Saturday, February 28, 2009


Earlier today I read a blog--by my most favorite "tell-it-like-it-is" blogger Mary C regarding the sometimes seemingly unrelated practices to which some AA groups subscribe. I commented on her blog, then commenced to Email Mary, and tempt her into a more in-depth discourse. And THEN IT HAPPENED! I strolled into a meeting which is not on my 'regular' route, only to experience first-hand the following:


Friday at 630 PM I left a meeting (not my 'regular') shaking my head in wonderment. Two great speakers! One of the speakers however, opined that he could have never got sober in his home--Chicago--where, he claimed, the meetings are labeled "B.C." meaning "Before Crack"! I had not heard the term prior to this evening. I can only guess that he does not agree with AA's "Singleness of Purpose" doctrine (is it a doctrine?)...

The same meeting ended with a familiar 21-year sober gal intoning the reasons--in her opinion--we pray the Lord's Prayer after the meetings: "For the poor suffering alcoholic still out there, for the starving children in Africa, and for our fighting men around the world". Then she said, "Grab the hand of the one standing next to you, and hold on as if your life depended on it." WTF??? ( She did not say WTF!) AFTER the prayer, nearly everyone shouted, "It works if you work it!", "Keep coming back!" and while shaking held hands up and down, some other chosen words. Question: who chose? Answer: probably some well meaning, well-heeled treatment center gurus, trying to remake adults back into children. Is my frustration showing??? -grin!


But ya know...during the Lord's Prayer, I looked around at the room full of nearly 100 people--ALL SOBER, most happy, except for a few newcomers, and I wondered, "Why should I care, or be concerned even? After all, they are sober. And the meeting is REALLY OVER BEFORE the Lord's Prayer. The prayer is simply a tradition of sorts, it is certainly not required, it is certainly not AA, I do not have to participate. In fact, it certainly is not universally practiced. Bottom line: That prayer has absolutely nothing to do with my staying sober!

Also, we have a Tradition which applies, number TWO, which states: "For our group purpose, there is but one ultimate authority - a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience."

So, if I do not like what goes on, I can show up at the group business meeting, and voice my opinion, and maybe (surprising how frequently I/we can do this)...and just maybe help to change the group policy on such shenanigans. Hmmmmm? I think in that particular group, I'll just "Let Go And Let God" or whatever we say...


As important IS our Tradition Two, our Tradition ONE is before all else in our recovery from this dreaded, deadly disease, alcoholism. Tradition One states: "Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A.A. Unity."

Did I read that correctly? (MY) personal recovery DEPENDS on Tradition ONE--"our common welfare?"! Fancy THAT! AA Unity! NOTE: WITHOUT Tradition ONE , our program of recovery--our Twelve Steps--are eventually worthless. HA! So THAT'S the answer -grin! Well, NOW maybe I can let the whirling dervishes whirl, while I exist in the peaceful knowledge that In God's world all is as it should be...must be! And I am free to, rather, I am exhorted to share freely what I have learned here, what I have been freely given.

Thank you, whoever read this far down the page--for that you receive my wish and my prayer for God to bless you, and also MY love for you all! (Whether you want it or not!!!)

Steve E.


Atiyanna said...

Hey there Steve E, up here (Canada), we close our meetings with The Serenity Prayer, and here too it seems, the chants are becoming more prevalent...and quite frankly they bug the hell out of me! I don't know what it is. I kind of feel that it almost "cheapens" the prayer. That the meaning is lost when all you hear echoing through the room louder than the prayer is "Keep coming back. It works if you work it"....blah blah blah. But instead of letting it bug me, I really really try to ignore it and just smile and nod.
Lots of Love

vicariousrising said...

Terrific post. And I'll take that love and send some right back at you from me.

Anonymous said...

Well-healed? Don't you mean 'well-heeled'? Lol I really enjoy this post, a view of AA in the Nothern Hemisphere.

Love to you and PG

Semi-healed Mary LA

Mary Christine said...

Ok, but what about when they chant along with the reading of the 5th chapter "God could and would if he were sought!"

That happened at my home group the other day, and I thought - how did this happen? It is treatment center crap - they have to sell something! But we don't!

Oh, don't get me going....

Syd said...

Chanting seems silly to me. But I don't let it take from what I got at the meeting. I think that you nailed it when you said that some treatment center guru may have come up with it. I had to laugh at that part about remaking adults into little children. Right on there Steve. Anyway, great post. It's a different world out there with the 20 somethings dominating. Different from those men with their fedoras in Akron. I like the old ways too but if it's in God's plan, the fellowship and the steps will still be there for many generations to come.

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...

I went to a noon meeting before we left on our trip yesterday and where we normally (traditionally) say the Lord's prayer our Chair asked a visitor to take us out and he said, lets have a moment of silence followed by the 3rd step prayer...

Well that tickled me greatly as I watched even our most "crusty" sober "old-timers" trip up over that prayer. Guess they could use a little more practice :) LOL

It was fun and I'm guessing plenty of people went back to take out their big book again having been rightly embarrassed into realizing they had forgotten the words.

I'm glad I still remember, and glad that two people asked if I'd work with them a bit too.

ANd now...

"We're on a mission from God" with a brief stop off to a coffee shop in Athens Ohio to get some caffiene and a quick peek at the computer before being castle bound!

((((Love to you and Anna)))

Indigo said...

When I first started attending meetings I of course went to a few different ones to see where I felt most at home. One of those meetings was so off putting it still angers me to this day. Each person introduced themselves before they spoke which is the norm. However...when someone said they were not from that group (a newcomer) You would hear shouts of NO YOUR NOT. If it was someone speaking who had that group as a home base, they would mention it, to yells OF YES YOU ARE(in reference that they belonged there).

I was so offended I left half way through the meeting. You could see it on a few of the new comers faces they didn't feel as if they belonged because of that. I often wondered how many people had come into that meeting and left feeling that way.

For me that meeting was anything BUT what the AA principles are about. Sometimes you need a guide post to start from. Yes, maybe the people that belonged to that group were sober, but how many did they turn away with their attitude. Thankfully I didn't buy it and found another AA group. (Hugs)Indigo

dAAve said...

If only people would do this thing MY way.

steveroni said...

No Dave, you got it wrong--MY way, not YOUR way! -grin!

Also I like that one, where they ALL yell, "What's the POINT?" in "How It Works.

Anyone ever heard THAT?