Blogs


Notices

Told not to share at an open AA meeting?

Old 02-13-2011, 10:16 AM
  # 21 (permalink)  
Member
 
keepinon's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: central coast, ca
Posts: 1,652
When I first started Alanon I "cross talked" and got an earful from an old timer.several times actually (over the same incident).Old me would've been mortified and pissed but, but alanon has offered me so much I heard was was said..stopped "cross talking" and continued on..that old timer later helped me very much with my recovery..I would've missed out if i had stayed with the afore mentioned "black and white" thinkingwhich i suffered from all my life..have you heard the phrase "trust the process?" That would be one way to look at this...
keepinon is offline  
Old 02-13-2011, 12:44 PM
  # 22 (permalink)  
Member
 
glitter's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 336
My AA home group has one unique open meeting on Saturday at 8pm. ALL are welcome to attend and share. The meeting is designed specifically for family and friends of alcoholics to share. When this group was founded in 1981 this was the format of the very first meeting. They have kept up the tradition over the years. This is an extremely diverse and tolerant group, but still, sharing at every meeting (there are multiple meetings a day) except the Saturday at 8pm meeting is related to the personal use of alcohol. I don't think however that anyone would poo-poo someone else, whatever their experience may be.

I've been to LOTS of AA meetings. The meeting I mention above is the ONLY meeting I know of that has a meeting open to anyone and everyone.
glitter is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to glitter For This Useful Post:
wicked (02-13-2011)
Old 02-13-2011, 07:43 PM
  # 23 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 2,047
I agree with Summer...

As another poster stated, it may be that non-AA people are technically not supposed to share in an Open AA meeting. Let's say, for the sake of argument, that's correct.

I go to an open AA meeting every week. I'm one of two non-alcoholics who attend this meeting. The people there have never been anything but gracious and welcoming. The two of us never share until the end after every AA there has had a chance to share, but we do share. In fact, there have been times we've been invited to share during the meeting, and we are always invited to their yearly picnic as well. I can't speak for her, but I feel as much a part of this meeting as I do my Al-Anon meetings.

I'll finish with suggesting that you let this one go, agree to disagree with this woman who may strongly believe what she told you, and continue to attend what is, in fact, an open AA meeting.

If, on the other hand, they take a group conscious and decide they agree with her that's different. Until then, enjoy your meeting.

Take what you want and leave the rest.

Cyranoak

Originally Posted by Summerpeach View Post
Why get hurt? It's really probably some recovering addict who still carries their bitterness telling you what they see.
Any seasoned, well adjusted AA memeber would NEVER EVER make anyone feel out of place in a meeting.
Take it in the spirit it was given and let it go
Cyranoak is offline  
Old 02-13-2011, 08:20 PM
  # 24 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Australia
Posts: 281
From my experience at AA, years ago when I attended some open meetings with my ex, I didn't share. Then last year, we attended a meeting together and I was asked if I'd like to share. I shared from the perspective of being a family/friend of alcoholics. No-one said anything to me, but I did sense some were suspicious of my presence there. It was probably not the right thing to do, but I didn't know at the time. I told them I'm from the Alanon fellowship and I'm a pretty honest person and maybe I said things, albeit very tactfully and in a non-blaming way that they may not have liked to hear. I don't know...Things changed the next time when I went on my own and shared that I had started to pick up the drink on occasion and although I haven't said I'm alcoholic, I did say I felt it could lead to that if I wasn't careful as I drank alcoholically when I was a teen/young adult. After that, people were friendly and spoke to me and said thank you to me for sharing. I went to one on Saturday night. I wasn't going to share but I was the second one they called out. I sat up the front and said "hi, I'm Floss and I don't know what I am". Lol. I shared that my co-dependency issues had always been my number one addiction and now that I was on my own, my own buried crap had started to surface and that sometimes when I go out with my friends, I drink way more than what is considered normal even when I tell myself I'm only going to have one or two.

