Great topic and good questions! Thanks for sharing!
The one thing that stuck out for me was:
alimac03 wrote:roll their eyes as if to say....
I can really get myself in a trap of fear when my perception of other people's thoughts is based upon my observance of silent body language.
Perception = "what I see" AND then, "I apply a meaning to it."
Often, "my meaning that I apply to it" will be far away from the reality of what really happened or what was really going on. And, "my meanings that I apply to what I see" -- will ALWAYS be tinted or flavored by "my beliefs."
Example: If I'm feeling sensitive and personally inadequate -- I'll tend to believe (MY belief) that people are watching everything I do -- and that they're judging me -- on the thing that I feel personally inadequate about. And, reality might be "they weren't even thinking about me at all!"
Something that helps me, during examples like you've given above with "they rolled their eyes as if" -- is to drop the "as if" -- and remind myself that the only thing I know for sure was "they rolled their eyes."
My "as if" is what get's me into troubled waters. Because they might have rolled their eyes -- and been thinking about NOTHING.
Or, they might have rolled their eyes AND earlier in the day -- they could have been on the telephone w/ someone ... and what they were discussing was EXACTLY about what someone picked as a topic in a meeting.
I call it "my mind reading." Because actually, I'm trying to "read someone's mind -- and I think I know what they are thinking" and most often, I'll be wrong about it.
With that said......... my suggestions about "a topic that would be appropriate for newcomers and old-timers"? ANYTHING that has to do w/ sobriety and living sober. "First things first." Our sobriety and living sober MUST come first -- because if it doesn't -- any other topic will be simply an academic mental exercise. If we don't stay sober -- we won't have anything else to discuss other than "I'm screwed now. I drank again and now everything is all gone again."
What could be tried is:
1. The leader or chair person picks a topic that "they" believe will be appropriate for the meeting.
2. Before announcing the topic that they picked -- they can ask the group, if someone in the group has a topic that they would like to suggest -- or do they have a specific problem in sobriety -- or with living sober -- that they would like the topic to be on -- so that they can listen to how others have solved that problem in sobriety.
3. If no one volunteers a topic, or the requested topic is inappropriate for discussing IN the meeting -- then, the leader proceeds with the topic that they previously chose.
4. Whatever you do and whichever way you end up going -- feel confident that "Life had it's way in it." And, if someone else "rolled their eyes as if..." then, that's their business. If they had a problem w/ something -- they failed to say anything about it. And, let it rest in peace.
The thing that newcomers and old-timers MUST do is "stay sober so that they can live sober."
Thanks for the topic! I appreciate you.