Burning Desire to Share
Many children of alcoholics eventually pick up and
often become as bad or worse than the parents they had
observed while growing up. With my first drink I understood
why my father drank. I always wondered why he would do
such a thing time and time again. In ten years, I was
as bad or worse than my father.
My son has been battling addiction for about five
years. He is currently in another treatment "program".
I try to be a good example. I did not drink while he
was growing up, but I can see that I made mistakes.
As a mother, I can only imagine the pain that you
are going through. Try not to yell at him or anyone
else. Love him as much as you can. So far my advice
has not worked for me as far as helping my son.
Maybe it will eventually work for both of us. I have
found I am better being calm and loving. ANONYMOUS
I had a father who died with a marijuana joint in his pocket and that was because he couldn't drink alcohol anymore. I cried at his funeral for the father I never had and the shame I felt because he died an Alcoholic/Addict. I vowed to honor his death with the promise that I would not disgrace my children that way. Needless to say, my grown ups drink and smoke marijuana and I find myself at a loss of words (definitely can relate) so I say nothing as well. We don't control anyone but ourselves and I have learned there really are no magical words that can be said until a person is ready to listen. I believe you have may have said more than enough so he knows you love him. Let go, let God is my advice.
Here is something I wrote for all of you that are struggling I hope you like it. When your dream's seem shattered and you can't see beyond the broken glass remember you have a future not only a past. Although your past mistakes are haunting you,there's still room for your dream's to come true. Hold on to those dream's and dont let go,for one day you will see no more broken glass below. My prayer's are with you all,Arlene.
I just talked to a freind. He drank again after 4 months on going to daily meetings and not working the steps. I have seen this over and over. In my experience it seems that most newcomers make it about 3 months by going to meetings. Newcomers who have gotten some dry time in treatment seem to make it up to about a year.
The newcomers that hit bottom and read the book Alcoholics Anonymous and try to apply what it says, seem to get and stay sober as long as they apply the steps day by day.
This is just my observations over the years, Have any of you witnessed this?
There is no magic formula in AA that I know of which will quarantee sobriety although there are a lot of snake oil salesmen in the rooms that will claim to heal the sick. Recovery is an individual experience. As members we are responsible to help the sick and suffering alcoholics, but we can only share our experience strength and hope. The only person I can keep sober is me. Its often said in AA, "What keeps one sober might make another drink."
I've watched the biggest of big book thumpers and the holiest of holy rollers pick up a drink after many years and have watched members labeled, "Most Likely to Drink Again" stay sober for many years. Even 12-Step gurus have relapsed. Alcoholics have damaged brains and many other complicated factors that impair judgement and lead one back to the bottle. I'm one drink away from a drunk not 30 years away. I can offer a new person this...if they do not put alcohol in their body today than they will be alcohol free today. I hope each newcomer discovers whats inside them to make that happen.
I don't think there is a magic potion or formula in AA that works for everyone equally. Of course, there are a lot of members selling snake oil. I feel we didn't drink the same way and we don't get sober the same way. I often heard in the rooms, "What keeps me sober might make another person drink." I believe its the responsibility of each member to find a path that works for them. The only person I can keep sober is me. I found what works for me today. Tomorrow, my recovery needs may change so its important I remain flexible. I avoid rigidity and dogma. I've observed Big Book thumpers relapse and the member "Most likely to drink again" stay sober by doing nothing. I've learned that people may give the illusion of being sober in meetings by being active in the group but, there just might be a time bomb ticking inside.
you are 100% correct that there is no "magic formula". There is however a "spiritual formula". On page 14 of the "aa group" it says "Because the 12 steps are the foundation of personal recovery in AA, many groups devote one or more meetings a week to the sudy of each step in rotation.
Regardless of my personal opinion, the fact is that the 12 steps ARE the foundation of persoal recovery in AA. However some not so far advanced problem drinkers may be able to stay dry without the 12 steps. I say more power to them.
In the forward to the 4th edition to the big book it says "While our literature has preserved the integrity of the AA message,.......I want to read and hear the AA message. It is proven to work. The individual's message may or may not work.
