Suggest a topic
Thanks for the advice. I opened an Ole timey meeting four
years ago. It is a one hour meeting which has grown to a daily dozen each morning. We have a format accepted by the
group conscience. We do not chant: Hi Joe! This ritual as a response from the group is a chant. We do not read "How it Works" aloud at the meeting. We do not share by "show of hands",we simply go around the room allowing each member equal time. We do not make a spectacle of newcomers, or
allow them to make a spectacle of themselves. All members
come together as equals. We do not hold hands and pray.
We simply close the meeting with the Lords prayer, for
those who wish to join. So we have an Ole timey meeting
where we have reversed many of the changes (I personally
believe they were tragic mistakes) made over the past
three decades. Although these changes may have had some
short term benefit: we chant names so we can remember
who you are; or, we read How it Works to introduce the
newcomer to the steps, or, we "hold hands and pray" as
a circle of unity, in reality these practices have led
us down a dangerous path. Bill W was often quoted as
saying sometimes the good can be the enemy of the best.
He also said that sometimes the seeming temporary good
can be the deadly enemy of the permanent best.
How well have these changes served us? A close look
at our membership numbers will reveal the sad truth. We
have made reversals at several other meetings locally,
but the process is slow. I ask you to do one thing:
contact GSO for a list of membership numbers from 1935
to the present. Take a look at the continuous growth
until 1992. I don't remember "digging in my heels" to
stop the changes. I thought that A.A. was alive and well.
it appeared to be. It wasn't until 2005 that I became
aware that we had stopped growing. Hopefully, God willing
you will live long enough to become a very old person.
I see that your message appears in two categories: Suggest
a Topic and A Burning Desire to Share. I was surprised,
although there were some minor differences. ANONYMOUS
I remember the feelings that I had during the years when these changes in AA were made. I have always been reluctant to change just for the sake of change. The first time I heard HIW read aloud at an AA meeting, I questioned whether
this was the best use of meeting time. But I had no way of
knowing how harmful this be to AA in the future. Bill W
wrote many times that this approach did not work for him
in his first six months of "violent exertion". We have
returned to that approach which seldom worked. The steps
ought not be cramed down anyone's throat. The reading
of HIW does exactly that. Anonymous
Many meetings in my area have deleted the reading of HIW
from the meeting format, simply because it is just
takes up too much time. I find that very few members
understand the harm we have done, and continue to do
by this reading. Bill W. wrote on page 159 AACA "The
backbone of the book would have to be fitted in right
here." Bill continues on page 160 AACA: "This problem
had secretly worried the life out of me". Bill had
joined the Oxford Groups after his spiritual awakening.
He was aware that the Oxford Group Absolutes had aided
in his own sobriety. But he found that suffering
alcoholics had great difficulty swollowing the God Stuff.
Bill actually disguised the absolutes and concealed them
in Chapter five, trusting that the reader would
find them at the appropriate time. Yet at many AA
meetings today we actually read HIW aloud to the
newcomer "to introduce her/him to the steps. How
tragic! We push hundreds of thousands of suffering
alcoholics from our rooms every year by this approach.
People who rely on the outside sponsorship system who is already here miss the A.A. message and live in an institution always cowardly surrendering unable to accept that God can intuitively handle baffelingl situations . TO SURRENDER TO GOD ONE MUST LOOK INSIDE NOT TO
Nothingness is the incubator of All That Is. The spark of an idea births a thought that attracts thoughts and a feeling or vibration ensues as the vision develops and a reality is created, a physical manifestation of a dream. It may entail a lot of physical work, but not always.
The Big Book asks a great question, "Either God is everything or God is nothing. What was our choice to be?" To me, the Creative Life Force is Everything and Nothing, and the concept of a Godhead just does not work for me.
There are people in AA who have been sober for decades not believing in a god. The ones I know exude serenity and confidence and never argue over what he Bible says or are inclined to support religious based laws or wars. I have never found them to be the devils described by believers.
Thank you for putting this so beautifully
The issue is not arguing over the existence of God. Nonbelievers have to accept AA statements like Nonbelievers are destine to a Alcoholic Death and other negative statements in AA Literature.
Even the devil believes in God, whats your point?
Can't rely on him? and need a sponsor ?
