Burning Desire to Share
I also don’t see the logic in that statement “The people who are bored with meetings are boring people.” Now if it was stated, “Some people who are bored with meetings could have a boring personality.” I would agree with that. In my experience, I have found some meetings are extremely boring while others are full of wisdom and sincerity and some yet a mixture of the two. I think it’s good to keep a balance in recovery and everyone’s balance is different. The times in the past where I felt bored was when I was going to too many meetings and not doing enough life on life’s terms stuff. Hiding out in the rooms was the best I could do early on but it eventually became boring and I knew it was time to learn how to live outside the rooms. Now one meeting every two weeks is perfect for me. My life is anything but boring thanks to AA. It’s a dream come true. As the old saying goes, “What keeps one person sober might get another drunk.” Every member is responsible for their own sobriety. I can only keep myself sober and share the things that work for me with others. And one final comment. Yes, I am in contact with people who stopped attending meetings. I don’t see why I should discontinue my friendship with them and by our conversations their gratitude for AA is completing reflected in their actions. Just because a person stops attending meetings doesn’t mean they will
leave their sobriety and gratitude for AA at the door.
I feel there is too much emphasis on promotion in the rooms today instead of attracting newcomers with our personal experiences in recovery. Last night in my group only one person actually said what they were doing to stay sober today, while the other members were consumed with quoting pages and rushing out non-stop adoration for the big book and the twelve steps without actually explaining specifics within these passionate pontifications. Bill W. talked about the language of the heart not the language of page numbers and clichés. Sure there is a purpose to surface AA, but without the deeper elements in the rooms the recovery equation is out of balance and this can be detrimental to us as we try and carry out our primary purpose. Recovery to me is in our actions and not, in the glossy veneers we can put on recovery. Too much promoting can indicate a roadblock in our drive to repossess sanity therefore; I feel it’s important to not play and hide behind the promotion game but, to share our authentic recovery experiences. Does this concern anyone?
I remember clearly what drew me in to AA was that people shared personal experiences at a deep level. They were talking about things I had lived and experienced but that I was hiding. They said things like, "you're only as sick as your secrets" and then shared their secrets making it OK for me to open up and share mine.
Luckily, people that have some long term sobriety keep going to meetings. Imagine if everyone that had ten years or more said yeah I'm bored with this. To the newcomer we will say keep coming back it works, but, after ten years you'll be bored.
Boredom is something that happens when judgement is being passed. Sober. Not sober. Doesn't matter. To be bored is to apply a judgement on a condition. I think. I don't know. Too complicated really.
Someone above said that they were at a meeting the other night and one person had like 30 years and one person had 48 hours.
I was at a meeting last night. 19 years in. I'm still an alcoholic. I'm just sober. Thanks to AA. And the people new and not new that keep showing up.
The only deep level secret that I shared at my first
meetings was that I was/am an alcoholic. Others shared that
they were alcoholics and I felt comfortable sharing that I
am alcoholic also. I believe that statements like "you're
only as sick as your secrets" are harmful and border on
stupidity. Confession of deep dark secrets in an A.A. group
or to other members (sponsors) can be dangerous. I certainly
would not want the person next to me at an AA meeting to
know the details of my sins. That is not part of AA recovery. It is no wonder that the A.A. critics today have such a field day.
People talking about their drinking experiences without
exhibitionism, and that they found a way out by Faith is,
was what attracted me. There were no conditions. No one
said "Show me yours, and I will show you mine". There
were no conditions. ANONYMOUS
Yes, always going to the same meeting does make the sharing become more trite to me also. Changing meetings now and then does help, but I find that MY sharing as well as others loses color over time. What gives me perspective is spiritual growth, which comes to me through helping others. I find my connection to H P and others only grows from actively working the program, helping others reconnect is the only way I can reconnect. Also known as unconditional love, it requires work, but the rewards are a life on earth. Anonymous.
Sharing our experience, strength and hope is not the same thing as confessing our sins or revealing our deepest secrets. That is an extreme reply to an authentic concern. Sharing what it was like then and now in general terms will suffice. The field of recovery experiences that can be visible to the newcomer is a lot broader then someone revealing their darkest secrets to a room full of people.
