Heard At Meetings
This was read at the beginning of a Big Book Study:
Searching for Humility in a Big Book Study
401 AA Group – Saint Joseph, Missouri
April 4, 2013
We come together every Thursday at 5:30 for a Big Book Study. There is a reason we do this study. There are people who are called Big Book Thumpers. The term is often used in a derogatory manner, suggesting that the Big Book Thumper is a rigid person who only accepts their interpretation of the Big Book. Most of us know someone like that. Our purpose in this Big Book Study is to read a couple of pages from the Big Book and to collectively search for the wisdom. We are here to hear what others think. Our purpose is not to convince others that our interpretation is the only true interpretation – our purpose is to learn from others.
I ask myself, are we communicating and learning – or are we just taking turns talking. We have an opportunity to learn, to understand, to grow in the program of Alcoholics Anonymous. The authority of AA does not rest in the wisdom of a few old timers – the authority of AA rests in the Big Book. We hear people say, “I once heard an old-timer say…” as if that qualification makes the statement an absolute truth. We sometimes hear people say, “I have 20 years sober and I say…” as if their sober time affirms their wisdom. Sometimes we hear people say, “Well, I was always told…” as if having been told something makes it wise and true. People with many years of recovery possess their own unique wisdom – but the true wisdom is collective – it is the voice of many, not of one. The wisdom and authority of AA resides in the Big Book.
Each of us comes to this table with a bias. Each of us has a preconceived idea about what the central message of AA really is. That bias, or preconceived idea, is the wall that prevents more learning. We cannot learn and grow if we listen only for the words that affirm what we already know. The purpose of a Big Book Study is to put aside our own ideas and to listen closely to others.
Every time we read this book together something new is revealed – but only if we are open to listening and learning. We only learn from others when others share their insight into the reading. There is an old adage: When you know you know that is when you don’t know.” We have learned to laugh again, but AA is a serious program for serious people. None of us is here to show off our wisdom – we are here to remain humble as we search for the true wisdom of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Remember, God liked his first AA Meeting so much He has not missed one since.
Great sharing from you on this topic. I go to a Big Book Study here in Glasgow in Rose St. every Saturday morning at 10.00 am.
We go from page one until the end of a VISION FOR YOU. We study and share on one or two paragraphs at the time.
It is an excellent study group for me.
Good luck to you all.
thank you. i am sober 42 years. i need to hear what you said--so i can learn to listen again and lose my big shotism.
I heard that the English word HUMILITY is from the Latin word HUMUS, which means the GROUND!!!
I believe that God is present at every meeting, He
sits at the head table. I don't have to point to Him and
say: That One is God! May you find Him NOW. Let God be God
and do His own work in His own way. He is worthy and capable. ANONYMOUS
"I believe that God is present at every meeting"
why wouldn’t he be, if he is everything or nothing? He does not want to miss out on a laugh !!
Good message beginning to end. Thanks. Been sober since my second meeting at the 401 in 1979. Sounds like good stuff going on there still. Think I'll tread across those parquet floors again soon.
Bill W. was a gifted man. He was the author of the Big
Book. I consider the third edition of the Big Book the
second greatest story ever told. If Bill was given the
wisdom to write such a book, why do we ignore his other
books and writings? He wrote the Big Book at five years
sober. Collectively all of Bill's material offers us a
way to get sober and stay sober, and to transfer this
"way" to all alcoholics who need and want it. After
writing the Big Book, Bill spent the rest of his life
developing that "way". Half measures avail us nothing.
If we continue to ignore Bill's later writings and
warnings, we will kill the goose that laid the golden egg. Why focus entirely on the Big Book and
ignore the rest of the message? In future writings
Bill explains and simplifies many of his previous writings.
I continue to learn. Just this morning I read in concept XI
about the importance of electing qualified leaders. I
believe that too much of our fellowship/program has been
turned over to the white chippers. I do not fault the
newer members. We are all to blame for our failure.
I have heard that as long as there is doubt or a chance
of being wrong, I will always be conflicted. When I am
100 % certain that I know what I know to be correct, then
I can find peace. I have heard that it can also be a sign
of insanity. I write what I believe to be the truth, the
whole truth and nothing but the truth. ANONYMOUS
The name of the website, is: "AAGRAPEVINE: The International Journal of Alcoholics Anonymous." The title of this page from the website, is: "Heard in Meetings."
I got on the site today looking for some topic ideas to use in upcoming meetings. To my dismay, I found heated debates and arguments similar in format to what is seen on Facebook. I'm not angry, hurt or disgusted; I'm greatly disappointed and concerned. Did any of you accomplish anything? Mature and healthy discussions about opinions would be understandable, but destructive, selfish, judgmental, and finger pointing agendas are dangerous and ineffective.
