I have come to believe certain things about recovery, and you can dis¬agree with every word; yet both of us can be sober…both of us can be useful, productive mem¬bers, not only of our fellowship, but of society. So, if anything of what I am writing bothers you, just dismiss it. If any¬thing I say you disagree with, you’re entitled to.
……nobody speaks officially for any of our Fellowships, not even the founders.
It is my belief that the retelling of our experiences, what we have leaned from them and how we have changed our lives in recovery is key to helping others. Consequently, since our “Primary Purpose” is to stay sober and help others achieve sobriety, I came out publicly several years. My public declaration was not as a member of Alcoholics Anonymous but as a person in recovery, infer what you want.
This wasn’t something I did capriciously; it was done with prayer, meditation and after speaking with others. The bottom line was that I feel that recovery needs to be spoken about publicly; the insidiousness of the disease of addiction and the devastation it wreaks on millions of lives is solvable. The solution that was given to me and millions of others needs to be shared globally. If a regular guy like me who lived mostly a fearful life for 45 years can make changes that bring joy, freedom and happiness to me, my family and friends, then anyone can have what I have.
The traditions of our fellowships were necessary 50-75 years ago and served us well as we took the first steps towards becoming productive members of society. The 21st century brings with it new opportunities for growth as individuals and as groups. Now more than ever the “normal” people and the “suffering” people need to know that there is a solution for their families, their friends and themselves, and that it is not a shameful or degrading disease.
The fear that if someone comes out publicly and relapses, it will make the Fellowship look bad and possibly make someone who needs help look askance at our solution is a non-issue. It is happening among our celebrity fellows regularly, what is more important is that the public needs to be educated to understand that sometimes relapse is part of recovery and that like other fatal diseases there are not any guarantees. More importantly, we must spread the word that if we don’t pick up that first one, we have a chance.
This is my opinion and my choice; each of us has the right to make whatever choice we want. Our steps and traditions are only suggestions.