Children in meetings

Is the concept of a Home Group dying? What is a Home Group anyway? Talk about it here.

Postby Blue Moon » Wed Jan 21, 2009 7:37 pm

I'm wondering how or when we became so sensitive about folks knowing that we're actually gutsy enough to do something about a problem.

When did we become so sensitive about what other people think?

AA's Traditions suggest we maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and film. Other than suggesting principles before personalities, AA really makes no mention of trying to maintain anonymity at any other level. It's only AA members who do that.

In fact, doesn't good 12th Step work require that we talk to persons who are not AA members? Almost a whole chapter in the Big Book is dedicated to talking with the family of a drinker, or the drinker himself, before he or she ever walks into an AA meeting or even admits to a problem.
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Postby Joe H » Wed Jan 21, 2009 8:13 pm

I'm wondering how or when we became so sensitive about folks knowing that we're actually gutsy enough to do something about a problem.

I am glad I no longer feel a need to impress people or have there approval. Each year my Home Group gives me a chip. For what? Acting like a responsible member of society?

Anonymity for me is humility. I am sober today by the Grace of God and the Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous. Gutsy has nothing to do with my desire to stop drinking. My desire came about because when I reached my bottom I was out of options. I would think that if I had the guts and power to stop drinking I would have no need to be here.
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Postby Jim 725 » Wed Jan 21, 2009 8:50 pm

I'm wondering how or when we became so sensitive about folks knowing that we're actually gutsy enough to do something about a problem.

In other words closed meetings are for those who don't have the guts to admit they have a problem and want to do something about it????
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Postby Blue Moon » Thu Jan 22, 2009 1:37 pm

Jim 725 wrote:In other words closed meetings are for those who don't have the guts to admit they have a problem and want to do something about it????
Jim S.


No.

The point is that too many would rather carry on drinking than admit they have a problem and actually do something about it.

Although I do think some alcoholics use closed meetings to avoid possibly getting "outed" via open meetings. Such fear-based sobriety is unhealthy IMO.
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Postby Jim 725 » Thu Jan 22, 2009 3:38 pm

Although I do think some alcoholics use closed meetings to avoid possibly getting "outed" via open meetings. Such fear-based sobriety is unhealthy IMO.

"As the A. A. groups multiplied, so did anonymity problems. Enthused over the spectacular recovery of a brother alcoholic, we'd sometimes discuss those intimate and harrowing aspects of his case meant for his sponsors ear alone.The aggrieved victim would rightly declare that hes trust had been broken. When such stories got into circulation outside of A. A., the loss of confidence in our anonymity promise was severe. It frequently turned people from us. Clearly, every A. A. member's name - and story, too - had to be confidential, if he wished. This was our first lesson in the practical application of anonymity." (12 & 12, page 185)
Of course, we all know that AAs don't gossip. right? Yeah, right. And we all know that certain things should be discussed with a sponsor or trusted friend and not in an open meeting, right? But we also know that these things are often discussed in meetings. We expect our fellow AA's to keep our confidence, but there's no way we can keep visitors, especially children, from repeating something they hear. Ask any mother whose husband banged his finger with a hammer when little Junior was behind him.
Most of our local meetings are held in churches. I've noticed that few AA church-members attend meetings in their own churches in because they don't want to become the subject of gossip in the congregation. What protection do they have if some little angel greets them after Sunday services with a loud, "Are you going to the AA meeting tomorrow?" It has happened. Unhealthy fear? Steer manure!
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Postby Joe H » Thu Jan 22, 2009 3:54 pm

What protection do they have if some little angel greets them after Sunday services with a loud, "Are you going to the AA meeting tomorrow?" It has happened.

And you have personally witnessed this after Sunday Services happening?
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Postby Jim 725 » Thu Jan 22, 2009 7:48 pm

And you have personally witnessed this after Sunday Services happening?

Yes. I also know an elementary school teacher who doesn't got to local meetings anymore because a mother brought one of the teacher's students to a meeting.
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Postby Joe H » Thu Jan 22, 2009 8:36 pm

What protection do they have if some little angel greets them after Sunday services with a loud, "Are you going to the AA meeting tomorrow?" It has happened.

You saw the above happen?

I do not know about your area but we are not so formal around here. We do not even refer to going to AA meetings amongst ourselves. We just call them "meetings."

Yes, we have teachers also and one last year saw two of her students every Sat., she said they became the best kids in her class.

