Burning Desire to Share
"Stop all praying" but open and close meetings with a prayer.
Makes perfect sense to me.
Stop all group prayer. An A.A. meeting is not a prayer group. The decision of how a group opens and closes its meetings ought to be made by the group's fully informed
group conscience. The kindergarten "ring around the rosy", holding hands in a circle has to cease. We began this
ritual around 1980 in the Northeast. How well has this
served us? Just one of our blunders. Dogma and distortion
have all but destroyed Alcoholics Anonymous. You might
say that spiritual pride has brought A.A. to its knees.
Many will remain in denial. I am grateful to see that
some members are waking up. ANONYMOUS
Regarding your new and improved AA (or will you call it AA Lite?). I hope you can exercise a little restraint. Seems like those who want to purify an organization sometimes get a little carried away by their success. Take the Puritans in Salem, Mass who became so pure that they ran up a body count that made America’s serial killers of the last two decades look like Boy Scouts.
Groups are free to develop their own format if it doesn't hurt AA as a whole. Some groups have formats heavy on the religious and ritual side and while other groups have formats without prayer and the god stuff. Ours is in the middle. We saved 15-20 minutes of the meeting by eliminating all the rituals and readings because our group grew so much and there wasn't enough time for people to share. Are you afraid of diversity in the rooms? Most people aren't. If a group has a different format then ours then this doesn't mean they are bringing down AA. We have to be flexible and AA is not fascist organization. Its hard to believe that at one time this was never an issue with members. In the current AA era there seems to be a radical element trying to protect and defend how AA used to be. And the funny thing is, AA was never like the fantasy picture of AA they are trying to defend. How weird is that?
All you need is a coffee pot and a church basement. As soon as word gets out that you’ve opened perfect AA without all the embarrassing, difficult, demanding, praying, and chanting detritus word will spread like wildfire and you’ll need your own personal general service office to take care of business.
I totally agree with you about the chanting-praying-holding hands in a circle (for those who wish ? ). It does make us look like a sect , worse in a convention where this circus is repeated over and over in a span of a few hours.
Quite the show for all the people we invite as guests , professionals and all.
This is sobriety? What about a moment of silence at the beginning and end of meetings?
Then we wonder why AA has not grown in the past 20 years or so in north america.
One day we also will have to really upgrade the Big Book .
I have been told that someone should not date during the first year of their sobriety. I am working on my first year again, but i have been single for well over a year and minus the last 4 months i was sober. I feel like i am ready for a relationship but am confused on how to go about that and where to look. I have tried online dating before but that hasnt worked out at all. And im just not sure how to go about this or if i should continue to choose not to date or any of that jaz...
What I'm about to say is my opinion. the reason why they say don't date the first year or two years is because the individual is sick. How can a sick person whom doesn't know who they are look for a date? When your looking for someone, ask yourself what do I want in a relationship? What am I looking for in a person that I want? What do I like, dislike, expect, don't expect, and boundaries? I learned the hard way that I can't depend on someone for happiness aka co-dependent. If I'm unhappy, it means there's something wrong with me. I've been in to many relationships before I found out that happiness had to come from within not what's out there.
hi Gg. I had 3 relationships in my first year of sobriety. After being sober for a little more than a year, I decided to try to do God's will with my love life, not my will. I am getting outside help for my relationship issues. Samuel
Getting sober with AA is a great opportunity to start a new life. I learned to socialize sober, dance sober, date sober, make love sober, ski sober, bike sober...basically, live life sober. The greatest thing was that for the first time ever, I could follow my heart because I was in touch with my heart. I worked at a ski resort for my first 10 years sober and had a blast. I took up bike riding, then racing, then building race courses and hosting races. It was a dream come true. Through all of these activities, I remained an active member of AA. It was my rock. I also made the best friends of my life - male and female. I met and hung out with healthy AA members and normys and eventually dated. These were the best relationships I'd ever had and I learned something from each one. Eventually, at 12 years sober, I met a gal in AA who became my wife. It's great having a spouse who understands and works the program. On top of that she is fit, fun and funny. A true gem. Thank God & AA for giving my new life.