What if I were a newcomer wanting to locate reading material or learn about the "Grapevine" and found these "discussions?"
For my initial search, I'm certain I will receive better information from my HP and from tonight's meeting.
Step One: Since I am powerless and my life has become unmanageable doesn't it make since that I need a manager with power? Suggestion: Read pagers 60-63 in AA "Big Book" from standpoint of "this is how I live my life without Alcohol and without the 12-Step program of recovery.
And our visitor's inventory taking is different, how?
At a meeting recently a non-member non-alcoholic stood up to make a statement at an open AA meeting. The moderator shared that only members are allowed to speak at our meetings but we were glad she was there and he would be happy to visit with her after the meeting. Some of the members booed him. I was appalled. It was my understanding that only members were allowed to speak at meetings: open or closed. Is there any written information on this?
Our literature suggests that AA members should have an opportunity to speak before any non-members a provided time to speak. Each group (4th trad.) decides how they want to handle their meetings (2nd trad.)
What can a non-alcoholic know about staying sober? For years non-alcoholics told me all I had to do was quit drinking. They had no idea of the obsession, and the craving for more after the fist was totally beyond their understanding.
Bill W. got through to Dr. Bob because they both spoke the same language. That's what has made AA successful over the years--as an oldtimer often said, in AA we don't tell, we share.
Yes there is. The pamphlet "The AA Group" and traditions 2, 4, 12.
A old timer with 55 years came up to me after the meeting and says"I loveyou and god does fo. I sooneeded to hear that and stilli play that tapeback in my head during a bad day.
I love old chips.My old friend and sponsor Jack had a bag full of them when he Passed away. His beautiful wife gave them to me and I have hung on to one to remember him, and given the rest to different meetings to pass out.I think Jack would have liked that. k.
Who would have thought that something as trivial as a length of sobriety chip, could cause so many resentments. Petty self absorbed posturing only distracts us from our primary purpose which may I remind you all is to carry the message to the alcoholic who still suffers.
Also We're did chips come from?
Because it blows our: One day @ a time..
Sister Ignasious..at the Towns hospital..worked dilligently with alcoholics..I could be wrong about the hospital but it was with Dr.Bob...when an alcoholic was discharged,she gave them a coin to return to her if they felt the need to drink.
I have been sober for 1 year..2 months..personally I looked forward to getting a monthly chip..I was told it helps a newcomer see some HOPE..and others with more sobriety said it helps them to remember early sobriety..it helps to see who to have a hand out to.
the last few months..people knew me..they were happy for me.
I felt uncomfortable being the center of attention when I celebrated my 1st anniversary. I was told it is a celebration for AA.. It is a way to show gratitude for the fellowship
See "I AM not very much" but "I AM always on my mind"
I quit playing God by resigning my divinity and joining the human race!!!
The Door to AA swings both ways!!
you know, it's not what you don't know that will kill you in AA. It's what you know for sure, that just isn't so!
Many people don't like to see people celebrate lengths of sobriety simply because it reminds them that they never seem to acquire any length of sobriety.
For those who resent any observance of anniversaries:
Founders Day in Akron every June;
Bill W.'s annual birthday dinner held until he died;
This, from AA history Lovers "Original message from xxxxxxxxx
It was recently reported at the Old Timers Panel during the Kentucky State Convention that the years sobriety will be bumped to 50 to be selected to speak at the Atlanta AA International. Our delegate confirmed that it has been "board approved."
ADO10416; None of these things have anything to do with
making a spectacle of a newcomer, or allowing a newcomer
to make a spectacle of him/herself. How can we best help
the suffering alcoholic approaching us? Because I was
allowed to just blend in as an equal, I believe it to
be the best way. It worked for me. And I believe that
EGO deflation at great depth is necessary for recovery.
Telling a newcomer she/he is the most important person
in the room is hardly deflating. We all know that the
new person is the most important person in the room (besides me). But it is harmful to tell that to the newcomer. Think about it. And get that membership
numbers info from GSO, please. ANONYMOUS
"Many people don't like to see people celebrate lengths of sobriety simply because it reminds them that they never seem to acquire any length of sobriety.
I don't congratulate people for staying sober X amount of time. At the beginning of every meeting I hear "Probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism and God could and would if sought" so I don't congratulate the person marking time. If I'm put on the spot to say something about someones anniversary, I sometimes look up and congratulate their Higher Power for keeping them sober. Otherwise I thank them sincerely for joining us. Also, because of the progression of recovery a person has done more in staying sober his 30th day than his 30th year. Chairs are full of people counting time instead of making time count. Story after story after story in the Big Book or from the podium tell us that sobriety does not cause more sobriety. Only a program of recovery causes more sobriety.
