So Far, Disappointed

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So Far, Disappointed

Postby Kaliare » Fri Jul 22, 2016 4:57 pm

I have been to a few meetings so far. On the plus side, I feel a bit 'lighter' after every meeting and I haven't had a drink since I started.

But the downsides are legion so far.

The female members have been pushy and have violated my boundaries.

One wanted me to go to a meeting tonight in another town and when I said I had plans (I have a family) gave me the side eye. She offered to drive me - I am not remotely comfortable with getting in a car with a stranger and being reliant on them for transport. Why would anyone agree to that?

Another, when I said I was going to a meeting on Saturday, said I should also go to one Saturday evening. I explained that I had family obligations. She semi accepted that, then continued to pressure me. At the end of the meeting she was like, "So you'll be going on Saturday evening?" and looked like I'd let her down when I reiterated that I had a family and other things I needed to do. She implied I couldn't possibly be serious about sobriety if I wasn't willing to go to two meetings a day.

A third made all the right noises, then told me I really should be going to 5+ a week.

I've only been to a few meetings and I've already had an older guy creep on me. He invaded my personal space in my first meeting, following when I backed up, five freaking times. No one intervened or even seemed to think it was strange. Oh and he did it again next time he saw me at a meeting, waiting until I went to get a coffee (until then I had glued myself to a group of women who were there).

I was expecting AA to be about peer support and be more of a group therapy situation.

But so far the meetings have been more like prayer meetings interspersed with what a born again friend of mine would call testimony.

Frankly, I feel unsafe.

I'm not finding this supportive or helpful, particularly, just frightening and incomprehensible.

Are all AA meetings like this?
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Re: So Far, Disappointed

Postby avaneesh912 » Fri Jul 22, 2016 5:49 pm

AA is about empowering alcoholics by allowing the newcomer understand and accept the 12 steps and have a spiritual awakening. So they can be depended upon their HP of their understanding. Ofcourse you got to find the right person that will help you work the 12 steps. Hope there are some big book meetings around your place. Usually people that are solution oriented tend to stick around those meetings. Bear in my that will be least popular meeting. You will find over flowing attendance at open discussion meetings however for true solution, you want to stick to literature based meetings.
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: So Far, Disappointed

Postby Kaliare » Fri Jul 22, 2016 5:53 pm

I appreciate what you are saying, but the issue here is females that are violating my boundaries and refusing to accept no for an answer and an older man who was acting like a sexual predator without anyone saying anything.

Ill have a look for any big book meetings in my area, but I need to know if that is typical of AA meetings because right now I am genuinely scared to go back.
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Re: So Far, Disappointed

Postby whipping post » Fri Jul 22, 2016 6:08 pm

The meeting I go to is nothing like that. However I tried several different meetings before I settled on one.
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Re: So Far, Disappointed

Postby 4thDimension » Fri Jul 22, 2016 6:26 pm

No, Kaliare, all meetings are not the same.

Like people, they all have their own personality. If you didn't like the experience you had, try some others. I would not judge the whole recovery fellowship on one or two meetings.

Shop around, you'll find some that feel comfortable.
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Re: So Far, Disappointed

Postby PuppyEars » Fri Jul 22, 2016 7:57 pm

Kaliare wrote:I am not remotely comfortable with getting in a car with a stranger and being reliant on them for transport. Why would anyone agree to that?

I must be from a different planet. My question is why wouldn't anyone agree to that? Someone is offering to go out of their way to help bring you to freedom. All we did early in my sobriety was get rides by strangers to meetings.
Life happens for me in that uncomfortable space. I have 30+ years of building a comfort bubble of my own that failed me everytime.
Sorry to have come off a little rigid but I sense this thing where you have a sense of entitlement. Come down from that mountain top - it gets lonely up there. And if you feel unsafe please know that feelings are not facts.
I have never felt more safe anywhere in life than a room full of folks that understand and have been thru similar lives so that is why I am a little stern on this one.
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Re: So Far, Disappointed

Postby D'oh » Fri Jul 22, 2016 8:39 pm

I have been to a few meetings so far. On the plus side, I feel a bit 'lighter' after every meeting and I haven't had a drink since I started.


That is your answer Kali. Keep going back if for those reasons only. It will get easier. And actually 5 plus a week worked for me. After about the first 5 I wanted 1 a day. And as for my Family time, it became more the Quality, rather than the Quantity of it.

