Considering Eliminating AA Meetings . . . Thoughts?

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triumphantarch
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Considering Eliminating AA Meetings . . . Thoughts?

Post by triumphantarch » Wed Sep 23, 2015 7:08 pm

Hello everybody~

It's been quite a while since I posted anything on this forum. Years, perhaps. However, I'm really reeling tonight from a horrible AA meeting I attended, and I am seriously considering eliminating AA meetings from my Program.

I meditate and pray daily, and strive always to deepen my conscious contact with a God of my understanding. I try to be of service wherever possible, and practice a code of love and tolerance to the best of my ability. But, at 9 1/2 years sober, I've really had it with meetings, and I think I'm done.

The topic at tonight's meeting was that certain passage in "The Family Afterwards" that describes the usefulness of outside help. The meeting, however, very quickly deteriorated into an anti-medication feeding frenzy. I grabbed my backpack and left when an undoubtedly well-meaning individual professed to the group that he'd rejected anti-depressants because he "realized he was seeking a chemical solution to a spiritual problem". Moments before, he'd showed us a scar from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. There was much talk about doctors being "uneducated" (really?!?!?). Specific names of medications, and whether alcoholics should take them or not, were bandied about the meeting. I was aghast.

I wish I could say this was the first meeting of the sort I'd ever been to. I wish I could even say that meetings like this are rare. However, after logging 12 1/2 years in AA, with the last 9 1/2 years continuously sober, I have heard these diatribes countless times. I find the ignorance in AA about mental illness absolutely astonishing. I grow more and more disillusioned with each passing year. Not with the Program or the Steps, but with the scores of opinionated members who shoot off their uneducated mouths, often spouting "advice" or "suggestions" that are very dangerous for mentally ill people.

Ten years ago, vulnerable and willing to go to any length to get sober, I followed the "suggestion" of a sponsor who informed me that I would "not find God" or "get the benefit of the Steps" while taking medication for manic-depressive illness. After two months of madness that took a terrible toll on my family and myself, I finally saw my psychiatrist, who actually wept and told me I could have died from a seizure. Looking back, I really had every reason in the world to leave AA at that point and never look back. But I believed deeply (and still do) in the power of the spiritual principles in the Program. I didn't give up.

But . . . I dunno. I've just had it. I've just had it. Are we in AA still in the Dark Ages when it comes to mental illness? The Big Book and the 12-Steps revolutionized my life--but so did mindfulness meditation, yoga, EMDR-oriented therapy, and yes: MEDICATION. I got drunk for the first time at age 18. I had my first psychiatric hospitalization when I was 12. You do the math. I've been struggling with mental illness most of my life. To say it's wrong to seek "chemical solutions for spiritual problems" smacks of Middle Ages-style superstition.

I dig the Steps. I dig the principles of the Program. I REALLY dig the Big Book. But I think I'm calling it quits with meetings. El Fin.

Thanks for listening.
"In the end, everything's okay. If it's not okay, it's not the end."

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Re: Considering Eliminating AA Meetings . . . Thoughts?

Post by Layne » Wed Sep 23, 2015 7:45 pm

If everyone that feels like you do, reacts the same and stops going to meetings, what chance do the meetings have of changing? What about newcomers that come in facing some of the issues that you have dealt with in the past and present, who do they look to for inspiration and similarities in order to develop a sense of belonging instead of feeling all alone?

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Re: Considering Eliminating AA Meetings . . . Thoughts?

Post by Lali » Wed Sep 23, 2015 9:20 pm

I have seen over and over again when an individual relapses, they say that they stopped going to meetings. Surely, there are some good meetings in your area. If not, I have a suggestion for you. Why not make this group your home group. We are a pretty darned good group here with lots of sobriety. I have actually learned more here than in my face to face meetings though I will never quit my f2f meetings as they are awesome and I love the fellowship.

So stick around here. I feel pretty sure that you will be satisfied with this group. Try us.
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Step 2: He can
Step 3: I think I'll let him

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Niagara
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Re: Considering Eliminating AA Meetings . . . Thoughts?

