AA Meeting Question

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AA Meeting Question

Postby deskshed » Tue May 15, 2018 11:13 am

I'm fairly new to this, a little over one month. I'm looking for a home AA group. Something happened at a meeting this weekend that aggravated me. I'm curious what more experienced folks think.

A new person arrived shortly after the meeting started. My impression was homeless, canvas backpack, unkempt. When it came to discussing our thoughts on the meeting topic, this new person talked about how he and his wife had recently moved into the area from out of state, they couldn't get an apartment because they had both been in and out of prison, they had a four-month-old child, they had no transportation and he had to walk everywhere, they were both chemically dependent, and CPS was moving to put their child in a foster home.

I felt the person running the meeting blew this guy off. She said he needed to talk to someone, and pushed a phone list across the table. He talked a little more, and she said, "We have others who would like to share." Then she actively ignored him.

I know that nobody could solve this guy's problems. I sure wasn't going to take him home. But it seemed to me that listening to someone who was desperate and didn't know where else to turn was good use of time. When that happened I questioned whether this was a group I wanted to be part of. After the meeting was over I offered the guy a ride. Turns out he and his girlfriend are military vets, both have good lines of work but the booze and drugs wiped them out. I dropped him off and probably will never see him again.

Is there a point at an AA meeting where someone's desperate enough they shouldn't be there? I get it if someone is drunk or stoned, but this guy didn't seem to be currently under the influence of anything. I'm still learning, and wondering what y'all think.
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Re: AA Meeting Question

Postby PaigeB » Tue May 15, 2018 12:10 pm

I was the meeting chair like that... I honestly thought she was done, hoped she was done, and preemptively said, "Thank you for sharing." We did let her finish and she finished pretty quickly. She had been in AA before - in this meeting before and was known for taking too much time... so much that she used to set a 5-minute ping on her phone per her sponsor's request.

She had gone back out drinking and made several attempts to come back in. She did not stay sober after the meeting I am referring to, but has since found her footing again.

In general it is common for "5 minutes or less" per share and some meetings even write it into their opening script. I do believe that some people need more of a one-on-one sharing session, perhaps after the meeting.

No One of us can keep any person sober - or get them drunk - we all have to do the Next Right Thing and leave the results up to that person and their HP. Do what is right for you... get a home group, work on yourself. That person may need you when they come back.
Step 6 is "AA's way of stating, the best possible attitude one can take in order to make a beginning on this lifetime job... with most of them we shall have to be content with patient improvement." 12&12 Step Six, p.65
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Re: AA Meeting Question

Postby Spirit Flower » Tue May 15, 2018 12:20 pm

It is normal that one person does not dominate a meeting. If someone is in great need, people will help them after the meeting; or take them aside during the meeting. Also, AA is not a social service agency. So while individual members help people if they choose (like you did), the group itself will not.
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Re: AA Meeting Question

Postby avaneesh912 » Tue May 15, 2018 12:39 pm

I agree to what was already said. Usually people are polite to stop them people going on and on. We encourage people to stick around after the meeting and get with people to have more fellowship.
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Re: AA Meeting Question

Postby Brock » Tue May 15, 2018 12:53 pm

Welcome here deskshed, and well done on helping the person, at least with a lift.

In this case I agree with the chairperson, however from the sound of it I believe it could have been handled in a nicer way, perhaps this area and meeting gets a lot of that sort of walk in traffic, and she was a bit fed up of it.

The point is he was out of place on two counts, there was a topic he ignored that and spoke about his own troubles, something that unfortunately seems to be happening more and more in AA. Secondly, our singleness of purpose asks that in both open and closed meetings - “...that all who participate confine their discussion to their problems with alcohol.” We have members here who say we should welcome addicts of all types, but they seem to be in the minority when we discuss this issue.

People come to AA hoping to identify with others who have the same problem as themselves, and find a solution, if we try to help those with other problems it puts the newer alcoholic at risk, it is something which partly contributed to the downfall of fellowships started prior to AA.

It’s good that you are looking for a home group, and we always advise newer members to shop around for this, groups vary and you want to find the one in which you feel most comfortable.
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Re: AA Meeting Question

Postby deskshed » Tue May 15, 2018 1:01 pm

Thanks for the feedback. Well spoken and well received.
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Re: AA Meeting Question

Postby Blue Moon » Tue May 15, 2018 9:02 pm

He should be able to be there even if drunk. But what people shouldn't do is dominate or disrupt the meeting.

After all, if you went to an allergy specialist and started talking to them about your dental problems, they wouldn't spend much time discussing it. In AA, we are alcoholism specialists.
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Re: AA Meeting Question

Postby BrendaChenowyth » Wed May 16, 2018 6:29 am

He was the one not showing consideration, to be honest. Everyone should have time to share, and if you have a burning desire or you want to drink you should get a phone list and talk to someone after the meeting.

I try not to share unless I have something concise to add.. and is on topic. Often I just listen.

I had a resentment a few weeks back when a young lady totally ignored the topic her sponsor had set for the discussion and began telling her story in gory detail from the very beginning.. a woman literally dragged her out of the room, which wasn't right behavior either. It was uncomfortable.
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Re: AA Meeting Question

Postby 1Peter5:10 » Wed May 16, 2018 7:45 pm

BrendaChenowyth wrote:.

I had a resentment a few weeks back when a young lady totally ignored the topic her sponsor had set for the discussion and began telling her story in gory detail from the very beginning.. a woman literally dragged her out of the room, which wasn't right behavior either. It was uncomfortable.

I can picture it. It reminds me of something said at by the speaker at a speaker meeting a few months ago.

He said he used to say and do all sorts of rude and offensive things, and it was because of his drinking. He added: He hadn't had a drink in 2 years and he is still a rude offensive person, only now he can't blame alcohol and has to actually work on his behavior.
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Re: AA Meeting Question

Postby positrac » Thu May 17, 2018 4:36 am

Given this situation I'd have to ask about transient people in the meetings you attend? if that is the case then it could be normal to push back because it is at times fruitless to help and assist those wanting handouts instead of getting sober and or off drugs. In many cases looking back what could of been done differently? Whenever someone needs the hand of AA we should help within means. Also check out other meetings and find a group that appeals to your values and or what they have that you want and get involved. Group consciences may have rules on topics and times depending on attendance. Open/closed meetings and stuff like that.

Maybe take it as lessons and do what you can when you are able to know more about AA and being sober as a way of looking at the details and keeping them on track.
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Re: AA Meeting Question

Postby Roberth » Thu May 17, 2018 12:11 pm

Hello deskshed and welcome to E-AA. My name is Robert and I am a Los Angeles area alcoholic. My home group which I have been part of for the last 18 years is the Skid Row Drifters. We have been carrying the message in Los Angeles’ skid row to the homeless since 1972. We had been meeting in a skid row park every night for the past 24 years and as of last week we were able to take our meetings indoors at the notable Midnight Mission.
I wrote this not to impress you but rather to let you know a do a bit of experience dealing with the homeless and mentally ill.
I must say our meeting leaders, all though wth compassion. Keep the meeting within the bounties of are primary purpose.
Every time I share I state that I am a veteran. I do it for 2 reasons. One is to let any vets know AA will work for them and two so sme might come up to me after the meeting and talk to me about things that that are outside the bounties of are primary purpose where it belongs. we have people with some connection that might be able to help but not as part of the meeting
One of the problems I see with many meeting is there is no fellowship after the meeting. Everyone just unloads there pearls of wisdom in the meeting then runs off.
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