This is a 'principle' of AA mentioned in Tradition 2. Which is:
For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority — a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
I have shown here how I "boiled it down to the principles in the passage. Its just how I do it. It makes sense to me, if nobody else! Its just the way I have come to study the contents of the AA message. I kind of pick bits out and apply them later or something. Anyway here's the jist of it. In case you find it useful..
First: Here is the section from Tradition 2 that mentions it:
You tell us that Charlie's proposal is ethical. Sure, it's ethical, but what we've got won't run on ethics only; it has to be better. Sure, Charlie's idea is good, but it isn't good enough. This is a matter of life and death, Bill, and nothing but the very best will do!' Challengingly, by friends looked at me as their spokesman continued. `Bill, haven't you often said right here in this meeting that sometimes the good is the enemy of the best? Well, this is a plain case of it.
Second: My emphasis on this version:
You tell us that Charlie's proposal is ethical. SURE IT'S ETHICAL, BUT WHAT WE'VE GOT WON'T RUN ON ETHICS ONLY; it has to be better. Sure, Charlie's idea is good, but IT ISN'T GOOD ENOUGH. THIS IS A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH Bill, and NOTHING BUT THE VERY BEST WILL DO!' Challengingly, by friends looked at me as their spokesman continued. `Bill, haven't you often said right here in this meeting that sometimes THE GOOD IS THE ENEMY OF THE BEST? Well, this is a plain case of it.
Third: And boiled down even further:
Sure, it's ethical, but what we've got won't run on ethics only; it has to be better.
Sure, 'X''s idea is good, but it isn't good enough.
This is a matter of life and death, and nothing but the very best will do!'
Sometimes the good is the enemy of the best? Well, this is a plain case of it.
Combine this with Step 12 " practice these principles in all our affairs." Doesn't say say, 'except when practicing the principles of recovery outlined in Tradition 2'.
So this applies to choosing a sponsor, choosing a home group, choosing how to work the steps, anything really.
So in other words, when it comes to MAKING CHOICES as to how to go about your programme, deciding which fork in the road to take..:
'Ethical' is NOT GOOD ENOUGH. It HAS to be better than that. Nothing but the VERY best will do. Why? Because this is a matter of LIFE and DEATH. Just because an idea is 'good', does Not mean it is good ENOUGH. Why? Because the good is the enemy of the best.
You could say "Don't be silly, then you'd end up being a PERFECTIONIST."
If you are REALLY slavish about doing the AA programme, you would have obediently ! followed the "progress not perfection' suggestion. It is only the LESS diligent AA students that think they can get away with ignoring that instruction. So no, being VERY exacting, does NOT neccesarily lead you to perfectionism. In my opinion anyway. I think the basic instructions are VERY exacting in their outright dismissal of any perfectionistic tendencies. So perfectionism is in BREACH of AA suggestion. "Doing your lousy best", is MUCH more in keeping with AA Doctrine. It allows for effort, but stops short of perfectionism.
Tough? Well yeah! 'Simple but not easy" as they say! Why do you think they keep saying things like..
"Half measures availed us NOTHING"
"The result was NIL until we let go ABSOLUTELY"
..and stuff like that?
See, theres the clue! So the 'Lousy best' approach comes in VERY handy if you ask me!
You may already know I am a BIG fan of the phrase 'You snooze you lose' and to me 'the good is the enemy of the best' is pretty much saying the same thing. I find this SO many times in life. Near enough, is just NOT good enough. If I want to get something RIGHT, there are VERY few shortcuts. I've said this before, but for me, life is THE toughest disciplinarian I know of. It just doesn't seem to offer many 'easier softer ways' for ANYTHING. Including AA. But there you go, thats just how I find it. Any lengths seems to be ONLY way for THIS alcoholic to get anywhere. I have to go to any lengths to 'pause when agitated' for gawds sakes.. never mind the rest! Its a permanent habit of going AGAINST the grain. Doing the opposite of old habits. Ah well!
Whatever. Thats just how I understand it. Hope that makes sense! I'm off to the gym! Have a great tuesday!
- An Irish Friend of Bill
- I have recovered from the disease of Alcoholism. I believe there is only one person really,.. everybody. And that peace of mind is everything. -So treat your neighbor as you would treat yourself, because your neighbor IS yourself. I think most of recovery is what I would call common sense, but that learning to be ordinary is a true gift very few people acquire. My ambition is to accept everything unflinchingly, with compassion, and therefore be intrinsically comfortable in my own skin, no matter what. I am comfortable being uncomfortable and am willing to go to any lengths to improve my life. I believe the Big Book was divinely inspired, and is extraordinarily powerful. Unfortunately AA's best kept secret a lot of the time. (In my opinion). I just try to do what works, no matter what it is.
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
Tradition 2 and Step 12: The good is the enemy of the best ..In ALL your AA affairs
Posted by An Irish Friend of Bill
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Hi my Irish friend of Bill. Hope you're in the best of health. I see that I've missed a lot of your posts. More reading materials for me. Thanks.
Life is tough. It is complex and full of rough spots. I just don't want to find those rough spots at a meeting where there is domination and governance. No one person should dominate a meeting yet I've seen that happen. It is a serenity breaker at the moment for me.
Hmm. Utimately its THEIR loss, as they are messing up their own recovery. and of course, you can always start your own meeting. its not too much hassle... you just need a few people..
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