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AA etiquette: live and let live?

Old 06-19-2013, 02:23 PM
  # 41 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by legna View Post
Hi,

I just wanted to say that when I came into the program many moons ago, every single suggestion that you heard was pretty typical and standard operating procedure. Most have adapted to the changes in the program, some have not. Personally, I find that AA has changed quite a bit from the old days and for the most part...I think most of the changes are positive. I think that 'we admit we know only a little' and 'more will be revealed' were warnings to the oldtimers that things will change...

For me, I see this as an opportunity for gratitude that the doors have opened wider and our third tradition is a living breathing thing that is moving in the right direction.
Hello you!

So I've been told!

I guess that just like some religious people, there are also those in AA who feel that it is a MUST that things stay exactly the same for-e-ver.
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Old 06-19-2013, 02:32 PM
  # 42 (permalink)  
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Oh hey, and one more thing DesperadoBlonde...

Some would walk out, some would get a resentment, some would even drink over it. Not you. You came here and sought the advice and opinions of the fellowship. Sometimes I forget that people might need to hear it - to wit: I forgot to take a moment and say this in my original post...

I'm proud of you for handling your budding resentment the way you did. This type of behavior is the kind that winners in the program exhibit imo.
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Old 06-19-2013, 02:50 PM
  # 43 (permalink)  
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I want to return later and read this whole thread but I must run to work. Of what I did read, I will echo the sentiments of others pretty much stating that jerks are not limited to AA or church..or my family lol.
This morning I had a conversation that made my blood boil with my older brother. Everything I tried to say was interrupted, negated, argued and disrespected. I had to leave the conversation before I started screaming like an idiot. As I cooled off in the shower I thought.. I have no control over what he says or does, I can only control myself. I realized I must limit my interactions with him and keep all conversations surface and shallow..or at least be tough enough to sit there, shut up, smile and let him expound (and in early sobriety, that may take awhile lol).

For me what I want to work on is my REACTIONS to other people. As Dee said smiling and staying silent costs you nothing. I'll get there..I'll get there. We are going to come across jerks everywhere in life and the best thing we can do is not let them get to us.

I hear ya sister..I would feel just as you did. I'm sure there are plenty of nice people in your AA group too..steer towards them and away from the control freaks too insecure with their own sobriety to let anyone have theirs on their terms.
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Old 06-19-2013, 02:52 PM
  # 44 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by legna View Post
Oh hey, and one more thing DesperadoBlonde...

Some would walk out, some would get a resentment, some would even drink over it. Not you. You came here and sought the advice and opinions of the fellowship. Sometimes I forget that people might need to hear it - to wit: I forgot to take a moment and say this in my original post...

I'm proud of you for handling your budding resentment the way you did. This type of behavior is the kind that winners in the program exhibit imo.
Ienga,

Thank you!

I am indeed trying to modify my character. I used to be (am still?) an absolute expert at acquiring and magnifying resentments.

I do know the AA stance on these kind of things: "what other people think of you is none of your business", "live and let live,"... and all of that. In a way it's clear to me that I "own" the problem in these situations... but it sure is nice to have an anonymous, international place like Soberrecovery... with people from all over, to where I can bring my questions and get almost instant replies.

So thanks to you and thanks to everyone else!
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Old 06-19-2013, 02:52 PM
  # 45 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by DesperadoBlond View Post
Thanks! Unbelievable how that solution did not cross my mind!
dont feel bad. doesn't cross my mind when i got something i need help with!
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Old 06-19-2013, 03:23 PM
  # 46 (permalink)  
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DesperadoBlond: Maybe the best approach is the one they use in the gangster movies when they say "Ahhhh Fuggedaboudid!" (Whydonchafugeddaboudid!")

W.
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Old 06-19-2013, 03:45 PM
  # 47 (permalink)  
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I have a problem with calling them “AA fundamentalists”. They are anything but that. Where does it say that people with less than 6 months should be told to shut up? Where does it say the first 8 or 9 steps should be done in a matter of hours?

