Suggest a topic
If I went to an A.A. meeting today and these questions
were asked, I would head for the nearest exit door. This
topic is controversial and divisive. Years ago I did attend
an A.A. meeting, an hour meeting and the topic was recovered
or recovering. What a waste of an hour, plus considerable
travel time. Not worth a "hill of beans" as my Dad used
to say. Note: My name is Joe and I am an alcoholic. An
ANONYMOUS alcoholic. 1939 was a long year. Bill got sober
mid Dec 1934. Do the math.
While recently re-reading the AA pamphlet “3 talks to medical societies by bill w”, I was once again reminded of why AA has the book “Alcoholics Anonymous”, our 12 steps as a program of recovery, and how grateful I am for them.
Bill sobered up in 1934. After 6 months they had been using Ebby T’s six step program for recovery. In substance, here they are:
1. Ebby admitted that he was powerless to
manage his own life.
2. He became honest with himself as never
before; made an “examination of conscience.”
3. He made a rigorous confession of his personal
defects and thus quit living alone with his
4. He surveyed his distorted relations with
other people, visiting them to make what amends
5. He resolved to devote himself to helping
others in need, without the usual demand for
personal prestige or material gain.
6. By meditation, he sought God’s direction
for his life and the help to practice these principles
of conduct at all times.
By 1937 they had around 40 solid recoveries, so they thought it was time to put their word of mouth program on paper. Bill writes,
“By the spring of 1939, our Society had produced
a book which was called “Alcoholics
Anonymous.” In this volume, our methods were
carefully described. For the sake of greater clarity
and thoroughness, the word-of-mouth program
which my friend Ebby had given to me was
enlarged into what we now call A.A.’s “Twelve
Suggested Steps for recovery.” This
was the backbone of our book”
I find it interesting Bill is still referring to the Big Book in 1958, 5 years after he wrote the 12x12, that the Big Book is where our methods were carefully described. He also mentions the case histories in the back of the book. I am still amazed that after all these years I have witnessed alcoholic after alcoholic follow the Big Books suggestions and apply those steps to their daily life and recover from a hopeless state of mind and body. Just think in 1935 there were just a handful of chronic drunkards sober and today AA has around 2.4 million worldwide. Thank God I was born in this era and not when there were no answer to alcoholism.
Much prefer the original 6 steps, that's my programme and in fact I just work the first 5 of those as I am an atheist.
It would have been far better for Bill W to have stuck with the original 6 steps.
Try saying it in a meeting though.....the "do it the Big Book way else become a dry drunk mafia" get very hot under the collar...yet tell them to go and read some AA history and they go into denial
Thanks for the reminder of the 6 step program. After many years of sobriety and having made the steps part of the way I live, I've come to the conclusion that ultimately it's not the steps but what is contained in them that is important - the principles.
Now, don't get me wrong, the numbered 12 steps provide a useful framework for working and studying the steps and learning the principles. In time though, it's not so much that I'm "working my 4th step, or 11th step" as that I regularly take my own inventory and know what to do with it, I pray, I meditate, I make amends, I'm of service....as a way of life.
The 6 step program contained the essence of these principles and Bill & early AA's chose to flesh them out. At the root of this endeavor was a spirit of humility. The program was built on what came before and what worked. We know only a little. More will be revealed.
In addition to the steps, there are other amazing things that make AA special and have saved it from destruction...
Singleness of purpose - focus on recovery from alcoholism
Identification - one alcoholic helping another
No money, property or prestige (position, leaders)
Service - Helping others
There are more but you get the idea.
Please do an investigation of those first six month
when Bill was using Ebby's six steps. Bill writes that
they did not work at all. His success was nil.
Bill changed his approach, using the "cart before the
horse idea" offered by Dr. Silkworth. His next "prospect",
Dr. Bob, responded to this approach and A.A. was
born. Bill wrote several times that if he had not
changed his approach, AA would never have been born.
When the Big Book was written Bill was less than five years
sober. I would hate to think what would have happened
to me if I had stopped there. At five years sober I
could barely tie my own shoe laces.
