Burning Desire to Share
Dear Anonymous on Wed, 2011-06-08 20:38.
What does your sponsor say?
When I don't do the work to maintain my spiritual condition, loneliness ensues. The sort of sitting in a crowd lonely...or sitting in a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous lonely.
I do believe that there is power in the meetings, but I can even be cut off from that power if I am not maintaining my spiritual condition outside of those meetings. I know of no way sufficient to maintain my spiritual condition short of step work...if I don't sincerely try to do 10, 11 and 12 on a daily basis, I will get sick of pretty much everything, even AA.
Certainly I encourage meetings during lonely times, but I also encourage checking oneself in regards to step work...do I have unfinished inventory and amends? Am I dealing with selfishness, dishonesty, fear and resentment when they crop up or am I just ignoring them, hoping that I can just silently hide them away in a closet? Alcoholism is a subtle foe...the spiritual malady side of it can strike regardless of whether my last drink was one day or decades ago...
Hello, I keep tripping, saying things and/or talking very loudly at my 3 adult girls and messing up each time I try to partisapate in a mother, daughter, and grndmother relationships to the point that my children do not even wish to visit me lately. I am too overbearing and voice my unwanted opinions upon them so much that they don't even want me to visit with my grandchildren, all 8 &1/2. I too have stop attending AA, CC. Plus any other supportive meetings. My faith in the God of my own understand, is all I am sure of today. I know that God loves, protect, provide, and today that is all I am sure of today. It has been so long since I have been in a committed, loving, and female to male and earthly relationship. Today I am clean and sober. This loneliness and disconnected family relationships shall also pass, just as last nigft past into a brand new day. New beginnings sents from above, can and do grant us all new blessings and another day to try it again! I look forward, God willing, to my graduation celebration, son's home coming and becoming an independent and self reliable adult:):):) again someday soon!!!
This too shall past. Step out on faith and work the same faith that has kept us all clean and sober today! Thank you for sharing your story, because I thought I was the only recovering adict who was feeling as the lonliest person in the world. Grateful for the capablities of today's technology, provivding an online forum that spans accross God' entire nation, 24/7.
Peace and sorenity to us all, inside and outside the rooms and virtual chat rooms.
I have 31 wonderful years in sobriety now and at about 15 years and 29 years I felt that way. Remember Alcoholism is only a sympton of my disease. I have a lot more other things to work on in myself. One huge step I took was joining Co-dependence Anonymous (CoDA) in January 2010 and it has helped me work out my loneliness and get back to loving me. I am with me all day long and I love me today. I am also back to letting my Loving Higher Power of Recovery have the controls. My past Sponsor who passed away in April of this year would always tell me that I need to practice the principles in ALL my affairs and not only AA, so having balance in ALL areas of my life is one of my goals, balance with LHP, family, friends, work, my puppies, etc. Hang in there and remember a drink will not fix anything.
maybe try some different meetings - if possible. Especially ones where there are many newcomers.
Dear Loneliness in AA,
Wow! I will have 15yrs of sobriety one day at a time on July 27, 2011. You give me hope because I thought I was the loneliest person in the world! I'm reluctant to share the title, but I know if I work harder, I can be where you are in another 5 years.
Example: Here is me and my sponsor (what does a sponsor know anyhow?)
Me: I'm having trouble in my personal relationships, they aren't doing what I want them to nor how I want them to do things). I can't control my emotional nature; I'm deluged by misery and depression. I feel like I can't make an adequate living (I'm not rich and famous--the world hasn't discovered me!). I feel useless. I'm full of fear. I'm unhappy and I can't seem to be of real help to other people.
Sponsor: "Read p. 52 in the Big Book... and reread the part that says, "When we saw others solve their problems by a simple reliance upon the Spirit of the Universe, we had to stop doubting the power of God. Our ideas did not work. But the God idea did."
Then my sponsor tells me to read p. 52 in the 12 and 12 (Twelve Traditions and Twelve Steps).