I suggest switching to some different meetings. Sometimes mixing things up helps.... Sometimes a set of people will dominate a meeting for a while so i take a break and when i come back there has been enough changeover that the personality of the meeting has changed/improved.
Hello- I am new to AA and am attending different meetings. Each meeting has their own "personality" I do not have a sponsor yet. it is in my plan but I haven't found the right person to ask. All in good time...one day at a time.
Hi. I see the same thing at many meetings. I am aware though that people are thankful for AA in their sharing as AA is helping them recover. But listening to others continually patting AA on the back at each meeting can get pretty tiring. I don't think I've ever seen anyone promote AA "purposely" in a meeting. I think some members may be promoting it without realizing that their doing it. After all, we are recovering alcoholics. We are there to share our own experience, strength and hope. Is promoting AA within the rooms a bad thing? Maybe not. But like you stated, It doesn't get to the root of things. Anything is bound to happen. I also see people who get frustrated and have control issues they need to deal with. They are still trying to make others mind. We deal with these by working step 11 over and over and over.
I was doing ok until I drank a bottle of whiskey last night. I have not drunk today and went to a meeting but i feel so sick . I am burning up. I am terrified I am going to drink again. Help!!!
How do you feel after drinking? So sick right? I heard a comment the other day
that stuck with me, "how much did that bottle of whiskey cost you emotionally?"
It's not just the $15.00 (or however much they cost now) it takes a big chunk of us emotionally as well as physically (you don't really don't want to die before your time) and of course spiritually.
I have been sick and totally shamed because of alcohol. I saw my mother die of liver disease, caused by those many whiskey bottles. It sure wasn't pretty.
Today you still have the choice and the sincere support of those in the program.
Keep reaching out and you will grab on to the many hands of those in Recovery.
Lots of luck and God's blessing as you begin an exciting and sober journey in AA.
Love Debra (from Alberta, Canada)
Fina as many meetings as you can get to and dont drink in between. Hang at clubhouses if available. It is a safe haven and all you have to do is sit there. The craving will eventually stop - just keep dragging yourself to meetings. When i relapsed my sponsor told me not to worry about anything in the steps etc just go to meetings until things started to calm down. She was wonderful. Doing that was hard enough and what a blessing she was to realize that was all i could handle for a bit.
Go to a meeting. Get a sponsor. Choose a home group. Get a service position if you want to stay sober. Get involved in the process of AA.
I can relate. Ive been good for 3 months and drank a mickey of rum while at work. Everyone is mad at me. Ive disappointed my family and myself. im very depresed and sad. i guess we just need to remember one day at a time and keep going to meetings. im calling my sponsor. Do you have anyone you can call?
Do you have a sponsor? If not get one !!!! Work the steps they work! Do not worry if you will drink again just do not drink this hour this day! Keep going to meetings.
I am doing just two meetings per week and very low contact with fellowship.but I am contended by my recovery because going through what programme suggest me
We must not rest on our laurels. For we are headed for trouble if we do. What are you doing to help the newcomer to AA? To keep something, remember that you have to give it away.
Every morning. I say thank you for the 12 step program. My family needs recovery and bad. I. Hope to give my recovery. to someone
Else before I enter the next life. I am so happy with myself.
I am 3 years soulber but I keep getting kicked out of meeting because I have a two year old and I have no family I have cut my meetings to the point of feeling like using and then when I go to a meeting I feel wores because I get kicked out I am thankingof starting a parents with kides meeting but how do I do this
thanks michele w
my sponsor told me that when all else fails, follow the instructions. stop trying to figure out what to do and ask God to direct my thoughts and actions. if i'm honest with myself, i can never go wrong. read how it works in the 'big book' and follow the instructions. louie
My wife was a single mom with 3 little kids when she sobered up. She has some amazing stories of how she managed go to meetings and stay sober with those youngsters. Most of her stories include some level of praying for help and trusting her Higher Power that things would work out if she were willing to do what was necessary.
