Magazine Discussion Topic
Each issue of the Grapevine magazine includes a suggested discussion topic. Please share your thoughts here.
The new issue looks great! And I love the link to AAGV's 70th Anniversary. Thank you
The writer thought signing court slips offended the 6th tradition by endorsing the AA name to an outside enterprise. That this practice erodes the AA's " essential structure." I disagree. We are not giving an endorsement saying these members should be judged one way or the other by signing their sheets. What we are doing is saying they were here, at this meeting, period. The show of support we give to the members themselves by doing this may be the only positive recognition they get for coming and may bring them back. Aren't we required to reach out the hand of AA whenever we are called upon to further the sick one's recovery? In this day & age, we should be overjoyed they are reaching out & give them the non judgemental hand of AA support. Signing court sheets is a very personal way to do that & maybe the only chance we get.
Sincerely, Sue B. GR,MI
I have signed many attendance slips, and would continue
to do so for those attending meetings with me. But I really
do not think it is a good practice. Anyone in trouble and
it is evident that alcohol may be part of the problem
ought to be offered information about Alcoholics Anonymous.
The time has come for our General Service Board of
Trustees to address this issue. The issue is that the
courts are sending criminals to our meetings. Our GSB could
simply go public with a general request to the legal
system to stop this practice. That combined with an
advisory to us that this had been done, and that we would
be advised to stop signing slips.
Bill W, often said that sometimes the good can be the
enemy of the best. He further wrote that "Sometimes the
seeming temporary good can be the deadly enemy of the Permanent best.
I think Bill added that when it come to AA, nothing but
the very best will do. ANONYMOUS
I am just going to listen.
This article, "Sophie's Cake," has come at a time when one of my recovery buddies and I have been bantering back and forth about this very topic. The wife in the article mentions that the recovering husband may have to change his clean time because he ate slices (plural) of the whisky-laced pound cake; he never says he did in fact have to pick up a white chip. So, if someone inadvertently (without knowing) eats a piece of cake laced with alcohol, takes a sip of alcohol by mistake, or without intent consumes alcohol in any other way (candy??) and immediately recognizes it (oops!!) and stops, have they lost their sober time? By contrast, if a person makes a conscious decision to drink a new alcoholic product but feels nothing from it, have they lost their sober time? On the former case, where he/she did not "intend" to drink, I say they did not lose time; in the later case, when they consciously decided to drink, I say they lost time, even though it was actually a dud and they did not get buzzed. The intent and follow up action to drink was there.
I am really happy that the topic of Crosstalk is being addressed! Just last week in a meeting I expressed concern about this very topic. When I arrived in AA (in June of 1984) I was out of gas and bankrupt in all areas of my life. I was greeted with love, compassion, understanding and a helping hand. I was told - "your life will get better if you do what we did". I attended several meetings where people said the same thing time after time, some people were wandering around and some were sitting in a corner and rocking. I was gratified to see that each situation was just plain okay with the group. When I asked my sponsor when "Suzie" was going to move on to another topic, I was told that Suzie would move on when she was ready. We get what we need in AA. It was pointed out to me that we don't discuss what people say at meetings because we hear things the way we are - not necessarily the way a share was intended. Quoting others either in or outside of meetings simply was not done! People who share should be allowed to say what they need to say without comment by anyone in or outside of the meeting (except with one's sponsor). Recently I've seen some old timers relax on this area of Crosstalk to the point of disruption! It disturbs me to hear comments made about another persons share during the meeting! I believe it intimidates the newly sober people preventing them from speaking. Also - our sponsors (in the old days) were referred to as "my sponsor" - not by name. This (use of names) too is happening all too frequently for my comfort. I don't pretend to have the solution except to say that we need to examine our behavior to be sure we are carring AA's message. It is the purpose of every meeting - I believe - to practice and share how the 12 steps are working in our lives. Without the 12 steps and the sharing of our members at meetings, I would be dead today. Thank God for AA.
Each group has its way regarding keeping crosstalk in check. Where I frequently go, it's given a lot of latitude as long as it remains civil or harmonious. Needless to say if it consists of aggressive confrontation, then the group puts a stop to it. I have seen some groups that have a low threshold for crosstalk and some are relatively lenient. Either way, I'm okay with it.
If the author believed what he/she said, he would never written the article in the first place and I quote from the final paragraph, "...it is not our responsibility to try to control others in a meeting." I am not sure that is a true statement as there is a reason why we have a chairperson or secretary. However, as we, or at least I, have learned in sobriety, there are not many black and white answers to most situations.