I am not saying that whatever each individual member has done will or will not work, I'm just saying for me, the AA message as written in our big book for sure has worked for me and countless others like me. When I say like me I mean a hopelss alcoholic, who had lost the power of choice when it came to alcohol. Unless I was locked up I continued to drink until I was led to use the 12 steps as presented in the book Alcholics Anonymous.
Thanks for reading,
From my observations over the past years, most newcomers
stop attending A.A. meetings after a short time. Is it because they have not hit bottom and have not read the Big
Book? I personally feel that an alcoholic who is at a high
bottom has a better chance of permanent sobriety than
someone who has lost everything. In the gutter, an alcoholic's only comfort may be a bottle of liquor.
I personally feel that we are trying to pass on a message without the knowledge necessary to effectively
pass that message. We may have recovered, but we do not
know how to pass that message on to others. We try to carry the message to others (in all sincerity), but our pious attitude and spiritual pride prevent the message from being
transferred. What is missing is humility.
I believe we can help and hold a greater number of
suffering human beings by only talking about ourselves,
whether at speaker meetings or group discussions.
Simply give the newcomer a copy of the big book (third
edition if you can find one). Suggest that they read
some of the stories in the back of the book. Do not tell
them to fast forward to chapter Five. There are no
short cuts. Keep the horse in front of the cart. Do not
push or prodd in any way. We may think we are encouraging.
We want every one to find what we have found. but I observe
that alcoholics have a rebellious nature. If we do not
give them anything to rebel against, how can we go wrong?
We offer our own story and thank the new person for listening to us. That is what helps me to stay sober:
continuously carrying the message. Let God be the
missing piece of the puzzle. He will help the new
person if we will only let Him. My hope is that others
will eventually understand what I am talking about and
they can in turn help others to understand. ANONYMOUS
I am going on two years with no hard liquor.i have tried to drink beer n wine, but couldn't go thru with it.do I have sober time?
I think you already know the answer to your question. Maybe you are looking for justification. If you are implying you tried... meaning that you consumed a little then you did not maintain your sobriety.
Are you sober today? That's the only question that matters. Take one day at a time. The rest will work, if you work it. I found that putting the plug in the jug was the easy part. The hard part was working the steps with a sponsor. There is relief from your desires, if you are willing to follow the steps. Read the beginning of chapter 5...first word in bold...RARELY have we seen a person fail. All you do is show up with a willing heart and the program does the rest.
If you show up with a willing heart; If you are willing to follow the steps; The rest will work, if you work it.
Why do we put so many conditions, when the only requirement
for A.A. membership is a desire on his/her part to get well?
The method of passing our message to others is sharing
our own story of recovery with them. Then thank them
for listening. That is how we maintain our own sobriety.
This concept is very complicated and difficult to
understand and follow. But it is very simple and easy,
with a little knowledge and self restraint. ANONYMOUS
Tried? But couldn't
I had that experience, but with vodka. I wanted to want it ( tried to drink it) , but I put the glass back on the counter without taking a sip ( or taste)(couldn't go through with it). I certainly consider myself sober (21+)(this happened at 5). If what you mean by couldn't go through with it is that like me you didn't drink, taste or sip, I'd say you are sober. On the other hand if you took a swallow or two and tossed it never to try again...I personally may be good with that, but the real test is how your sponsor and home group feel about it. My sponsor...and my group...well I'm not sure and don't want to find out....
North Hills, Ca
but if you have learned your lesson, it may have been well worth it. There is always that if for many of us until that last experience which really shows us who and where we are in our sobriety so I, personally commend you. It is what it is and who is taking your inventory. Good luck.
"I am going on two years with no hard liquor.i have tried to drink beer n wine, but couldn't go thru with it.do I have sober time?"
I have been in n out of aa four years.i still have not drank liquor,but in my groups imet a lot of people who know my medications and only until recently have cut these down to the prescribed levels.eleven mos. ago we were eating out and I had a margarita.i took a couple sips and said that is it for me.i had tried beer a few times but still have not gotten drunk in 23 months.have I had any continuous sobriety,just not being in blackouts or waking up not being in jail and not knowing how I got there.
