Heard At Meetings
I've heard it said and I believe it to be true, "AA is like an all-purpose wrench, it adjusts to fit every nut that walks in the doors.
I can't say that I'm perfect at welcoming newcomers 100% of the time. Step 6 asks me to ask God for the willingness to let go of my self-centeredness (which I label as "objectionable"), and I usually remember to ask God for help; but as I already pointed out, I am not perfect yet. I still have character defects that get in the way of my usefulness to my Creator and my fellows.
At times when I'm more spiritually fit I do what my sponsor suggests (she has 35 years of sobriety and I only have 15 yrs, so I listen) and that is to "be the change that I want to see in others".
One of the other things my sponsor points out as the way to be most effective at being the change I want to see, is by following the instructions on page 18&19 of the Big Book:
"But the ex-problem drinker who has found this solution, who is properly armed with facts about himself, can generally win the entire confidence of another alcoholic in a few hours (sometimes within the time frame of a meeting)...That the man making the approach has had the same difficulty, that he obviously knows what he is talking about, that his whole deportment shouts at the new prospect that he is a man with a real answer, that he has no attitude of Holier Than Thou, nothing whatever except the sincere desire to be helpful; that there are no...people to please, no axes to grind, no lectures to be endured--these are the conditions we have found most effective."
If I had been "welcomed", I'm not sure I would have stayed. I came five minutes late and left 5 minutes early (so I didn't have to talk to anyone). My sponsor came with me to one of my regular meetings to make sure I took a 6 month chip! Up to that point I had not raised my hand as a newcomer, I did not take a 30 day chip nor any of the others. I got to know other AA women and had 3 close AA buddies and they did all my talking at meetings for me! It was great!
I must say though that taking that 6 month chip and sharing briefly (I thanked God, I thanked my sponsor and I thanked AA) was the beginning of my emotional sobriety.
I believe we get what we need in the rooms of AA, maybe not what we want and I trust that my HP can and is holding the newcomer in the palm of His hand, just like I was held, though I didn't know it at the time. I do my best to be sensitive to the needs of others and I find that many times my HP uses me in spite of myself and my shortcomings; so as warped as I am, I still try to be the change I want to see in others.
I go to a large meeting on the west side of Los Angeles and part of our format is to ask newcomers to raise their hands. This is not to embarrass you but so that we may get to know you and give you our phone numbers. At the coffee break I make it a point to introduce myself to these newcomers. I was able to get one enthusiastic sponsee that way and we are going through the book together one on one. So by being welcoming to the newcomer, I am helping myself more than I am helping the newcomer. If I don't freely give away what was given to me I will surely go out again.
This was one of the reasons I DIDN'T STAY in the rooms of AA! I was scared to death when I went to my 1st meeting. I wanted to be sober. Detoxed at a local Rehab. Got into IOP as suggested. Went to 3 meetings a week as suggested. got a Home Group, 2 as a matter of fact. The WOMAN'S meeting was where I thought I get the most support, WRONG! I faithly arrived at 6:00pm for a 7:00pm meeting. I helped the Sec. set-up and did WHATEVER needed to be done. I could not talk much, I hoped that since I was the newbe, she would strick up a conversation at some point, NOPE! I was TOO AFRAID to say I was afraid. I didn't dare share with my sponsor my FEAR. Here I am, look like a woman, dress like a woman, act like a woman. REALLY what I was, was a LITTLE GIRL in a woman's body. Arrival at EVERY meeting, the DOORS were HUGH and frightening, then having to walk up to them and open them (not knowing what and who was on the other side), ABSOLUTELY TERRIFIED! Having to go up to a STRANGER and introduce myself - OMG! Rarely, if at all did anyone approach me. I went there KNOWING I wa different and the LACK OF ACTION, by the longtimes proved to me that I was different and didn't belong there. But I kept going, staying fearful the entire time and never sharing with anyone MY FEAR! Not IOP, not sponsor or even my therapist. I was (I felt) expected to be a BIG GIRL. This lasted all of 15 mos. then I was GONE. Went to a discussion meeting on a Friday night and of the the same question was asked, "does anyone have a sobriety threatening issue", I was too afraid to speak up. It was then I realized that,(my opinion) I WASN'T GOOD ENOUGH. When the meeting was over, I went directly to the store and bought my beer. Then became a bigger nightmare. In and out of the rooms for the next 3 years. God BLESSED me with a window of opportunity (woke up one morning and no cravings, no withdrawls, so no need to drink! I, went back for the forth time with very little fear. Was I BLESSED? Absolutely! Am I HUMBLE? Absolutely! GREATFUL, indeed. After 2 and 1/2 years, an AWESOME CONSCIENCE WITH MY HIGHER POWER, a WONDERFUL SPONSOR as well as my THERAPIST and a TOTAL BLIEF that GOD & JESUS BLESSED me with sobriety (1 day at a time). Do I go out of my way to WELCOME THE NEWCOMER - ALWAYS, at any meeting I go to, even if it's my 1st time there. NEWCOMERS, PLEASE "Keep Coming Back", find your higher power, now that you are POWERLESS over any mind altering substance. Trust me, when you once find your HIGHER POWER, you will NEVER BE ALONE & YOU WILL ALWAYS BE LOVED! Bless You.......