Post by Niagara » Thu Sep 24, 2015 12:04 am

Meetings are a way to carry the message to the newcomer...have you any other way of working step 12 in place?

I'm not really a fan of face to face meetings either. In my area they are can be really intimidating - no big book, no steps, just a gathering of alcoholics(sometimes dry, sometimes not) but if those of us who believe in the big book and the plan of recovery laid out in that stop attending, where would the newcomer be? In a meeting full of alcoholics with no program, not hearing a message, therefore not getting into the steps and either whiteknuckling or going back out thinking AA doesn't work when they weren't in it in the first place really.

Sure glad my sponsor continued to go, despite the odds being against him :)
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Duke
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Re: Considering Eliminating AA Meetings . . . Thoughts?

Post by Duke » Thu Sep 24, 2015 3:11 am

Ditto on the service to others reason for continuing meetings. I've been reminded of this a number of times throughout my sobriety. I hope the reminder is sufficient to answer your question.

I wish you the best.
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tyg
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Re: Considering Eliminating AA Meetings . . . Thoughts?

Post by tyg » Thu Sep 24, 2015 3:21 am

Niagara wrote:Meetings are a way to carry the message to the newcomer...have you any other way of working step 12 in place?
I can relate to your frustration and experience it too, but...I need the newcomer. The newcomer needs my help to find a solution and a fellowship with other recovered alcoholics.

“I am responsible . . .
When anyone, anywhere, reaches out for help,
I want the hand of A.A. always to be there.
And for that: I am responsible.”


It is an imperfect world. All I can do is... do my part to carry the message and... live and let live.
~The secret to the AA program is the first three words on page 112~

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Re: Considering Eliminating AA Meetings . . . Thoughts?

Post by Robert R » Thu Sep 24, 2015 3:41 am

Don't know exactly where I am going but I'm on my way and it's already much better than where I've been.

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whipping post
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Re: Considering Eliminating AA Meetings . . . Thoughts?

Post by whipping post » Thu Sep 24, 2015 4:22 am

This is one of those things that must be regional. I've never heard that subject discussed here.

I have been to toxic meetings. The meeting I primarily attended to do the "90 in 90" about drove me out of AA. I never went back after that period instead focusing on two others that push the solution. Now I hear the few oldtimers that pushed the solution there have quit going as well. That meeting is the most convenient and easy to find meeting in my town and the one newcomers usually go to first. I feel a little guilty and selfish for not going back there and carrying the message.

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Re: Considering Eliminating AA Meetings . . . Thoughts?

Post by D'oh » Thu Sep 24, 2015 4:56 am

You WILL relapse!

God doesn't use a phone! If he did it would be like this

ME: Hello
GOD: This is God
Me: Yea right, if you are god what am I wearing?
God: undies and a house coat
Me: Sorry they are boxers Click BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

It is a selfish Program, if 1 meeting didn't work for you Find one that will, or work at making the group better in Group Conscience meeting.

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Re: Considering Eliminating AA Meetings . . . Thoughts?

Post by avaneesh912 » Thu Sep 24, 2015 5:03 am

One of the first few speakers I listened early in my recovery was Don P (you may still find those on xa-speakers). He never would talk about regular AA meetings. He was would take about taking meetings into the correctional facilities, running workshops, having a drunk in the house, walking him through the 12 steps by going through the big book. There was something intriguing about that guy. I heard he was at workshop even the day before he left the body. He had tubes running all through the body. He would say pray for what HE can do through you and not what you can do for HIM.
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)

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Re: Considering Eliminating AA Meetings . . . Thoughts?

Post by chefchip » Thu Sep 24, 2015 5:43 am

Sometimes, I read responses to questions like these here on e-AA and I marvel at how much we seem to think alike. It's fascinating, and encouraging.