I am writing this in response to Drug Talk from the September 2013 issue. I have been sober since June 1988 and in recovery from alcoholism. I attend a women's meeting and there are several young women from a nearby rehab for women. They mostly introduce themselves as addicts. I also attend other meetings where members identify themselves as "addict/alcoholic", "alcoholic/addict", or simply "addict." That being said, there a couple things to consider. First, recovery is recovery, whether it is from alcohol, drugs, or both. Second, the AA meeting may be their best chance at recovery "from a seemingly hopeless state of mind." I am reminded of a story that Bill W. tells in Tradition 3 in the 12X12 on page 141. Briefly, a newcomer asks for admission to a meeting and admits he "has an addiction worse stigmatized than alcohol." The members, fearful that he would bring ruin to their meeting, debate about allowing this individual to attend their meeting because "we deal with alcoholics only." In the end they decide to let him and he proves to be an upstanding member. So do we want to keep everyone out who doesn't identify themselves as alcoholic or do we want to be examples of what recovery is all about.
I came into AA in 1977, nobody in that "class" was just a drinker. But myself, I identified more with skid-row bums than with junkies, so I knew where I belonged. I believe that identification is what it's about, not necessarily history. As Janis Joplin said: "When the acid trip is over, we all get back to mother booze."
I hear members identify themselves in those different ways like, "alcoholic/addict." And some even have other unique monikers, like "My name is . . . and I'm in long term recovery." I think it's okay because eventually, they will see the beauty in just being an anonymous member. Also, where else are these addicts and "unique" named alcoholics going to go?? Remember, this is the last stop for many of us. I hear them, smile to myself, and LISTEN to what they say next.
Bill is said to have been talking about a man who was homosexual. The founders were drug users also...heavy sedative narcotics. They refer to this first on page 7 of the Big Book and again on page 22. Both Bill and Dr. Bob mention it in their stories.
one of the 7 earmarks of Alcoholism is dual addictions.
"one of the 7 earmarks of Alcoholism is dual addictions."
Several months before AA found me I was prescribed Valium to help me over the shakes. I took them, didn't care for the side effects and stopped.
In Treatment we were given Antabuse. I stopped taking it when I began the AA program.
Over the years I have been given medication for pain. Most of those medications were thrown away after I no longer needed them.
I have never felt a desire to try any of the illegal 'recreational' drugs that are so popular today.
Since you've never met me and know nothing about me except that which I've told you, please don't diagnose me as an addict.
the other addiction mentioned in the 12x12 is refering to a sexual.deviant. the sexual deviant was an alcoholic. we must remember that AA was not always for drunks. at first family members were let in and really anyone who was intetested could join. after awhile. it was found that these well meaning nonalcoholics couldn't give an alcoholic testimony from the podium or do one on one 12 step work. that's. when tradition. 1,3,&5 were developed. the alanon family groups, overeaters., and the origional narcotics anonymous were started. most of the 200 12 step. groups also use the 12 traditions. they. all have tradition 1,3,&5. our unity, one requirement, and singleness. of purpose revolve around alcohol. if you have a better idea for a new non AA fellowship, go for it. if it works we will join you. if it doesn't, we will be waiting for you as long as we adhere to our singleness. of purpose. when we try to help everyone, we help no one.
"the other addiction mentioned in the 12x12 is refering to a sexual.deviant. the sexual deviant was an alcoholic"
Can you provide any documented evidence of this besides gossip? According to the 12&12, page 142 and "Dr Bob and the Good Oldtimers", page 240, the man said he was the victim of an addiction.
below is from the GSO archives:
Excerpt of Bill W. presentation
General Service Conference, 1968
Monday night opening dinner
(General Service Office Archives CD GSC 68/1, part 2, first audio clip)
Re: Tradition Three – relates to “Double Stigma” member; From Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 142-143: “I am the victim of another addiction even worse stigmatized than alcoholism…”
“…The group conscience began to say to us, ‘The common welfare comes first. We do not have these biases [of power, prestige, or money]. Let us take thought for the general welfare, and after that, let’s see where the leadership stands.’ So we turn up as leaders who have not power in the usual sense, not prestige in the usual sense. We turn up as genuine servants with a discretion from the group conscience to act for them. And that’s our state here. The general welfare comes first.
