Home Group Resentment Toward the "Old-Timers"

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Home Group Resentment Toward the "Old-Timers"

Postby stacylou » Tue Dec 20, 2016 9:32 am

Hi, my name is Stacy and I am an alcoholic with a resentment toward some of the "old-timers" in my home group. There are four people in particular with 20-plus years of sobriety up to 32 years of sobriety who are very cliquish, bigoted, judgmental, etc. Last week, during the meeting-before-the-meeting, these old-timers were making disparaging remarks towards homeless people and low-income health clinics that treat them and other services offered to low-income individuals that "make it easy to be homeless."

During the meeting, there was a newcomer who seemed very distant, like he had a lot on his mind. After the meeting, he told me that he was homeless due to his relapse and that he had been homeless before, and that he had used the very services that the old-timers were ridiculing. He even teared up as he was telling me this. This made me ashamed to be a member of my home group.

I spoke with my sponsor about this, and she said that several people have quit attending my home group's meetings because of these specific individuals' narrow-mindedness and other hurtful comments and behaviors. She also said that a newcomer will look for any reason not to attend a meeting. I feel like these old-timers are helping to give reasons not to attend the meetings by their behavior. My sponsor said I could bring this up during the business meeting (which is very poorly attended and the discussions and decisions are not communicated to the group) or during a regular meeting.

I've been praying for these individuals and for the newcomer who felt hurt, but I still have a resentment toward these people. It's to the point that I don't even feel comfortable talking to them or even listening to their shares, especially when one of them likes to remind the group that "love and tolerance of others is our code." I feel like she needs to remind herself that.

My question is, how do I broach this subject in a meeting? I don't want to name names because I don't like to put people on the spot, and I feel that it is wrong to do so. I am also afraid that if I get too specific as to what was said that particular day, that it might hurt a newcomer who is homeless (we have a few that attend our meetings).

I try to remind myself that we are all sick, but I just can't seem to shake this resentment. Any suggestions?
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Re: Home Group Resentment Toward the "Old-Timers"

Postby Brock » Tue Dec 20, 2016 10:23 am

We had a member here about a week ago, speaking about her new home group in the area she has moved to. The homeless shelter it seems give more consideration to homeless people who are 'recommended' by the group as alcoholics, and the group had a person sort of 'qualifying' who they would admit to meetings, since non alcoholics would fake it to help them get a warm bed at the shelter. I am guessing that in this case also, the group gets more of these folks in cold weather. At any rate passing disparaging remarks in front of them is certainly a no no, and I don't blame you for being upset.

I am kind of bold when faced with problems like this, and during my contribution say how I feel about those who put others off, what you say about newcomers looking for excuses to stop attending is something I used myself twice, so the least amount of excuses we put in front of them the better. Of course I don't call names, but sometimes people know who I am talking about anyway, generalizing is the key, saying I was hurt at the last meeting, because some members I thought would set a better example, were passing disparaging remarks about others who are down on their luck at this time, then just carry on speaking about the topic or whatever.

Another novel approach, is to print your post or words similar without your name attached, fold it up the size of a dollar, and put it in the hat without anyone knowing who did. The money is always in the hands of people who run the business of the meeting, and with an observation like this the note would probably be passed among them all. Perhaps they will have the chair say something about welcoming all who attend equally in future.

Best of luck, and good on you for caring about the feelings of those who are down, especially at this time of year.
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Re: Home Group Resentment Toward the "Old-Timers"

Postby tomsteve » Tue Dec 20, 2016 10:45 am

sorry to read this happening,stacy. reminds me that amount of time sober doesn't determine, mental, emotional, and spiritual sobriety.
IF I was to bring this up at a meeting, I think it would be as a topic, such as the topic of " practicing these principles in all our affairs and what are the principles."
or "how to practice love and tolerance of others is our code."
I have seen instances of this,too and have even been a part of it. how did I see it and change? people came up to me and brought it up outside of the meeting.
that doesn't mean that will work, but im dam greatful for the ones that did it to me.

personally I believe that "tried to carry this message to other alcoholics" isn't only for newcomers.
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Re: Home Group Resentment Toward the "Old-Timers"

Postby avaneesh912 » Tue Dec 20, 2016 5:27 pm

Reading from the working with others chapter especially the part where they talk about having drunks in the house, not for a long duration though..bringing back focus on the true 12 steps work would help.

