Walking out of a meeting

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Walking out of a meeting

Postby DesignatedDriver » Tue Jan 23, 2018 3:02 pm

Hi, i’m Ross, I’m an alcoholic.

I’ve been one of the lucky ones, I went to my first meeting in May 2017, kept going back, haven’t picked up a drink since and never want to again. I’ve never done any steps, I’ve never read the Big Book, I’ve managed to stay sober simply by attending meetings, sharing and listening.

I had a pretty rough day today. Found out that my employer is going to buy new software that does my job so there is a possibility I might be made redundant. Girlfriend is ill and not really talking to me. My washing machine broke down and flooded my kitchen. Now these are all first world problems, nobody is going to die. But I could sense that I was starting to feel a bit hard done by and I know that can lead to anger and resentment which is dangerous territory for my recovery. So I decided to go to a meeting (I never normally go to meetings on a Tuesday evening).

The meeting wasn’t advertised as a Big Book meeting but it was explained to me on arrival that that’s what it was. I just kind of went along with it but after about 20 minutes of sitting there listening to people talking about things that are completely alien to me I eventually just stood up, said “sorry, this isn’t for me”, and walked out.

Now, it was absolutely the right thing to do because I didn’t know what people were talking about, I was getting nothing out of it, and me sitting there totally confused was contributing nothing to the meeting, so walking out was the only sensible course of action in that instance for everybody’s sake. I’ve got my home meeting on Wednesday evening and I know I can stay sober until then.

But I guess it does leave a lingering sense of frustration. Does anybody else have any experience of walking out of a meeting? And what were your feelings about it afterwards?
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Re: Walking out of a meeting

Postby avaneesh912 » Tue Jan 23, 2018 3:28 pm

I’ve managed to stay sober simply by attending meetings, sharing and listening.


Days like this, is when, working the 12 steps, would help. I have never walked out of a meeting. But seen people do. I wonder what ticked them, perhaps what somebody said, they couldnt relate to.
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: Walking out of a meeting

Postby D'oh » Tue Jan 23, 2018 5:41 pm

Hi Ross.

Thanks for your honesty. I think that we all have had days like that. The truth, that I have found anyways, is that even the crummy Meetings, have teachings. If we have an Open Mind.

From the 3rd Step, I have been graced with "Everything happens for a reason" Even though I might not understand it at the time. Then further with the 7th Step Prayer, "I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad" I have a Faith that (as The Late Tom Petty puts it) "The things I worry the most about. Never happen anyway"

The Program can help with "Putting the Plug in the Jug" The Steps can bring Sobriety.
Last edited by D'oh on Tue Jan 23, 2018 8:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Walking out of a meeting

Postby Brock » Tue Jan 23, 2018 7:24 pm

I have left early a few times, if the meeting is frustrating and ruining my serenity, but there are ways of doing that, between speakers asking to be excused and saying you need to leave early. And please don’t take this the wrong way, I am not trying to blame you if you have the wrong impression of what AA meetings are for. But almost every time I have decided to leave early, it has been because people were there, complaining about their bad day, work problems, girlfriend problems, or any other problems, and the chairman didn’t stop them. Maybe it was not your intention to speak about your troubles, but I am afraid many do.
I’ve been one of the lucky ones, I went to my first meeting in May 2017, kept going back, haven’t picked up a drink since and never want to again. I’ve never done any steps, I’ve never read the Big Book, I’ve managed to stay sober simply by attending meetings, sharing and listening.

Personally I think you are one of the unlucky ones, just as I have been many times in and out of AA not reading the book and not doing the steps. And if you are an alcoholic of the type the same book describes on page 21, which starts with the words -“But what about the real alcoholic?”- Then no amount of meetings could keep you sober, or keep you happy.
But I could sense that I was starting to feel a bit hard done by and I know that can lead to anger and resentment which is dangerous territory for my recovery. So I decided to go to a meeting…

Once again I am sorry to say, but you are not in “recovery,” this only comes via the steps. AA is meant to be no different than something like a group who meets to discuss and teach photography, or art or any such thing. The folks who have recovered tell others how they did it, just as the experienced photographers show others or the experienced artists etc etc. And in the same way we wouldn’t go to the art or photography meeting, and talk about our personal problems, we shouldn’t be doing it in AA either.

But you are not alone in this, many seem to think AA is a “support group,” and the folks at your home group probably feel that way as well. It’s the only way I can understand how you have been going there for this length of time, and not read the book and done at least some of the steps. The meeting you walked out of is the type alcoholics need, and I hope you come to realize that before you sink to the level many of us have.

