A strange Third Tradition case...

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MyNameisVictor
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A strange Third Tradition case...

Post by MyNameisVictor »

Hi, my name is Victor and I'm an alcoholic. I'm not sure how to feel about this, as there was kind of strange case brought up at the last biz meeting at the 79th St. Workshop in NYC, one of my homegroups. I just wanted to throw it out there and kindly ask for your thoughts, if I may.

There's a dude, "Adam," (I'm not using real names here) who has been coming to this meeting for two decades now, yet has never had a drink in his life. He suffers from schizophrenia and takes a lot of medications. He insists that "just because I've never had a drink before doesn't mean that I'm not an alcoholic." He told me that "Victor, I guess you don't have enough time in this program yet to understand this" (which I had to admit, made me pretty angry). He is extremely aggressive in trying to recruit sponsees after meetings, even women members, and actually chairs a meeting at Jan Hus church (the church up the street)! He often speaks as if he's some sort of authority on AA, and even speaks down to newcomers.

Actually, I voted to ban him, since he can't "have a desire to stop drinking" if he never started. And besides, I thought (and perhaps this is judgmental of me) that it's a bit scary that he's been coming to AA for like 20 years and yet has never had a drink (to me, it's not just kind of strange, but 'serial killer' scary.). Others, however, have said that he's done some very good service for AA and are willing to let it slide. The vote was 50/50, so I guess he's staying. Perhaps I'm focusing on this too much, but I actually want this to be brought up at our next biz meeting again and ask for a revote.

Thanks for reading, and God bless.
Victor
"They said a miracle would happen on my 90th day of sobriety, and it did happen...I was sober."
-Anonymous from the Trinity Group of AA in NYC

Steven F
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Re: A strange Third Tradition case...

Post by Steven F »

Hi Victor!

There is the alcohol, and there is the "ism". The programme works for the "ism", which is why this programme is also used for other "ism"s - drugs, over-eating, sex addiction... So the man may have a point.

But if you are going to run in to him, and you don't care for his style right now, why not go and visit the meeting he chairs and get to know his message better? If you match what he says with what is in the programme (or can't match it), you can start making a distinction between his message and his style. I have had people in my life of whom I thought there were absolute nitwits, based on their behaviour. As a result, I didn't want to listen to what they said. I missed a lot of stuff that way. Likewise, I have met a lot of pleasant people whose crap I took for gospel simply because I liked them.

If, after a few months, you understand his message, you can learn from it (or just leave it if you see it doesn't correspond with the programme) and offer your own style as an alternative to newcomers.

And if it really arises again and becomes necessary, you can discuss the issue in terms of AA's primary purpose. Not in terms of liking or not liking, feeling uneasy or feeling at ease. I would say these are not compelling arguments to decide to ban someone from a group.

No need to be scared of other people, or of how newcomers may or may not be chased away :-). That is in any case not up to us - unless you imagine you can get someone sober or get someone drunk. We offer the programme exemplified in people. If you are a walking example of the programme yourself, you give people something to choose from.

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Layne
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Re: A strange Third Tradition case...

Post by Layne »

since he can't "have a desire to stop drinking" if he never started.
I can relate as we have had a few people that resemble him in my home group over the years.

This is pretty loose on my part, but you can stop something by not starting it in motion. I have never done heroin, but I know myself well. I don't think my first use, would be my last. I have never been overweight, but I stop that from happening by my actions. The glutton is alive and well, just not in control.

I was raised in a non drinking family, but hindsight shows me that many family members were definitely potential powder kegs of alcoholics that just hadn't had the fuse lit yet.

I am so thankful and grateful to the program of AA and the life that I have today, that I am pretty open minded when it comes down to who can be a member. The first time I came into a room of AA, and through every relapse, I have been given acceptance and open mindedness. I hope to able to return those.

In my experience when I look for similarities, not differences; I find peace and serenity instead.

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Blue Moon
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Re: A strange Third Tradition case...

Post by Blue Moon »

MyNameisVictor wrote:He insists that "just because I've never had a drink before doesn't mean that I'm not an alcoholic."
That's like a man saying "just because I've never given birth doesn't mean that I'm not female". The statement would make no sense because he was born male and, unless and until he were to take certain actions, would never be female even if he wanted to be.
He told me that "Victor, I guess you don't have enough time in this program yet to understand this"
So I wonder how much time is needed to get out of the mindset that it's impossible to relate to any drinking situation if you never drank.

