Burning Desire to Share
What seems to work for me in a case such as this is to follow the instructions found on page 552 in the BB.
I met this fellow you describe, this vocalized hater of the serial slippers. Many of us have met those harboring radicalized malevolence regarding the struggle of others. In my case, it was a fellow who'd come to an open meeting hosted in a treatment center I was attending. He spoke with such ill will of those who'd failed and failed again to find an anchor in sobriety. Offered to buy them their first drink. And of all places he'd chosen there, in the presence of many in desperate search of that center. It was awful, and I exploded on him at the meetings conclusion. Afterwards, though, I wondered as much about my own reactionary behavior, and its testimony about me. In my own pursuit, I seek equanimity – that air of personal contentment that I admire in others with more experience than I, calm and confident not just in their sobriety, but in themselves. I'm still a long way off, but very happy in my journey.
Like so much in AA, this falls to our simple slogans: tend to our own side of the street, and “keep coming back” – the latter so much more than a friendly parting, it’s in the soul of our fellowship, and it saved my life.
Please remember that in AA meetings we always have two things:coffee and sick people and at some meetings we don't have coffee.
The people who judge don't matter and the people who matter don't judge.
Please don't let the actions of a sick person stop you from comming to AA.
Is the outside sponsorship system killing A.A through there personalities - Personality is simply another persons reality not always Gods.
Does the outside system undermined the 3 pertinent ideas of A.A. itself? LOUD YES
Does the outside system undermined the promises of A.A. to intuitively handle situations? LOUD YES
Is the outside system miss used inside A.A - Take a closer look victims.
What is the outside sponsorship system? I have been in AA for less than a year and have never heard mention of such a thing.
I am not the poster of these messages. I can only explain how I understand the messages he/she is writing.
In today's AA, new members are told to get a sponsor and
work those steps at their first meeting. Instead of turning
my life over to the God of my understanding, I am told to
turn my life over to a sponsor. Some meetings actually
assign a sponsor at a member's first meeting. Really, who
do we think we are? No member of AA is any farther away
from being drunk than one drink. That makes us come together as absolute equals. We need the newcomer as much
as he/she could possibly need us. The true AA message
(go ahead and snicker) reaches the newcomer when we
simply tell her/him what we did (exactly) and exactly
what happened to us. Who are we to tell anyone what
to do? We only share our own experience. We can offer
the 12 suggested steps (they are suggestions). Bill W.
left instructions on practicing the steps. We let God
do His work in His own time. If a new member has difficulty reading, a weekly step meeting where the steps are read will be helpful. Todays concept of sponsorship is so
distorted, I believe the label "sponsor" should be abandoned. But suggest that to today's sponsor, and be
prepared for an intense battle. You are asking him/her
to give up their power. But they are not wholly to blame.
They have been taught this method. Admittedly, this method
works for some. Hundreds of thousands of others don't
return every year because of the demands made of them.
We know what those requirements are: Get a sponsor, 90 in 90, work those steps, and hold hands with us, as we pray for you and all suffering alcoholics in and out of AA.
Maybe the poster of these messages would correct any errors
I have made. I do try to understand them. ANONYMOUS
Quote: "SINCE 1985, I HAVE ATTENDED COUNTLESS MEETINGS IN MANY AREAS - I HAVE NEVER HEARD ANYONE SAY SOMETHING LIKE THIS – NEVER."
IT'S NOT WHO RIGHT
IT'S NOT WHO WRONG
IT'S WHO'S LEFT
Just because some people knows A.A. works and others think it's in the outside sponsorship system is all our faults.
Back in 1986 I was court ordered to attend AA meetings. I was 36 at the time. There was a man in one of the meetings I remember who did the exact same thing. I'm wondering now that perhaps had that not happened, I could have had all these years of sobriety - maybe not but it was scary and deeply disturbing. All that matters is I have a great support group now and 40 days sober living. Thanks for sharing!
I am truly saddened when I read and hear messages like this. When are we going to develop the courage to insist on
group conscience meetings to discuss and do something about
these issues? Much too often I listen to someone share that
they came to a meeting in the 1980's or 1990's and were
turned off and away by strong, loud mouth personalities.
