The Responsibility Declaration: “I am responsible. When anyone, anywhere, reaches out for help, I want the hand of A.A. always to be there. And for that: I am responsible.”
So it’s an exciting time to be an American, and with all that good (to me) news going on in politics, I can’t help but think of certain ideals. This AA statement is one. I’m not sure how the feeling of responsibility has come to me, but it’s there. Probably as soon as I understood the program at all, I understood some of what has gone in to keeping it going.
Making sure that the hand of AA is always there isn’t very involved for me. I think that, should AA falter or start to die out, I would do much more and really almost anything to keep it going. I’m grateful that’s not necessary. Primarily, I think the statement speaks to the person who is first looking for and contacting AA. I am so fortunate that AA was and is so accessible to me. Everywhere I’ve lived, there’s been a 24 hour answering service and an abundance of meetings. I also have tremendous access to loads of literature and, of course, to thousands of people. I realize not everyone in the world is this fortunate. So first and foremost, I think I share in the responsibility to keep AA going. Although contrary to so much literature, this does not say that we are responsible. Here’s one place where I may need to act on my own.
There are a few places where I wonder about my responsibility. For example, there are a few people in my life who I think could benefit from AA. Yet I don’t tell them about it.
I also have a bit of an attitude and will rant a little about AA where I live now. Sometimes, people say no! It astonishes me. When I got sober, I was told never to say no to a reasonable AA request. I haven’t lived in that place for over ten years, so to be fair, perhaps this idea has faded from that AA scene also, but I really hope it hasn’t. Mostly I’m dismayed when someone says no to leading a meeting by telling his story. People will say things like that they aren’t ready. Well, if I waited to be ready, I still wouldn’t have done it. We need people who are willing to tell their story. Not just some of the people, but all of the people. If meetings were lead only by people who were “ready,” it would be just the most outgoing who spoke.
I’ve also seen it cause problems when someone asks for help. And asks again and again and again. For myself, I drank on and off for six years in AA, so I completely understand the chronic relapser. But sometimes people run out of ideas about how to help, and we can even wonder if we’re doing harm after someone drinks yet again.
But those are side issues, and mostly I’m in awe and just very glad to be part of something as big and as giving as this. I know for me that it’s an extremely important concept that to keep it I must give it away. It’s a shame that I had to be devastated to understand this, but I do understand it, and so my life is worth living.