Everyone says "Don't get involved in your first year," but then everyone does anyways. Just like are parents who said "Don't drink and smoke," while they were drinking and smoking in front of us. How about the people already in a relationship or the ones married? The important thing is to not pick up the first drink no matter what crazy fixes the desires have gotten us in to. If you are a man try and think with the head on your shoulders and take a lot of cold showers after meetings. If you are a woman ask another woman. I can't give advice on that one.
My experience in dating in AA is as follows.
A few quick flings during the first couple of years, with associated agony and ecstasy
A good marriage to a woman I met in AA who was in Alanson
Which lasted 14 years and finally fizzled
Then in my early fifties three dates over the next two years (seriously) that couldn’t have felt more awkward generating questions like you have now.
Meeting a wonderful lady through our mutual AA network
Resulting in twelve wonderful years of marriage so far.
Have seen many AA’s do the same with AA or non AA spouses, many with excellent outcomes, some not.
I think Dr Tebot’s characterization of untreated alcoholics as being self centered, impatient, and having a low tolerance for frustration is the perfect formula for bad relationships. AA’s twelve step program of recovery solves that. Just EXACTLY like we are promised.
You follow the recipe, you get the cake.
Date with AA friends. Have their Cell numbers. Stay in touch with AA friends. They are great souls. They have the capacity to change life.
Love and hugs
What on earth is spiritual dating I'd like to know please reply.
"Spiritual Dating" in AA to me is an oxymoron. What exactly is "spiritual dating?" Who spiritual dates...monks? There is nothing spiritual when the loins are on fire. If you want spiritual dating then love yourself and follow goodness. Any form of dating is never spiritual because a truly spiritual person would not even have a need to date in the first place. Inventing philosophies and terms to disguise inner desires is never spiritual, but ego driven. I would recommend taking yourself to a movie alone. That's spiritual dating to me to use the ridiculous term.
My belief is the reason for say no new relationships during
you first year of sobriety is so we work on ourselves for a change. This, just as the rest of the program, is a suggestion not a rule or a law.
I got into a relationship at 5 months sober and did not handle things very well so I guess I was not ready.
If you think you are ready and you have spoken with your sponsor about it why don't you just take your time instead of going out and looking for a relationship. Let it come to you. Remember, people in the program often come with a lot of baggage and people outside of the program are often
involved in activities we "alcoholics of our type", shouldn't be involved in. What's the rush? Take it low and
slow and let your Higher Power put the right person in your life.
Greeting Gg! I too have battled with this relationship vs. no relationship. I first came into AA in July 2012. I remained sober for a little over 6 months with the help of my higher power, a sponsor, service, and going to meetings. Unfortunately, I lost the sponsor and did not find another, stopped going to as many meetings and drank again on January 3rd 2013. Thanks to my higher power I returned to AA the following day and picked up a white chip. I have been sober since (got a new sponsor and did the things I had been neglecting). I don't regret this experience as it taught me many lessons. Do you have a sponsor? My sponsor told me to just focus on myself for the first year. I had every intention of following this advice until the opportunity to date someone (in AA) presented itself. Being the alcoholic I am, I disregarded my sponsors advice and dated him anyway. This turned out to be a mistake. I thought I was ready but in fact I may have been looking for something to fill the void of alcohol and the loneliness that goes along with the first year of sobriety. I spoke with my sponsor about this and stayed honest with myself. I ended the relationship and it felt like a weight was lifted. For me, I still had a lot of work to do on me! Moreover, I found myself irritated by the demands and expectations of another person. As far as where to look? In my experience this is one to turn over to your higher power. It seems every time I look for someone to date, I either find the wrong person or it just doesn't happen. Pray and wait and before you know it the right person will come. AA has taught me that you may not always get what you want when you want it but your higher power has a plan for you. He/she may have other things in mind for you before you are fully ready for a relationship. I am sure if you keep working hard on your sobriety, a perfect an amazing person will come into your life...at just the right time. Be patient and remember it is your higher power's time line not your own. I hope this helps and it didn't sound all preachy!
SS (grateful recovering alcoholic)
Get yourself a puppy. Rose
To take that suggestion a bit further ... get a plant, if it doesn't
Die get a hamster. .. then the puppy. ... if all of the above survive more than a year then maybe you are ready for a relationship.
This was my sponsors advice to me. :)
Where are you with the steps?
