Heard At Meetings

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Other Thoughts

We are alcoholics anonymous. In A.A. we can avoid using
last names and ought to do so. First names are optional in
a true A.A. meeting. Who I am is just not that important.
Doesn't anonymous mean without name? We need to assure that
anyone who wishes to, can join us anonymously.
Anyone can ask questions before or after the meeting,
just not during the meeting. A meeting is not a question and answer session. ANONYMOUS


I always introduce myself with first and last name in closed meetings and especially when at out of town meetings. That makes it easier and simpler for anybody to reach out to me for assistance. It is something I started after reading Dr Bob and the Good Oldtimers and studying the 11th tradition. I don't have to advertise when I sweep & mop or shovel the sidewalk at the clubhouse (unless trying to get somebody involved in service work). There are a lot of Steve's in this city of 30K and hiding from others only keeps me isolated and alone.

Dr. Bob's thoughts on anonymity

From page 264 of the book Dr. Bob and the Good Old Timers:

there are two ways to break the Anonymity Tradition: (1) by giving your name at the public level of press or radio; (2) by being so anonymous that you can't be reached by other drunks.

It's worth reading this book to get some perspective.

Joined: 2012-06-17
Dr. Bob's Thoughts on anonymity

This is how I like to see AA lived.


Is alcohol an addictive drug? Yes it is. End of story


As NA clarifies, alcohol is a drug, period. I find this debate alternately hilarious and upsetting depending on where my head is on a given day. In my mind, there is no debate, and it bothers me hearing people say they can't relate to a drug addict or the other way around. I call BS on that. The phenomenon of craving is universal. Sensing for that sense of ease and comfort is universal. If someone's recovery or head-space is damaged by someone talking about drugs at an AA meeting I would draw their attention to this to page 90 (Step 10) of the Twelve and Twelve which reads: "It is a spiritual axiom that every time we are disturbed, no matter what the cause, there is something wrong with us."
Bill Wilson drank both gin and sedative. Many of the stories in the big book reference drugs. For me, they just went naturally together. I started with alcohol, but once that door was open I did whatever I could get my hands on.
It just boggles my mind that the fellowship questions this at all. If "We are like the passengers of a great liner the moment after rescue from shipwreck when camaraderie, joyousness and democracy pervade the vessel from steerage to Captain's table." why are we trying to push some people back into the water to drown?
Nuff said.

A drug is a drug

Thank you!!!!!

Joined: 2012-02-23
a drug is a drug?

I was one of six two days ago at an AA mtg. two of the six were meth addicts, one was also an alcoholic also addicted to meth.

I have attended 2-4 aa mtgs week since 1991. at that small mtg, when the meth addicts talked about meth, i could not relate. they talked about experiences i have never had. thank God that ws not my first mtg.

End of Story

That story has been told for much too long. It is
fiction. Drug addicts should never have been accepted as
members of Alcoholics Anonymous. But who is to blame? We
are. Anyone at an A.A. meeting who states that they are
an adddict ought to be informed that Alcoholics Anonymous
is for drinkers only. "Dual addicted" ought to honor the
fellowship that they attending, whether A.A., N.A., S.A.,
G.A., or O.A. But because we do not want to hurt anyone's
feelings, no one says anything. Our own kindness has harmed
us, and has harmed those we have tried not to hurt. Both
fellowships have lost much of their effectiveness. The
necessary identification is just not there. If we start
now to separate the alcoholic from the drug addict (meetings), both fellowships will eventually regain their effectiveness. We have been called cousins of sort. I
don't believe cousins ought ever be married, as someone
else wrote. ANONYMOUS

End of Story

Well said! In a simpler form I heard an old timer say, "If I need brain surgery, I'm not going to go to a an orthopedic surgeon." That said it all for me.

Re: End of Story

Well stated...couldn't agree with you more...

Dual Addictions

Alcohol is a drug, just like pot, cocaine, heroin, etc.

An addict is an addict, no matter what his drug of choice. I think this kind of self centered thinking says alot of the person making the statement!

AA is for Alcoholics

Imagine taking an Alcoholic to his first AA meeting, and you arrive five minutes after the meeting begins.

2 members of Al-Anon are at the top table. There are 3 members of CA. I member of GA and 4 members of NA 1mmber of OA. sitting around the same table!

They are all addicts! Maybe some AA's think they should be at AA meetings. I do not.

Think of the new member in the example I quoted above. My question to all reading this piece is very simple.

What identification will he get in such an assortment of addicts?