Bill W. actually spent the rest of his life explaining
and clarifying (and IMO correcting) the meaning of the
Big Book. When I look at all the corrections which were
made at the last minute, I believe there were other
corrections to be made but time was up. But Bill did
cover all, when he wrote that the entire book was to
be suggestive only. Today most A.A. members are experts and insist
on their own interpretations, ignoring Bill's further
writings and his warnings.
There are those who believe that the BB was divinely
inspired, and have made it a second Bible. I once held
this belief myself. I thought of Bill as being some kind
Today I understand that Bill W. was just a man much
like most men. In a moment of desperation, he
reached out for help from God. I don't think Bill ever
gave the credit to Christ. But the spiritual awakening
Bill experienced was not something new. Bill's grandfather
had a similar conversion years earlier.
The miracle which Bill found was a successful method of
passing this miracle on to other suffering alcoholics. This
method has been lost in today's Alcoholics Anonymous.
Today we preach, or teach the method instead of carrying it. Sure,
some alcoholics do respond and get well. But today we
push the masses away from what may be their last chance
I know this message is difficult to understand. It
took me over 35 years to "figure this out". Hopefully
some of you will care enough about A.A. and the future
of A.A. to do your own investigation. A good place to
begin is page 70 in Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age.
Our persistent lack of growth over the past two
decades is just appalling. ANONYMOUS
Interesting comments about bill w 's sober time.
Approximately 2.3 billion people are Christian. JESUS was 30 when he started his ministry. He was killed around the age of 33 1/2, so he had 3 1/2 years. He made such an impact that 30% of the world believes in him in 2013. In fact we base our year on Jesus.
I don't Think it's A stretch that bill could write a book with the help of 40 sober alcoholics describing A program of recovery for alcoholism. Fyi, bill was around 3 years sober when the began writing the big book, a book with 33 million copies in circulation!
Personally I consider it a real stretch to compare Bill W.
to Jesus Christ. And you don't even capitalize Bill's name.
In doing my second step I looked at various religions of the world. God has sent lots of messengers, I don't think it is a stretch.
Bill W. was not the gift. The gift of A.A. and sobriety
was the method in which the message is transferred from
one alcoholic to another. This IDEA came from Dr. Silkworth.
Bill W. gives this credit to "silky" many times in our literature. I
believe that in his later years Bill's EGO erased that
memory. He seems to have started thinking that he was indeed the gift, that he was some kind of spiritual leader
That ought to be a warning to the rest of us. Bill W.
was no saint, and stated that in chapter five. ANONYMOUS
It is really not that important what I think. But in
reality the book ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS is a story book. It
is a story of how many thousands of men and women have
recovered from alcoholism. Bill wrote on page 164 that
"Our book is meant to be suggested only".
It seems that Ebby worked all of the steps. He was not
very successful, although I understand he was sober a
couple of years at the end of his life.
"Don't Drink and Go to Meetings", will work 100% for
any alcoholic. Never will that fail.
Study Bill W's absolute failure of those six months
you mention. Cramming the steps down prospects throats
pushes them away. Big Book thumpers do the same thing.
We have a method which will work with most alcoholics
approaching us. How does it work? Bill wrote in that
pamphlet that even he could not fully explain how A.A.
works. Yet we think we can explain it. ANONYMOUS
Don't drink and go to meetings works exactly 0% with alcoholics of my type. I'm the alcoholic that halfmeasures avail nothing. By AA 's definition, an alcoholic is someone who has Lost the ability to control their drinking. I went on a 12 step call Wed night to an alcoholic of my type who made it 10 months not drinking and going to meetings. The insanity of alcohol returned and he drank. Being an alcoholic didn't even come to mind. He had a mental blank spot when it came to alcohol, exactly the way the big book describes it.
From reading about Ebby T, it appears he didn't continue working with others after 12 step
ping Bill W.
Reasonable to me ! And I also reference the book "As Bill Sees It,page 16, first pargraph, final sentence,as
"....It is really a matter of personal choice;every AA
has the privilege of interpreting the program as he likes."