So, whilst it's an open meeting to share, and I was welcomed, I could tell by reactions that I was more 'accepted' when I shared from my own drinking experiences and not the experience of growing up with/living with an A. Anyway, I still don't know if I really should be there but I know that's just my insecurites talking as I relate a lot to what they speak about and I've been told to keep coming back as the only real requirement for attending is a desire to stop drinking. I don't think I'll be attending a 'closed' meeting really soon...
Floss is offline  
Old 02-14-2011, 03:39 AM
  # 25 (permalink)  
Member
 
littlefish's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Sweden
Posts: 1,650
I went to the open meeting with my husband today, as I do every Saturday, and this is the first time someone approached me afterward and told me that "the meeting is for alcoholics who have a desire to stop drinking, notice that the other 'al-anons' just passed when it came to their turn?"
Actually, it is up to each AA group. I have a regular meeting on Monday nights and anyone is allowed to share the 4th Monday of each month, our open meeting. We have a couple of alanons who come on an infrequent basis and they share.
It is decided in the business meeting of each AA group.
You could ask the meeting leader what the protocol of this particular group is: it will vary from group to group.
littlefish is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to littlefish For This Useful Post:
LexieCat (02-14-2011)
Old 02-14-2011, 05:44 AM
  # 26 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 204
I haven't felt comfortable speaking at even the few al-anon meetings I have attended because it isn't always clear what is okay to say and what's not okay so I am afraid of breaking some "rule". I think that totally stinks that you were approached like this! If that's the rule, they should make it clear at the beginning of the meeting rather than pull you aside. How is a newbie to know?! Pulling someone aside just makes a person feel bad, no matter how tactfully you tell them they were wrong.
Ladybug0130 is offline  
Old 02-14-2011, 06:09 AM
  # 27 (permalink)  
Member
 
Summerpeach's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 1,292
Originally Posted by Ladybug0130 View Post
I haven't felt comfortable speaking at even the few al-anon meetings I have attended because it isn't always clear what is okay to say and what's not okay so I am afraid of breaking some "rule". I think that totally stinks that you were approached like this! If that's the rule, they should make it clear at the beginning of the meeting rather than pull you aside. How is a newbie to know?! Pulling someone aside just makes a person feel bad, no matter how tactfully you tell them they were wrong.
I would suggest finding a friendly meeting.
In my home group, we say "We have a loving interchange, please do not consider it cross talk" and we all talk like friends.
We drink tea, bring some goodies to share and just make it really relaxed.
If you want to share, great. If you want to read, great and if you want to do neither, great also.
You should not feel uncomfortable in any al anon setting.
This group sounds unhealthy
Summerpeach is offline  
Old 02-14-2011, 06:10 AM
  # 28 (permalink)  
Member
 
JenT1968's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 1,149
Blog Entries: 1
LOL how are you supposed to notice that the other alanons don't share? unless people have to don different coloured hats to designate themselves "aa" vs "al-anon" vs "supportive but not being affected in any way friend" you're not going to know why anyone is there!

I absolutely get why a group might want shares from AA members only. But if it is important enough warrant stopping non-aa-ers sharing AND that group is going to allow non-aa-ers in for support/whatever, and given that it's an anonymous fellowship so they will go round the table/circle and everyone will be given the chance to share, because the chair won't know why any particular person is there either necessarily, then as a member of that group I would have suggested a little leaflet summarising the rules of this group for people who are attending but don't have a problem with alcohol themselves (non-conference literature!), or a 1 word sentence upon opening each open meeting. That way no-one shares inapropriately, and the aa-ers don't have to listen to stuff that they feel uncomfortable over.

What you have done isn't shameful or embarrassing or stupid or wrong, forgive yourself . You didn't know, and now you do, fair enough, you can continue to go if you want to support him, and/or you can seek out an alanon meeting where you can share to your heart's delight about your feelings and thoughts, welcomed with open arms?
JenT1968 is offline  
Old 02-14-2011, 06:17 AM
  # 29 (permalink)  
Member
 
