I sat down this morning with a sponsee and we were studying Tradition Five…
“Each group has but one primary purpose — to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.”
…and while we were reading in the 12&12, on Page 151, next to the last paragraph, it starts off by saying, “Restless one day, I felt I’d better do some Twelfth Step work.”
Now, I don’t know about you, but in those times where I’ve been feeling “restless,” the very LAST thing I “felt” I needed to do was some 12th Step work! LOL!
Often times when I’m all caught up in my sad little story in the moment, all I can think about is me and nothing else. If I’m feeling angry, my focus is on the person, place, or thing that is making me angry. If I’m feeling betrayed, all I can think about is the person who betrayed me. My sole focus is on me and how I’m not getting my needs met.
I love the simple reminder on page 151 that basically just says when I’m disturbed, I need to be willing to set that aside for a moment and think about how I might be of service to another person. I’ve always been taught the best way out of me is to help someone else.
At some point in Tradition 5, I get to individually take a look at what my primary purpose is today. One of the best ways to do that is to look at what my primary purposes have been in the past and ask myself if they are all focused on me. Am I willing to surrender whatever my primary purposes have been and replace them with what Tradition 5 teaches us – to carry the message to those who are suffering?
To work this Tradition means that I am willing to say “yes” to this question and rearrange the rest of my priorities. Devoting myself to a new primary purpose means I’m willing to let go of many old ideas. I have many thinking patterns that are automatic that I need to allow God to change in me in order to consecrate myself to a new primary purpose.
It’s the great paradox of A.A. that we know we can seldom keep this precious gift of sobriety unless we give it away. This Tradition delineates pretty clearly our individual primary purpose, as well as the group’s. Each of us is but a small part of the whole, but by joining AA’s primary purpose to our own, we become something bigger than our individual selves.
I’m grateful today I was reminded that the best way to get out of my head (out of my anger, my fear, my restlessness, etc.) is to “move a muscle and change a thought” and go help someone (alcoholic or not). I’m grateful for the little reminders each day that help keep me centered on what God has given me as my primary purpose today.
In love & service,