Heard At Meetings
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.
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 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."
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.
"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?
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.
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
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????
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.
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.
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
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.
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!
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."
"When Danial left the lion's den, he did go back for his overcoat!!!"
"I am a contented Alcoholic, no longer demented!"
Uh your prince Bill W actually was the king of 13th stepping. He invented it. Program people do your research, look up Helen Wynn.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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?
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!
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
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
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.
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.
Thanks Dennis, for saying so much, in so few words. Rose
I did not come into AA looking for God. I am glad that no one, at my first meeting, told me I had to find God and find Him now! I came for help to stay sober. The first medicine I had to swollow was that I could never drink like normal drinkers again. A spiritual awakening, a belief in God, was a side effect. As in the second step, I came to believe. What a wonderful gift! ANONYMOUS
Every minute I spend resenting you I DEPRIVE myself of 60 seconds of happiness!!!
If an alcoholic ever drinks again "MORE WILL BE REVEALED!"
Here is a story. An alcoholic in a treatment center, called a nun with this request, "Sister Veronica, will you pray for me?" She smiled and replied, "Why don't you pray yourself Mick. God loves listening to strangers." Mick smiled at that response.
In Ireland as a newcomer I heard, "There is no graduation day in A.A."
"There are no medals for yesterday's sobriety."
"Things do not get better. Things remain the same!!!
When I pick up the tools of the AA recovery program and apply them to my own life, on a daily basis,I get better. When I get better then I see the same things differently!
P.S. I heard someone say once, "HOW DO YOU EXPECT TO SUCCEED AT SOMETHING THAT YOU ARE NOT DOING!!!"
"I cannot think myself into right living! I can live myself into right thinking!"
I was at a meeting about three days ago.I try to arrive early so I can hear How It Works, been doing this now for a few 24 hours and sometimes I hear new things or my mind is just not as open as I think it is.I heard At some of these we Balked.People in the meeting started Barking Like Dogs. I was like what is this turning into.I know that's not what that means but the New Person will Pick this up like a new Drink.
Wow never heard that one before. Different groups do all different things. That one is potentially damaging, the newcomer could be scared off by it. Some groups are sicker than others.
Jason M, Newington CT
We are responsible to carry our experience, strength,and hope.Not to turn a meeting into a freak show.
At some of these we barked? Just when I thought I had
heard everything, up comes something more absurd. Listen
at meetings when the group members chant Hi! Joe, when
Joe admits in front of others that he is an alcoholic. That
sometimes sounds like barking. At some meetings it is shouting, yelling, hooting and hollering. "Oh, we are just
trying to be friendly. We are not a glum lot". My opinion
is that is just plain stupid, and makes us look like jerks.
Yes, new people, especially drug addicts jump right into
this nonsense. ANONYMOUS
Im afraid Alcohol is a drug,all Alcoholics ARE DRUG ADDICTS ! Why do some alcoholic can be so arogant to think that there better then ? Maybe these Alcoholics could for once crack the book titled "Alcoholics Anonymous", One of the most popular parts of the Big Book is now named "acceptence was the answer" was written by a self professed drug addict. The original name of this was Doctor Alcoholic Addict !
Where did you find that definition of Alcohol? Honestly where? anonymous
It comes down to 12 step work plain and simple.
If I am on a 12 step call to someone who has only drank alcohol, when I 12 step him, I tell my story and if he relates i then turn the conversation to the hopelessness of alcohol and describe the mental obsession and physical allergy to alcohol.
If I am not an alcoholic, I cannot fully partake in 12 step work and therefore I can't fully work the program of action as outlined in our basic text.
This is my experience only,
While people use the tomato as a vegetable, it is actually a fruit. Most tomatoes are fairly round, most are red, they are juicy, contain seeds, and can be eaten raw or cooked.
The apple is a fruit. Most are round, red, juicy, contain seeds, and can be eaten raw or cooked.
A fruit is a fruit, right? Next time you bake an apple pie, try adding a tomato or two and see what up come up with.
Or how about this? A doctor is a doctor, so go to an ophthalmologist with your next toothache.
And finally, if all else fails, read the pamphlet "Problems Other Than Alcohol." Then ask yourself why you insist on AA changing to suit you, rather than you making a few changes.
I certainly do not think alcoholics are "better than"
any other person who has an addiction; just different. I just do not identify with the drug addict. True, the
recovery process is exactly the same, identification
with each other. AA and NA work best parallel side by
side, alcoholics with alcoholics, drug addicts with drug
addicts. The supply for both is abundant. If you are
doubly blessed, just respect the meeting you are in. It
is really not that complicated. I suspect that is why
the title Doctor Alcoholic Addict was deleted. ANONYMOUS
RULE 62...just saying! When I go to a meeting, we carry the message with humor- with 'But trusted', AA as "A Whole", "special workers" and a few others you cant help to laugh. In my first 30 days I went to a group thats Hit the table durring smashed in more about alcoholism. As long as we are sharing our experience strength and hope does it matter how funny it is or isn't?
I "get" the first two. but don't understand the humor
in "special workers". Sometimes I am not too "swift". How about: We are not saints. The group chants "What's the point? The point is..... Bill once wrote Republican or
Communist 12+12 page 147. I find humor in that. I suspect that Bill W. was a Republican.
Bill wrote that we cannot be a vaudeville circus. We
are working on a serious illness. Hopefully we can come
to laugh at ourselves sometimes, while always keeping the
new person and public relations in mind. We certainly do
not want the general public to look upon AA a some kind
of joke. Manny Q.
Thanks for sharing your insightful observation. It is very important that meetings are orderly. Newcomers are affected by what is done and said in the rooms.