91: Tradition 7 – Every NA Group Ought to be Fully Self-supporting, Declining Outside Contributions (Sort Of)

The Seventh Tradition, every NA group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions. We look at all aspects of the 7th tradition. While most people focus on the money aspect, this is just one tiny part of what self-supporting means. We examine the ways self-supporting looks at the group level, how it might look at the personal level, and what it means for subcommittees. Tradition Seven tells us that we don’t accept outside contributions or gifts, and we talk about why that is beyond just that someone might ask us for something in return that would hamper our ability to carry the NA message. This tradition warns us of having too much money, explains that we don’t need a lot of money to have the basic group functions, and explains that money can cause more problems. Listen in to the talk about tradition 7 and give us your feedback as to what you’ve learned about this tradition. Join the conversation by leaving a message, emailing us at RecoverySortOf@gmail.com,  or find us on TwitterFacebook or Instagram, or find us on our website at www.recoverysortof.com.

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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 just trying to follow some traditions and i’m billy i’m a grateful recovering ad welcome back billy hey thank you yeah missed you last week uh thankful for caroline for coming on uh thank you caroline you weren’t here for this but we we got on a a top recovery podcast list oh amazing right i know uh top 80. we’re in the top 80 recovery podcast but it’s better than that we’re actually 12. so good we got the the link to that top 80 whatever it is on feedspot um it’s on our last episode and maybe i’ll put it on this one again uh but yeah i thought that was kind of nice to be 12th a little lower than i want to be you know so if anybody wants to go on and tell that guy he’s wrong i don’t know yeah i don’t even know his criteria i don’t know if it’s like the most listened to or just the ones he liked or eventually some famous person is going to hear us and retweet and then we’ll be one internet one of these days we’re gonna get it i don’t know maybe not but i still love it because i get a ton out of coming here talking with you and i am always amazed at how many times i think about things we’ve talked about or people we’ve talked to or interesting stuff that’s come as a result of our conversation so if nothing else it helps me a ton yes yes personal growth is definitely greater because of this i would say and caroline pointed out you know because you weren’t here for the talk about the instagram comment caroline pointed out a way that maybe made me a little more introspective instead of feeling hurt by the comment and that was just that like hey we are two white guys and and not that we can’t have a white guy on here and there but like maybe we should like try to branch out more often or or just think about it more often right i was like okay yeah i mean i could get that sure and i’m open to any i mean i’ll talk to anybody i don’t right mind and we can have guests on um the truth is in our area i mean the percentage of minorities in this immediate area is very very limited it’s not like we’re in a city or a metropolitan area we have an incredibly low minority rate and we could have females i don’t think we’ve shied away from that uh the truth is anyone can start a podcast it’s super easy we just started doing it with a hundred dollar microphone and it doesn’t really cost i mean a fairly a little bit of money you’ve invested some money into equipment things now but

so to start a podcast technically he’s right you can record it on your phone and it really costs nothing but that’s not entirely true for us with having higher level equipment we have a website things of that nature and not to mention how much time goes into editing and posting memes to try to get the word out it costs quite a bit hey if you don’t like it start your own isn’t that where a lot of these recovery meetings come from right right or if you feel you have a relevant topic or something to say reach out right oh yeah we’d love to totally be interested in having people to talk about all kinds of stuff and and i think i mentioned something along those lines we like having people in person better i mean not that we don’t do it on video when needed um and the population around here just suits what it does and in fact now that i think about it caroline it’s caroline’s fault because the the last two white guys we had she recommended so yeah tell her to start and we had uh carlos on a few weeks back to talk about racial issues in recovery and we saw him at a recovery convention this weekend so he would love to come back on some time and talk about the state of recovery and yeah man only if he’s coming up here this time yeah he probably would he was in person so yeah i think he’s out and about now awesome yeah i’d like carlos it’s good to see him yeah that’s awesome so tradition seven today i guess we should have said that before we got to yappin but

Tradition 7

tradition seven is where we’re at it is july all goddamn ready i can’t believe it i know so what is tradition seven for people who aren’t in recovery programs or for quite a few people who are in recovery programs and have never looked at the traditions so in n a specific of course

Every NA group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions

every n a group ought to be fully self-supporting declining outside contributions seems really really straightforward and if you read the basic text it seems even more straightforward because it says next to nothing about it we don’t take money from anybody but ourselves right don’t accept money and i think we kind of delved into this last month on tradition six a little bit we sort of skewed into the territory of not accepting money right if you start taking donations or things from other places is that going to you know impede your message right convert you from the primary purpose and that’s a lot of what this one talks about they seem extremely closely tied in which is kind of interesting because step six and seven are tied in really closely too but so every n a group ought to be fully self-supporting declining outside contributions i mean the first thing that makes me think of is we got to be self-supporting because we haven’t been for so long like that’s what i always think of first is like oh we gotta do this ourselves because we’ve been like relying on handouts or robbing people or whatever for so long right we gotta make that better and do it all ourselves but i guess my initial reaction isn’t to think of like oh if this people give us a billion dollar donation because they believe in us then that skews our ability to stay true to our message like we might have to one of the i’m going to call it prideful things or or not sure what exactly the word would be but being independent self-sufficient you know that’s that’s like its own spiritual reward it’s its own spiritual uh value and i think as a fellowship it’s nice to say this is a bunch of addicts that come together and do this like we don’t get funding from the government we don’t get outside money from charities we don’t need anyone’s help we’ve lifted ourselves out of our situation we’ve come together as a as a group to support each other to do what we do um to help another addict stay clean and and all the efforts that we have around our literature around our h i services any public services that we provide are all for addicts