Wednesday, June 16, 2010

If given the chance, how would you propose to fix A.A.?

Let's see where we are at with A.A. What can we all agree on?

Some people are fine with A.A. as it is now. For whatever it's worth, some people can come to a meeting and take it as it comes. They come with the expectations of getting a little fellowship, maybe sharing their ESH if called on, helping with the coffee, the tea, the chairs, etc... they put their buck or two in the basket, maybe they're on a committee for local events, maybe they're the meeting secretary, treasurer, etc. and when the meeting is over, they chat with their friends, maybe even go up to the new man/woman and offer them a word of wisdom... some hope, and they leave to continue on their daily activities.

Some people come to a certain group, that's their home group, they've done a set of steps, and either stay on the firing lines of helping new drunks get into the book and doing steps via sponsorship, or maybe they spend more time on the other legacies of the triangle at the district, local, or area level. Maybe they're specialized in bringing meetings and/or speakers into the local treatment centers, jails, hospitals, etc.

Some people are pure big book thumpers and spend more time doing steps and/or taking others through the steps and don't get involved with A.A. at the local, district, area, or regional level and concerns themselves not at all with what goes on with AAWS/GSO. They've got their damned Big Book and their group and God and a new drunk and what else could they need?

We've got 12 steps, 12 traditions, and 12 concepts with which to make this all happen. How is A.A. doing with money? Honestly? Is the 2 bucks I put into the basket being spent correctly? Are we giving too much to AAWS? Not enough? Are we giving too much to the district, area, local CSO? Too little? What happens when the basket doesn't bring enough? Do book sales pick up the slack? What about the Grapevine? Should we save it? Let it die? Have you ever read the thing? Not I. I hear it's good for those who can't make many meetings... sort of the meeting in print. I have no idea how it's received. Looking forward, should it be tossed, kept, revised? Can it be made to sustain itself... not lose money?

Now... with proper one-on-one sponsorship or group cooperation and/or participation and representation of groups at the various levels... can duties by properly delegated to where we can all work as a team to better apply our steps, traditions, concepts so that... going forward... we can start to address and amend problems that our detractors have been bringing to our attention?

What are some problems that we can all agree on?

  • Better communication with and from our "friends"... the clergy, hospitals, legal system, counseling centers and treatment centers, etc. So basically PI/CPC work and ????
  • Properly labeling specific groups/meetings at the CSO level so that it can be "advertised" as it is so those seeking a particular meeting can find what fits them best. For example, say someone wants to know where to go if they are tending towards a more secular meeting, a meeting that caters to newcomers, a meeting that demonstrates "singleness of purpose" and reads the blue card for closed meetings, a group that does steps on a yearly basis, a group that uses Christian prayers shamelessly, a group where women are not outnumbered 2 or 3 to 1, a meeting that does/does not sign court slips, a meeting that is inclusive to alcoholics/addicts/ alanons/ etc., but is still based on the A.A. book, etc. We know that no group follows the traditions perfectly. We do know that there are meetings that have no group conscience and are loose with the traditions but may cater to certain groups of people, like those from the treatment center, those who show up on their lunch break, those who are local to the meeting place, etc. Then there are groups who interpret the 12 traditions the way they see fit and they have a group conscience. They've decided to run the meeting a certain way and they are accountable to the group. They take care of their own. They decide how many meetings they're going to offer per week, what kind of coffee/tea they will serve, where the money goes, how the chair person will get picked, what will be discussed, read, etc. This info can be made available at the CSO level so professionals, counselors, services throughout the community can know where to send someone who might want to check out a certain kind of meeting.
  • Accountability... how is the newcomer approached? What do we do with the suffering alcoholic who doesn't know what an alcoholic really is? What do we do with the suffering alcoholic who has other problems? What do we do with the suffering alcoholic who doesn't want to stop drinking yet... but must come to the meeting to get someone off their back... husband, wife, children, siblings, doctor, therapist, judge, cop, P.O. etc.? What do we do with the person who just wants to check out the meeting? What if they're alanon, but wound up in a closed meeting by mistake? Are we up to date on other meetings in our community? Can we direct them to the proper place.
  • What do we do with people on medication? Honestly? Do some of us play doctor? Do we just not want to deal with/sponsor them? Are there people we can send them to that can better sponsor/guide them in the steps? Do they just need to be left alone and called on to share from where they are at... to vent? Should they be in a certain group and not others? Can we be educated on what to/what not to do with them?
  • Can we set aside a group that puts everything on the wall... and doesn't get teased or bashed for being a "slogan"/MOTR group? A place where Meeting Makers Make It and Put the plug in the jug can reign free?
  • Can we have an A.A. hotline to the local police station incase of abuse, fighting, chair throwing, etc.? Do some meetings/groups need such a thing?
  • What about cussing? If you're in a church basement, do we need to put up a "No Cussing" sign? I don't know why this is, but the three strongest groups that I know of, the guys and gals cuss like sailors. But... nobody seems to be offended. There are other groups who put it on the wall or into their meeting format to refrain.
  • Should there be citations awarded to the most "cultish" group on a monthly/yearly basis? Would some be offended if their group got labeled a cult? Prideful?