"The most common symptoms of emotional insecurity are worry, anger, self-pity and depression. These stem from causes which sometimes seem to be within us and at other times to come from without. To take inventory in this respect we ought to consider carefully all personal relationships which bring continuous or recurring trouble. It should be remembered that this kind of insecurity may arise in any area where instincts are threatened...Appraising each situation fairly, can I see where I have been at fault?" Or, if my disturbance was seemingly caused by the behavior of others, why do I lack the ability to accept conditions I cannot change? These are the sort of fundamental inquiries that can disclose the source of my discomfort..."
After I read that paragraph my sponsor asks if I'm ready to do some inventory work. At that point I'm ready to quit! Doesn't my sponsor know anything? Hasn't my plight been heard?"
My sponsor points out: "Our real purpose is to fit ourselves to be of maximum service to God and the people about us." (BB p. 76).
Of course I bristle with antagonism, but once I start doing what my sponsor suggests I'm amazed before I'm halfway through. I start to find a new freedom and a new happiness. I begin to experience serenity anew along with peace and dare I add contentedness?
"Someone who knew what he was talking about once remarked that pain was the touchstone of all spiritual progress...the pains of drinking had to come before sobriety, and emotional turmoil before serenity." (p. 94, 12 & 12).
Who'd of thought a through housecleaning was what I needed to let go of the title: loneliest person in the world; though I'm confident I can reclaim that title anytime my program consists of "AA meetings" only.
My Sponsor says:
"AA's circle and triangle represent: Recovery (12 steps), Unity (12 Traditions), Service (12 Concepts)."
When my triangle is intact and I'm practicing (doing/living) these principles, "which, if practiced as a way of life, can expel the obsession to drink and enable the sufferer to become happily and usefully whole" (Forward 12&12), I forfeit "loneliest person is the world" title to others who claim it but don't really want it.
Please don't get me wrong, I have trudged where you are trudging now. It is not easy and I take to heart the prayer said at the end of each meeting, which is offered for the "Alcoholic who still suffers in and out of these rooms".
I believe these prayers are heard and answered. That is my story, my strength, my hope and I'm sticking to it.
Being here already what Step or Tradition told you you needed a sponsor?
If the Big Book does not make sense to you keep reading it until you can make sense.
I kinda still am and have been lonely discontent irritable-Thank you so much for listing the page numbers that have a solution. I go to meetings daily, most of the time. I am so very fortunate to have a group-with 4 meetings a day-everyday of the week. It is not a club-no one hangs out all day. When I am feeling frustrated at these meetings, I go right down the street a few blocks and at a church there are 2 meetings a day every day. My only action is going to meetings-I withdraw when it comes to practicing the principles, steps, traditions and helping others-
But, from just those few page numbers you listed-I know where the loneliness comes from.
thank you, It's the first time I have logged on to this site and I am at present going through emotional turmoil and as I always say I suffer from severe loneliness.
I am a recovering alcohol these past 12 years and forget that the loneliness is a major part of the disease.
Someone wants told me to reconnect with God.
I was always a spiritual person but these last few years I have completely lost touch with God. I have lost my peace of mind & heart and I have now become very unhappy & depressed.
I love step four of the 12&12 - the first time I read it I highlighted the whole step.
I also do not go to meetings anymore they were not helping me emotionally and I became bitter and didn't feel like I belonged.
Just reading this page as helped me - so I thank you, once again.
I hope you are keeping in touch with this site. Why do you think the meetings are not helping? Is there any particular
reason why you became bitter and no longer feel that you
belong. Personally I find that many meetings are just too
loud, with all the shouting, chanting, and applauding. If you can find a quieter more reverent meeting, maybe you will
find a place where you belong. And I don't mean a more
religious meeting, as we are not a religion. But I believe
that we all need a place where we can feel welcomed and
people care about us. First of all try to listen to others
who share. I believe that just the act or art of listening
helps others as well as ourselves. I really would like to
know if there are any particular reasons why you no longer
feel comfortable at meetings. And please! Don't give up
on us! ANONYMOUS
I don't know why, but I ask you to please not stop going. It might help to try meetings you haven't been to before, but please continue to go. This might just be a strange phase you're going through, and--wait for it!--this too shall pass. I have a sponsee who once had 20 years, stopped going and drank after a while, and hasn't been able to put two months together since. He's a mess now. Ease up on the meetings and ease up on yourself. Don't worry about the Big Picture and what it might all mean (i.e. talking yourself into a relapse); just deal with right now.
