Burning Desire to Share
It is easier to run away than to stand up and speak out
about things that we feel are wrong. When I hear that members are pushing others away by this "Holier than thou"
attitude it disturbes me. Does that mean there is something
wrong with me for feeling disturbed if traditions are
being violated. I don't think so.
I just said it is easier to just be quiet and walk
away, perhaps starting a new meeting. But recently I
have found that it bothers me more if I say nothing
when I see something as an injustice. What happens if
a new or newer member attends that meeting and is
repulsed by the same thing that is driving you away.
If you see something, say something. Stand up and
speak out loudly and clearly. If you find out that
you are totally wrong (it never happens to me)(smile) you
can learn a little more humility. Manny Q.
I sometimes jot down notes at the meeting, as I have
trouble remembering something I want to share on. I write on my coffee cup which is thrown away at the end of the
meeting. Some members are uncomfortable with others
taking notes. Sometimes a "gem" will be repeated and
spread around, attributing to a certain person. I don't
believe any one member ought to be singled out.
At a recent meeting the speaker gave a good talk
about misery and recovery. Before he closed, he repeated
a "slogan" he thought was appropriate. The slogan was
as follows: "The suggestions are free, You only pay
for the ones you don't take". After it was repeated
a half dozen times, I spoke up objecting to the
"slogan". I was attacked verbally for objecting.
The following day, at an "As Bill Sees It" meeting
we read a message from Bill W.' Page 199. Bill explains
how harmful this pious and preachy attitude can be.
The member who attacked me was there and shared that now he understood. Another member shared that he now understood
why reading How It Works aloud at meetings can be so
harmful to newcomers. "What an order!. Let me out of
here". The "do it as I suggest, or else pay the price" attitude does not benefit anyone, newcomer or early
timer. We are all here only by the grace of God. I
suppose that could be considered just my own personal
opinion. I try to listen to everything members have to
say. My listening helps them as it helps me. Some
members just need more help than others. Some are
sicker than others, used to be sometimes heard.
If this "husband" is taking up more than his
share of the time, maybe it could be addressed at
the next group conscience meeting. The group, not
his wife, ought to address the issue. ANONYMOUS
well im not doing really any reading out of the big book really cause im not much of a reader. I just go to the meetings and listen and it has help me out alot and i have read a lil bit out of the big book if its suggested by another aa member. but i am working the steps though. right now im working on also getting a new sponsor and starting the 4th step so yeah
Counting the days, each day.....some easier than others.Some hours are harder than others, but am still getting through without calling anyone. Bad....huh?? Sure I have a sponsor but either she works or I work or we poop out at night & don't talk or...we've been in & out of town. Oh sure I have my phone lists, but deep down I really really miss having a close girlfriend, my drinking girlfriends. Life is so.o.o busy that the thought at age 55 startng a NEW sober girlfriend relationship takes work, I think, but I guess I should work on it. Right God??
Yes I go to meetings, but I don't know......sometimes I feel like it's all "fake happy". Oh well..I'll keep trying....& am even looking forward somewhat to the FL AA event in Palm Harbor, but why...am going all alone, but then again I like my "space" & will meet people & have fun. I may look for a roomie, afterall I have a suite, but I want to takes some other courses online while there too that I need to take & don't feel like being social in the suite. Bad huh?? I also need to get back to exercise. Maybe I'll do that at Palm Harbor if not before...since I've gained 15-20 lbs since 8 mths ago. NOT good, I know, & should read the BB more, I know. I get depressed a bit, too, when I hear a friend from Haz. rehab has relapsed...several have actually already. Scary......but I pray for them to stay sober. I think the thought of knowing I spent $17,000 for my 1st (& only..that's being positive..LOL) rehab....scares me to stay sober too....don't have that kind of $$ to go back. Is really hard though sometimes. PS: My lucky 16 yr old just called from St. Thomas off a cruise. Hadn't heard from him in days till now. AAaahhh that's why I'm sober. I love my kids more than anything & want to see them grown old & vice versa. Thanks for listening...time to get out & walk my rescue crazed dog. She loves me so much too like my kids.PS: Have been separated for years.....counting the days to one year to see what comes of my strange relationship w/my kids Dad.I'm his 3rd wife, he's 14 1/2 yrs older & my 1st marriage & ONLY marriage, so I thought when walking down the aisle, but sure is TOUGH. He's very proud of my sobriety but....just isn't there for me really.Oh well..one day at a time!
