One Home Group?

From that ten-cent phone call and a cup of coffee to AA's General Service Office. What's your take on service?

One Home Group?

Postby Kevin_Mcl » Wed Sep 08, 2010 11:28 am

Hi friends,
In my home group there are a couple members who believe its okay to have multiple home groups. The one guy is someone I respect and look forward to hearing his piece of mind (on most subjects). His theory is that multiple groups need his support.
I believe in one voice, one vote, one home group. I know I am welcomed and can provide service to any group I choose, but I only attend one group conscience. This principal is supported by the 1st concept of service (ensuring the democratic principle of one vote), 4th concept of service (voting representation in reasonable proportion), 12th concept of service (by effecting unqualified power in one member), as well as multiple traditions by not trusting the group members to make the right decisions.
I went through a phase myself, where I thought I was so important that other groups couldn’t survive without my experience, strength and hope….. and also my VOTE! I believe I was wrong to participate in those conscience meetings and have since stopped doing it. I was definitely arrogant and egocentric to think I knew better than others how the groups should be run. My friends who have numerous home groups, I believe, are not driven by the levels of pride and ego that motivated me, but wrong actions are not justified by good intentions.
These guys have many years sober (one is over 20), so that brings up another dichotomy of problems. First, would addressing the situation really do any good? Joe has already recognized the controversy involved and stated he sees nothing wrong with having multiple home groups, actually he feels it’s his duty and responsibility to these groups. And my second concern is; when the newcomer observes an older member who is grounded in steps and traditions otherwise, assumptions are made that traditions and service structures promote participation in multiple home groups and therefore multiple voices in our AA democracy. Our actions truly do speak louder than words in AA. Essentially, is this a 4th tradition issue, affecting the AA message or does it fall under Rule #62“….how important is it, really” issue.
So, I’m wondering others opinion of; 1.) multiple home groups and 2.) how would you handle this situation.
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Re: One Home Group?

Postby Ken_the_Geordie » Wed Sep 08, 2010 11:37 am

I asked a guy this very same question; the guy is an official Old Timer in two years (if he doesn't drink and stays alive for that period of time); and his answer was that you can have as many homegroups as you like, but when it comes to a vote concerning anything outside of the homegroup, you should only vote in one homegroup.

I only have one homegroup so this doesn't apply to me.
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: One Home Group?

Postby ann2 » Wed Sep 08, 2010 12:45 pm

Lots of different opinions in AA about stuff. How I would handle it is speak honestly if the subject comes up, but don't seek out the topic. My opinion -- oh I was way too shy for multiple home groups when I had the opportunity and I loved my home group so very much I couldn't breathe without them basically. Now that I am lucky enough to have a home group, a new English speaking meeting in Tallinn, I don't have the opportunity for more than one -- this is it until you take the fast ferry to Helsinki. So I guess I envy the guy :-)

Thanks for sharing here, and welcome!!

Ann
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Re: One Home Group?

Postby Blue Moon » Thu Sep 09, 2010 12:07 am

I have had more than 1 Home Group, for the simple reason that I don't trust any AA Group not to go off the rails. But when it came to voting on matters outside the group, I only used 1 group to vote.
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Re: One Home Group?

Postby Sober25 » Sun Sep 12, 2010 3:47 am

Even though we can share and serve in any group it is improper, in my opinion, to actually call yourself a member and vote in more than one group. Otherwise the term homegroup is totally meaningless.
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Re: One Home Group?

Postby Ken_the_Geordie » Sun Sep 12, 2010 4:55 am

Sober25 wrote:Even though we can share and serve in any group it is improper, in my opinion, to actually call yourself a member and vote in more than one group. Otherwise the term homegroup is totally meaningless.


That's a good point, but I have a 'but'...

When I first stopped drinking, not so long ago, I had two meetings to go to in my home town. One was on a Tuesday and one was on a Thursday. They were both at different locations, but generally the same people who went to the Tuesday meeting went to the Thursday meeting. Same people(ish), different location.

And I, being new to AA, assumed it was just 'one group' that met up twice a week at two different locations, because much the same people attended both.

So I became a member of 'both groups' that I thought were 'one group'. With me so far? I spent a year making coffee at the Thursday group and a year as the secretary of the Tuesday group (which I'm still doing).

But I've had to drop the Thursday night group, which is a shame, because I have other AA commitments, a job, and a family and I'm forcing myself to get some balance into my sobriety.

So for me, having two home groups initially just felt like the natural thing to do, since the same people attended both.
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: One Home Group?

Postby Blue Moon » Mon Sep 13, 2010 4:29 pm

Ken_the_Geordie wrote:So for me, having two home groups initially just felt like the natural thing to do, since the same people attended both.


There's nothing to stop you having multiple commitments... though most would suggest not holding the same commitment at more than one group (especially Treasurer).

It only becomes a concern in the Business meetings where the groups are considering matters outside the group (e.g. district/intergroup).
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Re: One Home Group?

Postby happycamper » Mon Sep 13, 2010 4:33 pm

My sponsor says 1 home group.
A plant cant grow in 2 places.
Faith without works is dead
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Re: One Home Group?

Postby Sober25 » Mon Sep 13, 2010 5:26 pm

Ken_the_Geordie wrote: So I became a member of 'both groups' that I thought were 'one group'. With me so far? I spent a year making coffee at the Thursday group and a year as the secretary of the Tuesday group (which I'm still doing).

But I've had to drop the Thursday night group, which is a shame, because I have other AA commitments, a job, and a family and I'm forcing myself to get some balance into my sobriety.

So for me, having two home groups initially just felt like the natural thing to do, since the same people attended both.
[/quote]
I totally understand where you are coming from, Ken. I'm glad you are getting things balanced.
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Re: One Home Group?