I am very reluctant to get a new sponsor. My last one decided it would be in my best interest if she went to everyone I had ever discussed with her and tell them everything I had said about them. Every gripe, rant, frustration. All of it. Is this what a sponsor is supposed to do? She said she did it so there would be no secrets. But was it her call? I have trust issues and this didnt help!
Agreed..chose carefully...must have mutual trust..and..
"If you like everyone you meet in AA, you have
not been to enough meetings.
No, this is not what a sponsor is supposed to do. By breaking your confidentiality I think your sponsor’s behavior was an appalling betrayal of trust. I would have felt very angry and extremely let down if such thing had happened to me. There is no requirement in AA to have a sponsor, and as you have found out, a bad sponsor might be detrimental to your recovery. You can take the steps without having a sponsor. It is best to lean on the AA program rather than on a sponsor. A good sponsor will encourage you to do that. So choose your next sponsor with care, and take your time; if, that is, you decide to have one at all. In the meantime, just knock around with a few AA friends that you feel are trustworthy. But treat all AA members with normal caution and precaution. Remember also, that in Step Five as stated in the 'Big Book' and the 'Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions', there is no requirement to disclose anything private to a sponsor or any other AA member for that matter. For some, a moral inventory and understanding of their shortcomings might best be done with someone outside the fellowship. Such things can be done with a trustworthy non-alcoholic person outside the fellowship, such as a friend, clergyman, psychologist or counselor of your choice. The following AA literature may help you find a good sponsor. Good luck, I hope you stick around.
“The member talks to the newcomer not in a spirit of power but in a spirit of humility and weakness. He does not speak of how misguided the still suffering alcoholic is; he speaks of how misguided he once was. He does not sit in judgement of another but in judgment of himself as he had been”.
(Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age p 279)
Living Sober: chapter 11, ‘-Availing yourself of a sponsor,’ pages 26-30
As Bill Sees It: page 144:‘Blind Trust?’ (something to avoid), page 14:‘Newcomer Problems.’ Pages in index under ‘Sponsorship; see Twelfth- stepping’.
Questions and answers on sponsorship http://www.aa.org/pdf/products/p-15_Q&AonSpon.pdf
A.A. At a Glance: “What A.A. Does Not Do.” http://www.aa.org/pdf/products/f-1_AAataGlance.pdf
A Brief Guide to Alcoholic Anonymous page 10, “What A.A. does NOT do?” http://www.aa.org/pdf/products/p-42_abriefguidetoaa.pdf
Members of the Clergy ask about A.A, page 18 “What Does A.A. Not Do?” http://www.aa.org/pdf/products/P-25_membersoftheclergyaskaboutaa.pdf
AA Tradition How it developed pamphlet p 12
Offline: Thanks for an intelligent, informative message.
The poster who kept harping on how harmful today's "sponsor concept"
can be, finally got my attention. Practicing the steps,
the only step requiring another person is step five. Dr.
Bob advised us to "keep it simple". We seem to be
complicating the mud puddle. ANONYMOUS
Please read "Dr Bob and the good oldtimers ". You will find Dr Bob was far more involved than step 5.
I agree, Dr. Bob was far more involved than step five. These days though, I think AA sponsors and newcomers might do well to be more mindful of what Dr.Bob actually wrote instead of being diverted away from the AA program by various outside enterprises publishing sponsor guides and histories of dubious authenticity. Among other things, Dr. Bob wrote the following:
“..We have found it wise policy, too, to hold to no glorification of the individual. Obviously, that is sound…”
“….WE'VE all seen the new member who stays sober for a time, largely through sponsor-worship. Then maybe the sponsor gets drunk and you know what usually happens. Left without a human prop, the new member gets drunk too. He has been glorifying an individual instead of following the Program….”
“..IN as large an organization as ours, we naturally have had our share of those who fail to measure up to certain obvious standards of conduct. They have included schemers for personal gain, petty swindlers and confidence men, crooks of various kinds and other human fallibles. Relatively their number has been small, much smaller than in many religious and social uplift organizations. Yet they have been a problem and not an easy one. They have caused many an A.A. to stop thinking and working constructively for a time.