For each one who returns, there are probably hundreds
who never return. There are many things customs, rituals,
in today's AA which turn, push, alcoholics away and out of
the last place they have to go for help. Many of these
mistakes, blunders, changes have been posted numerous
times. I often wonder how many are turned away by our
"hold hands and pray", ring around the rosy, closing. How
many newcomer alcoholics would be turned off if we
simply stood by our chairs and closed in a manner
decided by a fully informed group conscience? I personally
find holding hands with strangers repulsive. Praying ought
to be done at church or on one's own time. Not on my dime.
We should/would/should have eight million members in
Alcoholics Anonymous by this point in time. We had almost
two and a half million members two decades ago. We have
lost half a million members after growing continuously
for 57 years. We continue at almost zero growth today.
We are "spinning our wheels" at two million members,
How much time would these folks have had if they would have quit drinking in the 80's or 90's. Just like typical alky's always looking for someone else to blame! If they were down on their luck and were panhandling for a drink would they stop at the first person who turned them down?? Hell no. But they stopped at their first meeting?
Some folks just aren't ready. I do wish for some changes in AA. The early timers need to speak up more and encourage the traditions but I am getting tired of AA being blamed for all the people who are not getting sober! There are so many other outside possibilities. Just think for a minute of all the things happening out there! Follow the steps, traditions, read the books and pamphlets and be a good edition of the big book and everything will work out! If I can get sober and stay sober anyone can if they take the suggetions the program offers!!
"it works if you (really) work it"?
"you stop when you (really) want it"?
if aa is not to blame, then who/what is? we are told in the literature that our sobriety is due to the gift of grace (something we dont deserve and havent earned). no gift? no grace? just for today ill try not to blame the victim.
"How much time would these folks have had if they would have
quit drinking in the 80' or 90's". About 20 or 30 years. Do
the math. And think about the many others they could have helped. Manny Q.
Exactly what changes do you wish for? Some folks just aren't ready? I would say that most alcoholics come to
their first AA meeting far from being "ready". It is up
to those who are here to help them become ready. We need
to present AA to them in such a favorable manner, that
they want what we have. If we just present a peaceful,
sober happy life, how could any suffering alcoholic not
want that. If I had been presented with a "THAT ONE IS
GOD, MAY YOU FIND HIM NOW, approach I would have thought:
just another religion, let me out of here. If at my first
meeting if I were told to hold hands and pray, this would
have confirmed that AA is a religion. I fully realize that
I am attempting to turn the tide. Convincing the membership
that the tide needs to be turned is the real task. ANONYMOUS
If you attend meetings and haven't found someone that you disagree with/do not like, you have not been to enough meetings. Individuals like this fellow know nothing of sobriety or the program of Alcoholics Anonymous for that matter. Their confusion and general disorder with life is their side of the street. Ignorance is truly bliss for some... I have seen members implode and drink again due to similar situations. They have all the answers and can write their own version of our beloved fellowship. Let them write their own ticket into a drink. I focus on my recovery and how I can help another alcoholic. "This is the greatest show on earth," which I hear at meetings. I believe in this statement and consider AA on of the greatest blessings that a person can receive. Whether or not they truly receive it, is up to interpretation by a Higher Power. May God bless and keep you. Stick around and prove hime wrong! I will be praying for you.
I have heard a few rants at meetings, well, probably more than a few. I think most people at meetings, even relative newcomers, can recognize a self-righteous person for what they are. Sometimes, however, it is probably incumbent upon someone who has been around for a while to bring the sense of the meeting back to AA.
Thank you for the reply. I spent the weekend trying to thoroughly and honestly examine myself – anger, resentment, fear, etc. – to reach beyond and grow. Thinking, praying and letting go. Went to a meeting on Monday evening and shared my feelings/reactions. I freely admit that I wanted validation for my feelings – but not co-signers for any lingering BS. The responses from the members were awesome – personal experiences reflecting solid AA principles.
I appreciate your statement: Sometimes, however, it is probably incumbent upon someone who has been around for a while to bring the sense of the meeting back to AA.
No question, this is what transpired at the Monday meeting. Many of the members had their well-worn Big Books open to highlighted pages – again, awesome.