Never avoid these responsibilities, but be sure you are doing the right thing if you assume them. Helping others is the foundation stone of your recovery. A kindly act once in a while isn't enough. You have to act the Good Samaritan every day, if need be. It may mean the loss of many nights' sleep, great interference with your pleasures, interruptions to your business. It may mean sharing your money and your home, counseling frantic wives and relatives, innumerable trips to police courts, sanitariums, hospitals, jails and asylums. Your telephone may jangle at any time of the day or night. Your wife may sometimes say she is neglected. A drunk may smash the furniture in your home, or burn a mattress. You may have to fight with him if he is violent. Sometimes you will have to call a doctor and administer sedatives under his direction. Another time you may have to send for the police or an ambulance. Occasionally you will have to meet such conditions.

Its unfortunate that many consider just going to meetings and sharing is the only thing they have to do as part of 12th step activity.
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Re: Home Group Resentment Toward the "Old-Timers"

Postby Duke » Tue Dec 20, 2016 9:01 pm

Welcome stacylou. I'm sorry for your struggles.


You could bring up the topic of taking no position on outside issues. Neither endorsing nor opposing any causes would seem to cover opinions on homelessness, its causes and treatment.


But, while it may give others pause to reflect, I doubt it will have much impact on the people freely voicing their opinions. Sometimes, the only cure for the truly insensitive and judgmental, is to find themselves alone at the water cooler.


I would focus on reassuring all who attend that they are welcome and you stand ready to help them in any way you can. In other words, demonstrate what carrying the message really means.


Good luck to you.
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Re: Home Group Resentment Toward the "Old-Timers"

Postby positrac » Wed Dec 21, 2016 3:10 am

First off sorry to hear of this deal you mentioned. I have 27 years sober and a few things I had learned as part of growing older in the world is this: We grumble, complain, make fun of people,place and things and also do a whole lot more as this is our human trait. We have choices and it is up to me to make that decision.

However you have a voice and it is better to praise in public and chastise in private as to save face, earn honor and not have to make a large amend in the rooms. Now since this is your home group I would think that someone has a wee bit of leverage in confronting those old farts! I am an old fart so it is relevant to the topic. Yes those old cats will get all ruffled up that they are being called out. As a reminder you should want what I have..... So they need to be reeled in as others have ears and if they don't like it they can leave and start a new AA group.

All I am expressing is principles over personalities in the 12 tradition. You get all worked up and go out drinking because "we will fix them" Well they just won!

Groups die because of this kind of stuff and if you like your meeting then it is time to look at how to save the group and also keep healthy sobriety. I will caution on being careful what you wish for because you'll be granted that wish. They should hold some kind of closed meeting on business and that should be the place to address this problem.

Only suggestions and it doesn't mean anything is going to change. But sound logic and AA verbiage able due diligence of recovery is all you have to remind folks they are an example.
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Re: Home Group Resentment Toward the "Old-Timers"

Postby Blue Moon » Thu Dec 22, 2016 7:49 pm

First of all, how do you feel around other meetings? If I'm off-beam, no meeting "feels" right because I need to be doing something different. So I can't blame the meeting when I need to do something different. But if other meetings feel OK and this one is the exception, the problem is more likely to be with this particular meeting (unless, of course, there's a resentment with one of the individuals who doesn't go to the other meetings).

So if the meeting is truly the problem, your choices are simple: either change your home group, or change your home group.

