Grapevine Online Exclusive

Published October 2011.

Web Exclusive: Saving Seats

A member calls this custom into question

"The seat-saving practice alienates many, and opportunities are missed to meet and greet new folks to the meeting."

I have been attending AA meetings for nearly 17 years now and for the first 16 years of that stretch I had never attended a meeting where seats were saved. The fellowships that have been instrumental in my recovery during the first 16 years of sobriety never condoned such behavior. Only in the past year, after moving to Southern California, did I encounter such a beast.

And a beast it is. What does that say to the newcomer, the most important person in the room? Or to the visitor or AA member recently relocated? It is a practice that says to me that some alcoholics are more important than others. What happened to principals before personalities?

-- Alison B.

Long Beach, California

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