Sounds like you have a lot going on in your life and maybe trying to do too much at once? Just a suggestion. I know I am 18-months sober and in the first year i tried to make up for EVERYTHING I didn't do while using. I have a problem with that 2-ton phone also. But, after making some calls a few times, its not so bad now. I highly recommend using that phone list. You will not find any better friends than in AA. You want a best friend - you're in the right place. I have more friends than ever - ones that don't ask for anything in return and will go completely out of their way to do anything for me. Hang in there. It gets better.
When I was 8 months sober I was lucky enough not to have a car...lucky, because I was forced to call that phone list to get to meetings. Lucky because I had a meeting in the car on the way, and had a meeting in the car on the way back. I, too, didn't think I really needed the "WE" part of the program and if I did I didn't really trust anyone anyway. I gained lots of weight, too. I was 120 lbs when I came into the program and now weigh a whole lot more. Granted, I am 22 years old then I was then.
Is it "bad" to not call your sponsor, to isolate? No. Nothing is "bad" as long as we stay sober. The ability to trust has likely been removed from you via years of hurt, but the worst thing about trust for me when I came in, and still sometimes after all these years, is that I don't trust myself. I remember being afraid to get a sponsor because I was finally convinced that I was crazy, and I thought I would pick someone as crazy as me. Which I did. But then I asked someone else, who had two years of sobriety, and worked the same schedule as me. After picking up at least 6 white chips I was willing to do anything to stay sober, so I called her. I read the Big Book, went to a TON of meetings, and prayed my a** off. Gradually, I learned to trust enough, myself and others, to become a part of.
Today, I still struggle with my tendency to isolate, but I am now completely convinced that the core of the program is the WE, the first word of the first step, and I have joined a home group that I am very involved in, I have a sponsor who I meet with and speak to often, and I have friends who I call. I go to the same meetings every week and I am letting myself be known. I had a lot of shame, deep shame, that kept me from the fellowship of others in AA, and I know believe that the only way to remove that shame is in the company of my fellows.
Hang in there. Go to meetings. Talk to people, even if you don't trust them. You may find that trust comes in time. My life today is far beyond what I thought I could ever have when I got sober. I have faced fear and found it to be a big Boogie Man. The promises have come true in my life. They can come true in yours as well, if only you work for them.
Love to you.
Hi, Sounds to me like your 8 months sober :) It takes time dear. Everything seems to be piling up sometimes when your that newly sober. At that point I can remember thinking that s-o-b-e-r- stood for son of a biscuit everything is real.
For me I had to learn to be patient with myself and not try to put my whole life in order overnight. It had taken me years to get this deep into the proverbial forest and would take years to get back out again. Just because I was pointed in the right direction didn't mean I didn't have a lot more work so might as well focus on the journey and what I do have and what I am doing right rather than what all I have left to do to get my life where I want it. God has a way of making beautiful things of my past mistakes when I'm trying to live His way.
Beating yourself up won't work so please stop doing that. Just pray for help to do what is necessary. The thing is none of us can do it without help. Keep reaching out! May peace be yours.
i remember waiting for coins,but that is not wot this program is all about. it is just a lil incentive. when u start touching that inner spirituality, and it will happen, trust me. u will know when it does,and it is not fake. my family is so behind me and proud of my achievements in this program and the new outlook on life that i have, y would one want to go back to the old alcoholic path that i took for over 40 yrs. i love my new life and would not trade it for any amount of personal belongings.keep positive read ur books daily and let ur mind be free of the alcoholic thoughts, learn humility and ask god to remove all shortcomings. good luck to u and never stop believing in our quest for sobriety.
Many of my drinking friends just thought I left to go to the bathroom, never missed me at all. Some friends. Other close friends have remained so.
Why not stop saying "I know", and do?
Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more information? It is extremely helpful for me.
I came into the program in 2005. I have gratefully had a wonderful life in AA. I have experienced serenity, so much joy and fellowship. I have had a wonderful spiritual experience. I even lost two family members and continued to work the program and be grateful. Recently my mother died. I am almost 60 years old. I am feeling so empty and alone. I pray and nothing is helpful. I unexpectedly feel like everything is over. I even knew she was going to die 18 months ahead and did everything to have no regrets and to be a loving daughter to her. What is happening?