Take another which at first glance might seem a little remote. At about year two, of the Akron group, a poor devil came to Dr. Bob in a grievous state. He could qualify as an alcoholic, all right. And then he said, ‘Dr. Bob, I’ve got a real problem to pose you. I don’t know if I could join AA, because I’m a sex deviate.’ Well, that had to go out to the group conscience, you know. Up to then it was supposed that any society could say who was going to join it.
And pretty soon the group conscience began to seethe and boil, and it boiled over. And, ‘Under no circumstances could we have such a peril, and such a disgrace, among us,’ said a great many.
And you know, right then our destiny hung on a razor edge over this single case. In other words, would there be rules that could exclude so-called undesirability? And that caused us in the time and for quite a time, respecting this single case, to ponder, what is the more important: the reputation that we shall have? What people shall think? Or is it our character? And who are we, considering our records? Alcoholism is quite as unlovely. Who are we to deny a man his opportunity? Any man, or woman?
And finally the day of resolution came. And a bunch were sitting in Dr. Bob’s living room, arguing, ‘What to do?’ Whereupon, dear old Bob looked around and blandly said, ‘Isn’t it time, folks, to ask ourselves, what would the Master do in a situation like this? Would He turn this man away?’
And that was the beginning of the A.A. tradition that any man who has a drinking problem is a member of A.A. if he says so, not whether we say so.
Now, I think that the import of this on the common welfare has already been staggering. Because it takes in even more territory than the confines of our Fellowship. It takes in the whole world of alcoholics. Their charter to freedom, to join A.A., is assured. Indeed, it was an act in the general welfare.”
I hope this is enough information. If not, right to GSO yourself and they will send you the same letter.
Okay, you've proved that the alcoholic with the other addiction was a sexual deviant. Again, I ask, so what? He came to AA for help with his alcoholism, not for help with his other problem. and to quote the 12&12, "Never did he trouble anyone with his other difficulty." Addictss make a point of troubing others with their addiction, using the flimsiest excuses as justification.
When did Bill or Dr. Bob identify themselves as addicts? Bill used a total of nine words to mention his drug use. Dr. Bob mentions sedatives in two sentences, "Most of the time, therefore, I did not take the morning drink which I craved so badly, but instead would fill up on large doses of sedatives to quiet the jitters." (page 176)and ".....taking large doses of sedatives to make it possible for me to earn more money, and so on ad nauseum."
AA is and always has bee open to anyone who suffers from alcoholism. That includes alcoholics who are addicted to other substances, who are compulsive gamblers (an AA member named nemed Tex started Gamblers Anonymous) those who are "sexual deviants of one sort or another, even those who suffer from ingrown kneecaps. The first sentence in the long form of Tradition Three states, "Our membership ought to include all who suffer from alcoholism." It says nothing about including the addict who drank when he/she didn't have drugs available.
I agree, all AA literature says alcohol, not other substance. also, I have yet to hear a tape of dr bob or bill w introducing themselves as even alcoholic.
does anyone know when the custom began in AA to introduce. yourself. as alcoholic?
"the other addiction mentioned in the 12x12 is refering to a sexual.deviant."
Perhaps you'll steer us to your source of this knowledge? Is it actually written somewhere in AA literature?
the easiest is xaspeakers.com. search barry L. he put the booklet "living sober " together. listen to his story, he had first hand knowledge. if that isn't enough, email GSO and ask for archival information on the subject who had the "other " addiction more stigmatized than alcohol in the 12x12.
good luck and always remember to watch for contempt prior to investigation.
So Barry L put "Living Sober" together, a book in which the first sentence on page 1 is, "This booklet does NOT offer a plan for recovery from alcoholism."
In the first place, why is it so important that the person was a 'sexual deviant', a drug addict, a compulsive shopper or a cat hater?
Addicts like to cite nine words in Bill W.'s story as permission to turn AA into NA. But they purposely ignore the nine words in the story about your 'sexual deviant', "Never did he trouble anyone with his other difficulty."
And concerning Bill's mentioning "... drinking both gin and sedative." In the paragraph before his "drug use' story he tells of having a brawl with a taxi driver. Why don't we hear blow-by-blow tales of brawls in our AA meetings?
I stand by what I've been saying for years, the only reason anyone insists on violating AA's Traditions is to prove they are different from the rest of us.
Donna, you left out the most important sentence in the anecdote from the 12&12, the second to last sentence on page 142:
"Never did he trouble anyone with his other difficulty."
The long form of Tradition three is pretty specific: "Our membership ought to include all who suffer from ALCOHOLISM."
"Any two or three ALCOHOLICS gathered together for sobriety ....."
