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Went to a wierd AA meeting

Old 11-06-2017, 03:31 AM
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Went to a wierd AA meeting

They were all years sober and didn't believe in the steps or sponsors. I felt like I was in a meeting of heretics. Step 4 was a joke. I will go back again though as it is the closest meeting to me and very friendly. Plus everyone shared their experience, strength and hope.
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Old 11-06-2017, 03:34 AM
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Hmmm. Did they have a structure like an AA meeting must have to be considered a legit one? Ie, read the steps/promises/traditions - mention that the group is for the recovery from alcoholism only- etc?

I've been to a lot of different meetings and haven't experienced that....every one I have been to, though, does have a type of preamble and the above things laid out.
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Old 11-06-2017, 03:38 AM
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It was a legit one, banners and serenity prayer at the end. I was just shocked. I have been to AA on and off for years and never heard that.
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Old 11-06-2017, 03:45 AM
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Interesting. If they don't follow the 12 steps and are not into sponsors what do they do that gives them so much sobriety time?
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Old 11-06-2017, 03:49 AM
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They just go to ID meetings and believe that everyone is their sponsor.
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Old 11-06-2017, 03:50 AM
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"What do they do?"

Seems they support each other and do not drink.
Sounds like a SMART/AA hybrid to me.
Interesting.

O
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Old 11-06-2017, 06:31 AM
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Never went to a meeting like that but I can relate to the perspective.e.

I've used the steps in a way.... as guidelines for my own deepening sobriety..... I've never fully completed my 4th step - though I've done 4,5, 6, and beyond in pieces and in my own time and sequence.

I never had an 'official' sponsor - though I have a few people who are my sponsor-figures and to whom I've turned regularly in sobriety for support.

I don't go to meetings all the time - but I wouldn't have gotten sober without the meetings.

I don't believe in everything AA espouses or thump the Big Book as gospel - but AA's message and the Big Book and its availability and ESH were all vital to my recovery.

I could totally see a meeting where everyone felt the same and had similar philosophy and outlook to mine as being quite warm and useful. I've never run across that though.
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Old 11-06-2017, 07:10 AM
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This. I'm totally with The Owl.

Wow.

Where do I sign up?

I'm finding that I need AA, but mostly for a sober group of people that are serious about maintaining that sobriety. I'm working a version of Step 4 with my therapist, who's also in recovery and has been sober for years, so I don't really feel the need to work with a sponsor at this time.

I also get a lot out of hearing other people's stories, and last night I heard a fantastic speaker. He ended on his version of total surrender to God, which was very powerful but is something that I'm working through in my own way.

There's a lot I don't like about AA, the Christian overtones, usually denied or glossed over. The adherence to dogma is another, it's like 12 Step fundamentalism.

Different meetings have different personalities, and I like the ones that support people finding their own path to recovery. The meeting described in the OP sounds a lot like that.

There's a lot that I like, and even find essential about AA, and I will keep coming back, and work it in a way that works for me.
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Old 11-06-2017, 07:33 AM
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Years ago If an alcoholic still had a gold tooth and watch, they weren't ready for AA. Over time the bottom has been raised and saved many from the ultimate low bottom progressive collapse by others sharing their ESH. I am grateful for this and identify with a section in the book (stories) They Stopped In Time. We often hear that the elevator doesn't have to go all the way to the basement.

I will say many times I hear friends who relapsed time and time again speaking of trying to work "their" program. Vital caution for me.

Spiritual progress, not perfection...... Don't drink, love others and be authentic to yourself. Simple but not easy.

Keep coming back
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Old 11-06-2017, 07:43 AM
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Originally Posted by sweetichick View Post
They just go to ID meetings and believe that everyone is their sponsor.
its not important to me what others believe but what i believe.
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Old 11-06-2017, 09:00 AM
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This is like the meeting I go to and LOVE!

Sure, we talk about the steps some days. I feel it is more of a discussion group, we talk about whatever we need to that day. We support each other, we also encourage people if they need something more, we are there for them or they can go to another meeting. Now, there are more meetings at this location, ones that are very strict on the rules of AA but they lack a lot of things I am personally looking for. This group has exactly what I need for me at the moment, maybe at another time in my sobriety, I will need something more. For now, this is perfect for my sobriety.
Finding the right meeting for you will make or break sobriety, or it did for me. I went to one of those very strict, stay on point, no cross talks meetings and it was a good reason for me to drink. There was drama, people talked about others outside of the walls, but to your face, in the meeting, it was all "this is how it is". A 2 faced meeting, in my opinion.

Best of luck in finding what exactly works for you.
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Old 11-06-2017, 09:53 AM
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I went to a "No Rules" meeting a few times at my normal place. It's held later at night and crosstalk is allowed. It was similar to what you described,but from what I hear it's gotten a bit out of control at times. I try to stick to my morning meetings when I go. It's also not overly thumping of the big book. Just some sober people telling their stories and what helped them. Opening prayer and closing prayer are really the only AA 'things'. I also haven't gotten past step 4 and don't have a sponsor,but I have probably 80 phone numbers. Seems to be working for me so far.
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Old 11-06-2017, 12:59 PM
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What are banners? And not to put too fine a point on it but just saying the serenity prayer at the end doesn't make it an AA meeting. [I am not talking about the BB premise that "two alcoholics together can make a meeting" since I have been taught that is two AAers, not just two drunks].
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Old 11-06-2017, 03:04 PM
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What does make a meeting an AA meeting?

