Heard At Meetings

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How it Works

How many years have you listened to HIW at meetings? After
listening to it read aloud at meetings for twenty years, I
started arriving at meetings late to avoid it. Too much
exposure spoiled it for me. It became a waste of my time.
Today I believe the introduction of reading How it Works
at the beginning of AA meetings was our worst mistake.
The first two and a half pages of chapter five is a
beautiful reading. But it has a special place. That place
is in chapter five, after chapters 1,2,3, and 4. Think about
it. To understand this, an understanding of Dr. Silkworth's
IDEA is necessary. Most AA members have no idea what this
IDEA is about. Bill wrote that without this idea from Dr.
Silkworth, Alcoholics Anonymous could never have been
born. The effectiveness of our fellowship has diminished
by our ignorance and ignoring of this IDEA. ANONYMOUS

"A drug is a drug .."

I heard this used at a recent workshop on Sponsorship and mentioned to a friend in the program that I didn't subscribe to that belief. He responded, "It makes perfect sense. Next time your house is on fire, call a milk truck. After all, a truck is a truck, right?"

Joined: 2012-02-25
A Drug is a drug.... hmmmm

I've never really subscribed to that little saying of, "A drug is a drug" because that would mean also that a sickness is a sickness. I contend with the disease, dis-ease of alcoholism not let's say, diabetes. If I took the drugs used for diabetes and expected it to heal or cure my alcoholism I'd surely die. What I am saying is: the right applications for the right issue. We all suffer in someway from some kind of addiction, but regardless of what the addiction is we all suffer from a spiritual malady.

"Keep Coming Back!"

Comment from a newcomer at a recent meeting:
"I wish you would stop telling me to keep coming back. It sounds like you're giving me permission to go back out."

Keep coming back.


keep coming back

it works if you work it. and only if you work it.

Joined: 2011-06-07
I come back daily

I keep coming back daily.
When we say "keep coming back it works if you work it" it's a positive affirmation not a permission slip.
Regular attendance at meetings hooks you into a network of solutions, experience and hope.
"It works it you work it" affirms that, by doing the steps to the best of your ability, the obsession to drink will be lifted lessening the likely hood that you might go back out.
I don't want to sound like I'm taking your inventory but if "keep coming back" sounds like permission to go back out, you might want to check where your head is focused. It sounds like you're looking back over your shoulder rather then looking at today.
Don't let the life AA's given you get in the way of your AA life.


If you don't want to sound like you are taking my inventory,
then I suggest you don't take my inventory. Rose

Keep coming!

When we say keep coming back, it works if you work it, that leads to the group chanting: it works if you work it,
so work it you're worth it, I die if I don't work it, etc,etc,etc. At a Northern Virginia meeting I attended,
they hold on to your hands and pump arms up and down,
while they chant. This may be a pleasure to the members
already here for a while. But the general public and new
prospective members may think this is weird. It makes us
look like a cult. The holding hands and praying before makes us look like a religion. "Keep coming back" by the
group is chanting and chanting does not belong in AA. Who
are we concerned about, the alcoholic approaching us, the
alcoholic who is considering approaching us, or the satisfaction of our own clamors and desires. Are we are still self-centered in the extreme? I think yes. ANONYMOUS

At our meeting we say....

We got tired of hearing "Keep coming back" for the exact reason you stated. So now we've been saying, "STAY - i works much better." It has taken a while to catch on but now that it has it seems to be helping all.

Keep coming back!!

Chanting is a response by the group. Chanting of any kind has no place in AA. Religion and cults chant. Chanting
makes us look foolish in the eyes of the public. Just
sit quietly and listen as each member shares experience,
strength and hope. ANONYMOUS

Joined: 2011-12-22
You never have to drink again if you don't want to

Whenever I heard someone say this, I used to think it was the stupidest thing I'd ever heard. Shortly before my second birthday I realized that just before I came to AA, I really had to drink and I didn't want to (and it only took two years to make this seemingly obvious discovery).

Today after working the steps, not only do I not have to drink, I don't need to or want to.

