requirement to chairing /making coffee

Topics related to AA Meetings - and alcohol addiction recovery
john boy
Posts: 78
Joined: Thu Nov 15, 2007 1:23 pm

requirement to chairing /making coffee

Postby john boy » Sat Jan 26, 2008 11:09 am

Today I requested a group conscience meeting at my home group to discuss the practice of "having to be a member of the group" to chair or to make coffee. I presented my view as, virtually anyone who comes through the door should be given the opportunity to chair. I also feel that virtually anyone should be called upon to make coffee.

My belief is, this is a form of participating in one's recovery and allows us to feel "include part of". Some members disagreed with me stating, in the beginning they would have been "scared" and would have stayed away in the future had they been "requested to chair".

I realize what worked for me may not work for everyone but when heard it explained that if I refuse a resonable request to be sure to tell my sponsor I did so...hmmm

Along with, if I waited around to particpate when I "felt" like it as compared to taking direction I really dont think I'd be sober today...


garden variety
Posts: 750
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 7:39 pm

Postby garden variety » Wed Jan 30, 2008 2:38 pm

Hi John Boy,

Around here, I've seen a mixed bag. My home group is like yours. You have to be a member of the group to do either coffee or chair. In fact, you'll have to fight the guy who does coffee because he will not give up that position to anyone.

But I've also chaired and did coffee for other groups that didn't have those requirements. I let the secretary be the one who makes the call. What happens most of the time is the secretary will ask for volunteers. Then I'll get with the secretary and ask then if you have to be a home group member. Usually if they ask for volunteers, they don't have that rule. And it usually works out best for either way a group does it. The groups that keep it closed usually do that because they have enough volunteers. The groups that are open, usually don't have enough help to get all the jobs done.

For my home group, I would be horrified if chairman would be open to non-home-grouup members. It would be the end of a great home group because the non-members would turn it into "NA" in a heartbeat because of the big amount of treatment center folks that come to our meetings. But I also know that if you ask for volunteers to chair, only the folks that volunteer get chosen. There is no such thing as "you have to chair" because you are a home group member.

I've been taught like you, if I refuse a reasonbable request, I should tell my sponsor. And at first, I was like you too. I needed to be told what to do. Even when I volunteer to help today, I show up and say "Tell me what you want me to do to help" because I do well with a little bit of direction.

john boy
Posts: 78
Joined: Thu Nov 15, 2007 1:23 pm

requirement to chairing /making coffee

Postby john boy » Wed Jan 30, 2008 3:03 pm

hi garden variety....

thanks for your response and views.....this group is small consisting of about 8-10 members of which 6 are regulars with another 6-10 non-members that show up on a semi-regular basis. At one time membership was a requirement to make coffee but that was changed as only a few would volunteer to make coffee..... but we still require membership to lead the meeting....doesn't seem to make sense.... but remember were alcoholics..HA....

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Joined: Wed Dec 26, 2007 11:29 pm

Postby dahlgren » Wed Jan 30, 2008 4:28 pm

Hi guys, I'm Mike an alcoholic/addict.

Well I'm going to just throw out this little tidbit for what it's worth.

"The only requirement for membership, is a desire to stop drinking".

Now if I want to get nitpicky I could say that there are a couple of traditions that could be construed to supercede the above statement.

Tradition 2.
For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority-a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.

Tradition 4.
Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or AA as a whole.

It's funny how those two traditions sandwich the statement which is not only the 3rd Tradition but also the bedrock of AA membership and which you can find throughout the literature, Big Book and stand alone "How it Works".

Hmmm strikes me that these gentlemen really knew what they were doing when they wrote this stuff some odd 60 years ago.

Keep coming back it works if you work it.

In love and recovery,

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Joined: Tue Sep 04, 2007 8:03 pm

Postby SoberinSC » Wed Jan 30, 2008 9:18 pm

Around here, anyone can make coffee at any meeting, its appreciated that several people will step up to the plate to do it anytime home group or not. We don't really have a set rule on who chairs, it would be welcome for anyone who would like to chair to do it and I think from my own experience it helps people get over that 'nervousness' of speaking in front of others. Tonight in fact at my home group we had a little group conscience and decided we are going to go back to the basics and use our podium for the chair person and all the readers, should be interesting but from a personal aspect I'm looking forward to experiencing it, I read how it works the other night at a speaker meeting at the podium and I was nervous as a cat on a boat in the middle of a lake. :lol:

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Joined: Fri Jun 08, 2007 9:10 am

Postby Susan » Wed Feb 06, 2008 1:26 am

Around here you must be an active home group member. We have a length of time too, and it is two people who do coffee. Usually an older member with a new member. We do not give a key to a building to a person with less than a year. As far a chair at least one year. We have made a lot of mistakes over the years. The primary one is giving people a key to a church or building and then they are back stealing every thin. :D

Site Admin
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Postby Dallas » Wed Feb 06, 2008 7:09 am

It seems to me that incentives, benefits, responsibilities and recognition (in addition to a healthy dose of experienced common sense) -- in association with continuous sobriety and participation in our own recovery wouldn’t be such a bad idea.

I think it helps for an alcoholic in recovery to have an attitude of “I want to be able do thisâ€

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Joined: Fri Aug 05, 2005 2:34 am

Postby Tim » Wed Feb 06, 2008 8:04 pm

In my home group, responsibilities--except treasurer--are rotated every six months. We decide this at our regular business meeting. While we don't have a hard-and-fast, member-only rule, it almost always ends up that either a member or regular meeting attendee takes on various responsibilities.

Chairing the meeting is by volunteering using a yearly sign-up calendar. One doesn't have to be a member to sign up to chair. Some like to sign up to chair during their AA birthday month. Others, like myself, like to sign up for the once-a-month Step Study.

I've been a member of my home group for 10 years and have almost always had some responsibility or another. The only job I haven't done in years is GSR, because I have a work conflict on the same night as the monthly meeting.

My home group has a good mix of early, middle and long-term sobriety. No matter who chairs the meeting the discussion invariably gravitates toward a focus on recovery from alcoholism.

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Postby Dallas » Wed Feb 06, 2008 8:16 pm

Hey Tim,

Thanks for sharing your message of how it is up your way. I enjoy reading of the various formats in different meetings. It helps me to keep an open mind and an attitude of discovery, and it reminds me that there is always more than a few different good ways to do something!

I guess that's what Bill was really trying to emphasis in his writings on the 12 Traditions. Let the groups decide what works best for each group.


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