Provided i stay sober tonight(which is my plan), i get to celebrate 20 years of continuous sobriety starting at midnight.
I don't have words to properly express my gratitude to Alcoholics Anonymous for the life given to me. Thank you for keeping this message and passing it on to me. Thank you for all the service work, the literature, the phone calls you've answered, the assemblies, gsr meetings, regular meetings, the guidance given to my home group, the coffee, the hugs, and most of all thanks for the love. I have a God because of you, and I'm still sober because of that. Thank you.
I went to 2 AA meetings a couple weeks ago. I blamed it on loneliness but I am now again lonely and drinking by myself, thinking it will fill the gap that I have felt since moving out on my own 3 months ago. I believe that my main reason for leaving was not the things that I did not agree with but more that I was drinking secretly, making the things that I did not agree with more difficult to work through. There were things said to me that were not excusable, I will say that. I did not leave for no reason. Now, I am having feelings of regret about leaving. I miss many things about it. Even my dog suffers from the unfamiliarity. I have been struggling, the opposite of what I thought it would be like to finally be free. I question my thoughts. Is it logical to miss someone who made me feel so unhappy or how much of that unhappiness did I create? I cannot help but believe that drinking is ruining it all right now. It is easier to admit that when I am in the throes of it, like now. Not so easy when I am sober.
and you sound like you are in pieces. Start picking yourself up one piece at a time, one day at a time. It will be better, every day you are sober, it will hurt less and less. Trust me, I have been there and I don't think much of it anymore because it was a part of my alcoholism/addiction. I, alone created that hell, starting with my alcoholism/drug addiction and then trying to be in a relationship....total insanity. I got sober, got my life in order, and found someone sober like me. Thanks to AA, there is a happy ending waiting for you, make it your beginning. Your friend in AA.
Dealing with a disease that tells you you don't have it is difficult. The question is do you want to be right or do you want to be happy. Get off the self pity pot, go back to AA, sit through the whole meetings, listen for the similarities not the differences, get a sponsor ( someone who seems to have what you want), do what they suggest (which more than likely will involve going through the steps), and you will be amazed at how everything in your life changes for the better.
Or you can just keep on doing what you've been doing, be right in your opinions and wait as things continue to get worse. Which I guarantee they will.
your honesty is very touching. i feel your pain, so you are not alone. yes, getting sober and trying to live life and all the difficult things in it definitely make you want to run for the hills! it is hard to be lectured from someone who is no different then us, but they know where we are because they have been there and believe it or not sometimes we are only lying to ourselves and that is what makes us so defensive and bothered by the advise. i have been sober for a very long time (left after 1 year in AA) and have recently started going back to NA and AA and if there was a place for crazy ass b@*$s i would be told to go there too. you can wait for many years in and out of addiction but you will miss out on life....believe me i am 50 years old. i started drinking and smoking at 12 years old and got sober in late 30's. don't sweat the small stuff....but remember if Nothing changes, nothing changes.
I hope you are sober today. It is never easy in the begining.I remember well my first meeting everything I complained about the response was --Dont drink and go to meetings"--go to meetings every day and as many times a day as you can and bring your dog, your best friend.
Thinking while drinking always leads to stinking things. It's done,so move on. AA can cure loneliness,it did for me,even before I left.
Initally, drinking was fun. If I could have held on to
that way of drinking, I would still be enjoying myself with
liquor. But I reached a point where, although drinking was
no longer fun and began to cause me grief, I could not seem
to stop. Alcoholics Anonymous offered me a way out. I
was not alone any more.
Order the book "Experience, Strength, and Hope" from
our General Service Office. Read some of the stories and
try to identify with other alcoholics.
Some of our actions are not reversable. Maybe you
made a mistake moving out. I believe that some serious
decisions ought to be postponed, when first trying A.A.
Be as honest with others as you can. Don't let pride
keep you from admitting making a possible mistake.
Go back to the meetings. Go to a variety of meetings.
You may have to search but it will be worth the effort.