The fear, resentment, and the general discomfort that I felt just dealing with life are gone today. That is a blessing for which I am truely grateful. Thank you AA, I could not do this myself.

It ain't in The Big Book.

There is a website called It ain't in the Big Book. I found it insightful and it helped me a lot.

It ain't in the Big Book.


In my early days I heard these words at AA meetings! "WHEN MAKING A LIST OF THOSE TO WHOM YOU ARE TO MAKE AMENDS!!!PUT YOURSELF ON THE HEAD OF THE LIST" Those words are not in AA literature.

I also heard, "TAKE WHAT YOU LIKE AND LEAVE THE REST!!!" Those words are not in the Big Book.

"It ain't in the Big Book" is a very informative website.

If "it ain't in The Big

If "it ain't in The Big Book," it isn't the "insight" I'm looking for.

I am in total agreement with this statement

Once we are given the gift of sobriety, we have a choice to not drink. We get connected to the program, listen and learn.
No matter what happens in our lives, there is no good reason to drink again. It really is a choice. That is why it is no mistake when we go back out. If we look at what lead up to it,
usually the person stopped going to meetings. Stopped being connected to the program. Stopped being grateful for the gift
of sobriety.

Living a Balanced Life

To me balance is just another for control. put a broom on the end of your finger ans see how long you can keep it balanced. Notice that you have to move from left to right, forward and back to keep it balanced, sooner or later it will fall off your finger. Bottom line is we do what we want to do. So instead of balance set priorities, but learn to be flexible.


There are some strong opinions about this subject. Ive been amused and offended by some of them. But at the last meeting one person said "Religion is like going to church but only thinking about fishing, While spirituality is like going fishing and thinking about God.


Why do we call them pigeons? Because they crap on you and fly away.


Many of the early members of AA were from the WWI era. They used carrier pigeons to carry messages to the front lines which saved many lives. Hence the newcomer carrying the message of AA is also saving lives.

I agree!

This is an old timer with 3 plus decades of continuous sobriety. We always referred to the new ones as pigeon's for the reasons stated here about Dr. Bob. Why we ever let it get changed to Sponsee's I don't know - other than someone is trying to be politically correct. I still - to this day, call them Pigeons and they either love it or don't but it has worked for me for a very long time now. I'm not changing it. It is pigeon for this old timer.

Why did Dr. Bob call his sponsees "pigeons?"

Apparently, when he was asked this, he told them that he was training them to carry the message to the next alcoholic—like messenger pigeons.

And then he added, "If I train them well, somebday they'll bring the message back to me!"

(Never hated that term again. In fact, I understand that it's a term of endearment. I love my pigeons. And I love being someone's pigeon, too.)

I read this!

Today I have a choice: Do I want to be BETTER or BITTER!

Bitter or Better

AA taught me how to move from being Bitter to being BETTER. Here is what I learned, I go to AA meetings, I work the steps on a daily basis, I help other alcoholics, and I am and honest and open with a sponsor.

I keep doing that one day at a time.

In Ireland I learned that I can live ONE DAY AT A TIME or ONE DAY AT A WHINE!!

For me living the AA principles one day at a time, "is an easier softer way!"

Welcoming or not welcoming the newcomer?

I certainly do pay attention to new faces in a meeting. Whether the be new to AA or new to the Area does not make a difference. As a male I tend to be a little to assertive with females. I would like to say faternal caring. Even at 62 my eye can roam some and I need to be careful there. But my hope is to always extend a hand. "Mistakes" are made in our human behavior each and every day. I respect most when the person returns sober despite all my efforts (not knowingly) to derail them. THNAK GOD.