In my experience, there's enough fish in the sea to accommodate just about any/everybody in A.A. If we spent less time pointing our fingers at others and found the place we fit... instead of bashing each other, maybe our detractors would see us as... human.

Let's say... the anti/XAers don't think this is enough. This is outside of the realm of what A.A. does, but what would be the impact on A.A. if ... at the professional level... treatment centers, institutions, judicial systems, etc. were required to offer A.A./12 Step as only one option out of many? What would be the pros/cons of offering information and counsel to see where different types of people fit? Who is the best fit for the S.M.A.R.T. program, Harms Reduction methods, Rational Recovery, Life Ring, Peele, A.A., N.A., etc.? Also... for the anti/XAers, what if we did a group by group accountability for all methods showing what are success stats are? At least for the groups/meetings/programs that have no problem stating their sobriety date. Some don't view days sober as success vs drinking or "slipping" as a failure and this can be respected across the board. If total abstinence is the goal of that program, it can be categorized as such.

Would it screw the whole 12 Step process up if it wasn't totally voluntary? Would it help the quality of meetings/groups?

Team McGowdog

What say you?


  1. I personally think you should be given probationary membership and be considered a "Prospect".
    Much like the Biker Clubs.
    But to leave the doors open to any swingin dick that gets threatened by his mom for smoking too much dope is a recipie for the condition of AA today.
    Treatment Centers that require AA as a "Treatment Plan" should be discouraged.
    Pay them $15,000.00 and they pump sunshine up your ass for 28 days.
    Is there a refund if you drink.
    Probably not. If you drink it's because you didn't follow your "Treatment Plan"
    What a Scam. Take your money and dump you off at the nearest AA Club.
    Where's the outpouring of discontent towards treatment centers from ST??

    Court orders are out.
    Per Tradition #3 they do not belong.
    Oh wait.. Short form.
    "The only requirement is a desire to quit drinking"
    Maybe it should be more specific.
    Who's desire???
    I guess if The Judge "desires" that you quit drinking it's good enough for tradition 3 as far as AAWS is concerned.

    Perhaps The Group should show some kahunas. If God and the Steps don't interest you, why are you here?

    Can we rank and scale our meetings.
    AA2 and
    to match the coffee strength per Greshams Law.
    The District could send out Nazi Spies and rank the groups.
    How about a "Group Review" in The Grapevine?
    It works for the Restaraunts and Certain Wines.
    The review could include
    Adherence to AA fundimentals
    Percentage of Andas
    Topics discussed
    Membership with more than 90 days sobriety
    Who's dating Who

    Then they could give it a rating stars.

    ***** Good Solid Group

    **** Lost of sobriety but no God or Steps

    *** Too much talk of "Triggers"

    ** Lots of Hugging of "Relapsers"

    * You're better off drinking

    Maybe Dean Wormer can revoke some Charters while we're at it.

    Maybe we can take it on ouselves to go out looking for those that need help.
    Trawling for Drunks!!!

    Maybe we could go to clubs and fish them out if we see they're struggling where they are.
    We could tell them that there's a lot more to AA than they see in the club.
    Once we get them to see that there is hope for a struggling Alcoholic.
    Then we could walk out the door towards the path of Spiritual Progress as it says on Pg 100

    Once we're safely out the door, we can torch the place

  2. * you're better off drinking. Ha!

    * shoebox meeting, slippers loafers and sneakers.

    -**** any meeting that McGowdog goes to


    So... us proAAers don't have anything to complain about? We don't have things that we would change about a given meeting in town? Our own homegroup?

    Is it true that there are some out there who genuinely hate the AAer? I can seem to differentiate the antiAAer from the XAer... assuming that they aren't always the same... but there seems to be a third category out there... those who just flat out hate us.

    What did we do to them? What could we do to them that would warrant... such hatred? How can you go to A.A. for 19 years and come out the other side realizing that you wasted 19 years of your life "in the program/fellowship" of A.A. ... and it was all for naught? Should you resent A.A. or yourself? I don't understand this situation.

  3. The number one thing we should be able to do in AA is to tell the nonconformist that there is a SOS, LifeRing, Smart, etc.... meeting right down the road.
    But we can't. Therefore they waltz their Godless asses into AA and insist on not wanting to do that "God Thing". We allow it!

    So why-isn't there another type of program right down the road?
    Why isn't there another place where we can send those that aren't interested in AA and what AA has to offer.
    Perhaps MA and Speedy can answer that since AA sucks so bad.

  4. saas, thx 4 stopping by.

    Cuda, I'd say that there are at least 20 others besides Speedy and MA that hate A.A./us. So... they could start a meeting right there. If you put all the people who writes into Agent Orange, you've got enough anti/XAer members to have a yearly convention!

    I learned something the other day... over at the mental help site. Evidently, anti/XAer/SMART/Rational Recovery/Life Ring/Cock Ring/HAMS/etc people have a right to sit around and bitch about A.A. all day long... and they do. Look at them. They're doing it right now.

    I think I'm going fishing now. Happy Sunday!