Heard At Meetings
Wrong word at the end of the sentence. The truth is, meeting makers make meetings.
Read pages 39 and 40 in the 12&12: "More sobriety brought about by the admission of alcoholism and by attendance at a few meetings is very good indeed, permanent sobriety and a contented, useful life. That is just where the remaining Steps of the A.A. program come in."
At three and a half months I was stuck in a location with no Meetings and no sober AA members. It was suggested that if I used my Big Book and a Higher Power I'd be all right. The Big Book and a Higher Power kept me sober (not just dry) for the two months I was there.
At eleven months I deployed to the Western Pacific aboard a US Navy ship with one other sober AA aboard. Our different working hours prevented us fro getting together very often, but again the Big Book and a Higher Power kept me sober for the entire ten months, including visits to my old drinking ports. On my first birthday we made port and I met a sober alcoholic who had been sober without meetings for eight years.
If I make it another forty-six days I'll celebrate forty-three years of unbroken sobriety in AA. The closest I have been to drinking was at nearly ten years when I was going to two meetings a day and three on weekends. I too heard and believed 'meeting makers make it' so I stopped doing what the Big Book advises to do on page eighty-six, and after a meeting one afternoon I flipped a coin to see whether I was going back to the AA club or to the liquor store. Fortunately my Higher Power interfered and I did neither.
I haven't been to meetings in thirty six states, only five. And three foreign countries. And while you are coming up on thirty years of sobriety by going to meetings, my father, also an admitted alcoholic, died with thirty-six years sobriety and never attended an AA meting in his life.
I'm Jim, on the East Coast.
Hi ron, glad ur here.
At a noon meeting last tuesday, the chair gave a 6 month chip, on Friday he was drunk. Last Tuesday I went to our weekly detox meeting. The girl there drank after 9 months. The 6 mother was on step none while the girl never finished step 5, both went to several meetings a week.
clu1992 You are saying that these members are relapsing
because they have refused to do the steps. Could it be that
they are going back out because of the pushing and prodding
that goes on in AA today? We try to cram the steps down
everyone's throats. We have morphed from a "fellowship of
men and women" to a TWELVE STEP PROGRAM.
The steps and Alcoholics Anonymous in its entirety are
Suggestions. They are to be offered in a suggestive manner.
Try offering them with love and tolerance and thank those who
attend your meetings for helping you stay sober. Don't tell
anyone in AA what to do. Just tell them what worked for you. Stop saying "Well, if you want what I have, you will have to do what I do, or did. Or worse, what I tell you to do. Read "Arrogance and its Opposite" in As Bill Sees It.
You may not see yourself there, but they do. ANONYMOUS
You do realize AA went from 75% success rate going to 1 meeting a week in 50s-70s to a 95% failure rate going to meetings everyday? The problem is the misinterpretation of the steps. The first step is worked by going to a meeting, you admit you have a problem. A person has to admit there is a problem before they can change it, kind of a weird deal, but they have to accept the problem exists first.
The biggest mis-translation is the 4th-7th steps, which are not a 'confession' to those of us who know how to work the steps effectively. To us they are a 'design for living' that relieves the alcoholic from the obsession to use alcohol. So we are not 'craming' the steps down throats, we are offering to save someones life, by offering the solution to their problem, or the 75% successful way to stay sober vs. the 95% failure way.
When people don't have faith in the steps, or don't know how to work the steps effectively, they place the Fellowship as the spiritual base of the program instead of the steps. So the spiritual malady is never overcome and they never become truly sober and stay insane. So that is why you hear people like yourself always say, "well He/She stopped going to meetings and went back out." Yes they may have also gone back out because they did not have a solution to their problem, which is found in the 'design for living' version of the steps.
With a 95% failure rate, it might mean that 95% of the people in some AA rooms don't know what they are talking about. And if someone has long term sobriety by just going to meetings, and not getting much out of the steps, they are either not real alcoholics, or they are very much full of resentments like you just showed. They never learned how to be free of anger, by discovering the 'exact nature/defects of character' from the resentments, which then they asked to be removed like the design for living versioner's do. Being able to see the exact nature, then asking god to remove the things on this list that are tied directly to the resentments, causes the 'spiritual awakening' for 90% of the people I sponsor. If it doesn't happen at 7, they have the, the slower awakening which will be had by the 9th step.