“Yes,” they said, “It is frustrating/painful to see someone go in and out - or to be that someone. Sometimes, you have to let them go their way – but the message should not waver or stray. Keep coming back and get a thicker skin.” Translation: Dump the inflated ego, wounded pride and chip on your shoulder. They had been there and worked it through by applying the principles of the program. I plan to stick around – whatever is ahead, smooth or rough, sobriety is worth the journey.
- Ice Queen
I have been in aa for 6 yrs I everything going for me but ian still drinking need advice still can not come to terms with my drinking
Thanks for your honesty. Some folks will suggest you "pull yourself together" or "set your mind" or "really try." I won't say those things, because I tried them all and they failed. I'm an alcoholic. MY efforts at getting me sober and keeping me sober didn't work. I was completely baffled.
Then I met someone in AA who suggested I take the steps with a sponsor. (I know, I know -- how will that help me if I keep drinking?). But then it was also pointed out to me that it doesn't say anywhere I have to stop drinking before taking the steps. Actually, an honest First Step allows me to step into the truth that I CAN'T stop drinking on my own. Continuing to drink even when I desperately want to stop was actually a part of taking that first step. I finally saw it. I can't stop myself from picking up that first drink -- I have a twisted mind that keeps bringing me back.
Some folks will tell you to "think it through." My sponsor helped me see that for an alcoholic like me, such attempts to stay sober by "mind power" are doomed to failure.
I was told it didn't matter what I believed in, as long as I was willing to consider there might be power greater than me. After seeing my powerlessness, and also seeing that other people JUST LIKE ME were staying sober, I had to admit there was something going on I might need to tap into.
Some folks will tell you to get sober a while before taking the Steps. To me, that sounds like waiting until I stop starving before I'll eat. If I am to survive this fatal illness, I need to have a spiritual awakening. The Steps made that possible. A sponsor helped me take them.
Don't ask just anyone -- ask someone who has actually TAKEN the steps. Written an inventory. Made their amends. Active in helping others. They're easy to spot in AA meetings -- they're the ones happy and at peace.
I hope this help, Mike. I hope you'll take the actions that have been saving alcoholics for over 75 years. Reading books and attending meetings are not the solution. You might want to stop fighting this thing -- it's a killer, and it's bigger and stronger than us. Put your efforts into taking the Steps, reaching for a higher power -- and let that higher power take care of the drinking problem.
Your life might depend on it.
I'm struggling myself and I'm so thankful that there are no time limits on "Keep Coming Back".
Recovery, like hope and faith seem only to work if you believe in them.
mike, I'm here to tell you that you can quit. I had the hardest time making myself quit but I was successful finally just a couple of months ago. I had to make myself see myself as successful. I was really afraid that I wasn't going to be able to quit. My habit had grown basically into a monster habit, but I don't have it now and tha's a good thing.
I went to meetings and was almost jealous of all the people who had quit and I couldn't, but I promise Mike you can quit you just have to set your plan to do it, get your mind set on it, put your plan into action and you will be successful.
I had to face my fear and decide what day to quit (about a week or so ahead, to prepare myslf) and the night before I made sure to throw out all the empty bottles and the next day I just quit. I couldn't believe that I didn't have withdrawals, I had been drinking alot daily for several years, I was very, very lucky. It had to have been God that helped me, but it is done and I am free from it. It's been over 2 months now and I am so glad to actually be sober. Just think of it as any other goal and prepare yourself mentally to achieve it, the sooner the better, 'cause its one less thing to have to worry you.
I'm glad that you have alot of things going for you and I know you don't want to see alcohol mess anything up for you. Just think, without drinking you'll have more money to spend on other things.
I am so thankful to have the support that I've found from AA meetings and members. The understanding and compassion and encouragement are a Godsend for me.
I hope that this is helpful, I don't mean to over-simplify such a gripping addiction as drinking, I really don't, but it is do-able you've just got to hit it straight on with all you've got and put your mind on something else that will bring you happiness and not worry.
I can hardly believe how long I procrastinated about quitting, but that's okay, at least I finally got it together.
Take care, Mike.
Your distant "AA cousin" , Alicia.
If you don't have a sponsor find one at your next meeting - and go to one today! And get down on your knees and pray Thy Will Be Done Not Mine. Remember it's One Day at a Time. Yesterday's history Tomorrow's a mystery. Take care
In AA for 6 years?? Or Around AA for 6years??