I, too, lost my mother after being sober for 23 years. I never wanted a drunk so badly in my entire life! I held on, one "ten minute" at a time, feeling spiritually bankrupt. The Big Book says that no "human" power can relieve us from our alcoholism, and that "God could and would, if He were sought." Yet, at this time, I felt so far from my H.P. That distance put be far from my H.P. and closer to taking that drink. Fortunately, someone with a great deal of time in the program pointed out that I was grieving, and it will pass. I did a lot of writing and grieving work. I made it through, but it was not easy. Many things in my sobriety are NOT easy. It doesn't include "Easy" as one of the Promises in the Big Book. Treat yourself with kit gloves.
Hi, I'm sorry for your loss. please consider grief counseling. Dealing with loss is a process.there are many groups out there.
It sounds like normal grieving. You not only lost your
mom, if you were helping to care for her, you may have
lost your main purpose in life. Make your best effort to
continue going to meetings on a regular basis and
maybe try some new meetings. Share with others how you
feel. It will get better, and it will take time. Others
have probably said that to you. Try to find someone else
you can help, maybe a new person who is struggling. These
are difficult times, and a lot of us struggle. But liquor
is not the answer. It may have worked at one time, but
that time is past. But we have an adequate substitute:
Alcoholics Anonymous. and the Power that I find there. I
am sure you will feel better in time. We have a lot of
work yet to do. One foot in front of the other. And
consider the slogans, except the Think, Think, Think one.
I sometimes overdo that one. Just hold on. ANONYMOUS
I first found myself in the rooms in Jan 2009. It was great I felt I had found what was missing. Which was my spirituality. As time passed I started going to less and less meetings and started falling away from my higher power when my life got better. About a month ago i relapsed and got drunk, started a fight with my wife and earned a dwi. Of course now all of the self loathing and shame has returned. I feel further away from my higher power than ever its like I just lost the connection. I started over with step one and feel that i've made it back to step three. I have been making meetings, but i still feel beaten. Has anyone had a similar experience? Or any advice that would be helpful. Is it harder to find once you've lost it or did I ever really have it?
I have experienced the "lost connection" that you speak about. I've heard people say that your higher power never leaves you and is always there with open arms just waiting for your return. The story we build up in our own heads fills us with fear that our connection is lost forever or it will never be as strong as it once was. My experience has been that the shame I put on myself showed up as a black cloud blocking a strong connection. As I set out once again to work my program the cloud slowly began to clear and I could feel the power of my higher power start to shine through. Then the miracle happened and the connection was back stronger than ever!! I was so grateful to once again have that relationship back. My life was empty without it and I ask my higher power in prayer to never allow me to break the connection again. Without it I am lost.
I got a DWI also and it was the best thing that ever happened to me, it got me to put AA first in my life.I got picked up for meetings by older members and I started sharing about myself, now I get regular meetings share from the heart.By sharing at regular meetings im getting recovery for myself, helping others and showing love to others in the fellowship, by showing love in the fellowship it helps me to show love in my home also. Recovery guaranteed
What is it you think you had and now lost or lost an now have?
All anyone has is a day at a time right here right now don't lose that too !!!!!!!
You didn't "lose" your sober time. You've just had an interruption. Of course you're feeling beaten. Alcohol has beaten you. Now you have to beat it by getting a sponsor, working the steps and going to a lot of meetings. I've relapsed many times but I now have 22 years of sobriety. Bill W. said (As Bill Sees It) not to worry too much about your slip. It may kick you upstairs rather than downstairs. Forgive yourself (God already has)and move forward being gentle with yourself and trusting God. Oh, and share in meetings what you're feeling.
Thanks. needed that too. 4 days....again.
Greatly appreciated, good to hear some real sobriety.
I have had some experience with this as I find myself in a similar situation. I think you need to find someone where you are located to reach out to and to talk about how you are feeling. I understand how much is hurts to ask for help but when you need it you just have to do it. Also yes it gets harder every time you go back out. I think you have it you just need to use a bit more action. We have to want to quit and then we have to work to stay that way! Just keep going to meetings and talking to your higher power he is there always, remember he has never left you. We make it hard for him to reach us sometimes. I wish you all the best and I know you can do this don't give up.
