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Transcript: 224- Jimmy D Tradition 1 of Alcoholics Anonymous

Jimmy D 00:00

But when I've approached Alcoholics Anonymous expecting that A was going to give me something, oftentimes I've walked away feeling worse than I did when I got there.

John M 00:16

Well, hello, friends of Bill W and other friends you have landed on sober speak. My name is John M. I am an alcoholic. And we are glad you're all here, especially newcomers, newcomers that is both to recovery as a whole, and newcomers to this podcast. Sober speak is a podcast about recovery centered around the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. My job here on sober speak is simple. My job is to provide a platform to the amazing stories of recovery all around us. Consider silver speak, if you will, your meeting between meetings. Please remember, we do not speak for a or any 12 Step community. We represent only ourselves. We are here to share our experience, strength and hope with those who wish to come along for the ride. Take what you want, and leave the rest at the curb for the trash man to pick up. Hello, my little chickadees from Studio A deep in the heart of Texas. That was the voice of Mr. Jimmy D that you heard right at the beginning of this episode on this year, episode number two to four, and you are going to be hearing so much more from Jimmy D in just a moment. But first things first, this episode is coming out to you brought to you by sponsored by if you will. Michelle and John John Kay, that is not me, John, and Adrienne and Kelly, do you know what? Michelle? And John and Adrian and Kelly did? Well, let me fill you in. They went to our website, www dot sober And they clicked on our little yeller donate tab, and they made a contribution young. So thank you so much, Michelle, and John and Adrienne and Kelly. This episode is coming right out to humans. And you can't see me but I'm pointing straight ahead. Like you guys are sitting right across the table from me here. Nonetheless, I, John M just another Bozo on the bus will indeed be the chairperson for this meeting between meetings and I am truly honored and privileged to serve all of you listening in. So take a seat if you will around this virtual table. And let's get started. Remember,

John M 03:15

no matter who you are, or what your past looks like, You Are Welcome Here it is an open table for all and we are so glad you have joined us I know there are so many things that you all could be doing with your time and I am excited that you have come to spend it here with me and Mr. Reno, John today. Excuse me, you know, I just said Reno John, why did I say that? Well, he's been on a few episodes lately, but I actually met Jimmy D so you know, and here's the deal. Can I go back and edit that out? Yeah, sure. Get it just perfect just right, but I'm not gonna write we're just gonna roll with it today. Anyway, I'm Jimmy D is coming back at you again. I know so many of you love Mr. Jimmy D. I do as well. He was kind enough to come over here to Studio A in record with me here recently and we're going to do a little traditions talk. This is about tradition, one of Alcoholics Anonymous, just in case you're new to the program or you don't know what the tradition one of Alcoholics Anonymous is it is our Commonwealth our common welfare should come first. Personal recovery depends a bond a unity. And in fact, when you go into the super secret Facebook group, by the way, if you want to join that, just go to a secret Facebook group, excuse me, sober speak secret group on him Facebook, and look us up there and ask for permission. Okay, To join the group and we will let you in. Anyway, if you go in there, it says, What are the rules? You always have to post something like that in the Facebook group rules. And I believe I have that posted up there. Our common welfare should come first. Personal recovery depends upon a unity. But anyway, Gibidi we're going to talk about a lot of things it says, are we in 1936? Again? And what does that mean? Jimmy poses that question, are we in 1936? Again, and what exactly does that mean? We tackle the question is Alcoholics Anonymous, a self help program? We talk about a subject a Jimmy D calls, meeting based sobriety and what that means we just we talk about the a preamble, and some recent changes with the wording of the preamble. I don't know if you're aware of that. But it's been a you know, a topic of conversation in a lot of AI groups across the country. Nonetheless, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, Mr. Jimmy D. And we will have plenty o listener feedback at the end of this episode. Enjoy Jimmy. God, so good to see you. I know people are gonna see your name on this episode. It just be so delighted that you are back with it. Thank you for coming back. So Jimmy D is here, everybody. So Gibidi. Why don't you go ahead, introduce yourself. Give your name, give your sobriety date, if you wish. And also tell people where you live.

Jimmy D 06:45

My name is Jimmy D. I'm alcoholic, a member of Alcoholics Anonymous. I've been sober since August the 25th of 1997. I'm thankful for that. And I'm from Dallas, Texas.

John M 06:57

And so we were just talking beforehand. It has been a while since we have gotten together you are up here in what I refer to as studio a Studio A, which is a combination. It's a multi purpose room. Right? If you look around you, Ed, we got a well, this is a guest bedroom. We have to see the yoga stuff that I have. Oh, wow. That Yep, yes. Yeah. And I used to do I do yoga

Jimmy D 07:25

up here. There's an old style digital clock on the floor. That's right with I think it's a radio, clock radio. Yeah, there's a clock, you might have to spend a few minutes telling those under the age of 25. What a clock radio is digital, digital. It's got the before daylight savings time.

