Members who verbally attack in meetings

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Re: Members who verbally attack in meetings

Postby upbeat01 » Wed Jun 17, 2015 9:44 am

Thank you! I guess we have more latitude here to vote with feet when members become abusive. Unfortunately as one poster stated in small towns, people may have to choose between dealing with abuse or not attending AA at all. I have learned a lot about AA structure or lack thereof, through these posts.
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Re: Members who verbally attack in meetings

Postby Lali » Wed Jun 17, 2015 7:47 pm

This behavior should not be allowed to happen. It's too risky that we will lose newcomers who may never make it back. At the very least, a responsible member should take the newcomer aside and explain that not all meetings are like that and assist the newcomer in finding another meeting.

I remember attending a meeting where a man (an oldtimer) shouted across the room at another man. A lot of chaos ensued after that. I chose not to go back, but I was actually a member of another meeting so it wasn't devastating for me. Oldtimers show their arses a lot too - it's not just the newer members.
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Re: Members who verbally attack in meetings

Postby upbeat01 » Thu Jun 18, 2015 12:53 pm

Thanks. I have noticed changes in the AA groups that I attend. Sobriety time seems more dispensible as a ctriterion to serve as lead or representative to the Central Office as it once was, so now no comment would be made about your short sobriety time before acting as lead. One group has a firm 90 days and 90 meetings before leading is allowed. But the last group I attended allowed leading at as early as 7 days.

As far as the comment to you by the person who said that you knew nothing about AA, I have seen a number of members with 20 or more years sobriety who are clueless.
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Re: Members who verbally attack in meetings

Postby ezdzit247 » Sat Jun 20, 2015 11:49 am

upbeat01 wrote:Thank you! I guess we have more latitude here to vote with feet when members become abusive. Unfortunately as one poster stated in small towns, people may have to choose between dealing with abuse or not attending AA at all. I have learned a lot about AA structure or lack thereof, through these posts.


Yup. Small AA groups in small towns are problematic that way.

After praying, meditating, and seeking direction from my spiritual advisor this last week, I've made the decision to deal with the "fixture" by not attending the meetings where he hangs out and dealing with his abusive behavior by turning him over to God, again, with this prayer given to me by an AA friend:

"God, heal me. Heal (__name of "fixture"__). Heal our relationship."


Please pass this prayer on to your friend who was traumatized by the verbal attack she experienced. It's simple but very powerful...and it works.
“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: Members who verbally attack in meetings

Postby Lali » Sat Jun 20, 2015 8:21 pm

Are there guidelines for a group inventory?
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Re: Members who verbally attack in meetings

Postby upbeat01 » Sun Jun 21, 2015 6:12 pm

ezdzit247 wrote:
upbeat01 wrote:Thank you! I guess we have more latitude here to vote with feet when members become abusive. Unfortunately as one poster stated in small towns, people may have to choose between dealing with abuse or not attending AA at all. I have learned a lot about AA structure or lack thereof, through these posts.


Yup. Small AA groups in small towns are problematic that way.

After praying, meditating, and seeking direction from my spiritual advisor this last week, I've made the decision to deal with the "fixture" by not attending the meetings where he hangs out and dealing with his abusive behavior by turning him over to God, again, with this prayer given to me by an AA friend:

"God, heal me. Heal (__name of "fixture"__). Heal our relationship."


Please pass this prayer on to your friend who was traumatized by the verbal attack she experienced. It's simple but very powerful...and it works.
thank you so much. I copied and sent the prayer to her. At the meeting yesterday the man attended and made no amends. Chair who witnessed, mentioned at beginning of group that members need to be polite. Another Indian member with about 30 years said that she is not returning either since she stated that plenty of other excellent meetings in the area.
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Re: Members who verbally attack in meetings

Postby upbeat01 » Sun Jun 21, 2015 6:19 pm

Lali wrote:Are there guidelines for a group inventory?

I was checking for my friend and saw that there is a standard 10 question inventory. Since Adobe I can't copy to here. Try a Google search.
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Re: Members who verbally attack in meetings

Postby upbeat01 » Sun Jun 21, 2015 6:23 pm

Lali wrote:This behavior should not be allowed to happen. It's too risky that we will lose newcomers who may never make it back. At the very least, a responsible member should take the newcomer aside and explain that not all meetings are like that and assist the newcomer in finding another meeting.

I remember attending a meeting where a man (an oldtimer) shouted across the room at another man. A lot of chaos ensued after that. I chose not to go back, but I was actually a member of another meeting so it wasn't devastating for me. Oldtimers show their arses a lot too - it's not just the newer members.
Thanks! I have yet to experience an old timer shout during a meeting, thank God. Most have been a great calming effect on the meetings.
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Re: Members who verbally attack in meetings

Postby upbeat01 » Sun Jun 21, 2015 6:33 pm

avaneesh912 wrote:At another meeting, one man told the lead "F*ck you!" Same man told a member yesterday "Shut the f*ck, you old hag!"

These and name calling are signs of spiritually sick people. What can you do? If it gets very abusive, you can always have them evicted. One of the new members got verbally abusive and would not stop and he was evicted from a meeting and was under restraining order. All this happened without my knowledge and I called him once. And I was recipient of most vulgar onslaught ever in my life and later the line went dead. I left it there.
Wow. That is really bad! In my friend's and my case, the guy has a supporter (not his sponsor) who acts as his father even though the guy is 50 so it would be difficult to have a group conscience to evict him. Plus the guy is now on the Board and the GSR! Go figure that one. Upside is that the guy got a job and only attends meetings on Saturday.
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Re: Members who verbally attack in meetings

Postby clouds » Fri Jun 26, 2015 10:49 am

I just wanted to put here that I have not ever seen this at meetings.

