Putting Out an Individual

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Putting Out an Individual

Postby savedsoul » Thu Jan 20, 2011 1:03 pm

I recently heard of a homegroup in my area who put an individual out because some of the women in the group felt uncomfortable around him.
They did not ban him from the meeting but he can no longer be a member of the homegroup.

Is this in line with the Traditions, if so can you please tell me where?

Thanks
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Re: Putting Out an Individual

Postby Steven F » Thu Jan 20, 2011 1:14 pm

Hi "savedsoul" - and welcome! I'm Steven, and I'm an alcoholic.

Gosh, a touchy subject. Actually, AA's traditions (the third one) say that someone is a member if he or she says he or she is. So clearly, there is no "kicking someone out of AA".

But that is of course not the same as having someone attend a group. I mean that, if someone disrupts a group, the group could ask that person to find another group. Just like a women-only meeting probably would ask a bloke to go find some other place. Whether that is acceptable or not seems to depend a bit on the situation. If I for example would get kicked out of my home-group, I would be in trouble. It's the only meeting around in a language I can express myself in. My home-group would therefore effectively be denying me access to AA meetings, and that wouldn't be ok.

One thing I don't understand though is that they didn't ask that person not to come to the meetings anymore, but just told him he wasn't a member of the home-group. How does that work? Do they have separate membership cards over there or something?
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Re: Putting Out an Individual

Postby savedsoul » Thu Jan 20, 2011 1:25 pm

Thank you Steven for the welcome and your reply.

No the guy can still attend that meeting but he is not allowed to be a member of the home group anymore and do service work in that particular group.

So now my question is how can the traditons apply to "AA as a whole" but not the homegroups?
I was taught by my sponsor that I had to practice these principles on a personal level in my life (i.e. with my family, at work,etc) as well as AA.
So how can I practice these traditions in "A.A. as a whole" without practicing them in meetings/groups?
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Re: Putting Out an Individual

Postby Karl R » Thu Jan 20, 2011 1:53 pm

Hello,

The 4th concept speaks of a "right of participation". The spiritual reason behind this concept is that in AA there are no 2nd class citizens. Everyone desires to belong and in AA every alcoholic does belong when they say so. The 4th concept says that this right (that of participation) cannot be taken away from me.

The 4th concept reinforces the second tradition---that no member is placed in authority over another member.

Also...the third.....Our membership ought to include all who suffer from alcoholism. Hence we may refuse none who wish to recover.(long form). Since part of our recovery is often service at the Group level this right of service may not be refused. If it is refused than the Group is denying an individual member their recovery.

just my take...

Oh...and by the way...welcome to our venue.

cheers,
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Re: Putting Out an Individual

Postby Steven F » Thu Jan 20, 2011 1:55 pm

savedsoul wrote:So now my question is how can the traditons apply to "AA as a whole" but not the homegroups?


Good question. I'm not sure if I share the idea that there is a big contradiction there - or that a tradition is being violated in this case. If there would be, then all the women/men/Martians/...-only groups would be terribly wrong, wouldn't they?

If you don't mind, I will sit with this question for a bit and see if an interesting answer pops up. That's all I can do at this point - I don't have any particular experience to offer you on this, so all I could come up with for now would be a merely theoretical think-exercise.

But stick around - I'm sure others in here will have more to say! ;-)
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Re: Putting Out an Individual

Postby avaneesh912 » Thu Jan 20, 2011 2:59 pm

Four—Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or A.A. as a whole.


With this tradition we could interpret as though the Group is not violating the traditions. It just put certain restrictions on an individual for certain reasons. Hopefully they had a GC prior to making this decision. As long as they didn't broadcast this decision to the other groups and force them also to support their decisions we are fine. If they did, then they are in violation of this tradition.
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Re: Putting Out an Individual

Postby Karl R » Thu Jan 20, 2011 3:39 pm

It could be argued that one group excluding an individual under the guise of autonomy DOES affect other groups and AA as a whole because an individual alcoholic, having been excluded, could view ALL of AA as exclusive rather than inclusive. Furthermore that excluded AA could pass along the message that AA excluded them when in fact it was one autonomous AA Group. What one group does under the guise of autonomy often DOES affect and reflect on other groups and AA as a whole in a negative way. What my Group does under the guise of autonomy may have other unintended and unknown future consequences when autonomy is placed over the other concepts and traditions. The concepts and traditions are intended to be taken as a whole rather then one at a time.

