Can the Steps and Traditions guide us on giving a sponsee (a large sum of money) when the sponsee is hungry, angry, lonely and tired?
The 7th Tradition is that we should do it on our own and not depend on the kindness of others. The 5th Tradition states that our primary purpose is to carry the message and what message are we carrying when a sponsor gives that sum of money to a sponsee? The 6th Tradition warns us to use money for influence or prestige. My memory of the AA stories is that sponsors routinely helped the sponsees with food, shelter and clothing if needed. In S.L.A.A. is that being supportive and friendly or co-dependent or rescuing?
If it is just between the sponsor and the sponsee, then it would appear, at least on the surface, to fall into the realms of Tradition 10 since it appears to be an outside issue. On the flip side, it could fall into the realms of Step 11 which would indicate that after prayer and meditation the sponsor felt this was God’s will for him/her.
I don’t think the Steps or Traditions speak to this question at all. If a sponsor, or anyone else in the Fellowship, wants to make a gift or loan to someone inside or outside the Fellowship, it is a personal matter. However the giver should be very clear about his/her motives in making this gift or loan, and a discussion with the giver’s sponsor is certainly in order.
In my opinion and based on my reading of the Traditions, the Traditions and Steps refer to individuals in relationship to themselves, among others within the Program, and between individuals and their relationship to the Program membership and groups. They simply do not apply to an individual helping out another member financially or on issues outside of how to apply the spiritual principles of the Program to everyday problems. The issue is basically an outside issue. I have concerns about the possibility that the loan WILL be perceived by the recipient or by others as coming from “SLAA practice.” Especially, I am concerned that the recipient is hungry, angry, lonely and tired”. What does money do to alleviate those things? Gifts are of time and caring, and in themselves alleviate loneliness. So does going to more meetings, staying late, coming early, sharing and talking with other members. All of THOSE things add to a person’s self-esteem, not threaten it, as a loan or monetary gift would do. It is my opinion that the effect on the individual’s relationship with the giver and with themselves, especially given the individual’s less than solid poor spiritual condition is the most important issue. The gift may represent pity and pride in one’s own financial circumstances rather than practice of the spiritual principles of the S.L.A.A. program.
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.