If you go to a Twelve Step meeting, chances are that a basket or other container will be passed around among the attenders. The leader will announce that there are no dues or fees, meaning no one is required to give any money at all. Whether some or all contribute, the money will be put to use by that group in purchasing literature and other materials, plus paying use of the building.
If you read the “The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions” book, you’ll learn that things did not turn out well when AA sought funding from other organizations. There seems to be a subtle interaction between those who give and those who receive, although I don’t have the words to accurately describe it.
The definition: Self Supporting – Having a singularity of holding up or in position.
I made a drawing of a window washer who is literally supporting himself. He hoists himself by a rope as he deftly cleans windows on the outside of a very tall building. I wasn’t sure how to show the difference between dirty and clean glass. I can understand if someone misinterprets this as a painter, holding a brush and bucket. Regardless, his left hand is clenching a rope that keeps him from falling. If he is to go higher or lower, he must rely on his own strength to make it happen.
Is this how the typical Twelve Step group pictures itself? I doubt it. But they do practice the principle of being self-supporting when they drop money into their meeting basket. That money goes to support recovery of those who are present, as well as still-suffering addicts. There are suggestions for how much the group should keep and how much it should contribute to regional and national offices. No one enforces these suggestions beside the group itself.
I like the drawing of the window washer. I have sometimes gone to extremes to support myself and my family. Somehow, dropping a little money in a basket seems tame by comparison.
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