Question on Non-AA Literature/Non-AA Events

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Question on Non-AA Literature/Non-AA Events

Postby sobergirl90502 » Sat Nov 03, 2007 7:18 pm

Hi Everyone,

I'm very pleased to have found this site!

I had a question that I am bringing up next week at my home group's business meeting, but I don't know if what I'm questioning is about "my way" (or how I was taught to do things in AA) or if it is actually backed up by AA literature or GSO documents.

We have had a lot of people quoting non-AA books in their shares, by name, especially The Secret. They don't actually read out of the book(s) in the meeting, but they do give the titles. We also have people saying things like "I went to this wonderful seminar at the Chruch of Religious Science last week, and it really helped my prayer and meditation..."

Personally I have to grit my teeth when this happens. I was "raised" in AA that when I share, I can describe a phrase or some nugget of wisdom I found outside of meetings or our literature, but I should not specify the book or the source, if it ain't AA. If someone is intrigued by what I described, they can talk to me after the meeting and then I can give specifics. And mentioning specific religious/spiritual groups really really bothers me. All of these things are confusing to newcomers and (to me) violate the spirit if not the letter of Traditions Five, Six and/or Ten.

I know that GSO has weighed in somewhat, in discouraging meetings from either selling or reading from non-AA literature, but I can't find anything specific re: talking about these things during a share.

If anyone can direct me to something from GSO or elsewhere in our literature that addresses this, I'll be grateful.

I'm expecting to get crucified at our next Business meeting, but I'll cheerfully take it, if it only gets people to think a little before they do it again. :D
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Postby Blue Moon » Sun Nov 04, 2007 9:52 am

I think if you were to write to GSO, they'd remind you that every group is autonomous. They tend not to get involved in what a group does or doesn't do. They'd have "no opinion".

I tend to share what works for me, from an AA perspective. I sometimes point out that I'm also an Oxygen dependant, "recovering Catholic", computer professional and an asthmatic, but that I consider sharing of such "outside issues" to be inappropriate in an AA meeting.
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Postby trent » Sun Nov 04, 2007 11:22 am

Most the meetings I attend have a group conscience not to read from non-aa lit. However I think trying to censor and or control how someone shares from a group level could very difficult, and even divisive in the group. A few years ago we had the dali lama come to our little community and many aa folks attended his talks so we had all sorts of dali lama stuff being quoted and credited in the meetings. Not a big deal and it passed after a little while. Myself, I would rather not confront people on it, others feel different around here, meaning in my area and the meetings I go to.

As for non aa lit once we had a pretty new guy come to our meeting and he was very enthusiastic and pulled out a very religious book and started reading from it in the meeting. Unfortunatly I was chair of that meeting and cut him off and asked him not to read from it. I felt terrible, he took great offense and I have never seen him again, this was probably 4 or 5 years ago. So, be carefull on your approach and maybe consider the cost of some battles are not worth it, that was my feeling after this incident, so I wont cut or stop anyone in a meeting again if they do that, I talk to them after the meeting!!!
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Postby sobergirl90502 » Sun Nov 04, 2007 11:44 am

I agree about being careful on the approach. I actually have deliberately waited to not bring this up right after someone did it again, so that it doesn't look like I'm singling anyone out. Additionally I'm not trying to get the format changed or anything...I just hope if we talk about at the group level, people will think more about how their words sound to newcomers. I should probably mention that the only reason I'm bringing it to the group at all is, I had a newcomer tell me she quit going to another meeting because people kept sharing how The Secret had gotten them sober. I'm 99% certain no one actually said that, but from casual references to that book as part of sharing, that's how a newcomer PERCEIVED it.

And maybe I'm not clarifying, I'm not looking for people's opinions on whether I should bring it up, I'm looking for anything from GSO or our literature saying anything specific to this issue, either pro or con.
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Postby Jim 725 » Sun Nov 04, 2007 11:55 am

They don't actually read out of the book(s) in the meeting, but they do give the titles.