Bill W. said a slip can kick you upstairs instead of downstairs. Learn from this in the future you could possibly look at this a gift believe it or not. People talk about remorse, guilt, feeling beaten. Well, that's what the steps are for! Don't stop at step 3 keep working the steps. Take the suggestions you hear like: double up on your meetings, read the Big Book and 12/12, get a sponsor, call your sponsor everyday, work with the new person, prayer and meditation in the mornings, talk to another alcoholic everyday, coffee with alcholics after the meetings, go to sober functions. You can do this thing. We will help you. You are not alone anymore!
Our elders warned us about the growing rigidity in A.A.
in the late 1980's. I believe this approach is exactly
what they warned us about. Why do we continue making
these demands? What happened to: Have a seat. How do you
take your coffee? Listen to us for a while. Thank you for your time. You enrich our sobriety by being here. We
will help in any way we can. Welcome to A.A. ANONYMOUS
It's hard to say where your at without knowing you. Only you know if you had it before and thats all that matters. None of us are saints or have perfect adherence to this program. Some go further out then others. You know what trouble you have caused in your own life but you can't change what has happened and you can't worry about the future. "Yesterday is history and tomorrow is a mystery".
You have to ask you self the big question. Are you done? If you are then pick up the book and start reading.
Start with the title page and don't skip a page.
If you don't have a sponsor get one.
Don't wait for the judge to sends you to meetings. Get to one today. I know it's hard but it's only hard the first time. Go to at least one meeting a day.
Take the setps as thoroughly and rapidly as possible. Incorporate them into you life on a daily basis.
Most importantly turn your will over to God. With God in your life anything is possible.
Let everything else go except what is happening today. Only focus on the task at hand. One day at a time really works.
i guess ur could say thru my life i have relapsed many times. this last time in the program i have found new light and am going to meetings this time not court ordered. by reading the big book,12/12, and the daily reflections, i have found that inner peace and serenity. i have been sober for a year, first time that i can remember since i was very very young. it has opened new doors for me and the ppl around me, especially my family. meetings are my source of strength, and really a person can go thru life sober and be able to deal with anything that comes ur way. i met a fella named scott at my last meeting, he told me it only gets better, i was thinking, this is good, better is great! i feel the need to go to meetings in the hope of finding those ppl to give me serenity, and hope that i can be of assistance to anyone i can help stay sober
Believe it or not that's what happens when you drink !!!!\
Why is it the most insane thing one does is when SOBER? that is know what it's like today and pick up another drink !!!
Insanity or stupidity your pick.
Its hard to say if u ever really had it. i know i confused emotionalism for spirituality for awhile.
In 1991 i had worked through steps 1-9 and felt great. i felt so good, i didnt work 10,11, & 12 and i got drunk.
That last drink was the best thing that ever happened to me. i was able to fully conced to my innermost self that i am an alcoholic (step 1). then i worked all 12 steps with a willingness i never had before.
That was aug 1992 and i have been happy and sober since. I practice pages 84-88 from the big book daily and carry the message the best i know how.
The joy and serenity has multiplied steadily over the years.
Good luck to you and remember, our most satisfactory years are ahead of us
I have been through quite a bit in the past few years. I was hospitalized for depression. I got out, then two years later my alcoholism hit full force along with me abusing my medications which landed me in Detox. Thankfully I was smart enough to get myself to Detox as I knew this wasn't what I wanted. I had lived a long time with depression, self hate, no confidence, etc.... Since I have been sober (4 months) I have learned so much more about myself. In the beginning, I went to the meetings and was the quite person in the corner who would show up on time and leave right after the meeting so that I wouldn't have to meet or talk to anyone. I would shy away from anyone and everyone. I really didn't enjoy going but I thought that as long as I went to the meeting I would just stay sober. I have come to find out the meetings are way more than that. I have slowly opened myself up to AA and met people. It has been the best thing in my life. There are actually people out there who are wonderful and will care about you for you. They don't care about what you did they just care about you now and want to be there for you. It is like nothing I have ever experienced. It has made me so much happier and I actually feel good about myself. I can't get enough of going to my meetings and seeing all the people I have met. On the down side, my husband isn't as happy with this as I have met people that he now doesn't know. I depend on these people more in my sobriety because they understand where he doesn't. I also don't think that he likes the new me as much and honestly, I don't plan on changing back. It is really hard to come to that realization but it is something that I have to think about and I am not ready for it. My sponsor has told me that it is too early to worry about that part of my future and worry about me and now which I am doing but I do worry about my future. I just wanted to share to see if anyone else is going through the same thing.