We can setup all sorts of scenarios where we can pontificate about woulda, coulda, shoulda and I heard this and somebody said over in... on and on. I think what it boils down to is there are those who just don't want kids in the room and rather than going to a closed meeting they prefer to make life miserable for single parents.

I believe that the Third Step protects us inside the rooms as well as outside the rooms, I am in God's Care. I believe this is the same for all of us.
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Postby Joe H » Thu Jan 22, 2009 9:04 pm

I would like to point out that much of this topic was addressed by Bill W.

I would suggest reading pages 13 -20 in "The Lanuage Of The Heart."
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Postby jak » Fri Jan 23, 2009 4:51 am

I chaired my home group meeting last night. I asked if there was anything anyone needed to discuss anything before we went into the book study.

A mom with a blanket across her chest spoke as she nursed her month old son, just as she had nursed two of his sisters and one of his brothers in the years past at our meetings.

She had gotten permission to join us from her sponsor years ago. Our group was all men at the time.

We were a study group that took the steps from the book. She was dieing inside when she met her sponsor who pointed her to the book. Her group had dusty books so she left them and joined us.

She has become an asset to our group and a sponsor for some of the women that have since joined us. She points to the book Alcoholics Anonymous for the Steps. She does not always bring children with her, just when she needs to.

We know her children and her husband and they know us. They have all been to our meeting through the years. We care about each other and we pray for one another. I was asked to be Godfather for one of them. What an honor!

None of those six children have ever seen their mom drunk. There is much hope that they never will.

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Postby Jim 725 » Fri Jan 23, 2009 6:57 am

Although I do think some alcoholics use closed meetings to avoid possibly getting "outed" via open meetings. Such fear-based sobriety is unhealthy IMO.


.......and rather than going to a closed meeting they prefer to make life miserable for single parents.


But closed meetings are unhealthy, aren't they?

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Postby Joe H » Fri Jan 23, 2009 7:25 am

None of those six children have ever seen their mom drunk.

thank you for sharing
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Postby Joe H » Fri Jan 23, 2009 7:51 am

Jim 725 wrote:
Although I do think some alcoholics use closed meetings to avoid possibly getting "outed" via open meetings. Such fear-based sobriety is unhealthy IMO.


.......and rather than going to a closed meeting they prefer to make life miserable for single parents.


But closed meetings are unhealthy, aren't they?


I think for this to work we need to address the opinions of individual posters individually. Ian and I do not share the same opinion of closed meetings.

I think any meeting is healthy if it fulfills its primary function. I recall some of my early experiences of going to meetings before I got sober. On one occasion I had missed one of the three meetings I went to each week and so as to fulfill my obligation to the Court I went to a meeting I found in the Where and When to stay out of jail. When I walked in rather than being greeted I was hastily told that the slip I was holding would not be signed. The next question was had I been drinking, I replied I had. One of these kind protectors of the virtue and purity of the meeting. Then proclaimed that this was a Closed Meeting only for "sober alcoholic" who wanted to stat sober. He and his friend deemed that I was not ready and asked me to leave.

Today I enjoy closed meetings, in fact more than I do open. However, I am ever watchful that I am responsible to the still suffering alcoholic. I am also very grateful that my Home Group opens their arms and hearts to the parent who wants to get sober but has no babysitter on Saturday morning. I would rather a child interrupt my meeting occasionally than sitting at home waiting for a hung over parent come to to get them breakfast.
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Postby Blue Moon » Fri Jan 23, 2009 8:31 am

Jim 725 wrote:Yes. I also know an elementary school teacher who doesn't got to local meetings anymore because a mother brought one of the teacher's students to a meeting.


If the mere thought of being outed as an AA member is more important than dying from untreated alcoholism, then I certainly recommend staying away.
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Postby Blue Moon » Fri Jan 23, 2009 8:46 am

Jim 725 wrote:
Although I do think some alcoholics use closed meetings to avoid possibly getting "outed" via open meetings. Such fear-based sobriety is unhealthy IMO.


.......and rather than going to a closed meeting they prefer to make life miserable for single parents.


But closed meetings are unhealthy, aren't they?


How does "fear-based sobriety is unhealthy" equate to "closed meetings are unhealthy"?

My home group hosts closed meetings. I go there because it focuses on alcoholism and recovery therefrom, not because it's a closed meeting. I feel no need to hide from the chance of been seen in an open meeting by a non-alcoholic. Where I sobered up, my home group hosted open meetings. I was there for the same reason - because it had focus on alcoholic recovery.

As such, closed or open, the meeting itself can be healthy - but a person's reason for being there might not be.
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