I have nearly 9 years of sobriety and I hope to continue to have my passion to help the suffering alcoholic forevermore. I know that I must always be teachable or I will be in very dangerous waters.
The purpose of the meetings, according to some of the writings of Bill W. that I have read, is to be a place for the newcomer to go to. I am there for the newcomer to help encourage her (or him) to continue in their sobriety - to help give them Hope in any way that I can.
But what about the alcoholic that hasn't made it to our cozy meeting rooms yet? There are so many people, professionals, social workers, clergy, medical personnel, employers, etc. that see the suffering alcoholic long before we do. How can we help them understand what AA is all about so they can also, in their professional capacity, help the suffering alcoholic find us?? There is so much that we can do in addition to attending meetings.
When I participate in AA as a whole whether serving on the District or Area levels of AA, or on any of the Service Committees: Public Information, Archives, Cooperation with the Professional Community, Remote Communities, Newsletter, Group Records, Literature, Grapevine!, Corrections, etc., I find myself so alive and greatful for feeling alive and happy!
I guess my biggest passion is with the Corrections Committee. It is the most rewarding AA service for me, I find. I bring meetings in to the women who are incarcerated because they are unable to get to one of our cozy meetings. I write to women who are incarcerated - sharing my experience, strength and HOPE through letters or holiday cards because they rarely get them. Imagine how lonely these women feel! There are so many things that an AA member can do outside of the meeting rooms. Service is a very rewarding experience and strengthens our sobriety.
Being of Service adds "Depth and Dimension" to my Program of Sobriety.
Every time I step out of my comfort zone to do the "next right thing" it is an opportunity for me to grow personally and spiritually. My experiences help me grow to be a better person and I become willing to do the best that I can by serving.
I hope that you step out of your comfort zone - reach out to do whatever you can to be of service in Alcoholics Anonymous - and you will soon find that you are not lonely. No matter how many years of sobriety we have, we MUST always continue to be teachable. There is always room to Grow! Be willing and you will be rewarded spiritually and personally ... You will find yourself very smiling at everyone --- and they will be smiling back!!
Annette W., Eden Prairie, MN
Thanks i really need your sharing today. I was feeling sorry for myself again, and it was ruining my day. Helping others does get the focus off ones self.
I too, write to inmates sharing my life with them, and encouraging them. When i do this i focus less on my own problems. Thanks.
After nearly 28 years of recovery. I find I have a disease of estrangement. It's just my disease that makes me lonely under any circumstances without a Power greater than myself.
The difference between solitude and isolation is God as we understood Him.
God bless all who read this,
I commend you on your eight year relationship with a drunk. I'm sure he has a lot of fine qualities as do all real alcoholics, but if he is like me, a "real alcoholic" as the Big Book describes:
" But what about the real alcoholic? He may start off as a moderate drinker; he may or may not become a continuous hard drinker; but at some state of his drinking career he begins to lose all control of his liquor consumption, once he starts to drink...Here is the fellow who has been troubling you especially in his lack of control. He does absurd, incredible, tragic things while drinking. He is a real Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde...His disposition while drinking resembles his normal nature but little. He may be one of the finest fellows in the world. Yet let him drink for a day, and he frequently becomes disgustingly and even dangerously anti-social..." (Alcoholics Anonymous aka: Big Book p. 21)
then there is nothing you can do.
"We know that while the alcoholic keeps away from drink, as he may do for months or years, he reacts like other men. We are equally positive that once he takes any alcohol into his system, something happens, both in the bodily and mental sense, which makes it virtually impossible for him to stop. The experience of any alcoholic will abundantly confirm this...Therefore, the main problem of the alcoholic centers in his mind, rather than in his body. If you ask him why he started on that last bender, the chances are he will offer you any one of a hundred alibis... but none of them make sense in the light of the havoc an alcoholic's drinking bout creates. They sound like the philosophy of the man who, having a headache, beats himself on the head with a hammer so that he can't feel the ache...the truth, strange to say is usually that he has no more idea why he took that first drink than you have.