Tradition Five and the pamphlet, "Problems Other Than Alcohol" are very clear on who can and can't be a member of AA and therefore who should and should not be permitted to share at AA meetings.
I am writing this in response to Drug Talk from the September 2013 Grapevine. I have been sober since June 1988 and in recover from alcoholism. At meetings I hear new members saying they are "addict/alcoholic" or "alcoholic/addict," or just simply "addict." I have also heard members comment that these individuals should not be identifying themselves as addicts. I attend a women's meeting where very young women come from a women's recovery house. They too identify themselves as addicts. We tolerate their self-description and keep the meeting focused on alcoholism. Alcoholism is the problem; alcohol and/or drugs is the symptom. I agree it is difficult to relate to the addict if alcohol is not part of your experience. That being said, there are a few things I would ask for your consideration. First, recovery is recovery, whether it's from alcohol, drugs, or both. Second, the meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous may be their best change at recovery "from a seemingly hopeless state of mind." I am reminded of a story that Bill W. relayed in Tradition Three in the 12 and 12 on page 141. Bill writes, "A newcomer asks for admission to a meeting with an addition worse stigmatized than alcohol." The members agonized over allowing this individual entry to their meeting because "we deal with alcoholic only." In the end they let him in and he proved to be an upstanding member. And he never gave them a problem with respect to his other addiction. So do we want to keep everyone out who doesn't identify themselves as alcoholic or do we want to be examples of what recovery is all about?
I am not a fan of crosstalk in general and specifically I am extremely uncomfortable when I'm the subject of comments in a meeting. The comments are meant to be complimentary, I believe, however, I find them very off-putting and mostly embarrassing. I have no more knowledge than anyone else. I have been around for several 24 hours and have learned everything I know today at AA meetings. This does not make me want to set myself up as a guru and I prefer not to hear others speak of me in "glowing" terms. I'm not sure how or if I'm to publicly or privately handle this when it happens. And, I've been told it does, even when I'm not necessarily at the meeting in question. Suggestions anyone?
I read with much interest "Anonymous" article on Cross talk. While I would be the first to try to redirect a meeting that is becoming a therapy session with everything focused on one person and how to fix them, it has been my experience that cross talk can promote solid recovery. My home group specifically allows cross talk and it says so in our opening. We have a wonderful mix of old timers, those with several years of sobriety and newcomers. The meeting is at 5:30 PM we laugh, we cry and we have gotten to know each other very well. It's the healthiest meeting I attend.
Henrietta Seiberling had an intuitive thought in late April/early May 1935. That thought was that there was an immense spiritual connection between being able to communicate ones truth and healing. Therefore, she "arranged" a meeting of the Oxford Group, which she knew Dr. Bob would attend. By "arranged" I mean that she stacked the deck against Dr. Bob. She loaded the meeting with people willing and able to share their secrets. It worked. Dr. Bob admitted that he was a secret drinker and was willing to accept help in the form of the other attendees praying for him. The rest, as they say, is history.
The entire format of sharing at a meeting of A.A. is based on that thought being put into action.
There is another story of the early members "checking" each other during meetings. Today, we'd call that "taking their inventory" (and sharing it with them) or "calling them on their crap".
These stories are found in "Dr. Bob and the Good Old Timers".
Based on the anonymous article in Grapevine, all shares in a meeting would be totally unrelated to each other. We wouldn't be able to comment on Bills' writing in the Big Book or anything we learned from our sponsors. I wouldn't be able to share the two stories that I lead off this post with.
I'll never be sure, because the people that I attended meetings with, early on, didn't call their sharing "crosstalk". What they called crosstalk was what happened if two people started a "conversation" during the meeting. They said that was like starting another meeting within the meeting.
Thanks for letting me share.
Henrietta Seiberling's plan did not work. Dr. Bob continued to drink. If Henrietta Seiberling's plan would have worked, we would not have AA today.
"Henrietta Seiberling's plan did not work".
Henrietta Seiberling's plan did not work, instantly. From that I wouldn't conclude that it wasn't part of a plan that worked very well.
Thanks for your well researched and detailed share. I "grew up" in a group where tough love was practiced wholeheartedly. Anyone trying to dish out any crap could be expected to be called on it. I was even nailed on crap that I was keeping quiet about. Ouch! It didn't take long to find out who we were, what our character defects were and what to do about it. Anybody with thin skin was welcome to try a different group. To us crosstalk were private conversations usually whispered when someone else was trying to share.