Anonymous somewhere

A moment of clarity

for my self the gem i heard was do you like what happens to you when you drink.
i had already passed the 44 ? no problem i was most surely not a drunk i drink i get drunk i fall down i get up no problem and i could quiet any time i wanted to i just did not see the need but i did not like some of the things that happened to me when i drank hell i ended up at a aa meeting nor did i trust any one but that thought hit me. it was on my mind for few weeks still going to meetings and drinking then two old timers asked me if i could make the noon meeting the next day with out a drink no problem i sad i no sooner got out the door and it hit me i shook it off i did make the meeting the next day with out a drink but it was hell to say the least i would like to say i never drank again but thats not true it took me a long time to learn i do not have to drink even if i want to i love aa and the fellow ship. and it works just great

Attitude of Gratitude Month

Attitude of Gratitude Month

As I look within I found myself always being a thankful person and would tell you thank-you to prove it.
It was not until I stumbled onto the free gift of sobriety that I did I even know what the common spoken word felt like.
I was thankful for my, Job, Family,Car, Boats,Houses, toys on and on then my drinking took them away. Later I found thankfulness had nothing to do with Being Grateful, as one had to do with things and the other God.
No mater what, Job no job, wife no wife, I am Grateful to God for the free gift he gave me, my sobriety, because no one can take from me, I would have to give it away and no sponsor deserves it.

Joined: 2011-08-13
I don't mind how much you drink!!!

Heard this today while discussing how to prepare for Holiday parties and other people asking you if you mind them drinking.....

Go ahead...drink all you want. The more you drink, the better I look!!

Made for a good laugh....

Joined: 2011-11-24
Funny Bone Anonymity

Apparently my close friend didn't figure out the meaning of ANONYMOUS when I shared with her my AA experience. At a recent gathering with a lot of drinkers a lady came up to me, slurring her words, and said "I hear you are in AA. Isn't that nice. So tell me, if you have a drink will you go crazy and start freaking out?" I was perturbed but with a dose of wit I calmly replied "No mam, if I drink I'll just start acting like you."

I'm wondering if the "close

I'm wondering if the "close friend" was in A.A. --- if they are, I would have a chat with them about anonymity. If they are not, they are not bound by A.A.'s Twelve Traditions (and if I'm concerned about my anonymity when sharing it with a close non-A.A. friend, I can ask that they keep the information confidential.)

RE: Funny Bone Anonymity

Quote" I was perturbed but with a dose of wit I calmly replied "No mam, if I drink I'll just start acting like you."

Maybe that's why you are here too !

Joined: 2011-07-13
meeting shares

we need to keep our recovery focused. Our sponsors are who we share our deep fears and insecurities with...during our shares at the meetings we need to try to share in a general way "what happened, what it was like and what it is like now" in regards to the topic or where ever we are that day. We should not be going into detailed rants about what has happened to us (how tough the world is on us, how nobody understands)


Asked a person in A.A who has already been here for a while WHY they still have a sponsor? they replied, "Because they have to take my call, when no one else will.

I could not help to think who is the sicker one between the two?

If I do not share with my sponsor!

If I do not share with my sponsor. If I stay away from meetings. If I isolate myself. Then I am going to get a lot of very bad advice!

Where else?

Where else can you find a group of people that cheers one on as the make it safely out of a burning building they burnt down?

Restless, Irritable, Discontent . . .

I believe a circuit speaker of great influence spoke of being "restless, irritable and discontent", and thus, people throughout the country have been repeating this phrase over and over again. However, sad to say, the folks that repeat this are using two adjectives and a noun. They should be saying "restless, irritable and discontented."

A nit, yes. Suggests however that the very same people haven't read "The Doctor's Opinion" in a while.

Restless, Irritable, Discontent

My friend, I am discontent with your suggestion. If someone were to to ask me "are you content?" I would not reply "I am contented" I would reply "I am content" as in to remain here, or there. Discontent is the antonym of "content, or state of satisfaction." An adjective also per M.W.Dictionary. You are saying "content" as in make up or ingredient or what may be contained therein such as in a book. That would be a noun. There is no "Discontent" as a noun only another adjective or verb- Empty! Folks seem to be knowing in their usage. ? (Not an English teacher)

Restless,Irritable, Discontent

Gee, I have never heard anyone try to be politically correct at a meeting or point out a mistake. I just assumed that you couldn't say anything wrong in a meeting.

Guess it is no the same in every "room".