John M 07:50

I have not changed because it's actually kind of difficult to change on that particular clock. And then we have the TV that TV that I'm looking at right there. I watch a ton of Dallas Cowboy game. Oh, nice. Yeah, yeah. Are you know every time they play, right, like a ton of football, and usually so here's my routine. What I will do is I'll get that so I have a hard time sleeping at night, especially if I've watched a football game, any football game. So I get the yoga mat out and I watch that T I watch the game. So I kind of relax while I'm watching the game. So I'm not too late at night is very common. Gotcha.

Jimmy D 08:29

Gotcha. But it's a very comfortable space. It's a very welcoming space. And, and obviously it's like you said it's multi purpose. There's a looks like floor lamp. Late 60s. Yeah, straight from Trader Vic's. Right behind your left shoulder. Probably one that your wife said Are you kidding me? That's not going downstairs.

John M 09:00

Trader Vic's greater bit. Yeah. And then I've got my you the silver speak cards and Oh,

Jimmy D 09:06

nice. There you go. This is upscale right here. Yeah. Yeah, you can take one of those cards got the graphic going? Excellent. It really is good. You've you've done uh, you really have done a good service to the recovery community by by what you're doing now. And I know it's it's a it's an effort that you enjoy, but but your commitment to it should I think it should be commended. I'd like to commend you for that.

John M 09:30

Thank you very much. You know, and like you said I enjoy it's a labor of love for sure. I mean, you know, it enables me to spend time with guys like you on a consistent basis and that are when I would not be able to do such other I mean you know we can always get together I get it but when I'm able to come when I'm able to bring you into my home, and we're able to sit down and we talk about something that we both love and have great respect for and honor and you If it means the world to me, this is like, going to a meeting for me for sure. You know, it's sometimes it's the highlight of my weekend.

Jimmy D 10:08

Well, we're two alcoholics gathered together for sobriety. So I think that we certainly would meet the definition of a meeting of AA. could even start a little group today if we thought we could stand the overhead, but I don't think I don't think we need to do that. But, but I guess we could. Right. So I

John M 10:30

alright, so it's been a while since we got to get I guess, a year or two longer

Jimmy D 10:33

like that. Maybe? Yeah. Probably since certainly before March of last year that tried before the pandemic. Yeah. Yeah. In fact, I think it was holiday time. It was Thanksgiving. November, December. Yeah. Maybe have the have. Would that be? Oh, my gosh, it would be 2019?

John M 10:52

I guess. So. Yeah. Yeah. I do want to say right on the front of this, I was just talking to a friend of mine actually named Lisa in the program that goes to the first code group the other day, and she came up and she goes, You know, I really do enjoy your sober speak. And she said, But you have got to have that Jimmy Dee back on again. He is. Absolutely. He is by far the best you've ever had. So I thought, Well, I'm gonna be recording America.

Jimmy D 11:19

And have you I'm sorry, I don't recall the exact date. Did you do your in person event? No, no, no, John's?

John M 11:26

That's actually coming up this Friday.

Jimmy D 11:28

Nice. Nice. I'm about to talk at his group in the month of December. Yeah, go Reno. John. That's a piece of piece of work. A good friend of mine. Yeah. Good. A member? Yeah. Really good. A member? Yeah.

John M 11:44

Alright, so let's dive into some topical information here. So you know, I never know exactly where these things gonna, you know, head once we start them up, you know, as you know, we just kind of say a little prayer on the front of these things. And then we let them fly. We were talking about a lot of stuff Off mic before we get started. And in fact, I'm always having to especially with you, because I absolutely love you. And I'm like, no, no, stop. I want to get that on. I want to get that on tape, you know. And so one of the things we were talking about what we decided to kind of dive into here, were the traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous, I don't think we've ever heard. We've tangentially kind of talked about the traditions on several of the episodes, but I don't think we've ever done an actual episode or episodes on the traditions. And you've recently done like a workshop on the tradition, I

Jimmy D 12:39

think we've done in fact, there. There have been and and I think that it coincides with, you know, the world that we find ourselves in, Alcoholics Anonymous does not exist in a vacuum. And, and we're certainly part and parcel of, you know, what happens in the world at large. And, and, and so as as, as our home groups have struggled with acclimating to new environments and new ways of carrying the a message, then, then we have looked back to those principles that talked to us about unity, you know, which are the 12 traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous. I, I don't, I think we, the traditions are probably implicit in every exchange between multiple two or more members of AA, even when we're gathered together a sponsor and sponsee the, the traditions as far as the unity of that relationship, the you know, their, their the undergird, of those relationships. Unspoken, and don't need to be, you know, fit into, you know, which number does this belong to? Just a composite? It's how we come together. Right? I mean, you know, it's, it's not necessarily a recipe for disaster, but we know the best, you know, the best long term sponsorship relationships and Alcoholics Anonymous have had nothing to do with any shared experience outside of, of their experience in a right. I mean, the guy who, you know, never went past the fourth grade has a sponsor who is, you know, has multiple advanced degrees, right? They don't need to be on the same academic playing field. The chairman of the bank sponsors, a guy that couldn't balance his own checkbook if his life depended on it. Right? They don't need to be in the same financial, you know, cost construct. And so those are that's really what the traditions are talking to us about, right? There's there you know, there's no, there's no qualification except For problem with drinking, the disease of alcoholism.