I wish you the very best, please don’t take my comments personally, but alcoholics can not stay sober without the steps and a spiritual awakening, and I want any newcomer reading these forums to understand that, and not go away with the impression that it’s just a support group.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."
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Re: Walking out of a meeting

Postby tblue818 » Wed Jan 24, 2018 1:33 am

Hi, Ross ~

Curious post. You may be attending meetings regularly, but not AA meetings? Is it an addiction support group?

There aren't any bars on the doors of an AA meeting. People come and go at will. Some get up two or three times in a meeting to go out for a smoke. Some don't come in until near the end, regularly. Did you think you offended someone by leaving? Not likely but, if so, the reaction would be their problem, not yours. That's AA.

Yes, my introduction to AA made me think I'd dropped into a foreign country. It wasn't that the words weren't English and small enough for my pickled brain to understand individually - it was the crazy way they strung words together that I had no clue what they were talking about. Fascinating stuff after the monotony of drunkenness. Curiosity reeled me in. I stayed.
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Re: Walking out of a meeting

Postby DesignatedDriver » Wed Jan 24, 2018 2:45 am

Thanks for the replies folks.

The meetings I usually attend (my Wednesday home meeting and another on Fridays that I attend probably about 60% of the time) follow the same format. Somebody opens the meeting with a 15-30 minute share then there's a break. Then we go around the room and if anybody has anything they want to share they can do so. They're definitely AA meetings, it says it on the door and everything.

What people have often imparted on me over the last eight or so months is that you take from AA what works for you. Some people do the steps, some people immerse themselves in the literature, some people simply attend the meetings. Having read the steps and heard people read extracts from the book there's a lot of God going on there and I think my atheism is a barrier to participating in that side of things with any real sincerity. I can't pretend to believe in God for the purposes of AA, certainly not if I'm going to be talking about rigorous honesty.

So I attend the meetings that I attend, share, listen and that works for me. That may not work for everybody, I know that a lot of people have gleaned a lot of support from the steps and the book and good luck to them. I'd never presume that the way I got sober is the only proper way to get sober as I think that would exhibit a quite astonishing degree of arrogance. I think it's also worth noting at this point that some people even get sober without AA, never mind steps and books.

I think from now on i'll attend the meetings that I've been regularly attending and just put it down to experience. If the absolutists think that it's not really AA and that I'm not really sober or in recovery then I can live with that.

Thanks again :D
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Re: Walking out of a meeting

Postby tomsteve » Wed Jan 24, 2018 6:33 am

DesignatedDriver wrote:Now, it was absolutely the right thing to do because I didn’t know what people were talking about, I was getting nothing out of it, and me sitting there totally confused was contributing nothing to the meeting, so walking out was the only sensible course of action in that instance for everybody’s sake.



i stayed until the end and found it to be a great meeting.lots of experience,strength, and hope shared. :)
great shares from people with a non religious HPO,too.
which i wouldnt have known if i didnt hear thema few times.
idk how someone has stayed sober 35 years with a squirrel as their HP, but its been workin for him for 35 years. glad he found an HP.
glad i made the sensible decision to stay and listen.
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Re: Walking out of a meeting

Postby Brock » Wed Jan 24, 2018 7:48 am

The idea of God is one of the most discussed, and also one of the biggest stumbling blocks for newcomers. Our literature goes to great pains to speak about finding a God of your understanding, using the group as a higher power and what not, the writer of the big book and main founder of AA being a 'converted' atheist himself. We often speak about this ‘problem’ newer members have, a recent instance being this - viewtopic.php?f=36&t=24379
What people have often imparted on me over the last eight or so months is that you take from AA what works for you. Some people do the steps, some people immerse themselves in the literature, some people simply attend the meetings.

The first sentence of that is something I often hear, and say myself. It is intended to let newcomers know that not everybody's ‘story’ is one they will identify with. Because there is the tendency to look for excuses, well I didn’t get ten DUI’s, I didn’t go to jail, these people are so different from me, so we are encouraged to look for the similarities and forget the differences. The second sentence is rubbish, I hope to explain why.
I'd never presume that the way I got sober is the only proper way to get sober as I think that would exhibit a quite astonishing degree of arrogance. I think it's also worth noting at this point that some people even get sober without AA, never mind steps and books.