Re: AA is for Alcoholics

You asked, "What identification will he get in such an assortment of addicts?". Well if he/she were at my home group he/she would quickly here that alcohol, drugs, sex, etc. etc. are only symptoms of our disease and in our group we treat the disease and not the sypmtom. I personally tell them if they want symptoms treated they should see a physician or other professional help, they treat symptoms; A.A. treats disease. :)


The symptoms of Alcoholism for me are powerlessness over alcohol and my life becoming unmanageable.You say, "If they want symptoms treated they should see a physician or other professional help" and you also say "AA treats the disease"

My question is, "AA treats the Disease OF WHAT?"

Joined: 2012-06-27
A drug is a drug

Hello, I'm new to this site. I'm super excited this is available to me! I just wanted to comment really quick! I'm pretty new to AA but this is what I have concluded, for myself. I, myself, am cross-addicted. When I'm in an AA mtg, I introduce myself as an alcoholic. When in an NA mtg, I'm an addict. For me, I'm not identifying with the alcohol or with the drug. I'm identifying with the turmoil that it causes on the inside of the said person. The emotional and mental aspects of the disease. We have each taken our own journey with the alcohol/drug. We have each had different expierences and consequences from using alcohol/drugs. I've identified with some and with others, I have not. But when it comes to the emotional and mental aspects, I've always identified, in some way shape or form. And that's what it's about for me. It's about taking away something from someone who has been on the sobriety journey, that will help me to get through to the other side of things. Because. obviously, what I am doing hasn't been working for me. This is my opinion and it's what works, FOR ME!!!

Just Curious

I'm just curious as to hwo that addict sitting in the AA meeting has affected your recovery.

Joined: 2012-02-23
RE Just curious

When he speaks, he cant share his experience with alcoholism. When it comes time to practice step 12, he will not be able to talk to another alcoholic about alcoholism from his personal experience.

When I talk to him, I am guessing about what he feels about alcoholism. When I talk about alcoholism, he is guessing about me.

When I talk to an alcoholic, I know from personal experience what he is going through. There is no guessing.

That, in my opinion is why AA has a singleness of purpose. We want to stick to one thing and do one thing well.

RE Just Curious

ITs not how much one drinks, it is about what happens when he does drink....
Its not about what drugs one takes, it is about what happens when he does drugs....
An alcoholic cannot understand what it is like to be strung out on speed and up for days at a time....he/she cannot relate. A drug addict may not understand what it is like to drink, throw up and do it again and again -- or what it is like to black out and come to and not know what has happened.
We need a singleness of purpose in order to truly understand the incomprehensible demoralization one feels when they are under the influence.
I had a sponsor who did not understand my drug addict behaviors --- she was a drinker. I am so glad that I had alcoholic behaviors as well that she could relate to. I talked to my addict friends about the drugs in my story...
Drugs and alcohol are all seats on the Titanic...the destination is the same -- but the paths to get there are different....
that is my experience.

Drugs vs Alcohol

Very well said. Sadly I have met those of both schools of thought in AA....those who feel addiction is addiction is addiction and those alcoholics who cannot relate to an opiate addict because they feel one form of addiction is different from another....you say it well that it is about what happens, the processes that drive us and how the addiction affects us and our lives that make us all more similar than different. I am an alcoholic/addict and have used both drugs and alcohol....for anyone to say there is a difference has lost sight of "openmindedness" and misses the point. I used both drugs and alcohol and for the same reasons and though the specific effects may vary the mindset and purposes were the same. Drugs? Alcohol? A rose by any other name my friends. The most important thing about AA, NA, etc as far as a newcomer is concerned is teaching through behavior and action that we welcome them all and they are not alone by pointing out all our similarities and not differences. Unity is based on commonalities and finding ways to communicate on "common" ground and not alienation by focusing on why anyone doesn't belong. Those in these forums who continually focus on sepratism, I feel, have missed or forgotten the basic purpose of any support group....I have also seen my share of newcomers walk out never to return because one of these "I can't relate so no one can relate" types lacked the self control to keep their destructive, seperatist attitudes to themselves. Science as well as common sense teaches that addiction is addiction whether alcohol, drugs, gambling, sex or food...they are mechanisms used to make us feel better about ourselves or feel nothing and although narcotics are responsible for most of the wreckage in my life AA has offered far more help and understanding and outlets for service in my recovery than NA...and I am thankful I didn't run into one of those "If you're not alcoholic, don't come to MY meeting because I can't relate" types that do a diservice to all.

RE Drug is a Drug

A Dr. is a Dr. Would you go to a chiropractor for brain surgery?

A controled substance is controled for a reason. society says it is too addictive or dangerous for the general public to be left to their own choice in the matter.

