Monday, November 14, 2011

Confused in Virginia

Dear Mr. Manners,

I am an alcoholic who's becoming a little (more) confused. In my area several new meetings have been started, most likely because of resentments and egos. The reasoning in starting a new meeting I understand. The fact that there are already over 300 meetings listed in our directory does cause me to wonder about the need for another step study meeting, however.

Here's my dilemma. At every meeting I attend there's always someone announcing these new meetings and inevitably ending the announcement with a plea for everyone to attend the new meeting "because it really needs your support". This tells me that the new meetings are hurting for attendees and my support is desperately required.

So, should I abandon the Wednesday meeting I've been attending for years to support the new one? How about the Monday meeting? You see my confusion here. People are starting unneeded new meetings, no one is showing up, and then it's suddenly the fault of the rest of AA because we're not "supporting" them.

Or perhaps these fucking people are just morons? If resentments arise in a home group (and they do), why not just switch to another home group? Instead, the "I'm not drinking better than you're not drinking" attitude comes out and a new, unnecessary meeting is started. And no one attends. And pleas are made for support. I feel like I'm being asked to back a local baseball team.

This problem would go away if the ones who started the new meeting realized the errors of their ways, accepted the fact that nobody's gonna come to their new meeting and just let the fucking thing die. But they don't. So we end up with a hundred suck-ass AA meetings controlled by ego maniacs where, if they're lucky, 8 or 9 people attend.

My question, Mr. Manners, is this: Should I wallow in guilt because I don't support these new meetings. I know I'd feel some guilt if I abandon my home group to offer this support. I'm fucked regardless. Or maybe every time I chair a meeting the topic could be idiots who plead for support for suck-ass meetings? That would liven up the discussion....Maybe I could refer to that tradition the deals with autonomy "except when affecting other AA groups". That might work, too.

So please, Mr. Manners, help out a confused alcoholic here. You'll be saving a few lives in doing so.


  1. Some meetings need to die.

    There's too many coffee pots, too many big books, and too many resentments floating around.

    If your meeting has got some shit... aka power to it, it will need no promoting.

    There's a guy in town who's been promoting gltb meetings around town and on facebook and feeling bad because strong AAs., gay or lesbian or otherwise... have not been attending.

    My take on that is you're an either ally or not. If you're an something besides alky, then it's an not an A.A. meeting. I also don't attend men's stag meetings.

  2. There are way too many meetings as is. Like AA is not fragmented enough. I don't go to nearly as many meetings as I used to, but I will still hear the pleas for support from folks at the meetings I do attend.Typically these pleas are not from core group members, more like meeting groupies. A strange phenomena of folks who "chase meetings" their words not mine.

    Maybe God's plan is for some of them to die, I will not be a defibrillator for a bad ego based meeting. If folks got quiet and listened to the inner voice they might be surprised at what they heard.

    I am in complete agreement with Patrick, meetings that are comprised of spiritually centered people will draw in new comers. "specialty meetings" are carnival tactics at best.

    One of the greatest truth I know is that AA could die, meetings could fall off the earth and I will be solid, provided I live by spiritual principles for good and for all, not one fucking miserable day at a time.

  3. My home group has been around since 1977, so it has some legs to it. But another group recently formed "in competition" and is unsuccessfully trying to drag members away. WTF? I just can't figure out what these assholes are thinking. "Let's form a new group and everyone will come to our meetings and we'll be the best!"

    I always thought that it was the job of the home group to get the room and make the coffee, then get the fuck out of the way and let the alkies have a meeting. I could be wrong here, though.

    I agree with both you guys, but don't fear that AA will fall off the earth so long as there are a few of us left who give a shit about the basics. Hold a good meeting and they will come.

  4. I'm pondering. I don't know if some meetings need to die or not. They seem to be a good place for the smaller herds within the herd to collect. I've seen it in larger groups where smaller groups collect within the large group. These are usually "like minded" people and these "like minded" people need to feel a sense of belonging. Hopefully some of them will drift out of the weak coffee groups and find themselves in a solid group full of the people that carry the message. In short, they too have their purpose. When I first came to AA I was nervous at the very least. Scared shitless better describes it. Had I walked into a group of crotchety old timers I might have left to never return. Instead I was met with hugs and slogans that made me feel a little more comfortable. As time went on I felt myself drifting away from AA. Not AA the program because I never took the steps and God was never mentioned in this group but AA the room full of people. You know. Big "F" Fellowship as opposed to little "f" fellowship. Instead of drifting away I found a solid group full of the alcoholics of the "Recovered" type. Strange as it may seem, after two years I found myself starting over in AA and moved beyond step three. The rest is history. But had I not found AA lite or an introductory AA it's possible I may have never made it to where I am today.
    That worked for me. Someone else may have a better chance with the crotchety old timers. So it's true. These groups do serve a purpose and they make great fishing holes when you need to find some new meat to knock upside the head with the BB. Remember that part? "Practical experience has shown that"... And I'll also maintain my stand that AA is AA and meetings are meetings. Whether it be a dozen or a thousand.
    Just my opinion and not to be taken as fact

  5. Avoid AA politics like the plague! "Live and let live", just like we don't have to drink, we don't have to have an opinion. What does it matter if there are 10,000 meetings in my area, what does matter is my meeting.

    ps, i love that "i'm not drinking better then you're not drinking." that's rich!


