What's the point of meetings?

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Re: What's the point of meetings?

Postby Peter.H. » Wed Apr 26, 2017 5:22 am

My words in blue
Alex1 wrote:Hello,

I wanted to throw the question out. What is my role at a meeting? To be honest.
What am I doing there? Being honest.
What sort of thing am I supposed to share? The truth about your alcoholism, how you got to AA and recovered, and the truth about your life now.
A lot of times people say 'just to get current' and then share the worst thing they've done that day or their worst attitude. Is that right? If the truth is that they have a resentment and AA is their way to get rid of it, then so be it. It may save their life.
Isn't that what a sponsor and the steps are for? Sponsors and steps are guides to recovery. How you recover is up to you. You are responsible for your own recovery, nobody else.
So what's the meeting for? To practice being a true person. A true person knows the truth about themselves and can identify with others. In this identification they understand that a true person knows how to be patient, tolerant, forgiving, allowing, loving, calm, soft and gentle. They are serene, because they are grateful through accepting everything.

I'm a little unclear on this.

Thanks
"...unless this person can experience an entire psyche change there is very little hope of his recovery" - Dr. Silkworth. [Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Ed, p xxix.]
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Re: What's the point of meetings?

Postby PaigeB » Wed Apr 26, 2017 11:57 am

To practice being a true person. A true person knows the truth about themselves and can identify with others. In this identification they understand that a true person knows how to be patient, tolerant, forgiving, allowing, loving, calm, soft and gentle. They are serene, because they are grateful through accepting everything.

Wow - Yes. That is exactly what happens to me in between the prayers!
If I'm not able to say how I'm working my program today, then I'm not working my program.
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Re: What's the point of meetings?

Postby SoberInMI » Fri Apr 28, 2017 10:12 am

You guys miss the most basic point of meetings!

While technically not an AA meeting, Bill and Bob had the essence or all the qualities and characteristics necessary for an AA meeting except AA sanctioning: 2 or more alcoholics getting together to try and stay sober. But the point is why!

Why is because nobody understands an alcoholic like another so nobody can reach and understand an alcoholic like another. I call that the "magic." Medical people and rehabs don't have the "magic." In the same way as Bill and Bob had a meeting, speaking to your sponsor is a meeting.

When alcoholics feel comfortable then the program can work. Without the "magic", the program doesn't work. In part the reason for the "singleness of purpose." That is why AA has the highest success rate with alcoholics!
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Re: What's the point of meetings?

Postby JohnDaniels » Sat Jun 03, 2017 10:27 am

Great topic Alex

The 2 books, the Big Book Alcoholics Anonymous and the AA 12 Steps and 12 Traditions book explain to us in detail some of our most common defects of character.

Those 2 books along with my first sponsor helped me take a good look at myself. A real honest look. One guy called it "Brutal Honesty". The fear I had at the last of my drinking and into the first several months of sobriety was as our book describes it, "Fear, Terror, and Bewilderment" and "Selfishness and Self Centeredness" and how "Every fiber of my being was shot thru with it".

But I am no mental giant and had no idea what to do about it or how to actually live in sobriety. I needed instructions and still do.

That part needs to be told to explain the importance of going to meetings

My sponsor helped me go thru the 12 Steps and to apply them to my life and eventually he said that my taking actions would cause my thinking to change. It worked for me. He encouraged me to get a home group and get involved in it, so I did. the group I got sober in had requirements a member ought to have like being sober a certain amount of time before they took on group service positions such as becoming a GSR or Group Secretary or something like this. Individual groups can do this and that is why we have the tradition of "Group Autonomy" - I learned that in a Traditions Meeting.

But I needed to take actions to get out of myself. So I volunteered to make the coffee even though I didn't want to make the coffee. There is an important change that came about slowly, little at a time to me as I took actions that I really didn't want to take. Even going to meetings when I didn't really feel like going to meetings. Volunteering to read the Preamble or the 12 Traditions even when that was the last thing I wanted to do. Speaking when I didn't really want to speak. That thing that began melting away was my selfishness and self centeredness from taking actions that became a habit and a way of life.
I had a terror inside of me that I had to face that I could not just talk it out of me. It would take action - sharing at meetings helped me face that terror. Eventually, by taking those actions with the steps, I was able to start living in sobriety. The guys at work started looking better and not nearly as mean as they used to look when I drank. ;) Going into public became something I enjoyed rather than something that terrified me.
Facing women became something I could only once do if I was half in the bag but in meetings I learned to open up and start having normal relationships as friends with them. It was though I was thawing out. In fact 37 years ago I got so thawed out that I married one. We just had out 37 year anniversary a few days ago.

