Children in meetings

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

Postby Joe H » Fri Jan 23, 2009 1:02 pm

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


What reason other than the desire to stop drinking is required?

I hope I am wrong and please point it out if I am, are you insinuating that a person who wishes to remain anonymous in Alcoholics Anonymous is not in a healthy frame of mind?
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Postby Marc H » Fri Jan 23, 2009 4:54 pm

In my neighborhood a closed meeting simply means it is for alcoholics only to discuss subjects related to alcoholism and not for any other ism. I have never thought of it any other way.

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Postby Joe H » Fri Jan 23, 2009 5:52 pm

In my neighborhood a closed meeting simply means it is for alcoholics only to discuss subjects related to alcoholism and not for any other ism.


There are some, Marc, who would like to believe that an Open Meeting is open to any topic, this is just not the case.

The following is from the pamphlet The AA Group...Where it all begins

Closed meetings are for A.A. members only, or for those who have a drinking problem and "have a desire to stop drinking."

Open meetings are available to anyone interested in Alcoholics Anonymous' program of recovery from alcoholism.

At both types of meetings, the A.A. chairperson may request that partisipants confine their discussion to matters pertaining to recovery from alcoholism.
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Re: Children in meetings

Postby Goomelon » Fri Mar 13, 2009 3:54 pm

Barry wrote: Hard to recover with kids or babies making noise, or creating other problems as the program is really for those with a desire to stop drinking. Period. <small>[ 02-03-2003, 10:08 PM: Message edited by: Barry C ]</small>


While I can appreciate your point of view, I am a 29 year old mother of 3 kids (my youngest just born this past December) and have struggled, while in rehab, to figure out how I would manage to stay sober, be a good mom and give back to others all without losing my mind. I can leave my two oldest boys behind but my baby must come with me to meetings.

It's disheartening to think that my presence with my child at a meeting would create problems when my intentions are to not only stay sober but to have my child grow up knowing there is a way out, there is another route to take. Drinking and drugs nearly ruined my life...but now that I'm back on the right path, why shouldn't I use my recovery as a tool by which to teach my children?

I don't meant o be argumentative at all so please don't misunderstand. I would really like more input on this because the question has been burning in my mind for quite some time (I haven't been to a meeting with my baby yet...which now makes over 3 months...mainly due to this fact)...

Thanks for listening..

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Postby jak » Fri Mar 13, 2009 5:34 pm

I would really like more input on this because the question has been burning in my mind for quite some time (I haven't been to a meeting with my baby yet...which now makes over 3 months...mainly due to this fact)...

Ask the members of your face to face groups for feedback. We at e-AA cannot decide for them how their meetings are conducted. Contact AA members in your area on the phone and ask for information.

You are likely to find meetings where you can take your baby.

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Postby LetgoJoe » Fri Mar 13, 2009 6:39 pm

This is only an issue at one of our meetings in town. And I am a member of that home group, which has a meeting that announces that children are not permitted at the meeting. It appears that most of the people that volunteer to chair the meeting, really dislike announcing it. Sadly, that announcement of no children was voted as a result of some frustrated individuals that just happen to be the ones at the business meeting when it was proposed.

This all stemmed from one member's irrisponsibility to control her children but instead of members bucking up and nicely telling her after one of the meetings what she needed to hear about controlling her children or leave them home with a baby sitter, they decided to back door it by voting for the announcement. The result? An announcement that has now been in place for 15 years and I have never met this legendary person that had the child that was the catalyst of this so very important announcement.

So I have been one to bring my young children to meetings over the years, and I had a reason to propose the dropping of the announcement. I could never get enough votes, mainly because there is a lot of rigidity in the group about establish guidelines. It is as if once they have voted on something, it cannot be reversed because that would look as if we were wrong and that just can't be.

Anyway, I have worked around it. I have gone to the meetings that allowed children and I am always respectful to the group about it. If my child is even remotely disruptive (which is usaully only noticed my me) he is quietly corrected by me immediately and if he doesn't not want to comply, we simply leave. If he is not being disruptive, it is not hurting anyone. Some people get upset that I have him there based on there personal beliefs, as some here have expressed, but he is an innocent sweet little boy that sits quietly and colors in his coloring book in a room adjacent to the meeting where I can see him.

Also, I don't think it hurts some of the members to be exposed to a little of the sober family in meetings. That along with sober public affection in open meetings, like couples holding hands. I do realize that I have a say in home group issues. That is why it is important to show up to the business meetings, so if I think a thing is wrong I can propose it and bring some like minded home group members to vote.

I also believe that if people aren't willing to be part of the solution, they shouldn't complain, that would be as in a minimum of at least be willing to show up to the business meetings. However, I respect the group conscience and have accepted it and worked around it and in the same regard I see people accepting when I bring my son to the other meetings once in a great while.
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Postby Blue Moon » Fri Mar 13, 2009 7:58 pm

Yeah, ask at the meetings, or some of the others who go to them. My home group hosts "closed" meetings, so obviously non-alcoholic children shouldn't be there, but just outside the meeting room is another room, so sometimes kids do come along and read or colour in there. Supervised, of course. Sometimes one or two of the sober members take newcomers or their support folk into the other room to quietly have an "open" meeting. It seems to work ok.
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Postby Jake » Sat Mar 14, 2009 6:00 am

I have not seen a problem with it in the open meetings that I attend. Usually when a member brings a child into a meeting they do so because they have no alternative and the child is too young to wait outside the meeting. Most of the members respect this but occasionally children are subject to language and discussions that are not healthy for a young child. Most of the time members notice that a child is present and lighten up on the four letters words and adult type comments that really are not necessary to talk about alcoholism. Sometimes members can be sitting right next to a young child and carry on unnecessarily with nasty language and comments. When this happens usually the chairperson or other senior members nip it in the bud.