John M 15:06

Okay, so then let's start well, and and so that is a good place to start for the first tradition?

Jimmy D 15:15

I think so. Yeah.

John M 15:17

Our common welfare should come first, personal recovery depends upon a unity, right? Oh, well, we've seen that over the last couple of years here with the pandemic and such. So, talk to me about some of your general thoughts on that a unity?

Jimmy D 15:35

Well, you know, we've, we've been through our own flying blind period. I don't think any member of Alcoholics Anonymous would dispute that we've been through an 18 month period that has been unlike any other since 1935. I had an exchange with one of our trusted servants a month or so ago. And, and I said, you know, it really is, it's either 19 You know, right now, I It's either 1936 or 1940, depending on whether you want to pick the year after Dr. Bob got sober, or the year after we published the book.

John M 16:15

Okay. So there's there are people that are going to be newcomers to this podcast, right. And they're right, they're going to be hearing some of this for the first time. And they may not get the connection between 1936 and 1940. So why don't you talk a little bit

Jimmy D 16:29

so June 10 1935, is what we all agreed to be Dr. Bob's sobriety date. So once that second person, you know, bought what Bill Wilson was selling, a began, right. You know, Bill Wilson sobriety dates coming up, it's just around the corner in December, and I'd say probably 85% of your listeners have no idea when Bill got sober, nor do they care.

John M 16:55

Right, right. It's the when the two right

Jimmy D 16:58

when the message really gelled right when it was successfully carried such as it was at that time, right before anything had been for lack of a better term codified. You know, there was not even a whisper of an idea for a text for the book. So 1936, being a year into Dr. Bob's sobriety.

John M 17:20

And do you know the whole story? I love the whole story of that. I know bits and pieces of it. But like vetti was hungover when they first met. Right. And he had to go into surgery that morning and such.

Jimmy D 17:31

The first Yeah, his he had two bottles of beer that morning, right? Before we perform that surgery.

John M 17:37

And for those who don't know, he is occupied

Jimmy D 17:40

geologist right. Bob was a doctor of proctology. So absolutely, you wanted him to hell, I would have given him the third beer if he needed, right.

John M 17:51

So Bill, so the story is basically Bill Wilson was with him. And he knew that Bob couldn't do the surgery in the shape that he was in, right. We gave him a couple of beers, right? So he could go in and kind of calm his nerves and do his proctology surgery. And I don't know, you know, I've always been curious about who was the person that he was giving, sir.

Jimmy D 18:14

Oh, I know, you know who's nameless, right? I don't I don't know. I'm sure there's probably some, you know, I did a it was a Zoom meeting a couple of them actually. Recently, and they're they're doing it maybe even twice a week. They're studying Alcoholics Anonymous comes of age, which is, you know, the history book that Bill wrote from 1935 through 1955. When a came of age, when we were five years into it? Well, we were you have the traditions had been adopted in 50 1950. And then 55, is when that third legacy of service was adopted by the fellowship, the conference structure had been in its trial period. And, and it had proven its mettle. But they're studying Alcoholics Anonymous comes of age, and they're going line by line in this meeting. So you know, some very historical mind historically minded people, people who are really I mean, like, they even know the name of the cafeteria, where they went from the mission from the Oxford group mission that was down I think, on 28th Street or 24th Street or wherever, you know, they, they somebody, there was some little snippet paper that said that go to the Oxford group meetings. This is pre a, right, they go to the Oxford group meetings, and then they would go around and spend time fellowshipping in a cafeteria and they found the name of the cafeteria and what street it was on and I mean, they're very detail right about all of that. Yeah. And and so I think they, you know, they would know probably you know, that that potted plant that Dr. Bob brought home drunk on Mother's Day for And they'd know the version of plant, you know, they'd know if it was IV or some kind of different Baki or, you know, whatever, he slept home and then went upstairs and passed out. Right. But, but, you know, the initial meeting, quote unquote didn't work. Right. Dr. Bob went off and got drunk again after they met in the gatehouse, which was the very end of the first meeting that he only committed you know, Dr. Bob was hungover and we all know what that feels like and and he said, you know, he told and I'll give it an hour right? I can't stay longer than an hour and they spent all afternoon and into the evening together. And if you want to know what the results of that were read Dr Bob's nightmare Dr. Bob said you know what was different about Bill because he was the first living human that really knew firsthand what it meant to be alcoholic

John M 21:00

very deep okay, very okay. So let's so, back on to the first tradition Okay. Our common welfare should come first personal recovery depends upon a unity when you think about unity and what that means to to Alcoholics Anonymous, I mean, what are some of your first thoughts that

