An interesting question......

Old 02-23-2014, 05:27 AM
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An interesting question......

A question was posed in another forum that was an extremely good question.....unfortunately the forum it was posed in was inappropriate and the manner in which it was posed was.....less than positive. I think it had tremendous value I am asking it in the appropriate forum in a more positive manner.

Why does NA, AA, Nar-Anon and Al-Anon insist on only using conference approved material during the meetings?

There is so much great literature and thought process out there other than 12 step programs! Why can't it be brought into those rooms? The answer is prevent conflict and maintain the focus on working the 12 steps. Allowing non-conference approved literature into the rooms could create chaos and a lack of consistency.....anarchy. The 12 step message and pathway to recovery could easily be knocked off course with the varying (albeit very good) influences in other literature and resources.

I've read so much.....about so many recovery programs......and I discuss them freely with my 12 step friends......outside of meetings. I respect the need for conformity. My willingness to listen without allowing my own ego or the irritating personalities of others impede my progress is an imperative to learning how to cope with addiction. It has everything to do with respect. It has nothing (I'll repeat) NOTHING to do with disallowing freedom of thought. I often bring thoughts into the rooms that I have formulated via study outside the rooms.....but I structure it as my own thought process while respecting the "rules" of the meeting. I do not discuss religion (I would not consider myself "religious" per se). I keep the focus on myself. And I listen intently.......

I often compare meetings to gold mining. I have to sift through a whole lot of dirt to find those priceless gold nuggets. And if I'm concentrating on the dirt, I won't see those gold nuggets. They will be sifted away with the dirt. I am always on the lookout for that sparkle of gold.

I assure you.......there's a whole lot of dirt in any program of recovery. And my gold nugget may not be the gold nugget of another. But stop, listen, open your mind, take what you need, and anyone can find help there.....unless they are concentrating on the dirt.

Does anyone else have some thoughts on why meetings are structured as they are (no cross talk) and why only conference approved literature is allowed in the meetings?

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Old 02-23-2014, 05:35 AM
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I believe because so much of successful recovery relies on the person [B]believing[B] that what they are doing will work. Bringing in alternative literature would only serve to create self-doubt and people would start chasing what sounded good as opposed to what has actually worked (within the walls of that meeting). (I know this firsthand).

Additionally, if you know anything about gold mining, then you know there is a whole lot more dirt than gold. Speaking franking, most self-help recovery books are simply not good. There are a handful of very good ones, but the vast majority should be filed under fiction.
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Old 02-23-2014, 05:52 AM
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Additionally, if you know anything about gold mining, then you know there is a whole lot more dirt than gold.
Exactly.....and there's more gold in some areas than others! Digging for gold "just anywhere" isn't going to turn up those nuggets. I found the greatest concentration of gold for me in Nar-Anon. And there was also a specific Al-Anon meeting that had just a great vibe. All meetings are not created equal....that's why it is suggested to go to several until you find the one that best suits an individual.

Speaking franking, most self-help recovery books are simply not good. There are a handful of very good ones, but the vast majority should be filed under fiction.
I agree with you wholehearted!! Melody Beattie......not conference approved but excellent. Pema Chodron........not conference approved......not even addiction related but excellent. Dalai Lama....not conference approved......not addiction related.....but excellent. TedTalks......there are some really GREAT things in that.....again not addiction related but excellent......check out the TEDTalk on Gratitude.....speakers last name is Schwartz, I believe. I'd provide a link but I'm out of the country right now and Internet connect is not cooperating.

Personally, I had gotten to a point where I needed to just stop flailing around. I needed structure.....12 little steps provided that structure for me. And had everything to do with wanting relief and needing to believe that something would help me find it......and it did.

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Old 02-27-2014, 01:18 PM
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The no cross talk is actually pretty simple. We had a big discussion about this one night in the meeting after the meetings.

When we came into the rooms we were so fragile. It took a lot of courage to get up the nerve to speak the first time. Now, what would happen if someone finally got up the courage to speak and someone from across the room said, "nope, that's not the way it works.". That new person would be crushed.

One of the best things about al-anon is that I know my words won't be turned against me or used to hurt me or put me down. I feel safe.

Your friend,
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Old 02-27-2014, 07:20 PM
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The one area I have a problem with CAL is with the Big Book in Al-anon. The idea that the Book that originated the 12-steps is NON-CAL or that it "muddy's the water" does not sit well with me. And I do not buy the "party-line" of it not being primary focus. Most other groups OA, NA etc have had no problem and have great success with it as PART of their tools. I (and many others) used it especially in conjunction with Step 4.

While I realize that each group is autonomous & therefore I adhere to not reading from it in Al-Anon meetings. I do not have to like it. That's what acceptance is. Al-anon is about honesty and choices and some literature is merely not accepted due to parliamentary "When Love is Not enough". WSO sent out material "suggesting" how groups might make announcements to alert members to its existence and even contained channels and showing times of the film..(which most groups took as an unofficial endorsement) it could not be considered CAL because there was no time to take & talley the required votes prior to its release.

It should also be noted that Finances always enter in to the picture. IF WSO sanctioned other material (such as recovery guru Melody Beattie's works) revenue would suffer and this would not be prudent. It is another reason they are involved in copyright issues with on-line groups at present. We might do well to look at our sister organizations like AA (who publish the Big Book on-line FREE of charge) and check our motives and review our policies about determining what/why something is considered CAL or not.

As others here have stated one thing I love about Al-Anon is I am free to take what I like and leave the rest. I do not have to agree/disagree 100% with anything including WSO policies and I am free to express my opinion and others are free to do the same.
My HG abolished our telephone list due to an issue of misuse by 13th Steppers. I did not agree with that either, yet I abide by the rules of my HG even when I do not fully agree bearing the 1st Tradition in mind.

We have but one authority (a loving God) as He may express Himself in our GC. The ultimate authority for World Services belongs to the Al-Anon Groups (1st Concept). I am free to lobby for change at any time, but I must accept the vote of the groups.
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Old 03-26-2014, 05:37 AM
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Kindeyes: I agree. I have served as group rep for an Al-Anon meeting and so have sat in on those higher-level meetings. I have also sat at meetings that were hijacked by other people's idea of what should happen at meetings (literature, prayers, etc). If a group leader was strongly of a particular religious persuasion and was allowed to, that meeting could turn into a mid-week church service and absolutely turn away those of us not in agreement.

For those who do not think it is a big deal - just go to a meeting for a while that does not follow the steps and traditions and see the difference.

I prefer the meetings that stick to the steps and traditions.

Good topic.
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