Enjoying the gift of sobriety since 1979 if it matters to anybody and still haven't been awarded a PHD in being un-drunken.
Every day a gent out for his walk passed an empty lot that was overgrown with weeds and full trash. One day he decided to take a plastic bag with him and pick up some of the trash. Then he brought his wheelbarrow for the tires and other heave junk Soon he had the place clean and began cleaning out the weeds and planting shrubs and flowers. By mid summer he had turned an eyesore into a small park. One day a minister passed by while he was working and said, "Sir, you and God have surely transformed this patch of ground. The old gent replied, yep, but you should have seen it when God was doing it by Himself."
Of course I couldn't have gotten sober without a Higher Power. But until I did a lot of work He couldn't help me, either.
In my forty+ years of sobriety I've seen many who stay sober without doing anything but sit in meetings and complain about chips, prayers, readings, etc. etc. etc. to all who will listen.
Jim: Have you really seen many sit in meetings and complain
about chips, prayers, readings, etc. etc. etc? I don't ever
recall hearing those complaints at meetings I attend. And I go to a meeting almost every day.
I am convinced that members who are bothered by these
things do not return. If our fellowship is not attractive
to them, they do not and will not stay. If they are court
ordered they will serve their time. There are some who
will choose prison time over reading and praying with
us. Pray on your own time in a place of worship or a
place of your own choice. An A.A. meeting is not the
place to pray. We are a fellowship, not a prayer group.
Do we still agree that chanting is stupid and must be
eliminated? Do you agree that the alcoholic and addict
fellowships must be separated? Do you ever hear these things discussed at meetings? Are you still able to get
out to meetings? ANONYMOUS
Only in A.A can you find people to clap and cheer one on for surviving and making it out of a burning building that they themselves burnt down !!!!!!
We stop being a drain on society by changing our behavior,
and expect praise and applause for doing so. We have lost
all humility. ANONYMOUS
A drunk on the street asks a fellow for $10 'til payday. He responded "When's payday?" Then the drunk says " I don't know, you're the one who's working."
Brilliant story--- the alcoholic knew which of the 2 were working!
...MOVE A MUSCLE...CHANGE A MOOD!!!
Finally, a funny submission!
A drunk was brought before the Judge, who said "You've been brought before me for drinking." "Okay, says the drunk, let's get started."
A couple was sitting at a table at his High School reunion. He kept staring at a drunken lady sitting at a nearby table. His wife asks "Do you know her?" Yes, he replied, she was my old girlfriend and she took up drinking right after we broke up and hasn't been sober since. "My God" says the wife, "Who would think that a person could go on celebrating that long."
Just a suggestion....the personal story in the Big Book called, "A Drunk Like You" talks about a man and his experience with sobriety, the Steps and a "token" in his pocket. I like it, you might as well. Mary Anne B.
Showing is better than telling any day yet superstition works well also ask any sponsor rather than ?
If you work the steps off the wall, you have an off the wall program!
Meeting this week. Guy with 4 months of sobriety.
"I was going out the door this morning to have a smoke. Two guys were coming in. One lived at the Sally (Salvation Army) and the other was homeless." ....
How many of us would feel sorry for ourselves and say "I'm homeless AND living at the Salvation Army".
Alcohol has taken a great deal from my friend but but he wasn't homeless. He has a home that is safe, clean, warm and alcohol free and he's grateful for it. I hope some of his attitude rubs off on me. At only 33 years, I need more of what he has.
"I hope you've enjoyed listening, as much as I've enjoyed talking".
Heard at a meeting:
AA is like a box of diapers. It covers bottoms, high or low (with huggies, pampers, pull-ups, and luvs).
A 4th year chip was given to a member today who said that if he wasn't an alcoholic he would be drinking today!
Sobriety chips are not A.A. they are made by outside enterprises. I don't think sobriety chips should be handed out in A.A. meetings. I have seen bulk orders available the internet from treatment centers. A.A. is not fellowship for treatment centers to make money, it is a fellowship for alcoholics. If people want sobriety chips they can get them from the outside enterprises that sell them. "Every A.A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions." (Tradition Seven) Sobriety chips are outside contributions which profit nobody but the outside enterprises that make them. I don't think sobriety chips keep alcoholics sober. "An A.A. group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the A.A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise lest problems of money, property, and prestige divert us from our primary purpose." (Tradition Six)I think A.A. is being diverted from its primary purpose by outside enterprises and their interference in our affairs.
Fascinating rationalization here. With this thinking meetings should never serve coffee. My group advertises for national branded coffee by having the can next to the coffee maker. And more dastardly we give home group members a coffee cup once attending for a full year. By the way - who is being endorsed, financed or branding the AA name for their profit and prestige? I think it is you who has diverted from tradition 5.