Some A.A. meetings can be "off the wall". We can be
sick, drunk or sober, but please give us an honest try.
You can best care for your "best friend", by being
sober and responsible. ANONYMOUS
Hi Can someone direct me to a good book on enabling? I have a daughter with 2 DUI's and enough history to know she is going to have 3 DUI's soon. My parents who are wealthy and two sisters went behind my back shortly after the first DUI and gave my 20 year old enough money to replace my financial support. When my daughter Sara received the first DUI I told her she was cut off unless she went to treatment. She went to my family who has been enabling her for 4 years now. Sara didn't need to listen to me when she had these 4 to pay all her bills.
She is out of nursing school now and the licensing board has not allowed her a license. I think they may not give her one at all. Sara has been partying 4 nights out of 7 and doesn't seemed too concerned about ever working.
Breaks my heart.
My parents are ticked at me for trying to hold Sara accountable (these people are intelligent and my grandfather was an alcoholic!) when I asked WHY they continue to enable they give me the latest feel sorry for Sara story.
I am almost completely ostracized by my own parents over this. I am making one last attempt and then I am through with all of them. Is there a good book on enabling or family members who enable? Thats everyones Christmas present.
I tried what I could with Sara, she is done with me so I am letting that go. If a tragedy happens at least I know I did everything a mom could and thensome.
Just need the book to end this sad chapter in my own life.
I remember what it was like, young, going to college, and I did not have a care in the world. I was on the verge of flunking out of colllege and my parents arranged for me to see an addiction counselor, but my choice was NOT to go.
A few months later I did flunk out of college. I finally decided to call a treatment center one night when my life passed before my eyes. I thought to myself this ALCOHOL is going to kill me.
There is not a thing my parents or family could do to make me stop drinking. I could only stop drinking when I wanted to stop. Alcoholics are cunning, baffling, and powerful. We con, lie, cheat, manipulate all for are own gain. Call it enabling or whatever you want. Our society likes to use labels.
I could not get help, until I was ready for help. The treatament center, the halfway house, the loss of job was not enough of an eye opener. I had to experience what I did, on my own.
Spirituality and prayer are powerful. I am only one drink away from my first DUI? Living sober one day at a time in Americas Heartland since July 26, 1988. Someday the "ISM" just takes over and I have to turn it over to GOD, my higher power.
I had been sober for 9 months when my wife informed me that she wanted to separate. I was 8000 miles from home, alone in a hotel room when she gave me the news. Instead of picking up a drink, I instinctively reached for my Reflections book then I got down on my knees and prayed. I had not prayed On my knees for many years. But that evening I stopped playing god. That evening I finally embraced step 3.
I read in the reflections book that prayer does not change God's attitude toward me; rather, it changes my attitude toward God. That night I had a major attitude adjustment and turned my will over to the care of God.
It's truly a great day to be sober!
I am truly thankful to A.A and very grateful to God for it!!!
I am glad I know who to really thank today instead of a parol officers around A.A.
Similar experience, married 28 years, sober 18 years and my wife has a change of life style that didnt include me. With the help of God and all the great people in AA I didnt drink.
For this and so much more I am eternly greatful AA. Life is truly beyond my wildest dreams.
never did I believe the pain of a divorce or break up could be fathomed without a drink and I too cling to the daily refection as a method of huge support especially when I cannot get to a meeting at a given moment, thank you for sharing...
i admire that! i read the reflections book as well. i need the fellowship but cannot bring myself there.
i need help.
Thanks for sharing that todda. I am counting my blessings and taking step 3 as we speak! ValS
At a Fall Assembly recently, I listened to a talk given by one of our 21
Trustees. It was mostly a plea for more money. The birthday plan was described
as a way to increase funds. He indicated that if every A.A. member paid his/her
fair share, thirteen million dollars would be raised every year, using the birthday plan.
This Trustee is also a director in one of our corporations. I asked if he
received a salary for the position as director. He indicated that he was not a
I asked if we have employees in our A.A. structure who earn a quarter of a
million dollars annually, plus benefits. He said he did not have that information
I have been trying to get information on salaries for the past couple
of years. The only information I have been given is the salary range up to
$250,000. I have been asked why I am asking the question. I believe I have
the right and the responsibility to know what I am paying to employees who
work for me.
