Other drugs at meetings...

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Other drugs at meetings...

Postby MyNameisVictor » Fri Oct 12, 2012 7:06 am

Hi All,

I hope everyone is doing well, especially the newcomers. I had an experience last night as I was chairing a meeting that I want to get off my chest. One guy who shared began to talk about how he gave up cigarettes when he stopped drinking. He started going in to how he stopped smoking, and how hard it was. I had to interrupt him, and told him that he needs to focus on alcoholism. After the meeting, he got upset (as people usually do on the rare occassion that I interrupt them) and said that AA is for people who are recovering from addictions in general. I that AA is not about that.

Believe me, as a former smoker myself, I would love to see everyone quit smoking. But this is not Cigarette Smokers Anonymous, it's Alcoholics Anonymous. Also, my sponsor told me not to quit smoking in my first year of sobriety, although it took me five years to quit smoking after I got sober. Also, believe it or not, my group is pretty liberal when it comes to people sharing about addictions to dry goods, so long as it's part of their drinking story.

Others may disagree with me, and that's okay, but I do not consider nicotine to be in the same class as alcohol. While I was very cranky when I initially quit smoking, nicotine is not a psychotropic drug like alcohol, pot, meth or cocaine, and therefore, should not be discussed during AA meetings.

Any thoughts on this? Thanks.
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Re: Other drugs at meetings...

Postby ann2 » Fri Oct 12, 2012 7:23 am

Oh my gosh has this board got thoughts on that!

viewtopic.php?f=13&t=3785&start=60

As regards cigarettes in particular -- they are kind of a traditional AA meeting facilitator, like coffee and car rides.

Sure they're horrible! Nobody's arguing that. But -- they helped me socialize when I first got to AA. Plus they used to give us good service jobs, like cleaning ashtrays and picking up butts outside the meeting hall.

Not to be too flippant, i have close relatives who died of lung cancer, after all. But in my case at least, it's alcohol.

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Re: Other drugs at meetings...

Postby PaigeB » Fri Oct 12, 2012 10:53 am

As far as my personal preferences go - I think talking at length about one's divorce or quitting smoking is really really annoying in an AA meeting.

By tradition it separates us from our common bond - affecting unity & our primary purpose! Why would I want to listen to you go on & on about your favorite football team or your mother's detailed physical symptoms? Drug addiction may be a bit of an exception at some meetings. Anything is allowed - in short form "... as it RELATES to alcoholism." If you get away from alcohol for too long, I am not listening! Hell, if you talk more than 5 minutes you'll lose me no matter what the topic.

If "off topic" goes uncontrolled by the chair, the meeting may erupt... seen it happen. And I hate to be in the Chair position when a cut off becomes necessary. Invariably, the speaker is hurt. But again, our traditions are in the hands of the chair and/or the Home Group members.

As GSR for my Home Group I called GSO and discussed the Traditions at length with a gentleman who answered my call. At my home group biz meeting we came up with plan A and plan B for use in such situations. One idea is for a person to take the speaker aside for a one on one discussion.

So talk it out at a biz meeting - with the group conscience behind your actions, things will go easier on your heart.
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Re: Other drugs at meetings...

Postby Tommy-S » Fri Oct 12, 2012 12:51 pm

Thanks for the topic and posts, folks.

The Drink can work on me through other things, and I need to be aware of such. One of my favorite meetings starts off with the offer to "Briefly share if you had a thought of a drink" before the Chair opens the meeting for discussion.

I come to AA to deal with Alcohol so it doesn't deal with me...even after many 24 hours, that is still my purpose in attending. I have No lock on not drinking no matter how long it has been since my last one. And Chapter 5, read at the beginning of every meeting I have ever been to, says, "Remember we deal with Alcohol"

Apparently, the founders had a problem with Remembering it's Alcohol, too, else why would they include it in the book?

I know going to Math class shooting off my mouth about TV last night or even History Class last period was never accepted. AS a result of someone reigning me in, I was able to pass all the classes I took. AA is one 'class' I need a passing grade in... my life depends on it. So, I have been known to interrupt the wandering few with a reminded, and offer then the opportunity to rethink & reshare, coming back to them at the end of the meeting. Or offering to stick around afterwards to hear them out.

I usually wonder when someone is off topic (for anything) IF they have a sponsor, and use them. I am not a fan of the Rehab thinking of "dumping in the meeting". As they taught me, every wino under every bridge is talking about the problem of the day, but none of them are Sober. "Sponsor's are like deodorants, they only work if we use them".