You say you got everything going for you....but still drinking...I guess if your anything like me..give it a little more time and all the "everythings" will be gone...It's a matter of time....slowly but surely it will all be gone..Then you will wonder what the heck happened...
Get yourself to a meeting and share with the group what's going on in your life....if you don't have a sponsor...Get One !!!!! And use him?
Might try to ask your Higher Power for HELP......No big laundry list of thing you want.....Just ask for Help.....
The answer will come from another Alcoholic....
Your in my prayers....
physical sobriey is one thing.. and by the way it is a HUGE thing - when I relapsed it took me two years to get back time.. I was lucky.. once I had physical sobriety the real work begins... one day at a time... practicing these principles in all my affairs... doing the suggestions, service, etc. one day at a time
Not sure what "coming to terms with your drinking" means, but if you are having consequences from drinking and cannot stop, then you need help. The only thing that worked for me was coming to AA and following the simple advice not to drink today, get to a meeting to help make it through today, wake up tomorrow and follow the same advice. If I needed more than one meeting to get through a day early on, then I went to more than one, because I desperately wanted to not drink. Today I still go to daily meetings, in part because even though the nearly overwhelming desire for a drink does not occur too often, the daily meetings insure that I have within the last 24 hours been reminded that I am an alcoholic and that a drink would not be a good idea for me, so the thought of a drink will pass. Others I know rely heavily on a sponsor for the reminder, for the attitude checks, for the encouragement.
People like you are the backbone of AA. The sincere desire to help others coming from someone who understands what its like to feel desperate in the need to quit drinking. Thats the way I felt, I was like a trapped animal. I'm so glad to be free, I want to tell everybody.
Your reply to Mike encouraged me. Its really great to see people help each other.
I love the people that I've met in AA, even though I haven't gotten to know anyone very well yet, the spirit to help is truly beautiful.
i couldn`t imagine living today boucing in and out the rooms for 20 some years. Only with a brief of recovery i substain through trial and error, mostly error
"Meetings don't work for everyone" ??????
Why bother getting sober with that attitude! The meetings are not about me. They are about us. It is a we program.
Just keep coming back, it gets better
It should be obvious to any observer that AA meetings don't work
for every alcoholic. My question is why any alcoholic could
find us not attractive. Could it be the demands we make to
newcomers? 90 in 90, Get a sponsor, work these steps, listen to us chant louder and louder, and hold hands with
us as we pray. You better find God and find Him now! The basic AA method is to tell others what we did instead of what they must do. A simple program, yes
but how many of us understand it or follow it. AA is never
going to work for every alcoholic, but out of 30 million
alcoholics in the US, surely we can do better than 2 million. We had 2 million members in Alcoholics Anonymous two decades ago. ANONYMOUS
I love AA, it has saved my life! The only problem I have with AA is that some members gravitate toward the clique attitude and forget that we need to highlight principals over personalities in all of our affairs. I have seen where this has made others uncomfortable, including myself.
Why of course it is. That is why some folks I know tend to go to different groups, different meetings, keep mixing it up to avoid that, and always try to remain approachable by one and all. This of course runs contrary to the "suggestion" of getting a home group, but of course that is only a suggestion.
The program of AA is not cliquish, but the people might behave like it where you live. The suggestion above is the way
to steer clear of that behavior. We only get out of it what we put into it. No one ever promised any of us a rose garden.
Sobriety is a gift and if we don't appreciate it, we will surely loose it.
AA is not cliquish, but the outside sponsorship system is !!!
my name is Sam and I am an alcoholic. I have a lady friend in another program who I really love but everytime I get to appreciating her I feel like I'm going to drink. So I tried not talking to her and then she relapsed in that other program. I feel like it's my fault she relapsed because she temporarily lost my support when I wasn't talking to her. Everytime I romantically appreciate someone I become consumed with the feeling I'm going to go drink alcohol. I'm in another program for romantic addictions but I feel like I'm going crazy with so many programs. I feel I cannot turn my back on people who reach out to me for help. I feel I cannot exclude people but I feel so scared about drinking and I don't know what the solution is for this problem. I have been struggling with it for some time.
