Monday, 25 March 2019

As Bill Sees It

The Individual’s Rights, p. 134

We believe that there isn’t a fellowship on earth which devotes more care to its individual members; surely there is none which more jealously guards the individual’s right to think, talk, and act as he wishes. No A.A. can compel another to do anything; nobody can be punished or expelled.

Our Twelve Steps to recovery are suggestions; the Twelve Traditions which guarantee A.A.’s unity contain not a single “Don’t.” They repeatedly say, “We ought . . .” but never “You must!”

“Though it is traditional that our Fellowship may not coerce anyone, let us not suppose even for an instant that we are not under constraint. Indeed, we are under enormous coercion–the kind that comes in bottle. Our former tyrant, King Alcohol, always stands ready again to clutch us to him.

“Therefore, freedom from alcohol is the great ‘must’ that has to be achieved, else we go mad or die.”

1. 12 & 12, p. 129
2. Letter, 1966
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