Can I ask a couple of questions?

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Can I ask a couple of questions?

Postby Tosh » Wed Mar 05, 2014 12:02 pm

Well I am anyway:

1. Our homegroup meeting is an open meeting and last night a newcomer brought her new boyfriend to our meeting. She's lost her driving license, and only known him for a few days and he's a taxi driver - the one she's been using since she was kicked out of rehab last week - (I know I know). Anyway, the meeting obviously touched him because he wanted to speak and started off with a "Hello my name is Tony and I'm not an alcoholic", at which point I interrupted, saying he was more than welcome to attend the meeting, but only members can share.

Was I right to do so?

2. A member of our homegroup just celebrated 2 years sober and his wife is about to have a baby. I asked my homegroup if I could purchase some flowers and a card, for his wife, on behalf of our meeting from our meeting's funds. They all agreed.

Was I right to do so? Thinking about it, shouldn't we just have passed around a separate hat?

I know these questions should be directed to my sponsor, but he's in Japan on business right now.

Thanks for your input.
Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.” Rumi (No sniggering from the sex addicts)
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Re: Can I ask a couple of questions?

Postby PaigeB » Wed Mar 05, 2014 12:49 pm

I would say "yes" and "yes"...

If we die out, it will come from inside AA and not from any outside influence. I think Bill or Bob said that. But someone, maybe the chair of the meeting has to protect the Traditions and standards of practice or we will die from within. Take for instance this example... A closed meeting I attended, asked prior to the Serenity Prayer, asked all in attendance if it would be okay to open the meeting and a majority said yes - it would alright if She had Him with her just this one time. A couple people voted no and a couple of those walked out... Of those that walked out was a gal I had never seen before with a gal who I know from around the tables, ie; maybe a 12 Step call just went bad... maybe someone will die.

Now that is not the same as your story, but we have our meetings in our autonomous ways for reasons. And I think the "only alcoholics participate" is a suggestion that came from GSO (USA). Not a rule, but enough of a problem that many many people are concerned about non-AA's participating in an AA meeting.

When people in AA are not unified, many people will die. Maybe you could have handled it privately, but I think what you did is ok fine and likely fodder for the next Group Conscious meeting!

As for your second question, same answer - each group is autonomous and if your group took a group conscious and wants to spend their money on flowers so be it! :mrgreen:
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Re: Can I ask a couple of questions?

Postby Tosh » Wed Mar 05, 2014 1:50 pm

Thanks, Paige, but one point regarding the flowers question; we get visitors who put money into our group too. I assume they would think that money is spent on A.A. activities - so is it really right to then go spend it on flowers and a card for a A.A. spouse?
Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.” Rumi (No sniggering from the sex addicts)
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Re: Can I ask a couple of questions?

Postby Brock » Wed Mar 05, 2014 4:44 pm

I would agree with the yes to both questions, the last line of the 1987 General Service Conference statement on open meetings says – “We ask that all who participate confine their discussion to their problems with alcohol.” The full statement is available on those cards the office puts out, this is card # F-17, probably see it online if you want. On the second issue, as Paige said surely once the group OK’s the expenditure then the conscience has spoken, but I do also agree with you that folks didn’t expect their money to be used on an individual member. So yes from a traditions standpoint, maybe no from a moral one, most folks probably wouldn’t give this a second thought, guess you aren’t most folks, which is good.

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Re: Can I ask a couple of questions?

Postby Duke » Wed Mar 05, 2014 9:27 pm

The fact that you're asking the question makes my answers to your questions an unqualified yes. But weren't you kind of curious about what the cabbie boyfriend had to say? I know I am. 8)
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Re: Can I ask a couple of questions?

Postby ann2 » Wed Mar 05, 2014 11:14 pm

I agree you did the right thing asking the fella not to speak -- he oughta go to Al-anon. There he will get the feedback that is pertinent to his perpesctive. I think there's a type of al-anon candidate that will only talk with alcoholics because that's how their sickness manifests itself, and it's a bad vibe in an AA meeting.

As for the second, cut the group a break. It is likely that the flowers I got from my group when I was in the hospital were paid by our collection, and ours was a very popular meeting with nickels and dimes frim all over. Those flowers meant the world to me. I am still sober today. It was part of the message of the group, as far as i was concerned -- not everyone can visit, but they all cared.

However i am completely in sympathy about your urge to take up a separate collection. I wonder what your sponsor will say when he gets back.

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Re: Can I ask a couple of questions?

Postby PaigeB » Thu Mar 06, 2014 12:23 am

I put money in the baskets of all the meetings I attend. I would never presume to think I had a say in how that money was spent except in one - the one where I cast my vote. Therefore, I would not be upset about flowers in another group's decision... but that is just me and what I would like to think about my future actions! :lol:
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Re: Can I ask a couple of questions?