I still have my name on the list at Central Office for the suffering alcoholic to call and talk to. I got that from a meeting I used to go to when I sobered up, to volunteer with Central Office. Had I not been at that meeting that night when that man said he worked the phones, I may very well have never have started doing it myself. I take the midnight shift because those are the times when the alcoholics are the drunkest and they hurt the worst. See I never want to forget where I came from and how someone was there for me in the middle of the night when I needed them the most. It is in these telephone conversations at 2 in the morning with a suffering alcoholic when the time is right in the conversation that we get to talking about going to meetings. I ask them for their phone number and tell them I'm going to call them in the morning. I call them early and it's like:
Them - "Ring, ring, ring, ring, ring, ring ... uhhhh hmmm halllo"
Me - "HEYYYYY! REMEMBER ME FROM LASTNIGHT????"
Them - "Oh my gawddd"
Me - Hey buddy, I'll be by your place in 30 minutes to pic you up for that meeting we talked about last night (click)"
I go pick them up and take them to a meeting out of the love in my heart for the suffering alcoholic because our book tells us the best time to reach a suffering alcoholic is at their worst. I have had great success in this area - success yes, I've stayed sober every time. ;)

Then a month later that guy picks up his 30 day chip at a meeting and tells the story of his mean old sponsor who did that to him on a 12 Step call and everyone laughs real hard and he finally feels at home, at a meeting.

At my home group many years ago a guy got up and talked about never going on a 12 step call all by himself. So when I talk to a guy on the phone late at night if he wants to see another sober alcoholic face to face, I always call another dedicated member of my home group or a guy I sponsor to go with me. Not because of anything one of us might say though. the reason I always take another sober alcoholic with me to this day is something I heard in a meeting years ago - "none of us will ever be immune to alcohol" and that means anyone one of us could still to this day, set right down next to a drinking alcoholic and join right in with him or her. Oh I know, there's folks who don't believe that but I have seen it when a guy didn't think it'd happen to him. He went on enough 12 step calls until one night he sat down with a drinking alcoholic on a call and got drunk with him. I've heard stories in meetings about it and I've seen it happen. Alcoholism is still right outside my door doing pushups.

There's something about guys like me that to this day gain my true balance and keep it in check most of the time that I only get from going to meetings and taking actions. To have that common bond as brothers an sisters, to be around folks who love and understand me in spite of myself are things I only get from meetings.

These are some of the very important things I get from going to meetings. Little at a time.

Now, one more thing I want to share here is my love for alcoholics and this program and a very important promise "We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves". There is no way I could have ever arrived at my station in life without God doing for me what I could not do for myself, AA, AA meetings, with folks just like you, all of you, especially the newcomer and the homeless out there who I love to give a little of my self to. For it is in giving it away that we are able to keep it. Without you, there wouldn't be any me.

Peace
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Re: What's the point of meetings?

Postby PaigeB » Sat Jun 03, 2017 11:19 am

Thanks you John ~ that was a beautiful share. I always hear a little bit of myself and get a little bit more for the future. :D :) =smile =biggrin :shock: 8) :P =smile :lol: :cry: :wink: =confused =biggrin :mrgreen:
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Re: What's the point of meetings?

Postby steephills » Mon Jul 17, 2017 3:38 pm

For me it's gaining the knowledge and learning the experience of people who share. I always enter with an open mind...sometimes I leave happy, sometimes the same as when I came in, sometimes crappy...every meeting's different in its own way. I found it best to stay open and go to different meetings, and sometimes a person/ some people there are downers or hijack the meeting with all of THEIR problems (sometimes problems that don't even pertain to the topic/reading). There are also some I really like. Find a meeting right for you...one with a good vibe that makes you feel good when you leave.
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Re: What's the point of meetings?

Postby Jmb426 » Sun Jul 30, 2017 9:21 am

I love what everyone has said about why they go to meetings! A great reminder of the power of the program. For me, a side benefit (ie not the reason to go, but something I really appreciate and that sometimes is the main thing that gets me to a meeting when I really don't want to go) is that I finally have real, loving, genuine friends. Through meetings I met a group of mostly women and some men that would go to the ends of the earth for me, and I would do the same. I got recovery and sobriety from meetings, but as a secondary effect I got the life I always wanted, which includes these wonderful friendships. Sometimes when I really don't want to go to a meeting (the weather sucks, I'm tired, I hate everything), knowing that my friends will wonder where I am and if I'm ok, and that they may need someone to lean on that night too, will get me to where I'm supposed to be. As I said at the top, making friends is not the *point* of the meeting, but it helps to keep you coming back.
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Re: What's the point of meetings?