As I started reading your chat, I thought you were speaking about me (yes, my ego is still that strong!). It happened and still happens that I am that women, not feeling welcome, but I feel AA is so rich, sometimes I tell myself: oh well, «there is always litterature» and I hope for the best. Fortunatly for me I had wonderfull sponsors (one men and one women) and a group that help me «stick» to the program on my first days.
This phrase heard at a meeting helped me through rough «cold AA rooms» time:
-The real grace is not to arrive at AA it is to stay in AA.
I feel it is always up to me to introduce myself. No not like in freakishly weird demnted way; But in as genuinly and kind a way as possible. I am not the friendliest person normally. My social skills lack sorely most of the time and after a polite hello I am Monica; I am ready to move on. I attempt to introduce folks around the rooms to the other folks and pull the other long timers off of the texting and reading and what have you. I am surely no champion at it but I try . I keep in mind that the groups I attend are no hotbed of mental health and that we all forget that getting out of ourselves is the very thing that saves us.
I was recently reminded of something my sponsor said to me when I first got sober in Massachusetts. He apparently saw me talking to someone who, well, really wasn't serious about sobriety—or perhaps had other things on their mind... if you catch my drift.
So at the first opportunity, he pulled me aside and said, "You know, sometimes I might walk up to you and say, 'Oh, I see you've met so-and-so. They're one of those Summer People!' That," he continued, "will be your clue to end the conversation nicely, and stay away from them, because Summer Sicker Than Others!"
LOL. My sponsees still get the same advice, although I don't have to use it very often.
Funny what we can learn from Summer People!
One summer I was vacationing in Massachussets. We went to a local meeting populated by about 3 other people. I made some sort of comment about how small the meeting was. The reply came that they were glad that we were there, because it was just the three of them for most of the year, and they could get bored of hearing each others' stories repeatedly. My point is the responsibility declaration.
How lucky i am to live in Southern California where there are so many meetings and so many events in AA
We welcome all,I was welcomed way before I was serious,thank God & not you or your misguided sponsor.
If I don't take A drink.......
I won't get drunk.
If I don't get drunk,
Things WILL get better.....
I've had too many bad things happen during sobriety to think it's this simple. Drinking or not drinking, life happens. Not taking a drink doesn't necessarily make everything better, but I know taking that drink WILL make things worse.
"If I don't get drunk,
Things WILL get better....."
Really? I suppose the one who said that never heard of a dry drunk.
While in the Navy I was told many times, 'S., if you'd quit drinking you'd be a h... of a good guy."
Whenever the ship left port I quit drinking, but never became a good guy.
I hear this enthusiastic and uplifting comment most often at discussion meetings, where folks say what is on their minds -- and feel comfortable and safe sharing real feelings and happenings in their lives, honestly. When folks are "being real" together, feeling the support of fellowship, and are linked by a common desire to get sober, stay sober, and help others--What could be better? When someone shares honestly, others share honestly. How was your day today? How do the 12 Steps and how does the AA Big Book (and maybe: How does your personal contact with a higher power)in particular help you on this path to be the best person you can be, and lead you to take good action? Answering even a part of this -- with hopes of extending a helping hand to another human being -- THAT is truly awesome. I am grateful.
I love to go to the kind of meeting you describe. It's awesome! :)
Where ever your feet are thats where the rest of you is as well. Next time you are at a meeting look down at your feet. It will be nice to see that they are right where they belong!
The only problem with drinking is that drinking causes problems!
Prey! The lord may not give you what you want. But he will always give what you need. Wheather you like it or not.
The problem with instant gratification is that it takes so God Damned Long!
Whatch that first step....Its a doosey!
Funny how people who say they don't believe in God always have to explain to you why.
My Sponsor go look around the GOD, it say Group Of Drunk finally I found GOD in AA that where I belong. Olav
New God in A.A. the outside sponorship system
I dont believe in god and I dont feel the need to explain why I dont
That is the amazing part of AA, you don't have to explain. I do believe in God and don't have to explain why. It's a beautiful thing.
As a believer, I must say that you do not have to believe in anything. The freedom we enjoy in A. A. has allowed many of us to be led to a god of some kind, but never forced. M.
God lives inside the souls of people who are unaware of his presence.