Jimmy D 21:21

we think about the preservation of the group and a primary sense okay, preservation of the group preservation of the group, in other words, that you know, the the long form right, the the non window shade form starts and says, Each Alcoholics Anonymous member is but a small part of a great hole. A must continue to live or most of us would surely die. Individually, we did not seem to engage much success in staying sober on our own. But when we started talking about it, eyeball to eyeball drunk too drunk, we found that we both got better. And the reason that we gather together is so we present this, you know, unquestionable example, that what we're doing works, it works in rough going. So the, you know, the the idea or the mindset that Alcoholics Anonymous is a self help program is not supported by any piece of art or literature. Okay, so talk to talk about that a little. So I'm not saying that it doesn't help. For example, I should speak in the first person. Certainly, participation in a in a group of Alcoholics Anonymous has been has been extraordinarily beneficial to my own recovery. But when I've approached Alcoholics Anonymous, expecting that A was going to give me something, oftentimes, I've walked away feeling worse than I did when I got there. I've put conditions on Alcoholics Anonymous, mostly unspoken. And Alcoholics Anonymous has not necessarily responded to my specific need in that restricted period of time. But when I've gone to, to do something that's outside of myself, in other words, really to fulfill the tradition of anonymity which is the other book in tradition. I've always come away in much better shape than I was when I arrived.

John M 23:46

We will be continuing our conversation with Jimmy D in just a moment just to reminder you are listening to sober speak you can find us on the World Wide Web at www dot sober speak comm you can also find the donate button on our website you can use if and only if the spirit moves you. Please keep in mind this is a podcast funded by you the listener, we are self supporting organization through our own contributions. Alright, so Okay, so here's what I'm interested in when I'm thinking about as you're talking and all that completely makes sense to me. And I'm not trying to throw stones here. But when you think about examples, or ways or ideas that have broken away from that tradition in the past, is there anything that comes to mind for you, when you think about that tradition being broken?

Jimmy D 24:45

Yeah, because we, we seem to have and there's there's a, you know, there's a there's a way to, for lack of a better term to present this in a palatable way. We We've somehow treated Alcoholics Anonymous as an extension of, you know, some type of self help. You know, I'm all I'm glad you're all here for my sobriety. Gotcha. And I don't want to use that phrase, because that's, that would be somewhat, maybe insulting to some right. But I'm glad you're all here for my sobriety. But the text of our book says, you know, we should at every turn, think about the welfare of others, right? What can we do? Related to, you know, improving the welfare of others or to complement the welfare of others?

John M 25:49

What's that term? I've heard you use before you say, you know, meeting based sobriety, meeting

Jimmy D 25:54

based sobriety and what does that mean meeting based sobriety is seems to be a fairly tenuous connection to Alcoholics Anonymous, it really is evidenced by restricting your practicing of the program to the formality of an hour. You know, when we, when we march, a year ago, when, when the when the when the world changed, you know, we have an active and involved public information, service area, and AA. And a lot of that is coordinated through our General Service Office, for announcement, for example, annual announcements to magazines periodicals print about anonymity. So that perhaps, if I, as an AIA member was interviewed by the Dallas Morning News, and I'm not familiar with the tradition regarding anonymity, the morning news is familiar with that tradition, and would say we won't use your last name. I mean, they would basically inform me, right, because that's at the public level, right. And so those media outlets, numerous media outlets, you know, contacted our public information assignment, our you know, was just which is staffed by it's tradition, eight, right, staffed by a paid member of a, what's going to happen l Cox anonymous, what's gonna happen day a, if you can't physically meet, and it really all that ultimately ended up in a service piece, a public, I'm not a public service announcement, a press release. And you can find that press release on And the press release speaks to what he is. And it says, We're not a place age, not an address. It's not a it's not a time on a clock. Alcoholics Anonymous exists 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It it exists and, and depends on our participation really at the most inopportune times. You know, the, the new man or woman should not be trained to wait until the meeting starts at noon, or 6pm, or 8pm, in order to bring their problem. The new person should have a lifeline or hopefully multiple lifelines that they use when they need to use the lifeline. And by the time they get to the meeting at six, they've got a solution to offer. And the common welfare then comes first. And the individual welfare followed. Afterward,

John M 28:51

I got you off track a little bit on the front end, when you were talking about how were back in 1936 1940. We got into some history and such like that, but what did you mean by that we're, we're back in 1936 or 19. Focus,

