Every now and then I’ll run into one of two situations at a 12-Step meeting:
- Someone will read a statement about “our primary purpose” requesting that sharing be confined to such-and-such a topic; or
- Someone will comment “We don’t talk about that, this is ____ Anonymous”.
Generally speaking. I don’t have an issue with the first, although I think it ignores reality to a remarkable degree. But the issue is carried over to the second it’s another matter. If a group has a problem with talk about other issues, the proper way to handle it is for someone to take the so-called offender aside after the meeting, and gently explain the rule and why it exists (if they can). That should be a policy arrived at by the group conscience, not an individual or the service office. As AA puts it, “Our leaders are but trusted servants, they do not govern.” [Emphasis mine.] Continue reading
“The tides of populism and nationalism currently sweeping many developed countries have been accompanied by demands that unwelcome and inconvenient voices be removed from public discourse…
…Intolerance of alternative viewpoints is spreading to places that make me, a moderate and a liberal, most uncomfortable….I find almost everything that Mr Trump says objectionable. I consider him offensive and bigoted. But he has my full support to come to my country and be offensive and bigoted there. His freedom to speak protects my freedom to call him a bigot. His freedom guarantees mine….
“If you seek the removal of freedoms from an opponent simply on the grounds that they have offended you, you have crossed the line to stand alongside tyrants who imprison, torture and kill on exactly the same justification.”
~ J. K. Rowling
How does this apply to recovery?
Am I open-minded about the recovery ideas of others in the rooms, or do I preach the gospel of my fellowship and suggest that those who disagree with what I consider the True Way find recovery elsewhere? Am I offended by the way some speak, or how they dress? Do I raise holy hell if someone mentions drug abuse at an AA meeting? Are my tirades tolerated; my right to my opinions honored, despite the fact that I advocate curtailing the rights of others?
Maybe I need to think about that.
There is absolutely no reason why addicts shouldn’t attend AA meetings. However, AA has traditions that are important to the fellowship and to many of the members. One of those is that they generally confine their discussions to alcoholism and recovery from alcoholism….