by addicts like and there’s some uh pr i’m gonna use the word pride again there’s pride that comes along with that i don’t know i always think a pride is bad i don’t know why yeah and that’s that’s why i was hesitant to exactly use that word um so i i would say maybe a better way to say it would be it brings um self-esteem self-worth you know some sense of accomplishment yeah i mean when i was using i felt like a dredge on society i was like a burden on everyone that i came across i always wanted something i always needed something i always expected something and now in recovery you know i become self-sufficient i’m self-reliant and that sense of purpose sense of worth is what helps me want to stay clean you know it gives my life meaning and a sense of value and i think when you take that away from people it’s really hard to kind of want to push through difficult situations one of the things i found interesting and and i think i got some of the reading pieces on it so we’ll get into it more later but it just it talked a lot about not just the idea that taking handouts or money from people or gifts or whatever donations would divert us from the primary purpose but even further it was more the idea that we don’t really need much and adding in a lot of money can cause unneeded problems right like yeah how much does it really take to run the meeting right yeah it’s nice to have refreshments it’s not a necessity but okay so you pay your rent and you get your refreshments like and you have some literature which supposedly funds itself because you sell it for the cost you get it at and then you replace it and they were saying like what more do we need funds for beyond that for the most part right and i just thought that was kind of interesting right like yeah we could make up home group t-shirts and sell them and make some money off of it but what are we going to do with that money right like what kind of stuff are we going to do and then oh well now we got this money now are we going to argue about what we’re going to do with it like who’s got the best idea of how to use it right and i mean as far as i’ve been as long as i’ve been around there’s been some i’m going to say minor controversies over like groups using home group money to have picnics and things or or however funds or buy a cake buy medallions or coins for people celebrations you know all those kind of things like are they really serving our primary purpose and there’s an argument to both sides i’m not going to sit here and try to solve that dilemma moment so for me i relate this back to my experience with church i remember going to a few uh christian churches and this isn’t i’m not gonna name any or bash any but a lot of these more modern churches like one we went to a few years ago you walk in and they got a big you know screen on the uh up on the stage and a projector and a really elaborate sound system and a smoke machine and all these lights and i just thought how much money do they have tied up into this production of church like it seemed to me you know aren’t we supposed to be taking these funds to help people like isn’t that my understanding of like jesus’s message like this is we don’t go ask people for money so we can [ _ ] celebrate ourselves um i know this is awful judgey so i guess i’m going to hell but you know when i walked in and saw that it just to me it rubbed me the wrong way and i know at times i’ve felt that in you know recovery through like 12-step program we have these big conventions and these big you know elaborate i’m going to call them celebrations of ourselves and you think wow this is seems like a lot of money tied up into you know is this really the best way to use that money and of course this is just my opinion i’m sure there’s plenty of people that can make a really strong argument that yes it is a good way to spend the money you know but i think how many more people could we reach you know through h and i or reaching out into jails and institutions or printing literature for free that we could give away like are there better ways we could use that money that that church concept reminded me of like indiana jones and the last crusade where the guys were all choosing which one was jesus’s cup yeah oh yeah and like they were choosing the fancy ones with the jewels and [ _ ] and then they were dying because they drank the wrong one yeah and then he was like oh i’ll choose the simple like wooden one right it’s very jesus-like and it’s humble and all that but i tell you what if we don’t start a goddamn home group at a church that’s got a smoke machine so that i can like come up through the floor with smoke on my anniversary i might quit anytime the speaker comes on they get a smoke thing and the lights splash i mean just is that how god comes into the church or something like or the priest like what is that oh so they had it for the more modern like rock for the best music yeah you have the band out there and i don’t know creates the ambiance but the smoke reminds me of like hell and fire and stuff it just seems counterintuitive for church yeah i know it’s it’s production i mean that’s really what it is and says the whole side note but i listened to a podcast on how they have modernized church like there’s a like a packaged thing you can get like it tells you how to go start one of these modern churches and all the pieces that you need and it’s put out you know by christian based organization how do you go out and connect people from the modern world you know anyways yeah so that’s why they have the lights and the production and all that because it attracts people it’s bright shiny fun stuff so shiny jesus yeah but in n a you know it’s or any 12-step fellowship i guess i shouldn’t just speak for one but you know is that the case are we using this money really for the best purpose or if we get more of it then are we just trying to find ways to spend it right right so let’s see what some of the literature has to say some of these are a little long it seemed weird to chop them up but the first one being self-supporting is an important part of our new way of life for the individual this is usually quite a change i think you were talking about this in our addiction we were dependent on people places and things we look to them to support us and supply the things that we found lacking in ourselves as recovering addicts we find that we are still dependent but our dependence has shifted from the things around us to a loving god and the inner strength we get in our relationship with him and so that touches on kind of what you and i a little bit talked about right we we kind of mooched off of the world right we were this dredge on society i think he said and we just took everything was taking but instead of kind of turning it into that’s why we’re

Self-supporting

self-supporting it just more talked about the idea that we still need something outside of us to help us but that thing isn’t money right it’s not the the stuff the things the the financial success it’s this relationship with something that helps us feel whole whatever that may be for us yeah and even thinking of of meetings um you know sometimes a meeting is just a couple of addicts showing up to talk about recovery you know you can start a meeting and have a meeting you don’t need anyone’s approval permission there’s no sign up fees there’s no you know startup fees that you got to pay are we a meeting uh i don’t think so i don’t think we’re open to the i don’t know you need to be no i would say no okay i don’t think we are either but i felt like we fit all those descriptions you gave are we all right so the next one was money has always been a problem for us we could never find enough to support ourselves and our habits we worked stole conned begged and sold ourselves there was never enough money to fill the emptiness inside in our recovery money is often still a problem oh that was it just