If they don't actually read out of the books, what's the big deal? How many quote something from the treatment industry? Will you make them stop?
Our Preamble states that we are not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution. It doesn't state that we are against them, does it?
I read last year that there are some sixty million Catholics in the United States. The article didn't say how many there are worldwide, but it's probably quite a few. I'm sure that all of them, and the AMA, would be surprised to find out that Catholicism is a disease, not a religion. And it took a drunk to discover the fact. Wow!
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Postby marietta » Sun Nov 04, 2007 12:19 pm

I'm interested to hear about Catholicism being a disease, Jim; you can send me a personal/private message if you like. It's something I've struggled with but not many people want to talk about.

Although we are not allied with any "sect" or "denomination", lots of us walk into these rooms with force-fed, deeply ingrained notions of God. When I got here I felt like that dude in "A Christmas Carol", dragging around the shackles and chains of a faith which actually hindered my recovery. Most everything I know about love, tolerance, forgiveness, service work and, especially, being responsible to a loving God, I've learned in AA. I've taken what I could use from any other "spiritual source" and have had to leave the rest. Unlearning has been part of my recovery process.

Today I'm not threatened by my Higher Power. In my world, this is Big Stuff. And every single day I'm grateful to have God in my corner, rather than on the mountain top with His steno pad, assessing demerits for my spiritual infractions. AA: The Deal of the Day!
"There can be nothing more frequent than an occasional drink." ~ Oscar Wilde
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Postby trent » Sun Nov 04, 2007 5:36 pm

I think bringing it up at the group level is good and it will get people to think about it.

Now I am all curious about this book to. Gonna have to pick it up next trip to the library :)
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Postby ann2 » Sun Nov 04, 2007 11:43 pm

Counterwatch has an article about "The Secret" by Pat Wolff. It describes the "Secret" as "you get what you ask for. You send out positive energy and you receive positive energy. You send out negative energy and you receive negative energy. Ask for it, believe it, receive it. Obey the laws of attraction and you, too, will get rich, lose weight, find true love and true bliss".

My response is that the only thing I needed to learn was that there was a God and it wasn't me. Trying to figure out why everything happens is just me playing God, and me not accepting. "Wisdom to know the difference" for me is about recognizing that I can't go change history or anything out of my control. I can't for example remove my mother's cancer but I can be sober and available to her when she is in pain, and I can get my mammograms on time.

Blue Moon, had to laugh at "I'm also an Oxygen dependant, "recovering Catholic", computer professional and an asthmatic, but that I consider sharing of such "outside issues" to be inappropriate in an AA meeting."

Recovering Catholic was used a lot where I got sober in Boston. Would like to remind everyone that A.A. wants to stay friendly with its friends and the fellowship has benefitted greatly from the help of Catholic individuals.
"If I don't take twenty walks, Billy Beane send me to Mexico" -- Miguel Tejada
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Postby beginningagain7 » Thu Nov 15, 2007 9:50 am

For me I do not see the big deal about it. The person isn't reading it out of a book. What they are doing is sharing how it has helped them in their spiril walk and doing meditation. So they mention the title, what's the big deal about that. All they are doing is telling that it wasn't them but what was in the title of the book or pamphet that interested them.

As long as they are sharing how it helped them I see not problem. Only if a person tries to push an outside material on others is there a problem.

As for recovering Catholic, well I got kicked out of the Catholic Church so no recovery there. :)

The saying take what you hear that helps you and leave the rest. That's how I handle meetings.

Have a good day.
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Postby Coyote » Fri Nov 16, 2007 12:56 am

As far as I am concerned, serenity and a sober life is not an "outside issue", regardless of its source. If I find something that works for me outside the confines of what is 'AA' sanctioned, I will do my best to pass on how it has worked for me and where I found it. It says in the sacred Big Book that we sought through prayer and meditation.....meditation? How exactly does one do that? I had to go outside AA to find the answer to that question, and it wasn't religion-based. All too often I see and hear the sequestering of alcoholics within the tight boundaries and fences of traditional thought in AA, and I believe, to a certain extent, that that narrowness of freedom has turned many otherwise hopeful alcoholics away from what we stand for: to help the alcoholic who still suffers.

