24 October 2007

Some meetings are better than others

I've been attending a particular Tuesday night meeting at the local clubhouse, primarily because my sponsor likes to go there. Last night was my fourth visit recently. I saw The Rock the first time, but haven't seen him since.

I was reminded last night of why I don't like going there. The speaker, who had a real wise-guy attitude, started off by announcing that he hadn't been to a meeting in a year. Within minutes he was trashing the 5th Tradition, without apology, saying that after picking up a drink, everybody does something else whether it's drugs, gambling or picking up women. He of course noted that he did all of these. He spent all but the last couple of minutes on his drunkalogue (and drugalogue—fortunately he didn't talk at all about the other two).

I kept thinking, "And this is supposed to help us—and especially the newcomer—stay sober how?" Needless to say, I didn't find much to laugh about in his many funny stories. They seemed mostly to be in his story to entertain his audience. I thought about getting up and walking out while he was still speaking, but didn't. I thought about leaving at the break, but didn't. I also kept wondering throughout how much of this was purely my negativity rather than just a bad job by an unsober person. I did express my opinion to Mr Riches-to-Rags, who was there.

It wasn't all bad. I heard a couple of good comments after the break and got to talk for a few minutes to a man who was District Treasurer when I was GSR eight years ago but haven't seen since. I learned that he's been very active in Intergroup since then. He's a good candidate to speak for me sometime.


sharonsjourney said...

Our meeting last nite was about the 5th tradition, I & one other person talked about unity, & the singlness of purpose. That's cause the room was full of addicts. And the few alcoholics (yes, this was an AA meeting) that were there didn't want to make any waves, I guess. I was hurt. I love AA, & respect the ones who came before me, & hope it is here for somebody's grandchildren alcoholics. It's getting more & more diluted by addicts coming in, court slips, & treatment centers. It scares me. Not that they're not helped by AA, some of them are, but it's still diluting AA.....Alcoholics Anonymous. I am told the treatment centers don't allow you to say you're an alcoholic, because they teach that a drug is a drug is a drug. We need more old timers in AA. they're leaving, & not coming back. Maybe starting their own meeting. There's a guy who has been sober 14 yrs. that is teaching his sponsees that AA is for everyone. Well, hey, if that's the case, let's have Alanon come in, & the sex addicts, & overeaters, & shopping, gambling, you name it, come on in. Let's have a free for all. I realize I need to change my attitude, it's not so good right now. but, the newcomers aren't being educated. I want AA, NA, OA, SA, whatever, to be around for the particular group who needs those meetings. Unity, we as a group have to be on the same page! It's called singleness of purpose. That's why it's worked for so many years. This is not my opinion, Bill W. states this. There's a pamphlet called
' problems other than alcohol', that is all about this. There are only 2 closed meetings here, & addicts still come in & call themselves addicts, & talk about their drugs. That is so unfair to the just alcoholic. I am an alcoholic/addict, but I'm only one of those, depending on what meeting I go to, out of respect for that program. Why do you think AA loaned the addicts their 12 steps? It was to start their own meeting, because we alcoholics couldn't help the just addict. This happened years ago. Why would an alcoholic want to go to an NA meeting? So why does an addict go to AA? Because they don't want to be around their own, they are still different if they go to an AA meeting. That's how they want to keep it, I guess. They're not facing their own demons. Sorry I went on. I could go on more, but I won't. The addicts are running the alcoholics out. I know I need to calm down. Love & Tolerance is our code. I must remember that. I need to turn this over to my HP. AA in my town is in trouble. Guess I should move back east, I hear there's old AA there.

Anonymous said...

"There but by the Grace of God go I"

Kathy Lynne said...

It wasn't all bad. That is what I have learned that each meeting and moment has something for me.

dAAve said...

I often emply the concept of taking what I need and leaving the rest.

Should I know that The Rock is attending meetings? Should it be on the internet? Just curious. We've discussed this very thing lately on the Sobriety Society website.

Namenlosen Trinker said...

dAAve: you asked if you should know that The Rock is attending meetings. My short answer to that question is, "No, not if you know who he is." And you don't, do you?

A longer answer would allow for the fact that you might indeed be able to figure out who I am. Even if you did, you still wouldn't know who The Rock was. The only people who know who my sponsor is are people who have been in the rooms of A.A. with both of us (unless he's gone around telling a lot of other people that he sponsors me, which I seriously doubt). And that's a very small number itself—less than a dozen, most of whom also call The Rock their sponsor.

