Men talking to women at meetings

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Men talking to women at meetings

Postby Renegade27 » Wed Jul 14, 2010 2:46 am

Hi, Newcomer here - 34 days into the program, on my 4th day of sobriety after blowing it at 29........

I've been going to many meetings - 90 in 90 before the steps as suggested by my sponsor. During these meetings I've been actively seeking opportunities to connect, learn, encourage others based on their speaking during meetings. It's mostly men like most I've seen, but a minority of women.

I've noted that men mostly stick with men and women with women. It makes great sense that sponsors are generally same sex.

During one particular meeting, there was a female 'first visit' and another just one day apart with my original sobriety date who made 30 as I did not. I approached both after the meeting and talked with each of them for a few minutes.

One of the guys who I've gotten to know a little approached me and "warned" me off - don't talk to the women! He was kind, but firm, and suggested in some meetings I could be called out for that publically. He was trying to do me a favor by helping me with some of the "unwritten" traditions. His intentions were good, but I was bothered by it anyway.

I am happily married, although not without marital stress common to alcoholic family situations. I spoke to my sponsor about this who suggested I be careful here and watch my motivations just as I would when venturing into a situation where there would be alcohol.

I'd be interested to hear opinions on this, especially from women.

Thanks....
"More than most people, the alcoholic leads a double life. He is very much the actor... he presents his stage character... but knows in his heart he doesn't deserve it." pg 73
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Re: Men talking to women at meetings

Postby avaneesh912 » Wed Jul 14, 2010 3:46 am

My experience is, once i worked my way into the 12 steps after initial struggle, my love and tolerance improved like the 10th step promise illustrates. So, my suggestion would be, instead of doing 90 and 90, I would pick the big book and understand the powerlessness and need for this psychic change. Get a small scratch pad and start writing your inventory and take it to a person who understands the program of AA and do a 5th step and then move along towards 10, 11 quickly...
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)
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Re: Men talking to women at meetings

Postby hazel4 » Wed Jul 14, 2010 4:20 am

Helo

I am Hazel, Alkie in Cambridge UK

Personally, I enjoy speaking with men - and women - at meetings, but can also understand the unwritten rules of not crossing the gender line. In my experience most alcoholics are vulnerable in early recovery and, regrettably, there are "predators" of both sexes in the rooms.

Perhaps in the begining concentrate on your own recovery, take note that the rules were made for the benefit of the majority, and go through the Steps with care, always questioning your honest motivations for any action. Your reasons for seeking out these women to chat to may be obvious to you - and me - but older members are simply being protective...no bad thing.

You say that you are 'active' in these meetings...I assume verbally. Perhaps also, you may wish to 'listen to learn'. I agree that 90 in 90 would be impossible for me, but a quiet time with one who understands is really 'gold'.

Take care. Peaceful 24
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Re: Men talking to women at meetings

Postby Marc L » Wed Jul 14, 2010 5:11 am

Oh boy;
I'll take a shot at it in this manner. Yes be aware that AA meeting rooms can be murky waters.
I would try to join a group which has boys and girls in it. As a group member you would be acquainted with both sides of the fence.
In my first year I was lonely and scared so conversation was welcome from boys or girls.
Being new in AA could be compared to switching High Schools. Each place has dos and donts the kids gradually learn. Your sponsor is probably just looking out for you to avoid trouble and he/she knows you better than I do.
There is risk/reward in everything we do so how much risk are you willing to take on to obtain the reward you are looking for. I've not been very good at relationships so my point of view could be way off. I mostly walk to the beat of my drum and I make my own drums.
Reaching out is a part of recovery and see you are doing it already and it ain't so bad. Good Luck to you!
You may have deduced that I don't have much respect for authority figures. Well actually I do but only if they are a friend or their gun is bigger than mine. I'm being a bad example here and I'll stop. :lol:

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Re: Men talking to women at meetings

