A core principle behind the Seventh Tradition is remaining free of outside influences. Certainly money is needed to fulfill our Primary Purpose, but outside funds often come with strings attached. We must be ever vigilant to remain free of such outside influences. It is best if Groups can support themselves through the voluntary contributions of their members.
Self-support is one of our goals. We aren't quite there yet. Half of our members don't have jobs so it is tough for them to give every time the basket is passed. What we do have plenty of is Fellowship and personal support for each other. That's what really counts. I feel that as long as we can keep the door open for ourselves and newcomers, we are doing fine.
Our Group had a big debate recently on self-support. Some of us thought that getting free space for our meetings was not being self-supporting and other's thought it was just fine. We seemed to have a pretty even split on this issue so what we did was to take a Group Conscience as to if this donated space would cause any problems for DRA as a whole and if it appeared to suggest any affiliation or endorsement with the church that let us use the meeting room. After much discussion, we decided that in our situation right now, holding our meetings in donated space was doing no harm. We decided to take another Group Conscience on this matter a year from now.
We were taking in more than we were spending so decided to save three months running cost and send anything over that to the DRA World Network Central Office so they could better spread the message. We can change that if we need some extra to put on a dance or something, but as a rule of thumb we decided that three months ahead was a prudent reserve to have on hand.
We do our 7th Tradition half way through the meeting right before the smoke break. They always remind everyone that there are no dues or fees for membership and that any contributions are strictly voluntary. Then they say what the money is used for. In our case it's for coffee, DRA approved literature, and the rent.
We pay a token rent of only $10.00 per month. We feel that is a good-will gesture to the church and helps us remain independent and self-supporting. At first we couldn't afford it but we made sure we left the room cleaner than we found it with the chairs in perfect order and everything spotless.
Our Group probably wouldn't be considered self-supporting yet on all levels. We use an empty conference room at the treatment center for no charge and they even supply us with coffee and snacks and have let us use their copy machine and paper to print up schedules. More than half of the people at our meetings are inpatients who are going through treatment and we ask that they do not contribute at our Seventh Tradition break. However, we feel that self-support happens on more levels than just financial. Our members support each other in our personal dual recoveries through meetings, phone and email networking, sponsoring, and our service work. We give back to the Fellowship and the treatment center by sharing our recovery and hope with clients and their family members as our weekend meetings are Open DRA meetings.
Record keeping is really important. The club charges us half of whatever we bring in from our Seventh Tradition for rent. We have two meetings a week and pay our rent at the end of each month. We pretty much run on a shoe-string from month to month. We need to know how much is for rent and how much we have left for coffee, DRA literature, and things like printing meeting flyers. It's not rocket science but good bookkeeping stops problems before they get started.