yeah right right i thought there was more too like huh um but yeah that’s the concept right like yes we want to be self-supporting part of that is we don’t want to cloud our message but the other part of that is we don’t need a lot and we need to remember that and i think that’s what i was trying to explain earlier and i just i guess when i think of this tradition i don’t think of that i think of oh we can’t have people donate millions because then we might have to give them time to speak their message or a spot on our website or or on na’s website i’m saying hour again i’m told not to do that um but i we don’t think about the idea of like we just don’t need a lot of money floating around because that’s not good for us in general yeah i think that’s an interesting thing yeah no wonder we’re not financially successful when we come to na they tell us i’ve also had in my involvement in home groups and service over the years there’s been i don’t say a handful of times but at least a couple where money’s gone missing you know and that temptation of hey here’s several hundred dollars that are just kind of quote unquote sitting around you know i by default stole 87 for my first home group yeah when i used and i was the treasurer yep what’s by default uh because i used and i had the money on me and that’s by default oh like i i didn’t i wouldn’t call that button i would call that stole the money well i did not go into the situation saying i’m gonna steal money from n.a right right i went into it like i’m going to be of service and be the treasurer and then even after i used i tried to contact the guy like three times to come get it i was like dude you need to come get this you really need to come get this and i i don’t know why he didn’t i think now looking back that maybe he didn’t want to see me in that right condition honestly i think it might have hurt his feelings because we were kind of close but he didn’t and then there came that day where it was like oh i don’t have 87 anymore this is definitely going for me now um so i say by default because i use not because right i’m still guilty oh and and speaking about money we have an episode coming up sometime in the next month or so about financial health right we’ve talked about some other types of health and recovery and i think financial health is one we don’t talk about and honestly looking at this tradition and the n a program it’s telling us to avoid money to some extent which i think is like not really the solution like i think it’d be better if we got a healthy relationship with money so yeah we have that episode on on financial health coming up which i think will be extremely interesting i mean just for me personally that’s always been an area that i’ve struggled with is is finances i don’t not usually the treasurer at my home group and i’m fine with fake money so and not fake money but uh no what i mean is i do like or i in the past i’ve done like some of the like accounting work for my job and when it’s like on a computer and it’s just digits it’s one thing but in like you know recovery work it’s actual cash people giving you cash and you have cash and you know i when i’ve been the treasurer of the home group it’s like hey i need 10 bucks oh i got the home group money i’ll use that i’ll put it back later and not stealing it but borrowing oh that’s illegal that’s yeah that’s just not healthy it’s it’s not i mean like i know that that’s not right you know it’s it’s just not something i’ve ever been overly good with so like now my finances my wife pretty much manages most of them and then and this sounds so emasculating is that a word anyway emasculating yeah i will ask her when i want to spend money on things that are excessive like hey is it okay i get an allowance yeah it makes it a lot easier i don’t even want that i you know because i’ll waste it but well and that’s what i think why we need this financial health episode we got coming up because i think we do i think we get clean and and somewhere along the way we get the idea of money could be a trigger or you’re not responsible with it and our best way to deal with that is avoid it yeah and like nobody ever says well hey this is how you budget this is how you decide what’s good to save what’s good like it’s not terrible to waste quote unquote some money on ourselves here and there like that’s not terrible right and i have gotten because that’s what happens like i will go through and be fine six days out of the week and then seventh day i wake up and i’m like i don’t feel good about myself or i feel like unappreciated or i feel like you know i’m doing all this work for everybody else and nobody appreciates me like [ _ ] you i’m gonna just treat myself to something right some excessive thing i don’t need gonna get a recovery sort of shirt and an ice cream i get it uh the next one we need money to run our group there is rent to pay supplies and literature to buy is there really supplies if you’re not having coffee what other supplies would you need uh things like the phone books and stuff that i mean my home group used to hand out the little blue phone books i’m gonna call that the literature the white books i guess it’s not literature okay fair enough uh so we need money to run a group we take a collection in our meetings to cover these expenses and whatever is left goes to support our services and to further our primary purpose unfortunately there is little left once a group pays its way sometimes members who can afford it give a little extra to help sometimes a committee is formed to put on an activity to raise funds these efforts help and without them we could not have come this far n a services remain in need of money and even though it is sometimes frustrating we really would not have it any other way we know the price would be too high we all have to pull together and in pulling together we learned that we really are part of something greater than ourselves so this was an interesting paragraph for me because part of it sounded like uh area or world like wanted money like it was like we don’t have enough money to do what we need we need more and i was like that’s kind of weird to put in your literature but then it sort of summed it up and talked about like we want to be a part of the struggle of not quite having enough right like it was a goal of ours almost to be there because it felt good to be a part of the struggle instead of having it come easy maybe and then how we kind of united around hey we’re doing this together it takes all of us yeah i mean it and it really does take all of us it’s a group effort we effort i think it’s interesting it says uh you know that sometimes members who can afford to give a little extra to help but then at other times in the literature it kind of like says that’s not the greatest idea all the time right and i know in my experience like there’s been times when i supported the home group right like nobody else we were getting like five dollars in donations i’m like i can put in 10 a week like it’s not hurting me i’m in that position but there is this fear that like whoever puts in the most money is going to feel like they have a bigger say about what goes on with the group right and and maybe that’s part of why this tradition is there you know is to protect against that um i don’t and