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Group made a decision, one member refusing to respect it.

Posted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 2:21 pm
by Monyro
Hello. This is my first post and I hope to get some advice. I have been going to a particular meeting on Friday evenings for a few years. A new member with 16 years attended a while back, and immediately told us the changes she would like to see implemented. There is a lot of long term sobriety in this group, so it isn't as if we didn't know how to hold an AA meeting. One of our members kindly said to the woman: 'Perhaps this isn't the meeting for you'. It turns out this new person has stayed and been a constant source of spiritual growth opportunities. We alternate chairing and when there is a newcomer, she hands them How It Works and instructs them to read it. She says that's what happened at her first meeting to her. During a business meeting, I brought up the fact that 1 out of 10 adults in the US are functionally illiterate and I didn't want to embarrass a newcomer. Other members said that they would have walked out if someone put them on the spot like that, their brains were not working well, they were ashamed and crying at their first meetings, etc. Everyone expressed their dislike of this method of welcoming newcomers. We took a group conscience and decided that our group would not do that, yet this person continues to pass out How It Works to whatever newcomer walks in when she is chairing every few months. Thoughts, please?

Re: Group made a decision, one member refusing to respect it

Posted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 5:58 pm
by Brock
Welcome here Monyro.

This is a favorite subject of mine, the absolute necessity to avoid anything that might embarrass a newcomer. As you mentioned most come to their first meeting very nervous, not knowing what to expect, and just hoping to keep a low profile. My first was a large group and I sneaked in and sat at the back, the chairman asked if they were any newcomers and I put up my hand, I was told in no uncertain terms to come sit right in front of the chairman's table, every speaker seemed to be looking hawk eyed at me, and two said ‘you are the most important person here.’ Well for heavens sake I didn’t want to be the most important, and while it’s true that I may have been looking for an excuse, I didn’t attend another meeting for many years. Since then I have seen other examples of newcomers being put in the limelight, and I do my upmost to protect them from it.
She says that's what happened at her first meeting to her.
To me one of the greatest curses in AA, this was what worked for me it must work for everyone, also shows it’s head in sponsorship, this is how my sponsor showed me, this is how I show everyone, the old one size fits all that I have been complaining about for years. Some trembling rock bottom alcoholic who should be guided fairly swiftly through the steps, made to do 90 in 90 before the sponsor even starts on the steps, then when they go back out, sponsor is scratching head and saying, ‘but that is what worked for me!’

If I were a member there, at a group conscience I would once more confirm that the group does not agree with this being done in it’s meetings, and then ask for a vote preventing anyone who does so from chairing meetings. She may kick and scream, but once two thirds of the membership agree that this approach is wrong for the group, she goes along or stops chairing.

I like this, “been a constant source of spiritual growth opportunities,” but I do believe that the time comes when we should put our collective feet down. Thanks for the topic, you are welcome here anytime.

Re: Group made a decision, one member refusing to respect it

Posted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 7:25 pm
by Noels
Good morning and welcome to e-aa. My question to you would be : how many of those newcomers are still attending the meeting? If most of them are still there then I would say her approach could be working. If most of them are no longer around I would go with what Brock said.
Noels

Re: Group made a decision, one member refusing to respect it

Posted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 7:29 pm
by Monyro
Thank you so much, Brock. That was extremely helpful. I forgot to ask my sponsor what she thought because we had to talk about me =biggrin. You make a lot of sense.

Re: Group made a decision, one member refusing to respect it

Posted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 7:31 pm
by Monyro
And thank you, too, Noel's. Especially now that I see how long and rambly my post was.

Re: Group made a decision, one member refusing to respect it

Posted: Fri Nov 03, 2017 6:47 pm
by Blue Moon
How she works her 12th Step is largely up to her. But if she's chairing the meeting, she's the "face" of the group. If she has such disdain for the group conscience, she shouldn't take a commitment that's supposed to uphold it.

Unfortunately, this happens in AA: some people seem to think the Traditions only apply to everyone else.

