After a recent meeting a member asked whether the group could make an anonymous donation to a local food bank or shelter. How would this relate to the Traditions?
[NOTE; This question is of a similar nature to a previous question titled “Tradition 7 Violation?” which was published in the Spring 2012 edition of the FWS Newsletter. For additional discussion and thoughts you might want to refer to that question.]
The Seventh Tradition tells us that we are fully self-supporting. To me this means that we supply for the needs of the group when we place our money in the basket each week. Our needs include paying our rent, purchasing literature and donate to the Fellowship, both locally and internationally. Since our primary purpose is to carry the message to the person who is still suffering with sex and love addiction (Tradition 5), the only things which I could justify as to uses for the funds we collect is to use it to provide for the Program.
A group may by group conscience (Tradition 4) decide to use the funds in the way it sees fit. However, even though local charities are very likely to be deserving of support, my fear is that to make a donation of group money (even anonymously) would appear to be an endorsement and a means of financing that charity (Tradition 6). An additional danger could be that with support to the charity, should it become involved in controversy or scandal would be that by our support we could be drawn into that controversy (Tradition 10).
While these charities or food pantries could be very worthwhile and deserving of support, I would believe that this is something which the individual should, if desired, make that a personal donation.
If the individual or a group want to donate to a charity on their own with full knowledge of the charity, that’s wonderful but I would say not to attach the S.L.A.A. name to it. (Tradition 12: “Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions…”) An S.L.A.A. group contributing to outside charities violates traditions 6, 7 and 10:
- An 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 related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, or prestige divert us from our primary purpose: Donating to charities runs the risk of charities using the S.L.A.A. name. While groups are encouraged to cooperate with others, they ought to be very careful not to affiliate, endorse, or bind itself to anyone. Even an anonymous donation implies endorsement.
- Every S.L.A.A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions: It is concerning to accumulate funds beyond prudent reserves for no stated SLAA purpose. When members contribute, they ought to have a firm understanding of which cause they are supporting. If members believe they are supporting SLAA at the time of their contribution, perhaps extra funds could be donated to SLAA inter-groups or SLAA service committees which support SLAA and carry our message.
- S.L.A.A. has no opinion on outside issues; hence the S.L.A.A. name ought never to be drawn into public controversy:
By giving to charities, issues arise concerning politics, reform and sectarian religion. Choosing one charity over another could create controversy within a group
Although according to tradition 4, each group is autonomous, I would say that making a donation, even an anonymous one, to an outside organization is in breach of tradition 6 (an S.L.A.A. group (….) should never endorse, finance (…). Plus, considering the needs that S.L.A.A. has as a whole towards its members and the one in need of
S.L.A.A. recovery, I would say that groups should consider tradition 5 as to the primary purpose of any group as to carry the message to the sex and love addict who still suffer.
I understand that there might be great needs nearby, maybe some issues some members might encounter such as resorting to a food bank, but I think financial efforts to carry the message should come first, according to our traditions.
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.