The first time I encountered a different definition was at a Friends of Bill meeting on a cruise ship. A guy shared in so many words that he was setting himself for a drunk. I pointed the fact out to him. He freaked out and demanded that the meeting close right then. He didn't offer to leave, he didn't ask me to leave, by god everybody had to leave. I simply sat and watched him and those crazy enough to follow him leave. Viva la difference.
Thank God for the diversity of meetings in AA.
During my first year of AA, I attended a daily meeting in a club that was of the lovey dovey, "thank you for sharing" type. Cross talk was strictly forbidden. I loved it and made many good friends. I also met my sponsor there. I chose him as a sponsor because he talked steps and solutions. I wanted that.
I soon learned where he'd found his solution when he invited me to his home group - a men's step study. The meeting would begin in a large group with a lead on the step of the week. We'd then break into tables of 4-6 members with an experienced chairman at each table. You were to share on the step of the week if you'd worked it or on the step you were working on. Any member at the table could provide feedback during a share. This was always done in a loving way. Group members were encouraged to "deliver your message with love". Even so, we called this "getting nailed". I got nailed early and often. I soon realized that I needed to get called on my BS and that these guys knew me inside and out. There was nothing I could hide and nothing worth hiding. My AA foundation was built in that group that has served me for many years.
There are examples of two meetings that could not be more different; one with no crosstalk and the other built on crosstalk. Both were big and thriving meetings that met the needs of attendees. It seems like there is room in AA for both.
I have 29 years of sobriety thanks to the rooms of A.A. and our 12 steps. Like Jim F., who wrote "There are no must" in the September 2013 Grapevine, I have been criticized for the way that I run my program. I have my experience, strength, and hope and you have yours. If you know me, perhaps you will say that she works a watered down version of A.A. and is killing newcomers. I do understand that my ESH is not going to work for everyone. I get that. But in my own quiet way, I do think that I have some ESH that can help some. I don't come to A.A., either meetings in my town or online, to debate what is the right way to work an A.A. program.
I come because I need A.A. to stay sober a day at a time. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. And I know how to use my feet and find another meeting if one meeting is not working for me.
For those who say, "but you didn't" __________. I'll say that I have 29 years of continuous sobriety, I must of done something right. Or as a couple of my buddies tell me (one of whom has his sponsees go through the BB and underline "must" and "should"): "I want what you have."
I love it when I can talk to some folk I know from the rooms where we have, shall we say, very divergent views of how we work our program. We are having a nice time catching up on our lives and our sobriety.
It send shivers up my spine when I hear and read of some of the intolerance of those who are either verbally or with their body language pointing their finger at me saying: "people like you in the rooms are killing newcomers."
I am often quiet at meetings, and when I share I try to relate my share to how I am working the program to stay sober today. Or to address whatever the topic is. And I know that I am helping people because people will sometimes come up to me after the meeting, thanking me for my share and thanking me for coming to the meeting.
After spending a few years of "dumbing down my shares to " better fit into A.A. meetings", I am working on being honest. And yes, I try to respect our singleness of purpose. Even if being honest goes against the grain of local A.A. If you don't like what I say and you don't want your sponsees to talk to me, well that is your right. But please be nice, respect that we have different ESH and different ways of working our program. It doesn't mean that one of us is right and the other is wrong.
I have a right to be in the rooms of A.A. For the most part, while I can say that some at both the meetings in my town and online don't always like what I share, no one has ever told me that I am not welcome at A.A.
"I have 29 years of sobriety thanks to the rooms of A.A. and our 12 steps. Like Jim F., who wrote "There are no must" in the September 2013 Grapevine, I have been criticized for the way that I run my program."
Please, help me on this because I'm totally confused. Where in the AA literature does it say there are no musts? I'm sure it must be somewhere or I wouldn't hear it from so many different members, yet in my forty-two continuous of sobriety in AA I haven't come across it.
there literally are no "musts " in the big book or 12x12. literally zero! the word "must " is written 134 times in the big book and 12x12. it's .like a big practical joke Bill W is playing on us. I think Bill would say stop the semantics and work with a newcomer.
in AA comes of Age, Bill wrote AA has 2 authorities. God who is waitin for u to do his will and alcohol who will kill you if you don't.
If you really want sobriety, there are actions you "must " take. if you don't and you don't die in the meantime, we will be here to help when your ready to take those 12 actions.