The piece of the puzzle we don't know here is whether the individual was a disturbance, incompetent at group service, not an alcoholic, or merely someone whom the ladies were uncomfortable with because the individual didn't fit their ideas of who they wanted to be around.

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Re: Putting Out an Individual

Postby Lali » Thu Jan 20, 2011 6:06 pm

I have had plenty of people come into the rooms that make me uncomfortable but I never asked for them to be kicked out. We are all sick people trying to get well. Or at least we were sick when we first got here. What they should have done with this guy was to warn him before taking the extreme measures they took. And I agree with what was said before. We are members if we say we are members so how does one make someone a non-member???
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Re: Putting Out an Individual

Postby ann2 » Fri Jan 21, 2011 3:33 am

The most reliable thing about applying the traditions in groups is how often they are not followed.

It's not a point to argue -- nobody is going to win. We're alcoholics, not perfect citizens of a brand new world.

Man, I've been moved out of fellowship places online and what to do? Just go to another place. So what if they're wrong? I take Karl's point, that such an action says something about AA as a whole. Well, AA as a whole is made of drunks who are experimenting with belonging in society. We have ideals to follow and that's a plus, for sure, but lots of stuff gets in the way -- our self-righteousness, our sense of entitlement, our habit of placing blame on others, our need to be right.

Lots of other stuff too -- our inexperience as partners, real partners with others, our habit of making ourselves either the top of the pile or the bottom of the barrel, our characteristic refusal to listen to others over the voices in our heads, and our super-reactive emotions, which we tend to believe over any friendly logic or benefit-of-the-doubt philosophy.

I think the saddest thing that can happen is when somebody gets disappointed over the behavior of their AA group, and they use that as an excuse to give up on AA and their own recovery. But we always have a say, and it's most often exercised by changing groups. It's called voting with your feet, and it has a huge effect. Maybe not right away -- there's our desire for instant gratification getting in the way as well, please add to lists above. But no group can survive without attracting new people. If they are doing something "wrong" i.e. not conducive to the mission of an AA group, they will find out soon enough.

And don't forget, the only things needed to start a new group are a resentment and a coffee pot.

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Re: Putting Out an Individual

Postby Steven F » Fri Jan 21, 2011 7:07 am

Lot's of stuff for me to learn - thanks! :-)
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Re: Putting Out an Individual

Postby Blue Moon » Fri Jan 21, 2011 8:40 am

They are breaking several Traditions, several Concepts, and arguably no longer qualify to call themselves an AA Group.
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Re: Putting Out an Individual

Postby jak » Fri Jan 21, 2011 11:30 am

Blue Moon wrote:They are breaking several Traditions, several Concepts, and arguably no longer qualify to call themselves an AA Group.


And even so, groups can't be kicked out of AA either.

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Re: Putting Out an Individual

Postby Blue Moon » Fri Jan 21, 2011 11:49 am

jak wrote:And even so, groups can't be kicked out of AA either.


Only if they break Tradition 6.
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Re: Putting Out an Individual

Postby happycamper » Fri Jan 21, 2011 1:27 pm

Welcome to the group!

Great sharing, good stuff for me to learn as well, thankyou to everyone!

I have to admit tho that I am somewhat curious as to the matter of 'the women felt uncomfortable' around him ??

Why wouldnt another male member simply take the perpetrator aside and have a chat with him?

Uncomfortable I understand but dont see the severity in it to get so ruff as to kick a member to the curb.

I dunno .. I guess I feel like another Guy should take this guy and sponsor him so that he has the opportunity to have what we have.
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Re: Putting Out an Individual

Postby Lali » Fri Jan 21, 2011 2:39 pm

Ditto to what happycamper said!
Step 1: I can't
Step 2: He can
Step 3: I think I'll let him
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