9. Responsible


Being called a responsible person is a compliment. In conversation, it describes someone who can be trusted to do the right thing. That does not precisely match the meaning as it appears in the 9th tradition.
The Websters definition: Responsible – Liable to respond
When I have difficulty understanding a key word within a definition, I usually look it up to be sure the meaning is clear. “Liable” is defined at “bound or obliged in law or equity to respond”. I then had to double-check the meaning of “Equity” which is “the quality of being fair and impartial”.
As I read it, AA may create service boards or committees which serve others in a way that is legal and impartial. That sounds like an excellent standard.
My drawing shows a battlefield medic tending to a fallen comrade. He is helping the wounded man during a battle so dangerous that everyone else has withdrawn into the safety of an earthen trench. Don’t such medics fear for their own safety? Of course they do! But they are called to help others.
It’s important to point out that, once they accept the position, they become legally obliged to do this death-defying but life-saving work. They are bound by law to serve. Clearly, they also face a moral obligation to render aid, even though a reasonable person might hide with the others. They do their work impartially, without putting their own safety ahead of others.
Bill Wilson saw combat in World War I. Chances are, he saw this very type of responsible action at work. He expected no less of AA committees and boards.

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