Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The ACA Promises

Many adult children of alcoholics have heard "The Promises" of ACA recovery. If you haven't or if it's been a while, someone was kind enough to post a creative video of them on Youtube as seen below.

The ACA Promises

Check out the Orange County ACA website at: Orange County Adult Children


Purplesong (Vanessa) said...

Thank you for posting this video. Its very helpful and pleasant to watch and certainly needs to be shown as much as possible, wherever possible. Thanks for the work you do with your blog. Not everyone responds but people are out there relying on your guidance and information!

C said...

Thank you!

sparky said...

Could someone please tell me where these Promises came from.

Was there actually a group conscience at ACA WSO?

Or was it like the ACA Text appeared to me that "They (a very limited few)" just started calling it the ACA Text and the ACA Promises...and everyone also just allowed them to take the initiative.

If there was actually no intergroup, region or twelve step service structure, which is what it appears to me happened, then The ACA Promises themselves and the intire ACA Text are actually appear against the 12 step principals of a "group conscience."

Not saying they are not good,for my personal recovery and finding my OWN voice I for one personally do not like decisions made for me especially when I feel they are made by hereos in control etc...

Progress not perfection,


sparky said...

Although I like alot of the 12 step videos on Youtube I sense this is against Traditions placing "Promises" anywhere other than where 12 step people are gathered. I know the Traditions have a grey area and many think this is a new way to carry the message. I think it had all been discussed and decided on long ago.

The more I think about it the "Promises" area in general is all on a slippery slope of promotion.

Anyone else have any Traditions knowledge about Promotion vs. Attraction?

ACA Text
page 546

"Another way organizations promote themselves is through enticing others with various promises....There are no pitches and no grand promises."

In my understanding the original AA promises written in the 1939 big book were out way before the Traditions were even accepted by the "global group conscience" in 1955.

I was taught it is a program of attraction not promotion and sharing my experience, strength and hope is best done with others in recovery and to avoid promoting the program.

Anyway I am still learning myself the importance of service "as a whole" and complete understanding of the principals of service and guideline of carrying the message.

Also I am very interested in the origin of who and how many decided these were the ACA Promises. If there was no service structure to speak of... "letting other take the initiative".

It appears to me history has repeated itself with these promises, like when Bill wrote the AA big book and so many others just accepted what he wrote.

In my recovery all of this including me using my voice and asking questions is part of the promises coming true in my life. I hope this does not appear as direct criticism I know the Traditions have a grey area. I am asking questions and trying to learn more.

I care today and know this is a very important topic to "ACA as A Whole" how we "Carry the message."

Thanks for listening


Anonymous said...

Glad to see such thoughtful insights and queries here.

I think The Promises brings a needed balance to ACAs who look for goals and positive reinforcement. It is so easy for "us" to fall into beating ourselves up or wallowing in our dysfunction. The Promises reminds us of what is possible. It is a wake up call to that entrenched low self esteem mindset that things can change!

I don't believe The Promises video being displayed here or on video outlets such as Youtube is to indoctrinate people into joining ACA. Its presentation in a visual format helps spread the message of hope and acts as a reminder to those already working their recovery. And is a newcomer is attracted to the message, they can take the initiative to find out more. Had the video been sponsored by an official ACA group or org and ended with "Join ACA Today" or with "Visit this website:_________" then I think that would be crossing the line.

Restricting access to this message is neither promotion or attraction. It seems exclusionary and limiting to the very people who may get the most out of it.

And how does one define attraction vs. promotion anyway? If I share my experience, strength and hope with someone that has expressed an interest, am I not promoting the ACA fellowship in some sense?

Well, that's my 2 pesos. Thanks for listening.

sparky said...

"Through many painful experiences, we think we have arrived at what that policy ought to be. It is the opposite in many ways of usual promotional practice.

We found that we had to rely upon the principle of attraction rather than promotion...They were sure A.A. could go faster and further if it availed itself of modern publicity methods."


Also what about the Tradition of anonymity? When I see I can get directly to personal website information and view a full name from the youtube videos and from other areas too. When I see for example someone carrying the message and posting something recovery related where I can also find a direct link to a personal website selling personal books or items sends red flags go up for me.

Carrying the message and money don't mix in most cases. This had all been discussed over an over again in alot of places.

Yes, I have issues with ACA WSO they are so new and small and in a major growing phase but for me to be asked to attend an ACA WSO meeting to confront a person or persons I feel already abused me more than once..which by the way I did try to confront them in a meeting more than once already.

I have PTSD and am not subjecting myself to more yes I gossip in sorts but don't put the names with the faces. Also within a fellowship I was told I actually can name names too when it comes to violations of the Traditions and violation of service positions. It is actually even recommended disussing these things! I have never come up against actual WSO Trustes themselves not following their own Traditions....until about two years ago.