In a vague way their families and friends sense that these drinkers are abnormal, but everybody hopefully awaits the day when the sufferer will rouse himself from his lethargy and assert his power of will...The tragic truth is that if the man be a real alcoholic, the happy day may not arrive...At a certain point in the drinking of every alcoholic, he passes into a state where the most powerful desire to stop drinking is of absolutely no avail. This tragic situation has already arrived in practically every case long before it is suspected."
With me I was "in a position where life was becoming impossible", and I had "passed into the region from which there is no return through human aid "(not spouse, children, mother, father, brother, sister, friend, employer, courts, minister, doctor or psychologist could help me). I "had but two alternatives: One was to go on to the bitter end, blotting out the consciousness of [my] intolerable situation as best [I] could; and the other to accept spiritual help." (p. 25)
What happened? All my enablers left me and I hit a bottom-- then hit my knees and cried out to a power I didn't know or understand for help!!!
I'm sure it was hard for all those people in my life to let go of me--I methodically burnt the bridges to each one until they had no choice. If they held on to me, rescuing me and trying to help me I would have consumed them utterly until there was nothing left but a chalk outline of where they had once been and I wouldn't care one bit. In letting go they saved themselves, but most importantly they saved me.
Happily I can tell you they are all back in my life and July 27, 2011 I will have 15 years of sobriety one day at a time.
I might suggest reading the book Alcoholics Anonymous especially the chapter "To Wives" p.104. It offers a description of the various stages of alcoholism on pages 108 through 110. On pages 110 through 114 helpful hints to each stage are offered.
You stated, "He says 'I don't understand this problem and I cannot possibly understand'. That is true. I don't know what it is like and how overwhelming this problem is. At least, not directly".
I beg to disagree. Indulge me please as the following observation may incite you to anger. I offer that you may be obsessed with "making him happy and whole" as much as he is obsessed with alcohol., and that this illusion may lead you into the gates of insanity and death.
As you said, "I think it's very hard for someone to stop drinking all by themselves." By the same token it is very hard for someone who is obsessed with an alcoholic to stop being obsessed all by themselves. Might I suggest Al-anon for you.
You may balk at this suggestion, just as he balks at the suggestion of Alcoholics Anonymous, in which case you are both perfect for each other and need not change a thing; or you may still be perfect for each other and change everything one day at a time.
I hope to meet you someday as you choose to begin to trudge this road of happy destiny.
Both I and my boyfriend are in a serious situation. We have been dating for eight years and he has drank off and on the entire time. The only reason I have not married him is because of the drinking.
He always tells me that he will quit on his own and that he does not need an organization to help him quit. However, that is just untrue.
He says I don't understand this problem and I cannot possibly understand. That is true. I don't know what it is like and how overwhelming this problem is. At least, not directly. However, I have experienced much of the fallout following his drinking episodes. The jobs he has lost that cause financial difficulties, the cell phones and money he loses and the list goes on.
There is an additional barrier to him seeking help. He speaks Russian and I have not been able to find any Russian speaking AA meetings in St. Louis, MO. I really think it would help if I could meet with someone who has recovered and if he could meet this person as well. This way he could go to the meeting with someone that he knows instead of going into a meeting where he knows no one.
I wish he knew someone--American or Russian--that he could call when he starts to feel like he is going to drink. He told me so many times that he has no one to call when he is thinking about taking that first drink. He doesn't have many friends, even though he really is a friendly person.
I think it's very hard for someone to stop drinking all by themselves. I'm sure he feels a lot of guilt and shame about this. I wish there was a way to meet someone at a coffee shop or a church and just break the ice. He's so hesitant to walk into a meeting of strangers. He does much better in a very small setting of just one or two people.
He has missed so many wonderful moments. For instance, he has been drinking nonstop since last Wednesday. Today is his birthday. I bought several presents for him and planned to take him out to his favorite restaurant. But he is still drinking.
I think he would be very encouraged to meet a man who has recovered. I know this would give him hope. More than anything, I think he really needs a friend who has struggled with alcoholism and has conquered it.
Does anyone have suggestions? I feel so bad for him. I don't want him to suffer anymore. He is very shattered right now.
