- Venting about others in meetings

Venting about others in meetings




Topics related to AA Meetings - and alcohol addiction recovery

Venting about others in meetings

Postby rockingchair » Wed Jul 25, 2007 8:33 pm

Recently I have run into a number of people that are upset/angry/disturbed by what certain individuals in their AA meetings have done or said. This week I was in a As Bill Sees It meeting and I'd like to share with you one of the readings that was read. It was very helpful to me in my thinking about this very common problem:

268

Those Other People

"Just like you, I have often thought myself the victim of what other people say and do. Yet every time I confessed the sins of such people, especially those whose sins did not correspond exactly with my own, I found that I only increased the total damage. My own resentment, my self-pity would often render me well-nigh useless to anybody.

"So, nowadays, if anyone talks of me so as to hurt, I first ask myself if there is any truth at all in what they say. If there is none, I try to remember that I too have had my periods of speaking bitterly of others; hurtful gossip is but a symptom of our remaining emotional illness; and consequently that I must never by angry at the unreasonableness of sick people.

"Under very trying conditions I have had, again and again, to forgive others -- also myself. Have you recently tried this?"

Letter, 1946


I'd be interested to hear your experience, strength and hope on this topic.

Thanks from the rc (rockingchair)
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Postby musicmode » Thu Jul 26, 2007 2:23 am

"...hurtful gossip is but a symptom of their remaining emotional illness."

My name is Anne, I'm an alcoholic.

Hello 'RC' :wink: . I feel that in the line above lies the answer. No different than Bill W., I have also done my own share of tongue-wagging, more so in the earlier days of coming in, and--I discovered...mostly so in order to "fit in"...a 'when in Rome' thing. My brain was still wildly messed up...I was wildly messed up. I can't specifically pin-point when, but there did seem to be a quiet "a-ha" :idea: moment when I sort-a sat back and just listened, and I thought: wait a minute here; something about this isn't right. What I'm reading, and what I'm seeing/or rather hearing... :?: ...is somehow contradictory...what's the scoop? I then began to "split the hairs" so-to-speak, and when the talk seemed to be more off the top of the head (remarks made about other people's sobriety), my gut would churn a bit...this isn't right; and then I noticed there would be a difference in those who would speak program, it was shot from the hip, from the heart...with depth and sincerety and weight--I'd zone right in on that. Over time, and without judgment, I've simply come to the conclusion of: that's just where that person is, which fits beautifully with the quote from "As Bill Sees It".

If someone says something that raises my dander, I now know that they're hitting a bare nerve of some sort--and that...is about me/my inventory, not theirs. Sure, that person said what they did, but if it's getting under my skin...there's something under the surface that I need to address. I admit, it's much easier to hang on to it sometimes--hang on to that hurt or anger (or both), but I can't...gotta "let go and let God". As well, all the scuttle-butt that goes on can make us a little leary on what to say at meetings, thus causing us to shut down and isolate...or....not come back to the meetings. The more vigilant we are at working the program, the more likely the urge to join in or start any gossip is...well...removed :wink: , also, the tendancy to let the words of others roll off our backs is stronger. All the white noise is a whole lotta words that are saying one thing: I'm hurting. I'm hurting so bad that saying such things makes it so that I don't gotta focus on how badly I'm hurting. A lady in the Mile 300 group put it this way: we concern ourselves only with our side of the street. Yes, others will comment. At first, that's going to get under our skin, making us want to retaliate. Remember that resentments for us is deadly, so...all we need to do is keep our side and portion of the street as 'up' as we possibly can..

Another example was a lady who claimed to have 17 years of sobriety, yet...she'd be the first to say she didn't like what you said (yes, at a meeting), she'd tell ya exactly what you should&shouldn't say, because "we don't want to scare any newcomers away". :? Oooo-kaa-aay. And yes, who she was speaking to was me. This is where I became aware of just where I was at in my own program, as--I didn't take offense. Her tone indicated that I should have, and she was very blunt. I walked away from that meeting...baffled quite frankly. After the meeting, oldtimers approached me and shook my hand, one person said to me "now that-what you said-was AA." I wasn't ruffled by this lady at all, I felt a concern for this woman, because...??? I didn't know. I prayed about this--about her...curious. A week or so passes and the thought occured. I knew what to do. I went to that meeting that evening, and I'd read about such a thing in a Grapevine, so I put it to work. I walked in just prior to the meeting, greeted her with a smile, and as I sat, I asked her: So, how's your steps going? What step you on? How's it going for you today? Her reply? Well, it surprised me. She said: "Oh, I'm a believer in only doing your steps once. If you do them right the first time, you never have to do them again." Let me tell ya...I never had so much trouble keeping a "###" than at that moment. I thought to myself, "that explains it", and I found it all rather amusing, yet it saddened me, too. Had not a clue what to say to that. Since then though, I'd watch and listen to her, and I did get a lot out of her shares at meetings...and who am I to say? It'd been 17 years without a drink for her, so who's to say, right? I know for me, I gotta keep on keeping on. For her, I would say by observation both in and outside of meetings, that other people tend to get under her skin relatively easy.

Enough said. The "scuttle-butt" is there. It's always been there (as put forth by Bill W.), and it's always going to be. It's what we do with it/how we handle it--that's the real sobriety test--or, at least...for me. Pray for them, and don't get caught up in the soap-opera side of AA...that's not part of the program.