Sam it's not the drinking part that's bad - it's the living after part - Learn and live you know where A.A. is - May God be with you. P.S try a Big Book even online
I had help from a sponsor to let go of a former relationship when I first got sober. He helped me to stop calling the person, one day at a time. Twenty years later, and there is now much more help than there was then for people who are obsessive about romantic relationships. You might find help from someone in AA who has had this kind of a problem, or you might have to seek outside help. Not everybody has the luxury to "get sober first." Some of us have to work on multiple issues. But at least now I know I can't do it alone. I have to keep seeking help and guidance, both inside and outside AA.
My name is Chris S (Irmo, SC) n i m an Alcoholic of the serious type. I'm not hear to debate my opinion, just curious if they have a known origination.
Does anyone know where the following modern-day 'traditions' came from (Book/literature) or started?
a) "Take the cotton out of your ears and stuff it in your mouth"
b1)"90 mtgs in 90 days" and b2) "Be quiet and listen during the 1st 90-days"
c) "If you relapse, you do all the steps again"
d) "carrying our Big Book to every meeting"
e) "the most important pages of the Big Book are the 1st 164 pgs.
f) "you can't cross-talk and/or talk to someone directly in the meeting"
THANK you in advance for any thought of where these originated from. I've had my own opinion on each, but my opinion is as good as, well not much..... so remembering not to "contempt prior to investigation" I thought to investigate and haven't come up with an answer.
Chris S, Irmo, SC AA
Traditions are the glue which keep AA together. The people who use them must know them...sayings, slogans and repetition without explanation is empty. I have relatively new sobriety, but have learned from traveling around the country, that these traditions and sayings unite all AA members. Chanting, or repeating a saying is based on group, you don't have to do it. Reading How it Works is a good thing, because it lets newcomers know what we are about and reminds the rest of us exactly what we must do to remain sober. As I have been reminded and the book says many times, this is a suggested program of recovery. We strive for Spiritual growth, not Spiritual Perfection. This is my first look at this forum, but I have already gained what I need for today. Those who are disgruntled, lecturing or have all the answers, need to go back to the basics and relook their program. Those who share their strength and hope are doing what is needed to maintain their sobriety and giving the rest of us what we need to maintain ours. For that I am very greatful for this forum and the rooms I attend meetings in.
Platte City, MO Solutions.
Manny Q. Are you sure? Is reading How It Works to a newcomer at her/his first meeting a good thing? Ought
we be telling a newcomer (or anyone else): Find God and
find Him NOW, and all the other demands found in chapter
five? There is a special technique, method, gadget which
works for the alcoholic approaching us. It is Dr. Silkworths IDEA. Reading How It Works is the opposite
of this IDEA. Study the history. Think about it.
I don't have to join in the chanting, but I have
to listen to it. I believe the chanting makes AA look
wierd in the eyes of the public. Rose
These little sayings are certainly not traditions. They are
just distortions of what the fellowship was/is meant to be.
I don't see any need for cross-talk or speaking directly to anyone during a meeting. We share our own story or feeling about a topic, without fear of judgement, criticism or any
Bill W. wrote "somewhere" that we ought not
underestimate the value of the personal stories. In my
opinion,The Doctors Opinion is the most important reading
in the Big Book. It is not in the "164 pages".
Like many other rituals, and customs these comments
are picked up and carried on by members who think they
are cute. Or perhaps they think they ARE traditions. They have appeared in the past three decades.
Have you looked at our membership growth (or lack of it)
in the past 20 years? Everyone has an opinion. This
is mine: These sayings are harmful to AA. ANONYMOUS
Quote:Have you looked at our membership growth (or lack of it)in the past 20 years? Everyone has an opinion. This
is mine: These sayings are harmful to AA.Unquote
When I moved to this locality in 1971 our meeting list contained a grand total of 31 meetings in this city and the six surrounding cities in a radius of about forty-five miles.
Our latest meeting list contains roughly three hundred meetings, same cities, same distance. I sometimes wonder where people get their figures showing AA is fading away because of the various customs. Maybe they should start looking at what's right with AA, or else go to another program which meets their wants.
