Men talking to women at meetings

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Re: Men talking to women at meetings

Postby hazel4 » Fri Jul 23, 2010 2:28 pm

lisar wrote: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.

............................................................................
Marc offered:-
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:

.............................................................................
First allow me to say that I usually enjoy and tend to gravitate toward the company of men, whether in out out of AA. Guess it is something about the way Nature intended :) However, I, too, have heard similar remarks, including those in the same vein as Marc's, hopefully indicating an amused and self deprecating knowledge of that pseudo-macho part of his chosen image and that of many others. Within the rooms and outside AA I have been 'reprimanded' for challenging them out loud. I once called a conscience meeting concerning one such man whose approaches went way beyond the verbal, but only outside the room and was advised that "If it doesn't interrupt the meeting, it does not effect AA"

Since our conscience meetings are held well after the general meeting. I was also 'reprimanded' for sharing at the following meeting the results of that previous. It was suggested that I did not enter into the "spirit of love and tolerance" and might/should find such in another venue. I obliged following a stronger 'suggestion', but no need to elucidate.

On the other hand, I have found a few 'real' men (and women) with genuinely good souls, with strength and wisdom, patience and compassion, both in and out of rooms. One finds 'Cardboard Casanovas' , most with 'delusions of competance', and sick predators throughout society and it is not only at AA meetings that one finds them. I consider myself fortunate that I have outgrown such, (Confessing with self knowledge to being too old to lust after and too young to scare !) but agree that, perhaps, the genders should remain separate or under the eye of moderators such as we have here.

Peace...one day
Hazel

PS Maybe appropo....or not, the other day I came across a word new to me, called "Trolling.
To quote, "A phenomenon in whch spiteful people deliberately join a group with the intention of causing upset to others in that group." I imagine this can affect on-line relationships, as well as those in the 'real' world. Hmmmm!
Last edited by hazel4 on Fri Jul 23, 2010 11:56 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Men talking to women at meetings

Postby Larry_H » Fri Jul 23, 2010 5:46 pm

The main reason that I am in favor of men talking to women and women talking to men is based on my experience.

Much of my sobriety has come from a suggestion or an appropriate word that I received from a woman. They have a lot to offer in my path onward in sobriety. As a matter of fact the main reason I came back to my second meeting 34 years ago was due to a woman. I still remember her name and can visualize Shirley although we have not seen each other for the past 32 years. You see Shirley was happy joyous and free it was obvious she radiated that state. I was any thing but that, I was in pain, actively planning my suicide and did not wnat to be at that meeting. Shirley gave me hope, I heard her tell what it used to be like, what happened and what it was like today and I got the smallest glimmer of hope. If this AA thing worked for her and I sure identified with her story of what it used to be like then maybe just maybe it might work for me.

It did and I am one of God's miracles today. Had to be God because I could not fix it no matter how hard I tried. When I surrendered completely and followed suggestions it began to work. This included working the steps that I did not wan't to do. My sponsor said it did not matter whether I wanted to do them, if I wanted to get sober and enjoy life I had to do them.
I am sure glad I had a strong sponsor to guide me and sometimes push me.

Today I frequently tell people that developing alcoholism was by far the very best thing that has ever happened to me in my life.

Larry,
---------------
First we work the program because we have to. Then we work the program because we are willing to. Finally we work the program because we want to.
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Re: Men talking to women at meetings

Postby Blue Moon » Sun Jul 25, 2010 2:16 pm

Larry_H wrote: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.


This would only apply to those - regardless of gender - who are in the meeting for reasons other than recovery. And for them, there is a slip under, on top of, within and outside of everything... a skirt is just the latest thing to blame.

I find it curious that a discussion about religious practices outside of AA are ruled "outside issues", but this topic discussing relationships between men and women outside of AA meetings is fair game.

