Burning Desire to Share

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Anonymous
I don't know why, but I ask

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.

Fleettrade
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Joined: 2011-06-11
No more Loneliness in AA

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

Anonymous
nomore lonliness

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.

Ira H.
Albany,Ga.

Anonymous
Same Stuff Different Day

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,
Bob S.

Anonymous
How Can I help my boyfriend join AA?

Dear Regina,

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.

Lovingly,

Lydia V.

Anonymous
How Can I help my boyfriend join AA?

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.

Regina

Anonymous
Church Bash Graprvine Feb. 2013

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!!

Anonymous
You can't fix or safe an alcoholic

Dear Regina-
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.

Anonymous
Helping Boyfriend

Try SKYPE meetings...there may be one in RUssian...Then YOU detatch with love!

Anonymous
regina

Dear Regina,
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.

Anonymous
Control

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.

In service

jeblake
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Joined: 2011-05-09
Digital vs. Printed subscription

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.

Anonymous
Digital vs. Printed subscription

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.

Anonymous
Sober

Some act and talk as if they were drunk being sober guess it's another addiction in itself.

Anonymous
Bashing

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.

Anonymous
Bashing....

only take what you can use and leave the rest!

graciea117
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Joined: 2011-05-10
Bashing

BRAVO to this comment - BRAVO (clap, clap, clap)

Anonymous
Re: Burning Desire to Share

Plato said, "A wise man speaks when he has something to say, a fool when he has to say something."

Anonymous
I agree

My last sponsor used to say that, i really miss him his family.

judym43
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Joined: 2011-05-02
anonymity statement

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?

Anonymous
RE: anonymity statement

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

Anonymous
"Anonymity"

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.
Charlz W.

navysteve
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Joined: 2013-06-22
Many meetings listed in AA schedules are not AA meetings

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

rmueller58
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Joined: 2011-06-02
Each meeting format is different.

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.

Anonymous
My first sponsor suggested to

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.

SallyAnn
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Joined: 2011-04-29
one on one is the better way to go

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.

Anonymous
I Love to Share

I always have a burning desire to share. It helps me.
Jon W

Anonymous
SOBRIETY

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.

gingerbell
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Joined: 2011-04-27
Burning desire to share at the end of a meeting.

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.

pgm1996
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Joined: 2012-03-29
Silence at Meetings

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

AX016643
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Joined: 2013-01-31
burning desire to share at closing

Ha! I couldn't have letting out a loud laugh by the time the blog with "I love AA." this is so classic!

rmueller58
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Joined: 2011-06-02
Hun, it's not just your town.

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.

graciea117
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Joined: 2011-05-10
Burning Desire

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!

judym43
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Joined: 2011-05-02
burning desires

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.

Anonymous
Silence is golden

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

Anonymous
Moment of Silence

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.

Anonymous
silence at meetings

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

Anonymous
silence at meetings

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

SuzieQ
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Joined: 2011-06-27
Silence

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.

CVHeather
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Joined: 2011-06-06
moment of silence

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

Solutions
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Joined: 2011-06-07
Principles before the group personalities

Why must our antediluvian members always point to AA's present day numbers as a validation to their every argument. Would CV have us still reading and writing in Edwardian script as Bill W. did ?
There are three parts to every verbal transaction. The transmitter, the receiver and the message its self. As the transmitter and the receiver has evolved from the depression era babies to the boomers and now the Gen-Xer's and Gen Y the message of AA has evolved as well, always inclusive never exclusive. This is why so many different group types have evolved as well. Not just open and closed meetings but men's group, woman's group, gay friendly, meditation, step study, discussion groups, morning noon and night groups.
If AA's numbers are down since 1992 maybe that was when CV's generation dug in their heels and said NO MORE CHANGE FOR YOU!

Dennis D

Anonymous
Principles before personalities

Interesting reading. Especially the numbers down since 1992.Numbers are likely down to the increase in treatment centres, the diluation of the message through these centres.i.e drugs. Our group has expanded dramatically since its inception a number of years back. We encourage alcohol only discussions.

Anonymous
alcohol

sherrie, I WENT TO MY FIRST MEETING TODAY IN ALONG TIME. AT 2:30, IN ABOUT TWO HOURS FROM NOW I'LL HAVE 24 HOURS. IT'S BEEN A GREAT DAY. I SHOULD BE SLEEPING BUT I'M HAVING A HARD TIME SLEEPING TONIGHT. CAN't WAIT TO GO TO ANOTHER MEETING TOMORROW NIGHT AT 8:00. I'M SO HAPPY TO BE BACK WITH MY EXTENDED FAMILY. LOVE YOU GUYS SHERRIE ALCOHOLIC, ADDICT.

