The future of our fellowship

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

Post by ArtK » Wed Dec 22, 2004 7:48 am

Good, valid points Jim. Some of us are able to do that. Unfortunately not all of us have the same personality type. Some hold the opinion of a 30 year member in such a high regard that they will do whatever he says, even if it doesn't agree with the way the program is laid out. How often have you heard in a meeting that newcomers should tape his mouth shut and just listen and follow the suggestions of those with some sobriety behind them.
Read the whole Responsibility Statement and you will see the responsibility is not placed on the one reaching out for help, but on those who are supposed to give the help ie older members.

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Re: The future of our fellowship

Post by SteveC » Wed Dec 22, 2004 5:39 pm

I kinda agree with ya, VJ. Personally, I enjoy the coffe shop, the "meeting after the meeting". My sponsor would take me with the other guys & we'd talk program, not just BS. Many Friday nights, we'd be there until 3 or 4 in the morning.

I believe one of the reasons for the drop in recovery is the treatment centers. I'm not saying they don't have their place, but it just seems like the folks that go to treatment don't have the same slant on recovery. When & where I came in to the program, there weren't any treatment centers any closer than Oregon. And I was in Fairbanks, Alaska. Most of the folks I knew then couldn't afford to fly to Oregon, attend treatment for 30 to 90 days & fly home. The only thing we had in Fairbanks was a 5 day detox center. Also, we used to go to the hospital & talk to the drunks there, just like in the old days. After moving to California and then here to Montana, I can't talk to folks in the hospital anymore. Privacy rules and all that. I can go to the local treatment center meeting once a week & share my ESH, but somehow, it just isn't the same. I hit as many meetings here as I can every week. The current attitude seems top be that "if I relapse, I can always go back to treatment". There's not much talk about the old 3 aspects of drinking. That of ending up: in prison, in a sanitarium or dead. That was the thinking that helped me stay around.

Just my .02.


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Serenity is not absence of the storm,
But peace within the storm.

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Post by quiet bear » Mon Oct 23, 2006 6:55 pm

I know this thread is almost two years old, so please forgive me for bumping it. It has been a fascinating read. There have been very valid points made here.

I'd like to add a few thoughts, if I may.

I am one of those 'statistics' that came into AA, then eventually stopped going to meetings. Nothing wrong with meetings, mind you, but I personally, wasn't getting anything from them any more. I was growing for me, and that meant getting out of those rooms and facing life. I still hit a meeting every now and then, and there are old and new faces, but the meetings stay pretty much the same.

As far as 75%, that seems really high to me. I graduated from rehab with 11 others, and you know how many are still sober, 4 years later? Yup. One. Me. The cheese stands alone. LOL.

As far as that situation with the sponsor telling the newcomer to 'wait one or two years' before starting Step 4, that could be just how the sponsor did it, you know? It worked for him, why not for the newcomer? Fact is, we're people, not machines. We don't all function the same way.

I know for me, I started working Step 4 the day I got home. I hurt a lot of people, and I needed to tell them I was sorry, and needed to set things right with them, immediately. I owed them that, for still loving me and sticking by me. And 4 years later, I haven't stopped working Step 4. I still come across someone every now and then, and remember something I'd done to them when I was drinking. I mean, you're supposed to make a list, right? How the heck are you supposed to remember everyone you've done wrong when you were drunk? Step 4 might never end for me, but that's ok.

As far as the program changing, I don't think the program has changed. The people have changed. Someone said earlier, doctors and whatnot can prescribe a drug that will curb your desire to drink, or whatever. They alter your state of mind, how you think.

I don't know how they work, really, because I've never been prescribed anything. Too afraid of not 'being myself', you know? Heck, I am sober and thinking right. Why would I dilute that?????