i’ve talked about this with other people debated similar ideas around like is it okay if your home group needs a coffee maker that someone just gives the home group a coffee maker like is that okay is that being self-sufficient or is that one member taking care of the home group my home group similarly you know we sometimes have a low turnout there’s not a lot of money our treasurer just pays the rent buys the literature you know right we’ve talked about it at times thrown in a little extra but most of the time it’s just taken care of you know and i don’t know if that’s a you know not really sure i don’t know if that’s i mean to me it’s okay but there were definitely times where i didn’t feel like that was okay that i felt like well are we are we intervening in you know god’s will if we keep something going that’s not being self-supporting yeah and some of these other readings don’t exactly say that but they kind of allude to the idea that like we really need to take a look at what we need right to run this group but then is it being self-supporting if someone says yes i have the means and i want to keep this running so i am self-supporting this meeting you know i i have not heard this often but i heard this one time at one meeting and it would i i remember it because it stuck out so much from anything else i’ve heard in a meeting and the person said and this was a few years ago at this point but they were like y’all are putting a dollar in the basket that’s what they did in 1983. they’re like it’s at least two dollars at this point yeah right it’s inflation right it’s at least two dollars at this point if you’re putting a dollar in you’re full of [ _ ] yeah i’ve been around 20 years and it’s been a dollar ever since and there isn’t anything else you can buy for a doctor well i i think in my head it was like okay yeah we’re all given a dollar but there’s a [ _ ] ton more of us yeah you’re getting a lot more dollars right like do we need more money just because there’s more people i don’t know and this gets a little off of that topic but similarly with inflation like is it still okay for a meeting to rent a space in a building and pay like 30 rent a month or 40 rent a month like is that being self-supporting if we in essence allow churches or other organizations to what i’ll call donate space give us a discount is that yeah is that being self-supporting is that okay i mean so i don’t know this i’m just spouting something somebody else told me so don’t take too much stock into it uh but i remember hearing the important thing was to run the na group right to have the meeting because we need the meeting to help people so if your group didn’t have money you would you could offer the church something else right like you could offer to clean form once a month or you could offer to take care of some of their chores or sweep up outside on the sidewalk around the church or you know what i mean like it was more of the fact that we’re paying our dues somehow for being there and it wasn’t really about the amount that we paid and i think we delved into that a little bit about how like us and the church have a similar goal of helping the community and maybe that’s why it’s a discount but yeah and i am not so strongly opinionated about those things anymore because you think of groups that meet in public spaces especially with coveted stuff going on you know you might meet at community parks and things like that i can almost bet no one’s making donations for those groups maybe you know there could definitely be some groups out there that are i would bet probably not so yeah some of them are i like actually talked to like my old home group they met at the park for a while and they actually talked to the park people and and worked it out so that they could i don’t know if they actually donated anything or not but like i went and shared a meeting down in glen burnie that was basically like an empty parking lot behind an office building and an ice cream shop yeah right like there was you know yeah there was nobody to donate to for that they were just having that [ _ ] randomly like right everybody just kind of put on facebook hey we’re meeting at this parking lot and that’s where the meeting was like whoa and like say with with you know a church or other community based organization like if they have similar goals and and similar values and they just want to help like is is that not being self-sufficient i don’t know i mean it’s definitely things to think about and be wary of a lot of these ideas are things that we really just need to think strongly about as a group you know as a home group so that we don’t find ourselves in places where we’re like oh [ _ ] now we’re being supported by this organization like all of a sudden we’re being not self-supporting i think one of the really interesting pieces of doing these traditions is that i came into this having done some tradition work and thinking this is what they meant right these are the rules and doing this it’s really been a realization for me at least that the traditions are really good reflection points right it’s not about what’s right and what’s wrong so much it’s more about have you considered this in your thinking right are you looking at this piece of your motivation are you looking at how this could possibly go and i think that is super useful for guiding right it’s like being introspective but on a group level instead of just about you exactly and what’s funny is early on in recovery i expected the traditions to be the rules like they were supposed to be rules and i still wanted to be my predecessors or like we had some issues come up in our area where we had reached out to world services and they said similar stuff almost to what you just said and we’re like well that’s not [ _ ] helpful at all you didn’t tell us how to fix this right you know right can they buy the goddamn cakes with the money or not like that’s what i need to know you know and they’re like well you guys should get together and talk about it as a group like that’s not [ __ ] out right but yeah that’s the longer i stay around the more with most of these traditions it’s like hey we need to sit down as a group seek a loving higher power to guide us in our decision making and try to do the most loving and caring thing we can moving forward and that might look different for different groups yeah different groups different areas different regions and the funny thing is sitting on this side of that understanding watching people still at meetings talk about the rules of the tradition which you kind of can’t do and i’m like yeah i don’t think that’s what it means at all anymore this episode has been brought to you in part by voices of hope inc a non-profit recovery organization made up of people in recovery family members and allies together members strive to protect the dignity of those that use drugs and those in recovery by advocating for treatment harm reduction and support resources and mentoring please visit us at www.voicesofhopemaryland.org and consider donating to our calls