Alcohol on the other hand is legal in most places once you are of legal drinking age. society says it is safe enough for an individual to choose for themselves.

If you are a meth addict or cocaine addict, everyone is aware of the potential for addiction. If you become an addict, society says "too bad for you, you got hooked on that rotten stuff".

If you drink enough alcohol to damage your mind and body enough so you think about drinking until you drink, once you start you cant stop, and after periods of sobriety your mind tells you it will be different this time and you drink again. Society says " what a week person, I can take it or leave it alone, why can't he".

Alcoholics and drug addicts are cousins. Alcoholics belong in AA, addicts belong in NA or one of the other 200 twelve step programs out there.

If you are not an alcoholic, how can you relate your alcoholism to a newcomer at an AA meeting? You cant. You can try but only hurt the meeting, yourself, and the newcomer by sharing experience you don't have!

If you are an alcoholic who used drugs, which many of us are, including Bill W (bb pg 7) and Dr Bob (bb pg 176)you can relate your reaction to alcohol and identify with the newcomer.

The last part of step 12 in aa says to "carry this message to alcoholics, and practice these principals in all our affairs"

I had a delightful

I had a delightful conversation with Dr. Paul O. one afternoon about the "drug is a drug is a drug" . . . . he said that when people talk to him about it, his response was, "Yes. A drug is a drug is a drug," then, just as they think he is going to agree with their perspective, he added, "and a fruit is a fruit is a fruit. But an apple is NOT a banana."

Joined: 2012-01-27
re: drug is drug

Interesting topic! Reply to "drug is drug" seems to the point. I've heard people share in aa about their life on drugs and could not understand or relate. All of us need to be able to identfy with each other.

I used to take a friend to na because she could not relate to aa. I thought of it as preventive medicine for me.

I've asked new people why they didn't go to na. Iv'e been told because they might run into their dealer. Or because there is no dobriety in na. I think these excuses are denial. I've met many in na with quality sobriety.

Re: A Drug Is a Drug

"Submitted by Anonymous on Fri, 2012-04-13 14:01.
Is alcohol an addictive drug? Yes it is. End of story"
Please explain why ninety percent of those who drink never become addicted to alcohol.
A fruit is a fruit. Tomatoes and apples are both fruit, similar in shape and color, but never mixed in a pie. Care to explain that one?
As was posted by someone else earlier, a truck is a truck, but a dairy truck is of no use in putting out a fire. Why not?
Jim S.

Liturature Read @ AA Meetings

I now there are a lot of great books out there. I have read several of them. In the book “Alcoholics Anonymous”, William James’ book, "Varieties of Religious Experiences” is referenced a couple of times, so early on in my sobriety I purchased it and read it. It was great, that’s where Bill got the idea of admitting complete defeat, or if you prefer hitting bottom.
I should mention that this was after it was pointed out to me in a big book study the list of conference approved literature in the first pages of the BB. I bought them all and read them from cover to cover. At the time I had no idea what conference approved literature was. Today I know that the conference has no opinion on books, they just review a book brought to their attention and approve it or not based on if it aligns with AA principals.
After reading the conference approved material, I noticed other books mentioned in AA books and read some of them as well. Sometimes it may have just been the mention of an author or psychiatrist like Dr. Carl Jung or Emmit Fox, so I would go out and read their material. All that reading has helped me grow in many ways.
I sobered up in North Dakota. It is customary in my location that most groups read only conference approved literature or grapevine material during meetings. That is not to say you can’t talk about any book you like during a meeting. You can talk about whatever you want, just don’t try to read out loud from a non AA book during a meeting. As a Group we felt that reading non AA material during an AA meeting assumes affiliation with a publisher or author if read during a meeting. Also if the content doesn’t align with AA principals a newcomer may be misinformed about AA.
Today, I believe we have a wealth of actual AA reading material, the number one in my opinion is the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. I am confused as to why an AA group would read other material during an AA meeting. During my travels over the years I have come across a meeting here and there that reads a particular book or two as a regular part of their format. I know live in a town where 11 out of 12 scheduled AA meeting read from other material as part of the meeting format. I should also mention that 10 of the 12 meetings in town are Open Meetings.
Please keep in mind that I am not telling anyone what to read on their own time, I actually encourage you to read anything that you choose. I am just saying that in a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous I feel it is not just good, but the best to read only AA material.
Thanks for listening.

Not just good but the best.