Jimmy D 29:04

we've been through a period where there was no resource for us, you know, we are on a daily basis and Alcoholics Anonymous. Let's go to the literature. For example, we're talking about the 12 traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous practical application, let's say of the of the 12 traditions, how, how they're, they're really implicit in the workings of AA, right? So we look back to those traditions and we say, okay, you know, can the can the non binary X be a member of Alcoholics Anonymous? We say third tradition. Right? What's the purpose of our group? Fifth tradition? Can we accept a television for the raffle for Walmart? Seventh tradition, right? No. Right. So we have things that we can look back to. What did we do the last time This happened on the planet Earth, no resource. So one of the things that our archives has done over the past 1819 months, is tried to avail itself of every snippet of material that talks about how Alcoholics Anonymous has continued to carry the message during the pandemic, and how we have done that. Podcasts, virtual meetings, every type of format known to man that would try to the best of its ability to effectively replicate what we knew we'd always been able to do physically. And those things have become the resource. If, by some strange chance in 50 years, the planet goes through this again, we have the resource from 50 years ago, let's go and see what they did in 2020. But we can't do that today. So I'm saying 1936, because when they they looked back, they had no resource 1940 with 70 people sober and a book a year old 5000 copies sitting in a warehouse, you know, we couldn't even get Rockefeller to buy 5000 copies of the book, right to offload. We had no resource, right, we had our own personal recovery. And we were willing to share that, for the most part, most of us if not all of us, were willing to do what we needed to do, or what we had to do in order to share that with somebody else. And so that first tradition was born out of the fact that Yeah, John was going to Houston on a business trip and taking a train from Dallas to Houston. But if there was a fledgling group, or somebody who had written New York from Corsicana, John took a train that took him through Corsicana first. So we could visit the new guy. And that wasn't convenient for John. And it didn't fit into the formality of an hour. But John believed that Alcoholics Anonymous would benefit from that, and he did it.

John M 32:17

So the other, I guess, practical application that I think of when I think about, you know, common welfare should come first, personal recovery depends upon a unity as the you know, there have been many times where I sit through decisions being made at a group or on a steering committee or something like that. And I it's not my opinion of the group should be heading that particular way. Now, I want you to give some experience on that as well. But if you would, please, I just explained to people what you're, you have a servant position, right? With Alcoholics Anonymous, do we explain to people what your position is and just kind of go through that first?

Jimmy D 33:08

Well, so I'm, I'm serving as a member of the General Service Board of Alcoholics Anonymous, which doesn't need to mean anything to anybody except I'm that one of the group of 21 trusted servants that sit on a board of trustees, the, you know, the the General Service Board, which is, you know, at the lowest level and Alcoholics Anonymous, in the upside down triangle, groups are at the top, and rightly so, districts fall below groups, areas fall below districts, the General Service office in the end, the boards, the A World Service, which is the publishing board and the General Service Office, the a grapevine Corporation and the magazine. And then beneath that is the General Service Board of a and, and so I serve as a member of that board, and I'm also a director on the A World services board.

John M 34:09

And so in the reason I want to do to explain that is because you see a lot of different decisions coming down the pike.

Jimmy D 34:16

Yeah, all the business of that board sources in the fellowship, okay. The only thing that the board is perhaps challenged to do that would not be an idea that sourced in the fellowship is build charge the board with vision, being able to look three years, five years, 10 years, 15 years, what do we think a might need? What do we think a might look like? How do we think a might function more effectively? It's really an expansion of the fifth tradition. It falls into those things called the 12 concepts for World Service but it's really an expansion of you know, the the purpose of the of The mission of the General Service Board is very simple. It's to serve the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous. That's its, that's its mission. But in order to do that there's an expansion of exactly what that might mean in order to, to help the board be most effective.

John M 35:16

Okay. So if you would, I'd like you to just a couple of things that number one, when you see disagreement, and you know, people want, they want to see a different outcome to these particular decisions coming right in you have to apply that first tradition, you know, the common welfare of a coming first, what's your experience like the that and how do you see that play out? And then the other thing is that I don't know what you can or can't talk about. But when you think about the vision of a and what sort of recommendations that you guys have made moving forward, if there's anything you can discuss there?

Jimmy D 35:59

Well, the board in and of itself, it can only make, it makes very few decisions. Our conference, which is, you know, elected delegates, and the trustees, and some staff members are all members of this annual meeting that we call the general service conference, the conference body. But, but and that that is a week long group conscience meeting. It's exactly what it is. It's a group conscience, if you can imagine, that lasts for days and days and days doing the business have a example from this year's conference, changing in the word of the wording of the preamble? Yeah, I heard about that conference decision. So when we say so talk to people about your decision, when we say we heard about it, if the service structure if the structure is working at Peretz design, we would have begin, we would have begun to hear about that two and possibly three years ago, that there were suggestions that sourced in the fellowship, to change the wording of the preamble, there were several different suggestions, but the one that ultimately rose to the top was to change men and women to people. Now all controversy lies in the fact that many, many a members appear to have not heard about the change until after the change was made.

John M 37:28

Okay, so let's just there's going to be some people who don't know what you're talking about. Exactly. I just want to make sure that I say so most Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, there is a preamble, the tread. And the preamble says, you know, we alcoholics are, it has says men and women who have and then it goes on the whole thing. But what you're saying is, is that analysis, we're people who have such as, and I can see discussions happening during that, that there would have been some sort of disagreement, and then that's where you have to kind of apply the first tradition, right, our common welfare should come first. So I'm curious as the process that was.

