Tradition 7 – Shared Responsibility

Tradition Seven – Shared Responsibility

Each group ought to be fully self-supporting declining outside contributions

Shared Responsibility
by David W (NY)

Tradition Seven is about responsibility. Part of addiction is an unwillingness to accept responsibility for one's actions, to accept that there is a cause and effect relationship between sexually acting out and a multitude of consequences, physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual. It is as if, as active addicts we wanted to live in a fantasy world one in which the 'reality principle' has no effect. It also seems that even in recovery, (which is a slow process both for the individual and the group), a degree of denial concerning real needs sometimes remains. As part of taking responsibility for our action Tradition Seven asks us, as individuals and as groups, Intergroups and at the ISO level, to explore our relationship to money. This involves the practical need of paying the rent for the group, supporting the activities of the local Intergroup (such as maintaining a local phone line, paying for conferences, purchasing literature and printing meeting lists). At ISO it involves such things as printing literature, maintaining a national phone line, holding an international conference. Here we realize that the spirituality talked about in the program is not a fantasy world in which we merely wish for a desired outcome but that it may actually involve planning, determined action and, sometimes, actual sacrifice on our part.

The simplest interpretation of this tradition is that groups cannot rely on any entity or individuals outside of the groups for monetary support. When members of groups are forced to take monetary responsibility for their own groups' survival they learn that recovery is SCA is an active, not a passive process. Supporting a group involves taking such action. 

Self-support for the group also refers to a group's collective acceptance of the responsibility of filling service positions. If no one is willing to be chair or treasurer of a group, then that group sometimes can not survive. It may also be dangerous for Groups, Intergroups and ISO to become dependent on a small number of individuals who take service positions over and over again. This is not self-supporting for the group as a whole. It is dependence on a small group of individuals. 

Finally there may be individuals who, because of personal circumstance, can not make monetary contributions and/or can not take service positions. The responsibility required in this tradition is primarily that of the group as a whole and in not meant to make individual members feel guilty. No one can be turned away from SCA because he or she can not give money or do service. Tradition Three is clear about this. Also, no member of SCA should be made to feel inferior because of his or her inability to contribute in these ways as well. We are all equal in our voice and in our value in SCA regardless of how much money we give, or how much service we do. But individuals who can not support a meeting's monetary needs or by doing service can nevertheless, support the group's ability to carry the message through their verbal shares in the meeting. Those who can not, or do not share, can do service by listening to others when others share – since being heard is part of the way in which we are healed of our sexual compulsion. If no one were in the rooms to listen to us when we shared in a meeting, it is unlikely that we would be able to recover. Sharing is a way which supports the recovery process, not only of ourselves but of others as well, and listening in a way that supports not only our own recovery but that of others, are also ways in which everyone can contribute to the self-supporting nature of a group.