Post by willingness » Sat Nov 04, 2006 11:21 am

Any problem is obvious, all one has to do is take a look around and ask where does the passing parade go?
But what is a problem without a solution?
In finding a solution our Book says one has to remove the fear and look at the effect and causes.
It’s really a matter who and what one believes in. A.A. meetings should be packed standing room only, parking lots full due to the overload of the life and death deadly disease of alcoholism.
The book is clear about personal willingness which they had obviously more back then.
I been here for 27 years and the membership has not increased since 1980 to present, sure does rotate a lot. I don’t think this matters much because A.A. is not judged by how many drunks it get sober but how many unconditionally try to help another alcoholic rather than tell another.

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Re: The future of our fellowship

Post by Marc L » Mon Mar 22, 2010 9:29 pm

The AA fellowship itself was built on a solid foundation. The Steps, Traditions and Principles have carried AA for many many moons and will continue to do so if adhered to.
Personally, I fiercely resent all the NA crap and cringe when I hear Hi I'm so'n'so and I'm a drug addict/ alcoholic. Maybe that has something to do with diminishing attendance within the fellowship.
AA does work and is therefore coveted by other groups. It is my opinion that strong measures be taken to preserve our integrity. This means war!! :D
But then what do I know, I'm just a drunk

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Re: The future of our fellowship

Post by Layne » Tue Mar 23, 2010 11:20 am

I fiercely resent all the NA crap and cringe when I hear Hi I'm so'n'so and I'm a drug addict/ alcoholic.
Why do you resent that? :?

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Re: The future of our fellowship

Post by Karl R » Tue Mar 23, 2010 2:48 pm

The program of AA as described in the textbook "alcoholics anonymous" is pretty darn successful when people "give themselves to this simple program" and are willing to "go to any lengths". The fellowship of AA and it's future may or may not have much impact on the success of the program of AA as described in the big book book. The fellowship of AA changes...uphill and down....high attendance, low attendance.....whatever. The successful program described in the book remains the same.

The state of the fellowship is nothing to get a resentment over. Resentments kill. :D


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Re: The future of our fellowship

Post by Blue Moon » Wed Mar 24, 2010 9:21 pm

Upon reflection, I have decided that the future of the fellowship is exactly where it's always been.
Ian S
AKA Blue Moon

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Re: The future of our fellowship

Post by Marc L » Thu Mar 25, 2010 8:26 am

Layne wrote:
I fiercely resent all the NA crap and cringe when I hear Hi I'm so'n'so and I'm a drug addict/ alcoholic.
Why do you resent that? :?
Hey Layne;
Excellent question.
First thing that comes to mind which upsets me is Drug Addicts masquerading as alcoholics in order to infiltrate the fellowship. I feel like these people are coming in to try and steal from us. Could be overreacting on that.
It is possible I have become possessive of our program and am compelled to protect it.
I am gonna' think some more about this as my reaction is perhaps over the top.
This could be a red flag and thanks for the heads up.

Recovery won't just happen by Osmosis. You gonna' have to work at it some.
12th Step work ain't just a job... It's an Adventure.

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Re: The future of our fellowship

Post by LetgoJoe » Mon Apr 12, 2010 8:13 pm

I am finding that when I focus on our primary purpose, "to stay sober and help others achieve sobriety," my thoughts seem to stay more focused on just that. I hear people introduce themselves in many different ways. I tend to keep that a simple, "I'm Joe and I'm an alcoholic." It works for me and that is what matters for me. I believe understanding and applying this process of working the steps is the MOST important thing but I have seen the necessity to stay in line with the traditions and why we have a singleness of purpose to share our experience, strength and hope about how we are living generally happy lives without alcohol as a result of practicing the steps. When I pray in the way of the 11th step prayer and focus on letting go and letting God, I am not so concerned about someone's introduction or whether they are a "real" alcoholic or addict and such things, but rather, I am free of myself to focus on a sincere concern for others' welfare and maybe just humble enough to find a commonality in our human condition to walk a positive path in recovery together. ~ Joe K
Honesty gets us sober, tolerance keeps us sober. ~Bill W.