Or perhaps he doesn't have sufficient time to realize it's impossible to be alcoholic without drinking alcohol. A lot of people have alcoholic tendencies (let's face it, most such "tendencies" are really just human nature but we like to think of ourselves as special and unique in society).

You could check out the long- form of Tradition 3 (which makes no mention of either drinking or desire to stop). But getting a group to even read it could be a challenge.

Just because someone does a lot of stuff for a group doesn't mean Traditions aren't being ignored. Maybe this is a symptom of AA being the only show in town 20 years ago that would enable his need for attention.

But, with all this said ... why does it bother you? A lot of stuff is said and done in meetings that I personally disagree with, but I try to practice love'n'tolerance plus carrying the recovery message.
Ian S
AKA Blue Moon

John Boy
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Re: A strange Third Tradition case...

Post by John Boy »

Don't worry Victor there are plenty of people in AA who are neither alcoholic or have a desire to stop drinking.

Lali
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Re: A strange Third Tradition case...

Post by Lali »

"to me, it's not just kind of strange, but 'serial killer' scary.)

Serial killer scary? Naaah. More than likely he comes to meetings for the fellowship. In my group, we have determined that one gent is not an alcoholic, but he comes to the meeting because he's lonely.
Step 1: I can't
Step 2: He can
Step 3: I think I'll let him

TheresaR
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Re: A strange Third Tradition case...

Post by TheresaR »

He is extremely aggressive in trying to recruit sponsees after meetings, even women members, and actually chairs a meeting at Jan Hus church (the church up the street)!
But is he a real threat to people or is it just your fears? I have known lots of people that have been and are very active in getting sponsee's who in my opinion should not be near new comers.

He often speaks as if he's some sort of authority on AA, and even speaks down to newcomers.
Nothing unique about that either.
... but I actually want this to be brought up at our next biz meeting again and ask for a revote.


Why? Sure you don't like it, you are sure you are right, but maybe the lesson is learning to trust the group conscious.
Let go and Let God

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avaneesh912
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Re: A strange Third Tradition case...

Post by avaneesh912 »

He is extremely aggressive in trying to recruit sponsees after meetings, even women members, and actually chairs a meeting at Jan Hus church (the church up the street)!
Hmmm, how does one explain about powerlessness if one has not gone through the wringer? Chapter 7 talks about how one should approach the newcomer:

See your man alone, if possible. At first engage in general conversation. After a while, turn the talk to some phase of drinking. Tell him enough about your drinking habits, symptoms, and experiences to encourage him to speak of himself. If he wishes to talk, let him do so. You will thus get a better idea of how you ought to proceed. If he is not communicative, give him a sketch or your drinking career up to the time you quit. But say nothing, for the moment, of how that was accomplished. If he is in a serious mood dwell on the troubles liquor has caused you, being careful not to moralize or lecture. If his mood is light, tell him humorous stories of your escapades. Get him to tell some of his.
Show him the mental twist which leads to the first drink of a spree. We suggest you do this as we have done it in the chapter on alcoholism.(Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)

Mike O
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Re: A strange Third Tradition case...

Post by Mike O »

My feeling is he shouldn't be there, but unless he's being disruptive and/or causing other problems, just let it go.

But, at the same time, I wouldn't take any S*** from him!!
:)

happycamper
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Re: A strange Third Tradition case...

Post by happycamper »

hehehe... Im with you Mike. I dont think he belongs in AA either.

This 12 step program is called Alcoholics Anonymous. An alcoholic is someone who has a drinking problem correct ? Not someone who drinks to much kool-aide, or coffee, or pop. Booze, we deal with alcohol.

If One has a drinking problem, we offer a solution. Geez, its really that simple.

Something that caught my eye Victor in your original post. Seems you have more than one home-group? After I played around for 2 yrs.. in and out the doors of AA mtgs. doing the 30,60,90 day shuffle, I suffered what I pray to be my last drunk. My Sponsor directed me to find a home group. She said I only needed one .. cuz a plant cant grow in 2 places :D
Faith without works is dead

MyNameisVictor
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Re: A strange Third Tradition case...

Post by MyNameisVictor »

Thank you all for your kind words and advice. Yeah, I'm probably letting this bother me too much. I think it's because when I first started coming around, he'd often lecture me on AA and sobriety in a somehwat condescending way. I kind of thought what he was saying was a bunch of BS, but then again, my mind was pretty screwed up when I came in to the rooms (20 years of drinking will do that!) I guess what bothers me the most is how he aggressively tries to reach out to newcomers (he makes it a point to talk to all the day counters after a meeting and asks them to go out for coffee so he can try to lecture them. He especially tries to do this with women, which I think is a gross violation of AA's principals. I asked him about this once, and he said he generally agrees with that principal, but he's been in the program long enough that he honestly believes that he's somehow the exception to that rule. There's a reason, and to me it's an important one, why the BB suggests men with men and women with women when it comes to sponsorship). When I found that out about him, I now think he's a fraud. Anyway, I'm learning not to let him bother me too much. I just kind of tune him out whenever I see him at a meeting. When he says hi to me I simply quickly say hi back and then ignore him. There are too many other people in the rooms that I am fortunate enough to have gotten to know and genuinely care about.