  6. Yeah, there's a fine line here between groups that need to die and groups that are simply mini herds that attract like-minded people. We don't all think alike nor would we all have the same opinion on the quality of a particular meeting.
    (Disclosure - My favorite meeting and second home group is a men's stag meeting).

    But what drove me to write this post is a new 12 & 12 meeting started by a guy who quit another 12 & 12 group because he didn't like the fact that no one agreed with him at business meetings as to how the meeting should be run. I guess the concept of "group conscience" eludes him.

    The fact that he started his own meeting is fine. That's how we expand - a resentment, a coffeepot, and BAM! you got yourself another meeting. But then he starts going around cornering people to attend HIS meeting rather than the one he quit. And if he doesn't see them at HIS meeting then they're not "supporting AA".

    I also hear every week another plea for a meeting "that really needs my support" because no one goes to it. I know the guy who runs that meeting and suggested to him that he just let the damn thing go away as there are a bunch of other meetings close by that folks could attend. He was insulted both by my suggestion and the fact that I won't attend his meeting.

    Maybe y'all have noticed that I keep using the term "his meeting". That's a big part of the problem. Folks are forming new home groups and trying to create little empires out of them. When I use the term "my home group" it's meant that it's a home group that I belong to. When these guys (and women) use the term, they mean it's THEIR home group, THEIR personal little empire where things are run THEIR way. Yeah, Colter. Typical AA politics taken to the extreme.

    It's not so much the number of meetings in my area (over 300/week) that concerns me as we need a lot of meetings. What gripes me is the fact that some people view meetings as competitive rather than complementary, trying to force other alcoholics to choose a meeting based on peer pressure rather than quality.

  7. I was taught to pick one group and make it my home group. To be active in it and not to miss the weekly meeting. To me, THAT is the only group I feel any sort of moral obligation to attend.

    If someone is coming to AA to win a popularity contest you might tell them why you come and also explain why you don't want to be a part of a group vs group pissing contest. But, you certainly don't need to go to a meeting because someone asks you to support it. That would be the group members jobs, no ? They could russle up some wet drunks like the old timers did, right ? I mean it's not like they asked you when they were thinking of starting it up, did they ? Silly AA's.

    I like what Cuda had to say though. Everyone/thing does seem to have it's place in AA.


  8. Hey, has anyone been on Gunther's blog.

    He says Sandusky reminds him of AA.

    Kind of funny but.....damn. Really, when you think about it these anti-AA's are crazy even by AA standards.

    At least he won't be starting any BS meetings as long as his little resentment holds out. That can only be a good thing.

  9. Just as an update and perhaps put this topic to bed, the new meeting that needed support met on Monday with one attendee-the guy who was bugging everyone to attend. See? There is a higher power.

  10. Cuda and Joe, anybody know where CarolD has been, if she's alright?

  11. Dunno. Haven't been over there in a long time. I could go fishing w/ a "thoughtless remark that's not up to par with my typical comments" if you want. See if she'll rise to the bait.

  12. Just checked and CarolID is alive and well, currently monitoring the Alcoholism Thread.

  13. The Following User Says Thank You to JoeD For This Useful Post: McGowdog

  14. I would like the the ability to PM Joe and let him know how hurtful his posts are to me. LOL

    SR was fun and I met some great people, after we all got the boot, the place changed. It is a feel good fest.Carol has really tightened her grip on the reigns of censorship and Dee is right there to kiss her ass with a thank you. I'm sure they are nice people in person but are probably really attached to their "roles" as moderators, I know I would be.

  15. I was a sand in her ointment from day one.

    A week didn't go by that she didn't remind me of my right to leave and go find a more suitable forum tailored to my colorful attitude.

    Dee was a bit of a nightowl and liked to PM me there near the end.

    Actually, he was from Australia and it probably wasn't late for him.

    I actually talked with CarolD on the phone one morning when I did a job for my bro in Atlanta. I was going to meet her for dinner or a meeting but I got into Atlanta too late. We were getting along there in the end until bugsplatter came along... in that keepcomingback thread. I think kcb. Is now Veritas. Anyway...

  16. Hey Rob, I'll give you my cell number. Just leave your comments at the dial tone.

  17. Will do Joe.
    I'm not a bumper sticker guy but I think in my favorite top 3 is this little gem.

    Don't like my driving:Dial 1-800-eat-shit

    Yep,I'm pretty spiritual, just ask me. I've been working on lightening up a bit,maybe this has worked out too well.