My first thoughts were similar to those already expressed. Now that I have found recovery, and relief from my personal obsession, my attendance at meetings is about carrying the message. Period. The continued recovery and strength that I get from meetings is a side effect, of sorts. To be honest, e-AA has become my "meeting" to strentghen my sobriety, my "selfish" meeting -- if that makes any sense at all.

Many in my sponsorship family no longer attend "regular" meetings. They work with beginners groups. They go to meetings at detox and rehab facilities, and prisons, and such. They embody the meaning of what it is to be recovered and working the twelvth step.

I'm not sure that if I quit going to meetings that I'd necessarily relapse. My recovery is not dependent on meetings anymore, nor should it be. But if I quit going to meetings, I would be missing out on the most satisfying and rewarding part of being a recovered alcoholic -- the opportunity to share the message of what worked for me. These days, if a meeting offends or disturbs me and I don't want to rock the boat, I vote with my feet. (I learned that particular attitude here, on e-AA, by the way!)

Good luck,
Chip
The only constant in life is change.

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Brock
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Re: Considering Eliminating AA Meetings . . . Thoughts?

Post by Brock » Thu Sep 24, 2015 6:13 am

Some of the advice is to hold on and help make this meeting the way you would like it, if you are able to do so it would be great. But in my experience I have found such great resistance to change, that walking away was the only option to maintain my own emotional sobriety, maybe we aren’t all equipped to change some things that others might handle.

I know two people who are about as happy and secure in their sobriety as anyone I have met, they don’t attend meetings and only drop in to say hello by attending the Christmas dinner. But like you they speak openly of striving each day to keep conscious contact, and they do help others just not alcoholics. One volunteers at a local Christian center by playing the guitar for the choir and being involved assisting in the soup kitchen, the other is a livewire in the animal welfare sector, so it’s good to help others even if it’s dogs and cats. And I also believe that letters written on boards like this encouraging newcomers hold great weight, this is something we often overlook.

What you said about your sponsor playing doctor is unfortunate, the same way there are ‘bad’ meetings there are idiots ready and willing to offer advice which is way beyond what a sponsor is supposed to, but then that is another matter which I believe is far to prevalent in AA today.
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Re: Considering Eliminating AA Meetings . . . Thoughts?

Post by ann2 » Thu Sep 24, 2015 7:32 am

If you can't find a way to help alcoholics where you live, then join us online. There's lots of opportunities to share both in online meetings and one-on-one, as well as helping out in our group doing the chores like treasurer, secretary etc.

I think these people are getting on your nerves, and there's no shame in admitting that. Trust me, there are plenty of other ways to perform step 12.

Ann
"If I don't take twenty walks, Billy Beane send me to Mexico" -- Miguel Tejada

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Re: Considering Eliminating AA Meetings . . . Thoughts?

Post by Layne » Thu Sep 24, 2015 7:50 am

Brock wrote:What you said about your sponsor playing doctor is unfortunate, the same way there are ‘bad’ meetings there are idiots ready and willing to offer advice which is way beyond what a sponsor is supposed to, but then that is another matter which I believe is far to prevalent in AA today.
This same sentiment could probably be used to describe the world we live in as well. AA is but a microcosm of the real world which is as it should be.

I fully understand and can relate to the voting with the feet philosophy, however (there is always a however and this is strictly from my perspective and not necessarily for anyone else by any stretch, merely my thoughts, beliefs, and ESH) I need to be very careful and selective when voting with my feet because for years I attempted to escape things I deemed unacceptable by using the bottle.

Nothing changes, if nothing changes.

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Re: Considering Eliminating AA Meetings . . . Thoughts?

Post by Spirit Flower » Thu Sep 24, 2015 10:04 am

Everybody decides not to go to meetings at some point (well 99%). I made it back without drinking. I do have a strong spiritual program. But what I say now is this: Alcoholism is a spiritual malady and we have a spiritual program to go with it. Don't you think you'd do better if you also had a spiritual fellowship?


Almost everyone forgets that AA meetings are the spiritual fellowship.
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