As for the Old Creepy Dudes, I guess I have become one but My Sponsor tells a storey of an Old Timer at his first meeting. He was walking around making coffee passing out ash trays and invading his Space. All the time singing How Dry I am.

My Sponsor tells this storey at meetings and Everyone Laughs. Just proving that We have All wore those shoes at one time.

Keep going back, It Works.
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Re: So Far, Disappointed

Postby Brock » Sat Jul 23, 2016 4:50 am

Welcome to e-AA Kaliare. I have seen reports similar to yours here, this is a fairly recent example from another member of this forum -
viewtopic.php?f=36&t=21073&p=141916&hilit=online#p141916
People from all walks of life attend AA, while this has the advantage of people sharing varied experiences, the downside at first is mixing with people you might not normally meet, this can end up being an interesting learning experience, but doesn’t feel that way in the beginning.

There are some special interest groups, like those for pilots and for actors, generally folks who consider their anonymity too precious to trust with the general population, I have also seen a 'professional persons' group, basically they just exclude the blue collar workers.

It is unfortunate about the pushy ladies, I believe a polite but firm 'no thanks I don't need the help right now' should do the trick. Some of them may not appreciate family commitments coming before AA, they may have come in having lost their family, or at least in such a desperate situation, that they needed to put AA and recovery from alcoholism as the #1 priority, before their family would accept them once again.
I was expecting AA to be about peer support and be more of a group therapy situation...But so far the meetings have been more like prayer meetings interspersed with what a born again friend of mine would call testimony.

AA 'meetings' have been shown in TV and film, perhaps a group sitting around in a circle, and someone speaking about their problems and others advising and what not, in real life it tends to be a bit different. What you call “testimony” is one of two things, what it should be is someone speaking a little of how drinking led them to AA, what they did there, and then lastly the results they achieved, some of us shorten this by writing ES&H, which is experience strength and hope. What it should not be, and unfortunately commonly is, are the same persons telling the same story week in week out, what we call 'war' stories, it's boring but understand, not everybody has the same educational or God given gift of the gab advantages, and they are doing the best they can, it's a lesson in patience and good will to all men sometimes.

It should not appear like a prayer meeting, usually a short prayer to start and one at the end, but make no bones about it, the main purpose of the 12 steps is that you have a spiritual awaking, probably not much different from your 'born again friend.' We have tried to stop drinking and failed on our own strength, we needed the strength of a higher power, we not only got complete relief from the urge to drink but a surprising added bonus, we found a contentment we never knew was possible. Our literature says “be quick to see where religious people are right,” your friend can help you with this, the steps as laid out are a proven avenue to follow, not just for a spiritual experience, but one with alcoholics and their particular problems in mind.

Like others have said perhaps try a couple of different meetings, but don't be surprised if you see some of the same people there, and meetings are not a life sentence, once you recover you will understand, ask any questions here, we enjoy answering, and best of luck.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."
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Re: So Far, Disappointed

Postby Barbara D. » Sat Jul 23, 2016 8:28 am

There is a lot of good feedback here. In the spirit of ESH, I think I related to some of the issues you mentioned, Kaliare.

And, for me, that is what experience, strength and hope is all about. As long as I keep it in the "i" format, and resist telling you that you must do it the way I did it, I guess it is like a testimony. Early on, I talked to the people after the meeting who said things I related to, thus getting that peer support you mentioned.

When I got here I was a high-bottom atheist, a full time homemaker with a professional husband and a nice house in the suburbs. I was/am self-sufficient, not co-dependency, natured. At my worst I drank 2 times a week, and with my responsibilities at home, attending 90 meetings in 90 days was out of the question. I settled on trying to get to 4 meetings a week. It took me a while to be willing to call people...I needed time to get an idea of who they were from their shares. Yes, well-intentioned folks tried to get me to do it their way! I also did not like strangers trying to be my friends and hug me right off the bat. It took perhaps a year before I was comfortable with all of that.

I believe the Big Book contains a religious influence. I'm sure if it had been written in another country, it would have had perhaps a Buddhist or a Hindu flavor. I think it is a miracle that our Founders were able to pull together and write a way to recovery for drunks everywhere! But they were hard-core religious-background men, so I prefer the 12 and 12. There are many other 12 Step programs, but I like AA best because I need the differences now. They test my own perceptions.

As for the lech, I'd say loud enough for others around me to hear, "Please leave me alone. You make me uncomfortable."

