Question: If a member announces, for example, a party open only to S.L.A.A. members in the announcements at a meeting, is that OK? What about if a member announces an event for a member who attends that same meeting?
Part 1 – Yes, I believe this is a 6th Tradition issue. Because this is an event for S.L.A.A. member only it can be announced at a meeting. Part 2 – No, I believe this is also a 6th Tradition issue. The event announcement gives the appearance that S.L.A.A. is indeed endorsing the event. A better way to deal with this type of announcement is to have a set time before or after the meeting for non-S.L.A.A. announcements (assuming there is a group conscience to set aside that time).Regarding the first half of the question, I do believe that is a Tradition 4 issue. Each group is autonomous and free to make that decision as a group. I, personally view social events at…i.e.… a game night at someone’s home differently. There is no appearance of S.L.A.A. endorsing an outside enterprise. I believe announcing something like that is a Tradition 4 issue. My home group wrestled with this issue a few years ago, and finally voted that only Intergroup sanctioned events could be announced during the meeting. Everything else has to be announced after the meeting. Many Intergroups have struggled with this question so it is very common.
However, the second issue involves making money and I don’t think it is appropriate to promote outside enterprises (Tradition 6)…especially for financial gain…during an S.L.A.A. meeting. It gives the impression that announcing the event at various S.L.A.A. groups that S.L.A.A. endorses this event, thus in violation of Traditions 6 “An S.L.A.A. group or S.L.A.A. as a whole ought never endorse, finance or lend the S.L.A.A. name to any outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property or prestige divert us from our primary purpose.”
I have experienced a similar situation, when a member was promoting a social fundraiser that he has organized for S.L.A.A. members. He has been announcing it and selling tickets. One group has approved it through their group conscience which seems to be in keeping with Tradition 4. However, some of the other meetings where this is also being announced do not seem to have considered this issue in group conscience.
It is my opinion that announcing a party exclusively for S.L.A.A. members as an announcement is the highest way of following the Traditions because it exemplifies unity and assures members that they do not have to have any other affiliation. Therefore it allows the group to be autonomous and guards members’ anonymity.
Conversely, promoting a fellow member’s personal event could prove to be shortsighted if S.L.A.A. guests don’t understand Traditions of the 12 Step Program and interact with non-S.L.A.A. guests where in any manner anonymity is breached for the member having the event. It could hurt authentic unity of the underlying group.
Traditions being referenced are – 1 unity, 3 each group have no other affiliation, 4 each group is autonomous, 11 guard with special care the anonymity of fellow S.L.A.A. members.
If it is not an officially sanctioned Intergroup or group function it seems like an outside issue to me, contrary to Tradition 6. Regardless of whether it is a party including only S.L.A.A. members (is it open to everyone?) or promoting an art event for a single member.
In the original question for the announcement of the party open only to S.L.A.A. members, I cannot see a violation of any Tradition. Such an announcement seems to be in harmony with the ideals of Tradition 1, that of promoting S.L.A.A. unity. This would be a great way for members to get together in order to enjoy some fellowship and to become better acquainted with each other. It is important, however, that if it is announced at a meeting, that everyone who attends that meeting is welcome.
The follow-up question does not seem to be so simple, since it seems to be a double edged sword. If the event is a private event, open only to S.L.A.A. members, it would also seem to be in harmony with Tradition 1. However, if this were to be a public event, then this would seem to come into conflict with Tradition 6 of endorsing an outside enterprise. It would also appear to be in conflict with Tradition of having no opinion about outside issues, since the event could contain other things which could be sexually stimulating. In this case, it would be better mentioned either prior to or after the meeting.
In both cases, Tradition 4 must be recognized. The individual group, by group conscience, has the right to decide what types of announcements, if any might be made at that particular meeting.
Regarding part 1: It follows Tradition 1 by promoting unity and Tradition 4 in that each group is autonomous.
Regarding part 2: Announcing a non-S.L.A.A. function goes against Tradition 6 by endorsing an outside enterprise, however each group is autonomous to make that announcement, as long as that decision does not affect S.L.A.A. as a whole.
What do you think?
The CSTCC is a group of volunteers, some of whom were ABM delegates, and others who volunteered out of interest. We do not represent a group conscience of S.L.A.A., but are committed to bringing thoughtful discussion and study of 12 Step Fellowship literature and experience to the questions that are brought to us. We offer this summary as the results of our discussions. We present the major points of concern in the hopes that wider discussion in the Fellowship will help us evolve our customs and practice of the S.L.A.A. program of recovery to better represent the loving guidance of a Higher Power. Always, we affirm the autonomy of each group and the need for each individual to follow her/his own conscience. No decision of this group, or any other, is ever forced upon another, even when we believe a practice is clearly in conflict with the Steps, Traditions, or Concepts.