Doctor Bob in his final address to the A.A. fellowship said this:
Let’s not louse it all up with Freudian complexes and things that are interesting to the scientific mind, but have very little to do with our actual A.A. work. Our Twelve Steps, when simmered down to the last resolve themselves into the words “love” and “service.” We understand what love is, and we understand what service is.
The Twelve Steps are not psycho-therapy and psycho-therapy is not Twelve Step. The goals and methods of these recovery approaches are not only different but also sometimes conflicting. This means we have no professional class within S.A.A. There are only two classes: those who have been spiritually awakened as the result of the Twelve Steps and those who desperately want and need what we have to offer. No one among us is more or better equipped than another to pass this program to those seeking our help. Who we are outside of the fellowship has no bearing on who we are within the fellowship. It does not matter how many professional degrees we have or accolades we have been awarded. We are all equals. It should not even matter how many years sober we are. The only thing that should be recognized is the quality of our sobriety: Is our sobriety attractive to the newcomer who truly wants to stop? This is threefold. First, what is our definition of sobriety – “Is it selfish or not?” Are we truly abstinent from all our selfish sexual behaviors? Or, are we perhaps working a “masturbation maintenance program?” Secondly, are we truly doing our best to live the Steps and honor the Traditions and Concepts? Or, are we knowingly not surrendering our entire lives to these principles? Tertiarily, are we happy and contented in that sobriety? Does our life represent a life of peace and satisfaction? And when we make those occasional ventures into drama producing behavior, do we immediately apply our principals to re-establish that peace and satisfaction. These are the only qualities necessary to transmit our message: We had a spiritual awakening as the result of doing the work summarized by the Twelve Steps and described in detail by the Big Book of A.A and continue to live the life we found in so doing.
This does not mean there are no helping professionals in our ranks. Quite the contrary, it is also so with the clergy, men/women of medicine and other professional folk. We have found sex addiction respects neither profession nor occupation. It strikes down affluent and poor; educated and simple. Our disease paid little attention to our level of education, neither does our solution.
What does this mean? It means this: when our brethren, who are also helping professionals/clergy/etc., should not give Twelve Step advice when they are out earning a living, when they practice psycho-therapy/religion/etc. When we meet with the newcomer, sponsor someone through the Steps, attend a meeting or speak at a meeting we do so as just another sober member of a 12 Step fellowship and should not bring professional training to that work. Professional members of S.A.A. should keep the two separate. It also means we do not use our reputation outside of S.A.A. to gain favor, acclaim or any other accolades within S.A.A. When we speak on the Steps, we do so as “John/Jane Doe, recovered sex addict” (we’ll cover personal anonymity in Tradition 11) and not as Dr. J. Doe. Neither do we use our knowledge of the Twelve Steps to make a profit within our professional life.
It means even more than this. As Twelve Steppers we are obligated to pass along freely to others, who are as we were when we sought help, what was freely given to us. Whatever our profession outside of S.A.A. it does not absolve us of this responsibility, even if we help other sex addicts for a living (not using the Twelve Step Program). Our Twelfth Step work has three parts. We must make ourselves available as sponsors – we show our proteges how to work and live the Twelve Steps. If we’re not currently working with someone, we should be looking for someone. We must also carry the message. This means that we must step outside of the comfort zone of our home group meeting. We must seek them out where they are finding bottom. Half-way houses, jails, hospitals, treatment centers, etc.; the Big Book is very clear (pg 162). Some of us call this “H & I work” (Hospitals and Institutions). Others of us refer to such places as “wind-up joints”, because it is where people like us “wind-up.” Poaching other meetings does not fit this bill. Lastly, we must serve the fellowship when it comes our turn. Each of us must be willing to step up to serve as study leaders, facilitators, secretaries, treasurers, etc.
The International Service Organization (I.S.O.) is the corporate service entity of S.A.A. They are responsible for conducting the day-to-day business of our fellowship. Inquiries from those looking for help, take the form of phone calls, letters and e-mails. These number in the thousands. Sometimes these requests are for literature as well as guidance. The I.S.O. makes an effort to help these folks to the best of their ability. They even go so far as sending A.A. Big Books to those in prisons and jails. This is one thing they do for free. They have many functions and responsibilities that are done on behalf of our fellowship. These labors require the full-time effort of several people. These people need the support of additional staff to take care of payroll, office supplies, bills and so on. It just makes sense, we might as well employ a member of our fellowship who is qualified to do the work as opposed to hiring an outsider. These employees of S.A.A., who are also members, understand this work does not absolve them of their respective Twelfth Step work. Just like the helping professionals, they must also make their daily effort at going in to H & I ‘s, sponsoring others and service to their home group. While their paying jobs may look more like Twelfth Step work than that of the helping professional, we all must realize the humility in giving of ourselves for free.
We do not recover by our own power. Neither did we recover by the power of a sponsor or group. Our proteges do not recover by our power. All of us who have recovered did so by God’s Power. We will clarify this more in Tradition 12. To take money for something that God does for us is nothing short of arrogance. It is a slap in the face of those who so freely gave to us what was freely passed to them and all who came before. It is the essence of this program to give of ourselves without thought of recompense or personal gain. We do not do Twelfth Step work to curry favor, much less for monetary gain. In no way should we ever exalt ourselves as some sort of expert such that we could seek pay for showing another how to work the Steps, for bringing the message to those who still suffer or for our service to the fellowship. We do these things out of gratitude, obligation and personal responsibility. We promote ourselves as being somehow better than our brethren when we do it out of self-promotion or profit. We remember always that we seek to be one of many and avoid, as much as we are able, standing out from the crowd. This is the essence of true humility.