"Old AA" Vs "New AA"

For the younger AA generation, some experience, strength and hope.

"Old AA" Vs "New AA"

Postby mball017 » Sun Nov 02, 2014 11:34 pm

This has been on my mind for a while and i was curious to see what others may think of the situation.
We've all been to different types of meetings however i think the biggest divide I've seen are meetings full of "Old Timers" and meetings with a range of ages and opinions. In my area it seems that no matter how much time or sobriety the people at these "Old Timer" meetings have they are not very welcoming to the new members, especially younger people. Don't get me wrong, I've met plenty of old timers that have wonderful things to say and offer great open minded advice. but those old school coffee and cigarette meetings with a room full of men 50 years old or older tend to leave a bad taste in my mouth. Those are the meetings where i get put down, or told I'm too young to know what I'm talking about, or I've been told i can't share about my drug use because this is an "AA" meeting. There have been times I've walked into those meetings, now 2 years sober, and told essentially that I've accomplished nothing. the list goes on and on, just bad experience after bad experience. i finally found meetings where i feel accepted. where people and sponsors are willing to accept that drug addicts need help too. That doctors are not all evil. That taking medication does not count for relapse, and that young or old sobriety is worth something to that individual and shouldn't be put down.

How do others feel about this? Is it time that AA as a whole outgrows these old timer ideals of judgement, ego-deflation, and put downs? Or do those meetings still serve a purpose? are they still helping newcomers? And are the newer more welcoming meetings the better way, or do they have it wrong and the old timers are right!?!?! its so confusing. well i know where I'm comfortable and I'm just fine, what do the rest of you think?
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Re: "Old AA" Vs "New AA"

Postby ann2 » Mon Nov 03, 2014 5:01 am

When I joined e-AA I was encouraged to stop mentioning my drug use, and to stop introducing myself as an alcoholic and an addict. It was like, "Okay." I didn't have too much trouble with it. I guess if I felt strongly about the addict part, I would have argued and been told that the name of the group was Alcoholics Anonymous.

I read a great piece on singleness of purpose (the argument that we are here for alcoholics and alcoholism only) in the CPC newsletter About AA (for professionals) here http://www.aa.org/newsletters/en_US/f-1 ... nter02.pdf The thing that stood out for me most in this was the estimates of deaths attributable to alcoholism vs narcotics. Surprisingly, alcohol abuse is #3 on the list of fatal behaviors, after smoking and overeating. We MUST pass on our message to those who need it, and that means taking what we share in meetings very very seriously.

Perhaps a drug user is put off by our insistence that we concentrate on the alcohol part of our stories. We ask simply that he or she respect the meaning behind our traditions and avoid talking about something that may confuse an alcoholic coming to a meeting for the first time looking for help. If this person doesn't have a problem with alcohol, then perhaps another 12 step recovery fellowship would suit his or her needs better. I tried NA myself but didn't feel at home. I did in AA, and after taking the steps I understood why. I'm an alcoholic.

I don't think it has to do with old or new AA. It has to do with different groups and how they interpret the traditions. Find one whose interpretation matches yours, and respect the groups whose interpretation doesn't by agreeing to their guidelines when present.

Ann
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Re: "Old AA" Vs "New AA"

Postby avaneesh912 » Mon Nov 03, 2014 6:12 am

Or do those meetings still serve a purpose? are they still helping newcomers?

Definitely, especially those who never attempted any indulgence in illegal drugs. Thats why its importanted to follow the singleness of purpose. Like Ann pointed out there are new-age all inclusive groups that allows all type addicts. Am not sure if it helps or not. I have seen kids leaving those groups too believing that they are not as bad as the others or they could handle a joint or couple beers because my addiction was "the other". I attribute it to the fundamental issue with how the meetings work today. Instead of talking the solution we allow people to tell their war stories.
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)
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Re: "Old AA" Vs "New AA"

Postby ezdzit247 » Mon Nov 03, 2014 2:05 pm

mball017 wrote:
How do others feel about this? Is it time that AA as a whole outgrows these old timer ideals of judgement, ego-deflation, and put downs? Or do those meetings still serve a purpose? are they still helping newcomers? And are the newer more welcoming meetings the better way, or do they have it wrong and the old timers are right!?!?! its so confusing. well i know where I'm comfortable and I'm just fine, what do the rest of you think?