I can't imagine not getting started in face-to-face meetings, but there was no AA online then. Either way, just don't drink today!!! Good luck. Barbara D, alcoholic
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Re: So Far, Disappointed

Postby Feeya » Sat Jul 23, 2016 11:18 am

Hi Kaliare, Feeya, alcoholic here!
I haven't experienced something like that at any meeting before.
I did have one guy try and pressure me into going on a date, but after telling him very clearly that I was not interested he left me alone.
Did you do that? Stated a very clear no? Made your boundaries clear? Because I thought by not replying to his texts I was stating my no, but he did not understand that. He needed me to say it, in order to understand it!

What do you care about people side eyeing? Let them side eye you, focus on not drinking and keep on going to as many meetings as you can.
I take all the ESH I feel that fits me. I leave behind all the ESH that doesn't apply to me.

I am very grateful that someone offers to drive me every once in a while. Helps me to save money on gas, so I take that offer whenever I get it! Gets me a meeting before- and a meeting after the meeting, wich is great too.

I sometimes tell myself that I don't feel safe at meetings, that the people are weird, that I can't relate, that everyone is forcing me to do things I don't want to do, that I am being pressured and that people are taking something away from me. At the end of the day that is just my alcoholism trying to come up with an excuse to go back out and drink.

Good luck to you.
One day at a time.
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Re: So Far, Disappointed

Postby Lali » Sat Jul 23, 2016 12:05 pm

Kaliare wrote:...and an older man who was acting like a sexual predator...


This happened to me every time I went out to bars. Funny thing, I didn't quit going to bars. Ha! Sorry, Kaliare, I'm not making light of your concerns, I just couldn't resist a little levity. I like what Barbara D. suggested for this problem:

Barbara D. wrote:As for the lech, I'd say loud enough for others around me to hear, "Please leave me alone. You make me uncomfortable."


As others have said, try different meetings until you find one that's a good fit for you. Then make that meeting your home group.

Keep coming back.....
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Re: So Far, Disappointed

Postby Kaliare » Sat Jul 23, 2016 2:29 pm

I must be from a different planet. My question is why wouldn't anyone agree to that? Someone is offering to go out of their way to help bring you to freedom. All we did early in my sobriety was get rides by strangers to meetings.


Because, Puppyears, of things like rape and sexual assault. I'm assuming that's never happened to you, and that must be nice. Not all of us are so fortunate.

And if you feel unsafe please know that feelings are not facts.


Have you ever read the Gift of Fear? It explains the concept that your feeling that you are unsafe is instinct at work. It also points out that your safety is more important than other people's feelings.

Sorry to have come off a little rigid but I sense this thing where you have a sense of entitlement.


If you think setting boundaries, looking after yourself and your safety is 'entitlement' then you are exactly why I avoided AA for so long.
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Re: So Far, Disappointed

Postby Kaliare » Sat Jul 23, 2016 2:31 pm

Brock: Thank you very much, that was a lovely and empathetic response.
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Re: So Far, Disappointed

Postby Kaliare » Sat Jul 23, 2016 2:33 pm

Barbara: Thank you, I quietly mentioned him to an older lady at my meeting today and she sighed and said yeah, he does that a lot. They seem to have a bit of a buddy system for dealing with him.
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Re: So Far, Disappointed

Postby Kaliare » Sat Jul 23, 2016 2:40 pm

I did have one guy try and pressure me into going on a date, but after telling him very clearly that I was not interested he left me alone.
Did you do that? Stated a very clear no? Made your boundaries clear? Because I thought by not replying to his texts I was stating my no, but he did not understand that. He needed me to say it, in order to understand it!


It didn't get that far. He got in my space, I felt intimidated, It was near the end of the meeting so I left. I'm a bit confused by this idea that a lot of you have that it's totally cool for creepy guys to be creepy and it's my fault - in my first meeting - for not screaming at him to back off.

I sometimes tell myself that I don't feel safe at meetings, that the people are weird, that I can't relate, that everyone is forcing me to do things I don't want to do, that I am being pressured and that people are taking something away from me. At the end of the day that is just my alcoholism trying to come up with an excuse to go back out and drink.


That's your truth, and that's great. I think I don't feel safe because it's a random meeting anyone can attend, and because there is no medical oversight or standardisation. I think I'm feeling pressured because I'm being pressured. I can relate to some people there and not others, some are weird, some aren't, that's life.
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