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Old 01-31-2009, 12:51 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Learned something new at an AA meeting today.

Having 30 years in the program means you have the right to table talk, call someone with less than 24 hours an "idiot" for falling slack on meetings, the right to cut people short if you feel they're going on to long, and to change the table's topic if you think it should be X and not Z.

Sorry, I know sarcasm and griping is not effective, but I'm just a bit appalled at what I heard today. To hear someone come back on their own will and to hear them say "I came here for support, not to be interrogated" is not only frustrating but worrysome.

I don't know. I guess I need some advice on what to do. This guy is at AA meetings all around town. I have seen him compel newcomers to walk out of meetings. He is terrible with table talk and cutting people off. Others and myself have asked him to please follow protocol, but he just retorts with the "I've been here longer than you all."

My thing has just been to avoid his tables. Today he sort of snuck in and I didn't want to leave the group I was with just for his presence. But I know I and others are really fed up with his attitude and his reckless insulting of newcomers.

Has anyone had any experience in dealing with someone of this sort? I don't intend to act alone. I have a bit of a short fuse and would probably just end up cussing him out to no avail. But it shouldn't have to be that three of us needed to go talk to the new guy in the parking lot to ask him not to expect that at every meeting.

I know well that we're powerless over "people, places and things." But I don't think that means just accepting this guy for who he is, especially when so many people walk out and leave meetings pissed. Doesn't mean we don't try, right?

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Old 01-31-2009, 12:56 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I don't know. Live and let live comes to mind. If he's scaring off newcomers, it's unfortunate, but maybe they weren't ready. A lot of people and their behaviour frightened and appalled me when I first got sober, but I wanted and needed to be there, so I stuck it out.

There are people in meetings today whose sobriety I do not admire. I do not like their conduct at meetings. But just because they have been sober x amount of years doesn't mean they are healthy people.

Taking this guy on in an attempt to change him will likely blow up in your face. As corny as it sounds, I think you should pray for this guy. Pray until you don't feel this way toward him anymore. Keep working with newcomers, and keep the discussion on recovery, and OFF the troublemaker.

And above all, lead by example. By being respectful of others inside and out of meetings goes a long way.
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Old 01-31-2009, 01:08 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Actually, I found folks like you have described a very good example of HOW NOT TO BE.

I have always made a point of going to someone that has been hit by the 'caustic rhetoric' of someone and smoothing the waters.

Several things I was told very early have stuck with me for many many years now.

Stick with the winners.
Pick a sponsor that 'walks the way they talk.'
Pick someone that has what you want, and they didn't mean 'material things', lol

Just because someone has 'lots of time' does not mean they have serenity and peace in their life. Recovery is a HARD ROAD, in some ways maybe harder than the years I spent out there practicing my disease.

BUT, it is such a REWARDING road that I continue One Day At A Time to not only walk that road, but be the best person I can be for that day.

I cannot control or change others, I can change me. Thus I can be the "Devil's Advocate" when others may be too 'caustic' for my taste.

There are two other very important things that my Sponsor's Husband (my other sponsor) said to me very early in my recovery.

"If I baby you, I will bury you."

and

"I will risk your friendship to save your life."

Taking this fellow on would be bringing yourself down to his level. As Rowan said:

"lead by example. By being respectful of others inside and outside of meetings goes a long way." and I will add "Shows how the program is working in your life."

J M H O

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Old 01-31-2009, 01:14 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I would find it hard not to say something to him. I don't think that by doing that I would be lowering myself to his level. I would do it in private.
It would probably be a waste of time though and would get me all riled up for no point.
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Old 01-31-2009, 02:05 PM   #5 (permalink)
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See, but I still say this is not just "his problem." He's acting like a dictator at the table.

I guess it's easy for you all to say just ignore him and "set a new example" since he's not telling people at YOUR meetings when to stop talking, who has to share when, calling your newcomers "idiots" and all that.

Should've just brought this up with my homegroup.
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Old 01-31-2009, 02:29 PM   #6 (permalink)
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You not only have a right and a priviledge to speak up, but a duty to do so when you see something going on that is not right and threatens the well-being of the group.Consult your group's conscience on such matters

It is one thing to be straight forward, even blunt. I come across that way myself and often get accused of being rigid & intolereant. But I draw the line at personal attack.

Guys like this give the term "old-timer" a bad name. There is no such thing as seniority in Alcoholics Anonymous. No one is number one, but no one is mumber two and we all have a voice.

Sounds to me like this guy is a classic example of the old-timer that either hasn't taken the steps or hasn't taken any spiritual action in a long time. When I get rigid it means I'm not growing, in fact something that is rigid is dead. One of the signs of rigidity is legalism, intolerance, a know-it-all-attitude, and a holier-than-thou attitude. When I get this way, it is a sign for me that I need to do some work.
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Old 01-31-2009, 02:42 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Should've just brought this up with my homegroup.
By Jove you've got it!!!! Most groups have business meetings once a month or so. That's the place to bring it up also. People who are interested in setting the tone of the meeting, usually show up at business meetings to vote on things like this. Then, you can announce at the beginning of the meeting what the ground rules are, i.e. no cross talking and the like. Many say there aren't any rules in AA but groups are autonomous except in matters that effect AA as a whole. So, your group is entirely within it rights to set it's own rules and enforce them in the event someone finds he's being belittled or criticized. That's not what AA is about. Honesty without love is cruelty.
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Old 01-31-2009, 03:03 PM   #8 (permalink)
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If, you're not alone in your assessment of this member and others feel the same way. might have a group conscience after a meeting discuss it with him.