Postby Squawking Hawk » Thu Mar 06, 2014 4:07 pm

Thanks for the topic Tosh. Got me reflecting on things which is always a good thing. :lol: :lol:

Most of the open meetings that I attend have a policy that you have to identify yourself as an alcoholic in order to share. So based on my ESH, the answer to Q1 is yes.

The question how to pay for flowers and card for a member who is having a baby got me thinking. I think the way you handled it is fine. You asked your group and they said yes. But you certainly could have passed the hat around twice. Some would contribute and some won't. A very nice thing to do.

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Re: Can I ask a couple of questions?

Postby kenyal » Thu Mar 06, 2014 6:07 pm

Looks good to me. Kudos on speaking up. The newcomer now knows the traditions are something your group takes seriously, and that's a good thing.

If the group gift comes up again another pass of the basket is the better way, and also allowing people to catch up with you later on the money if they want to contribute but didn't expect the need that night and are short.

The way you did it puts a public social pressure on people who might not have decided to kick in for the purchase of flowers on their own, and the bit of money to the plus side of the cause isn't worth putting people in a bind. Not a big deal, but doing it the other way allows the people who want to do that to freely give to the family sans pressure, which is more pleasant all 'round.
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Re: Can I ask a couple of questions?

Postby Tosh » Fri Mar 07, 2014 1:50 am

Thanks all. I think I'll just leave what's done as done with regards the money, but in future I'll ask if it's okay to pass a separate hat for A.A. spouses having babies.

As for what the 'civilian' (taxi driver) wanted to say, he approached me after the meeting and explained that his brother had died in a drink fueled drug drug fest while on holiday in Malta, and that he'd wished that he'd found A.A. prior to his demise. So I think he was going to say something along those lines.
Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.” Rumi (No sniggering from the sex addicts)
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Re: Can I ask a couple of questions?

Postby Db1105 » Sat Mar 08, 2014 7:41 pm

IMHO

1. It's up to the group conscience on how the group should run. My a Homegroup is an open meeting and anyone is welcome to speak.
2. The money put into the basket is to help the still suffering alcoholic by paying for the rent. Buying coffee and supplies, and literature. All excess money beyond a prudent reserve should got to Intergroup, a and then GSO. I don't see how buying flowers for a spouse of a member for having a baby is part of carting the message to the still suffering. But, the bottom line is that it is up to each group on how they want to spend their money. But, most people don't want to appear to be the bad guy by objecting to someone doing something nice without spending their own money.
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Re: Can I ask a couple of questions?

Postby Sally » Sat Mar 08, 2014 8:02 pm

I agree with Paige- if AA is ever in trouble- it's going to come
from within- it's going to come from being so rigid we can't see beyond
the *rules*- I think you did right on both questions.
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Re: Can I ask a couple of questions?

Postby larrylive » Tue Mar 11, 2014 3:55 am

I see no problem with allowing "straights" to share, particularly if it's asking a question. I would hate to be the chairperson that kept someone from breaking out of denial. Or if the person knows of yet another person who is in need of support. I wonder if in the beginning, when meetings were held in people's houses, if the "sober" spouse was told they could not ask questions. Are we really that aloof as to think people without "the problem" should not be heard. I know we now have Alan-non, but in my area they seem to do more harm than good. I believe straight from the horses mouth is the best source.

As to the flowers....group conscience.

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Re: Can I ask a couple of questions?

Postby Roberth » Mon May 12, 2014 11:53 am

Hello Tosh. I would have pretty much the same thing but it really depends on your meeting format. Most of the open meeting I go to usually have something in the format about all are welcome but only alcoholics can share. That way it is a group conscience and not Robert trying to run the show.
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Re: Can I ask a couple of questions?

Postby Tommy-S » Mon May 12, 2014 8:32 pm

Good Questions, Tosh

As already said... Group Conscience PREPAREDNESS

AS to the 1st, in my group we do ask Non-AAs Not to share, and have asked AAs to "Shut Up!"... but always with the provision, "someone will be happy to go outside with you and discuss that".

This was figured out at our Business meeting, along with how to handle some common situations like the disruptive Wet One, How to handle the Cassanova hitting on the young gals, etc.

Sometimes its as EZ as having two of the biggest guys switch seats with the young lady, flanking Romeo, or let Joe, Frank, Mary, etc go outside with so & so and talk to them.

As for the Flowers, I am 50-50. I've been in groups whose secretaries keep lists. The group collection goes to provide Cake & Birthday cards, as well as Get Well cards for those in the hospital. That is part of Group Support.

But for Births (other than a "You Reproduced!?!" card :) ), there is usually a separate collection, after the meeting, for & by homegroup members, to pick up things for the newborn like diapers & such. That's what friends do for friends.

But one thing we do announce is that "Non-(AA)Members" are asked Not to contribute to the 7th Tradition Basket... Tough to be self-supporting with non-members chipping in

Anyway, keep us posted of what the group comes up with... Thanks

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