Re: Group made a decision, one member refusing to respect it

Posted: Fri Nov 03, 2017 8:22 pm
by D'oh
Good morning and welcome to e-aa. My question to you would be : how many of those newcomers are still attending the meeting? If most of them are still there then I would say her approach could be working. If most of them are no longer around I would go with what Brock said.
Noels
Very accurate! And one thing we do know is that it worked for her.

Acting like a New Comer is Fragile, also can make them Fragile. Drinking Life was never Easy.

I remember very little about my first meeting, other than being invited back. Very few places ever invited me back during my active addiction. Asking me to read something might have added to that feeling.

I have seen members coddled back to the drinking life, I have also seen members storm out mad and go back drinking. But most times, the ones that left angry, just wanted an excuse.

Who really knows? I always try to recite the 3rd Step Prayer when entering the Meeting.

Re: Group made a decision, one member refusing to respect it

Posted: Sat Nov 04, 2017 2:19 am
by desypete
when i was new i had to suss people out as i was very good at that
i have helped people who have done the same thing new comers dont trust anyone yet in aa when they come to there first meeting and hear the drunk a logs they get that valuable gift of identifcation
we all have our own story to share its all we do have as a way to offer help to a new comer
let them see there not the only one, let them see themselves from your own story and believe it or not they will start to drop there distrust and maybe start to take the odd thing in
the new comer should get hope of a way out if they want it of course

there are plenty come to aa as there in deep trouble but dont really want what is on offer but at least the seeds can be planted

the living sober book is such a powerful aid to trying to get drunks to sober up and fill there day up with something else other than sitting there thinking about drink 24 7

i was given a big book and a living sober book at my first meeting
could it not be possible for your group to do the same ?

but try to remember its not a show or a performance we are offering out to new comers at meetings, its just us drunks getting through a day without the need or want for a drink and how we have managed to get there
anything that can help or aid a new comer should be welcomed its simple really
the problem is we complicate it all by thinking we know what is best =biggrin

Re: Group made a decision, one member refusing to respect it

Posted: Sat Nov 04, 2017 6:31 pm
by mule
As a newcomer, I have been to 22 different meetingplaces and this certainly is something I have not seen. Has anyone? Obvious point here but could a quiet, respectful conversation with her by some of the elders? Is she open to criticism or is she one of the my or the highway types? Good Luck

Re: Group made a decision, one member refusing to respect it

Posted: Mon Nov 06, 2017 10:00 pm
by Monyro
I didn't know that anyone else had replied. I thought I was going to get a notice of some kind, because I'm so darn special. :). But seriously, thanks for your thoughts and insights. She is not chairing anymore for a couple months because her commitment is finished, but I will keep this post highlighted for future reference. Thank you all very much.

Re: Group made a decision, one member refusing to respect it

Posted: Tue Nov 07, 2017 4:10 am
by avaneesh912
Prayer works. If you have the copy of Dr. Bob and Good Olditmers, if you read it, especially the sections where Henry Seiberling is trying to help Dr. Bob, she tries all the gimmicks but eventually she throws the task to her higher power. There comes Bill from NY for Dr. Bobs rescue.

Re: Group made a decision, one member refusing to respect it

Posted: Tue Nov 07, 2017 5:15 am
by clouds
I'm so thankful no one asked me to read 'How It Works' at my first AA meeting. It would have been a disaster.
Instead, they read it and shared step one from their own experience and so that cemented my understanding of my own powerlessness over alcohol. I got an understanding of the honesty required to see myself and my drinkng for what it really was, so then I knew I needed the rest of the steps.

I hope things resolve peacefully at your meeting so the message of AA can be carried to the still suffering alcoholics that come to your group.

Re: Group made a decision, one member refusing to respect it

Posted: Tue Nov 07, 2017 2:59 pm
by Db1105
Most of what I learned in AA was the meeting after the meeting. Its a great time to talk to the newcomer and let them know what AA is all about.

Re: Group made a decision, one member refusing to respect it

Posted: Sun Nov 12, 2017 11:14 pm
by Monyro
Thank you all again. What good people you are to care enough about the newcomer and our group to respond. All great thoughts. I got something from everyone. This is a nice place! I mentioned the website (Not the topic yet) to some of my AA friends.