Anyway, thank you all and God bless. Stay sober and keep it real.

Victor
"They said a miracle would happen on my 90th day of sobriety, and it did happen...I was sober."
-Anonymous from the Trinity Group of AA in NYC

MyNameisVictor
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Re: A strange Third Tradition case...

Post by MyNameisVictor »

Hi Happy Camper, I'm Victor and I'm an alcoholic. To answer your question, I guess our sponsors have somehwat different views, neither of which are wrong. This also could be a function of me living in a big city where there are lots of meetings. One of the first things my sponsor sat me down with the meeting book, checked several meetings, and told me that "this is going to be your meeting schedule." So, Mons. and Thurs. I go to Lenox Hill, Tues. and Fri it's Trinity, Wed. is Chapter 5, Sat. it's the 79th Street Workshop and Sunday (and I guess you can call this particular meeting my homegroup) it's the Came to Believe Group. After I counted days at the Msutard Seed group, my sponsor simply thought it would benefit me to go to a lot of different meetings, which it has. Again, nothing is right or wrong here. This meeting schedule simply works for me in particular, but it might not for some people, which is fine. Whatever works for a particular individual is fine with me.

Also, I want to thank the person who wrote "Why? Sure you don't like it, you are sure you are right, but maybe the lesson is learning to trust the group conscious." That is very good advice and it's what I needed to read. It also reminds me that I'm not bigger than the group and I should learn to have faith in the collective wisdom of my fellow AA-ers. Thank you for reminding me of that.

And I pray that our last drunks (for all of us) were actually our last drunks. Hope that helps.

God Bless,
Victor
happycamper wrote:hehehe... Im with you Mike. I dont think he belongs in AA either.
Something that caught my eye Victor in your original post. Seems you have more than one home-group? After I played around for 2 yrs.. in and out the doors of AA mtgs. doing the 30,60,90 day shuffle, I suffered what I pray to be my last drunk. My Sponsor directed me to find a home group. She said I only needed one .. cuz a plant cant grow in 2 places :D

Why? Sure you don't like it, you are sure you are right, but maybe the lesson is learning to trust the group conscious.
"They said a miracle would happen on my 90th day of sobriety, and it did happen...I was sober."
-Anonymous from the Trinity Group of AA in NYC

tasteslikemore
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Re: A strange Third Tradition case...

Post by tasteslikemore »

Hello Victor,

I too suffer pains of intolerance with regard to non alcoholics that are regulars at a couple of my meetings. An old timer said to me "Vote with your feet". Ha! I have one that follows me around, oh well. So I have addressed that by just doing what I do at meetings and minimizing my interface with as much social grace I can muster.

However, I am compelled here to let you know that the Big Book: Alcoholics Anonymous was authored by the first one hundred members who had recovered. Only one of those members was a woman. So I am guessing it was a man or men who "worked with her". The term "sponsor' is not used in the first 164 pages of the Big Book. Sexual relationships are addressed on pages 69 & 70.

I have found Big Book study group meetings to be very helpful to understand the principles of the program.

tasteslikemore

madcatter
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Re: A strange Third Tradition case...

Post by madcatter »

Well.sounds scary to me.....a possible new comer comes to a meeting and talks to no one but this guy who never has had a drink and is all medicated up= not a good example of carring a message.
Our group seems to have a way of being honest with folks of this type and expjrence shows they wont stick around long when they arent getting what they seek.

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MarcL
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Re: A strange Third Tradition case...

Post by MarcL »

That OldTimer feels like a Dad to me so I am compelled to put in a good word for him. Since their inception AA's Traditions have
been impetus for much discussion. Tradition Three in particular...
since this Tradition maintains an open door invitation for TheScumOfTheEarth to join AA.
Therefore today in AA you will find Alcoholics, DrugAddicts, Thiefs, ConPersons, AssortedRiffRaff and Twits.
I don't know about you but I, Marc L, is a (R)eal (A)lcoholic. I know this to be true
because I have it in writing.



SamuraiChef

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