Meeting Makers typically for steps 4-7 'confess' the worst things they did to others, which will not relieve the obsession unfortunatly. It will however, get them to believe that the steps should be delayed until someone is 'Ready' to 'confess'. So they say things like '90 in 90', 'easy does it' (which is the family afterward, or after the steps)
I pray if someone has the strength to read this post for what is written, and see where they may have been going wrong in recovery, even if it has been for years, will find the courage to change their ways. I pray you all find sobriety and happiness, and take it easy on yourselves.
Yes, they are relapsing because they are not working the steps. Why would AA have 12 steps and not suggest working them? It’s the same old broken record, treatment, halfway house, and meetings. They usually get drunk between 3 months and 1 year without working the steps. Of course there are always exceptions to the rule, it’s just what I’ve witnessed over the years. On the other hand, I have yet to personally meet anyone in AA who has started drinking while actively working the 12 steps as described in the big book with a sponsor. You may have, but I havn’t and that includes the half dozen or so alcoholics I have worked with annually.
Of course the steps are suggestions. That being said, we definitely should suggest taking the steps!
“Don’t tell anyone in AA what to do”- gotta love you for telling me what to do and having the self-delusion to tell me “don’t tell anyone in AA what to do. That’s just priceless!!! Maybe you should suggest reading as bill sees it page 199 to yourself? While reading as bill sees it, turn to page 105 where bill writes “our chief responsibility to the newcomer is an adequate presentation of the program” of course the program is the 12 steps and the meetings are the fellowship. Alcoholics of my description need both.
Heard a guy talking about how he heard someone misread the first step. The guy read"we admitted we were powerless over alcohol and our lives had become unimaginable". Sooo true!
I also heard a guy say, "Admitted we were powerless over alcohol because our WIVES had become unmanageable. HA!
A women at a group meeting in french could not see the word «unmanageable (incontrôlable)» for a long time, she would always read : «insupportable» wich translate into «unbearable»
Always heard that "You've got to give it away to keep it." But a few years ago I heard someone put a slight twist on that old saying that made me sit up and take notice.
"You can't keep what you're not willing to give away," the man said.
I still get goosebumps when that memory pops up. I've never forgotten that night.
I consider my sobriety a gift from God. Unlike other gifts
this was one I had to ask for. And it came with conditions.
In order to keep it I had to give it away. I share the gift
by telling other alcoholics about it. Strange, the more I
share, the more I get to keep for myself. ANONYMOUS
We meet in groups regularly to help the new person find the fellowship. That's paraphrased from the Big Book. I can't believe I'm a Big Book thumper now. Wow.
I...this is for me.. think that when I am looking for an easier, softer way to do something -especially a meeting - it's a fear that has me trapped. I understand the fear as a new person, like me (retread) hasn't worked any steps and may not have the relationship with a Higher Power that will lead them through any fear, insecurity, grief or pain. My HP makes me do a TON of things that are not on my agenda. The longer I am back in the meetings, the more intuitive thoughts I seem to get. What's so great is that they are clearer than ever.
Today I went to a GREAT meeting in the morning. There was a speaker's meeting tonight and I really didn't want to go. My intuitive voice was not even negotiating. I had to go. I'm SO glad I did. It was important that I was there. He shared about being in the middle of losing a spouse to cancer and how he is dealing with it sober. I lost my spouse a year ago from cancer and it was just affirming to share that experience with another member of the program.
So God knows so much better than I of what is good for me. My thinking keeps me drunk. It truly does. Only doing on line meetings for me would be like on line dating without ever meeting anyone. It just feeds the ego but there is nothing really happening. This is not a judgment, this is my experience for me. My opinion.. for what it's worth.. is that if that is all another person is WILLING to do then it's better than nothing. I just hope that person is open to move through that when the time is right.
Be well.. :)
I agree that all this picking apart of ways to alter or adjust the program are fear based. We do what we do and if you want solid, joy-based sobriety.. just do it! All of it. Fear manifests in resistance and our alcoholism loves that.
I, too, lost my spouse to cancer a year ago. It's tough. I'll keep all of the widow's and widowers in my prayers. thanks for your share. Vegas Pam
Coins mean time sober. When people pick up (it really happens) it is an embarrassing thing. It has the power to kill-that illusion of owning time. Waste of time. Humility
I recently watched a friend of mine go through the process of having to pick up a 24hr coin after 18 months of sobriety.
It was devastating to have to go back up after all that time successful to admit failure. I was told if I wasn't there as a support, the relapse would have lasted longer, especially since the thought that all that time had already been wasted, why not just go all out in the relapse!
