Burning Desire to Share
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
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!
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
easy solution: make the meeting a literature study and take turns reading and sharing the message of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Thanke you i am ok
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.
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.
Thanks. I often feel alone in AA. submitted by Lonely in NEPA
Hi we are never alone and God is always there as a constant companion.
An AA group can be the loneliest place in the world.
As a newcomer I was taken to some meetings and then started going on my own. I was young and attractive then and rarely alone for long. I was welcomed and drawn into the group.
Many years later I am still sober and go to meetings whenever I can (which isn't often because I don't have transport).
But when I do walk into a meeting these days I notice a distinct lack of welcome. Ok, I know I look less like an attractive new 'prospect', but I am still a human being AND a recovering alcoholic. Ageism rules in AA alas.
I know what you mean about loneliness. I think sometimes we go to those meetings because we are lonely. I know that is what drove me to my last two. But, I digressed and did not go back and now I know I should have kept going. I talked myself into believing I didn't need to go because I didn't really have a problem. I hide it well. I stay away from people when I am drinking or hungover and try to act normal even when I feel like crap. I applaud you for staying sober. It takes a lot of strength to get there and stay there. I think people at the meetings are sometimes feeling uneasy and lonely too, so just remember it is not personal if you don't feel welcomed. Everyone wants to feel welcomed, that is just human. It is most important to be open with your story and your feelings and then they will welcome you. I did not feel that ageism ruled in the meetings I went to. I think maybe it depends on where you go. Don't give up.
Well for me I am always welcomed at meetings but maybe that is because I put myself out there and say hi first so people get to know me and my face so when I do return to meetings I am greeted by lots of my sisters and brothers in the meetings. maybe try saying hi first and extending your hand and see what happens there. if that doesn't work, try some different meetings or try to find the positive about being there and what can you do to help someone else that may be feeling the same way you do. just a suggestion.
I always feel alone at meetings People say they find a home. I don't even find a welcome. No one talks to me and when I ask for a sponsor no one offers. I know it is partly because I am old shy a woman poor and handicapped. So what? Thanks loads AA is all I've got to say.
Hello, pinklady. I am old, female, pour oops! POOR and handicapped (mentally,definately) with also more than one physically debilitating problem; but because of a gift called sobriety I am extremely aware of my negative attitude at times and mindlessly (occasionally) think I might be better off drunk. But I must add that if I was drunk (drinking delicious pink ladies) I wouldn't really give a poop who acknowledged my presence while I was going broke trying to buy my friendships. Perhaps (suggestion)a different meeting instead of going where you feel rejected or lonely might help unless of course you are contemplating a ((good reason)) to just get loaded. I love you and appreciate you honestly sharing how you feel right now. This too shall pass, but I sure wish you would consider sticking around for the miracle will happen.....but for the Grace of God there go I. Love and Peace, Tonya