all right next one is our policy concerning money is clearly stated we decline any outside contributions our fellowship is completely self-supporting we accept no funding endowments loans and or gifts interestingly enough as a sidebar here we got a ppp loan the world service office did by the way oh and there’s a lot of controversy about that yeah everything has its price regardless of intent whether the price is money promises concessions special recognition endorsements or favors it’s too high for us even if those who would help us could guarantee no strings we would still not accept their aid we cannot afford to let our members contribute more than their fair share we have found that the price paid by our groups is disunity and controversy we will not put our freedom on the line sounds really really passionate yeah well and especially in the political climate we’re in like i hate when things say fair share because that’s such a vague description you know if if i am and just to play devil’s advocate but if if i’m some rich famous star movie star music star whatever we know they exist within 12-step fellowships you know all around yeah usually they’re pretty publicly known but you know to them 20 000 or 50 000 contribution to a fellowship that saved their life doesn’t seem that unfair you know to me because you know that’s my income for a year you know 50 60 000 i can’t donate that but to them that’s nothing and so if they want to donate that to help translate literature or whatever is that a fair share well and what is fair share does it mean ever like we talk about this with equality and equity and stuff right does everybody give a dollar or does everybody give one percent of their pay right because that’s completely different numbers for sure and and what does it mean fair share is it fair share if you show up and give five dollars a week and i show up early to set the meeting up and stay late to clean it up because you don’t have the ability to do that like you’re on a time limit yeah and i don’t have the money well and if we even take the money out of it just look at effort i mean we know that most of our and i don’t know if this is an exact number but it’s always been like a hundred percent of the world ninety percent of the work it’s done by ten percent of the people or whatever that saying is that’s a good cliche we’ll put that on there right where you know we all have the members that show up every week and make the coffee and and do most of the work right now is that self-supporting if you got a bunch of members that just aren’t showing up and putting giving back in some way there have been times whether due to people who were not that invested or people who just had other priorities or other things going on in their life at that time i’ve been member a member of homegroups where i showed up an hour early i set all the chairs up i did the coffee like i did the i was getting the speakers like some people helped clean up afterwards but it was like i definitely was the dominant force keeping that group running the way it was running i mean i didn’t but i didn’t feel like that wasn’t my fair share i actually enjoyed it because it gave me an hour kind of relaxing by myself and setting things up and like it was enjoyable for me so i don’t know i what the hell is fair share yeah yeah nothing just made up made-up concept but it definitely you know nowadays we talk or at least the i want to say the the public statement is that we need funding to translate literature into other languages to get the life-saving message of you know the 12-step fellowships out to these different parts of the world and you know i don’t know how does that money get derived i guess selling of literature anyway that’s where a lot this money thing creates a lot of controversy i mean i got google translate bro it might not be perfect but i’ll get it close enough that people get clean off it i got we could do that for free why why are we spending how much money do we need to translate this [ _ ] i know ah it seems a little sketchy to me well yeah and things are changing but it used to be the the printing was the the translating isn’t the issue it’s the printing and getting the materials out and of course you know there was always the controversy that the original literature was written by the fellowship for the fellowship and that it should be free that we shouldn’t have to pay for it but that is definitely not the way it is in public media now by public media i mean you can’t go easily find copies of basic text or ips i mean you can yeah you know i’m pretty sure if i ever start my own home group i’m printing all my own literature and just giving that [ _ ] out i think i don’t think i care about world service anymore i still want to get somebody to come on and talk about that yeah i have not found the person who’s willing to yet the struggles with all that yeah because i don’t i want to know more about it i used to delve into it a lot i kind of got i stepped back out of it because it was leaving a bad taste in my mouth for certain things and you know i was like i really what works for me is to show up at my home group and keep the doors open for a newcomer and to help you know that guy coming in and you know we’ll buy literature and like my home group we buy books and if somebody needs a book we give him a [ _ ] book if he can pay great if he can’t we don’t really care you know we’re not we’re fine and you know that’s sort of so i stepped way back out all that so i didn’t get so angry i don’t know if this number is right because i’m making it up but i would say nine out of ten books that we do sell that people actually do pay for on the spot that money wasn’t from them that’s their parents money years but somebody else earned that goddamn money anyway so we’re gonna rob their families more basically that’s all we’re doing yeah now it does seem like a lot of bitter people and that’s part of the i asked one individual who didn’t seem too interested in coming on to talk about it but finding the person who i don’t care if they have an opinion but they can be more middle of the road and presenting just the facts as they see them right and maybe they do have kind of a view of both sides would be nice um so that’s it’s a tricky person to find but yeah i want to know more about it any controversy uh so another quote by paying our own expenses we remain free to carry our own message which i think really just ties into last month’s tradition completely different than the tradition we have at recovery sort of where we would compromise all our principles to sell anything for anyone we’ll be selling give us money we’ll use it for good just trust us right it’ll get really good uh next one many of us think of the seventh tradition as the money tradition yeah yeah basically while we have come to associate this tradition of self-support with the funds we contribute the spirit of the seventh tradition goes much farther than that whatever a group needs to fulfill its primary purpose should be provided by the group itself i thought that was kind of interesting and it actually got slightly more interesting like when i first read that i was like oh my god what else do we need right how much other stuff is there and and i read through and it really wasn’t all that much but it says uh the question then is what does a group need first and foremost it needs a message to carry and that it already has so you don’t need anything for that it’s already provided beyond that the needs of the group are simple groups need to rent meeting places where their members can gather and where newcomers can find them most groups find it important to buy n a literature which they make available at their meetings okay sounds good right so we that’s still money stuff for the most part i guess somebody’s got to reach out and be the coordinator to rent the church or whatever after paying their basic expenses most groups contribute to the n a boards and committees that serve them phone lines meeting lists na literature h i panels and public information presentations all benefit the group that’s why service contributions are just as surely a part of