Absolutely. I will quote from the book, first this from the chapter ‘More About Alcoholism’-
Though there is no way of proving it, we believe that early in our drinking careers most of us could have stopped drinking. But the difficulty is that few alcoholics have enough desire to stop while there is yet time. 

Perhaps you are one of those, also described in the chapter ‘There Is A Solution,’ just before what I quoted last night regarding the ‘real alcoholic’ (emphasis mine)
Then we have a certain type of hard drinker. He may have the habit badly enough to gradually impair him physically and mentally. It may cause him to die a few years before his time. If a sufficiently strong reason ill health, falling in love, change of environment, or the warning of a doctor becomes operative, this man can also stop or moderate, although he may find it difficult and troublesome and may even need medical attention.

So yes there are drinkers who don’t need AA, even if they are badly off enough to need a doctors help, then the book says- ‘but what about the real alcoholic.’ And the biggest mistake so many make, is to believe that the purpose of AA is just to stop drinking, fair enough for a new person to think that, but unfortunate that meetings exist that don’t seek to drum that out of them quick sharp.

We are treating alcoholism, we face and accept the reasons we needed to drink, the program puts these in perspective and removes them, we are treating the cause not the condition. Once we have done this we do not need meetings to stay sober, I and many here who have discussed this, say if we go to meetings it’s for the purpose of helping others, and we do get pleasure and satisfaction from doing so, or helping online in forums such as these. As the book says about the problem of alcoholism after the steps, and while we live in the solution -
We are not fighting it, neither are we avoiding temptation. We feel as though we had been placed in a position of neutrality safe and protected. We have not even sworn off. Instead, the problem has been removed. It does not exist for us.

Enough quoting for one post, so I won’t put up the numerous times the book speaks about the feelings we should have after the work is done, the serenity and joy, because believe me, if the average alcoholic did not find a marvelous way to live via those steps, we would go back to the bottle.

Lean on the group if you like, let meetings keep you sober, but keep in mind something we often hear in the rooms, ‘the steps are just a suggestion, like we might suggest you put on a parachute before jumping out of a plane.’ Now some peoples planes might have still been on the tarmac when they jumped, but I hope and pray they never open their mouths in meetings about not needing the steps, because some poor person who’s plane is at thirty thousand feet, and looking for what the book calls ‘an easier softer way,’ may decide they don’t need then either.
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Re: Walking out of a meeting

Postby DesignatedDriver » Wed Jan 24, 2018 8:00 am

Cool. I'll stop going then. I don't want to be responsible for screwing up somebody else's recovery. Thanks for letting me know :D
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Re: Walking out of a meeting

Postby Layne » Wed Jan 24, 2018 10:12 am

Cool. I'll stop going then. I don't want to be responsible for screwing up somebody else's recovery. Thanks for letting me know :D

I am hoping this is said in jest. Each individual's recovery is up to the choices that they make. The responsibility cannot be laid at the feet of other people. Make wise choices for yourself.
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Re: Walking out of a meeting

Postby DesignatedDriver » Wed Jan 24, 2018 11:13 am

Layne wrote:
Cool. I'll stop going then. I don't want to be responsible for screwing up somebody else's recovery. Thanks for letting me know :D

I am hoping this is said in jest. Each individual's recovery is up to the choices that they make. The responsibility cannot be laid at the feet of other people. Make wise choices for yourself.


No, if I go to a meeting and tell people that I got sober without the steps then that could endanger their recovery. I can’t have that on my conscience. It’s time for me and AA to go our separate ways.
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Re: Walking out of a meeting

Postby avaneesh912 » Wed Jan 24, 2018 11:44 am

I can’t have that on my conscience.

You are a good man. But rooms of AA are always open for you, if you think AA will work for you after you try other options.
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: Walking out of a meeting

Postby tblue818 » Wed Jan 24, 2018 11:51 am

Hi, Ross ~

Thanks for filling in the question marks.

The only requirement for membership is a desire not to drink. I just wasn't sure it was AA meetings you were attending from your BB-type experience. I get it now.

Please don't stop attending because of misplaced idealism on anyone's part. I heard the same cautionary tales when I got sober by online AA only - nineteen years ago. That I shouldn't share that part in my story because newbies might get twisted. And plenty of assurance that I'd get drunk without f2f. I kept coming back anyway; it served to make me more vigilant and work harder to stay. Came to realize that people were just sharing *their* experience, not meant to harm.