I have been sober for just almost 3 months.Yesterday i drink one glass wine.I was schocked that i was so stupid and dronk a lot off water afterwards.Is this a relapse? Do i have picked up my 24 chip in AA?Who can answer me about this? Thanks
Go to step 2 and find the two words that sum up this step.
Why would you drink the poison koolaid anyway?
Yes. It is a relapse. If you knowingly picked up an alcoholic beverage and drank it then it is a relapse.
Maybe you weren't sober for 3 months, maybe you just had
a period of "not drinking" for 3 months.
Why don't you let this be an opportunity for you to show you
we alcoholics have truly lost our choice to drink or not drink and an alcoholic will always drink again unless they
surrender, admit to their innermost self that they are alcoholic, become willing, take action, work the program and remain teachable. If you do all the things people in the
program tell you to do you can get your alcoholism in remission, not have to drink again and only need to get sober one time! Good Luck.
Thanks for you reaction. I am for 6 years in AA but i can't "feel"the surrender and i think that's the reason that i many times relapsed.But i am still struggle with step one.I go the meetings and working my programm.I don't give up!
Greetings from a member off aa nederland
I stayed sober in the begining because I was told I would die if I drank again. I stayed sober for almost 21 years, one day at a time.
Than my husband & adult son left 7 said they were starting
over up north. I found a bottle in the house & drank it. I was hanging out in casinos where there was liquor. I was very overwhelmed with that lifestlye. They came home after 3 days.
I was very suicidal & was just put on lithium. I could have killed myself. That's when I got serious with Aa. I got a new sponser because mine disapeared. I started going to meetings again.
Just tell God, I can't you can, I will let you. I just came home from a bigbook meeting. They help. My sponser is treasurer there. I love AA now. I have 11 years again.
Write everything down that bothers you & talk to your sponser or at least God. Jesus is my helper. Trinity Broadcasting helps me also. I hope this helps. Lynn
A big problem with alcoholism is the unpredictable results of drinking. One of the reasons we think complete abstinence is required. A large percentage of inmates in jails and prisons were drunk or stoned when they got caught doing whatever it was that got them there. Do you suppose a single one of them predicted the outcome?
It’s troubling, though not uncommon, to see someone in relapse more concerned with how it looks than what it means. The good news is that there is a solution.
Thanks for reaction!
It's your business not mine whether you drink or not. AA recommends complete abstinence from alcohol. I have heard a number of members talk about the anguish they went through being dishonest about their sobriety date and finally got honest about it. Why go through the misery then fess up anyway?
When you call yourself stupid for drinking, you are calling several million of us the same. If you drink like I did, you have a disease that compels us to drink, smart or stupid, young or old, black, brown or white.
All of us have a good REASON to stay sober, AA provides a METHOD to achieve that. They are different.
Thanks for reaction.I know now that's not stupid! It's the disease who's tell me:pick up a drink. I know there are a several million of us/me who suffered from relapsing.
But i don't give up!
I have been clean off of heroin for 10 years. When I lost my Dad to Cancer, I relapsed and drank. Poor decision. I picked up 6 months and then relapsed again and drank. Then I went back to AA and have been sober for 9 months as of June 28th. I have a great sponsor and friend.
I've been sober for about a month and half. I'm 53 and have pain in my joints. This started about a week ago. I don't know if I've had it all along and alcohol was masking it, or if it is some type of withdrawal. I would be interested in hearing from others with a similar issue. Thanks, Julie
I'm 2 years sober and I'm 26 years old, and I have a lot of arthritis. Which is what you possibly have. Hard to say what you did to your body in all the years you drank. I've had more pain the last 2 years and learned to suck it up. I had seen myself in a wheelchair from terrible back pain, and last year I could barely walk because my foot hurt so bad. The doctor told me its arthritis, and it can spread everywhere in your body in different joints. I used to go in a closet at work and cry from the physical pain, but these 2 years of my life have been the best because of my sobriety. I don't have pain so much anymore because I keep active. Beleive it or not, but exercise has prevented a lot of joint pain.