a group self obligation as the rent for its meeting room like the groups n a service boards and committees decline contributions from sources outside the fellowship unlike the groups however our service boards and committees are not themselves fully self-supporting they have been created to help the groups fulfill their primary purpose more effectively and they depend on group contributions for the money they need to do their work so that was kind of an interesting piece of it that i have never felt like it was the i don’t want to say that it was the group’s obligation like in general yeah hey we donate the money up that’s how it works it helps fulfill the primary purpose i know a lot of groups that don’t donate whether that’s because they don’t have it or they just choose not to i think there’s even more in this climate of doubting like any world services um but i would say if you’re not donating up then you’re not helping fund these other important things that we do these phone lines these h i meetings like that stuff matters and and that needs funding right even if you don’t believe in special events or or public information or any of that phone lines in h i think pretty much everybody kind of believes in and supports and if we don’t donate up we’re not helping yeah and early on getting involved in public relations like that like not understanding why we needed those services and what they actually do it’s like people that are reaching out for help don’t like you just think if when you’re surrounded by people that are in 12-step recovery you think that everybody knows about 12-step recovery but that’s not always the case right and that being involved in public relations the types of things that we went out and did was met with local health departments met with local pro and probation offices the rehabs and stuff made sure they had updated schedules make sure they had some basic literature um and that was even for a small area like this i mean that was hundreds of dollars of literature that went out each month you know to provide literature to these facilities um i know there was always some debate slash controversy whether we should be giving literature at our cost to treatment centers that were for profit um that was sort of a thing that people debated we should make these treatment centers buy this literature they’re not non-profit treatment centers so why are we giving them the literature um what did that make us not self-supporting though if they bought it yeah well they’re funding us again part of the part of the argument is you know are we should we just be giving them that all this literature when they’re a for-profit they’re making money off the backs of addicts that we just want to give them so anyway that was part of the dis i mean i can say when i was involved we gave them literature that was what had happened and i don’t know that i had a strong opinion either way i’m like oh no i got 90 days clean all i know is i take the [ _ ] literature and drop it off other people were arguing that kind of stuff but you know that the point being like it’s important that we get that information out to these facilities meetings are changing meetings are being added places or you know times and places and where the meetings happen all change i mean the last thing you want is a person coming out of a treatment center yeah i want to go to a meeting and not knowing where to find a meeting or having a schedule that’s outdated or old from a year or two ago you know that’s really not helpful right right now i get that i’m thinking also there’s a i don’t know there’s a lot of debate around like public relations putting ads on billboards or on the menu or the place setting at diners or on buses like that’s some stuff that i’ve seen them do and some people agree and some people don’t there’s been radio spots for it yeah uh and then they talk about it more about the attraction than promotion tradition than this one but you know uh maybe i guess if you don’t believe in that kind of funding maybe you don’t donate up i i don’t know but this talks about it being more of an obligation for us to be fully self-supporting it’s tricky i guess uh another one to fulfill its purpose the group also needs some things that don’t cost a penny a group needs someone to open its meeting room set up the chairs and prepare the literature table in some groups a member offers to prepare refreshments helping establish a hospitable environment for the newcomer most importantly a group needs the consistent commitment of its members to show up and take part in its meetings upon that commitment rests the group’s stability without it no group can survive long from the commitment of its members the group also draws its ability to carry a recovery message group service and active group membership are two vital contributions to group self-support contributions that don’t cost any money at all and i was like oh [ _ ] they just called out like everything yeah not every but a whole lot of home group members i’ve had over the years who did not show up and contribute in any of those ways well and even the attitude of like leaving a you know place better than we found it you know when we have events or or meetings in places you shouldn’t leave trash around and and you know that’s a burden on the facility they have to come in and clean up behind us besides the image that it leaves behind narcotics anonymous or any 12-step fellowship really it’s you know just it’s not being self-supporting we should be leaving places better than we found them at least the same as when we found them yeah yeah i just uh i do think it’s interesting because we always think about this is why we pass the basket this is what we need money for and there are so many other pieces of self-supporting right that that idea that if we have 10 home group members but only you and i show up each week right and the other ones sporadically once a month pop in or whatever like they’re not supporting the atmosphere of the our group’s recovery not even just the fact that they’re not showing up to support the meeting but like you and i are gonna skew towards a certain piece of recovery which might help some people but those other eight personalities are going to be able to reach people that you and i can’t in the environment we set right and if we’re all here we’re all creating that environment together and it’s going to be able to reach more people like that’s the kind of i don’t think about that as being tied to tradition seven like ever yeah me neither i would say or even showing up at you know events that happen being a supporter of the different area events or local recovery events in the you know the recovery community and that gets a little tricky like i like showing up to be i mean i like showing up to see people i like really but i like showing up also to be a presence of like hey people show up we do things i don’t go to dances personally usually but special events is one of those things one of those other quotes talked about right where it’s like that’s a fundraising set up that’s not really supposed to be self-supporting even though i think we look at it in our service structure as hopefully it is and that’s been one of those areas that’s been contested in our area over time we just argued it last month yeah so should events make money or should they not make money and what’s the main purpose of the events and yeah that’s went back and forth over the years so interestingly i don’t think they listed special events in that quote no phone lines meeting lists any literature h i panels and public information