- In the Toronto Area, we traditionally leave a
donation basket by the coffee pot at hospital
meetings and detox center meetings and do not
pass it around. As a result, most of the time
there is never enough collected to pay for the
coffee and/or literature and these meetings do
not have the tools to help the suffering
residents who ask for books or literature.
I started passing a donation basket and was
soon able to help not only the one meeting
but many others in the area.
I was ordered to stop by our DISTRICT because
this is against the Traditions and the Principles
of Service as set down by New York.
Is this accurate historically?
- From: "John J. Clark" <johnnyjclark@...>
(johnnyjclark at sbcglobal.net)
Ordered to stop? No one can order anyone to
do anything in Alcoholics Anonymous. I fail
to see how this is a Tradition violation.
You're passing the hat in an AA meeting for
an AA meeting. I am assuming that no other
money goes to the facility but for rent?
This scenario is no different than an AA
group paying rent to a clubhouse. Clubs
aren't AA pre se. Here in Cleveland we pass
the hat at ALL AA MEETINGS except correctional
facilities. And I'd pass one there too if
I thought a con might pull a "fin" out of
Maybe I am missing something about the "beef"
your district office has about your 7th
- - - -
From: "John Seibert" <quasso@...>
(quasso at mindspring.com)
I don't know what your district says, but
each group is autonomous except in matters
affecting other groups or AA as a whole
(Tradition 4) and if you pass a collection
can according to the dictates of your group
conscience then I can't see that it would be
a violation of any of the other traditions
- - - -
From: James Blair <jblair@...>
(jblair at videotron.ca)
Meetings held in institutions such as
hospitals, detox centers, prisons do not
require contributions b/c they do not pay
rent and literature and other supplies should
be provided by the Area Committee. In
Montreal we have an Institutions meeting
once a month where we pick up literature
No rent = No contributions.
- - - -
From: "seamus0803" <seamus0308@...>
(seamus0308 at hotmail.co.uk)
Here in Ireland we would say 'Yes'
We only pass the basket at closed AA meetings.
At Open meetings where there are non AA members
present or Hospital meetings the basket is
not passed because
a) it violates Tradition 7: 'Every group ought
to be fully self-supporting, declining outside
b) at an Open meeting is also violates Tradition
12: 'Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of
all our traditions...' because AA members would
contribute and therefore would be breaking
I only wish that someone had told be about
this before I acted as secretary at 2 open
meetings for my own home group!!
- - - -
???? In 29.5 years, in California, Colorado,
New Mexico, Arizona and Pennsylvania, I've
never been to a meeting that did not pass
the basket, except in detoxes, shelters and
the like where the folks don't have any money
???? Nor have I ever heard of the "rule" or
tradition of which you speak.
- - - -
From: "Joe Nugent" <joe-gent@...>
(joe-gent at sympatico.ca)
Institutions meetings such as jails, detoxifi-
cation units and hospitals are supported by the
district, supplying coffee, literature, big
books, the room is free to the people putting
on the meeting as well.
- - - -
(Sober186 at aol.com)
I doubt that anyone on this site wants to be
the A.A. police. It is unclear from your email
which tradition the trusted servants of the
district might be referring. However you
write "I started passing" etc.
Would it be more in line with all the traditions
if the group had first held a group conscience
to determine how the group wants to collect the
funds? You might also recommend to the group
members they read over the pamphlet, "The A.A.
Group" before the group conscience is held.
I would also be guided by "Tradition #4 -- "With
respect to its own affairs, each A.A. group
should be responsible to no other authority
that its own conscience."
The traditions do not state how that money
is to be raised but do give some guidance in
Tradition 7--"The A.A. groups themselves ought
to be fully supported by the voluntary contribu-
tions of their own members."
One thing that makes A.A. tolerable to many
of us is that there appear to be no hard and
I hope this helps.
Love and serve.
- - - -
From: michael oates <moates57@...>
(moates57 at yahoo.com)
read traditions how it developed pamphlet,
it states we are not concerned with
small contributions from non members
Michael S. Oates
- - - -
From: "David Stack" <davidrstack@...>
(davidrstack at bellsouth.net)
Seventh tradition: Short form -
"Every A.A. group ought to be fully self-
supporting, declining outside contribution."
If the meeting you are referring to is a
closed meeting of A.A. then I see no problem
with passing the basket. The A.A. members are
supporting the group through voluntary
However if the meeting is an open meeting,
non-A.A.s may be putting money in the basket
which is a violation of our traditions. The
"group" is receiving money from outside
sources if you will (non-A.As) and is not
fully self supporting by its own members.
David R. S.
- - - -
From: Edie Stanger <edie.s@...>
(edie.s at tx.rr.com)
I don't know how to respond to whether it is
In my group, the hospital meetings are 12th
Step work by our group members who attend
"We are self-supporting" refers to my home group,
not to the alcoholic in the hospital where we
are carrying the message. The people in the
hospital are not "members" of my home group,
unless they later elect to attend regular group
meetings. My home group pays for all literature
and desire chips we take to the meetings.
