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Smoking or Non-Smoking AA Meetings




Topics related to AA Meetings - and alcohol addiction recovery

Smoking or Non-Smoking AA Meetings

Postby Dallas » Sat Mar 18, 2006 3:38 pm

Smoking or Non-Smoking AA Meetings

When I first came in to AA, the majority of the AA meetings that I was aware of, were all smoking meetings.

Over the years, it began to change... with smoking on one side and non-smoking on the other side of the meeting.

Then, I watched many of them change to smoking on one night, and non-smoking on another night.

Now, the majority of AA meetings that I've attended, or that I'm aware of, have become non-smoking meetings.

A local AA Meeting Hall, that I attend, is now starting to go through the hot button topic of smoking and non-smoking. What I've seen in the past is... the groups will split up, and then new meetings will start, some with coffee pots and ashtrays, and others with coffee pots and no ashtrays. :lol:

Some people proclaim the benefits of smoking meetings, and their view that in most areas they've been most all AA meetings are smoking meetings.

Others proclaim the negative effects of smoking meetings, and their view that in most areas that they've attended AA meetings, the meetings are non-smoking.

Since we don't have this problem online... one person will never whiff another persons smoke online... there isn't a dicussion about it.

So, what I'm asking for, is the online communities feedback... of your experience in your meetings, and for your pro and con ideas on the subject.

I hope that everyone will have something to say about it.

Looking forward to reading what you have to share about it.

Dallas
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Postby new2this » Sat Mar 18, 2006 7:48 pm

Hi All---

Hope everyone is doing well.

Thought I'd throw in my two cents, or in my case, maybe just a hay-penny! :lol:

While, yes, as a smoker, I like being able to smoke during the meetings and it would be nice....for me....to be able to always to do that, but non-smokers don't think that way. And I can go a whopping hour without a cig. And heck, if I feel like I can't, I could always step outside, right?

When I first came to AA, I landed in a smoking a meeting. Man, that was great! Then when I started going to other meetings, I realized that most meetings are non-smoking. That was okay, too, because the reason that I was there wasn't to have a cigarette anyway.

Maybe smoking shouldn't be the attraction of an AA meeting anyway. For me personally, it wasn't what kept me coming back. And it wasn't what got my tail into those non-smoking meetings. It's a nice luxury but that's it. And it's not even that for a non-smoker who doesn't want to breath my smoke or even the 'stank' I leave behind!!! :oops:

I can only think of two meetings that I've went to that allowed smoking. And I really liked both of them. I've been to non-smoking meetings that I really liked, too. Bottom line for me is, if I really want to smoke, I will ALWAYS find a way.(kind of like having a drink?) But just not in a meeting where I might offend others, ya know?

And heck, the four or five cigs I don't smoke in that meeting can be that dollar or two or five or whatever that I put in the basket. I saved money!!

I'm an alkie and as such am selfish and self-centered. If I can save a buck....and it goes in MY pocket(or lungs).....Woohoo for ME!!!!! :lol: :lol: :lol:

Anyhoo, 'nuff rattling on.

Take care all,

Cathy
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Postby blueangel » Sat Mar 18, 2006 10:17 pm

I had gone to AA meetings for years with them being smoking meetings. We even use the phrase "smoke filled rooms" talking about AA meetings. I am about as addicted to ciggies as a human can get but when I go to an AA meeting I am there to because of the alcoholism, not to smoke. Smoking is a luxury at the meeting but I can go an hour without a ciggie and if it gets to bad I just go outside smoke half of one and come back in, no biggie. I have in my travels around the U.S. in the last several years attended alot of AA meetings in other states there have gone non- smoking too. I guess I've just gotten used to it at this point. To me it's a matter of "am I willing to go to any lengths to keep my sobriety?" the answer is pretty simple. I'd go to an AA meeting with a room full of rattlesnakes if i needed the meeting bad enough to keep my sobriety. My sobriety is the key that holds everything else in place. If I'm so concerned about my rights as a smoker that I am unwilling to go to an AA meeting that is non-smoking then I really need to start back at step one, because it's all about me and NOT the we of this program. I really feel that it's a very small price to pay to go 1 hour out of my life without the ciggie to maintain my sobriety.
I'm sure AA meeting would get packed to the rafters if they were held at the local strip club as the *attraction* to get them there, but the sobriety is supossed to be the attraction, "If you want what we have" instead of a smoking issue to attract people for a bigger turnout.
Bottom line it's all about the sobriety and NOT smokers rights, and this is coming from a smoker!
sorry for the rant. I just really feel that smoking shouldn't even be an issue at a meeting since we are there for alcoholism. I have spent years defending smokers rights, and even go so far as to be a little on the intolerant side on the ex smokers, so I really am shocked at myself getting so ranty, (is that a real word? :lol: ) over this issue. But it really is all about maintaining our sobriety and not whether we can smoke or not. I am hoping I didn't piss anyone off. Come to think of it it wouldn't be a day of the week unless I pissed off at least 1 person :lol: :lol: :lol:
Have a great day all and God Bless, Kay
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Smoking in meetings

Postby wareagle10 » Mon Mar 20, 2006 2:38 am

Way back when all the meetings were smoking meetings in Orange County, California. Sometimes people would complain and then leave to take in meetings that were outdoor meetings or small meetings where the smoke didn't come in like a fog bank. But, being the politically correct California, meetings began to ban smoking. Oh sure, you could go outside to smoke if you couldn't go the 1 1/2 hours that our meetings last. It just seemed that the meetings began to shrink up and many died. I go to a meeting that is a 40+ year meeting and was 150 people every Friday night, now that meeting is around 20-25 people, and, as the meeting wears on there are people coming and going to have a cigarette, it does disrupt the sharing and sometimes many miss what they should be hearing because they have to have a smoke. I don't smoke but I also do not believe that I should be able to force someone to respect my non smoking. If I don't like it I can move or go to another meeting. That's my stubborn side that I have talked about on other posts.
We used to have a large fan that blew the smoke out of the room and this worked fine, but then the City of Huntington Beach passed an ordinance banning smoking in all City buildings. That was that, now the County has banned smoking in all buildings so it doesn't matter where you have a meeting you cannot smoke. I hate government and their intrusive ways. I believe that having no smoking in meetings has hurt many of the meetings in this area and I also believe that it hurts those who have to go outside because they miss so much of the meeting, you know, like when I at the podium sharing the crucial stuff that I share. HA! Good topic, Dallas.
Take care and straight ahead, John.
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Hello!

