Bill W and Roy K

In the 1990s, prior to the Cleveland Clarification,  my grand-sponsor for a while, a prominent member who endorsed and very actively promoted the liberal interpretation of the sobriety definition wrote in an email

“…leave it up to each person to decide what that (spouse and marriage) means just as we leave the decision on what God means to each person”

Early drafts of the AA 12 Steps did not contain the words “as you understand God”.  It was only following vigorous debate and the insistence of one section of the fellowship that those words were included when the AA Big Book was published in 1939.(see AA Comes of Age).  All SA literature was submitted for review to the fellowship prior to publishing. In the over 30 year history of SA the words “marriage as you understand marriage” have never even been proposed for inclusion in the literature.  This concept was assumed to be part of SA by with none of the rigorous process that AA went through to formally make a similar idea part of that program.

Interestingly my one-time grand-sponsor, when speaking on SA tapes, quotes Bill W clarifying why “defects of character” was used in Step 6 but “shortcomings” in Step 7: Bill W used the two words  as synonyms: he learnt in school not to use the same word in two adjoining sentences.  Bill W is given the right to clarify the meaning of words in AA literature but Roy K, the SA founder, author of most SA literature, is denied the same right.  Such clarifications or opinions he expresses were negated as “just one member’s opinion”.

Since SA was founded Roy K  continuously and consistently clarified the intent, purpose and underlying principles of the meaning of the terms marriage and spouse in SA literature.   The Cleveland Clarification restated the founding intent of SA and put an end to a sustained period of disunity.