You could just be old. I'm 55 and experience various pain levels everyday and I've been sober for many years. Honestly Julie, it could be any number of medical conditions. The body does weird things during withdrawal. The joints become dehydrated and full of uric acid crystals from alcohol abuse. Water, proper diet and exercise were the best medicines for me as well as, avoiding heavy caffeine drinking, processed foods and sugar. Have you had a physical exam? This would be an important thing to have done. We must take care of ourselves at this age. Mary
I finally got enough wear and tear to go to a orthopedic surgeon to check it out. Exam, x ray. Good to KNOW instead of having the committee that meets in my head forecasting doom. Gave me some tips on engaging in various work activities and prescribed the best non mood altering over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pills.
I've also had depression manifest itself as physical pain so bad that I thought I would never work again. I've dealt with it successfully too.
Welcome and good luck.
I can relate to your post. I was 55 when I showed up in the rooms of AA. In my case the joint pain showed up after the first 30 days and only lasted several months. It was suggested to me that I drink lots of water and very closely watch what I was eating.
It also helped me a great deal to start walking everyday. At first it was all I could do to walk a few blocks, but very quickly I was getting some relief. So in true alcoholic fashion, if a "little is good a lot is better" I started walking 30 miles a week and did that for the first couple of years. It help the joint pain and also decreased my waist size and improved my self-esteem.
Keep coming back, everything gets better with a solid program and without the alcohol.
I didn't sponsor for many years for many reasons, but I wanted to be sure I was armed with the facts of self. The good the bad and the ugly and indifferent. Now I have a few ladies on the go and one thing I dislike is when they call me and say how good things are going. ( I don't care how good they are going) My job is to help you work the steps use the principles work the traditions. I want to be able to tell you how to over come your character defects and become a useful member of society. I want to hear your bull so I can help you see the truth about yourself. I want to help you become humble and use God on a regular basis. I like to cut to the chase and be assertively nice about it.
Kamloops BC Canada
Messages like this one from Kamloops BC Canada reaffirm
my belief that today's concept of Sponsorship needs to
be eliminated from our fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous.
To point out that it is cultish is putting it mildly.
Following this practice of sponsorship makes A.A. a cult.
Telling a newcomer to turn to another human being, prevents
that member from finding a Higher Power of their own
understanding. The Big Book tells them that probably no
human power can help them. Then we tell them "Get a sponsor.
But try to get today's "sponsor" to give up the power
and prestige and you have a battle on your hands.
Sure, cults work for some; religion works for some.
Bill W. and Dr. Silkworth left us a formula (technique)
which rarely fails. Let's return to that method. ANONYMOUS
Having a sponsor or someone to reach out to helps. It's this attitude that needs to be eliminated.
are you board certified as a counselor?
I think the Grapevine is a fantastic publication. Anywhere I am, I can pull out, or access any story online. I am very proud to be the Grapevine Rep at one of my home groups. At my other home group last night, it was announced that readings from the Grapevine will no longer be allowed at our meeting. Further, it was announced that only "appproved AA material would be allowed. This was from the group conscious meeting that to my knowledge was not publicized. Two weeks prior, I had read a story from the Grapevine ("Get into the Boat", an awesome short story February 2013), and our most senior old timer could not understand the story and was verbally abusive about the reading.
Can "The Grapevine" be barred from meetings?
It’s the group that’s being talked about in Tradition Six. The literature that is read at the beginning or end of the meeting is pre-selected by the group and therefore represents the group. Many groups use only literary material published by AA (conference-approved) as their pre-selected reading material, in order to conform to Tradition Six.
A reading from non-AA literature at the beginning or end of a meeting is a form of endorsement by the group for that outside enterprise. Therefore many groups avoid a weekly reading from the bible or from the 24 hour a day book at the beginning or end of their meeting, since these are published by outside sources.
Individuals do not represent the AA group, nor AA as a whole, when they participate in a meeting. Individuals may voice their opinion, without it being interpreted as the opinion of the whole group or AA. For instance, someone could say they found a certain passage in the bible or a chapter in a Hazeltine book to be very helpful to them when they are working a certain Step. In this case, they are certainly endorsing outside literature. But are they breaking Tradition Six by sharing this information? Of course not. They are not representing the opinion of the whole group or AA.
The group could take a group conscience and decide that they do not want meeting participants to ever mention any outside literature. But that would be simply a preference of the group, rather than a conformance to Tradition Six.