He also lives inside the souls of people that ARE AWARE of his presence.
God lives in the people who acknowledge his presence by following his shown path...
Only if the outside sponsorship system does not try to claim his miracle of a free gift- Only but for the grace of God I would be a sponsor to somebody ALREADY HERE !!! Take a closer look
What is this "outside sponsorship system"? What does this mean?
What is this "outside sponsorship system"? What does this mean?
Think before you take that first drink
Think where it can take you, AND
Thank God you didn't
To you who doesn't believe in God, from personal experience I know God is and will and can cange people from the inside. My own spiritual experience proved to me without a doubt that God exists.There will come a time in your life when self fails so badly you will seek a power greater than yourself and I don't mean drugs or drink. Just stay sober and work the steps to the best of your ability and keep an open mind that there just may be a God who cares for you.
Hello to you all! I'm delighted to have joined this forum and am looking forward to contributing.
My interests are wide and varied but I reckon my real passion is for music. I love a wide variety such as
Faithless, The Smiths, Enigma, The Cure & The Mission.
I'm always on the lookout for new places to download new music and the best place I have come across is
Iomoio. Their music is only 15 cents a track so you can save a real fortune. And it's legal!
Anyway, looking to make more posts soon.....
The 12 steps are not mandatory. You can stay sick, silly, shitty and stupid as long as you want. There is only one fine line between myself and God. That is my ego. I taught it everything it tells me.
Take your hands off the wheel, foot off the accelerator and let God drive, You will arrive where you began, safe and protected wherever you go.
Egotistical maniacs with inferiority complexes cannot let go and let God or even come close to abandoning themselves to him that's why they cling to mommy or daddy's that many labeled THEIR SPONSOR. Take a closer look
How many alcoholics have you killed with this statement. In early AA, you had to WORK THE STEPS, THE PROGRAM. If you did not want to do the program, you were asked to leave. They said, "We can't help you."
AA has gone from a program of saving lives to a program of not drinking, and it's statements like "The 12 Steps are not mandatory . . . " that are killing alcoholics.
The program is NOT don't drink & go to meetings. There is "a" solution, and it's in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.
I have not in my time of being at meetings have said "we can't help you or asked anyone to leave. I was told if I didn't get a sponsor and work the steps to the best of my ability, that I may as well go out to finish the job. These words got me a sponsor and working the steps. Nobody kills alcoholics, as far as I'm concerned. Some people do not have the capacity to be honest they hold on to their deepest darkest secrets.
There you are! I wondered where you were. I was concerned that you were lost in the transition to the new I-SAY FORUM.
It took me a few weeks to find it. If AA had continued to
grow at an acceptable rate, the rate of the first 57 years,
we would have eight million members in AA today. Most members know that today our membership is estimated at
two million. Where are the other six million? Most are
still sick and suffering. Many have died because we have
failed them. Have we failed them by telling them that the 12
steps are not mandatory? I really don't think so, in fact
I believe just the opposite. They have approached us in
desperation looking for help and we have shoved the 12
steps at them as the answer. The problem is not the 12
steps; It is the shoving. The demands are just overwhelming.
Get a sponsor, 90 in 90, find God and find Him now. Hold
hands with us while we pray. You are correct. Alcoholics
all around us are dying unnecessarily. We are all to blame:
Those who have changed Alcoholics Anonymous from a fellowship (lower case f) of men and women, to a twelve step
PROGRAM (only one of many). Those of us who stood by
silently, allowing personalities to overtake principles are
equally to blame.
The solution seems to be a secret. What really works is
one sober alcoholic telling other alcoholics exactly how
he/she got sober, without demanding, or even asking for anything in return. We are not to offer any advice or directions. We only share our own experience.
I suspect that many of us have such deep religious
convictions that the phrase "GO EASY ON THE GOD STUFF"
is offensive. The gospel churches that I have attended
seem to say You must find God and find Him today. The
alcoholic just needs a little more time and love or
suffering, whatever she/he chooses.
Alcoholics Anonymous is failing many alcoholics and
their families. Everyone seems to know that except our
prideful members. What do you think is wrong? I have
studied the history and sincerely believe I found the
answers, beginning with the "cart before the horse",
idea offered to Bill in the spring of 1935. The grave
mistakes we have made at the group level in the past three decades are covered in the I-SAY FORUM. ANONYMOUS
Thank you Bob H
Our early sober members spent many days and nights to
convince the early group members to lable the steps as
suggestive. They wanted the door left wide open for any
alcoholic with a desire to get well. To lable any member
as sick, silly, shitty, and stupid is harmful and drives
suffering alcoholics from our rooms. You can take both
hands off the wheel and applaud yourself, if your purpose
is to destroy our fellowship. ANONYMOUS
"you can do it now or you can do it later, but sooner or later you will do it" An old timer told me that.
