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.


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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!