We cannot condone their actions, yet we must concede that when we have used normal caution and precaution in dealing with such cases, we may safely leave them to that Higher Power…”
(Extracts from The Fundamentals in Retrospect by Dr. Bob, AA Grapevine September 1948. This article can be read in full in the digital archive http://da.aagrapevine.org/ )
Sponsors and newcomers might also do well to read The Jack Alexander Article About AA http://www.aa.org/pdf/products/p-12_theJackAlexArticle.pdf ). It was first published in the Saturday Evening Post, March 1941, and describes how AA members did step five then.
“….He is asked to believe in a Power that is greater than himself, or at least to keep an open mind on that subject while he goes on with the rest of the program. Any concept of the Higher Power is acceptable. A skeptic or agnostic may choose to think of his Inner Self, the miracle of growth, a tree, man’s wonderment at the physical universe,
the structure of the atom, or mere mathematical infinity. Whatever form is visualized, the neophyte is taught that he must rely upon it and, in his own way, to pray to the Power for strength. He next makes a sort of moral inventory of himself with the private aid of another person—one of his A.A. sponsors, a priest, a minister, a psychiatrist, or anyone else he fancies. (pp.19-20)
“..Because of the absence of figureheads and the fact there is no formal body of belief to promote, they have no fears that Alcoholics Anonymous will degenerate into a cult…” (p 23)
Apparently in conflict with other women in your group you took inventory of their character defects to share with your sponsor. Now you are seeking our help in defining character defects in her. Most of us have failed miserably getting the world to clean up their act in order to keep our sorry butts sober. On the other hand allowing change in ourselves through the steps gave us the tools to rise above the ill feelings of petty conflicts. Enjoy the ride.
I used to drive keeping my eyes glued to the rear view mirror. Now that I’m sober I spend more time watching where I’m going and seem to have less trouble. Perhaps a better question than “Was she wrong?” would be “Where do I go from here?”
I would be reluctant too.
I was crazy when I started AA so I picked a crazy sponsor. What's not to understand about that? He broke a confidence in a big way. The end of sponsorship with him. He died of alcoholism a few years later. I went to his service. He had done more good for me than bad to me. I had needed all of the good to keep me alive and the bad didn't kill me. The offending gossip meant nothing after a few months.
The words we choose to use shape our thinking. I've just heard "trust issues" one too many times. If I keep my life secret from everyone (I guess that would only be the bad secrets wouldn't it?) then I am distrustful. Distrustful. That is the character defect, the shortcoming. That is the word that goes into my inventory. Like other behavior it comes in shades of grey. Reasonable caution is important in what we say and to whom we say it. If I am willing to dance near the cliff of alcoholic disaster because I'm afraid of what could possibly happen if I share something then it's way beyond reasonable caution.
I usually just say look it up but I feel generous today. The answer to your current problem is in "Freedom From Bondage" in your big book. And of course p449 (417 in Fourth addition)
When you get another sponsor get her to commit to anonymity, don't assume.
You sound like a fighter, just aim that fight at your alcoholism and you'll be fine.
More and more of the open meetings I attend have children present. I love children, I have ten grandchildren between three and ten years old. But I would not bring any of them to an AA meeting. First of all we're supposed to be an environment where folks can share ANY experience if it helps another member. If we're holding back something it may harm us or the other person who may have been helped by hearing it. Secondly, if we DON't hold back, we may be doing harm to the child who is present and not old enough for the language being used. Thirdly it is tough to be able to share something if I can't hear. It. Recently a member had to literally shout "How it Works," to be heard over "Curley Top," singing her little ditty at the top of her lungs in the middle of the room. The child was being completely age appropriate but it didn't enhance the atmosphere needed to enable sober ideas to be passed among us. I do not ever want to tell an alcoholic not to come to meetings but every effort needs to be made to keep the rooms conducive to recovery. A " Mothers Meeting," could be started, Moms and Dads could spell each other off with babysitting, etc.