Almost all meetings I attend mention turning cell phones off or to silent or vibrate. Rarely is a ring heard at these meetings. However, I have noticed recently people texting during meetings, not always young people or newcomers. I'm considering asking for a group conscience at my home group to add a comment requesting cell phones not be used for texting during meetings. Does anyone else think this is distracting enough to bring up?
This has become a hot issue in my home group. Our group conscience has decided to announce at the beginning of meetings to "please put away cell phones and do not text during the meeting". We still have problems with people who play games, chat on Facebook and look up information on their phone's browser. They justify it by saying "We'll, I'm NOT texting..."
It's becoming a no-win situation. If anyone has any suggestions on how their group has handled this, please reply.
Happens here too...someone in my area of over 30 years "sober" regularly turns up and passes pics on her phone around to people whilst the chair is talking....Ive mentioned it, but she is "queen bee" and nothing gets done about it except to be told off myself for questioing her.
....yet another reason I dont go to many meetings anymore
At several meetings in our area the leader reads a brief statement at the beginning of the meeting. It asks that those who share keep their comments to Issues that relate to Alcoholism. It also requests we refrain from "Crosstalk". The statement defines crosstalk as; giving direct advise to someone else or talking while someone else has the floor. It also states "TEXTING IS TALKING".
Two regulars, with 35 years or more of "sobriety", who attend these local meetings do not feel they need honor the Groups conscience. The gentleman, I'll call Tom, loudly "chants" 20 or 30 times during the meeting things like: "THAT'S RIGHT", "YOU BET", "OH YEA" etc. I feel this is rude, annoying and distracting. Upon talking to other group members they agree that "We do not need to know Tom's opinion on every other sentence someone shares". Upon talking to Tom all hell broke loose and he loudly rationalized his conduct as being supportive. The Lady, I'll call Mora, doesn't think the "no texting unless you're on emergence call" request, applies to her. Many think she sets a poor example for the many younger newcomers in our Group who like to text. Most realize the importance of "really listening" to what's being said and one can't listen and text simultaneously.
I was told, early on, 3 things I still do many sober years later: 1) listen to everyone because you never know when someone might say something that will keep you sober. 2) Respect the groups conscience and 3) lead by example - a good example.
You are know better than Tom what gives you the wright to gather together other members to go against tom!! it sounds to me like you have started a little vigilante group against Tom.Why do you not confront Tom your self instead of getting other members involved sham on you
Tom could be the man, often present at our local club. He sits in the chair closest to the chairperson and commands
the center of attention. We have a Sunday nite meeting whic
was the best attended meeting with standing room only. "Tom"
started coming about ten years ago and became the group's
treasurer. Within five years the meeting had dwindled down to "Tom" and a couple of his cronies. I drive by on Sunday
and often his vehicle is the only one in the parking lot.
This reply has a purpose, not my usual venting. I see that
member at other meetings, and he is as quiet as a church
mouse. This Sunday meeting had no steering committee, and
no group conscience meetings. As with many meetings, there seemed to be no need for such things. My Sunday night
meeting is lost, for the time being, Hopefully your
meeting can be saved. My real concern is for the alcoholic
who may arrive there for her/his very first meeting. This
member retired and began attending other meetings, with
much the same results. Most of us just stopped attending.
One option is to stop all chanting. Chanting is a cult
ritual and has no place in AA. No, this has not always
been done. Just sit quietly and listen as each person
shares. But it must start with at least three interested
members. And the local police if necessary. If this
meeting is held in a clubroom the club can get a restraining order and have the man barred from the
building. He can attend other meetings of course. We
don't throw him out of AA. Occasionally a member like
Tom appears. There is a process to handle the situation.
It begins with a steering committee and a group conscience
Get him quiet or get him out of there! We are responsible.
Maybe others will recognize themselves here. Anonymous.
My Group recently decided that they would like to begin to pay to fly speakers in from different regions of the country to our meeting. I find it upsetting that they find this acceptable. I my self have never been re-reimbursed for any type of 12 step work and have spent lots of money out of pocket traveling to meetings to share the message. Any feed back would be appreciated on how to approach the topic.