My Character Defects can be Assets

I may be suicidal but at least I procrastinate!

Heard the Blue Springs Group, Missouri

My Character Defects can be Assets

Good for you, an impressive "defect"! Just curious, does it relate to "dying as I burn"? If so I know the feeling well and have to say thank god I procrastinate too!

Heard at a meeting

Friend,please tell me what you are thinking! You do not have a GLASS HEAD so I cannot read your thoughts!

heard at meetings

A young lady told this story at a meeting here. She visited a different country. She saw a sign "Friends of Bill Wilson meet here!"

She entered. She sat down. She was alone. 10 minutes later a young man came in and introduced himself to her. He sat down and they began to talk.

No one else came so he said, "What do we do now?" She was surprised and told him that it was a meeting of AA. He said, "I am not an alcoholic. I was curious when I read the sign outside and I came in to see Bill Wilson, shake his hand and meet some of his friends!"

That is a true story!

Joined: 2011-10-14
Too many years and not enough days

Folks with more than 20 years of sobriety are dropping like flies where I live. One of these people who relapsed after long-time sobriety came back to the fellowship (thankfully) and described himself as having "too many years and not enough days."

Joined: 2012-01-03
too many years and not enough days

Wow! I can relate to that. I had almost 8 years when I thought I knew it all, quit going to mtgs and calling people and in not too long a time, I ended up drunk. It took me several years to find the program and sobriety again. I am gratefully sober now 16 yrs and am reminded constantly that I must take it One Day at a Time.

Joined: 2011-05-21
Heard at Meetings

I say remember what you heard, forget who said it. When my sponsor told me stories about things that happened at a meeting it was always the same 3 people. Jane, John, and Ann that had done these items.

I just could not wait to meet these three! One day I finally asked their last names. Jane Doe, John Doe, and Ann O Nymous the irish drunk.

It was important for me to learn the lesson as I did not have the time to commit all the mistakes! Watch the others he said quite often. But always remember or you will make the same mistakes yourself, and that probably will not lead to a contented, useful sobriety.


When I got here, I was not a vision for you.


Principles do not apply THEMSELVES!

I was not a vision for you.

An excellent one liner. I will share that with my AA friends! Thanks a million friend!


I'm new to aa and this site,
Help me wrap my head around this.
I understand that its not ok to share things heard at meetings. "...whatever is said here, stays here,...here-here" Right? No?
Some one needs to set me straight. haha
No but really, seriously.
I dont get it. Why are we sharing?
Who decides what the exceptions are?
I f someone reads a post that was in attendance at the meeting post being shared in positive light or otherwise, it may attract local attention other A.A.s etc. coments replys to post.
The ramifications ya know? Coulod be ugly, even if our intentions were good!
The risk of precious sobriety being lost here?
NEVER worth risking!
Im falling in love with aa collectivly and well, already said too much.Im rabbling.
This post is prob too risky. In fact thinking bout it is the perfect example of what Im trying to understand/explane/share/say. Knowing there will be replys to this post with opinions.I ask to please try to kind.Honest, even firm, but.....any way....lol
Should we share what was said im a meeting outside of meetings or not?
Please keep it in the spirit of how intended.
If i have offended or exhausted a brain or two,i apologize.Certainly is not ever my intent.
Let me know if poss,
A friend of Bills North oregon coast

About anonymity...

Thanks for your post!

We share our most personal feelings and experiences at meetings. If you learn something from my sharing, it's not a problem to pass on what you have learned, but, with no names attached! I will protect your anonymity, and expect you to protect mine. I have a couple of cautions to add to that, however...

An AA meeting is a public place, and I have suggested to some AA friends that only their sponsors should know their most dangerous secrets. The self-confessed bank robber should probably accomplish her amends without going to prison.

On the other hand, if you tell me that you are seriously planning to hurt someone, or that you have certain knowledge of child abuse, I will be talking with *my* sponsor about calling in the authorities, in a heart beat. Those confessions are not privileged communications, in AA, or in any profession.

Best wishes to all of you!

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