Category Archives: Questions and Answers

…is each meeting autonomous?

As sent to us in an e-mail:

Q: We are an AA fellowship with 21 meetings a week.  As a fellowship we are autonomous but is each meeting autonomous?  In our guidelines we state if any meeting wants to change their format for them to take a group conscious 3 weeks in a row and if positive for 3 weeks then come to the business meeting and present the changes.  We then vote on it as a fellowship and we can hear dissenting opinions.   [Our] guidelines also say that all meetings are autonomous.  We have a conflict and either way to be in unity we have to remove one of them…[and we are] looking for [any other] way to [possibly] stop the conflict.

A: First, it is virtually impossible for an A.A. fellowship group to have that many meetings per week since there is little chance of “Any two or three alcoholics…(calling) themselves an A.A. group” (Tradition Three) being able to actually do that.  So what you have there is more like some type of steering committee that would actually be an inter-group “Central Committee” calling itself an A.A. group and then “ruling over” other groups.

Is each meeting autonomous?  Not if any other entity has any say in the handling of the meeting/group’s affairs.  For example:

>> In our [committee’s] guidelines we state [how the meeting/group should conduct its affairs]…then [later] vote on it…
>> We have a conflict and either way to be in unity we have to remove one of them.

Exactly, and no Steering Committee should ever presume to tell any A.A. group how it must conduct its affairs.

Please send your question in an e-mail.

Selfish is attitude / Self-centered is action

Q: What is the difference between “selfish” and “self-centered”?

A: While the underlying “all about me” – the opposite of altruism – is essentially the same, the difference has to do with setting or context.  To illustrate:

“Our very lives…depend upon our constant thought of others (even while alone) and how we may help meet their needs (especially when in their presence).” (“Alcoholics Anonymous“, page 20)

In contrast, our past attitudes and actions were “constant thought of self” (especially while alone) and “how we might get our needs met” (even while in their presence).

Please send your question in an e-mail.

What do I have to do?

“If you are an alcoholic who wants to get over it, you may already be asking…
Q: “‘What do I have to do?’
“It is the purpose of this book to answer such questions specifically…
A: “We shall tell you what we have done.”
“Further on, clear-cut directions are given showing how we recovered.” (Alcoholics Anonymous, pages 20, 29)

Please send your question in an e-mail.