Hello Very funny post...
Did you ask your sponsor if you can think? Talk about weird
It's Not who's right
It's NOT WHO'S WRONG
IT'S WHO'S LEFT - your ego or the spirit of A.A.
What is this? I met someone and am marrying him. For over a year & a half my life has been connected, healthy & sober, but I keep being told rumours that 13 Stepping is basically breaking the AA law. I have read all literature that I can find, and there is nothing that opposes this. Apart from 'unwanted romantic advances' in the traditions checklist. I understand there are predators and vulnerable people out there, and this fortunately does not apply to me. I am being ostracised, and while it doesn't affect my sobriety, it affects those who were very friendly and excited for us and were coming to the wedding and have now decided not to, and refuse to give an explanation. How would you deal with this. It seems so sad and wrong.... perhpas we will find out more in time....
Confused yet hopefull
Only a sponsor would bring up their own reality - Principles before personalities - Personality is simply a sponsors reality who love to use fear calling it helping you!!!!
Trust in God and Clean house and you'll be OK with or without
Read a Vision for you in the Big Book. It does mention people find love or marriage in the rooms.God of your understanding and your will in his care. If you found love in the rooms and your honest in your motives good for you!
There is a reference. Look up "boy meets girl on AA campus.". Sober people refer to "bar behavior". Why are u at meetings? Check your motives. Keep the focus on yourself is an AlAnon phrase, useful in their recovery and ours. You want a deep, fulfilling relationship? Find the right sponsor (do they have what u want? For starters...).
Did you ever notice? Those who keep repeating Women stick with the women and men stick with the men are the same
members whose mates are in the program. But on the other hand maybe they are trying to give us advice from their
own experience. I have seen several relationships and
marriages between members go sour. I believe Bill W.
left us some good advice in the big book about this
kind of question. Easy does it. Take your time. ANONYMOUS
First, I want to wish you congratulations on your impending wedding. You have found someone you want to spend the rest of your life with, and that is fantastic!
As to relationships when fairly newly sober, there are of course no rules in AA. However, sometimes when we are fairly new to sobriety, our judgment may not always be the best -- just a lot going on in the head and it can be difficult to have clear perspective. Not sure how long your fiance has been sober -- I'm sure the two of you have talked about how your marriage and your sobriety will fit together. If you have also discussed things with your sponsor and other trusted friends in AA and prayed and meditated about it (preferably not just once but for a period of time) and your fiance has done the same, and you both still feel this is the right decision for you, then in my opinion there is no reason to hold back. (If on the other hand you have not done these things, then those are suggestions you might want to consider.)
As to others in the program who may criticize your decision, if there are among them those you love and respect, I would suggest you ask their opinion and take the time to talk with them about it in a private setting. My feeling is that if they are truly worried about your welfare and your prospects for a long term relationship, they will offer their honest opinion in a loving way, and in the end they will still love you and support your decision, whatever that happens to be. I think friends support friends even when they think their friend is making a mistake. If they act otherwise (not willing to talk, overly critical, thinking they know better and expressing that in a negative fashion, etc.), then it indicates something about the lack of depth of their friendship.
Whatever you end up doing, I wish you all the best! And sobriety no matter what.
Cheers / Love.
You go to AA because you're f'd up, why would you bother with a relationship if you can't bother to fix yourself first? Or the people you've hurt, money you owe, etc. You should go to AA to get SOBER, build relationships with people to stay sober by talking.....not dating. 13 Stepping seems to be another denial of fake sobriety so you don't have to do the work yourself. But what do I know, I'm still trying to stand up......
ps - I will add this to my lists of amends, I am full of self loathing and self pity.
Read page 119 in the 12&12.
You will find your solution there.
"The prospective partners need to be solid A.A.'s and long enough acquainted to know that their compatibility at spiritual, mental, and emotional levels is a fact and not wishful thinking. They need to be as sure as possible that no deep-lying emotional handicap in either will be likely to rise up under later pressures to cripple them."
When I put relationships (or anything else) over sobriety, I am setting myself up for rejection and will eventually lead to relapse. My sobriety comes first.
Talk to your sponsor and/or do a 4th Step on it.
Heard at a meeting, several years ago:
"If you're new...there's good news, and there's bad news.
The good news is, there's hope. The bad news is, we're it!"
Submitted by - The Original Earthmom
Heard today at a meeting:
One woman shared that she had recently read on someone's Facebook page a different take on this slogan: "LET GO OR BE......DRAGGED!".
Many times that's how it is. I was dragged to my first AA meeting and many times it takes the pain to finally let go of people, places and situations.
Alcoholics don't let go of nothing - Their hands just give out!