I agree that going up for a "relapse coin" is or can be a major deterrent to coming back to meetings. If a strong support or an active, caring sponsor is not available, making it back to a meeting after losing all that time can be extremely difficult.
Taking responsibility for a relapse is required to move on and grow or at least learn from the experience, but if I were to suggest any change to the current operating of the tradition of coins, I would say coins should be issued as an award from a sponsor to a sponsee. It ensures that the sponsor is taking a personal role in the life of the sponsee, as well as makes the sponsee feel a further sense of fulfillment when they are being awarded a medal from a person in their life that they have chosen as a confidant and friend. There should be a mutual agreement that an award will be given, as surprises should be avoided in my opinion, but also, a sponsor should encourage their sponsee when relapses happen to make the durations shorter and shorter until there are no relapses at all.
The relationship between a sponsor and their sponsee is as important to the sponsor as it is to the sponsee. It should be taken seriously by both members, and like any relationship, should not be taken for granted.
I did not want to get up to receive my intial coins. My sponsor convinced me, and I now agree. It is NOT all about me. I can suck it for five minutes, get red faced and uncomfortable as I accept my coin. In turn, I give hope to new comers in the room. We have to pay it forward every single. So very very grateful to my sponsor and my fellowship. Go get that coing and look at the love in people’s faces as you receive it. Very cool indeed :-)
Your group's practices are much different than those of groups/meetings I attend in the midwest, where coins are pretty much up to the celebrant and his/her sponsor or close friend(s). But as to the humiliation you describe, coming back after a relapse and having to admit to that relapse, to me the whole purpose of the fellowship is to find the encouragement and support I need to deal with life on life's terms, and how can I receive that support if I am not honest about my struggles, whether to stay sober or to practice humility and find a little serenity. A non-AA daily reading yesterday discussed how necessary falling and humiliation are for personal or spiritual growth: "As Carl Jung put it so well, 'Where you stumble and fall, there you find pure gold.'"
I have come to believe that the issuance of coins, chips
etc. is harmful to A.A. as a whole. Gratefully accepting
a medallion and then relapsing is embarrassing. It is easier
to just not return.
What seemed to be a good thing years ago, has proven Bill's
statement that sometimes the temporary seeming good can be
the deadly enemy of the permanent best.
Instead of spending money for coins, groups ought to
reassess their position on self support. Donate the money
to the church, etc. which allows us space to meet.
Calling a new member to the front of the room to be
praised for normal behavior, is hardly ego deflating.
Alcoholics coming to our meetings ought not be made a spectacle of, neither ought they be allowed to make
spectacles of themselves. Everyone is an equal. Middle
of the road is best, in my opinion. ANONYMOUS
There is no middle of the road solution
however, our group in oshkosh wi value them as a prized gift from God. we are proud yet humbled by given another 24 hours that add up thru the years.
as a former hs teacher, amny thoughts comprise the whole, and all are worth evaluating.
I was told by my sponsor early on that I get up to receive a chip because it shows the newcomer that it is possible to get and stay sober. Relapse is not a Requirement. It does happen.
The process of getting a new chip & but for the Grace of God go I, need ever do it myself, is I believe a process of letting people know that, okay, yes you slipped / relapsed but you are not giving up. People in the rooms can than reach out to you as they know you have or are struggling.
Any time you spent sober, was never wasted time, you learned valuable things.
Great advice I find myself coming back to over and over again when I am feeling like things in my life just haven't gone the way I thought they would...
"The best way to make God laugh is to tell him YOUR plans."
One day at a time I am learning that my Higher Power won't give me anything I can't handle, whether it's what I expected things would be like or not.
So grateful to be sober today. xox
Thank you for that post . Been struggling lately and haven't been "feeling" it . You wrote just what I needed this morning . God Bless you !
Does anyone know the author of Drunk in a Hole?
I have heard a lot of good stuff in meetings that I think would be beneficial to those who think they might have a drinking problem as well as those in AA. I would like to put those wisdoms in a book and give it away. I would not attribute what was shared to names. I have concerns that the the " who I see here and what I hear here, leave it here" would be violated. Yet I see in this forum that people are repeating what they heard at meetings. I'm confused. Please help.
The "Anonymity Statement" is read at the end of many of our local meetings. I have no idea when it started or where it came from, but I do know it doesn't make sense to me. I certainly agree that I have no right to tell anyone who I see at a meeting, but 'What you hear here, let it stay here'? If we learn something in a meeting that helps us stay sober, why should we forget it as soon as we're out the door? Anyone can stay away from a drink in a meeting, it's out in the world that I need to use what I learn.