We often times debate whether or not this or that is the right thing to do, and all the while someone reading the debate, or standing just inside the door of a room, will leave and never come back based on the nit-picking they just overheard or read. That is inexcusable in my book. I came here, as I came though those doors to those rooms, looking for a way to improve my life so that I wouldn't have to live the way I used to, and it could have been the one time in my search that I saw or heard the debating society carrying on and I told myself "This is not what I hoped to find...", and just left without returning. I'm glad I stayed, but it might have been the other way around. Many people in this program talk the spirit but don't walk it.

I would hope that anyone coming here, or anywhere else, can see that we are not closed-minded or exclusive. There are clubs in abundance which provide that luxury, and I don't belong to any of them.

Peace...

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Postby Jim 725 » Fri Nov 16, 2007 7:18 am

Recovering Catholic was used a lot where I got sober in Boston.

I'm sad to say it's heard too often in too many localities. Do we chuckle and nod our heads when someone makes a racist remark in a meeting? How about slurs toward those whose sexual inclination is different from ours?
I find it strange that in a program where humility and ego deflation is considered so important we think it's entertaining when someone is so superior to thousands of sincere members of any group that he states he is "recovered" from that group, and that those he left behind must therefore be still sick and suffering in ignorance.
How many Catholics, Baptists, Pentecostals, or members of another church felt they were unwelcome in AA because of the cutesy-pooh snide remarks of an untreated egoist?
Oh, just to keep the record straight, I turned my back on the religion of my family when I was eighteen years old and haven't returned, either to that one or any other. But while I don't belong to any religion I refuse to offend those who do.
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Postby Blue Moon » Fri Nov 16, 2007 9:36 am

Coyote wrote:As far as I am concerned, serenity and a sober life is not an "outside issue", regardless of its source.


A nice concept, but one that carries practical issues. Anything shared in a meeting can be interpreted, especially by a newcomer, as "this is AA". The problem is that AA's own message for recovery from alcoholism is getting lost.

If someone finds serenity and a sober life by application of "just don't drink", I think that's great. I really do. I just don't think they should sit in an AA meeting offering it as a practical solution for recovery from alcoholism.
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Postby Blue Moon » Fri Nov 16, 2007 9:55 am

Jim 725 wrote:How many Catholics, Baptists, Pentecostals, or members of another church felt they were unwelcome in AA because of the cutesy-pooh snide remarks of an untreated egoist?


Perhaps almost as many as those who'd suffered in / around religious institutions, only to feel the same curse when they come into a movement that they thought was supposed to offer recovery from alcoholism?

I'm not sure why I stuck around in AA other than in the hope of feeling well, but there was definitely no feeling of "warm'n'fuzzy" when people in AA talked about "God" in those early days. And I question some of the "God" nonsense in meetings - for example, only the other day the leader of a meeting was sharing some BS about how we're "chosen" for sobriety. That makes sobriety a lottery, and offers small comfort to the suffering alcoholic in the room or the millions who apparently weren't good enough to be chosen. What's really sad is that this individual was leading a Big Book study meeting!
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Postby Jim 725 » Fri Nov 16, 2007 10:03 am

Perhaps almost as many as those who'd suffered in / around religious institutions, only to feel the same curse when they come into a movement that they thought was supposed to offer recovery from alcoholism?

That's right, recovery from alcoholism. Not a place to nurse resentments against "people, institutions or principles." (See page 64)
Nor a place to feel resented because they still believe in those religious institutions.
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Postby Sister Claire » Fri Nov 16, 2007 11:26 am

I'm an alcoholic who became a Catholic nun after 19 years of sobriety. Some people really seem to have a problem with that. That's okay. When I stumbled in the door of these rooms I was a Jewish prostitute and some people had problems with that, and that's okay, too. Alcoholics are experts in resentments and projection. If we're lucky and work this amazing program, we get over them (and we get over ourselves, too).

The point is that AA gave me a life and then taught me how to live it and that involved conscious contact with a power greater than myself. It's not secret that our founders used a lot of Christian wording and ideas, but I still feel uncomfortable when people quote from the New Testament in a share in a meeting, and I am still uncomfortable with ending meetings with the Lord's Prayer. (In Israel, we don't do that.) I like it that AA is a spiritual and not a religious program and I think that we don't always do enough to safeguard that distinction.

Hmmm. Thinking I've gone too far off topic here. Sorry.
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