The basic text of AA was written so that the program can be done largely without changes. It encourages tolerance, humility and open mindedness. That being said, when I hear personal opinions at variance with these principles I have no problem pointing out that difference. I find it’s very important to do so when there is a newcomer present, in fact I find essential. Equally important is to observe these same principles while doing so.
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Old 06-20-2013, 12:00 AM
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Originally Posted by DesperadoBlond View Post
I've been sober with AA for 7 and a half months now. Mostly, I've met wonderful people who have really helped me get things right.

I am working the steps, going to at least one meeting every day and following my sponsor's (and some other people's) suggestions and all is working out pretty well for once in my adult life.

However, these past couple of days I have had a few run ins with people I like to call "AA fundamentalists".

This morning, a guy visiting from Akron, gave a lead share where he basically lectured us all about how AA is supposed to be "done right".

-Steps should be worked rapidly (preferably one should get to 8 or 9) within the first 12 hours he thinks.
-Men should only talk to other men and women to women.
-Berating and telling timid people with 6 months of sobriety to shut up, in front of other people, in a meeting, is good sponsorship.
-Hauling people in, kicking and screaming, by the scruff of their neck, is also a good idea, this person said (he prefaced it with being familiar with the "attraction rather than promotion" principle.

The other night a fundamentalist lady came up to me after the meeting, lecturing me about how I have to allow my parents the right to be homophobes (I'm gay and am trying to accept that my parents refuse to be ok with that). "You are asking them to accept you as you want to be, so you must do the same for them," she said. Yes, I am trying to muster the acceptance, to accept that my parents don't approve of my sexuality and have told me they don't want to know if I ever get married etc. But I doubt this lady has any experience in that field and she kind of made it sound like I had "made a choice" to be gay somewhere along the line...

I get really triggered and angry when I have to listen to people who get on their high horse and dish these things out (I bet they wouldn't be happy about being on the receiving end of any of this).

My question is:

-Do I get up and leave the meeting discretely when I hear this stuff? (might seem dramatic, but I've been thinking of the above mentioned lady for the past 3 days now)
-Do I speak up and firmly but politely disagree?
-Do I plaster a fake smile on my face (did that today with the Akron guy) and accept that he wouldn't like to hear me share since I only have 7 months?

I'd like to figure out how to avoid taking on any more drama and letting ideas that will result in lots of negative self talk from creeping into my brain. I need to focus on my practical every day life instead. (Job hunting for instance.)

Why do I get so triggered? Does this all come down to my own insecurities?
I heard an AA speaker talking about asking God to remove the obsession and I always thought that was drinking...the obsession was about drinking...but this speaker talked about asking God to remove our obsessive thoughts...

When I dwell on someone, or something that happened to me...over and over again...that's obsession.

I ask God to remove my obsession with what I am fixed on. God save me from being angry when they offend.

God remove my fear and direct my attention to what you would have me be.

These are prayers that may help.

I understand about having to listen to people say things I don't like.

My reaction tells me how I am doing.

Does it bother me...do they bother me...my new writings lately have started with , "What is wrong?"...and I write it out.

Funny thing, next day, when I review what I wrote...it doesn't seem so important.

You were asking about what you should "do".

Should I "do" this, or that...maybe the best thing is to "do" nothing.

Except forgive them of course...for overstepping with their words.
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Old 06-20-2013, 02:45 AM
  # 49 (permalink)  
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there are no "musts" in AA

your fundamentalist friend is mostly talking about rehab stuff that cropped up, not the way the original members worked together......

Have an Awesome Sober Day!!
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Old 06-20-2013, 03:31 AM
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DesperadoBlond, Does this all come down to my own insecurities? If anybody ever tells me to shutup in an aa meeting there will be a fist fight. Always remember that when you are in an aa meeting you are still dealing with a bunch of drunks. Just because someone hasn't had a drink in umpteen dozen years doen't mean they have worked on thier character defects.

-Do I speak up and firmly but politely disagree?
-Yes you do.

