enjoyable right it’s not that at all and and you know would i be a better husband if i lived in this tradition this idea that like i do not govern this relationship neither does my wife we’re working towards this on what’s best for us and our kids together you know it’s not about who wins what school they go to or what direction we go or how they get punished it’s more like what’s best for all of us moving forward and like let’s trust that we’re going to be taken care of in whatever way we proceed yeah definitely and and also acknowledging like i know in in my marriage like

i have some different values than my wife does and it’s very easy for me to be like well your values you know you need to value my values as the highest priority you know and and i can minimize some of her values as not being an employer yeah thinking i’m smarter than other people gets in my way of this right right like oh well i’ve thought through this deeper than you have wife dear and uh obviously you should recognize by my arguments because i’ll win the debate right you know it’s funny i can out debate her and yet i lose every [ _ ] argument i don’t know how that works but it does even when i win i feel like

i lost it’s [ _ ] terrible anyway you got any final thoughts about tradition too no just like you said i i like to try and look at areas in my life where i am in a leadership role and then try to see if i am living in alignment with the spiritual principles and values that through my step work i’ve made a decision to turn my will and my life over to you know am i turning my will in my life over in all areas of my life at work at home and my relationships with others in my relationship leadership roles in my community whether that’s you know coaching little league or being a you know mentor at a boys and girls club or whatever right like am i really practicing these principles in all my affairs sweet well with that enjoy your week practice some tradition too practice faith that things will work out for the best even when they don’t go the way that you would hope they would go they might be okay and uh we’ll see you next week share this podcast with people in your life who might enjoy it check out recoverysortof.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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