AA is Not Anything Anonymous. It's Alcoholics Anonymous.
"We Alcoholics are undisciplined. So we let God discipline us in the simple way we have just outlined." (BB, pg 88)
As I was taught, the Chairperson's function IS to keep the meeting on focus, in this light, is the 'antenna' for channeling the Group's Higher Power into the meeting.

The key to successfully assuming the role of chair is being able to redirect the meeting with gentleness, such as "We're off topic, here. Let's talk about that after the meeting" PLUS having the support of the Group's members present.

Anyway, it is a learning process, and ways to handle it Should be something to discuss at the Group's Business meeting... When a group has a plan, and the support of the group members present, it makes the some what difficult & awkward situation so much easier for the Chairperson to accomplish. As with any job, once the responsibilities are clearly defined, knowing we have support keeps it functioning smoothly... and rids us of that emotional hangover feeling you are having now.

Thanks... Tommy
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Re: Other drugs at meetings...

Postby Lali » Fri Oct 12, 2012 4:59 pm

You did good, Victor. :D
Step 1: I can't
Step 2: He can
Step 3: I think I'll let him
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Re: Other drugs at meetings...

Postby Sally » Fri Oct 12, 2012 6:11 pm

i agree- it takes courage to speak up-
i was taught it's a matter of respect- when we are in an AA
meeting- we talk alcohol- i have known very few of us who don't have other issues
and addictions- those conversations are for your sponsor, the before/after mtg, and other
mtgs- not AA. unfortunately- you will find people who don't agree-
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Re: Other drugs at meetings...

Postby jimbo d » Fri Oct 12, 2012 8:11 pm

I am with Clancy I. on this. I think we do AA a great Disservice by rejecting other addictions. Now having said that, that's my personal view. On the topic of AAs view. Someone can tell someone to can it, when it comes to issues outside of Alcoholism.
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Re: Other drugs at meetings...

Postby Squawking Hawk » Sat Oct 13, 2012 6:01 pm

I'd like to start out by saying that I do understand our singleness of purpose . . .

And if the group conscious is that the meeting chair or leader cuts people off who are sharing about other drugs, or quitting cigarettes or what ever, then that is the right thing to do.

I quit smoking many, many years ago. I am fairly certain that I mentioned it at meetings while I was doing so. And I am pretty certain that I knew what meetings I could share this at and what meetings I could not. Sure I suspect that I got some looks from people. I am glad that no one cut me off.

My Dad did not die of lung cancer, but the conditions that lead to his death were the result of smoking.

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Re: Other drugs at meetings...

Postby kenyal » Sat Oct 13, 2012 6:28 pm

If a member is in the process of kicking smokes he's usually half nuts, I let him have a pass once to talk about the experience. With the fellow you describe I believe you did the right thing for the group.
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Re: Other drugs at meetings...

Postby jimbo d » Sat Oct 13, 2012 10:11 pm

I listened to a speaker say this. I talk about drugs at AA meetings, because simply it's part of my story. But I indentify with the Alcoholic. Because no matter what I was doing that day, whether it be pot, coke, heroin.... Alcohol was on the table everyday. I believe the reason why, is that is there is no quality control with drugs. You don't know what you got till you put it your body. But Alcohol, you know exactly what a bottle of Jack will do for you. If your mouth is slow clenched from all the coke you have done, poor a little gin through your teeth and loosen right up. Not enough heroin to get you to that cold dark place where your heart and lungs are the only things working....A little vodka will get you there. I like to go down, Booze, heroin, barbitutes...these are a few of my favorite things. But all you got is a big bag of the coke. I will drive around all night listening to the air around my head, and decoding license plates.

I relate to this. And the fact of the matter, I am an Alcoholic. Drugs are a part of my story. And I go to AA to save my ass. Drug use has taken me back to Alcohol. And if I talk about drugs at a meeting it does relate to my Alcoholism. Now, if Joe Q. has a problem with that. It's just that, his problem. Seeing this is a life or death situation for me. I will offend someone in order to get the job done. And that additude has kept me alive.
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Re: Other drugs at meetings...

Postby Tommy-S » Sun Oct 14, 2012 12:43 pm

Friend,

I, too, was a garbage can. Wet or Dry, but out of Respect for Others (and because I have respect for others today, thanks to AA), I 'keep it all in a cup'

Also, I am pretty sure AA isn't about ME... It's about US. Particularly at Open Meetings where friends, family & professionals may gather to understand what AA does.