In this story it is said that their faith and church are attacked in meetings because they are Christians. I have never heard of that here in Orange County California. One could say their Higher Power is a door nob and they pray in their bathroom. As long as they were sober and had the desire not to drink they were as welcome in the meeting as anyone else. I'm a Christian in AA. One thing I do is keep it simple. Jesus is the God of MY understanding. In meetings He is God. I don't push my religion on anyone. That would be an outside issue. I have never heard anyone say any religion was better or worse than another. That arch way is wide so all can step through it. Christians need AA like anyone else. God made this prefect program. It saved my life and I am reborn. If you advertise your religion in AA someone might have a problem with it. So try to keep it to yourself. God is always enough!!
I have a concern for your well being. I, at different times in my life became obsessed with fixing and managing the alcoholics in my life. I also became an alcoholic, but even in my sobriety I was a perfect al-anonic. Meaning all of my thoughts were around fixing and controling my alcoholic husband. I have to share that none of my attempts worked and I only got crazier and crazier myself. I realize that your life probably feels very out of control, but even if your boyfriend stops drinking, you will not be able to find the peace and security you are searching for. That can only come from a power greater than yourself. You may not be ready to accept that you are powerless to do anything to help him, but if you are willing to give it a try, I recommend Al-Anon meetings for you. They can help you to find peace whether your boyfriend ever stops drinking or not. Blessings to you and may you find the healing spirit of recovery in your own life.
Try SKYPE meetings...there may be one in RUssian...Then YOU detatch with love!
There's so many thoughts on your letter of desperation. You are living in a very dangerous relationship, as you know, and feel helpless in a way out. Your suggested way out is to get your boyfriend sober. There is a possibility of this happening, but how is this going so far? Not well it sounds like.
Your love enables him and disables you.
Nothing will change in this relationship until you make some decisions to either:
1. Continue to try and get him sober and stay in the relationship....nothing changes.
2. Go to Al Anon and accept it....you change.
3. Leave him, tell him you love him and can't live with an alchoholic....you change.
4. Open to a life without suffering and unhappiness.
Only you can change you and only he can change him.
Unmanagability is still a big issue for me that I have to be vigilant of.
Let go and let God. When you chair be sure and note "This is often left off by chairpersons so I'll note that prior to stating that "anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.""
Lead by example.
Sometime back I recall a comment regarding digital subscriptions. The idea was to encourage the use of digital vs. printed subscriptions. My problem in the regard is that if I choose to have the digital subscription then I would not have the printed subscription to share with others. At this time I do the best I can to share my magazines with those that are incarcerated, This seems to be to be one way I can help them out since I am unable to share with them in person. This is due to being limited to what I can do because of physical limitations. For whatever it is worth I will continue the printed version of the Grapevine.
Perhaps I am in the wrong area and if so I am sure that someone will let me know.
My comment has to do with digital vs. printed subscription. As I recall there was a comment sometime back about encouraging digital subscriptions. I wish I could but that would hinder my sharing of the printed magazine with others. At this time I am doing the best I can to share my printed copy with those that are incarcerated. When I have finished reading the current issue I turn it over to those that go take meetings to the jail. Due to physical limitations this is the best I can do to share the program with those that are incarcerated.
Some act and talk as if they were drunk being sober guess it's another addiction in itself.
A writer in the May 2011 Grapevine was concerned about adverse comments about a particular denomination that he heard in AA meetings. But in my part of the country, I find it just as common for speakers to bash treatment centers and to make fun of atheists. So the tenth tradition should apply across the board, it seems to me. And in an area where a particular denomination is well-represented in AA meetings, it would also be helpful if those members would not promote their denomination in meetings by using names of specific rituals and prayers, or by suggesting that members of certain denominations or ethnic groups are somehow more qualified to be AA members.
only take what you can use and leave the rest!
BRAVO to this comment - BRAVO (clap, clap, clap)
Plato said, "A wise man speaks when he has something to say, a fool when he has to say something."
My last sponsor used to say that, i really miss him his family.