Alcoholics Anonymous receives enough negative
propaganda (cult, religious affiliation, etc.)
without the basket being passed at hospital
and treatment center meetings.
- - - -
From: "Kimball ROWE" <roweke@...>
(roweke at msn.com)
The use of 7th tradition money for literature
is forbidden (at least that's the way I interpret
it). Each group should be self-supporting.
Each individual should also be self-supporting.
How many groups in our district get around that
is by passing a separate basket for the purchase
of literature. This second basket is passed
after the 7th tradition basket has made the
rounds. I can also think of three other groups
that have book raffles after the meeting with
the proceeds going to literature. And finally,
money for literature for inmates is collected
in pink cans left in the open (usually near
the coffee pot). At no time do we use the 7th
tradition money for literature for newcomers,
whether they be in a meeting, a treatment
facility or in prison.
I don't see a problem with collecting monies
for literature for newcomers - provided that
it is clear to all those who donate that it
is separate from the 7th tradition monies and
does not affect the operation of the group.
Inmates can not enter into a financial arrange-
ment with a prison volunteer (in this state).
Thus they can not pay for their books. So we
pass the "pink" cans.
People who pay $30,000 or more for a treatment
center can surely afford $30,006.50. However,
we do pass a second basket for those unable
to afford literature.
see Concept 12, Warranty 2, page 67 of the
AA Service Manual.
- - - -
(spebsqsa at att.net)
If your district "owns" the hospital and detox
meetings, then it will be picking up the cost.
Problem solved. :-)
- - - -
From: Bill Kain <billyk4444@...>
This program and a guy named Vince got into
my face and told me the truth about himself
and then me .... Then he told me the good
news -- that I could change if I wanted to.
The District and New York had nothing to do
with it. I leave those people who "interpret"
AA alone. They can interpret a cow's butt
as far as I am concerned. And maybe, they do
some good. But for me (and I speak only for me)
"when anyone, anywhere reaches out for help,
I want the hand of AA to be there, and for
THAT, I am responsible." This program saved
my life. I will do anything to give back.
- From Arthur S. and Shakey Mike G.
- - - -
From: "Arthur S" <ArtSheehan@...>
(ArtSheehan at msn.com)
The GSO of the US/Canada will uniformly and
historically go out of their way NOT to order
or imperiously issue any so-called "principles
of service as set down by New York." Their
long-established and persistent practice is
to simply offer information on how other groups,
districts, areas, etc. have previously handled
the matter under discussion.
Sometimes an all-too-sensitive alcoholic may
perceive a well intended suggestion from a
service committee representative as taking
the form of an imperious directive. When in
doubt go to AA literature. It has no axe to
grind, is unemotional, has no agenda, gets
rigorous Trustee and Conference Committee
scrutiny and has withstood the test of time.
I do believe you'll get much better and more
thorough information from AA literature
sources rather than from extemporaneous
replies to your inquiry.
AA literature that can provide you with
information on Treatment Facilities (TF)
committees, common practices associated with
TF meetings as well as a list of suggested
"Do's" and "Don'ts" related to the TF service
function are: (1) the "Treatment Facilities
Workbook" (2) the AA Guidelines titled
"Treatment Facilities Committees" and (3)
the pamphlet titled "AA in Treatment
There is a distinction defined in the TF
literature between a "group" and a "meeting"
that is not a semantic triviality. Unless
there is an AA group physically located in the
treatment facility (which does not appear to be
the case in your citation) meetings taken into
the facility are called "treatment facility
AA meetings" and not considered "regular" AA
Treatment facility AA meetings are usually
only open to residents of the facility and not
to AA members in general. These meetings do
not constitute a "group" and as such need not
The literature will also inform you that
expenses associated with carrying the message
into treatment facilities (and corrections
facilities as well) are usually absorbed by
service committees sponsored by Areas,
Districts, Intergroup Central Offices or
directly by groups. These entities (and their
activities) are self-supporting through AA
member (not treatment facility patient)
donations. These entities will also often
donate literature to be taken into treatment
facilities for distribution to the patients.
Please refer to the AA literature items noted
above. It can be obtained from your local
Toronto Intergroup Central Office. According
to their web site they also sponsor a Treatment
Facilities Committee and can also offer
information on TF services. You might consider
giving them a call.
I'm not sure if you are referring to the
Toronto Central Office as your "district"
(which is part of the General Service
structure). If not, then your Area Delegate
is also vested with the responsibility to help
clarify and resolve Traditions matters and
I'm sure would be happy to discuss the
matter with you.
- - - -
(Shakey1aa at aol.com)
The meeting, you told me, is given out by
the hospital and institution committee of
the district. That committee probably has
guidelines that are given out to the members
that take the commitments. The committee
makes the guidelines. If you don't want to
adhere to the guidelines of that committee,
you have two options:
1. don't take the commitment
2. ask your home group's GSR to discuss it
at the district meeting and then have the
DCM taken it to the area meeting as a concern.
There is no reason to get upset about this.
Pray about it. Talk to your service sponsor
about it. Remember that an informed group
conscience with substantial unanimity will
finally decide what is best.
Shakey Mike Gwirtz