Shame on you and me and anyone else with 42 years sobriety
who has not read LOTH, AACA and the other sources filled
with information. I finally opened these books (and my mind)
when I discovered that our fellowship had nearly collapsed
in the 1990's. Bill wanted AA to be available to alcoholic
sufferers for the next thousand years. We made it to 1992
helping hundreds of thousands every year. For the past
twenty years we have only been helping ourselves. ANONYMOUS
I think you can find the answer to your question in Tradition One, the Big Book and elsewhere in A.A. General Service Conference Approved literature.
“Our Twelve Steps to recovery are suggestions; the Twelve Traditions which guarantee A.A.’s unity contain not a single “Don’t.” They repeatedly say “We ought….” but never “You must!” (Tradition One; The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions p. 129 http://www.aa.org/twelveandtwelve/en_pdfs/en_tradition1.pdf
“Alcoholics Anonymous has no “musts.” – Bill W. (Tradition One, The Language of the Heart p. 76; AA Grapevine December 1947)
“Our book is meant to be suggestive only.” (Big Book p. 164 http://www.aa.org/bigbookonline/en_bigbook_chapt11.pdf )
For me there is no “right” or “wrong way” in which to work the AA program. What is the "right" way for me may be the "wrong" way for other alcoholics and vice versa. If an alcoholic hasn't had a drink of alcohol today, then he "must" have done something "right" even if he or someone else judges him to be doing it "wrong." I try not to judge myself or other alcoholics. My experience of judging myself tells me that sometimes when I have judged myself as doing things "right" I have found this attitude to be nothing more an ego trip, painful to others who have had the displeasure of being in my company. Eventually this attitude ends up in being painful to myself, but only when I am willing to admit that my behavior towards others has been "wrong." I think it is what's called making a searching and fearless moral inventory of myself in Step 4 and when I am "wrong" promptly admitting it in step 10. And, therefore, not taking others inventory for them with the conscious or subconscious purpose of inflating my own ego at the expense of deflating their spirit.
glad to read you have long term sobriety. the key to long term sobriety is, don't ever drink and don't die!
my point is that all alcoholics are drunks, but not all drunks are alcoholics. it's been my experience that drunks can put the plug in the jug, attend AA and be reasonably happy and sober. alcoholics who attend meetings and put the plug in the jug without working the steps progressively get worse until they drink again or find another addiction.
this is my personal experience as an oldtimer.
I don't like it when people stay sober the wrong way ; )
You do have a right to attend AA meetings. Absolutely.
It also sends shivers up my spine when you say that you’ve heard or read, and even experienced, the intolerance of those who are saying “people like you in the rooms are killing newcomers.”
Unfortunately, many still suffering alcoholics are now starting to avoid AA because many AA groups no longer seem to be “spiritual, but not religious.” Instead of practicing openness and tolerance to agnostics, like in the old days, there seems to be a new AA culture determined to force feed religious beliefs and practices down every newcomer’s throat.
Please continue not to dumb down your shares. You mentioned that people will sometimes come up to you after the meeting and thank you for your share. There are lots of intelligent and open minded people in AA who appreciate an intelligent message. Honesty can be achieved while at the same time being respectful of others personal beliefs and how they practice their program. Newcomers need to hear your message. They, like you and me, need acceptance and peer support to stay sober a day at a time. That is what AA groups have been able to provide in the past. Let’s try to keep that intact for the next generation (and ourselves).
They, like you and me, need and peer support. Not peer
pressure, PEER SUPPORT. Love and tolerance must again become our code. Spiritual, NOT religious can be
confusing. I believe spiritual growth is necessary for
recovering/recovered alcoholics. I see the four Oxford
Group absolutes as measuring sticks. Strive to be more
honest, more pure, more loving and more unselfish. Of
course these are goals of the religions. I would like to
see Alcoholics Anonymous become an altruistic society
once again. The ship can be turned around. ANONYMOUS
I was at a small meeting (five of us) last night. I guess I had shared something about my observation that "whatever works best is best" in the context of AA, that I am glad others have found what works for them, glad they share that with me, but noting that I stop listening when anyone starts suggesting what I need to do (other than "don't drink). The two newer folks, both less than a year sober, shared that what they appreciate about this meeting is the absence of proselytizing. We read from the 24 Hour a Day book, notwithstanding the fact that it is a pretty a-religious bunch. I will attend another meeting tonight, where our "fearless leader" is in his sixth decade of sobriety, but has never read the big book, has never done the steps. My observation is that he has more serenity than some of the big book and Bible thumpers I encounter in the rooms, but then who am I to judge. I worry about those who have "found the answers," as my own experience has been that yesterday's answer rarely works on today's issue. Paraphrasing Pope:
For means of sobriety let fools contest - whatever works best is best...