And there are plenty of long-timers who say they have completed the 12 Steps, yet spout some pretty insane thinking - just as I could do the same in an untreated area.
A couple of days ago, I heard an old-timer justify bullying a newcomer by the statement, "I've was told by MANY (bold his) old-timers that if a newcomer went back out over anything that was said, it was because they weren't ready yet." He does a lot of bullying, not just newcomers. We can only work on what we see in "H.O.W - honest, open and willing (to change)." I was about three years into AA before discovering that sarcasm was anger. My large amount of posts went down to a trickle - I could hardly talk without it. It was a gift!! Not. I'd spent three years in online AA honing that 'skill' with others who were better. When I spotted it, I owned it and set about the solution.

The only thing any of us can do is share with others where we are in sobriety and what tools we used to get there. You have ES&H - "what it was like, what happened, and what it is like now", and any tools you are using. I'd like to hear your story. And don't quit as there are plenty of 'mind tools' that don't involve God talk; confidence and comfort in sobriety increases with ego-pruning tools.

By now you may have figured out that it isn't "alcohol is baffling, cunning and powerful". Alcohol is an inanimate object. Rather, "ego is baffling, cunning, powerful...and patient".

You will encounter many who did just enough pruning to get comfortable in sobriety, then largely became content with the rest of their defects. Takes determination to avoid complacency. The rule of thumb that was given to me is: "If I think about a topic *in* AA as I did *before* AA - I still have work to do."

You are right to ask for help when you hit a wall....there will be a way through. If someone says, "Do the 12 Steps", wait for someone who has a specific tool to share. Don't give up. I' white-knuckled more than one situation until I found a tool that worked. And they work in amazing ways.

Right desire is very powerful...desire not to drink being greater than the desire to drink. Desire to change being greater than the desire to stay the same. Trust the Process.

Nothing keeps you from learning how to peel onions and use mind tools. You appear to be using the same 'bridge' that I (and many) used to get past the God Thing: "Group of Drunks". It worked for me, too. Don't buy into 'less than' in AA because you can't see the path to the Steps. I didn't tell anyone in the beginning, but I had absolutely no intention of surrendering to anything or anyone. The word made me nauseous. And the *only* thing that was unmanageable in my life was drinking too much. heh <s> I kept doing what I could see my way to do, and the Path kept opening. AA rocks.

Keep trudgin', it's worth it, from my experience. Progress, not perfection. Questions prompt sharing of tools/experience. 'Assmosis', as it's called in my neck of the woods, is a painful way to stay sober.

Pamela
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P.S. I'm currently peeling 'procrastination' (again) that has re-emerged in a big way. Must not have gotten deep enough last time. Trudge, trudge...lol.

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Re: Walking out of a meeting

Postby tblue818 » Wed Jan 24, 2018 12:58 pm

Ross,

Just include in your story *why* you aren't using the Steps. It's your story, just say all of it and all will be well. AA is more powerful than our individual roadblocks.

In your initial post, I thought I heard 'pride' about not using the Steps. But perhaps it was defensiveness because you get some flak. You would be surprised how much hope you would be able to give someone who is beginning with your deep reservations and who would have just walked away without hearing your story.

When I share about getting sober online, I include that I was practically a recluse by the time I hit bottom and landed in AA. F2f made me want to drink, even when weeks later I tried to do as suggested. Took a while to figure out the problem. Then, it just became a better form of learning for me. I don't do well with 'tweet-size' sharing. And not being able to discuss tools and ask questions about someone's share is.....an impediment to my learning. <g> Plus, I like to 'mull over' shares and revisit topics.

Keep doing what you're doing and stand firm on the 3rd Tradition (the only requirement....). There's always More in AA.

Keep coming back...AA is obviously working for you. And not to rock your boat, but you have likely already done the first 3 Steps to some degree and in some fashion. Wanna test it? <s>

Pamela

P.S. If you haven't decided to shoot yourself in the foot, there are tools for rage/anger. Hank M. always said, "Share your toys....ALL of them."
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Re: Walking out of a meeting

Postby Brock » Wed Jan 24, 2018 1:01 pm

Nobody can keep you out of AA, you are a member if you say you are. In two long posts, the second being approximately eight hundred words, it’s a pity if you latch on to the last few words as a reason to stay away.

I hoped to get you thinking more about doing the AA program, which is the reason AA groups exist, and yes those last words were rough, but not intended to discourage attendance. I did however intend to discourage you saying in front of newcomers, that you have been sober eight months, and see no need for the big book or the steps.
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