presentations all benefit the group but i would lump it into that special events is something that would benefit our primary purpose right we’re showing people that there’s fun in n a and recovery whatever but i do think we kind of hope that it not so much that it makes money but that it pays for itself right right this event pays for the next event and of course when you get into planning events three months out and you have an event every month like you actually ultimately need to be able to pay for like three events at the same time before the fourth one and all that good stuff but yeah according to this like it’s really not supposed to be not only that nowadays especially and again being involved in events in the past like you gotta have money for insurance you know to rent some of these facilities or use some of these places or do different things you gotta have [ _ ] insurance you know that becomes a burden on the area you know to provide this insurance we should have an informed person that’s been on convention committees come in too because that’s a weird situation where convention committees are not like the convention is not part of n a yeah it’s like its own and it can make money yeah and i don’t understand exactly how that is different from our special events that make money personally like i i don’t i mean because the money they make at the convention supposedly goes for next year’s convention and gets donated back to na anyway so what is the difference right i don’t know i don’t grasp that at all so anyway that’s another thing we can look into one day um yeah but i i i think it’s an interesting tradition right not on the surface on the surface it’s like yeah great money people don’t make money we don’t take money from nobody else yeah you know i get it if you the church lets you stay here for free one day the pastor comes down and wants to talk for five minutes to your group right and you can’t do that and all that good stuff but i think there’s just a lot more to it and sadly i think it still falls in line like there’s more people willing to give a dollar at the meeting in the basket than there are people who are willing to show up and actually be of service each week with their time and their effort and their recovery yeah and there’s an awareness like i think back to the service structure and and if you don’t have enough willing able members to support say your h i outreach efforts or your different service positions maybe you shouldn’t have those positions i mean maybe they need to close you know if you have a meeting that no one shows up at every week but two or three people maybe that meeting should close yeah or it’s a meeting with two or three people right because it’s not really being self-supporting i mean and again there’s not a right or wrong to that it’s it’s just questions that you need to ask yourself you know how are we representing you know the fellowship or our recovery fellowship if we take on all these commitments that we can’t meet and then no one shows up for them and then we just look like typical stereotypical addicts say they’re gonna do [ _ ] don’t show up you know and we we can promote stigma or you know endorse stigma by not being self-supporting how’s this program gonna work for me when the first three meetings i go to in this area ain’t there right i hate it when i show up at a meeting and it’s not there yeah and it’s happened to us in different areas and you know a lot of schedules that aren’t kept up to date or online schedules that aren’t kept up to date or phone lines that aren’t properly manned you know i mean all those efforts sound great they really can be incredibly helpful but when they’re not self-supporting when they’re not able to meet the needs you know it’s it’s embarrassing one of the things i’ve always disliked about this tradition is that i feel like it gets cast on to everything oh you got to be self-supporting like on an individual level i feel like i hear people say this as a suggestion to people when they’re trying to get help with this that or the other and i’m like i don’t believe that anything exists in a vacuum or that anything is totally self-supporting personally like i get that that’s our tradition but i kind of think we tend to operate definitely on a personal level like i don’t think any human makes it through life all on their own or of their own accord right isn’t that one of our cliches self-sufficiency is a lie yeah like you just you need people you need connection like that’s a whole part of the human experience and i just feel like this tradition gets thrown around about self-supporting all the time and it’s like everybody needs somebody right there i don’t believe there’s many self-made and if you’re a person in recovery and and you are struggling financially or mentally or emotionally and there are programs out there that you qualify for [ _ ] go get them you know what i mean like that’s what they’re there for i mean it’s different when you start lying and manipulating to get things that is it slightly different but yeah but you know if you’re in recovery and lost your job and there is no shame in reaching out to get help from these you know safety nets that are supposed to be in our community like right and same i’ve heard people sort of say oh you’re not supposed to do that well [ _ ] you aren’t you know if you can’t support yourself that’s what these community safety nets are in place for so okay i i was working at body counseling last two years ago uh doing admin stuff in the office coronavirus hit there wasn’t really anything for me to do from home uh you know talk to the owner a little bit it was like hey mate you know do you need this done maybe i could work for a few hours here and there she’s like you could right i mean it’s possible and she’s like but it’s also possible if it made more sense for you to just get unemployment for now and i’m like well that wouldn’t like hurt you i don’t know how all that works i don’t know if companies pay for it or not i was like would that bother you if i filed for it and she’s like no it’s fine and so i did so i is that lying like i mean i i technically could have worked like six hours a week for a very little amount of money and brought home like 80 bucks a week or i filed unemployment and brought home a [ _ ] ton of whatever they were offering is that lion because i here’s where i’ll take on the traditions form of things and saying it’s important for you to sit down and ask yourself those things yes you know going to jamaica next it gives a [ _ ] what anybody else like you know it’s you know same not to get too far off but the clarity statement and medicaid assisted treatment in meetings and and all those things like i have an opinion on that that i feel pretty strongly about it doesn’t make me right and someone else wrong is just i have my side of how i look at that and if you can judge me by whatever the [ _ ] you want to judge me by i’m the one that has to lay down with myself at night and feel okay about the person i am and know that i gotta make the decisions that are best for me and my family and financially the best decision for me and my family is to you know go on unemployment because i make more money at unemployment than i make working for one of these [ _ ] multi-billion dollar companies that are raking in money over the whole covet thing and paying people 750 an hour like [ _ ] them people i’m gonna go on unemployment right and make you know 18 an hour because why shouldn’t i like it’s almost stupid to not you know out of some sort of moral obligation i don’t know no no no i get it i love it