"It is impossible to outgive The Spirit" anonymous
For 30+ years I've been a sober and, early on sometimes dry, agnostic member of AA, still and always starting every day with a meeting. I am confortable in my acceptance of a higher power with no idea what he, she or it is with no direct obligation to one molecule of humanity. I cherish the memory of my late wife and a favorite golden retriever, but I believe neither is waiting for me up on some cloud and sooner or later I shall also be dust and that's the natural way. I appreciate the gentle and comfortable assertion -- rather than confrontation-- of Steven Hawking in his current book, "The Grand Design," that there is no god or God and the laws of nature explain all about us. And in three decades and perhaps 4,000 AA meetings all over the world, I've most often found tolerance rather than aggression in meeting rooms. Til recently. ...And remarks including an oldtimer's, "They should rewrite the Chapter to the Agnostic and make it, Sure, agnostics are welcome but sooner or later you'll get it, and another oldtime echoing, There's a good reason we close every meeting with the Lord's Prayer.
Despite people in A.A. telling the world the only way to get sober is through god, I found that without drugs and alcohol clouding my senses god became irrelevant.
So was it your own thinking that got you to stop the drugs and alcohol? It was surly something that caused your change.
Are you also saying that you did this with out working the steps???
How long have you been sober? Good luck doing this on your own.
How can one do it on their own???? Do you live on earth?
I know a lot of lonely people sitting next to their sponsor in A.A. without God one can ONLY alone are you promoting yourself or your outside system?
Yes, in the past three decades we have "morphed" from
a fellowship to a Fellowship. This evolution has taken
place everywhere except in the preamble. In another decade
that will also be changed. It took Bill W. and Dr. Bob
their lifetimes to discover that the solution to reaching
the heart of the suffering alcoholic is love and tolerance.
But today we tell them: That one is God; May you find Him
NOW. I am convinced that the reading of "How It works"
aloud at meetings has been a horrible mistake and has
pushed millions from our rooms, millions who could have
been saved. I came to this belief when I finally fully
understood why the 24hr book was rejected by Bill W.
and his friends. ANONYMOUS
I am new...again. What is the 24hr book and why was it rejected?
You must really be new if you do not know what the
24hr book is. Or you are in an area which really knows
and obeys the traditions. The Little Black Book of
shame and guilt ought not be read or displayed in an
A.A. meeting room. Many A.A. members use it in their
personal life. I have loved and used the 24hr book
most of my A.A. life, but it was wisely rejected in
the early 1950's. Bill and his friends rejected it
as being too religious for our fellowship. I
believe Bill was concerned that A.A. would look
too much like, and become just another religion. Bill wrote in "Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age", that nothing
could be so unfortunate for A.A.'s future. Bill
repeated that warning in "Language of the Heart" in
a 1963 issue of the AA Grapevine. Those are two
conference approved books in addition to the AAGrapevine.
The 24 hours a day book was discussed in great depth
on earlier I-SAY postings. Thanks to Our I-SAY team
these messages remain for you to read. Great reading,
in my, not so humble, opinion. ANONYMOUS
I should have used the word develop instead of discover.
Bill and Dr Bob discovered the solution to alcoholism in
1935, using advice from Dr Silkworth. They spent the rest of their lives developing that solution and leaving it for
us. The final answer is offered to us on page 70 in AACA.
Bill writes in italics "THIS WAS IT". And this mutual give-
and-take is at the very heart of all of A.A.'s Twelth step
work today. This was how to carry the message. Bill wrote
that message in 1957. How many of us today have any idea
what our co-founder was writing about?
I think you are in the minority. I travel with business and attend meetings all over the US. I can't recall one that God was an issue. Sure people struggle with the God concept. But this program is based on Christianity. Do the research.
The Oxford group was strict. Bill and Bob relaxed the strictness to a God of your understanding to get through to the people that struggled with this concept. But step 11 clearly is all about growing your spiritual relationship with God.
I have seen more new comers succeed by gaining belief in God then those with resistance. Resistance is the biggest issue with AA success. If you can't get through the first 3 steps how can the rest of the program work??????
In reply to psanchez (Tue, 2012-07-03 19:03.) The author of the post that you replied to may be in a minority, but he is certainly not alone in what he thinks. Concept V tells me minority opinion can often be right, especially if and when there is an apathetic, uninformed, misinformed or angry majority. It should always be noted.
