‘The unity of Alcoholics Anonymous is the most cherished quality our society has.’ Bill W. – Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions

I know this, but how often do I fall short of putting our common welfare before my own petty rivalries and jealousies?

The sick alcoholic in me loves to fault find and gossip. Of course I do. When my attention is focused on you, I can avoid looking at me. While I busy winging and moaning about another person’s behaviour, I’m not on my knees asking for my defects to be removed and I’m not occupied with trying to pass the AA message on to a newcomer. The consequence of this is that my own spiritual health suffers. All of a sudden, it’s my behaviour that’s off key and I become the focus of the gossip. As my sponsor once said to me ‘you can tell more about the accuser than the accused.’ I know that to be true. When I’m not dealing with resentment and fear in my life, you lot are all at fault. I can bore my sponsor to death with all my gripes about what he’s done now and what she’s said.

Once I’m rid of these things I start to become more tolerant and understanding. Comments from others are water off a duck's back and peoples actions aren’t deliberately intended to get at me. In fact, I’m not that bothered what everyone else is up to, because I’m too busy enjoying my own life!

The other problem with gossip is that when I do it in peoples absence, it’s a sure bet I will be talking about you when you're not around. Any form of scandalous gossip is a major contributor to disunity and flies in the face of tradition one. Listening to it is just as dangerous to my spiritual health

Without a doubt, issues and concerns need to be dealt with. However, I can deal with them in a much more effective and adult manner when I have taken care of my resentments and asked God for guidance.

Some members can’t help but nearly burst with enthusiasm about A.A. I may be tempted to ridicule them, but does it really matter.  They have found God and they are happy. Exactly what the Steps promise us. What’s more, they are sharing a message of hope and encouragement that the newcomer just can’t ignore.

We do talk about each other a great deal, but we almost invariable temper such talk by a spirit of love and tolerance. If I can do that, then I am doing my tiny part to help A.A. maintain the spirit of tradition one.

‘Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends on A.A. unity’.

Josephine P, Road to Recovery, Plymouth, July 2013