In faith and hope the drunks will disagree - but all AA's concern is charity.
Speaking of proselytizing...
If I drink I will get drunk- therefore I MUST not pick up the first drink. The program and the fellowship has taught and continues to teach me that there is price to pay for what I want and need. All it costs me is a desire not to drink today, to be honest with me so I can be honest with others. But mostly is to share my experience, strength and hope with the people who cross my path. I have not had to drink since May of 1989. Since then I've gotten married to a fellow member, buried 2 of our 4 children, had a heart attack. Never mind the normal crap that happens to everyone, everyday. Yes I wanted to drink, but I refuse to pay the ultimate price. IF I DRINK, I WILL DIE! Just for today, I CHOOSE not to die.Today I have the choice. All because Bill and Dr. Bob met. And for that I am grateful. My name is Mary and I am an alcoholic.
my name is don r my sobriety date is 12/22/1990 i have been around aa since 1982. that being said i understand the comment about there being no musts or rules in aa, however without the musts there would be no aa. The reason i say this is on page roman numeral xvi half way down the page is the very reason for our recovery. I dont work with others to help feed my ego, or make me feel omnipotent, i work with others to help me stay sober and paas on freely what was passed on to me by my sponsor. this is the first must in the bigbook of aa. there are several reasons when i sponsor people i use the word must as a means to gauge my new prospect because for some it is a boring book but looking for a specific word and then asking them about why that word was used was how i became interested in reading the bigbook. as for no rules in aa i believe requirements are rules and the only one being a desire to stop drinking which leaves me to ask. how can we get sober unless we stop drinking? maybe we must stop drinking first.
Exclusitivity in AA. The word "Clean" to describe an addict is just a newer version to describe sober. A pop culture term. Please think about it. I was clean for 33 years and one afternoon my world fell apart. I found myself buying my drug of choice. I text a friend who is an AA member. She called me immediately. Said what are you going to do. Said I didn't know. There was no NA meeting that night she said you have time to get to an AA meeting. I walked in with trepidation to that meeting after all I wasn't an alchoholic. That meeting put me back in a place I knew I could walk away and never touch that drug again. As I walked away knowing drugs were not the answer I found myself wanting to drink to ease that pain. Didn't even think about I was going to trade my being "clean" for alcohol instead. Trading one addiction for another. I have a AA sponsor now and am thankful to God everyday for that. But that AA meeting saved my life and yes I am a recovering addict and a potental alcoholic addiction is addiction. So when you get annoyed by one of us saying we are clean and sober at at AA meeting. We might just be at that meeting because we didnt have a NA meeting to go to.
i am greatful for your sobriety. please Google NA bulletin 13. NA asks that members not use the phrase "clean and sober". from what i understand they beleive a drug is a drug including alcohol. AA is only concerned with alcohol. the reason for hyper focusing on alcohol only is that alcoholics deny their alcoholism. if AA is allowing problems other than alcohol in AA, we are actually killing the alcoholics. there are 200 12 step groups. i know because i qualify for about 150 of them.
please read the AA pamphlet "problems other than alcohol for further clarification.
if you feel you need NA meetings daily, simply start them. don't. try to change AA to what you want.
When I first came to the rooms of AA in 2008, I was extremely emotionally and mentally ill. I had no boundaries and had to learn how to create them. I had zero self esteem and very codependent. The only way I thought I was an human being was though a relationship or a job title. I am attractive woman and was in my mid thirties. Slim build with strawberry blonde hair. When I first came around it was like I was fresh meat for the predators in the rooms. All I wanted was to go to a meeting and not have one man come on to me or hug me to feel my breasts. When men approached me for hugs, I would freeze out of terror, and just allowed them to hug me even-though I was dying inside. For at least the first year I was unable to use my voice. I had lost it during several traumatic events that took place during my childhood. That was one of reasons why I had drank was to get tough and cocky.But it stopped working. Nobody would intervene with known predators, I never felt safe in the rooms for a long time. My sponsors husband attended meeting frequently and he acted like a bouncer, for me. He became upset with other members when they would cross the line, with my personal boundaries. Many many people in the rooms of AA state" it is none of my business" and they turn a blind eye and don't say a word. I don't understand how hard it would have been to tell me a little bit history of these certain men. Today I tell my sponsees" You see that guy over there..do Not be left alone in a room with him" and I leave it at that. Many woman have been sexually assaulted by men who claim they are great people because they are sober!!!I have wonderful boundaries today. I can be assertive and teach other woman how to be also...I have also suggested with home groups to create protocol around 13th stepping. The traditions need to be taken more seriously. Safety is a huge concern for many woman in AA,in a northern part of a province in Canada. Today i make it my business.