Postby Larry_H » Tue Sep 21, 2010 10:57 am

I currently have three home groups because of geographic considerations.

The first is in my home city of Brooksville, Florida. My second home group is 1300 miles away in East Aurora, NY where I recently moved from and I visit there every summer for an extended period. Third home group is In Albany, NY and is 400 miles from East Aurora, NY and 1200 miles from Brooksville, Florida. This is where my son, daughter-inlaw and grandchildren live. I spend as much as three months a year there.

One of the benefits of a "Home Group" is having members who care if you miss meetings and will call to see if you are OK. Home group members also get to know you well enough to spot when you are out of sorts and will talk to you about it. Therefore it is very benificial to my sobriety to have multiple home groups.

Larry,
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Re: One Home Group?

Postby ANONANON » Thu Jan 15, 2015 6:34 am

Hi,
Our GSR has asked us to report on a number of questions which i believe are being presented country wide.
One of the first questions is "What are the pro's and con's of having more than one home group?"
I am new to the program and didnt realise people where "advised" to have more than one home group. I can't really answer the original question as i can't get my head around having more than one home group. Home is home.
I would like to apply some time to the question however and would really appreciate any thoughts any of you may have on the pro's and con's.
What are your thoughts?

Pros Cons
------- ---------


Al.
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Re: One Home Group?

Postby Barbara D. » Thu Jan 15, 2015 9:21 am

I have many opinions, but my ESH is that I only had one Home Group at a time. There were many meetings in my area when I got sober (there are in excess of 10 per day now). I was and still am a home-based person, must have my own "nest" in order to function most efficiently everywhere else. So it was natural for me to have just one Home Group in AA, too.

It was important that I get comfortable with the same group of people. I began to know their stories, and they knew mine. They knew when I was obsessing over the same problems, trying to fix them myself instead of turning them over. They could call me on my shiz. One member told me I was in a state of rage for 2 years, for instance. He helped my hindsight. I never really know what's going on today. :)

And then it was also important that I not get too comfortable in my own Home Group, that I go to other meetings regularly or just by chance in addition to my Home Group meetings. I needed other points of views to keep my program and my commitment fresh. There was one Group that I was close enough to that I did know their business meeting stuff. But I also knew where Home was and that's where I did my service work and voted in Group Conscience.

Now, in retirement, e-AA has become my Home Group although I still have a few F2F lifelines. I tried to participate in Members but all it did was make me feel incompetent, so I unsubscribed. As different phases of my life developed, my needs changed and eventually I changed my Recovery pattern accordingly. I see toolbox suggestions as general guidelines, not laws.

Thanks for the topic, Kevin! In fellowship, Barbara D.
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Re: One Home Group?

Postby PaigeB » Thu Jan 15, 2015 12:10 pm

Hi Al - Welcome and thanks for your question. I was told by my sponsor (see below) and it made sense to me, so I act on it, which makes it my experience I guess. I have a very active life in AA, both online and f2f. Women Into Action (f2f) and e-aa (online) might be considered my home groups since I do service at both of them.

BUT I was told by my sponsor, "One alcoholic, one voice" so I only voice my vote to the larger AA service structure once. I might vote at the group level, like if we were talking about giving away Big Books or charging for them or if we wanted to continue to bring cookies every week. But if it was a question, such as went around a year or so ago, "Should we change the wording in Tradition 11 to include social media?" I only set out my voice once in my f2f group.

(***Barbara - I hope that you try Members again when you get more comfortable online. If you have any questions you can email me or Ann (like whispering at the table LOL)
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Re: One Home Group?

Postby Jwawa1 » Tue Dec 22, 2015 1:58 pm

One problem is I take myself to seriously, having said that let me state that in my opinion that no one has the right to force his idea on another.
I belong to many groups, varying in the type of meeting discussion, i.e... Step, big book, free flow, etc. Within these groups because I am a member of that group, I have a say. These groups are autonomous to AA as a whole. When a GSR goes to the district meetings, he/she does so, not with specific numbers, but with the general consensus of that group. On the rare occasion that a request is asked from the Area or from the GSO for some specific numbers... which I'm not sure really happens, than I have a personal responsibility to vote only once on the subject. That is my responsibility as a sober person and hopefully I abide with the overall attempt for the specific propose of that request. the idea of no controversies in AA should always be our motto; we should always help rather then destroy. Teach rather than proclaim. Forgive and forget.
AA has made mistakes as stated by Bill Wilson, but as a group we must love the suffering alcoholic, no matter what we perceive that sickness to be.
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Re: One Home Group?

Postby Brock » Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:15 pm

Welcome to e-AA Joe. If I take what you are saying correctly here -
I belong to many groups, varying in the type of meeting discussion, i.e... Step, big book, free flow, etc. Within these groups because I am a member of that group, I have a say.

It seems you believe you can have a say and vote in multiple groups, as well I expect accept service responsibilities. Most of us don't go along with that, and it's not anyone trying to force anything on someone else. But doing service at more than one may deprive someone from having the opportunity to serve there themselves, in addition the AA literature does suggest one home group, below is a section from the leaflet “The AA Group where it all begins,” with a couple of highlights added by myself.
The A.A. Home Group.
Traditionally, most A.A. members through the years have found it important to belong to one group which they call their “Home Group.” This is the group where they accept service responsibilities and try to sustain friendships. And although all A.A. members are usually welcome at all groups and feel at home at any of these meetings, the concept of the “Home Group” has still remained the strongest bond between the A.A. member and the Fellowship. With membership comes the right to vote upon issues that might affect the group and might also affect A.A. as a whole—a process that forms the very cornerstone of A.A.’s service structure. As with all group-conscience matters, each A.A. member has one vote; and this, ideally, is voiced through the home group.
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