Hi mball017,

I can relate. I was still young when I got sober and heard much of the same things you're describing from older AA members at the regular meetings in my area. They seemed to belong to a kind of "groupthink" that defined carrying the message as preaching the program to newcomers and working their inventories instead of sharing their ESH and leading by example. That kind of behavior was a huge turnoff to me and I certainly didn't want what they had or what they called sobriety. Fortunately for me, a guy who was a member of AA and NA started a Young People's AA meeting on Wednesday nights in my area so I was able to find a home group where I could experience the kind of sobriety I did want--the happy, loving, grateful, spiritual, energetic, enthusiastic, supportive, non-judgemental kind. The YP AA meetings were and are about getting and staying clean & sober using the AA program and have been a tremendously successful approach to recovery for hundreds of thousands of AA's younger generations. They were only a few when I got sober but now they are everywhere and YPAA has been having its own annual convention for decades now. You probably can find a meeting close to where you live and it's possible you might find those meetings closer to the kind of sobriety you want from the AA program.

Keep coming back...
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children...to leave the world a better place...to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” -- Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Re: "Old AA" Vs "New AA"

Postby tomsteve » Mon Nov 03, 2014 6:15 pm

"... Our problems as they relate to alcoholism..."
Drugs and alcohol went hand in hand for me so drug use relates to alcoholism.
Yup, some hard line egos old ANd young, ones who should rip out both bill and bobs stories from their bb. And while at it, throw out anything bill wrote while in the midst if his LSD experient. I think there's some stuff in the bb about AA not being a cure all and seeking outside assistance is suggested that should be removed from their books,too.
Or maybe I got the wrong bb.
I've heard a lot of them old timers run on and on with drunkalogues,too. Not much of a message there.

I don't see it as an AA as a whole thing. More of an individual ego thing.

Who has it wrong and right??? Well, here's what I believe:
Middle part of step 12- tried to carry THIS message...
What is THIS message? Is it the message tHat is in the bb that is trying to be carried?Is that not the message we are to Carry?It's a message that would be good for people that have no experience with drugs or alcohol.
If not, I won't say it's wrong, but the message in the bb is what we are to be carrying if I'm not mistaken, and to anyone who reaches out for help. Boy, wouldn't that be selfish of me iffen someone came knocking on my door, addicted to gambling and asking for help and I said," sorry can't help. Doesn't relate to alcoholism.

Love and tolerance of others is our code.
WhenAnyone anywhere reaches out for help...
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Re: "Old AA" Vs "New AA"

Postby kenyal » Mon Nov 03, 2014 7:13 pm

Hi mball, I loved your post about this difficult ongoing problem and identify with everything you mentioned. It's about verbatim what we often talked about until the wee hours at lots of coffeeshop meetings after the meetings in the early '80s. The Old AA crowd was doing exactly the same thing and we were feeling pushed around and getting about zero respect for the way we saw things and we didn't like it one bit.

I confidently promise you that this whole problem area will change for the better, from your perspective.
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Re: "Old AA" Vs "New AA"

Postby BPG » Mon Nov 03, 2014 8:32 pm

Very interesting topic ... and somewhat strange to me. I live in a small city with a fairly tight AA community ... lots of old-timers, lots of newbies, a fair number of walk-ins and newcomers ordered by the court system. We have as many messages as we have members. At our meetings we talk about alcohol, the steps, having a bad day, drug abuse, kid problems and a thousand other topics. No one lectures, no one argues, and (so far as I can tell) no one leaves with any bad feelings. Anyone who is having issues with alcohol is welcome. I've been around more than a few years, and I've never seen anyone asked to leave --- or anyone walk out in a huff.

These meetings are my experience with AA and --- along with the steps --- they are my life line. Of course, I have heard of issues or conflicts once or twice over the years, but they are so rare as to be newsworthy.

I'm beginning to wonder if my meeting experience is common or uncommon.
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Re: "Old AA" Vs "New AA"

Postby Tommy-S » Mon Nov 03, 2014 9:37 pm

Hi Folks

I hated everyone and everything about AA when I came to it, but no one more especially than those who wouldn't endorse my Magnificent B*S*.... But as they demonstrated long term sobriety, something I was unable to do even approach, I learned to learn from them as I didn't have any other place to go.