I sporadically attend a meeting that is downtown and close to my church. They seem to be resistant to saying the anonymity statement ("May we remind you that anonymity is foundation for all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.") It first started several years ago when someone typed up the meeting format and left it off accidentally. We had it retyped and it was added back in. However, many times, the chair person would leave it off, so I eventually called for a group conscious meeting and it was voted on to say it. I went to that meeting last week and, again, they didn't say it. I am in a quandry because I could just stop attending that meeting since I don't agree with how they run it. I think the statement is important and that it should be read at every meeting. What is my problem, besides ego? I don't know why I am worrying about this, but I am. How should I handle it or should I?
Tradition Twelve ought to read, "Humility, EXPRESSED BY
anonymity, is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions. When writing the traditions in the 12&12, The
last sentence is: We are sure that HUMILITY, expressed by
anonymity is the greatest safeguard that Alcoholics Anonymous can ever have. Most A.A. members have not a
nodding acquaintance with humility. We are so full of pride,
there is no room for humility. ANONYMOUS
Anonymity has become an archaic thing of the past along with the other traditions except the 7th. Most of the meetings I have attended seem to be nothing more than fuel for the gossipers. There is actually a member who scans the police reports for people in the program and blabs their names to everybody who will listen.
Does your group have a collective Group Conscience or do just a few of the alpha's run the thing? ( For clear definition of "Informed Group Conscience "see the Pamphlet The AA Group page 28)
Not all meetings are groups
Sometimes I've seen meetings myopic and nearly compulsive about traditions, and others lackadaisical.
The anonymity statement is rarely used in many clubhouses, because of a change from closed to open meetings. Our clubhouse does read the 12T at every meeting.. That said, the "What you see here, what is said here, when you leave here, let it stay here" is rarely heard.
We have a large influx of court system people, and in my 25 years of sobriety when I began I rarely attended an open meeting. Now I don't care who knows.
Easy does it. My take is this. Don't compromise your sobriety for some perceived notion of anonymity. A statement does not make us anonymous, the principles do.
to be blunt as someone who has sponsored many people over the years, you can't force it.
Needing something to be read is a needing to be the "director, actor and cast again."
My recommendation would be to read the Acceptance stuff in Dr.Alcoholic Addict on pages 447 of the 3rd edition or 417 of the 4thEdm and bring up as a topic in a meeting and discuss it. Control is the problem, not anonymity.
My first sponsor suggested to me that if it was not my home group, I have the option of just accepting that group's way of doing things. I can either attend or not. But I find now that my serenity is greater if I give up the idea that I know the "right way" for someone else or their group.
I have always ascribed to what was suggested to me - that with few exceptions (& as always there ARE some, such as, maybe, a member visiting from out of town to deal with a tough situation who wasn't offered the opportunity to share), someone with a burning desire to share probably needs to speak one-on-one with their sponsor, or with someone else, after the meeting.
I always have a burning desire to share. It helps me.
My sponsor once told me as long as I have it in my conscious mind that I am an alcoholic, it helps me to be away from alcohol. There are many ways of being in touch with the program and having the consciousness that I am an alcoholic. The fact that I am sharing now here itself is one of the ways. So AA helps every moment in my life to be in recovery. But I also should value it and do what I am supposed to do and do not do what I am supposed not to do. God's grace is very very important is what I feel. Sobriety is surely desirable and good is all I have to say. Thanks to AA KMH Lakshmanan an alcoholic Jyothi Group Palakkad. Length of sobriety by the Grace of God and AA is 8 years and 10months.
I have attended a number of meetings in my town. Often there are long periods of silence. Then, at the end of the meeting the chairperson asks if there are any burning desires to share. Seems like everyone who was silent during the meeting when there were opportunities to share suddenly now must speak. I believe I need some discipline in my life. Therefore, I never succumb to the end of the meeting sharing. I believe a good meeting starts and ends on time. We can share with one another after the meeting.
I was at a meeting last night in Asia. There were a half dozen of us and there were long periods of silence. I am of the type who think there should always be someone sharing, but last night I went with the flow, closed my eyes, breathed slowly and centered myself in the present.
