A little insight

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

A little insight

Postby Feeya » Sun Aug 28, 2016 2:55 am

In 1985, one of the better known examples of A.A. 's ability to turn a young person's life around was the story of June G., who came to Alcoholics Anonymous in Venice, California, in 1972 at the age of 13.

The product of delinquent, violent, alcoholic parents June was pathologically suicidal as a child, and had been turned out onto the street before she had reached her teens because she had physically abused her mother as a result of her own drinking and drugging. Beaten up in a gang fight, the waif attempted suicide once more, and ended up in the hospital.
From there, she was induced to go to an A.A. meeting. And she kept showing up, as she had nowhere else to go. "I hated the people there, and they avoided me," she says. Her appearance and dress, her language and her attitude were unacceptable.
"It was a year before I put on shoes," June admits.
But she kept coming, and gradually some of the adult members -- and particularly a caring sponsor -- took her under their wing. They virtually adopted her -- gave her a place to sleep, slowly changed the way she dressed, persuaded her to attend school, made her get some kind of work.
June G. went on to high school, then the university, then law school -- and today practices as a public defender in the court system of the City of Los Angeles.
A charming, lovely looking, smartly attired young lady of 26 (in 1985), June has 13 years of solid sobriety --thanks to her only "family": Alcoholics Anonymous.

Typically, the path of most young people coming to. A.A. was not without obstacles.
Many in the '60's told how they were ignored or scorned by older members at regular A.A. groups.
"You're too young to be an alcoholic," they were told.
"Go out and do some more drinking."
One speaker at a young people's A.A. convention said: "As I was leaving one of my first meetings, I overheard an older member remark, 'I've spilled more booze than that young punk has drunk' He probably had, but it was the alcohol I had drunk -- not what he spilled -- that made my life unmanageable."
And even when a regular group made them feel welcome, the young people sometimes felt different for the same reasons that nonalcoholic youngsters feel different from adults; they dressed differently, talked differently, and had different fears and hang-ups.

Some helpful insights into young people in A.A. were gained from a strictly unofficial study done in 1976 by Darlene L., a college student and A.A. member in Southern California, assisted by Jerry F., the then Delegate.
The project consisted of distributing questionnaires addressed to "under 30" A.A.'s in that area. Darlene got 79 replies from which she drew her conclusions.
The first discovery was that three out of four had a parent or other close relative who was an alcoholic (a much more startling fact in 1976 than today!).
Many respondents had attended their first A.A. meeting as a child; in the company of a parent, so they knew where to come when they got into trouble themselves. The second discovery was that the young persons ' progression into serious alcoholism was very fast; within three years of beginning to drink regularly, they knew they had a problem.
Similarly, the study revealed they realized their powerlessness over alcoholism very early, enabling them to overcome their denial syndrome. Most of the young alcoholics had also been drug users, greatly speeding up their reaching a bottom.
And finally, when they came to A. A., most identified with the alcoholism of the older members but had problems arising out of their identity as young people.

So the younger members in various parts of the country began banding together in their own groups.
The first known group "for men and women under 35" was formed in January 1946 in Philadelphia.
Within a year, it had about 30 members and an admirable record of sobriety. The same year, in October, a similar group was started in San Diego, California, but for young men only.
It was followed within months by a young women's group.
In 1947, a "35 and under" group began in New York City "with a mere handful." But three years later, it had 75 to 100 alcoholics.
A September 1961 Grapevine article on these "Youth Groups" states, "In some places, naturally enough, [they] were started with high hopes and flood-tide energy, but little stable or wise leadership. Groups turned into social clubs, or other Traditions were broken, and groups died." But in the long run, most of the groups survived and became viable, because they filled a need.
"One girl admitted, 'I guess we just rebel more at our age, even in A.A. groups. And here, I don't have to try to compare my drinking with that of fellows who reminisce about bathtub gin or speakeasies.' And another fellow said, 'My young people' s group helps me with current problems. Because I'm young, I have lots of domestic, professional and other personal problems. Getting started in a career or starting a family are not problems most older members are now facing, so we younger ones can face them together and help one another. That's in addition to helping each other stay sober -- which always comes first.'"
Young people's groups were often regarded with suspicion by older groups. Not uncommonly, they were not included in the local service structure because they were "not A.A." But the youngsters continued doing their thing and gradually came to be not only accepted but admired.
In the 1961 article, the Milwaukee A.A. Central Office secretary is quoted as saying, "These young people's groups are the lifesavers of A.A. in our area. The service workers under 35 are where we get most of our best volunteers who keep our Central Office functioning. They're the ones we can count on most to take on Twelfth Step jobs, institutional work and public information tasks."

AA History, Young People in AA
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Re: A little insight

Postby avaneesh912 » Sun Aug 28, 2016 4:19 am

Good stuff. People don't read the big book thats where the whole issue comes up.

A young guy at my old home group would say to the Old-timers

"if you had not spilled that much alcohol on the floor, you could have arrived in the fellowship earlier".
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: A little insight

Postby Feeya » Sun Aug 28, 2016 12:08 pm

avaneesh912 wrote:
"if you had not spilled that much alcohol on the floor, you could have arrived in the fellowship earlier".

:lol: that is brilliant!
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Re: A little insight

Postby Spirit Flower » Sun Aug 28, 2016 5:54 pm

When I got to AA in 1985, at age of 26, there were already 4 women who had got sober at ages like 16 and 17. They had more than 10 years by the time I met them. Those old gruff men took care of them and made sure they stayed sober (by working the program).
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Re: A little insight

Postby Feeya » Mon Aug 29, 2016 4:08 am

Luckily I had very positive experiences in the rooms, being a young person.
I am almost always the youngest (by far) but I always feel welcomed and taken seriously. IMO that is sooo important. Just because I am young does not mean I am less than...
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Re: A little insight

Postby ezdzit247 » Mon Aug 29, 2016 1:57 pm

Feeya wrote:Luckily I had very positive experiences in the rooms, being a young person.
I am almost always the youngest (by far) but I always feel welcomed and taken seriously. IMO that is sooo important. Just because I am young does not mean I am less than...


Right on!

Thank you for posting the article.
“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: A little insight

Postby positrac » Tue Aug 30, 2016 2:38 am

avaneesh912 wrote:Good stuff. People don't read the big book thats where the whole issue comes up.

A young guy at my old home group would say to the Old-timers

"if you had not spilled that much alcohol on the floor, you could have arrived in the fellowship earlier".

That is old school for sure. I heard that a few times back when I was a green horn in the halls of AA.
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