Personally, I am sympathetic with your feelings. I believe that this practice, more common for large AA gatherings, violates the spirit of the Eighth Tradition (non-professionalism) and the Twelfth Tradition (anonymity is the spiritual foundation). While the person isn't being paid directly, a free trip and hotel stay in another city sure seems like compensation to me. Since only those with the most dramatic stories are typically invited to share, I think there's also an issue with the Eleventh Tradition (long form) injunction against "sensational advertising." But, as with any AA matter, it's up to the individual group conscience. The best I could do, as a member of the group, is to make my feelings known and try to inform the group conscience. Doing this effectively takes tact and time and can be a good exercise in practicing the principles in all our affairs.
what i do, since im atheist i replace every word that says god with higher power
I've never delved into what any of my sponsees believe in this area. It is none of my business and at this point I do not care.
Even if they are atheists, they can still work the Steps. If they have made a conscious decision to move away from what does not attract them in the form of a Higher Power, I have no problem with that. Blind faith does not work for me either.
As I understand my Higher Power, It does not care if I believe in It or not. I can be a good person and not believe in any god whatsoever.
When I stopped drinking in '83, I was told that if I wanted to get my soul saved, go to a church. But if I wanted to get my life saved, stick around. They never told me to believe as they believed. Never. And I have been sober since I first walked in.
Now, I do not believe I am God, but, since the Big Book queries, "Either God is everything, or God is nothing. What was our choice to be?" I have no doubt that the Creative Life Force is everything, of which I am a small part. I can believe what I am told to believe, or I can make my own investigation, which I have done and am still doing. I am quite comfortable with my relationship with God, Life, the Universe, All That Is, Rama, Allah, Buddah, etal. I do not believe the Creator cares what religion one belongs to, or even cares if they don't have a particular religion. I cannot imagine a creator being that narrow minded.
So, call me what you will, there is no reason to throw atheists out the door or condemn them in the name of any religion. We are here to help other drunks, not save their souls.
Spirituality in AA without the twelve steps is like honey without the honeycomb, very sticky. Jack McM
There are no elevators in A.A, I work at west coast elevators in California. If you find no elevator then take the steps please don't work on them even bad steps you can still ex-scape on.
I whole heartedly agree. If you do your best everyday that's all that matters. If there is a God he will shake things out for you. If not, you did your best when you were here.
Amen to that!
"Even if they are Atheist they can still work the steps". I
am sincerely puzzled by this statement. Why would an Atheist be concerned with working the steps? The steps are
suggestions for those of us who decide to use them. Many
Atheist and Agnostic alcoholics come into AA believing there
is no God, but later come to believe. But not all make that
conversion, and it certainly not a requirement for sobriety
nor a requirement for membership. I believe today's AA
has made it an implied requirement. I love the statement
"We are here to help other drunks, not to save their souls.
At the last minute before the Big Book went to press, the
word Heaven was changed to utopia. Our primary purpose is
to help save lives, not to save souls. We help other
alcoholics by sharing what we were like, what happened (EXACTLY), and what we are like now. We do not tell
any alcoholic what to do. We tell them what we did, without
even implying that they do the same. Simple, but maybe
difficult to fully understand. Why does that approach
work? We don't even have to understand it. We just need
to be obedient and follow the path. It worked when Bill W
met with Dr. Bob, and will work today. We have lost 20%
of our membership in the past two decades. Alcoholism
is epidemic in our country today. AA should be thriving.
But according to estimates of AA membership, we are
stagnant. These estimates are from our General Service
Office. Is anyone listening or does anyone even care?
We should be careful in making genealisations about AA membership figures. A tree does not reach the sky and it's unsurprising that the rapid advance of the first few decades have levelled off.
Would a tree reach the sky if there were no resistance? Just wondering. Why would our trusted servants at GSO lie
to us about membership figures? We pay them to gather this
information. Every year these numbers are published in the FINAL REPORTS issued by our General Service Office. Our
lack of growth has become a matter of concern by our
general service board chairman. Our manager at GSO has
acknowledged our stagnation.
Do you accept the figure of 30 million alcoholics in the US today. Are they going elsewhere for help? Before
AA became just another TWELVE STEP PROGRAM, it was very
successful. In 2010 only one group out of four gained
ONE member for the entire year. Do you think it is best
that we just ignore those statistics? Or is it just to
appalling to even think about?
I have heard of other programs, but where are they?
How successful are they? Really? Our success rate today
is around zero. I honestly believe we could return to
an acceptable rate of growth (effectiveness) by reversing
some of the changes made at the group level.
Our greatest mistake was the introduction of reading
How it Works aloud at meetings to all and sundry. The
cult ritual of chanting began in the 1980, in my area.