Instead of simply talking about the passage in the bible, the meeting participant could actually read the passage from the bible itself. Or read the passage from the Hazelton book. Similar to talking about a passage, reading it in no way constitutes the opinion of the group or the opinion of AA, but just the opinion of the individual, who is sharing that the passage was helpful to them.
The group may decide that not only don’t they want individuals to talk about outside literature, but they also don’t want them to read any passages from it. But this is a group preference rather than a Tradition Six issue.
I believe Grapevine articles are a special case, in that AA publishes them, but they are not technically conference-approved, since it would be difficult to achieve that approval every month. It’s really up to your group whether they want to pre-select Grapevine articles to be read at the beginning of their meeting. And similar to readings from literature not published by AA, like the bible or Hazeltine books, it’s up to the group if they want to allow individuals to read from them during the meeting as an expression of that individual’s opinion.
I have held the belief for many years that the
AA Grapevine is conference approved material. Was not this
decision made in the past? A comment made at our recent
NERF indicated that it is really not conference approved
I personally do not understand or agree that it ought
to be approved automatically. The contents are the views
of very few individuals.
Another question for Corey, or maybe someone from GSO.
on the inside cover of the latest issue of the grapevine it states;conference advisory action,1986:"since each issue of the grapevine cannot go through the conference-approval process,the conference recognizes the AA grapevine as the international journal of alcoholics anonymous
Technically the Grapevine is conference approved. I don’t have a current issue in front of me since I usually read the Grapevine digitally. Inside the Grapevine front cover in the lower right hand corner is a statement that says, “Conference Advisory Action, 1986: since each issue of the grapevine cannot go through the conference- approval process, the conference recognizes the AA grapevine as the international journal of AA.
I feel the grapevine is our meeting in print. I think it is the pulse of AA as a whole where everyone who cares to write has an opportunity to be heard. Just like anyone in AA, nobody speaks publically for AA as a whole, and articles written in our journal don’t either. I think that’s one of the reasons I enjoy the “what’s on your mind format”. I am exposed to views and opinions that otherwise I wouldn’t have.
For anyone interested I will post part of a letter I received from GSO regarding other literature. Read it if you want and use the information as you choose!
“Thank you for your question about Twenty-Four Hours a Day, which is not an A.A. publication.
The group conscience of each A.A. group determines what literature is appropriate to have in its meetings, keeping in mind our A.A. Traditions and experience. The pamphlet “The A.A. Group” shares about the informed group conscience on pages 28-29 and is attached and available at the following link: http://www.aa.org/pdf/products/p-16_theaagroup.pdf on G.S.O.’s A.A. Web site.
The General Service Conference, the closest thing we have to a group conscience for A.A. throughout the U.S. and Canada, has suggested “that A.A. groups be encouraged to display or sell only literature published and distributed by the General Service Office, the A.A. Grapevine, and other A.A. entities.” Attached please find a service piece that describes A.A. literature and the Conference-approval process. Individual members, of course, have always had the personal choice of using whatever materials they feel best enhances their spiritual lives, including religious books and periodicals.
The understanding of this office is that the Conference had the intention of keeping the focus of the A.A. meeting on the A.A. message as expressed in our literature rather than outside material. However, we know of A.A. groups that use literature such as Twenty-Four Hours a Day that has not been published by A.A.
Regarding whether this type of decision within a meeting affects A.A. as a whole (i.e. bumps up against Tradition Four), Bill W. shares the following in his essay on Concept XII, which can be found on page 70 of The A.A. Service Manual combined with Twelve Concepts for World Service:
Then, too, a great many of these difficulties with the Tradition are of strictly local concern, there being no serious national or international implication. Many of them represent honest differences of opinion as to how the Tradition should be interpreted: whether a lenient or strict observance would be the better thing. Especially when operating below the public level, our experience with the Tradition reveals gray areas, where neither white or black interpretations seem possible. Here the violations are often so debatable and inconsequential they are hardly worth bothering about. Here we [the General Service Conference] usually refrain from offering suggestions, unless they are insisted upon. We feel that these problems must be solved chiefly by the local people concerned.