Bill W wrote that sometimes the good can be the
enemy of the best. He also wrote that sometimes the
seeming temporary good can be the deadly enemy of the
permanent best. When it comes to A.A. only the very best
will do.
Bring your message to those groups and see what
happens. "kill the messenger" comes to mind. Start
at the group conscience. If there is no such thing
as a group conscience meeting, call one. If no one
is interested in that, just start voicing your
concerns when you share. No, it will not be easy.
I have always thought, let someone else do it.
Today, I am that "someone else". ANONYMOUS


"Crosstalk" is when sharing is not directed to the chairperson, right? When I share I am supposed to direct my sharing not at the newcomer but at the chairperson???? The newcomer is vulnerable and sensitive, and may not come back if he/she feels singled out????

Crosstalk or Crosstalk??

I used to think cross talk was interupting when someone else had the floor but most people tell me it is commenting on something someone else has said in the meeting during the meeting.
I have only been sober since 1990 but I am greatful for the AA's who called me on my BS and kept me on the beam. I can't always tell when I am sick or BSing but those around me sure can!
I think we walk on egg shells too often in the program today. People in the meetings when I came in were more worried with me living than with my feelings. Did it hurt sometimes? Absolutely. But I am ever so greatful today for their rigorous, (not brutal), honesty. They kept me on the beam.

Ray C.

Joined: 2012-06-12
Cross Talk

In order to allow everyone time to share and to keep the meeting time no longer than one hour, we encourage our group members to talk after the meeting if they want to offer or receive advice or feedback. We also encourage the use of our phone list.


One of our local meetings has a phrase in their format
with this wording: Always be considerate and mindful of the
feelings of others. I have personally always been sensitive and often
drank over hurt feelings. If I had been corrected or
criticized at my early meetings, I wonder if I would have
stayed. I loved the meetings. We would leave the meeting
planning a meeting for the next day. It wasn't a question
of whether we would go to a meeting; just which one are
we going to.
Fellow A.A. members only shared their own experience.
No one (well, almost no one) told anyone else what to do.
We only shared what we did and what happened to us. What
a concept! No hierarchy or patriarchy. And I find that
most alcoholics love to talk about themselves, once they
understand that they are not going to be edited, judged
or corrected. We ought to just listen to each other.
Listening is of great importance. Listening has been
described as a way of allowing ones own EGO to be
reduced. I believe that is true.
I believe we should always be mindful and considerate
of the feelings of others. An A.A. meeting is a very
delicate place. If we need to walk on egg shells, so be it.
I don't ever want to be the reason for anyone to not come
to a meeting. And I don't mean peace at any price. There
are times when we need to stand up and speak out. But
I make every effort to direct my comments to the group
and not to the individual. ANONYMOUS.

Joined: 2012-01-18
Re: Crosstalk

In today's AA it seems that "crosstalk" means whatever the individual member says it means. When I first heard it many years ago it meant switching from sharing to going one on one with another member during the meeting.
I wouldn't worry about the newcomer not coming back if he or she feels singled out. According to many of the posts on I-Say newcomers aren't going to come back anyway, because we pray, read, hold hands, greet them, ignore them, chant, etc. etc. etc.


There you go!! You finally get it!! I believe cross talk
is talking to an individual member instead of to the group,
unless it is a speaker discussion. Then the sharing is
directed at the speaker or the chairperson. Cross talk is
also commenting on another members sharing. I may hesitate
to share if I am concerned that some other member will
comment, correct, or edit my sharing. All other members ought to remain silent while each person shares. Save the
AMENs for church services. And talking to another member
while someone is trying to share is just plain rudeness.
Just my views. ANONYMOUS

Joined: 2011-11-03
First time on message board

Working my AA program is keeping me sober a day at a time. AA is also teaching me to cultivate greater compassion for myself and others. I have never read any messages on this board until today and I find myself grateful for the positive messages that I am reading...and aware of my own judgments of the messages that strike me as negative or quibbling.

I am attracted to sober AA's who seem serene and accepting of others. I want what they have and have found much wisdom through learning about their recovery, both in what they share and in the meeting after the meeting.

Pay Attention.

I said to the guest speaker,"I don't listen at meetings!!"

He said, "You do listen at meetings. You listen to yourself thinking about what you imagine the speaker is saying! The speakers words are like sunlight flicking through the moving spokes of a bicycle wheel!

So I said, "Gee, I am like that. Now what do I do about it?"

I was holding my breath waiting for some magnificent insight! He said, "You do exactly what the teacher told you when you were 4 years old. PAY ATTENTION, and remember no one among us was able to pay perfect adhere to this advice!

An open mind.

Before you make your mind up OPEN IT!!


"I lost everything during my drinking. I finished up living in an AA settlement house. I went to 3 meetings a day for a full year.