Either both topics are off-limits, or neither is.
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Re: Men talking to women at meetings

Postby hazel4 » Sun Jul 25, 2010 3:31 pm

Ian

Your quote
"I find it curious that a discussion about religious practices outside of AA are ruled "outside issues", but this topic discussing relationships between men and women outside of AA meetings is fair game.
Either both topics are off-limits, or neither is."

....................................................................
First allow me to apologise for my "rigorous honesty" which can cause offense, but none is intended, nor any personal critique. However, I cannot remember an occasion when religious or political differences broke up a meeting, or led to a fight outside, or a woman being beaten...and worse.

I feel that possibly any subject that causes alcoholics to relapse is relevant for discussion. Since I called the previously mentioned conScience meeting, I feel quite strongly about this. As the quote below, I have accepted the sickness of others...including those who have no excuse for "power-driving". If you apply that quote, not to the 'still suffering alcoholic', but to those who have 'recovered' from the disease, but not the symptoms, you may possibly consider another point of view?
......................................
"Attraction rather than Promotion:-
You cannot power-drive another person into accepting a viewpoint. You cannot insist, persuade, cajole, debate. It just doesn't work. Its only when we stop pressurizing others or trying to control how they see things that they are able to consider what we are telling them with any degree of impartially...I like to think that I did as much as I was able to do to help them. That's all. Otherwise my conscience would give me a hard time."
Posted by An Irish Friend of Bill
......................................
Hazel
Last edited by hazel4 on Sun Jul 25, 2010 3:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Men talking to women at meetings

Postby Ken_the_Geordie » Sun Jul 25, 2010 3:37 pm

Blue Moon wrote:I find it curious that a discussion about religious practices outside of AA are ruled "outside issues", but this topic discussing relationships between men and women outside of AA meetings is fair game.

Either both topics are off-limits, or neither is.


Why? I always respect your view point, but at present (and my opinions can and do change as I learn and grow) is that talking about specific religions is divisory and controversial; therefore doesn't assist with group unity, and it may give a newcomer the wrong impression; that AA is a religious organisation, rather than a spiritual programme of recovery; thereby affecting our primary purpose.

I've just re-read Tradition 10 in the 12 x 12 and there's no specific guidance, but it does speak of unity and controversy in more general terms. It is something I'd like to understand more fully. Maybe I should start a new post, so apologies for hi-hacking this one.
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Re: Men talking to women at meetings

Postby jak » Sun Jul 25, 2010 7:09 pm

...I find it curious that a discussion about religious practices outside of AA are ruled "outside issues", but this topic discussing relationships between men and women outside of AA meetings is fair game.

Either both topics are off-limits, or neither is.


The original post in this thread was about being "warned off" while at the meeting facility.
...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.

Technically 'outside' of the meeting, but it happened at the meeting place so, technically at AA.

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Re: Men talking to women at meetings

Postby Blue Moon » Mon Jul 26, 2010 5:24 pm

hazel4 wrote:First allow me to apologise for my "rigorous honesty" which can cause offense, but none is intended, nor any personal critique. However, I cannot remember an occasion when religious or political differences broke up a meeting, or led to a fight outside, or a woman being beaten...and worse.

I feel that possibly any subject that causes alcoholics to relapse is relevant for discussion.


I agree, any subject resulting in relapse is fair game for a discussion. However, this is not a "men" or "women" issue being discussed, nor an AA-specific issue, it's a society issue. It's also not about women, but about power and control. And most of the problems described occur outside of the AA meeting.

I sobered up within the 2nd-highest gay community in the UK. Some of the women were far more "butch" than I ever was. One or two of the men thought they were women.

I once sponsored a gay man who described to me how an older-timer had told him not to mention in AA meetings the blow-jobs he was giving the older-timer in Bournemouth park. I also had to explain to him that cleaning an older-timer's toilet is not one of the 12 Steps.

Another newcomer I sponsored - male - had recently been punched in the face by his former sponsor.

A female older-timer (double-digit sober time) was 13th-stepping male newcomers.