Actually, we do at several meetings say, avoid all cross talk and turn off the cell phones.
Seniority in AA doesn't allow you to be an @sshole.


We've got a few members here and there that, have bristled many a new commer off
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Old 01-31-2009, 03:27 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Yeah, I'm taking too much responsibility on my own here. Wondering if we ask him to stay after a meeting and have a little "intervention" of sorts, or what. I'm still a fresh fish in the program. I'm just going to see if I can't get the ball rolling and leave it to the older, more experienced people to figure out the ifs, whens and hows.

Our groups have a "table leader" who is supposed to look after things. I was the table leader today. But all my "please, no table talk" requests were pushed aside because, naturally, why should anyone listen to a punk kid with only four months sobriety?
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Old 01-31-2009, 03:44 PM   #10 (permalink)
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You brought up a valid point

The chairperson should take control over the meeting.
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Old 01-31-2009, 05:34 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Isaiah

sounds like you are headed in the right direction with the group conscience.We are more powerful than I.The group comes together in Unity sometimes when these things happen.
If you said something to him,he may think you was mad at him,if the group said something,he can`t say much about that.
Also,name calling will get us on your back if you call someone names in a meeting here,it is unacceptable.You might want to bring the name calling up in a group conscience meeting too.You cannot shame a alcoholic sober.That kind of behavior is immature.
We have a 30 yr dude like that here except he just goes to one group.He "rules it with a fist of iron" we say.The membership is on the decline too.


might want to pray for him and yourself also in the meantime and seek God1`s will,because it sounds to me like you may a tad bit irked at him.
Right?
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Old 01-31-2009, 06:05 PM   #12 (permalink)
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We have a 30 yr dude like that here except he just goes to one group.He "rules it with a fist of iron" we say.The membership is on the decline too.
There's a couple guys like that around here who took over the group I got sober in. A lot of people depended on that group, which has been around for decades, and it eventually got so unbearable that everyone but these few guys left. The group is down to about six people (so I hear), who sit around and listen to themselves.

The interesting thing is that the people who depended on that group now realize that they just stood by and let it happen, not realizing until it was too late. So this was a good early lesson for me to attend business meetings and speak my mind.

But it also gave me hope, since another group sprang up just across the street, holding meetings on the very same nights as the original. So the group is "back", just across the street.

M
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Old 02-02-2009, 08:10 AM   #13 (permalink)
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To my knowledge there is no rule saying one can not call an emergency group conscious right after any meeting, so keep that in mind as I continue on babbling! LOL

First thing I would suggest is to pray and meditate on this.

Second thing would be to speak with your sponsor and draw upon his ES&H.

If I was your sponsor and you came to me after prayer & meditation, I would suggest calling a group conscious right after any meeting that this guy shows his arse and see how others feel about it and what actions they would like to take.

Pray for him & for guidance.
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Old 02-03-2009, 08:42 AM   #14 (permalink)
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LOL

We have some wonderful, awesome oldtimers in our group, but we have some tyrants, too. If we can't get someone to talk to the tyrant and ask him to reign it in, we would take a stance of amused, loving tolerance. We'd make gentle corrections to his comments in open meetings. We'd warn newcomers about him, even if we had to chase them down outside to tell them to ignore him. I've chase plenty of newcomers down when they stormed out of a meeting for various reasons, including this one.

(It's not always a guy, BTW. We have a couple of women oldtimers who are real pieces of work. They'll make you thank God that you're not their family members.)
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Old 02-03-2009, 08:59 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Looks like you've gotten great advice here. I think my first instinct would be to call him out and probably end up in a shouting match. I've learned that most times, my fist instinct isn't right. (thanks to AA!)

My first thought was, go to a different meeting but may be that's not possible.

I think when approaching him, as a group, you have to be easy and gentle. (kill him with kindness) Trying to out rank him isn't going to work.

I also thought, just because someone has lots of time in AA or lots of sober time does not mean they are healthy. Hell, I can attest to that.

Good luck and keep us posted!
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Old 02-03-2009, 09:05 AM   #16 (permalink)
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And above all, lead by example. By being respectful of others inside and out of meetings goes a long way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimhere View Post
You not only have a right and a priviledge to speak up, but a duty to do so when you see something going on that is not right and threatens the well-being of the group. Consult your group's conscience on such matters. When I get rigid it means I'm not growing, in fact something that is rigid is dead. One of the signs of rigidity is legalism, intolerance, a know-it-all-attitude, and a holier-than-thou attitude. When I get this way, it is a sign for me that I need to do some work.
Jim
The Alcoholic wants to be the center of attention, have the last word, be the final authority on any topic, be the most attractive, the most endearing and the least likely to make a mistake, but above all the Alcoholic wants to be right.

I am Ron A and I am that Alcoholic.
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Old 02-03-2009, 11:17 AM   #17 (permalink)
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I relate we have a 20 year sober "AA bully" at some of the meetings I attend.


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Old 02-03-2009, 01:02 PM   #18 (permalink)
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maybe remind him of what the 2nd and 3rd traditions are all about. that we're all here just for today. that we only have a daily reprieve, and that 30 years can be gone in ONE INSTANT.

that's what i would do, but i'm not quite a spiritual giant right now.
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Old 02-03-2009, 01:06 PM   #19 (permalink)
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I'm not even a Spiritual midget, I mean dwarf, I mean..oh shutup R!
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Old 02-03-2009, 03:00 PM   #20 (permalink)
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but above all the Alcoholic wants to be right.
Oh, I LOVE being right.
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