Home Group is Dying Out

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

Home Group is Dying Out

Postby AnitaR » Mon Feb 23, 2015 1:36 pm

My home group got me sober and kept me sober... or at least I credit them as such! Now, years later, the group is dying out.

I had to take a time out to deal with my mom's dementia and she died recently. Now that I can come back, no one is there. I drive by and there might be one or two cars. I have gone without a meeting for over a month so now that I want to attend, I can't bring myself to stop for an empty meeting. Does that make sense? I feel guilty, though... surely I am part of the problem and not the solution! This group has been dying out for at least a year. I decided to visit e-AA GROUP instead and I feel connected to AA again!

Question... asked a million times here, I bet: Is this enough? Is coming here instead of sitting in a dead hall ok? I live in a rural area and we only have the one hall within 50 miles. I need AA, I know that for sure, but is e-AA considered attending meetings?? I am new enough here that I don't know for sure. I used to attend physical AA on a daily basis. Now I can come here even more often. I have a great relationship with my sponsor, btw.

Those with experience here, think this is for me? (Sober 7 years)
DoN't CrAp oN mY SeReNiTy! Valley Hope Alumni '07
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Re: Home Group is Dying Out

Postby PaigeB » Mon Feb 23, 2015 1:44 pm

an empty meeting

Won't be empty if you are there!

I helped a meeting make flyers to pass out at the District business meeting saying: The Blank Group is Alive & Well at this time and this place and there will be cookies!

Then I showed up to make sure there was at least 2 people there. I did that for months and now they have about 5 regulars and 3 homegroup members. Now I go when I can, which is most weeks. I invite people and I announce the meeting if there is an opportunity.

Make food and they will come > still works!
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Re: Home Group is Dying Out

Postby Layne » Mon Feb 23, 2015 4:12 pm

Most of the time I go to meetings for the opportunity to give back what was so freely given to me. At the times that I don't feel like going to a meeting and start coming up with reason s why nonattendance is alright, those are the times I go for me.
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Re: Home Group is Dying Out

Postby Brock » Mon Feb 23, 2015 4:58 pm

AnitaR wrote:Question... asked a million times here, I bet: Is this enough? Is coming here instead of sitting in a dead hall ok?


I suspect that many of us who are members here would like to say yes, e-AA can be our only meeting place. But the trouble is for me it just doesn’t feel right to say it, because I am scared of putting newcomers off of regular meetings, and regular meetings in my experience offer more to the newcomer, or perhaps a combination of the two would be ideal. Secondly it seems a little selfish, who is going to be there to help those newcomers when they attend.

But if it weren’t for those pesky feelings of selfishness and so on, I would just say without doubt I prefer this than regular meetings by a long shot. It is just so much simpler, you can help others and learn from others, and do it dressed in your “comforts” anytime you feel like, it’s pretty hard to find a down side to it.

Another part I like is often when you feel somebody is wrong about something, you can take your time looking up a counter point in the books, so this type of AA perhaps encourages a bit more researching for answers which is a good thing. If you stay for a while you may also see these discussions sometimes getting a bit heated, which can be healthy once it’s not overdone, but then a moderator may ask that everyone cool it down a bit. We have all types from all parts, you may say something tonight which helps someone thousands of miles away, and go to bed with a smile.

So for me the short answer is yes, just this will do fine, but there is a voice in my head that says I owe a debt of gratitude, one that can only be paid by attending some meetings.

One last point, you will find that just like regular meetings we sometimes have lots of folks and other times just a few, both the amount of people and variety of topics goes up and down.
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Re: Home Group is Dying Out

Postby Tommy-S » Mon Feb 23, 2015 10:00 pm

Hi Anita,

I have certainly gotten attached to groups and the people who make them up... particularly those who put me on this path.

That same allegiance you felt towards the meeting that helped you is now being withheld from the next struggling newcomer who needs AA's help.

As has been said, the meeting won't be empty if you're there.

Thanks... Tommy
Together, we don't have to cave in or wimp out to that Fatal First One, no matter what today!
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Re: Home Group is Dying Out

Postby Lali » Tue Feb 24, 2015 8:05 am

I have heard it said many times, only two people are required to hold a meeting. If everyone who drives to this meeting turns around and leaves because there are only two others, there’s not much hope that this group can survive.

I come here only as a supplement to my face to face meetings. I would never give up my face to face meetings unless I become housebound (may happen one day if I don’t have back surgery soon).

However, I think that the fellowship in a face to face meeting can’t be beat. I also would not contact my sponsor by e-mail or text or allow a sponsee to do so either. I believe that a sponsor needs to be able to hear the tone in their sponsees’ voices to truly know how they are doing. It would be so easy for me to shoot off a text to her because I’m “busy” stating that I am fine when maybe I’m not so fine. I want to have a sit down with her or telephone contact with no rushing.

I just don’t believe e-aa is a good replacement for f2f. Being someone who attends f2f, it helps keep me accountable. People know when I don’t show up!
Another thing, often in meetings we hear people talking the talk while not walking the walk. In other words, it’s easier to tell if they are sincere, rather than full of BS. It’s so much easier to see where they really are at than in a post on e-aa.

One more pro for f2f, making coffee, helping clean kitchen, passing out books, giving rides, keeping up the home group sign up sheet, securing a speaker for speaker meetings, approaching someone who seems like they really feel out of place, etc. are VERY important in keeping alkies sober. These things can't be done on line (although there are some things that can be done here such as moderator). When I first came in and didn't yet feel like I fit in, I found that helping out made me feel "a part of" and get outside of myself!