JenT1968's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 1,149
Blog Entries: 1
I haven't felt comfortable speaking at even the few al-anon meetings I have attended because it isn't always clear what is okay to say and what's not okay so I am afraid of breaking some "rule". I think that totally stinks that you were approached like this! If that's the rule, they should make it clear at the beginning of the meeting rather than pull you aside. How is a newbie to know?! Pulling someone aside just makes a person feel bad, no matter how tactfully you tell them they were wrong.
SP's meeting sounds lovely! or you could collar someone after the meeting and say - I'm NEW! I don't understand what I can and can't say, I don't get the format! please help, and most people will, because they were once new and scared and didn't have the foggiest idea what "cross-talk" is either! In the group I went to, any new-comer was given an enormous amount of latitude with this until they had started to share, started to find their feet and get some of the pain and fear and anger out, because that was seen as more important than the rules (unless someone was seriously overstepping the mark).
JenT1968 is offline  
Old 02-14-2011, 06:38 AM
  # 30 (permalink)  
Member
 
meditation's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 2,064
In either an open or closed meeting it is for alcoholics to share only, and I believe they read the rules, traditions before each meeting. I go to a variety of meetings and I've never yet had a family member share. In the time allotted to the meetings I've been to it's barely enough time to allow alcoholics that want to share to share, these are meetings with at least 60 people.
I don't think you were singled out personally, I think the person was trying to inform you to not share. I go to both AA and NA meetings and the AA crowd gets upset when anyone shares about anything that is an issue besides alcoholism, so alcoholics are not supposed to share in these meetings about drugs, medications that sort of thing.
I think it is something that I try to respect when I go to AA, I substitute alcohol for my real issues which were pills. I don't ever talk about pills or drugs. NA is a bit more openminded because they believe alcohol is a drug and so a person can talk about both substances but never is family allowed to speak at either of these meetings. I think Alanon or Naranon is the best place if you want to share, these guys are polite usually if a person accidently shares but if it goes on they WILL talk with you which they have done maybe in not so tactful a manner but this is how it works. If an alcoholic were to try to share at an Alanon meeting about only alcohol instead of codependence recovery I think the outcome would be the same, they would be talked with privately after or before the meeting. I've been told to not even share about stuff like BP ( bipolar) even when the entire room was discussing it. I was also told early on that I needed to listen to the shares to get a feel for things when I was in early recovery.

Don't take this personal, the woman was probably voted by several members to speak with you and they would speak with anyone that chose to share that wasn't an alcoholic. Don't worry about it, just find the "right" spot for your recovery which is the focus, his recovery is his and yours is yours.
meditation is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to meditation For This Useful Post:
keepinon (02-14-2011), NYCDoglvr (12-07-2016)
Old 02-14-2011, 06:45 AM
  # 31 (permalink)  
Member
 
Thumper's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 3,444
I'm surprised your husband didn't explain the format of the meetings to you.

You aren't at fault for not knowing the rule. You know it now so you can continue to go to listen and learn or not go if you don't feel you can get the same from it without sharing. It is to bad that the woman was rude about it but that is on her, not you.
Thumper is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Thumper For This Useful Post:
StarCat (02-14-2011), wicked (02-14-2011)
Old 02-14-2011, 06:57 AM
  # 32 (permalink)  
Today is a New Day
 
StarCat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 1,766
My "home group" for Al-Anon takes all newcomers out of the room after the speaker shares, for a one-on-one conversation and introduction to the program.

We're also at the same time as an Alateen meeting, and the rules are less lax there. Many of the children also had their own issues with drugs and alcohol, in addition to alcoholism in their family. They're allowed to talk about anything there.

Some of the Alateen children are old enough to attend Al-Anon now, so they alternate - and our chair reminds them after each Al-Anon meeting they attend that they're only supposed to talk about issues with alcoholism in friends and family, not with themselves. They are getting better, but only one of them has gotten it right so far.

All the Al-Anon groups in my area are rather lax considering mentioning drugs in addition to the alcoholism, since alcoholism with drugs means it's difficult to separate the two.
Allusions to a personal drug or alcohol problem are not frowned upon, but anything more detailed than something like "I started drinking to cope with it all, and now I'm in recovery for that." is discouraged.

Newcomer Al-Anon meetings you can talk about anything, although it's generally understood that you'll spend more time talking about your problems with other people's drinking, otherwise you'd be sharing at AA instead.

That's just how things work in my area.


I can't speak for AA.
All I can say is you need to find somewhere that you feel comfortable.
If you no longer feel comfortable at the one you're attending, try somewhere else.
StarCat is offline  
Old 02-14-2011, 07:01 AM
  # 33 (permalink)  
Belgian Sheepdog Adictee
 
laurie6781's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: In Today
Posts: 6,101
Most meeting directories for AA have a "Key" as to what the abbreviations mean.

