By Steve K.
It’s common in the Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) for some members to object to others mentioning their problems with drug addiction. Quite often in meetings the ‘blue card statement’ is read out, asking members to keep their shares focused upon their problems relating to alcohol, in accordance with tradition’s three, five and ten.
Tradition five states that: “Each group has but one primary purpose – to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers”. It’s the group equivalent of the individual alcoholic’s Step 12. The ‘message’ is recovery from alcoholism through the practise of the Twelve Steps. However, each member’s experience of alcoholism and recovery through the Twelve Steps is personal to them, and they should be free to communicate this to others. It’s their message of recovery, and drug addiction maybe part of their experience/story as an alcoholic.
Newcomers and other group members often identify with drug misuse or addiction as part of, or a consequence of, their alcoholism. It’s very common in the 21st Century for people with alcohol problems to also have co-occurring addictions to other drugs, and AA members sharing their experiences fully may often be providing valuable help to others in the group.
Nowhere in the Twelve Steps or Twelve Traditions does it state that drug misuse should not be mentioned in meetings, whilst members are sharing their experience, strength and hope with each other. In fact, tradition one clearly states that AA members are free to:
“think, talk and act as they wish. No AA can compel another to do anything; nobody can be punished or expelled. Our Twelve Steps to recovery are suggestions; the Twelve Traditions which guarantee A.A.’s unity contain not a single “Don’t.” They repeatedly say “We ought…” but never “You must!”