Category Archives: meetings

No Burning Bushes

Many of us speak about our “relationships” with our Higher Power, whatever that may be, but how many of us spend our time asking for things instead of for the power to do things, as in the Third Step Prayer. (Look it up: page 63 in the AA Big Book.)

How many of us spend our time telling H.P. what we want, asking for advice, but then never shut up long enough to hear any answers? What kind of relationship is that? That doesn’t even work with humans! Continue reading

Bitch, Whine And Debate, Or Experience, Strength And Hope?

Note: These comments are not meant to apply to
newcomers or people in crisis.


I get really annoyed at meetings when the discussion veers to subjects that have nothing to do with recovery. I’m perfectly willing to admit that the irritation is my problem, but this is my blog and I’m going to discuss it anyway.  :-p

The other night I was at a meeting where the chair asked for a topic, and one of our more “intellectual” members raised a hand and commenced a five-minute dissertation on how they didn’t understand why we say in the rooms that it takes an addict to really understand an addict, why they shouldn’t just be able to speak openly about their addiction to any friend and get useful feedback, etc. They used the words obviously, clearly and in my opinion a lot. This sort of thing does nothing to promote discussion about recovery; it merely exercises the ego of the speaker.

Our fellowships are not debating societies. They are about getting a sponsor, developing a support system, working the steps and practicing the 12 principles* in our daily lives. If I want to bitch, whine or debate, I need to do it outside a meeting with my sponsor or a support, not hijack a meeting with subjects that have little or nothing to do with the process of recovery. Better yet, at whatever point in recovery I may be, I need to remember that I’m the problem, and projecting my complaints onto other people or ideas is not conducive to a genuine pursuit of sobriety.

Maybe that’s what I’m doing now: projecting my issues.

Or maybe not.

* 12 Principles? What 12 principles?

Outside Issues (Tradition 10)

I get really tired of hearing the “book beaters” play the outside issues card every time someone in a meeting shares something that makes them uncomfortable. I’ve been reading AA-approved literature for nearly three decades, and I’ve not yet found anything that prohibits talking about drug, sex, shopping, gambling or hoagie addictions in an AA meeting.

Bill Wilson was a smoker and experimented with psychedelics. (His nicotine addiction killed him 36 years after the founding of AA, and we won’t even get into his extra-marital issues.) Dr. Bob was an admitted drug addict in addition to his alcoholism. Bill made it clear in a number of his writings that no one was to be excluded from A.A. meetings.

The long form of Tradition Ten reads as follows:

10 — No A.A. group or member should ever, in such a way as to implicate A.A., express any opinion on outside controversial issues–particularly those of politics, alcohol reform, or sectarian religion. The Alcoholics Anonymous groups oppose no one. Concerning such matters they can express no views whatever. [Emphasis mine.]

I have to wonder why there are still people, old-timers included, who don’t get that “outside issues” means things such as the above, not matters that bear directly on sobriety. Are we here to make smokers, overeaters, benzo users and others comfortable — to pick and choose our recovery — or to make newcomers welcome and support everyone’s recovery?

I’m inclined to think that some of these issues make some members really nervous, and that’s the reason for their objection to discussion of other addictions. As we all (should) know, substitute addictions are one of the most common by-products of abstinence from any “primary” addiction.

Bleeding deacons, show me some literature that contradicts what I’ve written here. Let’s get a discussion going in the comments.

Welcoming

“How should one live? Welcoming to all.”
~ Mechtilde of Magdeburg

“Welcoming means to accept others as they are, without
passing judgment on their worth….As we practice this
attitude toward others, regardless of their station in
life, regardless of their [skillful and unskillful]
actions, we are changed inside.

“Welcoming is a spiritual practice.”

~ “Touchstones — A Book Of Daily Meditations For Men” (Hazelden) 7/18*

How does this apply to my program?

*The change is brackets is mine. The original reads “good or bad”. Since that seems, in itself, binary and judgmental, I believe the change is appropriate to the thought.