A man with 10+ years' sobriety was just exiting an abusive relationship with another man. He sponsored a lot of women, but I wouldn't send a male newcomer to him.

A lot of women walk into AA looking for a relationship rather than recovery from alcoholism. I'd go so far as to say codependency is one of the common symptoms of untreated alcoholism.

But the topic itself - "men talking to women" - is generic and divisive. What about women talking to men? What about lesbians talking to women?

It's really down to motive. I've talked to a lot of female newcomers in AA, because the other women in the meeting were too busy with their own little clique to give a damn about a newcomer. Yet according to this topic, it seems that it was me who was in the wrong. Personally, I think the other women were wrong for not taking care of the real reason we're supposed to be in AA.
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Re: Men talking to women at meetings

Postby hazel4 » Mon Jul 26, 2010 6:10 pm

To quote IanI agree, any subject resulting in relapse is fair game for a discussion. However, this is not a "men" or "women" issue being discussed, nor an AA-specific issue, it's a society issue. It's also not about women, but about power and control. And most of the problems described occur outside of the AA meeting.
..............................................
I agree completely, but does this mean, then, that if threats or any disruptive behaviour that begin in an AA location and escalate to outside....then all that follows is of no concern at all to the "happy, joyous and free" members within?

Yes, I was being sarcastic there and I guess I should make the gesture of apologising....just as 'concerned' AArs profess concern over relapsed alcoholics that are nevertheless victims of "outside issues".

A queen of England who apparently enjoyed her grog, put it far better than I when judging, "As long as they don't do it in the street and frighten the horses" !! A relevant indictment on the 21st century AA?

Peace?
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Re: Men talking to women at meetings

Postby Blue Moon » Mon Jul 26, 2010 6:58 pm

Ken_the_Geordie wrote:Why? I always respect your view point, but at present (and my opinions can and do change as I learn and grow) is that talking about specific religions is divisory and controversial; therefore doesn't assist with group unity, and it may give a newcomer the wrong impression; that AA is a religious organisation, rather than a spiritual programme of recovery; thereby affecting our primary purpose.


If we look at AA's history, religion (specifically, Christianity) perhaps has more place for discussion in AA than gender. It's certainly more-deeply embedded in AA's roots. AA was based on Christian principles espoused by the Oxford Groups founded by Frank Buchman. (Part of the reason AA moved away from the Oxford Groups was because their "absolutes" seemed a bit extreme - the only thing an alcoholic could do "absolutely" was get drunk.)

Before the Big Book was written, AA's founding fathers used the King James Bible to help newcomers sober up. We could draw parallels between the Steps and the Sermon on the Mount... it could actually make an interesting discussion if people would only choose to set aside their own prejudices.

The problem for newcomers, perhaps moreso today than in the 1930s, is with the perception of religion. I've been in AA meetings where upholding the 10 commandments was described as important - amongst a group of people who have probably already broken most of them and were well en-route for hell'n'damnation long before we ever walked into AA. We claim AA is not religious, yet we talk of God and, in almost 100% of AA meetings in the USA, close meetings with the Lord's Prayer.

On that basis, I have to wonder exactly what "wrong impression" we really think we might be giving. It might seem a little ironic - even hypocritical - that we'd disallow a religious topic in an AA discussion forum. Yet I do not disagree that, in the interests of AA unity, it's probably not a good thing to discuss - at least not without a few "ground rules" being established first. So I have no complaints about closing that particular topic.

Whereas for gender, it wasn't until 1939, when the manuscript for the Big Book was being written - 4 years after AA was created - that AA ceased being a men-only society with the introduction of Marty M. Unlike religion, alcoholic women had little influence on the grass-roots of AA. Some women did have a strong influence on AA and the direction it took, but only from the periphery of its membership - Lois Wilson, Anne Smith, Sister Ignatia. So difficulties with "cross-gender" matters in and around AA meetings didn't begin to surface until some years into AA's existence. I suspect they've become exponentially more prevalent as the fellowship grew in popularity and moved away from the traditional methods of 12th-Stepping, but that's perhaps another topic.