Are there other more-obvious symptoms you could point out, e.g. dwindling membership? IME the group which loses sight of its primary purpose or forgets the past tends to dwindle into obscurity. So if numbers are down, you could point out that newcomers tend not to stick around and you also feel like moving on because of the negativity you feel around the meeting. The old-timers then have a simple choice to make: listen and change, or lose more members.

AAs talk. I don't have to engage. I remember a few years back just before a meeting, a couple of AAs were talking about an up-coming election and their opinions about a candidate. They asked what I thought, and my answer was simple: I have no opinion on outside issues at an AA venue.
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Re: Home Group Resentment Toward the "Old-Timers"

Postby JohnDaniels » Fri Jun 02, 2017 4:40 pm

I am so sorry to hear this happened

I can say from where I stand a member with 38 years clean and sober, not all old timers are that nasty although I do see it from time to time. Maybe it's the shame they feel so they will shame others when ever they can. I'll try to explain a little of what I mean

Now I'm not saying I'm old, but when I fart, I fart dust - but I look young
However in spite of being shot 3 times, stabbed twice, getting a broken back on a pipeline I worked on, loosing a wife to a drug overdose, my son died last year and going thru 2 rounds of chemo this year I have stayed looking young and I think my positive attitude, laughter and doing my best to apply the 12 Steps in all my affairs has a way of helping me stay young because AA has been there to hang on to and help thru my wonderful times in life and my painful time in life and I didn't have to drink over those times and I still look young - Now the only reason I mention that is I have also been the target of hateful comments by some old timers who have far less time in the program than I do, because of my young and happy appearance they think I must need to be treated badly
One example was a few years back at a fairly large meeting I was asked to speak at
I walked in the door and was met by a sour faced man who barked out "Park it here!" as he pointed to a chair.
I smiled and replied "Oh you're the guy who lives around the corner from me. My wife and I walk by your house and exchange hello's with you.
Well old buddy, I'm the speaker here tonight so is it okay if I go park it up there behind the podium?"
I smiled and walked on

I sponsor several guys and am always available to anyone who wants to just talk or needs a sponsor including homeless people

When I see homeless people out there I almost always stop and help

I was once homeless myself and I understand what it's like to live in that fear and a state of helplessness and hopelessness
I'm not angry about my pains in life because I've learned from them

Who knows where this judgment all starts but I have seen it in many newcomers who never began the 12 Steps in their lives and their ill-tempered attitudes only grew bigger. The thing is, by some miracle they have stayed sober. It's like that old saying about "If you sober up a drunken horse thief all you have is a sober horse thief"

Well I don't want to get into judging, I'm only sharing a little of what I've seen and experienced.

I know we all don't do everything we're supposed to be doing but I'm pleased to know that we can always make sure we can intervene and help when we see a newcomer or a homeless person who really needs help treated

To anyone who is having a bad experience with your first meetings, hey I'm here for you to talk with and remember if it's a bad meeting you can always search out another one better for you. I still do it.

Peace my friends
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Re: Home Group Resentment Toward the "Old-Timers"

Postby ezdzit247 » Fri Jun 02, 2017 6:27 pm

Hi JohnDaniels and welcome.

Great share! I think you nailed it. Looking forward to hearing more from you!
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Re: Home Group Resentment Toward the "Old-Timers"

Postby Brock » Sat Jun 03, 2017 7:15 am

Welcome here JohnDaniels, very well said, this is something that I notice as well -
I walked in the door and was met by a sour faced man...