The steps are suggestion, not commands. AA is a fellowship of men and women who have a desire to stop drinking, it is not a 12 step recovery program. I go to aa on a regular basis and I doubt I'll ever finish the steps. As a matter of fact I don't believe in most of them. There is a chair person in an aa meeting, but someone who has more sobriety than you has no authority over you for any reason and never let anybody tell you they do. Wpainterw is right, The whole object is to quit drinking, but unfortunately there are those who use meetings to "bully" people around.
And as far as "live and let live" goes, hmmm, lets see how does that apply to men like Adolf Hilter or Saddam Hussien. DesparadoBlond, 7 and a half months sober? You are FANTASTIC. Congratulations.
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Old 06-20-2013, 05:21 AM
  # 51 (permalink)  
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It's a process. When I first got into NA I found that during some shares, and some people's shares I had to repeat over and over in my head "principles before personalities" or bury my head in my "Basic Text" or quietly go to the bathroom.

In open meetings...people talk, vent, and sometimes grandstand. Thing is, if I want to be able to share openly, I had to let them do the same. ouch. In time, as I grew in my own recovery I was more often able to not let it get to me or get a resentment over it, but it's a process and sometimes I am in a fragile place and need to bow out for my own good.

Step study/literature study meetings were better bets when I wasn't in a place to live and let live, when I needed the program more than someone's opinion on the program.

It is very difficult when people approach before and after the meeting with their opinion of my program. Much harder to keep calm and not get a resentment. When I've been in particularly fragile states, there were times I snuck in a few minutes late and left a few minutes early to avoid those confrontations, especially when I knew it was a meeting when a particular personality would be there.

If I am not in a place to "hear" what they are saying, then my listening doesn't do me any good. If I keep working my program I will get to a place where I can listen, maybe hear, certainly tolerate and not get a resentment over it. But if I'm not there, putting myself through the gauntlet just to prove something...I don't see the point of it.

As far as praying for them, sure, go ahead. But during those times I find it's also good to pray for me...that I work my best program, get honest, and share only my experience, strength and hope when my turn comes to speak.

I've been to meetings where after every share of a newcomer, certain oldtimers would repeat their opinion that people without 6 months should shut up and listen. Maybe after the meeting I should have gone up and asked them where in the Basic Text that was mentioned because it's my intention to do the program by the book.

I admit in early sobriety I got into all sorts of trouble with the drama in my home group. I wasn't mature enough to tune it out and avoid it. I really wasn't able to work the program until I stopped attending open meetings. I was in a really messed up state.
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Old 06-20-2013, 06:31 AM
  # 52 (permalink)  
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"that nobody in my extended family is to know - ever" I do not agree with this on any level what so ever. It is not somebody else's place to dictate to me who I can tell what.

You should buy your father a hammer and some nails and give them to him for Christmas.
When he asks "What are these for" you can reply "Build a bridge and get over it!"



I am immensely proud of you for your 7 months of sobriety. That is an accomplishment.
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Old 06-20-2013, 08:27 AM
  # 53 (permalink)  
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Cool

"...AA is a fellowship of men and women who have a desire to stop drinking, it is not a 12 step recovery program..."

You were just being silly here, right.......?

(o:
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Old 06-20-2013, 10:24 AM
  # 54 (permalink)  
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No I'm not being silly, ask an oldtimer, one told me that aa is a fellowship of men and women who have a desire to stop drinking, and it was explained to me that 12 step programs was a term used by the media to describe aa and it became attached. That makes sense to me.
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Old 06-20-2013, 10:31 AM
  # 55 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by neferkamichael View Post
No I'm not being silly, ask an oldtimer, one told me that aa is a fellowship of men and women who have a desire to stop drinking, and it was explained to me that 12 step programs was a term used by the media to describe aa and it became attached. That makes sense to me.
I see some interesting discussion ahead. I wanted to respond when I saw your first post stating that it isn't a 12 step program, and then had to step back and think on it. I agree, and I disagree.

According to the preable, it actually isn't. I don't see nuthin regarding 12 steps in the definition given by the preamble, which was very well thought out. I'd cut and paste it, but we all know it.

And then again, the 12 steps ARE the plan for recovery that AA offers. So technically, it is a 12 step program. To say it's not a 12 step program would be a misrepresention, if someone wanted to know about it. There are other programs that aren't 12 step programs, but AA is.

Curious what others think.
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Old 06-20-2013, 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Joe Nerv View Post
I see some interesting discussion ahead. I wanted to respond when I saw your first post stating that it isn't a 12 step program, and then had to step back and think on it. I agree, and I disagree.