Salary information should be transparent and available to anyone who
drops a dollar in the basket, or sends in a contribution. It seems that this
information is locked in the vault.
Our 21 Trustees have absolute total legal control of all of A.A.'s
finances. They control the money. If a trustee does not know what we are
paying our employees, then who does?
Is Concept Seven the only leverage we have as A.A. members? Personally,
I will not send in any more money, until I get some acceptable answers.
The General Service Office Operating Budget shows that we are planning to spend $5,586,500 on salaries for the year 2012. I found that information in the 62nd Annual Meeting of the General Service Conference of Alcoholics Anonymous 2012 Final Report. Your GSR or DCM probably has a hard copy. The report breaks the numbers down by service activity, but I didn't see a breakdown for each individual position. Did you email GSO? You can find the contact information on the website.
Thankful to see all of you here.
“THE ABC’S OF A SOBER LIFE”
Attitudes must alter for your new journey to succeed
Belief in a Higher Power is the key that opens closed doors
Clarity brings understanding to the discovery of our wants and needs
Determination moves us forward on the path to living a life with joy
Evil thrives on anger, depression and self-doubt
Fear destroys all hope and feeds the roots of our desperation
Gratitude conquers the needs of the Ego
Handle your life with respect and love, sharing with all by example
Ideas and creativity flourish in a mind free of restraints
Justify your self-worth by using the gifts you’ve been given
Knowledge can heal – but you must be a listener to learn
Loving oneself is the recommended daily requirement
Moderation’s role is of balance; it’s a concept rarely understood or used
Negativity is the cancer of mind, body, soul and spirit
Only we can change ourselves, but we must be willing
Perception dictates reaction
Quiet your fear, for help is just a prayer and phone call away
Responsibility for ones’ behavior is the most important step toward maturity; blaming others is the cheater’s way out
Serenity surrounds the Soul that is sure of itself
Thoughts are like chameleons…forever changing to fit their environments
Untried courage breeds cowardice
Voices of insanity scream in your brain to silence truth’s whisper in your heart
Words contain great power and should be used with caution
Xpect Your Zones of comfort, clarity, patience and love to expand…a zest for life will soon follow
I've been sober since the early eighties but, find it difficult sitting in rooms listening to versions of recovery which are much different than the one which keeps me sober today. A few years ago I moved to a very "Christianized AA area" and the meetings were challenging to sit through. I can stomach 2 times a year. To me, theres a certain degree of rigidity and a fashionable painting by numbers approach to recovery which dominates the discourse. When I first moved here, I was excited about meeting new people, but I found myself being attacked for sharing my experience, strength and hope. I remember a guy hollering out, "You aren't sober if you don't believe in God and you don't belong in AA." Driving way from this incident I thought, "What AA hell is this?" Fortunately, not everyone here is as passionate as him. Although I experience a since of "not belonging" in the rooms today, I do belong in the world outside the rooms. I have loving wife, a wonderful family, a great career and most importantly I have zero debt. I've always held the belief that recovery is what I do outside the rooms and not necessary how I look inside the rooms.
There are a lot of preachers and teachers in A.A. today.
Where else but in A.A. can a drunk who just got out of
detox or prison become a sponsor, preacher, teacher or
advisor. We promote the alcoholic's EGO and it is killing
The "hold hands and pray" closing practically forces
every member to join in the Lords Prayer. I believe the
start of that ritual in the 1980's was a serious blunder.
When I came into A.A. in 1970, we simply stood by our
chairs and cited the Lords Prayer. We did not hold hands
in what I today call the "ring around the rosy" circle.
Ending this ritual can be done, but not without a
lot of hard work. At many meetings I am the only member
not holding hands. But my home group of about fifty
members, about a dozen who meet every day, no longer
hold hands. We do close with the Lords Prayer, as
accepted by our group conscience. If the "flavor" of
the group changed and the majority objected to the
Lords Prayer we would change the closing.