In my area we have some of those, the long term sobriety equals long face bunch, and it does nothing to attract new people, to a program that promises the opposite. The best meetings are those where people laugh out loud, the book even says 'but why shouldn't we laugh.'
It's like that old saying about "If you sober up a drunken horse thief all you have is a sober horse thief"

And those are also often the ones who don't get the 'spiritual' angle, or the happiness and comfort that comes with it. The tendency to speak about their problems in the meeting is another sign, something a few of us here write about from time to time. We really owe it to new members to be an example of the power of this program, and sour faces don't do that.
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Re: Home Group Resentment Toward the "Old-Timers"

Postby desypete » Sun Jul 02, 2017 9:34 pm

hi i can well understand your frustation at the old timers
what you have to remember is this
we all come to aa in different states, there is one guy in aa who helped me a lot in my early days as he was hard as nails, and he has almost 40 year sober under his belt these days
however he is a big head know all who has come to believe in his own superiority, like so many aa members get to that stage of where they think they have all the answers and they decide there going to make aa run the way they like it

anyway at times i have been working with down and outs and i used to take them along with me to some very comfortable aa meetings just to test the aa memebers out for there love and how they have changed
you can guess the reaction from many of them as they turned there nose up at the smelly tramps who dared to eat there biscuits

looking back at it i really shouldnt of done that as i did it to show these members up for the fakes they are
but the point is i should remember they can not help it that they haven't been down to that level. it really is hard for anyone to imagine that one day it could well of been them who ended up with no family no home no wife no money etc

i have to think bigger than them at times and put my thoughts away and just let them be as they are
all i can do is offer my own hand out for friendship to anyone who might need it be it a tramp or a millionare, i can not do anything to change people i dont like in aa and i have to accept the big heads who talk big in the rooms and just let them get on with there own journey

but for me a day with a tramp is worth all the money in the world and for anyone wondering what on earth i am on about all i could say is try it for yourself, go and find a down and out and give them some of your time and see how you feel after it =biggrin
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Re: Home Group Resentment Toward the "Old-Timers"

Postby Brock » Mon Jul 03, 2017 7:28 am

...go and find a down and out and give them some of your time and see how you feel after it

Absolutely right, and a direction for living found in every spiritual book. People like Jesus and St. Francis Mother Theresa and so on, they spent their time with the down and out's just like you do.

I don't really believe in such things, but if there were a pearly gate and Peter in heaven, and Desy kicked the bucket and came up, I wish I could be there. He would be protesting and saying no I don't believe in God, how can you tell me to come in. I imagine a booming voice from above saying 'by your actions I know you, come on in Desy.'
looking back at it i really shouldnt of done that as i did it to show these members up for the fakes they are...

We should keep in mind that some of those you describe, may have not been pleased to see the tramps you led in, not just because they were tramps. They are many where I live, and every now and then they are rounded up and put in the mental hospital, the same place I spent three weeks in against my will. And of all those I met, they were pleased for the clean cloths and meals they got, the only thing they missed and tried to smuggle in was cigarettes, not an alcoholic amongst them.

We should be kind yes, but bringing people to an AA meeting, when the only reason they might want to come is a warm room with free biscuits and tea, can get others upset. I say tell them about the fellowship, 12 step them, show them where the meetings are, tell them if they desire to stop drinking please come. Not every tramp is an alcoholic.
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Re: Home Group Resentment Toward the "Old-Timers"

Postby desypete » Sat Jul 08, 2017 6:31 pm

Brock wrote:
...go and find a down and out and give them some of your time and see how you feel after it

Absolutely right, and a direction for living found in every spiritual book. People like Jesus and St. Francis Mother Theresa and so on, they spent their time with the down and out's just like you do.

I don't really believe in such things, but if there were a pearly gate and Peter in heaven, and Desy kicked the bucket and came up, I wish I could be there. He would be protesting and saying no I don't believe in God, how can you tell me to come in. I imagine a booming voice from above saying 'by your actions I know you, come on in Desy.'
looking back at it i really shouldnt of done that as i did it to show these members up for the fakes they are...

We should keep in mind that some of those you describe, may have not been pleased to see the tramps you led in, not just because they were tramps. They are many where I live, and every now and then they are rounded up and put in the mental hospital, the same place I spent three weeks in against my will. And of all those I met, they were pleased for the clean cloths and meals they got, the only thing they missed and tried to smuggle in was cigarettes, not an alcoholic amongst them.