Postby Lali » Wed Jul 14, 2010 6:07 am

Sorry, Renegade, but I'm highly suspicious of your motivations. You have FOUR DAYS sober and you are concerned about whether or not you can speak to the women??????? You need to get your priorities in line. Your post said that you "have been actively seeking opportunities to connect..." If that is so, here is what you do: You need to listen to everyone share and when you find a MAN with more than FOUR DAYS sobriety, chat with HIM after the meetings. There is a saying in AA "Stick with the winners". Avaneesh has given you a good plan to follow. If you do not understand it, ask.
Step 1: I can't
Step 2: He can
Step 3: I think I'll let him
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Re: Men talking to women at meetings

Postby Ken_the_Geordie » Wed Jul 14, 2010 8:36 am

I'll talk to anyone, but with female newcomers who can arrive in a vulnerable condition I think that's the department for the women to handle; they'd do it far better than me, and besides, I'd hate anyone to get the impression I was 'stalking' them.

But when I'm stood outside a meeting, before and after, and I'm having a smoke, I'll chew the fat with either gender; whoever's around at the time is fine by me.

However, and by sheer coincidence to this post, last evening when I was smoking, just before the meeting I chair was about to begin I was approached by a female neighbour of mine; she lives five houses down the street from me. She knows I'm in AA because I told her husband (whom I'm fairly friendly with and suspect he could use the services of AA (I didn't think his wife would)), and she told me she was here for the same reason as myself. She then started to cry. I guided her into the room and let the girls take over, but since this lady lives about 40 meters from where I live, it'll be difficult not to talk to her, so I think each case should be judged on its merits.
I'm more commonly known as Tosh (it's a nick name, but everyone I know in real life calls me it); just in case there's any confusion; I tend to use Tosh or Ken interchangeably and it confuses some; including me. ;-)
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Re: Men talking to women at meetings

Postby Renegade27 » Wed Jul 14, 2010 11:00 am

Thanks, all. Most helpful.

For clarification I've been to maybe 40-50 meetings and while had a "feel bad" day last week where I broke my sobriety, I've been listening very closely, found a sponsor and have begun to develop good fellowships with several men. I participate in meeting by sharing my feelings, experiences, hopes. I've read the BB now 3 times - at the urging of my sponsor, now "studying" it with highlighter. Absolutely a newbie, but believe in the program and am anxious to "have what they have". I love being surrounded by the sobriety and honesty that goes on in the meeting.

And yes, there is a different motivation for speaking with women rather than men. They bring a different perspective than men do - and I very much enjoy the women friends I have outside of AA. For several years I worked with a group of women and found it to be VERY different than the man-centered world I now spend days in.

I am NOT looking for any additional baggage as I'm carrying plenty now myself and am working very hard at my sobriety AND marriage, to be a better father, employee, et.

I hate "hard and fast" rules - - but do understand the vulnerabilities of the situation - both myself and that of others. In the meanwhile at a break this morning the same individual was talking about how this guy berated that guy for doing x, another for y.... I think I might have simply bumped into someone who revels in these secret rules and their violations.
"More than most people, the alcoholic leads a double life. He is very much the actor... he presents his stage character... but knows in his heart he doesn't deserve it." pg 73
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Re: Men talking to women at meetings

Postby Karl R » Wed Jul 14, 2010 11:25 am

The super secret "rules" of AA.

Sometime during the first two months of my sobriety I had an oldtimer tell me "you have to avoid all relationships for the first year". A Have-to statement from a man who knew nothing about my family or myself.

I responded...."won't my wife and children have a problem with that?"----the whole room broke up. Today the gentleman is a friend of mine and I think we both learned something about these "rules" of AA.

Today when someone gives me a "have to" statement I ask to see it in the Big Book. I don't hear very many have-to statements in the meetings I attend any more.

cheers,
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Re: Men talking to women at meetings

Postby Steven F » Thu Jul 15, 2010 7:28 am

I always thought there are no rules in AA... 8) Seriously, I understand that kind of "rule", and it is there to protect everyone from eachother and from themselves. Rules tend to become a bit more absolute when it is difficult to explain exactly why it is there. You have kids, surely you understand how that works.

Let's put it this way: both men and women are human beings. As a human being, you can converse with other human beings.

As an alcoholic, you have some work ahead of you in order to recover. That is a personal experience, but it can be greatly helped when you have someone at your side (a sponsor) who has done the same thing and may be able to help you see "fact from fiction", or "reality from perception". By the time you will have taken step four, you will know precisely what I mean by that. Anyway, that special trusted friend in the fellowship (a sponsor) is preferably someone you would see no additional benefit from other than your path to recovery.