I attended a meeting last evening with five members.
One long sober member wanted to hold hands when closing.
He had to hold hands with himself. No one would hold
hands with him. We must remove this custom from our
A.A. meetings. It will not be easy. ANONYMOUS
The Lords Prayer is said at the close of most of the meetings I attend in my area and I go to a variety of meetings. At each meeting before the prayer,the chairperson says, "For Those Who Will", let us join hands and say the Lords Prayer. It is not mandatory. If you do not feel comfortable with it for any reason, don't do it. You do not have to justify or explain your reason.
We have ceased holding hands to say the Lords Prayer at my parish. It is for hygienic reasons. Flu, elderly, children etc.
There are some younger and some newer members who want it stopped all together. The smugness and know-it-all attitude is turning people off. Stepping on toes causes resentments and members will retaliate over this.
Myself, I say it at church and at home. Will it bother me if it is not said? No. However, I know I want to stay sober, and grace fills the rooms when we are gathered there and share. I will take all the help I can get. We need not hold hands to do it. In fact I would prefer that we do not.
Last night at a meeting I was hugged and hugging some fellow members. Someone thought they should get in on the act. I didn't like that either. So back to hand shakes for me.
You remind me of the meetings in the 1970's when
there was very little hugging between members before
or after the meetings. I believe we should leave that
contact to the romantics. Many things changed in the
1980's. I relate those changes to our stagnation. We
stopped growing in the early 1990's. For the first
57 years we grew at the rate of doubling our membership
about every ten years. We have fewer members today than
we had 20 years ago. Way beyond sad. ANONYMOUS
To me, the reality is we live in a country where one religious group is the dominant force and some of its followers act with hostility towards people who have other points of view. Some members from this certain religious background bring this aggression into the rooms unknowingly. In many areas, certain AA rituals have been disguised unconsciously which I believe provides comfort to the ones who like them. To these members, AA is a gift from God who through the pens of two saints wrote the holy scripture with 12 commandments. They have adopted a holy prayer and a holy city Akron, where followers take pilgrimages. There are popular evangelic style speakers selling tapes and videos, as well as, a 12 commandment study groups, daily prayer books and rituals such as lighting candles, reciting the holy prayer and holding hands. My wife who is a Catholic pointed out the similarities. I personally do not feel comfortable with this style of AA, so I found a solid mens group which does not have prayer, rituals or holding hands. I try and remember in AA when I create an enemy I become an enemy.
You can always move to Massachusetts where they don't hold hands to say the Lords Prayer? Or you can let this resentment eat a hole in you. The program works and if we start tuning it up to our own standards some of the recovery may go with it. I feel the Big Book of AA is divinely inspired and it is the key to happy and fufilling sobriety which are found in the steps and the pages of the Big Book. Many people in AA have years of sobriety but not much of what I call contentment. Most of the time they have not gone through the steps (in order) with their sponsor and cleaned house. I personally like holding hands and saying the Lords prayer at the end of the meeting and saying Serenity Prayer at the beginning of the meeting. Why? It says in the bible that where ever two or more are gathered in my name I am present also. I think it is part of the magic of AA. If you have a resentment against the Lords Prayer in the Big Book it says to pray for the person, place or thing you are angry at to have everything good. Do it daily until the resentment goes away or 77x 7 times, which ever gets rid of it quickest. I hope AA stays the same because it saved my life and I may not like every part of AA but I can live with it because it changed my life for the better. Stopping drinking was a good start and the steps gave me tools I never had. I am very happy for the life I have today thanks to this wonderful program and my higher power. Anonymous
I have no resentment against the Lords Prayer. And I
see no reason not to use it to close our meetings, as long
as it is what the majority of the group members want. A
true group conscience ought to make that decision. It is
the forcing everyone to hold hands and join in that I
object to. No member ought to be coerced into joining
in a religious prayer circle. Not all A.A. members are
Christian, although if we are attractive enough hopefully
they will want what we have and join us. But it is not,
and never has been a requirement for A.A. membership,
unless you and other Christians make it a requirement.