I live in Great Britain in an area where there is disunity. It is not pleasant. I think there is a tyranny of very small minorities invested with absolute power in AA, and a minority speaking out against them. The majority is either uninformed about the situation, and of early AA history, Traditions and Concepts or it is being misinformed about them in outside published literature. AA wasn’t the Oxford Group, neither were the Twelve Steps drawn entirely from the Oxford Group. They were also drawn from psychiatry and psychology. The basis for Step One came from psychiatrists Dr. Silkworth and Dr. Carl Yung; Step Eleven from psychologist William James. There are many ways of interpreting step eleven; they need not necessarily be of a religious form. I don’t know what material you have researched to get that misguided and narrow impression of yours. If it is from the internet and outside published literature, then I suggest your broaden your research to “A fragment of History: Origin of the Twelve Steps, The Language of the Heart pp 195-202, “Dr. Yung, Dr. Silkworth, and AA” The Language of the Heart pp 281-286. “After Twenty Five Years” The Language of the Heart pp 297-298. From what you say about strictness I think you are uninformed, or misinformed. From what the author of the previous post says, I think he is well informed. I think a few can see the writing on the wall. A minority now perhaps, but I am reassured to see that this minority opinion appears to be growing. I suggest you research the AA Grapevine archive over the last twenty years and research items such as “Cult-like or Just Welcoming?” and “Is AA just for Christians?” There is a sizable minority opinion voicing similar concerns. Look at what is on this forum, the outside sponsorship system. Look at the regional reports on the GSO website. Join all the dots.
Extract from East Canada Regional Forum 2010, Final Report; p3, workshop report: “What Are We Doing to Keep Prospective Members from Coming Back?”:
“Some attendees said the problems that A.A. groups have in failing to connect to newcomers is a Twelfth Step issue. One attendee mentioned that detoxes and other treatment facilities have preempted a lot of Twelfth Step work formerly done by A.A. members.” http://www.aa.org/en_pdfs/en_rf_finalrep_sept17-19-10.pdf
.Extracts from Final Report, Pacific Regional Forum 2010, p 5:
“Outside Issues- Are We on the Precipice?” “On the third topic, the consensus was that promoting school activities is an outside issue, and that tapes such as “Joe and Charlie” along with books other than A.A. publications are outside issues.” “A.A. And Spirituality” “Many of those outside Alcoholics Anonymous view it as a religious cult, and what is needed is good P.I. to address that misconception, said attendees” http://www.aa.org/en_pdfs/en_rf_finalrep_aug27-29-10.pdf
Extract from Final Report,South West Regional Forum 2009 Ask-It- Basket Questions p 6:
Q. In many groups where I live, members have begun to chant in unison “we think not” after someone reads the text on the promises on page 84 in the Big Book. I find this offensive and want to know G.S.O.’s opinion on this? http://www.aa.org/en_pdfs/en_rf_finalrep_october9-11-09.pdf
In Great Britain our General Service Conference gave the following recommendation in 2010:
The Committee would like to draw attention to Conference
recommendation of 1995 which reads:
“that the practice of inviting speakers from overseas and paying their expenses is in breach of Traditions 4 & 12.” (AA Service News 143 Summer 2010) http://www.alcoholics-anonymous.org.uk/members/index.cfm?PageID=98&Docum...
In 2011 the G.B. General Service Conference discussed reports of strained relations with some groups and their intergroups:
“This Committee found that strained relations between some groups and Intergroups can inhibit the effectiveness of our primary purpose.” (AA service News 147, Summer 2011, pp 21-22, Committee 4 Question 2 (Extract)
In 2012 the G.B. General Service Conference discussed reports of disunity:
“Reports of disunity in some areas of the Fellowship” (AA service News 149, Winter 2011, p 23, background to Committee 6 question Two (Extract) http://www.alcoholics-anonymous.org.uk/members/index.cfm?PageID=98&Docum...
The big shot speakers from the USA are still being invited to Great Britain and still keep on coming. A couple of years I lost contact with a newcomer who had Buddhist spiritual beliefs and was doing well up until he went to a local AA convention spiritual meeting. They sang “Amazing Grace” and “One day at a time sweet Jesus.” After that he didn’t want to make contact and I haven’t seen him since.
