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Topics related to AA Meetings - and alcohol addiction recovery

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Postby mendomann » Fri Jun 06, 2008 1:25 pm

At my home group there have been complaints about members going off-topic during a discussion meeting. Some members believe that the meeting should be about a subject that is related in some way to AA. When someone starts to talk about some personal problem i.e., trying to sell their house in Mexico, etc., and ramble on and on, others get upset. It has been suggested that the secretary should make an announcement at the beginning of the meeting concerning this and to intercede to get the meeting back on track. Or maybe a member with more experience should intercede. Comments please. :?:
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Postby Dallas » Sat Jun 07, 2008 2:36 pm

Hello mendomann, welcome to the site and to the forum!
And, thank you for participating in the forum with your question for comments on the subject of your message.

What helps me most in regards to questions or thoughts about A.A. groups or meetings -- is the A.A. 12 Traditions.

Both bitter and sweet experiences over the years -- has convinced me that the 12 Traditions are just as much a gift and a tool for myself, as an alcoholic that desires to maintain his sobriety, as much as it is for the A.A. Groups and meetings, so that they continue to exist with their efforts to help alcoholics to achieve and maintain their sobriety.

When I read your message above the four Traditions that readily come to mind for me are:

Tradition One "Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A.A. Unity."

Tradition Two "For our group purpose, there is but one ultimate authority - a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience."

Tradition Four "Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or A.A. as a whole."

Tradition Five "Each group has but one primary purpose - to carry it's message to the alcoholic who still suffers."

In Tradition One, I'm reminded that my personal recovery depends upon my unity with the A.A. fellowship and the A.A. meetings and groups. What that means for me is that I need to stay connected as a "part of" A.A. And, that means that I'll have to maintain a spirit of love and tolerance when I think that others in the group "may be doing it wrong". :lol:

One of this things that helps me maintain my unity with the Group, is Tradition Two, which reminds me that "I'm not in charge. I'm not an authority. -- The expression of the group's conscience, and hopefully it's an informed one, is what will make the final decisions about how things are done in the meetings. :lol:

In Tradition Four, "Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or A.A. as a whole...." I'm reminded that if the "informed group conscience" decides that each member will stand on their head till their ears turn red, saying the Serenity Prayer or reading How it works... that's okay. That would be what a particular group decided was best for their group. And, again, because of my need to stay attached in unity with the Fellowship, I can stand on my head till my ears turn red... while I'm in that meeting... and then I can decide to find a different meeting if I want to stand on my head till my ears turn green! :lol:

In Tradition Five "Each group has but one primary purpose - to carry it's message to the alcoholic who still suffers." For me, that means that whatever we do in the meeting does have one primary purpose:

a) To carry the A.A. message to
b) alcoholics that desire to recover.

What is the A.A. message? It's the 12 Steps. It's the hope and the fact that we have found a solution in which we can all agree. And, it's also the Fellowship with each other in our efforts to recover.

How can we carry the A.A. message? We carry it by sharing our own personal and individual experience, strength and hope of A.A. We talk about the solution. We talk about how we used the solution.

So, what if... the A.A. discussion meeting decides to discuss the topic of "alcoholic insanity"? :lol:

And, this would be what I shared: "I've been trying to sell my time-share down in Mexico for three years! Not even a nibble of a decent offer! It's driving me nuts!!!! It's made me feel like I'm on the brink of a drink!!!! :twisted: And, here is what I'm doing rather than drinking... :wink: I'm calling my sponsor and discussing my crazy thoughts... and my sponsor tells me to do a 10th Step Inventory on my fears related to not selling my Mexico time-share.... and then we got together and talked about it today... and now I feel really good about it. I have peace of mind. I don't have to drink over it."

So, what if... the A.A. discussion meeting decides to discuss the topic of "alcoholic insanity"? :lol: ... and instead of me sharing "my experience"... I'm sharing "my theory" about alcoholic insanity??? :?:

Well... for me, personally... I wouldn't be there to "share my theory and my ideas" about the topic. That's NOT carrying the A.A. message... it would be carrying "MY message of my ideas"... and I have to remember that "it's my thinking and my ideas" that originally drove me to drinking! So, why would I be invited to share "my insanity" (my ideas) instead of my experience with A.A.'s solution?

Thanks for your question!

Dallas
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Postby mendomann » Mon Jun 09, 2008 1:18 pm

Dallas, thanks for sharing. What you say makes a lot of sense. I agree with what you have to say about the Traditions and your remarks about tolerance is also pertinent. I know for my self, AA has been a program of personal growth and I have tried to be more tolerant of others. Especially those in our fellowship.
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Postby Dallas » Tue Jun 10, 2008 1:25 pm

Sometimes, it helps to remember that we are often dealing with some very sick people. With alcoholism, the outside of the package can look picture perfect. But, inside... there can be some problems going on. :wink:

I've discovered that when I keep my sharing in a meeting focused on my personal experiences with sobriety, recovery and feelings, more alcoholics will relate, understand, and identify with me.

When my sharing drifts off into trying to share something philosophical or how or what I think about things... that's when I've lost the ability to help another alcoholic in a meeting -- and it leaves me open to just discussing my ego-centric thoughts. And, to another alcoholic, they may think that I'm trying to lecture or instruct them.

The mystery and magic of A.A. : One alcoholic talking with another alcoholic. Sharing our experience. And, when we do that -- our experience has a chance to translate into strength and hope and recovery.

Dallas
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