As to your question about the Conference decisions regarding the Twenty-Four Hours a Day book, I have attached a history of the correspondence between the author and this office regarding the publication rights. This history was compiled by the Archives department in 2005 for a Staff member replying to a question to yours. The Twenty-Four Hours a Day book was written by Richmond W. and was published locally in Daytona Beach, Florida. In the early 1950s, Richmond W. offered the publication rights to A.A. Publishing Co. The General Service Conference (U.S./Canada) discussed his proposal in 1954 and decided not to accept the offer, partially because of its religious tone. After this decision, Richmond W. offered the rights to Hazelden (publisher since then). In 1972 the Conference discussed the book again, and it was decided not to Conference-approve the book.”
I apologize for the long post,
The Big Book was not conference approved.
who cares whether the big book is conference approved or not. Really are you this ignorant? the big book is one of the things that saved many peoples lives, especially mine. Everything I say or you say in a meeting is not conference approved, so what is your problem that this is a big deal to you?
The great thing about AA is we don't have to read anything. Our group had a problem where Bibles, Christian feel good pamphlets, Buddhist Texts and new-age books were being placed on the literature table. Even ads for meditation groups and yoga. Although one is free to choose their own destiny in recovery, we cannot endorse such things. Our group is very strict when it comes to that. I do know people that never read any of the approved stuff but have found comfort and support in books not approved by AA. I really liked the "This is A.A." and the "Sponsorship" pamphlet as well as, the Living Sober book in the beginning. All kinds are in the rooms looking for a way out of their misery. Not everything speaks to everyone equally. I have found out what works for me and others are welcome to find out what works for them. Even if I do a Scooby Doo huh?
Once again some folks in AA labor under the misapprehension that "conference approved" equates to "nihil obstat and imprimatur." It was never intended to be viewed in that fashion, rather it originally merely indicated those books and pamphlets that AA wanted to restrict itself to publishing (not wishing to lose sight of our primary purpose by getting into the publishing business). That is why the 24 Hours a Day book was passed on, not because it was considered offensive. (I should add that I never liked the book, and thus would have personally rejected it if I were the "Most High Inquisitor and Grand Censor.")
But to your question, each group has the right to read whatever it wants. Perhaps you should call for another group conscience where the whole meaning of "conference approved" can be discussed. IF the group decides it wants to be rigid, find another group or start your own.
The last meeting I monitored regularly I made a point of reading something from basic AA literature as well as something complimentary from non-AA material, which ranged from Over-eaters Anonymous to NA to 5th century Christian to Buddhist to Sufi writings, just to emphasize that the same lessons were to be found from many different sources. When this very question came up, I received a lot of help from AA's all over, especially Mel B, who has remained open-minded throughout five or six decades of sobriety. The "child's mind" is an open mind, and it is to that I aspire.
"The last meeting I monitored regularly I made a point of reading something from basic AA literature as well as something complimentary from non-AA material, which ranged from Over-eaters Anonymous to NA to 5th century Christian to Buddhist to Sufi writings, just to emphasize that the same lessons were to be found from many different sources."
Wow, why didn't I think of doing that? I have "The Lost Weekend" and "Days of Wine and Roses" on DVDs, maybe I'll take one of them to a meeting so we can view and discuss it? I'm sure someone could get something from it. Or how about "Come Fill the Cup"? Not AA, but alcoholics get sober in the movie, and Sheldon Leonard's character does mention AA once.
"An AA group ought never endorse, finance or lend the AA name to any related facility or outside enterprise...." Using religious materials in an AA meeting is a form of endorsement, as is using material from any other outside source.
"Using religious materials in an AA meeting is a form of endorsement, as is using material from any other outside source." I think you have misread that tradition. I recommend reading the 12 x 12 chapter dealing with it.
Years ago I read Marty Mann's essay, "Twice I sought Death," which had been featured on Edward R. Murrow's program "This I Believe." It can be accessed online. I was rather taken aback when someone approached me after the meeting and cautioned me that it was not "conference approved." That group later decided by group conscience not to allow readings that were not conference approved. I abide by their choice, though I wonder about the wisdom of it. Interestingly, that particular group has more "AA fundamentalists" than any other in town, many of whom are quite vocal in their literal interpretation of the chapter "We Agnostics." I suspect that kind of intolerance has driven more people away from AA than a reading from a Hazelden published book of daily meditations.