Welcome to the month of August — the eight month, in which we look at Step Eight, Tradition Eight and Concept Eight. Did you know that the first Saturday in August is International Hangover Day? Which may explain why the first Sunday in August is International Forgiveness Day. August is also considered a power month, tapping into the energy of completion, the tying of loose ends and leading to a brighter future. We don’t know if the founders of A.A. knew this when they conceived the Twelve Steps, but it certainly fits.
Step Eight: “Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.” Many of us have trouble beginning the work of Step Eight because we are worried about Step Nine. And many more come into the rooms of A.A. believing that they only harmed themselves. As sobriety grows, so does understanding and clarity. This step only asks that you make a list and become willing. The Eighth Step Prayer helps us along. “Higher Power, I ask your help in making my list of all those I have harmed. I will take responsibility for my mistakes and be forgiving to others as you are forgiving to me. Grant me the willingness to begin my restitution. This I pray.” Remember that Step Eight is the beginning of the end of isolation.
Tradition Eight: “Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.” Written to protect us from ourselves, the Traditions reflect the collective problem solving experience during our fellowships first dozen years.
The power of Alcoholics Anonymous has always been the person to person connection from one recovering alcoholic helping another. However, the business of A.A. does sometimes require paid workers. Carrying the message is never to be paid for, however, those who labor in service to us are worthy of their hire. As A.A. members representing the A.A. program we are all volunteers and the only expertise we claim is our own experiences as active alcoholics and our individual recovery through the practice of the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. This one-on-one sharing is the basis for our fellowships existence and the key to the spiritual experience of one alcoholic relating to another alcoholic, thereby saving two lives.
Concept Eight: “The trustees are the principal planners and administrators of overall policy and finance. They have custodial oversight of the separately incorporated and constantly active services, exercising this through their ability to elect all directors of these entities.” This concept deals with the ways the General Service Board “discharges its heavy obligations” and its relationship with its two subsidiary corporations: A.A. World Service Inc., and A.A. Grapevine, Inc. In these matters the Board must act with great care and skill to plan, manage, and execute.
Connecting with Newcomers & Sponsorship
What does A.A. mean by sponsorship? To join some organizations, you must have a sponsor — a person who vouches for you, presents you as being suitable for membership. This is definitely not the case with A.A. Anyone who has a desire to stop drinking is welcome to join us!
In A.A., sponsor and sponsee meet as equals, just as Bill and Dr. Bob did. Essentially the process of sponsorship is this: one alcoholic who has worked the steps of the program, walking another through it with love and kindness, sharing experience, strength, and hope.
Have questions on sponsorship? Whether you are seeking a sponsor or want to become a sponsor, this A.A. approved Q&A literature has information about selecting a sponsor, changing a sponsor, what a sponsor does and does not do, and much more. A.A. World Service provides more information in the pamphlet Questions and Answers on Sponsorship.
This month’s Special Section is “Stories by LGBTQ+ AA Members” featuring experience, strength, and hope by A.A. members who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning. Additionally, this issue is featuring stories of hope by members during the current COVID-19 crisis.
Did you know the Grapevine has a YouTube Channel? There’s a lot of interesting videos such as Zoom Best Practices, Third Legacy Voting and How To Start An Online Meeting On Zoom, How To Carry The Message To Institutions Through Zoom Workshop, both courtesy of Austin Bid For ICYPAA, and AA’s Twelfth Step Tools: Grapevine and La Viña. Check it out.