Friday, January 24, 2014

Keep Coming Back...

The other day I was cruising along, reading my Facebook posts, when one caught my eye.  It wasn’t the typical, “I hate my alarm clock” post or “delay the Common Core curriculum” I’ve seen a ton of lately.  Instead, it was a link to this video (click "post" if it doesn't pop up):


Post by The Five.


The above man is Bob Beckel.  He’s on a television show called The Five on the Fox News channel.  Beckel is the lonely liberal on a panel of conservatives.  Normally, he takes being the sole democrat with ease but I’ve seen days where it’s been a bit much for him.  He’s dropped the F bomb twice on live television – which I found hysterical.

But, this isn’t about politics or his brash demeanor.  Rather, it’s about what he did during the recent snowstorm.  He made his way home than found out he was needed to help chair an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting at LaGuardia airport.  Out into the storm Bob went, to help his fellow AA members.

At the end of the show, one of the other panelists decided to do a, “shout out” for Bob and his good deed.  When I saw the post, my initial reaction was one of appreciation.  Bob is really a teddybear on the inside.  I respected his dedication to his recovery program, and how he helped others work their own recoveries.  I felt the shout out was well deserved.  It takes a special kind of person to volunteer at twelve-step meetings.  I felt he exemplified the slogan, “Keep coming back. It works when you work it.”

Then, I read the comments.  I felt somewhat discouraged.  I found many of them to be just rude and hateful.  But, when you’re in the public eye, I suppose some people just can’t help but be mean.  I ignored those comments and focused instead on the ones that attacked him for not respecting the 11th tradition:

  •          Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films. Al-Anon Addition: We need guard with special care the anonymity of all A.A. members.

My S-Anon group uses the same steps and traditions as AA & Al-Anon.  I’d always interpreted the 11th tradition a bit different than what I read in the comments.  I get the whole “attraction rather than promotion” part of the tradition.  It’s best to lead by example, speak from our own experiences rather than tell everyone we meet we’re in a 12-step program.  If a person wants to know how I got where I am today, than I will share about my specific program.

However, I was a bit confused (I suppose I still am) about maintaining personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films.  I see no harm in what Bob shared.  He didn’t mention who attended the meeting with him or even where it was specifically held.  If he’s comfortable enough in his own recovery to share that he’s in AA, more power to him, I say.  To me, it sounded more like he was working step 12:

  •         Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

How many alcoholics did Bob reach that night in the storm?  How many more did he reach by allowing his journey to be shared on national television without shame?

I understand the possibility of relapse and how those he inspired may see that as failure rather than an opportunity to dust off and start again.  But, I see more potential for him to motivate versus deter.


Thoughts?

~~~@   ~~~@   ~~~@

Speaking of meetings, I am attending one today. So, I may be late getting to your blogs, but I'll be there!

Have a beautiful weekend everyone and be well!

14 comments:

  1. I don't think he did anything wrong by sharing - and he violated no one's confidentiality. I love Bob Beckel, always have.

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    1. Beckel is very outspoken and can be pretty abrasive at times. I'd rather listen to someone that passionate about his beliefs than to someone who is playing to the cameras. I think he's a great member of the panel.

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  2. I don't see anything wrong either. He wasn't outing the people in the group at all.

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    1. Those were my thoughts exactly. As long as he keeps their identity anonymous, I feel he can share his own experiences.

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  3. This causes a bit of a mixed reaction for me. On the one hand, I find it great that he's being open and he probably is inspiring other people, but on the other, that is breaking the anonymity thing. As you said though, if he doesn't talk about the other people there, or say where things are happening, then it should be all fair and square. I guess if he was really breaking the rules and doing things he shouldn't, then someone high up in AA would speak up. Unless there's no such thing and it's pretty hard to be kicked out of AA. I'm not really sure how it works.

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    1. From what I understand - and I could be wrong here - there is a kind of board that are considered trusted servants, that could step in and say, "hey, man, not cool." I know there was a blog ordered to change their name because they used an anon group in the title and the anon group didn't want people to think they supported what was said on the blog even though it was always presented positively.

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  4. I don't know who this guy is, and I don't care who this guy is (I hate politics) but I don't see the big deal, since, as you mentioned, it's not like he outed who he was there with.

    Frankly, I wonder what the responses would be if he wasn't involved with anything political. Thanks to this wonderful two party system of ours, where you're either one thing or the other (and never possibly anything in between), any source of blame for the tiniest thing is merely party based. "Oh, that dumb liberal, look at them breaking the rules." Or "Oh, that stupid conservative, of COURSE they'd be doing that." Would there still be as much finger pointing if this was just a regular news presenter? Somehow I think not.

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    1. You are the exact opposite of me. I love politics! Of course, it's a recent thing. I think it happens when you hit 35 or so. All of a sudden, things they do in Washington seem important, although it still remains extremely frustrating. I do agree that if he were just a random talk show guy, he wouldn't have been bashed the way that he was. It's pretty sad.

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  5. the only person he outed was himself and that is his right to do if he sees fit. So I see nothing wrong with it. And yeah people are just attacking him because they do so with politics and now they just have another way to do so.

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    1. Exactly, Pat. He didn't hurt anyone or threaten anyone's identity. There is no reason to attack him, especially personally. It is more a reflection on the people who insult him than it is about him.

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  6. Facebook is littered with people who have to find a loophole to complain through. I think when you are a lone ranger like him on that panel, it helps both sides to have to stop and realize, "Hey, he's a human being."

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  7. I don't know who this guy is, but celebrities routinely admit to attending AA meetings and share their stories about how it keeps them sober. Maybe people picked on this guy simply because he is a political commentator and the hate was about something else entirely.

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  8. People are never happy; they always find something to complain about.

    He didn't out anybody in the group, that's good.

    He didn't talk about specifics in the group, that's good.

    But if no one ever ever talked about Al-Anon, I wouldn't know about it. Depressed people don't leave their room. What if the only way they find out things is through the TV?

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  9. He broke tradition 12 more than 11 because he announced he is in AA and that was at the point of the press - therefore it could (note I say could) mean people are attracted to the personality not the principle. That is the argument - he's compromised his humility. I like you think sharing AA (or other fellowships) are good and work is how you pass it on. However now the line between press etc. and personal space is blurred. I share openly on the web but strictly I break the guidelines as interpreted in the UK at least. Some are trying to get a question at UK conference to include Internet on the press, radio, etc. but I disagree - I'm not press and this is my personal space... with the new world it is murky. 70 years ago being on the press or tv, radio, film was clear... now is it less so. Is my blog press? I don't think so - it is me expressing myself on the internet - I don't broadcast it cos I don't promote it, it is just there and people may fall over it but I don't promote it. That is where I'd like to see clarity...

    However - I still think this guy broke 12 - he placed potentially his personality about the principle of AA.

    12th tradition long form... 12.—And finally, we of Alcoholics Anonymous believe that the principle of anonymity has an immense spiritual significance. It reminds us that we are to place principles before personalities; that we are actually to practice a genuine humility. This to the end that our great blessings may never spoil us; that we shall forever live in thankful contemplation of Him who presides over us all.

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Thank you for taking the time to comment. I'm here to help any way I can.