I no longer "hold hands and pray" at an A.A. meeting.
And I go to a meeting almost every day. And I do not live
in Massachusetts, although I spent some time there in
my Army drinking days.
Practically all of the A.A. meetings I attend open
with the serenity prayer and close with the Lords Prayer.
I certainly have no resentment concerning either. We have
done it this way for more than the four decades I have
Holding hands can be nice and comforting for some
if not most members. But I am always concerned about
those who may be uncomfortable holding hands with old
men or strangers. We started the "hold hands and pray"
closing about 1980 in my area. It was accepted in
a story in the fourth edition of the Big Book.
I do not consider any edition of the Big Book to be
"sacred text". To compare it to the Big Big Book is
what Bill W. called a heady wine. ANONYMOUS
I am one of the old men that you single out as one of those some individuals may be uncomfortable about taking my hand in theirs. I have a firm, dry grip, and am manic about personal hygiene. Age is not a factor in the quality of someone's grip or handshake. Many youngsters offer sweaty, dirty palms, and I find that most unpleasant. Having said that, I would prefer not to hold hands for two reasons. One, I do not enjoy it. And two, I came in at a time when closing the meeting meant a few moments between oneself and one's higher power. The hand holding came about as a result of what Ernest Kurtz calls the "touchy feely concept of group dynamics" originating in the profitable treatment center business that sprung up in the late seventies. I do not care for the manly "bro hugs" either. I protested this for a long time, and simply decided it was not worth all the rancor and ill will I gathered over the issue. At the amen, I just let my hand go limp and do not engage in the enthusiastic hand pumping and chanting that follows. When I get to the car afterwards I surreptitiously go for the bottle of hand sanitizer I keep in the center console. Then I feel better.
I try to respect the group conscience of whatever group I am visiting even if I don't agree with it.
If you are visiting a group, how would you know what the
group conscience is? Have you ever taken part in a truly
informed group conscience? Just because everyone else
chants and holds hands and prays at meetings doesn't
make it any less wrong. These rituals are repulsive to
some of us. Would you suggest that we just stop attending?
I prefer to just not chant and stand alone. You would
not believe the number of members who have joined me.
An earlytimer just last evening approached me saying
"now I understand why reading HIW at meetings is wrong".
He has been reading about Dr. Silkworth's advice to
Bill W. Bill wrote many times that without this advice
from Dr. Silkworth, A.A. could never have been born.
Bill wrote that he almost ruined the whole thing by
his preachy approach to helping other alcoholics. Yet
we tell alcoholics every day "That one is God! May
you find Him NOW! We are failing hundreds of thousands
of suffering alcoholics every year by this practice.
Usually I can get a pretty good idea of the group conscience of a meeting I'm visiting by listening to the script that the chairperson reads. In addition, I can ask questions to the home group members who attend the business meetings and group inventories.
For a long time I have known that it's the AA Programme that I need, not meetings. Some so-called "AA" meetings seem a long way off the AA programme. It was, and is, practising the AA programme that got and keeps me sober.
I try, as a sober AA member, to practice the AA principles in all my affairs. So I guess it is my responsibility to carry the AA message wherever I go, and particularly at AA meetings. It doesn't make me popular though!
I have been sober for 37 years and have run into all kinds of personalities, and observed all manner of oddball behaviors. And there is no question I have been guilty of thinking and doing some strange things. But, until recently, I have never been genuinely afraid of someone. There is an individual who turns up at most of the meetings I attend. He claims to have had 20 years of sobriety at one time, but left and now has about 4 months. He talks at meetings about having violent fantasies, the most recent one involving the use of a chain saw. I have given him rides to meetings several times, and he has told me that he enjoys talking to me. He has shared things with me that I really do not want to know about him. But, more and more, I find myself keeping my distance. Others think his tales amusing and laugh at his stories, but I have actually become frightened of him. Anyone ever run into this sort of situation?
AA is and always will be about anonimity. We should not be afraid of sharing in a meeting with the fear of what we have have shared inside the walls of AA, will be brought to the publics eye.