The co-founder of AA was a promoter. He sold various products and information in the years before alcoholism almost killed him. The Big Book describes what he was like before, what happened, and what he was like afterwards.
If he had supported himself as a promoter before getting sober, it seems logical he would have urged others in AA to promote the organization to increase its size and reach. Although the organization did grow, when it was time to establish some guiding traditions for AA, Bill Wilson included a surprising admonition: “Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion.“ I wonder why he discouraged something that came very naturally to him?
The 1934 definition: Attraction – Act, process, or power of drawing to, or causing to tend to.
An image came to mind that I saw in a movie as a child. A woman sat on a bench feeding birds, which crowded around her and as she enjoyed talking to them and watching them eat. I knew that as a boy, I had sometimes chased the pigeons that habitually walked around me but flew away whenever I chased them. Clearly, the woman grasped the value of attraction.
I have watched countless people refuse recovery. That baffles me. I can see they need help, why can’t they? I never have found the answer. But I have found that if I simply remain sober, go to meetings, and offer to become a sponsor, people are eventually attracted by the freedom I enjoy. After decades of recovery, I now see how much good comes from simply telling the truth and then letting my Higher Power decide who might be attracted by it.