I don't dispute that religion is a potentially divisive topic in AA, so we might disallow it for fear of upsetting - or, at least, confusing - the newcomer. But, I believe, generalised confrontation of men talking to women in AA meetings is also potentially divisive. In both arenas, motive is the key element... and in both arenas, the underlying concern is really about abuse of power and control, not about religion or gender per-se.

So, regarding the equal treatment of both topics, to answer your question "Why?". Because, no matter how we dodge around the motives and turn anecdotes into generalisation, this topic is sexist.

I think that the general reaction here might have been very different if the topic had been "women talking to men in AA" or "blacks talking to whites in AA". But it shouldn't be. There's no secret that women go to AA looking for a relationship. So perhaps that could be a topic here? No, as both religion and gender are potentially divisive topics, I believe they should be treated equally regarding handling of potentially-divisive topics.

I could have decided to become offended by, or defensive at, the implication that simply talking to a woman in AA is somehow abusive and to be frowned-upon, even if I'm simply doing nothing other than my best to help her save her sorry ass from the clutches of untreated alcoholism ... despite none of the women in the very same room giving a S***. I choose not to become offended.

It's perhaps a shame that more people can't make the same choice when it comes to discussing religion... we might then benefit from some more-informed recovery from alcoholism rather than enable comparisons between God and a doorknob. Yet we deliberately dumb-down this entire recovery program for fear of disturbing the sensitivities of a few who just cannot stomach the realities of AA's own origins.
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Re: Men talking to women at meetings

Postby Blue Moon » Mon Jul 26, 2010 7:25 pm

hazel4 wrote:I agree completely, but does this mean, then, that if threats or any disruptive behaviour that begin in an AA location and escalate to outside....then all that follows is of no concern at all to the "happy, joyous and free" members within?


It could be a worthwhile topic to discuss what constitutes "outside issue", to what extent we can be involved as an AA group. Here at e-AA, we've had the difficulty arise with email. People "meet" here via one of our email meetings, and then sometimes someone wants the group to "fix" a problem that arose between 2 members in a private email exchange.

How can we, an AA group, police what transpires in private between you and another member? Where can, or should, we draw that line? If we get involved and take sides, aren't we taking responsibility for everything said in private between members?

Likewise for a punch-up between AA members in the parking lot. Is that the AA group's problem, or a public disorder problem for the local police?

Whatever conclusion we try to reach, there's one thing you can be assured of: the local residents won't be calling any AA group to come along and sort it out.
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Re: Men talking to women at meetings

Postby hazel4 » Mon Jul 26, 2010 9:40 pm

Ian

Your knowledge of the AA is so much more than mine, as is your E.S & H, so why do I still feel that I am wrong in daring to cast any doubt as to the inviolable rules of AA?

When I came to AA, (kicking and screaming the first time and in tears and despair the second) I never associated it with any religion, creed, sect, ec. I thought of it only as some last ditch spiritual method, not to stop me drinking, but to teach me to live sober.

However, I found a similar set of rules that previous doctors, psychiatrists, etc had imposed.

I agree that this is not a gender nor even religious matter, but it is definitely a power-play matter, It is an AA matter. That faceless, protected, cloed doors entity that only accepts those malleable last-ditchers who have nowhere else to go. I was lucky. I was born a survivalist. I have seen more abused souls, male and female, whose only salvation was the trust they put in AA and seen them unable to understand the foggy programme within the Steps and left for a more gentle way out.

I have broken the rules in taking my responsibility outside the Hallowed Halls. I have challenged the power-drivers and, as tonight and not for the first night, I have taken a 'victim' of 'outside issues' into my home, offering nothing but acceptance,

A little before 6 am I can be here as long as it takes, My local AA closes at 10!!