If you still go to meetings, listen to the group responses.
Sometimes it sounds like barking. Chanting and praying
have no place in an AA meeting. We are not a cult nor a
prayer group. Pray on your own time, as I do many times
each day. We must stop making demands on newcomers and
others: 90 in 90, get a sponsor, work those steps, etc.
I believe if AA members can somehow come to understand
why the 24hr book has been rejected by our General Service
Conference, not once but twice, hope for AA can be renewed.
I fear that it may eventually be brought to another vote
and be accepted as suitable for AA, even though we do not
We lost over half a million members in the mid 1990's
after growing continuously for 57 years. Our membership
doubled about every ten years. We have "leveled off"
at a number of two million. We had two million TWO DECADES
AGO. But if the numbers mean nothing, then this means nothing. How do we sleep at night?
Another indication of the health of Alcoholics Anonymous
is the level of our PRUDENT RESERVE FUND. But that is
another story for another day. ANONYMOUS
I would suggest that you look further into the first step. Have you accepted to your innermost self the conundrum that is alcoholism? Do you understand the effect that the allergy of the body coupled with the mental compulsion dooms you to always return to that first drink? Are you aware that each passing sober day through which you live will involve increasing psychic and emotional (spiritual) pain until you off yourself or drink again? If you have not had the realization that the above is the affliction we all share as alcoholics, then you can afford to hang on to your ideas about the cosmos. But upon understanding the true nature of our malady, you might want to consider a reassessment of your views. What do you think it means when the book says "the result was nil until we let go our old ideas absolutely"?
The biggest surrender I could possibly make when I came to AA was to accept the possibility of a Power Greater Than Myself. That process began when I came upon the following quote in a book, one character says to another, "do there might be some part of the universe you don't comprehend completely?"
Is there a possibility that there might be a power in the universe that cares about you personally and wants to help you through to a better life? Is the Group or your sponsor a power greater than your self?
Embark upon the process. Make Truth, or Principle, or Conscience your higher power. But whatever you choose to submit to, pray to that power.
Yours in service
I'm looking for a AA member to go on a vacation with or a safe lace to stay in a sunny/tropical atmosphere.
Any suggestions would be appreciated
We have an English speaking group that meets Tues and Thurs at 5:30 pm. We welcome tourists. We' small and meet in a members home. Google AA Granada.
We have an English speaking group that meets Tues and Thurs at 5:30 pm. We welcome tourists. We' small and meet in a members home. Google AA Granada.
Try Cuba - search "a a + Cuba" and ask the webmaster to put your e-address on the Bulletin Board with your request to members + tell him I told you to contact the site.
I'd love some tips to get through weddings. Got any ideas?
It helps if you can find or invite someone else who also plans to attend and stay sober, even if they're not in recovery. While at the party, get to know that person better. If that doesn't go well but you still want to stay for a while, look around at the other guests for other sober people. As former drunks, we're naturally drawn to other drunks, but sometimes fail to notice that not everyone drank as much as we did. Duck into a quiet corner to make a phone call to another AA if you need a quick boost.
Finally, if you're not having a good time sober and/or you feel like you're the only one who's not drunk, leave. Go to a meeting, visit another AA, or even go home to bed. Be grateful for an ordinary, quiet, unremarkable early evening.
Tell the bar tender he/she will get a large tip for NOT serving you any booze. Carry a non alcoholic beverage in your hand at all times. Turn the wine glass upside down when sitting at the table that's all set. Park your car where no one is parked in front or back of you for an easy escape. Make sure you have your cell phone and load it with AA'er names and numbers. Stay home and send a card and lovely gift. Oh and one more - pray!
I think if you are a newcomer and you feel that attending a wedding would jeopardize your sobriety, you might consider skipping it. But if you feel secure and are going to attend, most importantly - have phone #'s with you of people in the program; keep your glass of water/soda/juice with you; go into the restroom or outside and say a prayer if things get rough; know that you can leave if you feel uncomfortable (regardless of what folks might think - it is your life)- have fun and see what positive energy you can BRING to the wedding, rather than what you'll GET from it!
Depends who is in charge!
Have a plan: be prepared and able to leave if you get uncomfortable, in alanon they call that plan B. Get a glass of soda and ice and carry it with you, most will assume you do not need another "drink". Pray and have fun. You can do it. Mike