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Re: The future of our fellowship

Post by Scouter Rob » Sun Jan 02, 2011 1:56 pm

Dear Chairperson:
Good topic as I have noticed a gradual decline in attendence at AA meetings. I began my AA journey, while sober one day at a time, in Jan. 18, 1981.
I remember that I was told to go and shake the hand of anyone who got a medallion or a chip even if it was a "24 hour Desire
chip". There was more of an effort to not allow someone to stand in the corner while the "Regulars formed little "social cliques". Everyone went out of their way to help each other as I was taught that the bottem line is that each of us, no matter how many years sober, are but one drink from potential ultimate death. We had Friday night bonfires at members houses where we talked about what we were really frightened of. There was much more of handing out phone numbers so the new person or someone coming could call someone. I do not care who you are, both you and I will have low times where we are depressed and we need to know just what to do then.

There were post-meetings at coffee shops where members went out of their wqay to ask the newcomer and the person coming back to join them. The AA Froup that I just joined does not even have a "Group List". i was astounded because the Newcomer has no way of getting in touch with sober members. Also I have net people who are not alcoholics but join to get attention and some decide they are only "Heavy Drinkers" not alcoholics and leave. Jan. 2, 2011.

Just a few thoughts,

Scouter Rob

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Re: The future of our fellowship

Post by Ken_the_Geordie » Sun Jan 02, 2011 3:34 pm

Scouter Rob wrote:There was more of an effort to not allow someone to stand in the corner while the "Regulars formed little "social cliques".
Hi Rob,

This line reminds me of a poem by Sam Shoemaker called "I stand by the door". If you like some AA related poetry, have a google for it, it's very easy to find.

I'll only stick the first verse here, because it's quite a hefty poem.

I STAND BY THE DOOR by Sam Shoemaker

I stand by the door.
I neither go to far in, nor stay to far out.
The door is the most important door in the world -
It is the door through which men walk when they find God.
There is no use my going way inside and staying there,
When so many are still outside and they, as much as I,
Crave to know where the door is.
And all that so many ever find
Is only the wall where the door ought to be.
They creep along the wall like blind men,
With outstretched, groping hands,
Feeling for a door, knowing there must be a door,
Yet they never find it.
So I stand by the door.
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: The future of our fellowship

Post by ann2 » Mon Jan 03, 2011 7:52 am

Scouter Rob wrote: The AA Froup that I just joined does not even have a "Group List". i was astounded because the Newcomer has no way of getting in touch with sober members.
Hi Rob,

Great to hear from you, thanks for sharing. I agree there's a lot of opportunities for service out there. I think in each group I've been a member of I've made it a point of doing the "group list". But then, I like lists :-)

I can relate to your experiences. I never felt left out of any clique when I got sober in my home group, Saturday Somerville Night. There was meetings at the Dunkin' Donuts before the drive to meetings, there was definite effort to include all in socializing during the breaks, before the meeting and after. The Greeter was a respected position (I didn't even realize it was a formal position until after attending a few business meetings).

Here in Sweden it is a little different. I arrived at my first meeting after moving and didn't get the warm open greeting I am used to extending as a group member. In fact, I was thinking some very dark thoughts about the group during that time! But then we started the meeting and shared and I got an entirely different impression. Sometimes it's really a matter of culture (I'm American, these people are typically a little less friendly in the beginning, at least by the standards I grew up with) and sometimes it's a matter of patience and sometimes people need a good kick in the butt :?

"If I don't take twenty walks, Billy Beane send me to Mexico" -- Miguel Tejada

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Re: The future of our fellowship

Post by Service » Sat May 11, 2013 8:14 pm

A thought to the original question is simple - People who claim Gods free gift is what religion is all about as the outside sponsorship system that came only because of hospitals and as they started to INJECT THEMSELVES in A.A Bill W tried to preserve A.A with the Traditions that are 100% against humans who claim they can relive us yet this religion grew and A.A shrunk. 35 years ago I came in and their were more here than now at least A.A is not a bad as N>A according to all the people from N.A in A.A tiring to tell them how to do it. Paul Revere a great message carrier in the world nevre once got off his horse to tell them how to do it - The outside sponsorship system does !!! a true Fellowship not some Follow-shitp

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