Postby JR » Mon Mar 20, 2006 3:47 pm

I don't smoke and I don't go to smoking meetings. I think stopping smoking is an important part of recovery when you are ready to make that step. I was told that the first five years of sobriety was about smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee.

I recently read Rusty Zipper's story in the personal stories (for about the 5th time because I love that story) and he mentions how comfortable he felt in the night club atmosphere of the smoke filled rooms and how he wouldn't have felt as at home in a more sterile environment. In 1983 the first place I went was to church. I walked in the front door and out the back door in about 30 seconds because I felt so uncomfortable, next stop - smoke filled room and I felt right at home.

It is a program of attraction. When we are just coming off a bottom we need to have a place where we feel we fit in on the very first experience. For me, when I went to my first meeting, what attracted me was the craziness and yet they were sober. Smoking, drinking gallons of coffee, irreverent, laughing and loud.

Easy Does It,

Jr
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Postby Rusty Zipper » Wed Mar 22, 2006 2:34 am

ok, nice to read all the posts and good eve'n all my loved ones... i'm gunna stick in my $10 bill on this subject. as a scared, nerved up, destitude, bloated, feel'n like a worthless piece'o crap when i wondered into my first AA meets. i wondered into a dark, smelly, cold SMOKED filled basement... and for me, it was home...just like my Uncles Resturaunt when i was a kid, just like the shaby nightclubs i used to play in with the band, just like the sleezy joints i used to hang out in! ...shure as i know now, if a meeting doesn't please you for the right reasons, go find another. well easy to say as bleeding deacon. but try to be in the newbies shoes again. who the f'k wants to go run'n around search'n for the perfect room when your at the jumping off point. i am only speaking for me! my home group is a middle america type, and thats where i learned what i have now. but it was Alive Again, the now famous... Panal of Experts that made me feel i was in the right place. and for the Smoke, i'm gratefull.... from staying sober, working the steps, changing my reaction, my attitude, surendering to my problem, and accepted all its consequences can i now say this. The Panal of Experts was one of the bigest groups around here... some smoked, some didn't, we all got along... all it took was some smart ass politcaly corect type to set the ship jumping started, they ploted, sceamed, and thought they would get the group to vote out smokeing... well Thy Will said, fogetabout. we gunna stil smoke... so here comes the fun... war games begin. the rebellion, anarchy... i sit here and watch... well you know the rest, another group was started. and its a wonderfull group, but not for me... The Panal was down to about five or six of us, lots of resentments, and the like... today, standing room only... its found its own way again, and others have found us...as far as smoking, i learned from the program, do i wanna be sober, or right... whenever a choice has to be made by the group, whatever the majority votes, i accept... and if i wished for one day sober, i certantly can go a hour without a nicotine fit, and if i cant, i got the wisdom to know the diffrerance... i get up quietly, and go out and smoke. lol...my point, its not about me anymore, its about US... thanks for leting me blab... xoZ
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Postby Rusty Zipper » Wed Mar 22, 2006 2:42 am

hey, sorry, one more thing... Winter in New England is, well Winter in New England....its F'k'g COLD, Brrr!....when i was asked if i would go to any lenghts to stay sob'a, i ment it... i freeze my balls off outside the meeting hall!... hahahahaha!... sorry, couldn't help myself, self-will got the best of me... Nah!!!, just what JR??? come'n on, you can do it.... good old Rule#62, part of the Traditions... and this subject is about Traditions... Dont take ourselfs too Damm Serious... nighty, nights
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Postby wareagle10 » Wed Mar 22, 2006 3:27 am

Hey Zip: You can have your winters, I prefer to keep my weibols intact. Southern California winters are bad enough for a warm blooded alkie like me. We just had an Alaskan storm blow through and it's, let's see, 60 degrees outside at 8:19 PM, that's above zero, of course, Ha.
Our meetings are 1 1/2 hours long and sometimes our smokers can't go that long without a smoke. But you are correct, it is no longer about us as individuals, it is a "we" program. Having to leave a meeting even for a nature call bothers me, I am always afraid I am going to miss something that I was there to hear. So I cross my legs and try not to moan too load and listen, after the closing prayer though, I run like hell to the mens room. Ha.

Keep warm, take care and straight ahead, John.
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I do both

Postby 918gma » Wed Mar 29, 2006 5:55 am

I am struggling with the smoking issue right now and it's very interesting to read what every one has to say. I attend a smoking meeting, but I have been to non smoking meetings.
Like every one has said. The ashtray is a luxury, one I almost can't afford in more ways than one, but if it came down to it, I would still go to a meeting weather I could smoke or not.
Some one mentioned that the smoking meetings are more comfortable, probably because they remind us of the places we use to be comfortable in. I have noticed that non smoking meetings tend to be pretty spiritual, maybe that's where the discomfort lies. I am just speaking for myself, but when I do go to a non smoking meeting, I usually carry away a good solid feeling of connection to my HP. It's there in the smokers meetings too, but the hour or so sacrifice I make to attend that non smoking meeting usually pays a little higher dividend.
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