According to the preable, it actually isn't. I don't see nuthin regarding 12 steps in the definition given by the preamble, which was very well thought out. I'd cut and paste it, but we all know it.

And then again, the 12 steps ARE the plan for recovery that AA offers. So technically, it is a 12 step program. To say it's not a 12 step program would be a misrepresention, if someone wanted to know about it. There are other programs that aren't 12 step programs, but AA is.

Curious what others think.
Like you, I agree and disagree. Lately I have noticed tv ads for recovery houses saying they have a "non 12-step approach" so to me that means they are not AA based. BUT I also think (and this is entirely MY perspective) that Bill W. had somewhat of an epiphany when he realized drunks talking to other drunks can keep drunks sober. If was from there..a program was developed.

But in essence, I think the epiphany is where its at. The 12 steps are definitely the program now but I don't think Bill himself would want the program defined in a "have too" kind of way. The pioneers were ambiguous for a reason..to include as many as possible
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Old 06-20-2013, 10:46 AM
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"A suggested program of recovery. There are no requirements for membership in AA. The Steps are not mandatory. A person makes a personal choice to “work the Steps,” or not.

And if a newcomer or an old-timer chooses to do the Steps and the God part is an obstacle to recovery, then it should be removed or replaced. As the author of the Steps said:

We must remember that AA’s Steps are suggestions only. A belief in them as they stand is not at all a requirement for membership among us. This liberty has made AA available to thousands who never would have tried at all, had we insisted on the Twelve Steps just as written. (AACA, p. 81)

AA is first and foremost a fellowship, “one alcoholic talking to another;” it is not a program. It has a program, a “suggested” program, and doesn’t claim privileged insights into recovery from alcoholism.

The important thing in getting sober and maintaining sobriety is the “personality change sufficient to bring about recovery from alcoholism.”

How that change is achieved varies from one person to the next." -excerpt from The Origins of the 12 Steps | AA Agnostica

And from Wikipedia: "Originally proposed by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) as a method of recovery from alcoholism,[1] the Twelve Steps were first published in the book Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How More Than One Hundred Men Have Recovered from Alcoholism in 1939.[2] The method was then adapted and became the foundation of other twelve-step programs."

When I hear "12 step program" I immediately know it is referring to AA and the other programs modeled after it. It is just recognized as such by the media.
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Old 06-20-2013, 11:14 AM
  # 58 (permalink)  
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Great discussion. I just have to remember that I can't change anyone except myself. In meetings all I can do is share my experience, strength, and hope. I learned through the years not to give much credence to those few pseudo fundamentalist with the my way or the highway philosophy. If they were really practicing the twelve steps, they wouldn't be acting that way.
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Old 06-20-2013, 12:04 PM
  # 59 (permalink)  
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I am so sorry for the ill prepared initial post. I couldn't find my big book, but Sober Jennie stated the fellowship correctly, thank you. I to have run into the same problem with fundamentalist like DesperadoBlonde described. AA isn't the problem, there are always those individuals who's beliefs deviate form the norm of the group consciousness. To think that you have the rite to order somebody to keep their mouth shut is probably one of the reasons aa and other methods to stay sober haves such a poor success rate of long term sobriety as compared to the number of people who come to aa or other groups to begin with. For instance, the first time this indivdual came to an aa it was a closed meeting. The fundamentalist chair person told him to leave because he said he was an addict, instead of saying he was an alcoholic, and he like anybody else when they start out didn't have a clue what was going on. If that had happened to me I would have never went back, and probably on the way out would have expressed my opinion of the whole lot of them, and had a totally different opinion about aa than I do today. To this day I don't like closed meetings. You don't even have to give your name in a meeting, you could make one up, let alone describe yourself as an alcoholic. The problem I see with numerous oldtimers is that they have quit working any kind of program and are letting their pride of long term sobriety and their ego take over. Nonetheless I continue to go to meetings but I have come to prefer cyberspace as a method to discuss issues such as alcoholism, drug addiction, or other issues that could damage a persons life if it were expoused in a negative light. If there were more than 2 groups in my area I would probably have a different home group. The other group in this town got started because of these kinds of problems. Everybody who has a desire to stop drink is FANTASTIC as far as I'm concerned, and I am rootin for you all.
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