I get my figures, showing that AA is losing, or has already lost most of its effectiveness (fading away), from our General Service Office. I believe we pay considerable money
to come up with numbers. Most AA members either ignore them
or deny that they mean anything. I base my opinion of
"because of various causes" on my own experience of what
I have seen and heard through the years.
Sure, AA did grow through the 70's and 80's. The growth continued until the early 90's, on the momentum of the
first five decades. AA continued its growth until the
dogma and distortions began to take effect. In the eyes
of the general public we appear today as some type of
strange new religious cult. That is because that is just what AA has become, due to the way our AA meetings are conducted. Let me briefly repeat the blunders we have made:
The reading of How It Works at meetings from the podium,
the incessant chanting, the adoption of the 24hr book at
meetings. I have only recently come to understand that
today's concept of sponsor is harmful to AA growth. When
I write about AA growth, this is directly relating to the
still suffering alcoholic and her/his family and friends.
Our negative rate of growth tells me that AA is just not
working. We must pay attention to our membership growth
or lack of it. Other mistakes are the sharing by "show of hands", instead of just going around the room, allowing
each member to share or not to share. When I have to raise my hand in order to say something, it seems I am saying,
"look at me! I have something special to offer. The "Hold
Hands and Pray closing, in the ring around the rosy circle
was another blunder. I personally find holding hands with
strangers uncomfortable, and no longer participate in this
Why would I look for "another program"? The fellowship
of Alcoholics Anonymous sufficiently meets my needs. I
am concerned for the future generations of still suffering
men and women who so desperately need our help. Alcoholics
Anonymous in its true form offers a solution.
"I've got mine", as I have heard some members say. "When
they are ready they will join us".
The TWELVE STEP PROGRAM. which is the AA of today, barely
resembles the fellowship of men and women, which AA was
in the 1970's decade. ANONYMOUS
Quote: The TWELVE STEP PROGRAM. which is the AA of today, barely resembles the fellowship of men and women, which AA was in the 1970's decade. ANONYMOUS. Unquote
The Twelve Step program of today is exactly what it was when I became an active member of AA in 1971, and the same program given to us by the founders when they wrote the Big Book. "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."
What has changed is the fellowship, not the program. The treatment industry gave us the 'alcoholic and ...' The courts gave us the signature seekers, the internet gave us the 'this is what's wrong with AA' folks.
Those who try to carry the message of recovery through the Twelve Steps program are called "Big Book Thumpers" and ridiculed.
During the seventies that you think were so different I attended meetings in five states and three foreign countries. With few exceptions the meetings I attend today are the same as those I attended then. The major difference is that they are larger and there are more of them available.
Could I ask what the few exceptions are? At the meetings?
The twelve steps are the same. The Big Book has changed four
times, except for the first 164 pages. The Twelve Step Program is still the same. What do you think is the reason
we lost half a million members and continue at practically
no growth? The message is still the same: There is a solution that works for suffering alcoholics. The change
is in the method of presentation. Today we tell everyone
what to do, instead of just sharing what worked for us and STOP. That approach worked when Bill W. shared his story with Dr. Bob. I believe that if we can study and understand that method of approaching new members, we will rarely fail. I believe we fail hundreds of thousands of suffers every year because of our prideful stuborn resistance to investigation of
what really works. STOP READING HOW IT WORKS! STOP ALL
CHANTING! BAN THE 24 HR BOOK FROM MEETINGS. RETURN SPONSORSHIP TO ITS REAL MEANING AND PURPOSE. STOP SHARING
BY "SHOW OF HANDS. STOP THE HOLD HANDS AND PRAY, RING
AROUND THE ROSY CLOSING. These are some of the changes I
have seen at the group level over the past three decades.
These distortions are killing us! ANONYMOUS
If it is only a day at a time program whats so special about 32 years – Let me tell ya
In November graduated month there were 4 of us who calibrated 32 years and we all knew each other and went to different meetings in different towns Happy birthday Norma, Ernie. Jim and Joe, I am glad our paths crossed -many more
Celebrating years of continuous sobriety is a wonderful custom. The white chip, one day and monthly celebrations
are creations of the past three decades. November is gratitude month but even after 32 years none of us ever
graduate. We have the responsibility to keep AA's future
calibrated. Keep smiling! ANONYMOUS
I have been coming to AA since 1978 and we never celibrated months.I think it risky scince people do relapse more often in the early months of recovery and newcomers and outsiders get the impression that it is OK to relapse or that AA does not work.I know too many people with too many monthly chips. Say 12 three month chips etc. Keep it simple. Acknoledge 90 days and years only as in the begining of AA.