I have a little bit of direct experience with this. Even though one of my non-alcoholic brothers discovered the earlier incarnation of this blog and figured out it was mine (I had mentioned him, not by name, but in connection with the rare disease that he had and the treatment he was undergoing), he still didn't know the identity of anybody I had mentioned who was in A.A. since I had been using pseudonyms.

Frum Jew in Recovery said...

I am glad I saw this. I have taken a break from meetings for a month now. The ones I was going to had too many issues like you talk about. I just couldn't deal with the nonsense that goes on. I do attend online fellowships now. I am not for certain swearing off live meetings, just that I will try to find better ones.

This has not affected my sobriety at all.

I feel alot of progress being made with my relationships to my loved ones and on my job, things are deffo much better so I am very happy with how much progress I have made in 4 months of sobriety.

I will also start downloading audio and listening to recovery stuff.

I know that this is not the "party line" but it is working for me.

Frum Jew in Recovery said...

I also started out in Sobriety attending a 'free for all' fellowship group and stopped going, even tho I owe them my life. I told them as much.
but too much of the sex addict stuff was wreaking havoc on my soul.

Mary P Jones (MPJ) said...

I've had this experience with the chemistry and people in different meetings too. Unfortunately, the best meeting I ever went to is located several hours away from me by plane -- I attended while I was away on vacation.

Johnnyboy said...

Don't drink, go to meetings, call your sponsor, do what they say, follow the instructions, use a map, help others along the way, smile though your heart is breaking, and read some spiritual material. At night, say 'Thank you'.

Start a 'closed' meeting in your town. Help the "addict" to find an NA meeting that works for them, or whatever they need. I have to remember to stay sober for me first, and then help out when I can. Personally, I cannot sponsor an addict. I can only help those that have the disease of alcoholism in their blood. The rest I feel for, and they help me with patience and tolerance.

Love ya...

recoveryroad said...

I usually take something from every share. It took some practice, as shares like the one you describe drove me mad in the first couple of years in AA.

Addict? Go to NA. Ta, ta. I'm 'old school', I'm afraid. I have no objection to hearing a share from someone who used drugs too (I did) but the Lit is quite specific on mixing AA with other addictions.

Good post. Take it easy.

vicariousrising said...

I rarely share in meetings, but recently I celebrated my 2nd anniversary, so I did share. I didn't plan ahead my shares, so I just let fly whatever came to mind. My drunkalog was not what was on my mind - what I got out of being sober was what I shared and what I think (I hope) is most useful for a newcomer.

I've been reading lots of posts about the AA singleness of purpose, and to be honest, I am not sure what I think. I didn't do drugs. But I think it is an oversimplification of my problem to say that alcohol and alcoholism is the root of my troubles and focusing solely on those takes care of everything. I prefer the spiritual sickness paradigm where alcohol is used as an attempted cure. In that case, many other things might serve as a cure for that emptiness inside. But I don't know. I'm just another drunk chick.

YamadogGirl said...

I have never attended a meeting of AA where I did not walk away with something, even learning a lesson on what I don't want to do. An example would be this last summer. Closed discussion group, guy on paper, he did NOT want to be there, and kept going outside, not even listening. That's fine with me, you have to want this to make it work. But, he came in at 9:00 and demanded his court paper, the secretary hadn't signed and wouldn't, he hadn't attended. He got loud, started threatening, the men in the meeting told him to take it outside, the general melee occured. When everyone came back in it happened to me my turn to share, and this is what I said, "I remember that anger, that fear, that paranoia, and I'm glad I was reminded of it tonight, and I can pray for God's Will for him, and hope he makes it back. Because if I don't do these simple things: pray in the AM, clean house, trust God, work with others, check my motives, and thank God in the PM, I can be refunded my misery at any time."

In regards to the 5th - I am strictly an alcoholic, but I have many friends who are dual addicted. When leading at an AA meeting they always ask what the home group rules are, like is it okay to talk about other substances in my drunkalog, or just briefly mention them? I also attend Open and Closed meetings. My closed are generally all alcoholic or alcoholic/addict, my open meetings can be anyone, even people without a problem, such as nurses, students, concerned family & friends of drunk etc., addicts aren't the only ones attending open AA meetings, that's why they are called OPEN. Thanks!