Jimmy D 38:08

So what happened initially is over the course of a couple of years, this idea was vetted. In other words, the idea came from a member or group of members in the US Canada fellowship, and it made its way to the conference assignment at the General Service Office. And then it went to the grapevine board, because the grapevine board is is is effectively the trustee committee that would handle anything that had to do with the grapevine. And the a grapevine holds the copyright on the preamble, because the preamble was introduced to the fellowship via the grapevine magazine. So grapevine has the copyright on the preamble. So the grapevine board discussed the merits of the change the positive and negative aspects of the change, and then forwarded it to the conference. Right, because the ultimate decision making authority is the fellowship represented by the conference. Okay, so idea comes from the fellowship, takes a little trip through the board, the board sends it through to the conference. So basically back to the fellowship to this smaller, much smaller representative body, right, rather than polling individual groups, which would be unwieldy. There are 66,000 of them, and that's just the ones registered, right? Yes, that's just the ones that are registered so many right register, so that there was there was long, the unhealthy debate about the merits of the change. And ultimately, I for action at the conference prevailed and the change was made

John M 40:00

So do you have to have like 60%? Of what's the two thirds?

Jimmy D 40:06

Two thirds? Okay, so two thirds, three thirds of 135 total voting members. Right, gotcha. So But then, once the conference closed in the meetings in April, right, it was virtual again this year, right. So it was all via zoom. Once the conference closed, then our delegates, you know, there's a representative, a delegate from each service area in the US and Canada, the delegates went home to report, you know, the outcome of the business meeting. And one of the reports, of course, was that the wording of the preamble changed. Now you've shared that your home group, you know, accepted and implemented the change, my home group did not

John M 40:53

well, and let me say this, there are HomeGroup is they I, there are murmurs, you know, all I know is that it was, all of a sudden, it changed. And it's changed, though, because it came down from the bottom or came up from the bottom right, however you want to phrase that. But I did hear some, you know, murmurs kind of going back and forth. But, but more than anything, I just wanted to see well, how the sausage is being made. Right.

Jimmy D 41:24

And I think that, and this is a good example of it really is, we can loop it right back to the first tradition, which means you don't have to be nor should you really be a general service representative to be aware of what's going on in the fellowship that you belong to availing ourselves of information that affect the health and well being of the movement, availing ourselves of that information, in other words, making sure that our general service representative is reporting regularly to the group, which really requires that I attend the group conscience meeting. And, and you know, that that's a that's a, let's say, a more than adequate representation of the of the membership of the group. And that's about the the health and and, and welfare, the common welfare, the the welfare of the group.

John M 42:21

Okay, so like you said, our group is saying people now as opposed to men and women, you said, your group is not doing that. Right. Right. So was there a discussion about that? Or Yes, so And can you talk about that discussion? I mean, without

Jimmy D 42:39

was it for us, it was, it did not appear to be something that we felt necessary to implement, we felt like that the third tradition guarantees inclusivity of all human beings that would approach Alcoholics Anonymous looking for an answer. And that, you know, using, let's say, terms that could be perceived as some, some might perceive as being not inclusive enough, ie men and women, if you don't identify with either sex was a non issue when it came to recovery from alcoholism. Yeah,

John M 43:22

very. So this kind of gets into another tradition, which we'll cover as another time. But autonomy, right. So in other words, even though it came from the bottom up, or the top down, however, you want to look at that, right, but the decision was made, right, that the preamble was changed. As a group, we still have the autonomy to say, Thanks, but no, thanks. You know, we know you guys up there in New York and trying your best or whatever the case may be. But this is how we see it or whatever. Right?

Jimmy D 43:54

Right. Right. This is what we think is working for us. This is how we're able to effectively fulfill, you know, our fifth tradition, you know, you can go to groups that don't read the preamble at all. For example, on the flip side of this, as an example, there are there are a lot of meetings that I've you know, attended, either, you know, been the speaker or, you know, just gone to a 10 that are not my home group where, you know, they don't read the 12 traditions, they might read the tradition of the month, they might not read anything that even remotely approaches a tradition, that would be a no cell in my home group. We're gonna read the traditions, right? We're going to read the 12 traditions, and we will not pass the basket while we're reading the traditions. I mean, there's going to be no distraction when the traditions are being read. Now, we can't force people to listen to any of that. Right? Right. But we make sure that we that we give that adequate airspace my old home group now no longer meeting the big book group When we talk about autonomy and the fourth tradition, might as well just bring a heinous example of the fourth tradition that I had first person experience with. You know, we had three meetings a week at that group when I was there. First Five and a half years of my sobriety, we had two closed meetings went on Monday night went on Thursday night, and we had an open speaker meeting, which we called the showcase meeting, because it you know, it showcased a for anybody that wanted to come see on Saturday night. And as soon as our speaker approached the podium, we poured the coffee out. Because we didn't want anybody not being distracted by thinking that they could go refill coffee. While we had someone invited to our group behind our podium right now, there are a lot of a members that I know in love, good friends of mine, who think that is insane. And why would anybody ever do that to an AIA member? Right. And, and that was part of our group conscience? It was, it was it was to avoid distraction. Right? Think about the code untied deals, should I even go there? Right? I mean, you know, there's, you know, whisper the Whisper games rife in AA about all sorts of stuff, right? You know, and it does it, but that we're talking about common welfare, it's not helpful to perpetuate gossip, whether you're in a group member or not, oh, well, you can get a date over there. If you go at six o'clock, or, you know, whatever, right, or my home group, for example, we have to work out entire skirt to go to the meeting over there, right? completely false. In both instances, for the most part, right. If we invite you to come and share your story, we would ask you, if you mind, wearing coat and tie behind the a podium, or pantsuit or a dress if you know if you identify as female. And, and so that's, again, it's part of the Ford tradition. But when we talk about common welfare, I want to I'd like to just kind of spend a couple of minutes talking about the welfare of a, you know, I, I've not ever been a member of your home group. But the health and well being of your home group is vitally important to me. What do you mean, whatever I can do to support your home group helps a be stronger. And I'm invested in that. I'm invested in that. And that doesn't mean I come to the group conscience and you know, try to influence some decision making process. But it does mean that I make sure that any man that I sponsor, for example, is always willing to say yes, whenever a request might come. If there's something like the intergroup anniversary, or chili cook off, or some information that I know, is, is available, that's really, you know, Dallas a or a wide, right, you always try to make sure that there are as many groups as possible that are informed and giving the opportunity given the opportunity to actively participate in that that's part of the that's part of the common welfare of a if, if I attend a meeting at your group, and when the meeting is over, and has nobody's ever asked me nobody's ever told me not to. But I look around. And if there are any Styrofoam cups, I pick up the cups.