We should be kind yes, but bringing people to an AA meeting, when the only reason they might want to come is a warm room with free biscuits and tea, can get others upset. I say tell them about the fellowship, 12 step them, show them where the meetings are, tell them if they desire to stop drinking please come. Not every tramp is an alcoholic.


lol at the thought of me protesting at the pearly gates =biggrin

your right not every down and out is in that position because of them being an alcoholic. there are huge numbers now a days who are there because of drugs, something i never managed to get involved with at all during my drinking career

there are also people who have ended up on skid row for many other reasons but you can rest assured the ones i took along to aa meetings were drunks

the reason i said i shouldnt of done it when i took some along to a meeting is that my motive was all wrong, i didnt do it to try to help them, i did it trying to show up some aa members and that was wrong. in mt defence i was very young in sobriety and working with others etc i was keen as mustard, riding my white horse trying to save the world from drink lol

but its experience that has helped me to grow and maybe have a second thought before i go running off on my horse again =biggrin
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Re: Home Group Resentment Toward the "Old-Timers"

Postby Patsy© » Wed Aug 30, 2017 10:20 am

Hi, my name is Stacy and I am an alcoholic with a resentment toward some of the "old-timers" in my home group. There are four people in particular with 20-plus years of sobriety up to 32 years of sobriety who are very cliquish, bigoted, judgmental, etc. Last week, during the meeting-before-the-meeting, these old-timers were making disparaging remarks towards homeless people and low-income health clinics that treat them and other services offered to low-income individuals that "make it easy to be homeless."

"During the meeting, there was a newcomer who seemed very distant, like he had a lot on his mind. After the meeting, he told me that he was homeless due to his relapse and that he had been homeless before, and that he had used the very services that the old-timers were ridiculing. He even teared up as he was telling me this. This made me ashamed to be a member of my home group."



Hi Stacy,

Well, just because some have TIME in AA, doesn't mean that they are in Recovery or have Recovered. What it means is that TIME isn't always a good way to decide if others in AA are "Well" lol

I have met people with one year of sobriety, who have worked, practice and pass on the 12 steps to those who want it. I have met people with 30 years of sobriety, who have no idea what the 12 steps are and don't want to know, but think they do :) There are many more in the AA group than just those 4 people, so why are you so focused on them?

So, to keep it real simple, I would strongly suggest that you take the focus OFF those 4 people who you consider "oldtimers" who have nothing but Time and negativity to share, and put the focus on you, your attitude and your own recovery. That way, you will be able to see, hear and help those who are in desperate need of working this simple program and be there for them.
See, the most important parts of the Serenity Prayer are applied to ourself, never the other persons. Because we have no control over people, places and things, their thinking, their actions, their words or their deeds.........but we have much control over our own thinking, our own actions, our own words and our own deeds.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change (All things outside myself); courage to change the things I can; (Me and my attitude) and wisdom to know the difference. (wisdom to know that the only one I can change is me, and not other people, places and things.)
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Re: Home Group Resentment Toward the "Old-Timers"

Postby stefni4246 » Sat Sep 30, 2017 5:44 am

Hi Stacy
I saw your post and, while I do not go to a home group (assuming that's held in one's home? I'm new to AA - well, 4 months new).
I have a problem with the meeting I do attend. We have some old-timers here, one just celebrated 33 years of sobriety! And he still comes to meetings!
I have notice a couple of old-timers who tend to clique, as you said, and talk for an inordinately long time when they share. As I'm hard of hearing, I don't usually hear what they are saying =confused .

My issue is that there are several women in the group who are always sitting together. One of them is my sponsore. They are all blonde, young, and look like they do yoga. Often my sponsor does not even acknowledge me when I come into the meeting, but she always hugs and chats with these other women. I feel as though I am in high school. I never got chosen for basketball....

But I am happy to have found this group (just started yesterday).

I hope that you can resolve your issues.

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