I am glad that you stuck around in spite of the predators that attacked you. I remember a guy saying, "Hey! Why don't you come to my house and we can watch a spiritual video together." to me. The answer was, "No." because I had a year's sobriety but I wonder if anyone new has been victimized by this person.
I think it is the job of every A.A. "veteran" to look out for newcomers and protect them from predators. I applaud you for doing that today :-)
Thank you so much for sharing your experience regarding this very
serious matter. I admire your courage in standing up to this most unacceptable behavior. Women and young people need to feel safe on our meetings or they will in fact leave and yes they may
die. I presented on the topic of Safety in AA - Our Common Welfare at the Northeast Regional Forum in June of this year and was overwhelmed with the response I got. From that presentation I have
been asked to allow part of my talk to be printed in the GV issue, asked to allow the talk to be posted on area websites and asked to be part of a distinct workshop on the matter. In addition, my home group has adopted the concept of a newcomer committee to help match up men with men and women with women at their first meetings. A group inventory is a good way to get this discussion going and I also have found that when a light is cast
on this kind of behavior, it lessens the chance of reoccurrence. Still as I write this I think that one occasion of predatory behavior is one too many. Thank you again for your candor and for your courage - your experience is helping others
LET'S CALL IT WHAT IT IS....AND IF I SEE IT HAPPENING ON MY WATCH I WILL WARN THE NEW WOMEN AND ALSO GO OVER TO THE PREDATOR AND TELL HIM TO BACK OFF NOW....IF HE GIVES ME GUFF I MENTION THAT IF HE PERSISTS I WILL CALL HIM ON IT OVER THE TABLE SO EVERYONE WILL UNDERSTAND WHAT IS GOING ON...AA TO ME IS LIFE OR DEATH...AND THE NEW PEOPLE DON'T KNOW THE ROPES....I FEEL THAT IT IS UP TO OTHERS TO TAKE THEM UNDER THEIR WINGS UNTIL THEY CAN PROTECT THEMSELVES...
I AM SORRY IF IT MAKES OTHERS FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE...BUT THAT HAS TO BE THEIR PROBLEM....THAT DENIAL IS WHAT WILL ALLOW THE PREDATORY BEHAVIOR TO CONTINUE UNCHECKED...THEY DONT HAVE TO LIKE THE FACT THAT I BRING IT UP...I REALLY DON'T CARE IF THEY LIKE IT OR NOT...IT IS ABSOLUTELY THE RIGHT THING FOR ME TO DO...OPEN AND ABOVEBOARD....AND SEVERAL TIMES I HAVE EVEN BROUGHT UP THE SUBJECT OF 13 STEPPING....IT HELPS MEMBERS KNOW THAT IT DOES GO ON...AND IT COULD KILL ...AND IT IS A WARNING NOT TO TRY IT IF THEY ARE ANYWHERE NEAR ME....I WOULD BE HUGELY REMISS IF I DID NOT GIVE THIS PROTECTION TO THE NEW WOMAN....IT IS ALSO PRACTICING A WONDERUL SLOGAN WE HAVE: MEN WITH THE MEN AND WOMEN WITH THE WOMEN....THERE IS A REASON FOR THIS...SO WALKING OVER TO WELCOME THE NEW WOMEN IS MANDATORY FOR MY RECOVERY AND PEACE OF MIND....AND IT COULD SAVE THEIR LIFE...I HAVE BEEN SOBER OVER 30 YEARS AND HAVE FOUND OUT THAT IF I SAY NOTHING....THEN I AM PART OF THE PROBLEM...
I AM PROUD OF WHO I AM....A WOMAN WHO IS NOT AFRAID TO SPEAK HER MIND EVEN IF IT MIGHT BE UNPOPULAR....I DID NOT GET SOBER TO BE POPULAR...I AM COMFORTABLE TODAY DUE TO AA AND ALL THE WONDERFUL WOMEN WHO SAVED MY LIFE....
Safety - I don't think it is any less of a concern for the women anywhere else. One wonders how many woman have turned around and walked out of AA because of the initial reception you describe. You are correct, that more people need to make it their business to warn newcomers of predatory practices of both men and women, and to call older members on their behavior - because ultimately for the newcomer it is a matter of life and death. Thanks for the thought-provoking subject and comments.