Like you, she sometimes took the kids to meetings and had them wait in the hall where AA members took turns watching them and playing with them. She sometimes felt guilty about leaving the children at home with a neighbor girl babysitter . She worried that the kids would feel abandoned and about how they'd turn out. But she knew she had to make sobriety and meetings a priority if she'd be of any use to the family.
Today, my wife is 25 years sober and my step children are happy and successful college graduates who are a joy to be around. We sometimes see that neighbor girl baby sitter in AA. She is a single mom with multiple years of sobriety.
Congratulations on 3 years!
I think we are confusing the AA program with AA meetings. You can work the AA program 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week and be happy and sober. The meetings make it easier to stay sober but are not essential. If u really need more fellowship, come early and leave during mtg, get a babysitter, or start a meeting that provides daycare. You can contact GSO for appropriate meeting guidelines also sponsorship is greatly helpful.
I am a single parent I have no family and it seems that because I have no one to whach my child I get kicked out of meetings also I only go to meetings about once a month now and I am rely strugleing to stay soulber what can I do I thank about starting a meeting for kides and parents but how can I do this
thanks michele w
HI MY NAME IS CHUCK. IM A ALCOHOLIC AND AM NEW TO THE AREA , COULD USE SOME HELP PLEASE!
my name is chuck and im an alcoholic. new to this town need help
This is an AA Grapevine site and not a town. Where do you live? Provide us that and you should get plenty of responses. In the mean time, don't pick up the first drink no matter what happens. Thanks
Today, June 10th we celebrate the birth of Alcoholics Anonymous. The real birth of
A.A. was in mid December 1934. Bill W. asked God for help, and God helped him. We
are all familiar with the story, which was later reduced to a bedtime story. Bill's
spiritual awakening can be found on page 2 in "As Bill See's It". That was the Gift
from God, to the suffering alcoholic. It took Bill almost six months to figure out
how to pass this solution to another suffering alcoholic. Dr. Silkworth was Bill's
advisor. "You've got the cart before the horse," the little doctor told Bill,
describing Bill's approach in trying to help others. Bill gives an example of this
on page 199 A.B.S.I. We have had the cart in front of the horse for so long that it
has been accepted as normal. "That One is God, may you find him now", we tell the
newcomer. Let us give credit where credit is due. Speak the Truth with an equal
amount of Grace. Examine arrogance and its opposite. Make sure our own house is
in order. ANONYMOUS
One thing I have learned in AA is not to let the power of my words override the power of my example.
AA wasn't "born" until one alcoholic helped another stay sober. Bill W.'s white light conversion experience got him sober again (he had gotten sober before) . . . but it couldn't keep him sober. Six months later he was pacing back and forth in front of the entrance to the bar at the Mayflower Hotel in Akron. What kept him sober that day was his effort to find another alcoholic he could talk with, not his religious experience of six months earlier.
When Dr. Silkworth told Bill "you've got the cart before the horse," he specifically meant that Bill's preaching about god was driving people away. Silkworth suggested that Bill talk instead about alcoholism being a progressive, fatal disease. This is clearly laid out in chapter 6 of "Pass It On."
As a newcomer AA is telling me a lot more than may you find god. You need to find another meeting. I travel for a living and they aren't like yours.
My home group is a 7-8 morning meeting. I believe it to be
the best meeting/group in A.A. We meet Mon-Friday. We have
about a hundred members total, with about fifteen in attendance on most mornings. It is a structured reverent meeting and is growing slowly, continuously.
We do no chanting. "My name is Joe and I am an alcoholic"
is considered the first step, a statement, not a greeting
or salutation. The group does not chant "Hi Joe". This
chant makes A.A. look foolish.
We do not read HIW. I believe this to be the most tragic
mistake we have made over the past three decades. I have
explained this repeatedly for three-four years, here and
on the I-Say forum. My warning was published in the
Grapevine some years ago.
We do not do the "hold hands and pray" closing. Our
format reads "holding hands is optional". We leave the
handholding to the romantics.