But there is a program for all those other things, including Alcohol ... It's called Narcotics Anonymous. It works, too. Jimmy K devoted his life to a way out for all those who did not, could not or would not fit themselves to AA

Remember, a Speaker is Just that... a speaker, not a spokesperson or subject matter expert or authority. There is No exam to make circuit speaker. (Check Tradition 12, pg 187, 12 x 12)

And frankly, I am beginning to wonder if the benefits of having AA Speakers when seemingly so much of what they say is used to justify argument or rationalize a lack of adherence to Traditions. (I can't imagine that is what they intended)

That being said, I Speak tonight (but I never consent to be recorded). People there aren't giving up their evening to hear MY story, because I just ain't that interesting & they aren't that out of their minds. They come to hear AA's story.

Tommy
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Re: Other drugs at meetings...

Postby Karl R » Sun Oct 14, 2012 1:30 pm

One of the things I and my home Group have found useful to remember is that strong NA, alanon, MA, GA, etc fellowships in my locale means that AA in my locale remains strong. We, as a Group, do what we can to encourage the strengthening and growth of those other 12 step programs in my locale. We keep their meeting schedules available to those who may need them. I keep the phone numbers of 12 steppers from those other fellowships and refer those who may benefit to those 12 steppers when I can. When possible I'll hook up someone with someone else after the meeting so that they can discuss what's on their heart.

It's kind of a useful exercise for one's Group to discuss ways one can help strengthen the other fellowships. Especially in rural areas like mine. If I remember, somewhere Bill wrote an essay about this....somewhere.

Just my take.

regards,
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Re: Other drugs at meetings...

Postby Tommy-S » Sun Oct 14, 2012 1:48 pm

Thanks, Karl.

And I did Not mean that we throw people out. In my home group, we go to substantial lengths to help others find what they need.

We will go outside with them during the meeting, or hang around afterwards to discuss or let them get off their chest whatever it is that is eating them up. By knowing who is strong in other fellowships, we make introductions. Even taking them to those meetings.

It's Not about being callous and uncaring. It's about getting the BEST help... As good is often the enemy of the best.

This 'dual or multiple' situations became a larger issue with Legislative Changes in the 70's & 80's, combining Drug Addiction, Alcoholism, and Mental Health into one category, and the change in funding fueled a 'one-size-fits-all' industry of treatment, and it's one factor in both AA & NA (it's Clarity Statement) reemphasizing their 'Singleness & Primary Purpose' to ensure Unity.

Thanks
Last edited by Tommy-S on Mon Mar 09, 2015 3:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Other drugs at meetings...

Postby group » Sun Mar 08, 2015 9:54 am

AA and not NA

Well I would like to thank you for what you wrote about things other than alcohol being discussed at a closed meeting. Last week I was at a third tradition meeting and a man with thirty five years spoke on his feelings and those of AA as a whole. This very gentle man who I have known for my twenty five years of my own sobriety was extremely polite and did not say a single negative word to anybody who had put their hand up top share. Yet every person who identified themselves as an addict only, went nuts with what he shared. I’m sorry but AA clearly states in the preamble and the third tradition that the only requirement for membership is the desire to stop DRINKING. Not drugging. If you have a problem with drugs we do have a pamphlet that explains things other than alcohol and the closed meetings you can attend for them. Drugs were around when I came in but I never took them or I would be going to NA for help. Please if you are at a closed meeting and they read the blue card that clearly states that it is a closed meeting and for alcoholism who wish to recover, respect the house you are in and share about your experience, strength, and hope with alcoholism, because you are not at an NA meeting and stop using the excuse that NA has no sobriety. Sobriety is for alcoholics and Clean is for addicts. :) Jim
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Re: Other drugs at meetings...

Postby group » Sun Mar 08, 2015 10:30 am

8)
group wrote:AA and not NA

Well I would like to thank you for what you wrote about things other than alcohol being discussed at a closed meeting. Last week I was at a third tradition meeting and a man with thirty five years spoke on his feelings and those of AA as a whole. This very gentle man who I have known for my twenty five years of my own sobriety was extremely polite and did not say a single negative word to anybody who had put their hand up top share. Yet every person who identified themselves as an addict only, went nuts with what he shared. I’m sorry but AA clearly states in the preamble and the third tradition that the only requirement for membership is the desire to stop DRINKING. Not drugging. If you have a problem with drugs we do have a pamphlet that explains things other than alcohol and the closed meetings you can attend for them. Drugs were around when I came in but I never took them or I would be going to NA for help. Please if you are at a closed meeting and they read the blue card that clearly states that it is a closed meeting and for alcoholism who wish to recover, respect the house you are in and share about your experience, strength, and hope with alcoholism, because you are not at an NA meeting and stop using the excuse that NA has no sobriety. Sobriety is for alcoholics and Clean is for addicts. :) Jim
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