Yes, there are wonderful aspects of e-aa. In these forums, at least, there is a LOT of good sobriety and there is always someone here after all of the face to face meetings are closed for the evening.

And, sure, there are some legitimate reasons why some can ONLY make online meetings, but for others, I think they are just taking the EASIER, SOFTER way. (This comment is obviously meant for newcomers).


Thanks for reading me!
Step 1: I can't
Step 2: He can
Step 3: I think I'll let him
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Re: Home Group is Dying Out

Postby Barbara D. » Tue Feb 24, 2015 9:14 am

Why do you have to do either-or? Why not do both? When I have what I think is an important decision to make, I forget that my life is one day at a time and that I'm interested in progress, not perfection. As long as I make an honest recovery effort, a path will open.

I was active in Recovery for 15 years. Then I let go of the fellowship and meetings but worked a personal program and relied on 1 on 1s, my HP, and my recovery toolbox for another 15 years because my energies went to being self-supporting while living in a fixer-upper house. I stayed sober and was okay. I kept thinking I would reconnect to active participation but I was out of the habit and not uncomfortable enough apparently to do it.

I did try to reconnect to my original AA Home Group over 4 years ago when I retired but it just didn't happen. I do have some physical inconveniences now, but that's not the reason it didn't work. I don't know why. I "should" have jumped into recovery again to give me motivation, a social existence, a purpose. When I was drinking, I forced myself to be the person I thought I "should" be. When I got sober, I had to figure out who I really was and be okay being me.

I am SO happy that I discovered e-AA 2 1/2 years ago and have "officially" reconnected with the 12 Steps and other alcoholics again. In a way, it has been like a new beginning. I've re-read literature, have invigorating discussions with my local recovery friends, and have made new discoveries about very old resentments and my spiritual condition. Am I better with active recovery than I was on my own? YES. :D

Thanks for listening! Anita, you've inspired me to call one of my local recovery friends and see how she is doing. In fellowship, Barbara D, alcoholic.
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Re: Home Group is Dying Out

Postby kenyal » Tue Feb 24, 2015 10:11 am

There is an AA story/legend? that a traveller was in a remote spot of the world, was in trouble and wanted badly to attend a meeting. He saw one listed and showed up to find one fellow member with the coffee on, sitting and reading his BB. The visitor sat down and just the two of them had a great meeting together. Before leaving the traveller remarked that it was the best meeting he'd been to in a while, which surprised him due to it being so small. The local told him that this was the biggest meeting he'd been to in his 18 months sober. He'd been setting up and reading his book alone each week until that night.

Supporting your local meeting with your presence until it closes or grows larger again is worth considering. Kudos to those who are now keeping it going.
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Re: Home Group is Dying Out

Postby Tom S » Tue Feb 24, 2015 10:49 am

So the wee rural group in a little rural village, deep in a far southern latitude, puttered along with 2 or 3 older male dairy farmers for years. No women welcomed, not much reliance on twelve steps but an apparent antipodean gritty determination to stay together sober.
One evening a fresh faced woman showed up, announced she was new to the program, had experienced a strong fellowship for three weeks in North America, and that she had freshly baked biscuits to share. A woman, quoting our literature and filled with the spirit of fellowship and recovery and humility.
I visited last weekend and barely could squeeze into a room with fourteen recovering alcoholics, pretty much equally balanced by gender and age. Robust experience, strength, hope and robust laughter abounded and all left refreshed and renewed.
Just my experience.
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Re: Home Group is Dying Out

Postby jeffrooster » Wed May 20, 2015 6:48 am

Paige said it... Free food works everytime and it does only take two for a meeting.
A fellow AAer and myself started a big book discussion at my home once per week, mostly for shy people that we had met that didn't open up well in larger groups.
No fees, just free hotdogs and it grew to about 15 people. At that point we started going to meetings that could use the support and it really did help. One thing is for sure
, everybody wants to go where the cars are.
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Re: Home Group is Dying Out

Postby desypete » Wed May 20, 2015 7:06 am

i am reminded about the first ever meeting that was started in our area almost 60 years ago

there was just 2 people who attended it week after week, aa was just starting to grow back then and hardly anyone knew what it was all about etc

those 2 people kept that meeting going, today there are over 300 meetings around my area aa is in hospitals and prisons its all over the place thanks to those 2 people who just kept that first meeting going

one of them had no car and had to make his way sometimes walking many miles to get that meeting open, how they ever didnt feel like there wasteing there time beats me but they believed in what they had found so they just stuck at it, then a 3rd person came along and a 4th etc

one of the 2 members who got it going is still there today the other sadly died many years ago, but i thank that guy for putting in all that effort so many years ago as he will never know just how much his efforts have helped so many people like me to find a way out of the madness

the problem i have with online stuff is it will encourage people to stay at home and isolate. i mean who wants to go to an aa room in rain or cold when they can stay at home, in the warm and have a rant or whatever online ? will it keep people sober i dont know ? i can see it as an aid to people like me to keep in touch with aa but i still do my bit in the fellowship, i have to be help out in the meetings to make sure there always there for the new comers yet to come

so i can take or leave the online world as i keep my feet tightly placed in aa but like i said my only worry would be for memebers who will stop going to meetings and stay at home rather than the face to face that i firmly believe i need

but thats just my take on it
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