8. Non-professional


This tradition always catches me off-guard when I read it. In most life-or-death situations, health care professionals are allowed and even encouraged to participate. By virtue of their training and experience, they know how to evaluate risks and conditions, then respond with the appropriate treatment.
Why, then, would an organization whose members are often in life-threatening situation specify that it must remain non-professional? The definition: “Non-professional – Not of our pertaining to a profession, esp. a learned or skilled profession.”
I had to think about this for a time. And I did some reading into the history of AA. Apparently, people who are considering joining a Twelve Step group feel emotionally torn. They do and don’t want to try the solution that’s being offered. In some cases, knowing that the those offering help are receiving a fee for their services can trigger mistrust or doubt. It may not be a justified reaction, but it happens.
Early AA folks decided to only allow recovered alcoholics to carry recovery to those who still suffer. Presumably they did this because of the good results.
My drawing depicts an unplanned feast. Nothing on the table matches. Not the plates, the silverware, the cups, or even the placemats. No standard is being followed and certainly no awards will be given for the decor on display. But the meal can be served, just the same. The friendship can be warm and the conversation can be lively. Nothing has to be professional here, and the early AA folks got that message.

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