My daughter got the brilliant idea that her daughters (aged 14, 14, and 11) would benefit from attending NA meetings with their addicted father and me (mom came along too). What a circus! Neither Dad nor I could share while they were there. Then while at a nonNA cultural event, one of the teens outed 3 members by hollaring, "hey didnt I see you at the NA meeting?" at them. They have moved to a neighboring town now. Dad is back out and not attending meetings. Me? I am enjoying meetings without kids!
I would like to know what other people think of this my husband is in AA and he had an affair with a woman at his AA meeting that he attends the affair is over but he continues to go to the same meeting where she is at every day I think that he should Attend other meetings instead of going to that same meeting where she is
Thank you for bringing up the topic. I had an aa buddy reveal to me that he had had an affair. He also disclosed that he was a sex addict. Alcohol is a drug, cocaine is a drug and sex is a drug. When he screwed around he "slipped" just as if he snorted coke or picked up a drink. His ego is too fragile for him to admit to a new sober date and that's why he continues to have affairs. The Big Book sort of, kind of, talks about affairs as shortcomings and no big deal because the author Bill W. was a serial adulterer. I certainly have consided taking an elicit afternoon, but being riguosly honest and guarding my sobriety tooth and nail have never thought it was worth it. I can't imagine going from 21 years to 1 day. Maybe let lover boy know that he can continue attending the meeting if he will start over with day 1 when the affair ended and every time he slips.
Could you please tell me where you found the information regarding Bill W. being a "serial adulterer"? I put those words in quotes because certainly you copied them from information you have found or been given.
As an A.A. historian, I missed that piece of documentation. We know that Bill had relationships with women before and after sobering up. We also have evidence that his wife, Lois, had full knowledge of those relationships. I am at a loss as to how that could make him "serial".
As to how one has to acquire a new sobriety date because he falls into lust, hard drugs or any of the other million and one things human beings fall into, is a curiosity to me. Sobriety, as defined by A.A., is freedom from alcohol. Period.
Where did you find documentation that Bill
had affairs before he got sober? I do know that Bill wrote
in the Big Book: "There had been no real infidelity, for
loyalty to my wife, helped by extreme drunkenness, kept me
out of those scrapes". Bill wrote this in his own story,
page 3 in the fourth edition. Why would Bill even mention
it if it were not true? It is only in recent years that I
have come to realize that Bill was just a man, like so
many of us. No Saint. Bill was also addicted to nicotine,
but kept his mid Dec 1934 sobriety date. He also
experimented with L.S.D., but it was just that: a controlled
experiment. Very few A.A. members today have any interest
in the history of Alcoholics Anonymous. A real study of
A.A. history will reveal the many reasons for our lack
of growth over the past two decades. But how do we get
members to read it? ANONYMOUS
It's realy non of our business what you and your husband do, whether he is in AA or not. However since you asked our opinion, I will give you mine.
There is no reason your husband needs to be near a woman he had an affair with. there are many meetings he can attend. my guess he isn't working the program of AA if he is having affairs. If he is an alcoholic, he will be drunk in short order if he continues to selfishly hurt you, the person he had the affair with, and this group where he met this girl.
Again there is no reason on earth why he needs to attend a meeting with this girl.
Your post sounds like your husband is the only AA in your house. Al-Anon Family Groups (which we are not afiliated with) offers support for family members of alcoholics.