We do not share by "show of hands". This has also been
explained repeatedly in previous articles. This custom
creates all kinds of problems. Mostly to do with EGO
and self esteem, or the lack of it. We simply go around
in an orderly fashion, sometimes called "round robin".
These are some of the reasons why I love my morning
meeting. Nothing really new; just the way all meetings
were in the decade of the 1970's, at least the thousands
of meetings I attended. ANONYMOUS
"We have about a hundred members total, with about fifteen in attendance on most mornings."
Only fifteen percent attendance? Doesn't sound like your members aren't very enthusiastic about the group.
"Nothing really new; just the way all meetings
were in the decade of the 1970's, at least the thousands
of meetings I attended."
I also attended thousands of meetings in the seventies, in five states and three foreign countries. Nearly all read "How It Works," 'chanted "Hi, Joe!" and held hands during the closing (Lord's) prayer, which to my knowledge has always been optional.
We had thirty-one meetings a week locally when I got sober in 1971, today there are over three hundred. AA, at least in this local area, must be doing something right.
"We have about a hundred members total, with about fifteen in attendance on most mornings."
Only fifteen percent attendance? Doesn't sound like your members aren't very enthusiastic about the group."
Perhaps those hundred members are too enthusiastic about life to live in AA meetings. Usually easy to spot Mr AA or Queen AA outside of meetings. Their house hasn't seen a paintbrush in thirty years, their kids show up in the arrest reports regularly, brag about their long sobriety but haven't kicked cigarettes, junk food or bothered to get their teeth fixed.
Of course they have so much face time in meetings and practiced patter that naive newcomers assume they are ideal members and sponsors so the beat goes on. 90 in 90 turns into 365 in 365 and a new generation of Mr AA's are sworn in.
My yardstick to measure the quality of sobriety or a group isn't calibrated in years or filled chairs. If I have been to two meetings in a week and am thinking about a third, it's time to get out of myself and visit somebody in a nursing home.
I do wonder in which five states you attended meetings in the 1970's. It was in the year 1980 when the HIW reading
was introduced at my home group. I questioned whether it
was the best use of meeting time. I always felt that we
were at meetings to share with each other, not to read
to each other. I really thought that was the only harm.
How could reading something from the Big Book possibly
be harmful to new members and A.A. as a whole? I know
today, that it is harmful, why it is harmful and what
we can do about it. STOP READING IT ALOUD AT MEETINGS!
Bill W. warned us about trying to cram the steps down
anyone's throat: LOTH page 8. Read the whole article.
Our morning group meets Mon thru Fri. Not many of
us attend every day. We don't require the "90 in 90",
which also appeared in the 1980's, along with the
"hold hands and pray" closing and today's concept of
I read HIW hundreds of times, aloud at meetings, for
over two decades before I spotted the error. ANONUMOUS
"I do wonder in which five states you attended meetings in the 1970's."
Pennsylvania, Ohio, California, Virginia, North Carolina. Seven cities in Virginia, two cities in each of the other states. Also, the Phillipine Islands, Singapore and Hong Kong.
I read the article. Bill didn't warn us not to cram the steps down anyone's throat, he stated that AA doesn't cram them down our throats. "If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it - then you are ready to take certain steps." Those who aren't willing to go to any lengths don't have to take them.
I'm curious about your meeting. What do you share if not your experience of recovery? War stories of your drinking? How you day is going so far? I've been to meetings that were more like group therapy sessions, is that your idea of passing it on?
Please, enlighten this poor soul, how is reading How It Works harmful?
I did not include the most important fact: that AA
membership (souls saved) doubled in the decade of the
1970's and doubled again in the 1980's, reaching almost
two and a half million members worldwide in 1992. What
happened to cause our stagnation? There are numerous
excuses, but only a few reasons. We started reading HIW.
aloud at meetings. The steps became rules.
We welcomed drug addicts to join us. We started chanting,
which makes us look foolish. We moved our headquarters
into a Rockefeller subsidized building, ignoring our
seventh tradition. We dropped our goal of selling books
and literature at cost. Other reasons have repeatedly
been covered here.
