From the May 2017 magazine.

Not sure yet

A past delegate shares how his group welcomes newcomers who don’t yet know if they belong

Recently, I facilitated an inventory at a home group where they were struggling with attracting newcomers. We came to realize that the attendance had started to drop when the members began addressing “problems other than alcohol” and “singleness of purpose” issues. At their meetings, the chairperson would question new attendees as to why they were there, and whether they were alcoholics. Admittedly, they were especially tough on court-ordered people who had a paper to be signed. While the meetings may have seemed more focused, the attendance fell so much that the group no longer had new alcoholics walking in the door looking for help. Without the lifeblood of new members, the old-timers didn’t have new members to sponsor.

For the first year of my sobriety, I was still questioning whether or not I was an alcoholic. I would say I was an alcoholic for fear of not fitting in, or because I believed alcoholism and drug addiction were the same thing, but I did not believe I was truly alcoholic. In order to follow your “rules,” I would substitute the word alcohol in my story when my actual experience was with drugs in those instances. Later in my sobriety, I stopped substituting the word “alcohol” for the word “drugs” and instead opted for the term “outside issues.” However, I still lacked the fundamental understanding of identification.

-- Terry E.

Louisiana, USA

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