Tradition Seven

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

Another amazing example, when I read it, of how AA works as a world-wide organization.  The text talks about AA not accepting money from a will, back when AA really needed money, and I find a few things interesting about it.  There are a few things I wonder about.  Not enough to look into it, but I wonder.

Do they accept money from wills of members?  I can see why it would be a very bad thing for AA to have more money than it needs.  The concept of having just enough is an excellent one.  In my group, we donate what extra we have to the church where we meet (they don’t charge us rent), and to our local AA office and the New York office.  But what do they do with it if they have more than they need?

In the text of the tradition, Bill writes about how little they used to throw in the hat in the early days.  When I first went to meetings, beginning in 1978, people sometimes put in a quarter or two, though usually a dollar.  When, locally, there’s talk of AA needing more money, folks point out how that dollar doesn’t buy what it used to.  There is constant talk that the Grapevine is in financial trouble, and really I don’t know how it can move into the future and stay afloat.  Carole and I subscribe and get two copies, to help support it.  I don’t read it at all, but she does.

Carole and I don’t get reimbursed for snacks or coffee when it’s our turn to provide them.  I usually buy the books for the meeting, and I don’t take the money out of the pot.  We don’t take money for that we’ve spent on cards or coins.  We have had members donate a coffee pot, when we’ve needed one, or donate food or supplies for our group’s anniversary party. Members have donated frames for our slogans and a picture of the man on the bed.

All of this, obviously, costs so much less than alcohol.  Add into that the fact that I’m employed because I don’t drink.  I haven’t wrecked a car or needed bail money.  I have no medical costs caused by alcohol.  I don’t buy drugs.

That’s all wonderful for me.  More important than all that, though, is the fact that AA is free.  Our collection at my meeting often works out to be less than a dollar for each person present.  Thank God.  As critical as critics can be, none of them can furnish a remotely possible solution that is available 24 hours a day, and free.

The concept of having just as much money as we “need” is an interesting one to ponder, for me, as it relates to the rest of my life.


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