Behind the counter part 2: sober.coffee and the 11th tradition
Full transparency; this topic caused many a sleepless night. – until that aha moment
We will attempt in this blog to present a case that we, at sober.coffee, operate within the spirit of helping the next alcoholic while upholding the traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous and that our motives are pure and that our product is delivered with respect and the integrity that is deserved.
We owe so much of our continued sobriety to the organization of Alcoholics Anonymous, its teachings, and its members. Period.
We exist to inform the hopeless that there IS hope, that there IS a solution.
It would pain us beyond descript if we came to the knowledge that we have jeopardized this organization in any way and, in doing so, threatened tomorrow’s newcomers the opportunity to heal. To that end, we earnestly seek the counsel of our higher power as we continue to trudge this digital road.
Our Primary purpose is to stay sober and to help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.
The movement (we use that word as there is little “structure” to AA) is supported by approved literature and guided by those writings, its principles, and its traditions.
We are certain that the group has survived its fair share of enthusiasm run amuck. And we are cognizant that we are fervent and sometimes get ahead of our skis, so we hold ourselves accountable through our AA network.
Our service work transcends rooms and borders as we try to carry the message to alcoholics while practicing the AA principles along the way.
AA 11th Tradition
The 12 Traditions of AA were first introduced by Bill Wilson (Note that everybody knows his last name), AA founder, who wrote the essays for the Grapevine Magazine in April 1946. They were titled “Twelve Points to Assure Our Future.” As the title suggests, the guidelines were put in place to protect the essence of this unique, unstructured organization.
The traditions were finalized and published in 1952 in the book titled Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions—a must-have for all on the sober path. Click here to order your copy if you don’t have one (No, we don’t get a commission).
We believe that the traditions have stood the test of time and have accomplished what they set out to accomplish. We also put credence to the words as they were written.
Here is the 11th tradition as published:
Our relations with the general public should be characterized by personal anonymity. We think A.A. ought to avoid sensational advertising. Our names and pictures as A.A. members ought not be broadcast, filmed, or publicly printed.
Breaking down the words as they are written, this tradition speaks to the “relations with the general public.” This is where we align precisely with the words, as we are not positioning ourselves with the general public. Instead, we are positioning ourselves with those who have a desire to stop drinking. While the general public has access to our podcast, as they do to the media offered on www.aa.org, the official site of Alcoholics Anonymous, which states, “Audio and visual media help to carry A.A.’s message of recovery, we are not aligning toward the general public.
Just for fun, let’s look at some history of guys evangelizing (We will get some kickback for using that word, we are sure) to those still suffering alcoholics:
Joe McQ and Charlie P: Big Book Studies 1977
Legends in AA, Joe McQ and Charlie P met in 1973 and instantly discovered a mutual fascination with the AA big book of Alcoholics Anonymous. In 1977 the two presented in a hotel room in Arkansas,
and somebody in the room taped the presentation and called the cassettes (yes, cassettes) The Big Book Study. The recordings made their way through AA in explosive fashion, and the duo went on to do hundreds of recordings. It is estimated that since 1977 over 200,000 AA members have experienced a spiritual benefit based on these recordings. Please note that Joe and Charlie provided their service with no associated fees. Travel expenses etc. were underwritten by donors, and they did not profit (the best this writer could uncover) from their AA informational material. Also important to note is that their pictures were publicly printed for promotional purposes.
Mike R and Glenn H @ sober.coffee 2021
The not-so-legendary coffee mates met in 2018 in the “rooms” of AA and immediately connected based on their equal passion for sobriety and working with newcomers. The Coronavirus pandemic of 2020 took their relationship digital as an unprecedented global lockdown shuttered opportunities for members-in-need, leaving them without access to vital information and fellowship. Within hours of the closure, Glenn and Mike set up virtual rooms and proceeded to host thousands of virtual meetings and workshops for newcomers and old-timers alike. The pair continue to support this valuable and vulnerable generation of digital members to this day.
In the winter of 2021, led by a call to “continue to meet the market where they are,” Mike and Glenn began producing this generation’s “cassette tapes” – aiming to inform on 12-step recovery to the podcast universe. This space has its best practices and standards.
Please note that Glenn and Mike provide their service with no associated fees. Donors underwrite some production costs, and they do not make a profit (this writer’s wife validates this statement) from their AA informational material. Also important to note is that their pictures are digitally available for promotion per market standards.
We are by no means comparing ourselves to the gift-set that Joe and Charlie shared with the community -in need. Instead, we are simply attempting to connect to the fact that morphing technology and social behavior shifts the natural landscape of society and the information-hungry consumer – who, in our case(s), is the still suffering alcoholic.
As this is a behind-the-counter blog. We are going to leave it open before discussion and modifications. If you have thoughts or comments about this topic, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will make modifications based on the feedback we receive.
Thanks in advance for your input; we appreciate the sober.coffee community.
Alcoholics Anonymous and AA are registered trademarks of Alcoholics World Service. Inc. References to AA, the 12 steps, and 12 traditions does not mean that AA has reviewed or approved the contents of this publication nor that AA agrees with the views expressed herein. This publication is intended to support personal growth and should not be considered a substitute for healthcare professionals' advice. The author’s advice and viewpoints are their own.