Here I go again...
Starting a sh@tstorm with looking at the other side of it...
Here is a rule that bugged the heck out of me... when I was 28 days... I couldn't get a chip that said "1 Year" on it!
Barriers to newcomers!
While many rules -- like laws -- can be totally absurd... some are practical and good for structure and discipline... Structure and discipline are two things that most alcoholics that I know -- prefer to stay away from, or have little regard for -- but, they are essential for happy living, long-term comfortable sobriety, and living an efficient and productive life (as in re-creating our lives).
Not being able to wash the cups and ashtrays... for me... until I was "sober enough to do it"... without breaking them... was an incentive for me.
I got to pick up the chairs, sweep and mop the floors, and take out the trash.... then, I was able to work up to kitchen and dishwasher detail.
Our meeting didn't have a cookie lady or a donut person... and the other meetings did... so I appointed myself as "cookie lady and donut man!" And, it was appreciated. But, being Secretary of the meeting was out of question... I hadn't been sober long enough for that.
"Who's the drunk guy greeting our visitors, members and "other newcomers"... do you think the newcomers will want... what the drunk guy has? Or... could the drunk guy become a barrier to them?
Staggering and falling down... he greets them with "If you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it...come out to my car for a minute (or... my bush, as would be appropriate in some cases
Yet, the young lady, still shaking after 5 days sober... standing at the door greeting newcomers with "Hi! I'm Jenny! I've got five days sober today! Welcome to the meeting!" (especially if other girls and guys that have been sober longer are there with her) can be a powerful and positive impact upon other newcomers that are just coming in! Wow! Jenny has 5 days! How the heck did you do that Jenny? I can see that you're like me... but those Old-timers with 32 days standing with you? Ahhh they're probably not real alcoholics anyway... if they can go 32 days without a drink! Talk to me Jenny! How'd you do it?"
Sometimes the rules come about by "Group Conscience." We don't like the rule, we believe that it is absurd, and it is absurd... but... that's what the Group decided. Once again, my Ego has to bow to the desires of the Group, and the structure that the Group decided... even when it wasn't doing it "my way."
I am convinced that some things in AA are purposely devised just to irritate the heck out of us!!! And, it might be a good thing after all... to become irritated with it. It shows us the areas in ourselves that "we need to change" to get along with others. Relationships. Society. Family. Friends. Etceteras...
Did you ever stop to think... as you're observing a beautiful pearl neckace... that each one of those beautiful pearls... wouldn't be there... if there had not been "irritation!"
A grain of sand worked it's way into the Oyster's shell... and irritated the Oyster... and the Oyster continued to work on the irritation... until it became a beautiful pearl!!!
Then, some goof goes over with a hammer... shatters the Oyster... and steals the pearl to make some lady a beautiful necklate!
Conficts and irritation... how can we make progress without them? They are Nature's Stimulus Package!
I was learning about responsibility, accountability, doing things someone else's way -- instead of defiantly plowing my own way through life.
Okay! You can beat me now!!!
BTW: When I go to a meeting... you'll still see me looking for the broom room... and grabbing a broom, or bag of trash to take out, or picking up or straightening chairs... wiping up spilled coffee... or starting a fresh pot, or greeting the people... at a meeting that I've never been to before!
I remember that those things were important for me to "achieve my sobriety" that I enjoy today... So, I keep doing them. Besides, the newcomer with 4 hours sober that's helping me to take the trash out... may not feel such a barrier if he realizes the guy helping him take out trash has been around for a while.
And, I just noticed that I was spelling pearl as in pearl -- with perl as in perl -- the software language! Guess you can tell where my head was at!