Dallas wrote:My job is to be helpful to those about me -- inside meetings and outside meetings. If I take someone elses inventory I'm not going to be very much able to be helpful to them.
So, should I correct someone in a meeting? I used to do that but I stopped doing it because I learned that it wasn't helpful to them or to the others in the room. I felt as though I had been "playing God"... and I'm supposed to be being "not-God."
The top sentence is probably the most important thing to me if I give a comment or share. I have to ask myself "is what I'm saying going to be helpful to everyone?" If I'm commenting to "vent", or if my comment is intended to "boost" me, then my ego is probably involved, and it would be best for me to hold back.
Some of us have different expereinces with situations like this. I totally respect what Dallas says he does at meetings. And I'm pretty sure he'd respect what I say and do. There is so much that "isn't revealed" in online posting. When you're at a meeting, there is an atmostphere and dynamics that can't be duplicated here. Even here, I know I make "assumptions" and leave details out which is not good.
So what I'm saying is that if I have any kind of inclination to be a "hothead" when I comment, I'd do better to shut up. My comments are always supposed to be helpful to the speaker and to make things clearer to the new alcoholic.
Let me give you a "for instance". There was a fellow who who spoke at my home group a couple years ago, and he flew in from Georgia just to speak there as a favor for his friend that was chairman. He went real "light" on the "drunk-a-log" (which I think it is important to "qualify"), but he went heavy on the "drug-a-log" which was heroin. I couldn't identify with anything in the "what we were like" part of his message.
But he came to the "what happened" part of his message, and he described EXACTLY what it was like to not drink and not work a program. It was so clear to me how he felt running "dry" for several years that it made me tremble as though I was right there beside him! I can't over-emphasize the "magic" that happens when one alcoholic can IDENTIFY with another alcoholic
. It is the glue that holds our fellowship together.
I commented about "singleness of purpose". I just explained to him that when I finally could identify with him, it made his message so much clearer to me. Now when you think about it, if a speaker shares for a half-hour and I can't identify by then, it is a lot harder to go back over his message when I finally do identify. If it was that hard for me, it would be much harder for a new "prospect" that is an alcoholic having no experience with heroin. Now don't get me wrong, I did compliment him - especially flying in from Georgia to help a friend - and I wasn't mean at all. I appreciated his message, but it took a lot of work for me to put it all together.
As I was speaking to him, he smiled and it was like the light went on in his mind as I was speaking, too. He just left out his alcoholic qualifications, which he did have a-plenty. He was GLAD I commented the way I did, and he totally understood what I meant. I knew in my gut as my comment was coming out, that it helped him. Our eyes met, and I could tell we were on the same page. He called me aside afterward and told me he understood completely and appreciated my comment, in spite of comments "supporting" a "drug-a-log" instead of a "drunk-a-log". He said, "Don't worry about what these guys said, I'm glad you let me know. I'll remember next time I lead."
I hope that gives you an example of what I'm talking about, RD1angel. I wasn't taking his inventory. And what I said was helpful to the speaker and to any new alcoholic that didn't indulge in heroin use.
By the same token, I've got comments when I spoke, that didn't sound so good to others at the meeting - they could have been interpreted as "intoerant" or as "taking my inventory". But buddy let me tell you what - I watched the lady as she spoke to me, then I recognized that she had a table-full of new girls that she was their sponsor. As soon as I realized she had a bunch of protege's there, it became my responsibility
to listen to her without taking her comment personally, or getting a resentment. When she finished, she said if there was anything I wanted to know specifically, to talk to her after the meeting.
I spent an hour listening to her after the meeting, and it helped me so much. She had some 25 years sober, and she was right to comment as she did. If I speak again, I'll be able to be more clear in my message. Once again, there is a CLEAR distinction: she was being helpful to me and making things clearer to the newcomer - specifically her proteges'.
So it's been my expereince that there is a time and place to be helpful by "confronting" a situation that needs clarification. But lets say that 99% of time, I haven't saw the need to confront.
Dallas is "almost" 100% correct when he says we shouldn't be "looking down" at anyone. But there is one exception to that
. If I'm "looking down" at anyone, then I'd better be sure it's because I'm reaching down with my hand to help them out of the pit of alcoholism.