If I got verbally abused from a regular member I'd not go back.
I tend to not engage with abusers, I learned that.

I have seen unruliness in people who came to their first meeting drunk. It got out of hand a few times but old timer men dealt with the situation quietly. Usually drunk people at their first meeting arent unruly.

I thought maybe its happening because someone who got a resentment came back drunk? Maybe to settle a score?

Most meetings I have attended have not had much cross talk but if there was the chairman put a stop to it with just a reminder "excuse me but, no cross talking" and that was sufficient and any newcomer treated with respect.

Sorry to everybody here who has had to put up with a verbally abusive person at a meeting.
It really shouldn't happen.
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Re: Members who verbally attack in meetings

Postby ezdzit247 » Thu Jul 23, 2015 12:37 pm

ezdzit247 wrote:
upbeat01 wrote:Thank you! I guess we have more latitude here to vote with feet when members become abusive. Unfortunately as one poster stated in small towns, people may have to choose between dealing with abuse or not attending AA at all. I have learned a lot about AA structure or lack thereof, through these posts.


Yup. Small AA groups in small towns are problematic that way.

After praying, meditating, and seeking direction from my spiritual advisor this last week, I've made the decision to deal with the "fixture" by not attending the meetings where he hangs out and dealing with his abusive behavior by turning him over to God, again, with this prayer given to me by an AA friend:

"God, heal me. Heal (__name of "fixture"__). Heal our relationship."


Please pass this prayer on to your friend who was traumatized by the verbal attack she experienced. It's simple but very powerful...and it works.


Hi upbeat

Wanted to give you an update on how the prayer worked on the "fixture" that was causing problems in my meeting groups. An AA friend has advised me the "fixture" just removed the white supremacist 22"x 60" confederate flag decal from his truck's back window, has started attending BB/Step Study meetings, and shared that he's trying to get in touch with his feelings and be more sensitive to other people's feelings. For a racist, homophobic, bigoted, chauvinistic narcissistic redneck who just celebrated 6 years of "sobriety"....that's HUGE progress. Usually the prayer works faster than a month, but hey....better later than never!
“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: Members who verbally attack in meetings

Postby D'oh » Sun Jul 26, 2015 12:11 pm

Wow interesting readings that brings me back to along time ago.

Being from a small town we get small meetings, usually 5-8 members about 4-5 nights a week.

So I searched for a home group, a Young Peoples Group. Getting through the steps was the main focus. So Commitment group, work together and get through the steps All or None. So I did my time got through and became the Oldtimer for the next Commitment batch. There was only 1 grad from the last group, so I stayed on as co chair person.

This real Oldtimer came up and wanted to join. He kind of came off as being slow and daft, but really was quite the opposite. The things that he has had to endure, and the sobriety that he has.

Well one night he lashed out at one of the group's members, brought her to tears, the other group members wanted to be anywhere but there, myself and the chair person both got it. We cleaned things up and went for a smoke with the Oldtimer.

Why the OLDTIMER? He was the one laying all of it on the table, not to be a hard ads but out of love. It is what she needed to hear, and his heart couldn't keep it from her anymore.

20 years later he is still sober and serene, she is still sober and struggling.
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Re: Members who verbally attack in meetings

Postby Annette C. » Sat Aug 22, 2015 9:58 am

I was in a meeting awhile back, and a "very self righteous member, sitting on her high sobriety-expert horse" really lashed out AT a newer member's comment... Screaming, more than asking, things like "What step are you on? ... You need to take an inventory... You need to... Your need to... If you don't , you might as well leave and go drink!"... And on and on.

When it came around to my turn to comment, I shared how I believe AA works best when we share our experience, that gives us and others strength, and hopefully opens others to hope.

I remember her (the screamer) and her comment still today, because it reminds me how AA works best when we share our experience, strength, and hope, and avoid cross-talk.
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Re: Members who verbally attack in meetings

Postby ezdzit247 » Sat Aug 22, 2015 11:23 am

Annette C. wrote:I was in a meeting awhile back, and a "very self righteous member, sitting on her high sobriety-expert horse" really lashed out AT a newer member's comment... Screaming, more than asking, things like "What step are you on? ... You need to take an inventory... You need to... Your need to... If you don't , you might as well leave and go drink!"... And on and on.

When it came around to my turn to comment, I shared how I believe AA works best when we share our experience, that gives us and others strength, and hopefully opens others to hope.

I remember her (the screamer) and her comment still today, because it reminds me how


Hi Annette and welcome.

Thank you for sharing that. I agree.
“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: Members who verbally attack in meetings

Postby Lali » Sun Aug 23, 2015 4:28 pm

The meetings that I have attended where there has been bad behavior, including shouting insults across the room, those who are misbehaving have been the OLDTIMERS. My guess is that these are people who haven't worked the steps. They like to talk about how AA was better "back in the day". Rather than helping the newcomers they prefer to lament about how bad AA has become.

What I think (FWIW) should have happened with the AA who was attacked, members should have rallied around him to give him the feeling of being safe In the meeting, going so far as making sure he shared their table. And making sure he had their phone numbers. IMO it is our duty to make newcomers feel safe if we want them to continue attending meetings.
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