A lot of AA dogma isn't in the Big Book. The secretary of my Friday meeting, which is ending up being my home group for want of a better word, had an incident at another meeting he secretaries when someone who hadn't been sober for 24 hours started to share. Someone interrupted the person and pointed out that he hadn't been sober for 24 hours. He wasn't being disruptive and wasn't obviously intoxicated. My secretary stopped him, and thought about it later. He felt it was more compassionate to allow sharing at any time, even in the first 24 hours of sobriety, and there is NOTHING in the Big Book that forbids it. It's tradition, not dogma.

They put it to a vote at the next meeting, and the majority decided to allow sharing in any phase of sobriety, even if it's less than 24 hours.

Different part of the country run their meetings with slight variations, including different readings. Some meetings generally close with the Lord's Prayer, others with the Serenity Prayer (which I vastly prefer), some groups REALLY use the prayer of your choosing in a larger way.

I think that whatever works for the group, particularly over time, is more important than what is traditionally in an AA meeting.

Bill's statement reflects, probably deliberately, the Gospel quote where Jesus said where two or more gather in His name, He is there.

Some people like meetings that are strictly 12 Step study, others prefer to work the steps on their own, or even not at all. People have remained sober without doing much or any step work. It happens. Personally I think they have value, but I'm working them on my own terms and my own time.

What's the one requirement for attending an AA meeting?
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Old 11-06-2017, 03:49 PM
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Rhetorical question but ... "a desire to stop drinking."

I do find it interesting how meetings vary - my questions were coming from someone who's home group does things a little differently with our short preamble, "we do not read the steps, traditions or promises but we do practice them" and a couple other things, but we meet all the requirements to be listed formally as a meeting. It just struck me that the meeting described above might not have those things.

We had a group conscious recently to decide on some things - a big one was going back to the Lord's Prayer at the end of the meeting (that got voted in after some REALLY harsh words about the proposal to a couple of people) - and that kind of thing (whether held as needed or on a regular basis like once a month or quarter like some of the big clubhouses do) is how things work around here.

It's really good to go to different meetings and there are plenty around!
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Old 11-06-2017, 04:12 PM
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Originally Posted by sweetichick View Post
They were all years sober and didn't believe in the steps or sponsors. I felt like I was in a meeting of heretics. Step 4 was a joke. I will go back again though as it is the closest meeting to me and very friendly. Plus everyone shared their experience, strength and hope.
I really don't get how they can have Alcoholics Anonymous meetings that don't use our basic text.....

If it works for you, great. Good luck.
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Old 11-06-2017, 04:50 PM
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Thanks everyone for replying. It's great to hear everyone's perspectives. I have always been okay with steps 1 to 3 but found trying to do step 4 just made me want to drink. As for doing an inventory every night seemed to be just self condemnation. This group might just suit me.
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Old 11-06-2017, 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by sweetichick View Post
They were all years sober and didn't believe in the steps or sponsors. I felt like I was in a meeting of heretics. Step 4 was a joke. I will go back again though as it is the closest meeting to me and very friendly. Plus everyone shared their experience, strength and hope.
I would definitely attend that type of meeting. It sounds like it would resonate with me no matter what it's called.
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Old 11-07-2017, 03:16 AM
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Originally Posted by sweetichick View Post
Thanks everyone for replying. It's great to hear everyone's perspectives. I have always been okay with steps 1 to 3 but found trying to do step 4 just made me want to drink. As for doing an inventory every night seemed to be just self condemnation. This group might just suit me.
That's exactly why doing step 4- and it is tough to face, with the "rigorous honesty" AA suggests makes it a successful "doing"- is critical to sobriety. As AAers often agree, "resentments are [a] primary reason for relapse."
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Old 11-07-2017, 05:56 AM
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Originally Posted by sweetichick View Post
Thanks everyone for replying. It's great to hear everyone's perspectives. I have always been okay with steps 1 to 3 but found trying to do step 4 just made me want to drink. As for doing an inventory every night seemed to be just self condemnation. This group might just suit me.
Steps 1-3 never lead to a spiritual awakening. They are the steps we won't fully understand until after we have a spiritual awakening. There's nothing to "do" in Steps 1-3. For step 1, we just admit that we are alcoholic, and that our lives are unmangeable whether we're drinking or abstinent. For step 2, we admit we are powerless over our alcoholism. We see from the stories and from our sponsor's story that a higher power can help us to recover. We become willing to give it a go. We don't come to believe fully until after we see God's work in action as we take the rest of the steps. In step 3, we are willing to turn our life and our care over to God. For now what that looks like, is we start to write step 4.

Steps 4-9 lead to a spiritual awakening and the ability to recover from alcoholism.

Steps 10-12 keep us spiritually fit so we stay recovered.

If you drink during Step 4, that means you haven't invited God/your Higher Power into the process.

I gained weight while writing my Step 4 because in the beginning, I allowed my mind and fear take over he process. But this is what I learned in hindsight: If you're able to view Step 4 as a spiritual exercise, and not as just a writing exercise, you won't drink. If you can turn to God instead of listening to the fear that your ego is feeding you, you won't drink. If you tell yourself that you're in the present moment, and that all is well here, and you don't relive the memories of the past, you won't drink. If you keep column 2 to 10 words or less, and just facts and no emotions, you won't drink.

Doing an inventory every night is not meant to be self condemnation. It is meant to build your self-awareness and your connection with the God of your own understanding, so you can better understand His will. It is meant to help you grow and change, and to stay spiritually fit. No one's supposed to be perfect or a saint. We don't beat ourselves up over our mistakes. We factually look at our thinking and behavior, and see what we could have done differently.

Good luck.
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