Postby BrendaChenowyth » Fri Oct 06, 2017 4:06 pm

I go to meetings to avoid social isolation. I have a tendency to avoid people, sometimes, since I have to try to avoid people that drink and places where drinking is the focus. For me, so much of my drinking was done at home, that being home and being isolated is a trigger.

So I get out and do things, even if it's just going to the gym or a random free community event where I will simply have the chance to smile at and have brief interactions with people.

Yet, no matter how much face time I have with people, I don't feel as comfortable in my own skin anywhere else as I do in the rooms of AA meetings. And I find I feel most comfortable in women's groups. I look forward to my kind of girls' night! They are my people, my family.

I very much enjoy sharing at meetings, but if it's late in the evening I'm going to be tired and I know I will stutter and lose my train of thought so I avoid sharing, unless it is a very small meeting.

When I do share, I try to be brief and to the point. I talk about how I relate to the topic, and briefly touch on where I was and where I am now.

I get frustrated when people ramble on and on, go off topic, don't have a clear point they are trying to make, talk too much about cravings, or the mundane drama of their day, like details of a fight with mother in law. It can be a drain to listen to some of that.

A good meeting for me is positive, causes me to reflect, acknowledge something I need to work on, but I go mostly for the sense of belonging, because it reminds me I'm not as lost as I thought I was when I was drinking.
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Re: What's the point of meetings?

Postby Brock » Fri Oct 06, 2017 6:35 pm

Welcome to e-AA Brenda.

I agree that AA meetings are a place where we can feel comfortable, we all have something in common, and yet very often we meet and enjoy peoples company, who apart from alcoholism we might have very little in common with. In chapter two it says - “We are people who normally would not mix. But there exists among us a fellowship, a friendliness, and an understanding which is indescribably wonderful.”

I know the frustration of some speakers who can't stay on topic, and relate the same 'war story' at every meeting, and those who believe meetings are a place to grumble about life's problems, it's something we speak about here sometimes. My hope is to set a better example and offer ESH with an accent on the hope, if new people don't leave with a good dose of hope, I don't feel we of AA are doing our duty.
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Re: What's the point of meetings?

Postby Patsy© » Tue Oct 10, 2017 3:32 am

I wanted to throw the question out. What is my role at a meeting? What am I doing there? What sort of thing am I supposed to share?

A lot of times people say 'just to get current' and then share the worst thing they've done that day or their worst attitude. Is that right? Isn't that what a sponsor and the steps are for? So what's the meeting for?

I'm a little unclear on this.


Hi Alex,

I love attending AA meetings, and still do. There are healthy AA meetings and not so healthy AA meetings. I hear people sharing that all AA meetings are just wonderful. I beg to differ, because when a newcomer isn't hearing the truth about alcoholism and the truth about Recovery, then they can not identify. If they can not identify, then they get up, leave, go back to drinking and they live a miserable life or die.

Sharing at an AA meeting is vital not only to my own recovery, but to those who haven't yet identified. Its about where I came from, what happened and what its like now.
Identification is the very first thing that I got out of my first AA meetings, with HOPE that I too could recover. I left my first AA meeting knowing three things.....that I am an alcoholic, that there is Hope and there is A Solution.

I identified with many speakers from then on, they helped me to recognize that I had lost the ability to choose to NOT drink. They also were speaking from the Heart, and I needed that....I needed to hear that I wasn't a bad person trying to get good, I was a sick person trying to get well!

Sharing the worst thing one has done that day or the worst attitude? I think NOT! :lol: And yes, that belongs with your sponsor, not at an AA meeting of Recovery. Newcomers who came in from Treatment Centers brought that sort of insanity to AA meetings. They are only sharing what they know and learned in Rehabs. Treatment Centers do what they do best, they get the booze out. When they share things with newcomers, it might be great information, however, its NOT AA information....and that is sad, because what these TC's do, is send their clients to AA for the Solution.....after they have watered it down, twisted it and turned it into a Group Therapy session. The responsibility doesn't lay at the feet of the newcomer or the Treatment Centers.....the Responsibility lays directly at the feet of those AA members who do NOT speak up and share the truth about Alcoholics Anonymous and its Solution. They instead allow the insanity of the Group Therapy Sessions to be brought right through those doors of AA. Sad....

So what is the point of AA meetings? So that WE can gather together and be there for the new person or anyone who wants to get sober and let them know that they can change the person they brought to AA, by taking the suggestions...one step at a time,.....one day at a time.


If you have to come here to a website to ask what is the point of meetings, then I would strongly suggest that you join an AA Group face to face nearest your home....and ask some AA members at that AA meeting this very question. Why aren't you asking your sponsor face to face? And if you have and do not get an answer...then perhaps look for a sponsor who has worked, applied and is passing on the 12 Steps of Recovery.

