- Keeping it "interesting" for Oldtimers and Newcome

Keeping it "interesting" for Oldtimers and Newcome

Topics related to AA Meetings - and alcohol addiction recovery

Keeping it "interesting" for Oldtimers and Newcome

Postby alimac03 » Wed Oct 19, 2011 4:36 am

When I first joined my AA home group ALL are discussion meetings were led with a "Daily Reflection." Many people thought this was a bit monotonous, so at the Group Conscience we decided it would be the discretion of whoever chaired the meeting to set a topic for discussion.

I now chair one of these meetings and sometimes find it difficult to find a balance between what interests the newcomers and the Old-timers. Over the last few weeks we have discussed the topics of Acceptance, Finding a Higher Power and Daily Inventory. Last night, I chose an excerpt from "Living Sober" on the importance of 24 Hours. However when I introduced the topic I saw lots of the old-timers roll their eyes as if to say, "We all know this one!" Considering half of the meeting was made up of AA's with less than 6 months sobriety, I thought it was extremely relevant, but how do you keep the balance?

I know I will never keep everyone happy all of the time, but I also hope that everyone gets a least a little something out of the meeting. Suggestions greatly appreciated :)
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Postby Dallas » Wed Oct 19, 2011 10:21 am

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!" :lol:

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. :lol:

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. :wink:

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." :wink:

Thanks for the topic! I appreciate you.

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Postby alimac03 » Wed Oct 19, 2011 10:43 am

Thanks Dallas,

You hit the nail on the head when you talked about trying to read minds. I think I've been doing that a little too often lately :oops: We have a small group and if one person gets rattled it upsets the whole apple cart. I need to remember the 4 agreements ( I realise that's not directly AA related - but good advice nonetheless.)

Thanks also for the suggestions :D I will use the "Anyone want to suggest a topic", at the next meeting and see how it goes 8)
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Postby chollis » Wed Feb 22, 2012 11:25 pm

Dallas, I really like the idea of being confident and staying positive when in the meetings. Alimac03, the suggestion that I have for you is even though the discussion may not be about AA it should be something that won't offend or disrupt anyone. Hope this helps.
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Postby Dallas » Wed Feb 22, 2012 11:37 pm

Welcome to the site chollis! It's really great to have you here, and thank you for sharing and participating!!! It's very much appreciated.

Yep. I pretty much believe that much of the ideas and instructions in our Big Book -- are about helping us to grow, in understanding, in efficiency, in being positive, confident, happy, joyous, free and comfortable -- while sober.

And, often -- too much time gets spent on negativity and self-defeating thinking and staying in problems.

Best wishes to you!
I look forward to reading more from you.

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