I find that I can discuss any subject with a child present just by choosing my words properly. When I see how some of children looked coming in the first time and later after the parent has been sober for a few months I realize how meetings help not only the alcoholic but the loved ones in their life.
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Postby Oliver » Sat Mar 14, 2009 7:19 am

Yeah, I also think the best thing to do would be to talk to fellows in your area. Perhaps call the helpline and make it clear what your concerns are - there may be some meetings that are more appropriate for children than others. They might be able to sort something else out for you. Oliver.
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Postby Joe H » Sat Mar 14, 2009 9:28 am

Jake wrote:Sometimes members can be sitting right next to a young child and carry on unnecessarily with nasty language and comments. When this happens usually the chairperson or other senior members nip it in the bud.


Kids or no kids nasty comments and lanuage have no place in a meeting. That is the way it used to be.
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Postby trent » Mon May 11, 2009 8:51 pm

holly crap a 6 year old thread still active!

My only complaint about kids in meetings is that they hear things they should not hear.

What is interesting after six years since this original post the group still struggles with the issue.Like so many other issues that it wrestles with, forever.
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Postby trent » Mon May 11, 2009 9:18 pm

What the heck, I will explain a little bit.

This group that is reffered to in the original post has, like a lot of groups, struggled between trying to be accomidating to single parents and new comers that need to bring their childeren to the meetings with them, while at the same time minimizing disruption to the meeting and other negative aspects of doing so.

In the original post, the story goes like this - we had a salesman at the company I work for. His wife had a drinking and drug problem, went to rehap then to AA. They got divorced. She was going to meetings and taking their kids to meetings with her. He was grilling the kids on what she said in the meetings, and on what I said in the meetings and yadda yadda. Things got ugly. He was very pissed off that his kids were being exposed to AA meetings. He was even trying to figure out how to take legal action against AA. It all ended very badly - it really messed up his life, messed hers up worse, cost me and my boss a lot of money.....

It was a really weird, messed up situation that spiraled out of control.
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Postby LetgoJoe » Wed May 13, 2009 5:44 pm

Thanks Trent. I was reading over the quick rundown and the thought went through my mind of the innocent that suffer as a result of the self centeredness of adults. I quickly counted the players in your scenario and the children appeared to be the least of the problem. In recovery it was hard for me to let go of one of my ex's stuff. Fighting out loud with my child's mother has always felt bad and has always had a negative effect on the child. They are torn by it. Of course I was told in AA, it was about my actions - about my growing toward God, not whether the other person is or not. Over time, slowly and with a whole lot of praying - letting go and letting God started to become a reality and I found the power to shut up when things weren't the way I wanted them to be. I also found ways of simply saying no and leaving it at that and walking away. I agree that there are some things we seem to struggle with far, far too long. Most things I have let go of have major claw marks on them. I noticed that I did a 4th step and of course my ex made the list and I worked through it with the steps but I later noticed that that resentment was resurrected based on a justifiable reservation to get viciously upset under certain conditions. It was a very nutty time for me. It was a character defect for me that was just as dangerous as having a reservation to drink and I know today that I better get to working this program very hard when those kinds of situations start getting in my head and my actions. I'm not sure why I shared all that other than for me, it reminded me of a time when I felt that chaos in sober time and things today are very, very calm compared to those times and thank God I have had some friends with the patients and tolerance to listen to my junk as I went through it to get to a better place. ~Joe
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Postby leighahh » Tue Jul 14, 2009 2:05 pm

Just my two cents but here goes.

I happen to be married and have a sick 3 year old. I know that when I first got clean I would take my other children with me to meetings because I was in the recovery house and had visits with them and didnt have a choice. However, since then I have taken my sick 3 year old with me. I sit by the door, take plenty for him to do and when need be go outside so not to disturb the meeting. I live in chicago and no one has ever said anything to me about having my baby with me. If anything I have been told why did i leave they were fine.

I also think and come from the thought that we dragged these children through our addiction with us and they need help to and they need to learn this program so they dont follow our foot steps. I would be much happier to see parents bring their baby or children to a meeting then to knwo they are leaving them out of the help they need.

Just my thoughts.
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Re: Children in meetings

Postby carla e » Thu Jan 07, 2010 1:23 pm

I know that for me when I first started in the program the meeting place I attended had no problem with children at meetings which helped me and my children alot now that goup does not permit children at closed meetings as far as aninimity my children only broke mine and at the time bothered me but now I realy dont care because if it wernt for AA I would not have my children in my life. My children are 12 and 14 and they were 9@11 when I came into the program and they will tell you that this is what their mother has to do to get and stay sober
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