I would say it is not good to have a sponsor whom you could potentially one day feel sexually attracted to. It is also not good to have a sponsor whom you (may one day) depend upon or who depends on you outside the AA setting (boss, room-mate, colleague, family). While all this may turn out fine, it can add complexity and, worse, create dishonesty. I would have had trouble talking about some of the stuff I did when drinking to a woman. I know for a fact that, especially then, I would not have been able to say everything as it was, and to explore the subject. That just as an example - your experience may be very different, or it may not be. You'll know that in retrospect.

But outside the sponsor-sponsee relationship and in the setting of a meeting or the coffee before or afterwards, I wouldn't worry about it. A fellow alcoholic is a fellow alcoholic, and something you say might very well be a spark to them that in the end constitutes the light they needed at that moment. Don't let anybody's dogma stand in the way of you being useful to a fellow human being. The stress here is on the word "helpful". Going to the movies with a fellow alcoholic because you think she is cute doesn't qualify. Offering someone to discuss something further because that person makes you all fuzzy and warm inside and "understands you" doesn't either. You might see the common sense when it is written down like that, but it might be a lot more difficult to do so when you are in the middle of a situation. In other words: use common sense and when in any doubt, ask a friend in the fellowship to explore your motives with you.

Just continue working the steps and taking care of your own recovery. You will see soon enough that the motives of people saying things to you are not always related to their or your recovery. What is the case in society at large, also applies to the rooms of AA.
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Re: Men talking to women at meetings

Postby Blue Moon » Sun Jul 18, 2010 11:56 am

Yes, you need to watch your motivations, and at 4 days sober you may have little idea of what they really are. You've also got to watch out for the other person's motivations.

As for perspective, the one that matters in this context is neither specifically male nor specifically female, but specifically sober. A newcomer, male or female, doesn't offer that perspective. Whether someone who's been around a while offers it depends on what they've been doing since walking into AA... some offer it, others are still dancing with disaster.
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Re: Men talking to women at meetings

Postby Steven F » Sun Jul 18, 2010 1:59 pm

Blue Moon wrote:Yes, you need to watch your motivations, and at 4 days sober you may have little idea of what they really are. You've also got to watch out for the other person's motivations.

As for perspective, the one that matters in this context is neither specifically male nor specifically female, but specifically sober. A newcomer, male or female, doesn't offer that perspective. Whether someone who's been around a while offers it depends on what they've been doing since walking into AA... some offer it, others are still dancing with disaster.


Ian, that is the most sensible answer I have ever heard to that question. Thank you - it's a keeper!
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Re: Men talking to women at meetings

Postby happycamper » Fri Jul 23, 2010 11:01 am

I see absolutely nothing wrong with men and women talking to each other after the meeting.

Keep it simple Folks :-)
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Re: Men talking to women at meetings

Postby Larry_H » Fri Jul 23, 2010 1:18 pm

happycamper wrote:I see absolutely nothing wrong with men and women talking to each other after the meeting.

Keep it simple Folks :-)



I also see no problem with men and women talking to each other after the meeting. When it goes beyond talking it maybe dangerous territory. The key word is maybe.

I have heard it said by men in the program that there is a slip under every skirt.

Larry H.
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Re: Men talking to women at meetings

Postby Lali » Fri Jul 23, 2010 1:32 pm

Larry H. stated:
I have heard it said by men in the program that there is a slip under every skirt.


It's remarks like this that are proof that men and women shouldn't mingle.
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Step 3: I think I'll let him
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Re: Men talking to women at meetings

Postby Marc L » Fri Jul 23, 2010 2:12 pm

I could not have said it better myself Larry.
I remember my rookie years at the 'Easy Does It' club in South Florida.
I don't know if it was because of Moon Cycles or Ocean Waves but there were times when I had to put on my porcupine suit to avoid getting sucked in to the euphoria. Love was in the air and there were squadrons of Cupid Arrows overhead.
Then three to six months down the road I had to wear a snorkel because the place had become a Pool of Tears.
Yeah it can get crazy like that sometimes. :D

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