Keep It Simple,
Anne
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Postby musicmode » Thu Jul 26, 2007 2:30 am

...for some reason, this: ##### went down instead of "straight face"???? Don't know what happened there??? I re-read it before I submitted it, too. Sorry 'bout that.

Anne
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Postby Dallas » Thu Jul 26, 2007 4:09 am

First things first!!! :lol:

1. I can assure you -- that I will get off the topic. :lol:

2. It's inappropriate to vent about others "in" A.A. meetings.

Those are my ideas on the topic. :lol:

-----------------------

Geeessss! Don't you love it that we have an "Edit" and "Delete" button on the forum? Wouldn't it be nice if we had those buttons for everything else in life?

After getting a couple hours of sleep -- I changed my mind about posting my message on this topic. So... I edited it out! :lol:

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Postby garden variety » Thu Jul 26, 2007 1:41 pm

Well maybe you can guess the two words that keep coming back to me every doggone day lately:

"Have mercy!"

Boy, I know I need mercy, so that means I have to have mercy on those that get under my skin. When we do the "Our Father" at meetings:

"Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us."

The bottom line it this. I know that without God or this fellowship, I am capable of "gossip" or "backbiting". Add to that theft, robbery, assault and battery, felonious assault, rape, arson, aggravated homicide, coups, violent revolutions, world hedgemony, and probably othings that are worse!

Have mercy!
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Postby anniemac » Thu Jul 26, 2007 3:11 pm

Man, Dallas, I have a curious streak a mile long, and I wish I had read your post before you edited it!! I like things pure and uncut (oops, no drug talk here in AA!) and now I feel like I'm missing out on something!

I guess what I have to say summarizes all that's been said.

Consider the source.
Only the wounded wound.
If I am reacting, I am identifying with what has been said, and I need to look at that.

When I first came to AA, and for quite a whiles thereafter, I was one huge gaping wound. I was in such emotional pain, so raw, so vulnerable, so incredibly filled with self-pity. Everything that everyone said seemed to be a personal attack to me. There was no one miraculous defining moment when that shifted; it was the result of years of Step work and it was a series of subtle shifts. I can still get all bothered by what someone else says -- in or out of a meeting -- but when the dust settles, I know the problem is within me.
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Postby carol1017 » Thu Jul 26, 2007 6:00 pm

Okay, I admit it -- I'm guilty!!!

Yes, I sometimes get upset about what others do or say at a meeting, and sometimes I just need to vent about it.

It's all well and good for me to recognize that the problem is in me, and to take the steps to change what is wrong within me, but venting about the situation helps me focus on exactly what it is that bothers me. Talking about it with others like all of you here on this board helps me to gain perspective.

Quite often, I find that I hold myself and my fellow AAers to a higher standard -- after all, we've worked the steps, and we should know better, right?? -- forgetting for a moment that we are all only human.

I have learned to take the attitude of "if they're talking about me, they're leaving some other poor soul alone" when it comes to rumors, etc. , and I have learned to stand up for myself when subjected to unwarranted criticism. Honest criticism, on the other hand, while difficult to take, is very helpful to me. If 2 people come up to me and compliment me on my purple blouse when I "know" the blouse is pink, I'm going to look at the blouse again, and see if they may be right.

One of the best things I ever heard in a meeting is "the other person doesn't have to be wrong for you to be right". Through tolerance and forgiveness, I can reach a point of agreeing to disagree without resentment.

But I will also admit that some days, tolerance and forgiveness are harder to practice than other days!
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Postby rockingchair » Thu Jul 26, 2007 9:22 pm

anniemac wrote:when the dust settles, I know the problem is within me.


I want to thank everybody that has shared so far on this topic - I particularly liked what anniemac said - and Carol, I hope you didn't think I started this string because of anything you shared, it is just something that I have been noticing a lot lately.

And Dallas, I read what you wrote before you edited it - and I found it to be very interesting - particularly the part about the history of the letter I quoted and really a lot of the rest of what you wrote. 8) But, hey, if you want to edit it, that's up to you.

Another reading that I found helpful on this topic is in the 12 & 12's chapter about Step 10:

It is a spiritual axiom that every time we are disturbed; no matter what the cause, there is something wrong with us.


Over the years I have been slowly learning that whenever anything happens that upsets me it is an opportunity for me to learn things that will help me to live a more peaceful loving life. The first thing I learn is that I sure don't want to act like the person that I am upset with.

But there is far more to be learned from it than that - I then need to examine why in the world this bothers me - what is it about me that is causing me to react to it? What character defects, fears, basic instincts are in play? Why am I being so judgmental? What was my response to what happened? Did I respond with love and tolerance? What, if anything, can I do to help? That kind of thing.

And I am still learning, so that is why I brought this up in this forum.

The R-chair
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Postby Dallas » Thu Jul 26, 2007 11:03 pm

Carol wrote: But I will also admit that some days, tolerance and forgiveness are harder to practice than other days!


Isn't that the truth!!!!!!!!! :lol: :lol:

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Postby carol1017 » Fri Jul 27, 2007 12:36 am

rockingchair --

You mean it's NOT ALL ABOUT ME?????

hmmmf!

:lol: :lol:

No, I didn't think you posted this because of something I said -- I've noticed the same thing lately -- is there a full moon?
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