Whoever pays the piper calls the tune

“Every AA group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions” In a nutshell: I need to take responsibility for my own recovery! For any newer members reading this, you may be thinking like I did in my early days: “Oh great, a boring discussion about money! Who wants to read that?” And if you think that there is some conspiracy: “I get it, they’re gonna try and take money off me”, the good news is there is no catch: the money that we contribute at the end of AA meetings is not going to some AA fat cat. Nobody’s getting rich because of our contributions. Every last penny we put into the basket or “pot”, “hat” or whatever you like to call it, is going towards keeping AA alive.

Alcoholics Anonymous supports itself, and just like any other organisation, it has bills to pay. AA has been keeping me alive for years, so I have a responsibility to keep it alive: it’s as simple as that. As well as that, I also owe it to the still-suffering alcoholic, who needs AA to be there when they are ready to ask for help. And that means paying what I can at the end of the meeting. This money goes towards everything from the rent, to printing the literature, keeping the AA telephone helpline going and a whole lot more.

It was decided early on, when AA was in its infancy, that we must refuse money from people outside the fellowship. “Whoever pays the piper calls the tune”. Alcoholics Anonymous must stick to its primary purpose: to help the still-suffering alcoholic, so if we accept money from non-alcoholics, we are in danger of being diverted from that, and pretty soon there will no longer be a fellowship left at all.

The money I put into the pot at the end of the meeting isn’t even a fraction of what I used to spend on alcohol on a weekly basis. I always found money for drink, so the least I can do is try and do my bit to keep Alcoholics Anonymous alive and active. I need it more than it needs me.

Arash, Road to Recovery Group, Plymouth.