No one ever held a gun to my head and forced me to attend a meeting... But today, I am grateful for those who were in the rooms when I came. they helped save my life :)

Thanks... Tommy
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Re: "Old AA" Vs "New AA"

Postby alisha14 » Mon Nov 03, 2014 9:59 pm

Hi, im Alisha, I am a visitor.
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Re: "Old AA" Vs "New AA"

Postby positrac » Tue Nov 04, 2014 5:50 am

Times have changed but the disease hasn't except it is hitting the population at much younger ages than what was once socially tolerable.
We can’t show unwilling people to the door because they aren’t trying and or can speak so the rest of the room can understand them! I am glad the rooms all over the world accepted me even when I might have been to their liking. We have a responsibility to make the content available and that is written and in personal stories and experience of the people in the rooms and online. I might be here had I not been tolerated and allowed to mold to the norms.
You must live your life from beginning to end: No one else can do it for you.
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Re: "Old AA" Vs "New AA"

Postby Duke » Tue Nov 04, 2014 7:07 am

My favorite meeting today is one that I had a very strong negative reaction to when I first attended. However, my sponsor suggested I try it for a while before I made up my mind. What I found was that the folks in that meeting were all a lot like me, and my negative response was a reflection of that large dose of self-loathing I was carrying around as yet unbeknownst to myself.

The lesson for me? Leave judgments to those better qualified to make them. When I do feel compelled to make one, check it out with my sponsor or trusted friend. I usually find it's just me again. One caution however. It was suggested to me that I not "shop the bid" by seeking multiple opinions until I found the one I liked. I have two or three trusted friends I go to when I'm particularly troubled about something, and usually only one of them at a time. I just get too confused when I add multiple voices to the committee already active in my head.
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Re: "Old AA" Vs "New AA"

Postby avaneesh912 » Tue Nov 04, 2014 7:55 am

My mentor pointed me to DAA site. Its a site with ORG domain. Its a good thing that people are taking ownwership and starting a fellowship of their own craving (like the big book states). So out of respect for AA traditions, more people should look into fellowship like these instead of complaining.

What is the History of DAA?
The first DAA group was formed in Sweden in 1997 based on the program of Alcoholics Anonymous. While AA had been very successful in helping alcoholics recover from alcoholism, its fellowship was only available to alcoholics, not to drug addicts. DAA was formed as a separate fellowship to offer the same successful program specifically to drug addicts while not being in violation of AA’s Traditions. DAA was granted permission from AA World Services to adopt the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions as a program of recovery. The only changes made to the Twelve Steps were substituting the work “alcohol” with “narcotics and all other mind altering substances” and “alcoholics” with “drug addicts”. DAA uses the book “Alcoholics Anonymous” (AA’s “Big Book”) as the basic text, substituting drugs for alcohol and addiction for alcoholism. The first DAA group was formed in the USA in 2007 and can now be found all over the U.S., as well as England, Norway, Sweden and Denmark.
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)
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Re: "Old AA" Vs "New AA"

Postby PaigeB » Tue Nov 04, 2014 10:25 am

alisha14 wrote:Hi, im Alisha, I am a visitor.

Hi Alisha! Glad you are here! Explore the boards and keep coming back!
If I'm not able to say how I'm working my program today, then I'm not working my program.
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Re: "Old AA" Vs "New AA"

Postby mball017 » Tue Nov 04, 2014 9:55 pm

Great comments from everyone. There are a lot of perspectives being portrayed here that i would have never seen.
I particularly never thought about the geographical differences. I live in the far north suburbs of Chicago. So the meetings in my town are full of older guys. But besides their age there are a ton of cultural, political, and idealogical differences as well. and although the traditions have been put into place to protect us from getting into arguments over these difference it still happens. So when i walk into those meetings being an alcoholic, AND a drug addict, and so many other different things i think its hard for some of them to accept me, and its hard for me to accept them admittedly. Thankfully I've found meetings that I'm comfortable at. Because even though we should all be able to get along as fellow alcoholics and it should have no effects on if i can get/stay sober or not, when it comes to fellowship I'm way more inclined to go out for coffee with like minded people rather than those i have nothing in common with. Its just how friendship works.

the geographical differences do seem to play a huge part in the "message." when i travel a little south of where i live i find meetings I'm comfortable at, meetings that a regularly attend and have friends at. when i go into the city the meetings seem to change DRASTICALLY. From the way how it works is read to how comments are dealt with. things like cross talk, and steps, and sponsorship seem way different than what i experienced.

Bottom line, i feel at home in AA and I'm respectful of the fact that its Alcoholics Anonymous. I announce myself as so and keep my comments on that subject. however when I'm asked for my story i have no reservations about telling about my drug use. and the meetings i attend seem to accept me for that, as well as many others. we have crack addicts, heroin addicts, alcoholics and all sorts of people who are all getting help and getting along. And its nice to not be shut down for telling your story and asking for help. i guess there are just others who find other methods helpful.
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Re: "Old AA" Vs "New AA"

Postby dougc » Sat Nov 22, 2014 6:55 pm

i heard three times this week from oldtimers in meetings that newcomers should sit down and shut up. wonder what page THAT is in the BB
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