I would also suggest sitting up front and listen, Identify and do not compare, talk with AA members at the AA meeting, get a Big Book, a meeting list book, phone numbers and then keep coming no matter what. I suggest getting a sponsor within the first weeks of attending AA meetings and call that sponsor regularly.
After taking these actions for a while, you won't need to ask what the point of an AA meeting is..... you will know.

I don't attend AA meetings today so that I may stay sober, I attend AA meetings so that I may live life on life's terms and to give away what was given to this drunk. If I don't hear what I need to hear at an AA meeting, I SHARE what I need to hear at an AA meeting. If I don't see what I need to see at an AA meeting, I DO what I need to see at an AA meeting.
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Re: What's the point of meetings?

Postby Doddering Moron » Fri Dec 01, 2017 1:09 pm

The only point is: don't drink. If you can 'not drink' without any meetings, then maybe find an online revovery buddy.

Seriously. Don't go to meetings that irritate you. Don't allow anyone to be rude to you.
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Re: What's the point of meetings?

Postby Patsy© » Sun Dec 03, 2017 10:35 am

And please, do not listen to anyone named Doddering Moron....which in reality, is self explanatory! lol
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Re: What's the point of meetings?

Postby anand » Fri Dec 29, 2017 11:51 am

This is a great question, I've definitely noticed all over the country that a newcomer at a meeting is a rare thing. I think new alcoholics end up Here or online discussion groups first. For a long time meetings are nothing but social events, not a lot of "new" recovery - and I've definitely heard 14 years of the same people saying the same things over and over and over and over again. They have long term recovery, but also don't really seem to progress spiritually or otherwise.

This is a VERY interesting topic in 2017 going into 2018. While the idea of a physical meeting has its benefits (makes you feel like you Worked for your sobriety by forcing you out of your comfort zone) it is a dwindling phenomenon aside from oldtimers just hanging out.

When I first got sober, the meetings were actual groups where we planned outreach to hospitals and DUI centers, and new people stumbled in regularly enough to keep things interesting and useful. Are we really sharing, if we're sharing to only people who have long term recovery and know everything about you anyway? At that point it might be "just" fellowship. Nothing wrong with that, but absolutely renders this topic of "what's the point?"

To be honest, I still go to meetings out of sheer Fear and Guilt when I don't. Which of itself is probably not healthy, there are days when the thought of dragging myself to a meeting (like going to the dentist) is a bit detrimental to my overall recovery because I'm not doing it for the right reasons. IT is great we're trying to suss out what the point of physical meetings are in this day and age. For the newcomer, I think it is still Extremely beneficial so you feel like you've worked for your recovery and therefore value it. But for a long-timer?? Especially if the newcomers are all digital?
Hi, I'm Anand and I'm an Alcoholic. And have been since 7/14/2003. Thank you for being here.
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Re: What's the point of meetings?

Postby Blue Moon » Fri Dec 29, 2017 1:20 pm

anand wrote:While the idea of a physical meeting has its benefits (makes you feel like you Worked for your sobriety by forcing you out of your comfort zone) it is a dwindling phenomenon aside from oldtimers just hanging out.


IME this depends on the meetings I attend. I like meetings which have a fairly-even balance of sobriety and newcomers. Meetings with all-newcomers tend to lack a recovery message, and meetings with all old-timers tend to lack those who remember where they came from. All meetings have a lull from time to time, but when a group or meeting veers too far one way or the other and shows no sign of reversal, I vote with my feet.

Meanwhile, I try to focus some efforts on doing spiritual things which are not contingent on any meeting whether online or f2f.
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Re: What's the point of meetings?

Postby Brock » Fri Dec 29, 2017 2:23 pm

I think new alcoholics end up Here or online discussion groups first.

Welcome here anand, you have made some first class points.

We do have a lot of newcomers checking this site before going to a meeting, sometimes asking if meetings are necessary at all, but mostly saying they want to go but are nervous about what to expect. We have a good track record of talking them into going, and they usually come back and tell us we were right - there was nothing to fear. This is one area in which online groups like this are very useful to the AA program, also newer members feel at ease in asking questions they don’t want to ask in meetings, due to the absolute anonymity participation here affords.

The couple of meetings per week I make also sometimes feel like a chore to do, especially the home group which is suffering from lack of attendance, like you I feel guilty in not going which is not the ‘right’ reason to attend. Some seem to think that keep it simple means tell your drinking story, or just tell the story of what is troubling you at home or work, then use the meeting as your support group. But for the new person we will always be encouraging meeting attendance, especially pointing out that they vary quite a bit, so shop around for ones which concentrate more on the message, although these seem harder to find nowadays.
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