We want to help as many alcoholics as possible. By asking if there is anyone new "or just coming back", are we helping
or hurting them? At first glance we appear to be saying
welcome back, but I believe this is one of those times Bill
W. describes: Sometimes the temporary seeming good can be
the deadly enemy of the permanent best. If someone has
relapsed or is new, just simply allow them to share that,
if they choose, when their turn comes to share. I believe
that making a spectacle of anyone at a meeting is harmful
to that person and to AA. Further, I believe that it is
harmful to allow a newcomer to make a spectacle of himself/
herself. We come together in AA as equals. Why do we
continue to share by "show of hands"? In the decade of the
1970's we simply went "around the room". Our AA membership doubled in that decade. Anyone looked at the numbers in the
past two decades. cause and effect, these little things add up. ANONYMOUS
My first meeting was one where the monitor asked if there were any people at the first AA meeting. I raised my hand. Then I was asked my name. My initial thought was, what about anonymity? But I shared my name, first AND last, and was told "just your first name." It was embarrassing. But I was desperate, so I stayed around and heard stories like mine, which suggested I was in the right place. At that meeting, someone got their 30 day coin. That was impossible - no one could go that long without a drink. Another got a 6 month coin -- a lifetime to me. Both of those individuals gave me hope that if a stuck around, I might be able to stay sober. As a footnote, I have not seen either coin recipient in years, and wonder what ever became of them. But the important thing was that their accomplishment to date gave me courage and hope when I needed it.
Our meetings still go around the room, with everyone having an opportunity to share. The only different meetings I have been to,, where the monitor picks people to share, seemed cliquish to me as an outsider. It was important for me early on to feel I was a part of AA, and while my sharing then would probably embarrass me now because of the gap between what I knew and what I thought I knew, it was still vital to verbalize what I was going through. But that is just what my experience has been.
I have said things I regret. Alcohol plus all the personal issues in my life were so close and raw I was not able to speak calmly. I shared my anger and I did anger others. I have not been able to forgive myself and I don't feel welcome or among friends at meetings. For whatever reason I am still horrified because I have made the same mistakes in AA I have made in my personal life. People do remember the mean words more than the kind ones. /what's done is done!
It's not over until it is over. Steps 8.9 and 10 offer us a reprieve. When I look at the mistakes I have made in AA in the past decades, I grieve. I was often critical of Bill W.
for not accepting the 24 book when it was offerred to AA in
the early 1950's. I believed that Bill didn't want it
approved because it wasn't his own work.
Today with an understanding of the technique, method or
approach given to Bill in the spring of 1935 by Dr. Silkworth, I do understand. Bringing this twice rejected
book to the podium at AA meetings has been a tragic blunder.
I have read HIW at meetings aloud at least a hundred
times. Today, after studying the history left to us by
Bill W. and the others, I understand this also to be a
tragic blunder. This was the approach(method) which did not
work for Bill W. in his first six monthes of what he
later called "violent exertion". It was the advice from
Dr. Silkworth which "straightened him out", Bill later wrote.
In my defense, I was never in favor of the chanting. I
regret not speaking up when chanting began at my groups.
But I just did not want anyone to not like me, so I just
kept quiet and tolerated it. I did not realize how
damaging chanting would later become.
What a price we have paid in human suffering. My
estimate is that we have failed six million alcoholics
plus their friends and families in the past three
decades because of these blunders, and other mistakes
we have made, throughout the AA structure.
Very few AA members read these messages. Many of those
few disagree strongly with me. Please, those who see AA
today as being in trouble, spread the message. All of the
mistakes we have made in AA can be corrected at NO cash
cost. Our pride is what we must sacrifice. Some AA members
will go to the grave in denial. God bless them. After 35
years my head was pulled out of the sand, and I looked
around. I was appalled, mostly at myself. All these
blunders occurred on my "watch". ANONYMOUS