Recently while reading Dick B’s “the golden text of AA”, on page 36, I came across a letter written in 1957 by Bill W that I have never read or seen before, here is what Bill said:
You will remember there was another spot in the manuscript where the Buddhists wanted to substitute the word “Good” for “God” in the 12 steps. Here I felt I could make only a partial accommodation. To begin with, the Steps are not enforceable on anyone-they are only suggestions. A belief in the Steps or God is not in any way a requisite for AA membership. Therefore we have no means of compelling anyone to stay away from AA because he does not believe in God or the 12 steps. In fact, AA has a technique of reducing the rebellion among doubting people by deliberately inviting them to disagree with everything we believe in. We merely suggest that the doubters stick around and get acquainted. They are assured they are members if they say so………
I use that same technique today. I often speak of what I do as a program of recovery. It includes homegroup membership (having a job in the group), holding jail/detox meetings, regularly meeting with my sponsor, sponsoring newcomers, going through the steps in the big book annually (plus whenever I take a pigeon through the steps), applying big book pages 84-88 in my daily life, and doing 12 step work whenever possible. Then I say this is what I do, you can do whatever you like, I simply know this works for me, my sponsor, and the 2-4 newcomers I work with every year that are all sober to this day. Feel free to reinvent the wheel if you want, I just do what was taught to me by my sponsor in 1992. He learned the steps from his sponsor in 1982 and he learned it from his sponsor and so on. I sometimes say something like,” and if you have been sober awhile and don’t know exactly what you have done to stay sober, how are you ever going to carry the message?”
I hope we have a topic out of all that!
Reading your messages, I feel that you are telling me
what you did to get sober, and then implying that if
I don't do likewise, I will never have a message to carry.
The entire Big Book is meant to be suggestive only. The
steps are only suggestions.
I believe that sharing with other alcoholics how I got
sober (EXACTLY) is all I am supposed to do. That is the message I carry. I give no directions. ANONYMOUS
Page 164 "Our book is meant to be suggestive only." The way I look at it is if I take the suggestion and use The Program of Alcoholics Anonymous to maintain my sobriety, then there are 82 "musts" in the book. If I want to stay sober using this program the I must use the program as "suggested". It is also suggested that if you jump out of an airplane that you pull the rip cord. Failing to take either suggestion can result in disaster.
I have used that example many times in past years. I wonder
how many lives that has cost. Our entire A.A. message must
be offered in the form of "suggestion". To say that the
steps are free, the only ones you pay for are the ones
you don't take, negates the meaning of suggestion.
Alcoholics approaching us may, and probably will, respond
favorably to a suggestion. Give that individual directions
and she/he will almost always rebel. ANONYMOUS
"How many lives has it cost?"
A lot fewer than the dilution of AA's message has.
If we diluted the coffee as much as you dilute the message a pound would last years.
I am sorry you haven’t worked through your over-sensitiveness.
If you are happy, joyous, and free, by all means keep doing what your doing. If you have as yet not found a happy sobriety, try my suggestions posted above.
Also please elaborate on what “exactly” is.
Some think How it works is read too often. Maybe not enough.
The steps are not suggestions they are ONE suggestion. It's on page 59 if you care to look.
Anonymous says that Dick B wrote that Bill W wrote in a letter
Is that straight from the horse's mouth or what?
I hope it’s legitimate. You can check for yourself. Purchase or borrow a copy of “The Golden Text of AA” by Dick B. The letter is on page 36 with notations on the bottom of the page referring to Bill W’s correspondence with Father Ford while editing “AA Comes of Age”.
I was recently told that the share a day events were started to promote a better understanding of AA for the public. Is that true? Does anyone know who started the first share a day or anything on how these events came to be. Thanks. I am currently a Public Information Chair.
maybe I live under a rock, but I have never heard of "share a day". could you please tell more about it?
Having consumed two pints in 40 minutes time I blacked out. Binge alcoholic that I was I "purged" those two pints all over my date and myself. Then I fell to the floor and passed out. It took two "friends" to carry me back home. I came to the next morning with no hangover yet an intense craving for more alcohol.
Luckily for me none was available. I fought alcohol tooth and nail for the next 14 years.
Finally, years later on a week long binge on alcohol and experiencing panic attacks and a deep sense of impending doom I saw that I needed help with my drinking.
In utter despair I called out "God help me."
In seconds the feelings subsided. Clarity was restored. In this reprieve my mind recalled a family friend that I knew who was in AA. I called and within ha couple of hours found myself in an AA meeting.
I don't recall what was said in that first meeting, yet I do remember the sense of warm fellowship and caring that each AA had for each other.