In my area I noticed changes in AA about ten years ago. First came holding of hands at the end of the meetings with the chant “Keep coming back, it works if you work it” Then came reading of the promises instead of traditions, then came anti drunkalogue talk, as if talking about your experience of alcoholic drinking in an AA meeting is not something you should talk about. Then in 2009 came a new group that used non standard literature Joe McQ, Dallas Big Book Study Guide, Dick B. Then came complaints from newcomers, complaints from outside organizations dealing with homeless. I was PI co-ordinator at the time and personally wrote replies to these organizations answering their concerns. One had serious concerns about disturbing feed back they received from their clients they had referred to AA and who had gone to that group; about the group’s behavour and it being religious. The other attended their open meeting and stated in their letter “The pervasive religiosity put me off from returning.” I think the local and global situation can be summed up in these words by Bill W:
“Of highest importance would be our relations with medicine and religion. Under no circumstances must we get into competition with either. If we appeared to be a new religious sect, we’d certainly be done for. And if we moved into the medical field, as such, the result would be the same.” (Bill W. AA Grapevine June 1955, Language of the Heart p150)
“…How well we shall always remember that AA is never to be thought of as a religion. How firmly we shall insist that AA membership cannot depend upon any particular belief whatever; that our Twelve Steps contain no article of religious faith except faith in God--as each of us understands him. How carefully we shall thenceforth avoid any situation which could possibly lead us to debate matters of personal religious belief." (Bill W. Extract from “We Came of Age” The Language of the Heart p 122. AA Grapevine September 1950)
“Nothing however, could be so unfortunate for A.A.’s future as an attempt to incorporate any of our personal theological views into A.A. teaching, practice or tradition.” (Bill W. Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, extract from footnote page 232)
Like I say, Join all the dots. A.A. is a global fellowship in one multicultural world, of alcoholics with many different faiths and creeds and languages; essentially one large A.A. group in one world. Each is part of the whole. For better or worse each part affects another. We can work together in a single purpose regardless of our personal beliefs in unity, or we can selfishly pursue our own religious beliefs within AA and fall apart. The choice is ours. Then do as your conscience tells you.
Concept V, page 20 http://www.aa.org/pdf/products/en_bm-31.pdf
For 35 years, attending meetings on a regular basis, I
did not think of AA as anything other than the greatest
organization in the whole world. Like most members, then
and now, I thought AA was alive and well. Today I see our
precious fellowship as being on life support, barely alive.
We are churning, just gaining enough new members to replace
those who die or drop out.
Bill warned us over and over about the blunders we might
make. I believe we have made all of them. Sometimes I think:
Our membership would not listen to Bill. Why would they
listen to me? These blunders have been going on for several
decades. Many members before me have pointed them out to
us. It was the death of so many, and the near death of
my son, that finally got my attention. I lived through
the mistakes and although I did not like them, I just
accepted them. I did not want to be controversial. I
know today that the preamble means public controversy. I
wish it said public controversy. Our fellowship was
built on squabbles and we will hopefully always have
Most AA members are familiar with the steps. Many are
aware of the traditions. Very few have any idea what
the concepts are about. I don't believe that the steps
or traditions will ever be altered. I see the concepts
as having been changed. We don't know enough about them
to prevent them from being changed.
You may know that the design of the Prudent Reserve
Fund was changed. One simple change was from at least
one full year of operating expenses to a requirement
that we deliberately keep Fund less than a year. Three
months would be acceptable under the revised guidelines.
I am sure the intentions were good; why keep the money
in the bank when it can be used to help the suffering
alcoholic. By the simple use of a comma, The AAGRAPEVINE
was positioned under the umbrella of the Prudent Reserve
Fund, and became of equal importance of the GSO. At least
that is the way I read it.
These concerns that I have above the group level will
work themselves out. Self-correcting as Bill described it.
I am concerned with AA at the group level. That is where
the sick alcoholic either lives or dies. Most are dying
today as the result of the way our meetings and groups
At the conference level we must address this issue of
self-support. Using profit from the sale of books and
literature to operate our service center, is a serious
violation of Tradition Seven. This money may not be
public contributions, but in the service manual on page
S74 In 1986 the General Service Board called it dangerous.
It is clear to me that the General Service Board is the
only piece of AA with the power to remedy that concern.