Just a quick comment on that line. That little card that shows up from time to time on the tables of AA is actually printed by our sister fellowship, Al-Anon. It's not an AA saying at all. (Read the fine print at the bottom of the card.)
Our Big Book is the best guide. It says, "Our stories disclose in a general way what we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like now." p.58.
It also says, "We do talk about each other a great deal, but we almost invariably temper such talk by a spirit of love and tolerance." p. 125.
It's foolishness to think that people will keep whatever they hear to themselves. We tell the stories we hear, being careful not to criticize, and in most cases, not to mention names, unless we're sure that person would not mind. We also don't share them outside of AA, of course.
To expand on that last quote (earlier on page 125) it says, "We families of Alcoholics Anonymous keep few skeletons in the closet. Everyone knows about the others' alcoholic troubles. This is a condition which, in ordinary life, would produce untold grief; there might be scandalous gossip, laughter at the expense of other people, and the tendency to take advantage of intimate information. Among us, these are rare occurrences."
I think it's clear that "what is said here" does not "stay here." That honestly would be a shame—to have so much that we could use to help ourselves and others, and not be able to use it!
The far more important point is to know what is APPROPRIATE and what is NOT APPROPRIATE to share in a meeting. A good sponsor can help us sort those things out!
There's not a way in the world where it would be a violation of any kind of tradition to compile the things that you've heard into a book. Especially if there are no names, and no way to identify the person who said them...
And come to think of it, I doubt I've heard anything terribly original. Someone's probably said it before! LOL
I agree. I frequently come home and share stories, wisdom, and sayings (without names) with my husband who is not in the program. He loves them. When he meets my "Friends with Bill" he almost invariably says, how intelligent and clever we are. He has seen first-hand what these meetings do to me and loves all the clever saying. On the other hand, he has used them against (?) me when I am off the beam. I love him and AA.
My sponsor really has to literally tell me to stop thinking and Keep It Simple Sweetness...when I had the same concern, she explained that there is no need for anonymity in the rooms and with one another. Then she "suggested" I hit some traditions meetings and read the Traditions (from 12&12). Good luck Sweetness...and Keep It Simple :)
I have heard some really good stories, shares of personal experiences and people over coming their urge to drink, fear of going back to college, making amends and so on.
I have retold some of the stories I have heard in an AA meeting, hoping to help another AA member with his particular problem or perhaps add something to the meeting topic or discussion.
There is stuff said at meetings that is just the speakers opinion or experience. Is what the speaker said in line or can it be found in the Big Book? Does it relate to the Steps? or Traditions?
Example, Just go to meetings. If I just go to meetings, will I have a spiritual experience? will I possibly not recover? Will the promises mentioned in Big Book materialize?
I applaud your wanting to help others and doing what is suggested on page 20 (top of the page).
While Clancy I or Bob C say some funny things and tell a good story but will it keep me sober?
Here is an excllent webise:
"it ain't in the Big Book."
My experience is that stories are just stories unless in their telling a specific person place or thing can be identified back to an individual. I often tell sponsees that the details (especially about drama) are of lesser importance than the principles behind our actions or statements. So retelling someone's story exemplifies the principles of AA. The person involved like the nitty gritty details are of lesser importance. If they are, they become gossip, not the underpinnings of sobriety. At least that's how it works for me.
I agree with your comment that "stories are just stories unless in their telling a specific person, place or thing can be identified back to an individual." Attending meetings is part of our 'experience' and sharing with other AA's about what went on in a meeting is perfectly acceptable if it is intended as a way to help others.
Good idea. i'll think it over and respond at a later time. Mabey if we can define each , it will help us understand more fully. How about confidentiality/anonymity after someone dies?...... I seem to remember a flyer " Anonymity in Memoriam. thanks for getting me thinking. joe h pa
The definition of a "functional alcoholic": an alcoholic whose spouse is working.
"I used to live on the Riviera - on my Buick Riviera on 5th Street" - Scooter, Alb. N.M.
I am looking for the origin of the following statement: " Sobriety is the most important thing in your life without exception. You may believe that your job, your home life or one of many other things come first. But consider, if you do not get sober and stay sober chances are that you won't have a job, a family or even a life. If you are convinced that everything in life depends on your sobriety, you just have so much more chance of getting sober and staying sober. If you put other things first you are only hurting your chances of attaining continuous and contented sobriety". I do know that this is from the Akron manual but what I would like to find out is if it has been printed in any of our literature?