Having Twenty Eight years of sobriety I have a deep and abiding faith in Alcoholics Anonymous.
I think it's past time to have a series or articles on the women who made a difference in early AA. Henrietta Siberling, a non alcoholic, actually put Bob and Bill together when Bill made that infamous phone call in Akron. They got together for the first time in Henrietta's Gate House and AA was born. There is also Anne Smith who Bill called the "Mother of AA." Of course there are Marty M. and Lois Wilson too.
I am another bozo on the bus. I hope to always be learning how to be a better man today than I was yesterday by God's Grace in this fellowship. I hope to always become a better AA member. With God's Grace I'm coming up on 28 years shortly. I have attended meetings faithfully for almost 41 years and was without a drink in AA for most of the first 12 plus years. My sobriety date is from my last drink yet I do have almost 41 years of experience & observation in AA. I am not a great orator, not a shining example of P.C., not all things to all people, not a social worker or psychiatrist, not a clergyman, not of great education, not even a good schmoozer. None of these things are requirements to be a good AA member. Like Popeye, "I am what I am and that's all that I am". I am a drunk with a great love of other drunks. I have been given a unique gift by God to be of service where other's may not have been able to. As a consequence I've learned something of what it is to be loving, tolerant, patient & respectful in all aspects of my life. The rewards of being an AA member trying to practice this design for living are fantastic. I do not however confuse these traits with enabling other's to think it's ok to practice behavior that is just plain rude, unacceptable or even unsober especially within AA meetings. Technology is a wonderful thing and progressing faster than most of us can keep up with. The abilities that hand held or pocket devices today have are so much more than anyone could have imagined not too long ago. It's hard to find a meeting today that doesn't announce at the beginning for the attendee's to respect the group's wishes not to use these devices, shut them off or silence them during the meeting. What's just as hard to find is group member's [who voted this language into the group's wishes] that will actually stand by this request. Some years ago at my home group we had a young fellow coming back in again. A likable young man, who like me at his age, just wasn't done yet and was pretty clueless as to what AA is & what it is not. Texting had just come on the scene. People were consumed by it. So for the first 2 months this fella was back, he faithfully attended meetings with cell phone in hand & operating the text part of it all thru the meeting using the excuse that he wasn't using his cell phone. Standing outside after the meeting one night this fella laughingly let us know what his friend, who wasn't there, thought of the meeting. We were confused. He then let us know that for the last 2 month's he would text others, not in attendance, what was going on at the meeting, who was there, what was being shared & their opinions on all this. We all looked at each other in absolute shock. I for one felt like I needed a shower immediately. As serious a violation as this was, this fella just couldn't grasp that he was doing anything wrong. He was just too consumed by this new toy & too clueless as to our traditions. I am happy to report that this "still" young man is sober and doing well as an AA member. Our group ended up with that announcement I previously mentioned. Yet there was not a group member aside from myself that would stand by it when it was being violated sometimes ad infinitum. If I did delicately bring attention to a violation during the meeting, I would be excoriated by other's including group member's who voted the announcement in. I have been the speaker at meetings, sometimes out of state, where 4 or more people never looked up from the devices they were operating during the entire meeting. I DO FIND THIS RUDE & DISTRACTING & I think that is a normal response. I've been made aware of countless situations of member's lives being enormously affected as a result of our amazing technology being used at AA meetings. And to this day I don't know who I am more annoyed with. Those who refuse to respect the wishes of the house they're in, or those who refuse to stand by their own wishes for the sake of the group & other's in attendance. I first came to AA in my hometown of the Bronx in 1972 & have attended meetings faithfully since, even with my short periods of drinking between years. Again my last drink & sobriety date being 6/85. With all the smoke that filled the rooms, the smell of bad coffee & the smell of booze coming off the active drunks that were welcome there, an AA meeting was still a place that was to be respected by those in attendance. If you were reading a newspaper during the meeting you would be asked to put it away & it would. If you were talking thru the meeting you would be asked to stop & it would. If you were a constant offender & refused to stop you would be asked to leave the meeting. And whether you wanted to or not, you did. The same for drinking at the meetings. It wasn't complicated & it wasn't a big deal. Many member's were well aware that although the welfare of the individual was of extreme importance, it was a close second to the welfare of the group. And none of these member's were mean. As a matter of fact their love & dedication to the primary purpose of AA & the drunk were astounding. I must say that I truly miss common sense leadership. The poor leadership I often see today most likely stems from poor sponsorship & poor power's of example. I was taught a long time ago that as a group member, whether I'm leading the meeting or not, that I not only have the right, but an obligation to see that the group meeting's stay on track. I for one refuse to be an AA member that will allow an AA meeting to be a place to learn that it's ok to disrespect a meeting, the wishes of the group, the individuals or myself without mention. Yes, there are no AA police, thank God. But if a diplomatic mention or reminder is seen as offensive, TUFF!