I really appreciate your message and I-SAY for posting
it. I sometimes consider just throwing this keyboard out
the window. But I will continue. Some of my AA friends
are coming to an understanding of what I have been
caterwalling about. We are bringing some reverence back
to local meetings. Again, thanks for remaining. So many
have just walked away: my estimate is six million at
the least. In all honesty, I can't bring myself to
blame them. Who needs the aggravation? ANONYMOUS
Thanks for your reply. Please don’t throw your keyboard out of the window yet. I wish I could convey how much you are helping me. You give me a lot of hope and encouragement; though you might not have been aware of it up until now. You have helped pull me out of what was a low ebb at the time of me joining this forum. So thank you.
I found your reference to the 1986 General Service Board's request for special effort to be made to inform the fellowship of the dangers. It took me a while to find, because the page number had changed due to updating later editions. I found it on page S72 in my copy, in the section titled A.A. World Services Inc. I’m concerned that the paragraphs relating to this have been edited from the current 2011-2012 edition of the A.A. Service Manual. (See the online version; link below)
Because this is such a vitally important and ongoing issue for A.A. I think the references to the 1986 General Service Board’s request to inform the fellowship of the dangers and the subject matter relating to it should be re-instated in the next edition of the manual. I think we can’t afford to forget things like this. It might be worth putting this as a request to the literature committee or as question for conference by A.A. members living in the USA perhaps?
As you rightly say, they didn’t want to listen to Bill W. at first with the traditions; except those groups that were in dire trouble, but eventually the whole fellowship did because they knew they had to. I do think a lot of people are listening to you though, but you just have no way of knowing it. Keep faith, you have laid a path of experience on this forum for others like me to follow, and I think a very good and solid one at that. I wish I had more time to write, but thanks again for your encouragement and support; and please keep on tapping away. Go easy on yourself at the same time though, you’re only one in about two million and we should all bear the responsibility.
AA Service Manual online, (A.A. World Services Inc. pp S73-S74): http://www.aa.org/pdf/products/en_bm-31.pdf
When I got sober there was no asking for burning desires at the end of meetings. It was said--if you haven't had the opportunity to share and need to do so---ask someone after this meeting to talk.
Burning desires often turn into pity parties and then the person leaves never truely reaching out for--or open to -- a solution. I get my solutions IN meetings. Not running out and waiting for someone to follow me and save me! Am I hard core--or closed minded??? I believe in the steps. Steps 1-2-3 are not about dumping---they are about admitting and seeking! If someone wants sobriety, no person can give it to them. If someone wants to drink, no person can stop them. It must come from a higher power. I had to seek mine.
Thank you! That has been my experience, strength, n hope also that the oldtimers so freely passed on to me. I also ran to a sponsor's house or put a quarter in the phone n called for help. Yup, hardcore n willing to go to any lengths. NO MATTER WHAT!!
Now you're dating yourself! (ha ha) I remember those days.
There have been some times when that burning desire saved my butt though, but my tendency is agree with you both.
You said "when I got sober," but I think you probably meant "where I got sober." I think the practice in *some* meetings of asking at the end of a meeting whether someone has a "burning desire (to speak)" has been around a long, long time. (I'm talking decades.)
Where I'm from, a few meetings do it as part of their format, but most don't. But the few that do are quite emphatic about it and wouldn't change just because one person doesn't like it.
Like any matter of meeting format, this is something that a group conscience can address. There are always two sides to these discussions; you may not prevail. If you don't, then you will have to decide whether to 1) go along with the group conscience, 2) scheme to overturn it, or 3) go to a different group. All of these outcomes have a long AA history. But no matter what, don't drink.
Yes, this question is another of those intruding
rituals which has appeared in the past two decades.
At least at meetings I have attended in the Northeast.
When it first began, the question was "Does anyone have
any burning desires? I would raise my hand and say "I have
had a burning desire since I was about 12 years old".
If a meeting is properly conducted, there is no
reason a member, who needs to, has not had a chance to
share, unless it is a speaker only meeting.
I have a lot of opinions about lots of customs, and
this is another one I consider nonsense. ANONYMOUS
I am dealing with alot today. My emotions are a jumbled mess. I am tired.
You must be sponsored to not know your living it, try to let go and let God if you are not to far conditioned.
"I am dealing with a lot today. My emotions are a jumbled mess. I am tired."
Response - Welcome, I was tired too.