Usually, after the O=Open meeting, they put in the disclaimer, visitors welcome, only alcoholics share, or words to that effect.

C = Closed meeting, alcoholics only

NS = Non Smoking

WC = Wheel Chair Accessible

etc

I have seen this all over the country and even in on line meeting listings for various areas of the country.

J M H O

Love and hugs,
laurie6781 is offline  
The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to laurie6781 For This Useful Post:
keepinon (02-14-2011), NoelleR (02-14-2011), NYCDoglvr (12-07-2016), wicked (02-14-2011)
Old 02-14-2011, 09:43 AM
  # 34 (permalink)  
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 270
If you do something wrong within the context of how that group operates and someone is nice enough to clue you in about it, how is that possibly rude?

Thank her for caring enough to do that when you next see her.

The purpose of an AA group is for it's members (alcoholics) to carry it's message to the alcoholic who still suffers. You shouldn't interfere with that taking place. If a newcomer walks out without hearing the person who could have reached them, because you participated, then you've caused great harm and huge cost.

Had your husband missed the answer for his problems because a non-alcoholic shared in place of someone who spoke his language, how would your life be affected?
cabledude is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to cabledude For This Useful Post:
NYCDoglvr (12-07-2016), wicked (02-14-2011)
Old 02-14-2011, 12:35 PM
  # 35 (permalink)  
Member
 
keepinon's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: central coast, ca
Posts: 1,652
I truly don't think it was rude to tell you not to share..the rules are there for a reason.That rule is there because the place for you to share is alanon.
keepinon is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to keepinon For This Useful Post:
NYCDoglvr (12-07-2016), wicked (02-14-2011)
Old 02-15-2011, 05:33 AM
  # 36 (permalink)  
Member
 
Carol Star's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 1,334
Blog Entries: 2
Sorry you had this experience. The guidelines should have been stated at the beginning of the meeting. I have been in recovery rooms for 20 years and sometimes uncomfortable situations occur. "Oldtimers" like this lady, too seem to follow their rules (from way back when). I qualify for all fellowships (alcodependentcodaholicaddict). Drugs as well as alcohol and coda are my story. I shared at an AA meeting about pot and got chewed out and told pot was not discussed at AA. Hello- alcohol is a drug! But the lady was an oldtimer. That is what to her were the rules but I didn't offend anyone else in the group. Sometimes an Alanon group doesn't want a person like me who is an alcoholic and addict was affected by my alcoholic XH and alcoholic parents to say I am an alcoholic! BUT I am! It is part of my story. It is who and what I am. It is hard for me to keep the rules straight but each group votes on their own little rules. Do not be offended. I don't actually know our rule on Alanon's sharing in AA here in Va. so the rules aren't spelled out. So now you know or maybe it was her opinion and not particularily shared with others. Keep coming back.
Carol Star is offline  
Old 12-06-2016, 06:53 PM
  # 37 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Posts: 1
Cooperation Between Al-Anon and AA

According to Al-Anon Guideline G-3, "Non-alcoholics should not participate in any AA meeting discussion unless specifically invited to do so."

I prefer to attend open meetings where everyone is invited to participate.
lsmithdavis is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to lsmithdavis For This Useful Post:
NYCDoglvr (12-07-2016)
Old 12-06-2016, 06:56 PM
  # 38 (permalink)  
Member
 
Mountainmanbob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Lakeside, Ca
Posts: 10,206
As long as the non alcoholic keeps it short and simple they should always be allowed to share at an open AA meeting.

Mountainman
Mountainmanbob is offline  
Old 12-06-2016, 07:00 PM
  # 39 (permalink)  
Starting over
 
DesertEyes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Starting over all over again
Posts: 4,427
Blog Entries: 1
Thanks for the contributions. Please note that this thread is over 5 years old. Perhaps you would like to be of service to people who are in pain today. There are many other threads that are current where your experience may be of use.

Mike
Moderator, SR
DesertEyes is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to DesertEyes For This Useful Post:
least (12-06-2016), NYCDoglvr (12-07-2016)

Currently Active Users Viewing this Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off




All times are GMT -7. The time now is 06:09 PM.