No peace this morning
Hazel
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Re: Men talking to women at meetings

Postby Blue Moon » Mon Jul 26, 2010 10:43 pm

hazel4 wrote: why do I still feel that I am wrong in daring to cast any doubt as to the inviolable rules of AA?


I would often encourage folks to "challenge" the status-quo. After all, that's the only way we can hope to fix the "sponsor problem".

But we need to also protect unity and singleness of purpose. Without those two, there'd be no more meeting to fix.

I never associated it with any religion, creed, sect, ec. I thought of it only as some last ditch spiritual method, not to stop me drinking, but to teach me to live sober.


That's where different experiences are equally valuable, for my own was a torrid time with trying to separate alcoholic recovery from the God of my old understanding. For a time, AA itself was a living hell. The only reason I kept coming back was because I had nowhere else to take my problem. The "easier, softer way" would have been easier and softer, but it wasn't available.

BTW I have also recently seen the results of allegations of abuse where there was none (as far as can be determined, and the guy being accused has 20+ years of helping folks get sober, often beyond the "call of duty").
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Re: Men talking to women at meetings

Postby hazel4 » Mon Jul 26, 2010 11:46 pm

Ian

I came back to delete post following a phone call wherein I was advised,,,it was suggested..."If you can't take the heat choose another kitchen"

Thank you for your feed-back. I may not conform, I may keep questioning, but, thanks to my HP who works directly through people, I do need to stick in this kitchen. Perhaps the 'heat' is a rehearsal for the kitchen I will end in!!

Hazel

ps I get as angry as the next person when I learn of false allegations, for I have seen the consequences too. However, I have also seen bruises on one woman whose partner was almost canonised in the Rooms, just as I have been verbally brutal with one woman who made it a pofitable game to accuse and use. As I said, this is not gender divisive. Predators come in all shapes and sizes. One once advised me "The world is made up of doormats and those that walk on them." Sadlly, in AA there is a surfeit of the former. I admit to putting personalities before principles far more often than I should, but surely someone has to.

Will now attempt to salvage my other posts!
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Re: Men talking to women at meetings

Postby Dean62 » Tue Jul 27, 2010 11:55 pm

Isn't being "warned off" somewhat the same as having someone take my inventory?

2.) For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority-a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience.

I like talking to people in AA who have what I want. I'm not going to rob myself from being helped because of gender. I have tried staying sober on my own and I can't do it.

My only concern personally, being early in recovery, is that I might become attracted to a woman and that may distract me from focusing on sobriety. It hasn't happened and I don't see it happening but anything is possible. Staying sober has been very elusive for me so staying sober today is my priority. With that in mind I will talk to anyone in AA about recovery who is willing to give, receive or share in helping to stay sober.
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Re: Men talking to women at meetings

Postby LetgoJoe » Wed Aug 04, 2010 10:04 pm

Once we grow up a bit and clear up mentally and physically, it seems we can trust in God and live differently than the selfish, crude ways of old. in my opinion, there is some over kill of this cross gender talking business to some degree with a whole lot of personalities over principles assigned to it. It seems sometimes people that are really about the avoidance of this are wrapped up in some serious defects themselves, like jealousy, envy and lust. It can even get mixed with some serious character assassination. I simply do not have to buy into that kind of behavior. It does not mean that I cannot have a healthy platonic conversation with a woman. If I see a new comer woman, clearly having misguided intentions, I talk in a way that makes it clear about mine being one of being a brother/sister kind of relationship. It is refreshing to know that I can have a conversation and relationships with women that are not geared toward some ulterior motive toward some kind of sexual thing. The bizarre thing is that sometimes it seems to imply that without these unwritten rules we are just powerless over our animal sexual urges. Like, stay away or your just gonna be powerless over having sex with them - and that would probably just feed the sick fantasy of the sick mind. The more I think about it, it just seems like we are trying to control people that are choosing to indulge in sick behavior, which seems to just bring more negative attention to it - just like most things seem to go that we try to control that we really can't about other people's choices. ~Joe K.
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