Open meeting format and traditions

The 12 Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous, the principles that hold our groups and society together.

Open meeting format and traditions

Postby DVLX » Wed Sep 27, 2017 10:06 pm

If a meeting chair person requiress all attendees of an open meeting to introduce themselves and the date of their last drink, Is that disregarding the tradition of anonymity?
Last edited by DVLX on Thu Sep 28, 2017 11:47 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Open meeting format and traditions

Postby Brock » Thu Sep 28, 2017 5:35 am

Welcome to e-AA DVLX, my apologies that your post took so long for approval, first posts only need this due to the spam popular sites attract, any future posts will go straight up.

Your question took my mind back many years, when as a shaking hungover person looking for help they asked if they were any newcomers, I raised my hand, and was told to move from my seat where I was trying not to be noticed in the back, to sit up front. There were several speakers and some addressed me directly, with this “you are the most important person in the room” nonsense, I couldn't wait to get out of there and head straight for the closest bar. It seems that so many people forget how they felt when they first came in, we didn't want to be noticed or be the most important.

I believe that since each group is autonomous, and can run meetings as they see fit, there is nothing in the traditions stopping them from doing what you speak of, and while I respect the traditions, I think it's sad that this sort of thing happens.

A member from Australia, once wrote that his meeting opens the large windows in the ground level room, and those who are scared to come in stand in the dark by the windows. He said most members over the years said they started as one of those out in the dark, what a great way to run a meeting, and it's the opposite of what many today like the one you speak about do.
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Re: Open meeting format and traditions

Postby Blue Moon » Thu Sep 28, 2017 2:26 pm

DVLX wrote:If a meeting chair person requiress all attendees of an open meeting to introduce themselves and the date of their last drink, Is that disregarding the tradition of anonymity?


Is really up to the group, but IMO it's a problem in an open meeting.

There's no Tradition being broken here, it's more a question of what is likely to be attractive for the newcomer to keep coming back. Many newcomers, and even longer-term sober members, would rather be in a closed meeting before having to "out" themselves as alcoholic. With open meetings, the idea is that anyone with an interest in AA or alcoholism may attend... so the anxious newcomer should be able to turn up on that basis before having to decide whether they even are alcoholic, let alone announce the fact to a roomful of strangers. Many would feel a newcomer should be able to sit quietly in an open AA meeting and not be called upon to say anything at all.

So what do any non-alcoholics say? Or is this a weird form of open meeting that's "open" in name only?
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Re: Open meeting format and traditions

Postby positrac » Fri Sep 29, 2017 3:11 am

Is it to show people that if we have time sober then it does work? or is it for ego? I never really looked at why we go around and say our names and last drink. Maybe it is a self reflection of where we were and where we are today. Now about being the most important person in the room.....yes I know that feeling and it totally was BS at the time because I came into AA on several occasions retreading my efforts and I was a total loser and quitter and not worth a damn! So important was the last thing on my mind!

We used to have mid-nite candle light meetings and it was cool and yet kind of weird because some of the topics that came out in the dark. Like an open meeting 5th step of sorts.

For me I reflect on my last drunk because it was hell on earth for me and I would rather not go back to that life style again and if I can tell that new person that it really does work with my years then I might have saved a life and it is out of my control and yet a seed may have been planted for the good of mankind. I am one drink away from the new comer shaking and feeling like death is a better sentence than AA.
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Re: Open meeting format and traditions

Postby Patsy© » Fri Oct 06, 2017 5:33 am

DVLX wrote:If a meeting chair person requiress all attendees of an open meeting to introduce themselves and the date of their last drink, Is that disregarding the tradition of anonymity?


Tradition Twelve "Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities."


Hi DVLX,
The meeting Chair can not require that of anyone, never mind all attendees of an open meeting introduce themselves in the way he wants. Its an open AA meeting, and anyone can attend, alcoholic or not. The Chair Person is in Service and the truth is that all you have to do is share.... "I pass".

We do not force anyone at an AA meeting to state that they are alcoholic, that is their decision whether they are alcoholic or not. And its their choice to share it or not.

https://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/aa-lite ... -anonymity
For the full pamphlet Understanding Anonymity... click above :)


Below is an excerpt from the Pamphlet "Understanding Anonymity"
Anonymity — Explains clearly what anonymity means both within and outside A.A.

Anonymity on a person-to-person basis

From its earliest days, A.A. has promised personal anonymity to all who attend its meetings. Because its founders and first members were recovering alcoholics themselves, they knew from their own experience how ashamed most alcoholics are about their drinking, how fearful they are of public exposure. The social stigma of alcoholism was great, and those early A.A. members recognized that a firm assurance of confidentiality was imperative if they were to succeed in attracting and helping other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.

Over the years, anonymity has proved one of the greatest gifts that A.A. offers the suffering alcoholic. Without it, many would never attend their first meeting. Although the stigma has lessened to some degree, most newcomers still find admission of their alcoholism so painful that it is possible only in a protected environment Anonymity is essential for this atmosphere of trust and openness.

As valuable as privacy is to new members, it is noteworthy that most of them are eager to share the good news of their A.A. affiliation with their families. Such a disclosure, however, is always their own choice.
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