bleeding deacon n. a person who believes himself indispensible to a group, esp. a person who becomes so over-involved in a group’s internal management, policies, or politics as to lose sight of its larger goals; (hence) a person with a negative, moralizing character, who acts like the sole source of wisdom. Editorial Note: Most cites are connected to Alcoholics Anonymous or to similar 12-step programs. The historical information in the 1998 and 1999 cites is not verified. (source: Double-Tongued Dictionary)

  1. folmstead says:

    The first reference to “bleeding deacon” that I am aware of, is in the book “Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions”, published by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., copyright, 1952, first printing, April 1953.
    In the chapter entitled “Tradition Two”, on page 135, there is a description of 2 types of AA oldtimers. “Elder Statesmen”, who are willing to “wait on the sidelines…” allowing group conscience to guide decisions, and, “Bleeding Deacons”, “convinced the group cannot get along without (them)…”  The chapter goes on to say “nearly every oldtimer has gone through this process. Happily most survive and become elder statesmen.”

  2. I have been aware of the need to find a hard copy of this. All of the examples of this on the Internet are suspect, because they all seem to have been copied from person to person, and they vary in content and length. I have not been able to lay my hands on a hard copy. Did you transcribe this from a printed version? If so, I will convert it to a citation and add it to the entry.

  3. folmstead says:

    Hi Grant,  Sorry for the delay in responding, but I’ve been out of town.

    “Did you transcribe this from a printed version?”

    The answer is yes, I did transcibe it from the book, but as you see by the “…“s, I have edited out some of the interior of these passages, in trying to be concise.  I used the same “…” covention I used, when quoting critics, in ads I wrote for TV shows. Of course, in those cases, I was really “spin doctoring” to make the quote seem as positive as possible.

    That all being said, I suggest either you get a copy of the book for yourself from AA World Services (it is most definitely still in print), and double check my editing. If you like, I could forward you a copy. Or, I could transcribe the whole passage and you could use what you wished.

    Let me know what you’d like me to do.


    PS: I don’t work for AA, but I am a fairly long term member.

  4. Very helpful! Thanks. I think your transcription is good enough to use here.

  5. How do you deal with a bleeding deacon within a group or particular sector?

  6. Darlene Ray says:

    I wish you had a search site on here so we could find words.  Maybe you do, and I’ve missed it.  What say you?

  7. You mean the “search site” button that is on every single page of the Double-Tongued Dictionary? And links to the <a >full search page</a>, too?

  8. Darlene Ray says:

    I am trying to find the word coinkedink – not sure of the spelling that is why I am searching for it.  Of course this is slang for coincidence.  I typed in coinkedink for the search site, but didn’t get anything.  It would be nice if you had heard a slang word and wanted to look it up, if indeed it were on this site, by typing it in and hitting the search for a definition.  Thanks for your response.

  9. Steve Short says:

    There is a Rock band from The Howard Stern Show named Bleeding Deacons.

  10. harry4062 says:

    This can’t be used at meetings! It’s not approved by the higher ups. This isn’t right, I am going to tell the Guru’s and they will set you straight. I will now return to my corner, continue pouting, until which time I deem my services are required. Hahahahahaa.

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