Aa membership estimates (yes only estimates) in 1970 were about 300k. It actually tripled to around 900k by 1980, then to around 2 million by 1990. So you can see in spite of reading how it works, aa still doubled from 1980-1990. I think the biggest contributor to AA booming in the 70's and 80's was the Hughes act requiring insurance companies to pay for alcohol treatment. Treatments then bused thousands, willing or unwilling to aa meetings. The Hughes act coincidently ended in 1992 when estimated membership began to stagnate.
I think we should look to 1940-50 when AA boomed from 1,400 to 100k. During that time they used personal sponsorship coupled with the big book.
if you want to study the estimated membership #'s, search smf-132 for estimated membership through 2013.
Forgive me for quoting AA literature, which you seem to dislike so intensely.
"Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that we mas solve our common problem and help others recover from alcoholism."
Perhaps if people shared their experience, strength and hope rather than their complaints about what they think is wrong with AA our growth wouldn't, as you seem to believe, stagnate.
Sober AAs carry a message of hope to newcomers. Untreated alcoholics, 'bleeding deacons', do nothing but whine about how everything would be so much better if they were in charge.
You have to know alcoholics. Some will scratch. Some would just as soon itch. Some are a miserable lot with many years in AA. They are pining for the good old days. They get frustrated at any change. This upsets their own personal AA apple cart. I think it's great. How else will they learn to Live and let live? Let go and let God? To take it easy?
I consider the Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous, to be the
second greatest book ever written. Our 12 & 12, AACA, ABSI,
LOTH, Pass It On, Dr. Bob and the Good Old Timers ought to
be required reading for any member at ten years sober. I
love those books. I guess what I do dislike is someone
other than Bill W. reading them to me and telling me how
to understand them.
This forum is certainly not an A.A. meeting or an
A.A. group and ought not be treated as such.
I am saying that reading HIW aloud at meetings makes
us look like some kind of religion. Chanting and today's
sponsorship requirement make us look like a cult. Yes,
if I were in charge, these practices would stop.
"that we mas solve our common problem and help others
recover from alcoholism". I am sure it reads " that THEY
may solve THEIR common problem, etc. Our own sobriety
is a bonus. Thanks for using fellowship, not Fellowship.
Untreated alcoholics and Bleeding Deacons, just whine,
They don't offer any solutions. First of all they must
admit that a problem exists. ANONYMOUS
There are many that have control issues that need to be dealt with outside of Alcoholics Anonymous. It's not just one person's program. AA has done great things for many without leadership or any one person being "in charge". It isn't anyone's singular job to change it back, forward or up or down. That's how a group conscience works. Are you not helping the next sick man like you are supposed to be doing? How many 12 step calls have you been on this week, this month, this year? Quit being indignant and get to work. "If I was in Charge." You make me laugh out loud.
Can you tell us more about your meeting format. Who chairs your meeting (must it be a group member familiar with your format?) do you read AA preamble, do you read anything in lieu of HIW, does everyone share or do you cut off at a certain time, how do you pick a topic.....?
Our Morning Meditation meeting was started by a couple of
us, who saw the need. We saw local AA friends at a morning
meeting about 20 miles away.
When the meeting started, we did the chanting, and held
hands at the end of the meeting. Our format read and still
reads "holding hands is optional". For the first couple of
years, I was the only one outside the "prayer circle". Then
others started to join me, and then the group just stopped
When the members realized how foolish the chanting
sounded, that also stopped. When a new person visits our
group, she/he may chant a few times. It is a hard habit
to break. We try not to make a big deal out of it. New
members eventually seem to appreciate the reverence.
Our meeting is one hour and ends at 8:00 AM. Almost
always everyone gets time to share. It just seems to work
out that way. We do have seasoned responsible members
as chairpersons. They have to be dedicated to come in at
6:00 AM to put the coffee on.
We use a simple format accepted by the group at a group
conscience meeting. We have a group conscience/business
meeting the last Friday of the month, after the regular
meeting. We pay a reasonable rent for the meeting space.
$300.00 monthly, for all five meetings.
Yes we use the preamble which still reads "fellowship".