We tolrate BOZO's all the time what's the big deal? LOL
Keep coming back
Popeye said, "I yam what I yam and that's all that I yam"
Other than that I loved every word of your post. Keep up the good work.
HI, I have almost 15 mo of sobriety, I went to a business meeting to be approved to chair a meeting, During that meeting I was told we needed a Grapevine chair, I asked what the grapevine chair entailed, they said we will tell you after you accept the position, I did this also i wanted to get into service, What happened after that was, I would go to a older sober from the meeting and ask a question and be told I don't know ask so and so, well so and so would do the same thing, So i went home got on my Comp and found GV guidelines and started going by the book,Come to find out that I stepped on some toes, Going off the Guidelines i cleared the board of anything that wasn't GV approved, the board was full of gym memberships as well as people seeking work, Put up a new background and started adding GV quotes a bunch of different stuff from The GV articles, During this time i repeatedly told these people that Asking for any input, basically i was new and didn't know anything and was teachable,I guess no one had touched the board for 2 yrs, AS soon as i took off all the out side issue's. Well i also added a few sayings such as inspirational saying concerning using your sponsor and stuff we were taught when i first got sober, Some older sobers have been doing behind my back and removing articles, saying its not AA APPROVED,NONE OF THEM AND A LOT OF SOBRIETY BETWEEN THEM AND SAID, HEY THIS IS THE WAY WE DID THINGS OR GIVE ME CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM. i'M NOT SURE WHAT i AM ASKING EXCEPT HAVE you experienced older sober thinking they aremsomones higher power? I Asked someone why they put up with this and got schooled on tolerance, and as petty as this sounds and it is, somone has been adding things to the board wanting people to think its me, I use 2 sided tape and these are all put up with push pins, So i know i didn't put it up, I was taught we are here to help the still suffering alcoholic. Thank you for letting me vent, What i do know is no one is going to run me off..I want to help the still suffering ALCOHOLIC.
What does your sponsor say?
You remind me of me and that’s good. You remind me of me and that’s bad. Welcome to the zoo. For some reason in AA service work, cause and effect, principle and practice, seem unrelated at times. What other organization posts all of its rules (traditions) on the wall, or needs to? And then have them ignored? Admitting members based on their liabilities rather than their assets might have something to do with it. There are few set answers. Every group is unique (autonomous) and ever-changing.
If the bulletin board is important enough (with the group conscience OK), get a rubber stamp with the group’s name on it and stamp everything that the group conscience regards as OK. Maybe add a permanent sign to the effect that the bulletin board postings are limited to those following the traditions of singleness of purpose, non-affiliation etc. Others will be removed.
Write “My job is to be of service, not to control the outcome” one hundred times. Repeat as needed.
I went to my second meeting about three months after the first with the attitude that if AA wasn't big enough for me and the guy that ran me off the first time, he could leave. That was thirty three years ago and I'm still here.
Thanks for sharing and good luck.
Dear friend, Some members may tell you: Just take it
easy; acceptance is the answer. Accept the things you
cannot change. Personally, I have begun to try to
changs the things I can no longer accept. Hopefully
you wii join me. Don't You Dare Quit!! Rose