Yes, that statement is from the akron manual. It also seems to have been adopted into a pamphlet in great Britain call the “15 points” written around 1979. you can read it at http://www.alcoholics-anonymous.eu/WelcomeDocs/15_Points.pdf other than that, I don't recall reading that paragraph in any AA conference approved literature in north america. I think it's in some local pamphlets like the "tablemate", "detoit pamphlet", and "washington DC pamphlet".
After reading your post, I re-read the akron manual. I found it interesting how they described the 12 steps as laws and rules. It’s so interesting, that I included it in this post.
“The Twelve Steps
Alcoholics Anonymous is based on a set of laws known as the Twelve Steps. Years of experience have definitely proved that those who live up to these rules remain sober. Those who gloss over or ignore any one rule are in constant danger of returning to a life of drunkenness. Thousands of words could be written on each rule. Lack of space prevents, so they are merely listed here. It is suggested that they be explained by the sponsor. If he cannot explain them he should provide someone who can.”
My former sponsor's wife, who had long term sobriety and was an angel of a woman, used to say, "wear the steps like a loose garment" and "work the steps until the steps work you". I'm not sure where she developed those statements and didn't know at the time exactly what she meant but she always said this in such a loving, gentle and kind way that I liked what she said.
Many years later, the AA steps have become a "way of life" for me that includes surrender, faith, spirituality, honesty, open mindedness, willingness, self knowledge, courage, humility, fellowship, understanding, service and love. The steps became less of a straight jacket needed to save me from myself and more of a framework for living within which I can thrive as a human being in all of my affairs.
They are Laws. Better known as Universal Laws. And there's 12 of them regardless if you're studying and practicing AA, Buddha, Jesus and etc. They're undeniable laws that must be followed in order to lead a happy - joyous - healthy life.
You can tell a drunk, but you can't tell him much.
That is why some of us refer to them as suggestions.
From-How it works- But many of them do not recover if they have the capacity to be honest?????? Hayes M. Cumberland Md.
...but many of them DO recover if...
It should read "...there are those too who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders ... but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest". Just means that, coming off the previous statement where they note that there are some people who simply cannot be honest with themselves at all. Then they acknowledge others who have certain challenges but can work the program if they have the capacity to be honest.
The other side of the fence is greener! But you still have to mow it!!!
I once heard a guy in AA equate capacity to be honest to a barrel. A 50 gallon barrel has a 50 gallon capacity. You may not fill it all the way (you are not being completely honest) but it has that capacity and can be used to its full capacity if desired.
Those who DO NOT have the capacity to be honest have no barrel. It's not that they are not using their capacity to be honest; they have no capacity. This is probably a rare condition that involves serious mental or emotional illness. Most human beings have the capacity, we just don't always use it.
The capacity to be honest, is very subjective. The ability to try to be honest is more about willingness than anything else. It certainly takes practice, and even after 17 years, my disease still lies to me, and I don't always recognize it right away. The capacity to be honest seems to teeter on one's commitment and efforts toward progress, with a generous helping of acceptance, rather than perfection.
In time it becomes it's own reward, at least in my experience. My best suggestion is to be as open as possible. Defending and protecting what I thought I knew turned out to be as real as the great and powerful oz.
If your not honest with yourself, how are you going to find out who you are, why you did the things you did, and what kind of a person you can be? If your not honest with yourself, then you can't find the answer as to why you can't stay sober. If anything you'll remain dry or go on a big drunk. Why torture yourself by not doing your step 4 and 5? In order to live a happy life, we must clean up the garbage and let it go. Read about steps 4,5,6,7,8,9. This will tell you why we must be honest in order to live a happy sober life. At least this is what I found when I did my step work. This is your life your talking about. Do what you want, but life is not meant to be all roses and daisies. We must go through thorns and thistles before we go into the field of roses and daisies. Don't forget about the occasional bees that sting every now and again. Beware the easier softer way does not work, as well if your not honest with yourself and others you did not change except you remain dry, miserable, and really anyone would lack the ability to deal with life on life's terms without the tools of recovery.
I hope this helps
I heard at a meeting from a wise old man, when he introduced himself by saying " my name is Johnny and I don't have a problem with alcohol I have a problem with Johnny". Straight and too the point thanks Johnny.