I said to my sponsor one day, "Why do we waste time reading chapter 5 at every meeting!"

My sponsor aid to me,"What is Chapter 5 about?

I said, "Gee, I don't know!"

My sponsor said, " SO you heard Chapter 5 read 1,095 times! You did not listen to it even once."

AA member's comments.

"When Danial left the lion's den, he did go back for his overcoat!!!"

"I am a contented Alcoholic, no longer demented!"

13th steppin

Uh your prince Bill W actually was the king of 13th stepping. He invented it. Program people do your research, look up Helen Wynn.

13th stepping

Worry if you are working the program. Keeping our side of the street clean is important. It is natural for folks living in denial to continue cleaning others back. Anyways I am sober today. Thanks to you.

13th stepping

Worry if you are working the program. Keeping our side of the street clean is important. It is natural for folks living in denial to continue cleaning others back. Anyways I am sober today. Thanks to you.


We have no real way of knowing since Bill has died. You call Bill "our prince" seems like you a resentment about something with that comment. No one worships Bill that I have ever known. I do know that this "man" never stopped trying to share the solution he found and his passion to help other suffers created AA. For that I am eternally grateful because without his efforts I would not have the 19 years of sobriety I have today.

RE: 13th Steppin

Bill may have had affairs, a mistriss, whatever. In the BB he says he had no real infidelity when he was drinking. As far as sober maybe he did. Remeber a lot of jealous people spread terrible rumors about Bill. Hank P thought Bill told Lois not to marry him and got a terrible resentment and went around saying Bill was a liar and theif. That he stole money from AA. Bill kept meticulous records and was able to proove he didn't steel money from AA. No one says Bill W was a God but it doesn't mean he wasn't inspired by one. Many people have issues other than alcoholism. I am just glad I live in a time when there is a solution to alcoholism that worked for me. I don't care how "bad" the person was that came up with the idea. I love AA.

Ray C.

Terrible Rumors

Some of this information can be found on page 193 in
A.A. Comes of Age. Bill does not "name names", but I remember reading about this elsewhere. Ruth H. had been
secretary to Hank P. in New Jersey. Bill insisted on moving the headquarters to New York. Bill took Ruth with him. Bill W. was not a saint. I don't believe he ever claimed to be.
I love A.A., too It saved my life and made life worth living. Bill W. may not have been Christ-like, but for me he was Heaven-sent. ANONYMOUS

Terrible Rumours

Thank God our co-founders were not perfect! If they were, AA would not exist today. And I, for one, likely would not exist today either.

Joined: 2012-01-18
Re: 13th stepping

Ray C. wrote,"Hank P thought Bill told Lois not to marry him and got a terrible resentment and went around saying Bill was a liar and theif."(sic)
Why would anyone think Bill told Lois not to marry Hank P. when Lois was already married to Bill?

RE; 13th stepping---Man did I blow that one!!

Sorry! That's what happens when I get in a hurry!!
I meant to say Bill's Secretary, Nell! Nice catch!
And thank you for calling me on it!

That's how mistakes can be costly or hurt people. Especially if it is something important!

Ray C.

13th stepping

There was a woman named Ruth H, who was Hank's secretary and who typed the original manuscript as dictated by Bill She is the woman in question who spurned Hank. There are books of AA history with the facts and names. Steve in Mason city

Ray C-Reply to comment-13th Stepping

AA has many zealous leaders,and some think that they are the AA Police.Some become very judgemental amd thats when many"Clicks"form within the groups,and that turns away many people.We should aways examine are behavior and be careful not to offend others.And with that said,Ray C,check your spelling.I always use spell-check on my cell phone when I type anything on internet,because like you,I cant spell very well-lol-Its ok,but people will take what you say more seriously when your spelling is correct.Don E

Don E.

Many of us make mistakes in spelling when posting on
I-SAY. Personally I do not know how to use spell check
on this forum. Spelling errors are miniscule, when compared
to the tragic blunders we have made in A.A. at the group
level, over the past thirty years. Did you mean "Clicks" or cliques? Also, and is not spelled amd, thats ought to be that's, cant ought to be can't. I may be a high school dropout but Bud made me wiser. I sincerely apologize, but
I just could not resist. Manny Quinn.

Joined: 2011-06-07
Human and flawed

Yes, you're right Bill W was a flawed human being Just as was Martin Luther King and JFK. Their sexual indiscretions can be pointed to as major defects of character thus proving their humanity or they can be used as a teaching point as to why we now suggest that men sponsor men and woman sponsor woman. Remember we don't profess spiritual perfection only spiritual progress. Please don't dismiss the message just because the messenger was flawed.

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