I appreciate you interest. ANONYMOUS
Thanks for the reply. Sorry for more questions. My current home group hosts a noon meeting 6 days a week. Midweek meetings end at 12:45 and we spend maybe 20 of those 45 minutes reading or doing some other ritual that people tune out. Thus, I am interested in alternative approaches that increase sharing time.
When you say "chanting" are you referring to when the group says, "Hi Joe" after an introduction? Do you say Lords Prayer or any formal prayer at end of meeting? Do you read traditions?
It sounds like you have a solid group & meeting. I like that all have a chance to share. Early in sobriety, I regularly attended an hour long meeting in Chicago. No matter how many people were in the room, everyone was offered the opportunity to share and we rarely ran over. It was amazing how people learned to work the clock.
lb 2013 My name is Bill and I am an alcoholic. This is
the first step in its simplest form. I am admitting that I am an alcoholic. This was never meant to be a greeting or a salutation. The chairperson is the only one who ought to
respond (if that). When the group responds "Hi Bill!!, that
is chanting. Cults chant. Chanting is a ritual of some
religions. It harms AA to be viewed as a religion or
cult. We do not actually read the traditions. We try
to stay together and to listen to each member, We have
a monthly group conscience meeting, We pay an adequate
rent, and generally follow the traditions. We do close
the meeting with the Lords Pray-without holding hands.
Bill W. explains the option of using the Lords Prayer
in his "Dear Russ Letter". Thanks for the interest. ANONYMOUS
I went to hear our Delegate’s report on the 2014 General Service Conference yesterday.
Once a year representatives from across the US and Canada, the staff from the General Service Office in New York and the trustees get together for a week long meeting. In the life and death struggle against alcoholism they have the opportunity to exchange information on what’s working, what isn’t, what would be helpful to change, what isn’t and put this information into action. Is that what they do? See for yourself, just search for 63rd General Service Conference. For a free preview, here’s an example of how they spend their time:
A proposed amendment to add a dash in the title (A.A. Spiritual Not Religious) between A.A. and Spiritual failed 36 - 76. After much discussion, a motion to recommit (Send back to committee) passed 87Y / 36N.
One hundred and twenty three of AA’s best and brightest and this is what they do to help dying alcoholics. Every single one of you who participated in this and the rest of the insanity instead of protesting loud enough to be expelled should be ashamed of yourselves.
To future delegates, there is only one possible agenda for next year that would be the least bit helpful: erase the blackboard, throw everything in the trash, forget everything you know, forget everything that you think that you know, start over from scratch. You couldn’t possibly come up with anything worse.
I KNOW CHANGE IS NOT VERY POPULAR WITH AA AND IT WORKS IF YOU WORK IT.
The first year of a delegate's service is spent as the
"new kid on the block". The second year is as a lame duck servant. There are certainly no professionals.
I believe the delegates themselves ought to become
a team after their two years of service. And not as
Grapevine salesmen. They ought to become real watchdogs,
not rubber stampers.
Yes, alcoholics are dying by the hundreds of thousands
every year while we debate where to place a dash or a comma.
Dr. Silkworth and Bill left us a sledge hammer to use
as a tool to fight alcoholism. Most AA members today
don't even know what it is, or understand it, much less
how to use it. Let's bring back humility and eliminate
pride; examine arrogance and the opposite of it. Let's
try ATTRACTION, without promotion of any kind, from
top to bottom. Membership outrage is what it is going
to take to make changes. Most are still sleeping. ANONYMOUS
Based on a long running series of posts on this forum it seems like several anonymous posters have a real resentment against GSO and/or the delegates to the General Service Conference. I wonder why?
A frequent complaint is similar to, "Yes, alcoholics are dying by the hundreds of thousands every year while we debate where to place a dash or a comma." As if hundreds of thousands of alcoholics didn't die before there was such a thing as a General Service Conference. There are web sites with short biographies of the authors of the stories in the First Edition of the Big Book. A fair number of them died drunk.
I wonder how many newcomers here or read of AA's failures and decide he or she doesn't have a chance so he may as well keep on drinking.