Jimmy D 48:49

I pick up the cups, because I want to make sure that we leave it better than we found it. And that's no slide to any home group member. It's just talking about what can I do? Look at what this group has done for me? What can I do to try to help perpetuate the health and well being of this place?

John M 49:13

Well, Jimmy, as you know, on the front end of this, we thought about how far we were going to get with even one tradition. And, well, I didn't know if we were going to get through two or three or whatever the case may be. We're just gonna we're just gonna have to get some time together again. That is tradition one. Hi. I remember the first time I ever recorded you. We were going through your story. And we ran out of time and you're like, I hadn't even gotten sober again.

Jimmy D 49:50

Get sober. You invited me back so they, so I get sober. I've been I haven't been on on Mike in a couple of years. I'm glad that everybody knew my sobriety date didn't change. I've been offline, but I hadn't been offline.

John M 50:08

Alright, so will you come back and join me? Absolutely anytime, what? A pleasure. What a pleasure. I really just, I enjoy talking to you. It's an education. You know, and we've talked about this for you. I mean, first of all, your, you know, your voice just comes across fantastic. You're like Gary K and some of the others. And, and, you know, you just have this gift of being able to spin a yarn, you know, and

Jimmy D 50:37

I think we're, you know, we're a society of storytellers. We're Society of storytellers. And, in our experience, is what we bring. And so when we talk about this common welfare, I like to think about, you know, improving our ability to engage in pavement time. You know, one of the things that we know that you that we, that we've attempted to do is emulate that spirit, that energy that we always replicate, I would think is probably more appropriate word replicate, replicate what we know, we actually feel when we're in the room. And in the virtual environment, or in the hybrid environment, that's going to that's going to take I think, more effort on our part, in order to make sure that that, that we emulate that. Right. If I'm not in and I know, this is probably, you know, maybe not politically correct, but it's bad form to join a Zoom meeting and turn your camera off. It's really hard for the people that need to have that engagement. Right. I mean, that's, that's, that's the, the, you know, the intimate personal connections are happening through site. And it's difficult and and I don't want to, you know, I'm not here in any way to offend anyone, I'm just saying from the, from the standpoint of looking at, you know, participating in these meetings, many, many of these meetings, as I'm sure all the listeners have, right, I'm so thankful that we were quick, you know, we were nimble for once, right, in, in making sure that we were responsive to what had been visited. And so it's, you know, it's going to continue in the, in the long term, again, we're really in our first year and a half of, and I know, it's not new technology to everybody, but to the majority of members of a it's it's a fairly new adventure. And, you know, let's not, let's not make it worse, select these rooms that we know we go into, and it's just like walking through syrup. And you think, what happened everybody? Right? Oh, I'm sober today, John, or are you sober today? Oh, yeah, I'm sober today. Um, I'm going to turn my camera off, because I'm just, you know, not ready for primetime or whatever. And, you know, think about what we what we needed to feel when we were new, and how we needed to engage. What brought us back wasn't material. What brought us back had no relationship to the material. It wasn't about you know, the dynamic topic, or that we shared stuff that Peeled Paint off the walls or any of that other stuff. It was really about the fact that we had somebody that engaged with us. And and that spirit needs to be magnified, not diminished. We're a society that we're not in peril. But, but we need vision. We need Vision.