Anonymous
RE: Principals before the group personalities

Dear Dennis D.
Since you were allowed to post your messages in two categories, I will try my try to get another response
approved. ANTEDILUVIAN: belonging to the period before the
Flood; antequated or primitive. a person who lived before the Flood; a very old or old fashioned person.
I also looked up the definition of DIVERSION: A Feint
intended to draw off attention from the point of
main attack.
You are basically correct. Most if not all of my concerns are based on the numbers. If we had eight million
members in AA today, I certainly would have no reason to
be concerned. I could ignore the numbers and keep my head
in the sand, but my heart just won't let me. Alcoholics
Anonymous was the turning point in my life and I refuse
to let it diminish without trying to save it. "SAVE IT"
usually brings a snicker from someone.
I may be old but I am not blind. I know what I have
seen in AA over the past four decades. One observation
was that meetings in my area were getting smaller. We
seemed to be helping and holding fewer and fewer members.
When I wrote to GSO for membership numbers, and first
saw them I was not really surprised.
But the numbers give me justification for my concerns.
Many members today acknowledge our stagnation. Our GSO
manager and the chairman of the board of trustees have
voiced their concerns.
When I first saw the numbers, I remembered all of the
changes I have seen in AA during the last three decades.
There are less than ten major changes that I am aware of.
AA may have retained some effectiveness with one or two
changes. But all together they have all but destroyed AA.
And as Bill W. feared and warned us, It has all been from
within our own membership. Although many benefit from our
failure, no effort has been needed to cause our demise.
We have all but destroyed our own inheritance.
I saw the changes as they were taking place. Although
I silently questioned them, I did not want to cause any
controversy. So I remained silent. I believe there were
many like me who not only remained silent but just walked
away. Thos changes have cost us dearly in human suffering.
We not only fail the alcoholic. We have disappointed their
friends and families.
The changes are reversable. Our leaders will have to
get involved. The members who see what AA has become
will have to be persistant. Don't let strong personalities
silence you. Stand up and speak out. Alcoholics Anonymous
can be restored to an acceptable rate of effectiveness.
The I-Say Forum contains the means to do this. CV

racerx1128
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Joined: 2011-11-22
I have been reading your

I have been reading your posts about the changes to AA and the membership numbers. Quite informative. I never knew about these issues before but I am going to take your suggestion and begin to read up on it. I am 247 days sober.

Regarding reciting the Chapter 5 paragraphs, perhaps instead of the usual, "I have asked Betty to read from Chapter 5 from the Big Book" and then she reads it, perhaps there should be more of a preamble. "A note to all newcomers, these are words on a page and merely suggestions of how an alcoholic can get and stay sober based on the experiences of the two alcoholics who wrote the book Alcoholics Anonymous".

These particular words are harsh and quite religious in nature, and could be a complete turn off to some newcomers. To me, I needed the harshness and I was raised Catholic so the admonishment, "May you find Him now!" was no big deal......until I read your post.

BTW, is this reading an AA requirement? or just something that started and took hold?

I personally wouldn't mind if all the readings were skipped. Maybe open the meeting with the AA Preamble and get right to the shares of experience or to study the BB.

The chanting always amused me.....until I read your post. It is kinda weird but a word of welcome from the group to the newcomer feels right to me. And repeating to the group that I am an alcoholic every time I speak is redundant but also serves as an important reminder to myself that I am and there is no shame in admitting it.

The prayers at the end I can take or leave. The fact that one is not given a choice is disturbing upon reflection. So if in doubt, wipe it out. A silent 60 second reflection on the main purpose of the AABB would suffice. It would allow those who want to pray to say a prayer and those who don't to reflect on how they may now or someday show other alcoholics precisely how they have recovered which is "the main purpose of this book".

Anyway, these are simply my experiences/reflections based on your experiences/reflections :)

Thanks again for your shares. Jim R.

Anonymous
silence at meetings

It is a process. It is good to think before we talk so besides meditating; it is good as a device to go into ourselves for find our real feelings on what is being discussed.

truthiness
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Joined: 2011-07-29
silence in meetings

easy solution: make the meeting a literature study and take turns reading and sharing the message of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Anonymous
Thanke you i am ok

Thanke you i am ok

Anonymous
Silence....Time Takes Time

Silence at meetings I've found both akward and then again sometimes quite comforting-The silence is in the timing of what is happening at the meeting.Sometimes it can be a silent bathe in reflection of what someone had just eloquently shared,or it can be a tense stare-down at "who's next" and that for me at least makes me draw a blank on what to share.Timing ,and also I believe acceptence of what the "tone or vibe" the meeting is giving off has impact on the silence.I guess thats why people find meetings they are comfortable with .Principals over personalities ,and find your comfort zone.Then share.

Anonymous
Loneliness In AA

It's been my experience that I can't be lonely for long if I am reaching out to help another. And if I have done the secondary recovery work that I need to do. There may be moments of stinking thinking. Working at not letting my mind get hijacked...it is all in this alcoholics perspective. If I feel lonely I can call someone and see how they are. I can now go anywhere by myself and know that I am part of the world again. I am never alone. I can go to a book store or or or...so that I am not isolated. So many tools...I had to find the ones that worked for me. We have a lot of happiness factor going on in the media and the web...I have to stick with perspective otherwise I can buy into what I think others think happiness is...yikes. Contentment rates very high on my happiness scale. I wish you nothing but the very very best in finding your way. I hope that one day you will walk into that sunlight of the spirit.

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