When I'm at a meeting I try to keep my shares to one. Sitting out the silence yesterday was tough, but the we made it through the 60 minutes just fine. And yes, despite the group's long periods of silence, the secretary asked if there were any burning desires before closing the meeting. I love AA
Ha! I couldn't have letting out a loud laugh by the time the blog with "I love AA." this is so classic!
Since we first crushed grapes and started "AA" meetings, this is a common occurrence!!
While discipline is an important skill to learn, so is humility and patience. Easy does it. I've found sometimes the best messages are in the last 15 minutes of a meeting. That said. I can fully relate. Part of the issue comes done to the chair person steering the meeting correctly.
Discussion meeting in our area are generally call on until the last 15 minutes. MOST seasoned AA's know to nip it in the bud quickly, but sometimes stuff happens.
to gingerbell - right on, sister, I totally agree with you. Funny how in a lot of the meetings I attend, it is the same person who feels the need to share last at every meeting he/she attends - everybody's a teacher!
Most people are uncomfortable with periods of silence. Someone told me that it was a "waste of time" for there to be silence in a meeting, and that it is the chairperson's responsibility to keep the meeting lively and moving along. I disagree, as silence doesn't make me uncomfortable at all. Also, sometimes people are shy, and unused to sharing, and at the last minute they finally get up their nerve to volunteer. I also agree with you that meetings should start and end on time, but not rigidly. For me, it depends on the share.
However nice,golden and polite silence may be ,at times some need to gather thoughts so not to offend others or just plain..... gather grey matter that's been abused for so long and see if it's up to the task. I personally have been in such situations
What we do at our meetings is at the beginning have a moment of silence, for about 1 to 2 minutes. Then we follow with the Serenity prayer, read the preamble, then how it works, then for a discussion meeting, the chairperson usually gives a subject, but also states that if anyone wants or needs to talk about something else as long as it pertains to their alcoholism, to go ahead. The chairperson starts the discussion, then they pick someone out, and it just goes around the room from there, where everyone has a chance to talk if they want, we do not have long periods of silence, if someone doesn't speak, the chairperson just says to the person next to them, hello, would you like to share, and it just keeps going around to the last person. At the end if the meeting is short, the chairperson will usually share some more, and ask if anyone else wants to share some more, if not, then the announcements of service work are given, other A.A. activities, and then close. In other words we try to just keep it simple. Anyway it works for my home group.
Most meetings I attend are "discussion" format and there are long periods of silence between comments often. I understand that some are new and a bit shy but for those of us who have been here a while it seems to be a bit counter-productive if we all just sit there. It is hard to share if we don't share. Suppose we could call them meditation meetings. Mike
Hi Mike! I have been sober for almost 6 months. I have been told to share(even when I don't want to) or not to say anything the first year in recovery. The advice is often different from person to person. I don't know how long you have been sober but for me my brain is still a jumbled mess. I may know in my head what I want to say but have difficulty getting it out. Everyone processes things differently and I believe some AA's have an important message but need time to get it out. I find it very uncomfortable to share but feel that when I feel this way, then I should push myself share. For me, my recovery depends on doing things that I don't always want to do. I have also been to those meetings when know one has anything to say and you can cut the silence with a knife. I think this is just the way it goes sometimes. I may be way off base with my response but just wanted to throw it out there anyway. Who knows maybe someone will relate. SS
This awful at some meetings. I believe it started when we went to random discussion instead of going around & giving everyone a chance to pass. If there is time I have no problem going around a second time or more.
I have never been able to understand how a moment of silence at an AA meeting ever helped an alcoholic to get
sober or remain sober. I believe silence can be a real
turn-off to many newcomers. Silence and meditation ought to be practiced in religious surroundings,and have no place at an AA meeting. A friend went to a morning meeting in Boston. She said that at the meeting, the lights were turned off for five minutes for meditation and reflection. If my first meeting had been like that, I probably would have felt around for the nearest exit door. I know tradition reads that each group is autonomous. THAT IS ONLYONE THIRD OFTRADITION FOUR. Sharing by a Show of Hands often leads to periods of ackward silence. Simply going around the roomallowing every member to share is what we did in the 1970's
when our membership was doubling about every ten years.
Anyone look at our membership numbers since 1992? anonymous