I was told and it says in the recommended A.A. Service Manuel until ACA gets there own that; "If we don't like criticism don't get into a service position." Putting ourselves out there opens us up to the dreaded criticism.

Trustees servants or anyone carrying the message is in sorts the guardian of the Traditions too leading by example be it good or bad.

If they are not following the Traditions they do need to know that! It could very well effect everone "As A Whole" and cost lives too. As with anyone violating Traditions giving Twelve step recovery a bad name by possibly making money off the programs, using the programs as a self appointed spokesperson etc...etc....

Over and over it says "We lead by example" if we want to carry the message we have to know what that message is and how to carry it with-in the guidelines of the Tradition which the Traditions ARE part of the 12 step message.

In my understanding we keep our anonymity at the level of press, radio, film and INTERNET when in the public eye not only to protect ourselves but to protect the fellowship as well.

Sadly, even the honest ones trying to carry the message with a passion are limited, besides who is to sort them out from the dishonest ones? If we all learn and follow the Traditions it protects us all and our continued healthy growth "As A Whole" individually and collectively.

Funny I learned alot more getting ticked off by those trying to control things and learned more about the Tradions simply to protect myself from others governing people (me), places and things.

I am using my anger for passion about recovery. Still learning more evey day. One day at a time. Progress not perfection.

sparky said...

Oh yeah, and using copyrighted literature the Promises are copyrighted literate and if ACA WSO gave permission surlly they would have included that permission along with the video as part if the deal os so I would think.

This may also possibly be a situation of Al-anon ACOA members using non conference approved literature too, The Promises and The Problem and The Solution are ACA WSO's conference approved literature... and they are NOT conference approved Al-anon literature.

Then in that case this may include the Tradition Seven "Self Supporting", and of course finding a full name and a website linked to these Youtube Promises,affiliation issues in sorts ,maybe?

Anyway, this is all been discussed before and I am simply voicing what I have heard saidand learned myself. Hoping to share my experience ,strength and hope...showing love and tolerance too not trowing the book at.

I do know there is a grey area but reasonable sure it has crossed over into the darker side.

I do enjoy these videos surly in the future there may be less controversies with a little adjustment.

sparky said...

If I take what I want and leave the rest but know someone in not following the Traditions I have perhaps just become and enabler and a supporter of dysfunction and allowed it to continue and allowed newcomers to see an example of what 12 step recovery is not, perhaps allowed them to be confused and allowed the dysfunction to continue, which effects my recovery and perhaps "ACA As A Whole."

In my understanding 12 step recovery in general is not doing so well, perhaps these type reasons are why. The 2007 AA convention said participations down. I have suspicion of why that is so.

I do love the videos too, honestly I do! I applaud the efforts, as long as nobody is making money off them and following the Traditions, fine. Surly they can be done within the Traditions or closer in line with them but I question even that a bit.

As mentioned there is copyright issues too and asking ACA WSO's permission first would be a good idea. Also this in ACA WSO conference approved literature NOT Al-anon conference approved literature as with The Problem and The Solution..

Those are NOT Al-anon conference approved literature and one of the ACA WSO first three identity paper is called "Wholeness Through Separation" not only where they talking about separating from parents they were talking about "ACA's separation from Al-anon"...which is still an ongoing issue and actually listed on a handout from the 2007 Handbook Presentation as an issue/obstacle to ACA's growth.

There are two different Tradition Seven funds, two different first steps, two completely different organizations.

Al-anon is a great program , I have PTSD and currently feel I need ACA's approach and to "The Solution" to be around others talking about PTSD and "the effects of growing up in a dysfunctional family" identifying with others using the same literature as much as possible., supporting each other and that fellowship.

I personally would like to see ACA grow and have healthy meeting and healthy participants that understand the Traditions and what they are so important.

I am just learning too and hope we all can do more than take what we like and leave the rest. Perhaps taking what we need and leave the rest?

I feel like I am being fried for trying to stand up for something I believe in. I feel the upholding of the Traditions are so important to my recovery and alot of other people's recovery too.

Perhaps not following the Traditions is why ACA actually DIED the first time? I can't recreate the pefect family (I can try) but I am told this new ACA family lives by spiritual principles and is a little different from my family of origin.

An old quote from a 1991 Inner Child workbook: "Take what you need and discard the rest" Betty Bernard, a spiritual teacher in Northern California

Another old quote from a 1992 paper from Marty S., one of the author(s) of the original ACA Identity Papers Committee,


"There are several precautions for people with trauma --induced dissociation who attend an ACA meeting -- premature or compulsive disclosure could lead to retaliatory "kickback," They may be overstimulated by other people's sharing and not everyone is fully recovered -- hence the slogan,"Take what you want and leave the rest."

Thanks for listening-again, where that timer when we need it. LOL