John M 54:03

Thank you, Jimmy. Hi. So I'm going to wrap it up with page 164, the big book here. And it says, abandon yourself to God as you understand God, at MIT your faults to him and to your fellows. clear away the wreckage of your past. give freely of what you find in join us. We shall be with you in the fellowship of the Spirit. And you will surely meet some of us like me and Jimmy D. As you trudge the road of happy destiny. May God bless you and keep you until then, Jimmy, I look forward to having you back on soon.

Jimmy D 54:43

Thank you, John. Thank you very much. As always,

John M 54:47

Mr. Jimmy D. Thank you so much for coming on the podcast. I know that the listeners always appreciate your insight in regards not only the traditions but your personal experience within alcoholics and Thomas, you were just fantastic. Thank you for all your service that you do for this society of ours, I so much appreciate it. And we will have Jimmy D back at another time to talk about tradition, too. So you can look forward to that in a near upcoming episode. Now, on to a little bit of listener feedback, Dennis writes in and Dennis says, I, John, I am currently 18 hours sober. Wow. He says like many I have had an illustrious career of drunken selfishness. I am married with six children. And I just turned 51 years old. Things are bad right now. And my wife and I are separating. I think I have done it. I think I've done it this time, and I will lose my wife. Thank you for your show. I need it right now. Dennis? Well, you know, Dennis, Thanks for writing in. I'm sorry that you're going through what you're going through. I have seen situations like this, though, turn out. I've seen them turn out good. And I've seen them turn out not so good. You know. And anyway, I hope you get plugged into a group there locally, get a sponsor, and just do all the right things one day at a time, one step at a time. My prayers go out to you and your wife and your children. God bless you. Coop writes in and coop says, John, I cannot thank you enough for all that you do with the podcast, as well as the service to others. I feel as though sober speak, which I found by accident was a divine intervention on my behalf from my higher power, as well as my trip to Akron, which was inspired by you and my higher power. You know, I cute, I can't remember my guesses. I talked about my trip to Akron on one of the episodes in that may be the reference you're making, but I forgive me I can't remember anyway. KIPP says my sobriety is renewed now, in with the addition of Mr. Gary K. I feel like I'm looking out at the world through brand new glasses. And the view is breathtaking. Please keep up the vantastic work you were doing. You're helping more people than I believe you we could count thanks again coupe as very kind to, you know, we're all in this together. And I And just for those of you are wondering what he meant by Gary k there. I was able to matchmake if you will having Gary gay and I know Gary gay is I believe taking them through the steps right now and working on those steps with them. And I'm, I'm so happy for you to Gary K is an outstanding guy. God bless you. Andy writes in and Andy says Hi, John. This is Andy Delia. I'm a physician in Missouri in in recovery for 12 years. Due to my extremely busy medical practice. I have had a hard time making it to three meetings a week, but I need it. So online recovery shows and a speakers have become very important to me. With COVID. The added stress and hours the challenges of the last two years it has been critical to me. I listened to either an a speaker or recovery show about five nights a week when I go to bed. As I'm working on charts in the evenings. Your show is both entertaining and spiritually fulfilling. I enjoy the interviews where you go deep into a step or a concept. Example Bill see Charlie P. Reno, John to name a few. I have gained much recovery, wisdom and spiritual insight from your show. But also my mind is always rattling at me. I understand that misery Andy.

John M 59:32

rattling mbw a won't shut up at night. Damn committee. I give added so when I put on your show, it really helps me to relax and calm down before I go to sleep sets the stage for my prayer and infuses my mind with solid recovery talk in lieu of a late night meeting. Podcast don't replace meetings of course, but I think we're on the cusp of brewing recovery movement. You, John are a pioneer. Oh, I don't know about that. I think there's a lot of people who have done this before me, but I appreciate it, Andy. He says, I know this is this because I know I know this because I know how much this type show benefits me to stay sober, and more importantly, infuses my life with steps with the steps for living. I want to thank you for the show. Please keep up the in depth step shows and the high quality interviews. God bless, Andy W. Wow, Andy. That is really cool. Thank you for all your kind words. And thank you for giving back to the community and your medical practice and otherwise, and thank you for all you've done. For oh, gosh, the nation for what has been going through for the past couple of years. We appreciate you. And finally, Michelle writes in and Michelle says, Hi, John, I am emailing you to get information about the sober speak episode with the woman who writes letters to inmates. I cannot remember her name. And I would like to get her information. My friend and I who has been sober for 17 years. We want to write to a woman in prison that we want to write to women in prison that are trying to get sober in jail. Could you please pass her information on to me, I greatly appreciate it. Peace and Love stay well, Michelle M. from Hopkinton, Massachusetts in a big piece sign or big heart sign. Excuse me. Michelle, that's fantastic. So as you know, I wrote you back and if there's anybody else out there who was interested in this service, the name of the lady who was on the podcast in the past her name is Carol L. I replied, got you in contact, I think parallel got you some information. And that is so cool that you're trying to think of ways that you can give back especially to people who are incarcerated. I absolutely love it. I add everybody. That is another episode concluded of sober speak. We take this one week at a time. Hope to be back next week. Until May God bless you and keep you until then. Keep coming back. It works if you work it. God bless y'all.

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