keep going i i heard i heard people talking about oh my god they they can’t get workers back in restaurants because unemployment’s so high and i’m like maybe they should have [ _ ] paid people what they were worth to begin with or a wage they could live off of yeah i don’t think people choose to stay home and do nothing on purpose very often are there a couple maybe right but if you were paying the the amount of money that people needed to get by and not stress their [ _ ] bills week to week and this that and the other they’d all be working still like nobody yeah i i’m i’m on board a1 a1 uh delivery there so i would say this i when i say i want to be fully self-supporting in my personal life outside of 12-step groups or recovery or in i don’t know what maybe i guess that everything in my life is tied into recovery in some way shape or form but i don’t mean me and my family should never have to use a service right i mean when i have it i want to contribute back into society to make sure nobody’s hungry nobody’s homeless like that’s my goal of being fully self-supporting it’s not just taking responsibility for me and i think you kind of helped me like get to this place through one of our other tradition talks like i think of humanity as my responsibility right if one of us is dying because they don’t have food that’s a [ _ ] problem to me and i don’t have any problem giving back some of whatever it is i have to make sure that doesn’t happen right it’s not just about oh me and mine’s in my house are good right it’s right well [ _ ] man there’s people that don’t have food and are literally dying from that there’s people who don’t have a place to stay and are freezing to death like i’m not okay with that and i’m fine with ten percent of my money going back into that or paying more at the gas pump if that’s what it takes or more taxes for universal health care like i don’t i guess that’s why i don’t have issues with them is because to me that is part of being self-supporting is we as a whole are are we’re responsible for all of us i’m not just responsible for people that stay in my house right and i for myself look at it as i want to be at a minimum i don’t want to be a burden on society you know what i mean i want to be able to take care of myself and really but the people who are using these resources that i’m willing to contribute to because they don’t have it are gonna feel like a burden when we keep that stigma up yeah i don’t think they should i mean well then what’s the burden on society well what i mean is if i can do i go do you know what i mean like i don’t i don’t lie and manipulate cheat and steal to get extra to get more to get you know what i quote-unquote think i deserve like i show up i do my part i do what i can to be a provider for my family that can change depending on the situation again if i was one of these people that was making seven eight dollars an hour and they offered me 18 an hour on unemployment i would take the [ _ ] unemployment because that’s what it’s there for and that’s what it’s supposed to be and me personally would be able to do that without feeling like a burden on society if i was a person that said meh i got this good job but [ _ ] that job i’m not gonna work because i’d rather just do this you know then that situation for me personally is different you know i wouldn’t quit my job and stay home to try to get on unemployment i just worry that that gives room for debate about what people are capable of and who’s going to take advantage of what and i just i’m not interested in that debate i’m interested in right now i feel like corporations take advantage of everyone like let’s all just contribute i bet there’s enough for even i bet you there’s enough even for the people who want to take advantage of it [ _ ] whatever give it to them all right that’s just i don’t know i don’t want to leave any wiggle room for people to argue that oh well he should be working like no maybe he shouldn’t maybe he’s [ _ ] can’t get out of bed i don’t know i don’t know what his issue is it’s not for me to decide right i don’t know so i don’t what else you got about fully self-supporting anything else decline i’m not declining many outside contributions into my personal life so mine wants to write me a big ass fat check i am on board i can say this there was a time in my life where my family or or people around didn’t want me around because they knew that i was going to need something you know what i mean that i always had my hand out always you know looking for something and the choices i was making with that something that they wanted to give me was not [ _ ] very good you know it was it didn’t look like it was helping anything you know i took what they had and i manipulated and used it for my own personal you know it’s exactly what you needed at that time yeah it was helping i believe and uh you know nowadays i can say that have i had to ask my family for money in recovery absolutely have i been in situations where i’ve had to go borrow money or you know think 100 percent but i did it with like integrity and knowing you know that i’m doing what i need to do to take care of myself and my family and whether it was pay it back or whatever you know i could still it’s not the borrowing the money that’s the issue it’s the why am i borrowing it and what am i doing with it and how am i using this for myself right yeah right yeah i agree and i think it’s just important so we had a an appliance break in the house uh dishwasher and you know the the we do some generational living and so the the people were just gonna buy it and like i was like hey we need to find out how much this is costing and put in our fair share there we go fair share right but to me it was just about i don’t wanna hey i don’t wanna be looked at it’s like oh they don’t contribute or you know any resentment but it wasn’t even about that it was just i want to feel inside like yeah i’m contributing to this right we we use the dishwasher too like why wouldn’t we not put half in on it right let’s i don’t know it just felt right to me and i and i think that’s a lot of when i get in tune with myself and my heart and my soul and the souls of society it just a lot of this stuff isn’t baffling right we intuitively know how to handle situations that used to baffle us one of aa’s promises um and i just feel like that a lot of times it just makes sense i wasn’t worried about the 500 to kick in on the dishwasher like that was the least of my concern it was how am i going to feel if i don’t i feel like [ _ ] i can’t do that and there’s a flip side of freedom that comes with that in that you know now if i contribute to something you know outside of me whether it’s you know just to use an example like a family gift for my dad my sister me and my brother all will pitch in for a gift you know for my parents or whatever like i’m not so defensive or angry like are they doing their fair share are they putting in it’s like no look i don’t really care like i’m doing what i can do and whoever does whatever is fine right you know and i there’s a freedom that comes with not being fearful that everyone’s trying to take advantage of me everyone’s trying to get something from me so i think that’s uh that’s tradition seven i think we did it pretty well um i would say go out and decline outside contributions unless somebody’s telling you that they want to give you money so that you can pass it on to us and in that case accept that and we will completely accept outside contributions all right everybody have a good week see you next week

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