Go Back  SoberRecovery : Alcoholism Drug Addiction Help and Information > Secular Recovery > Secular Connections
Reload this Page >

Why is it so hard to find real life secular support groups?

Blogs


Notices

Why is it so hard to find real life secular support groups?

Old 11-30-2011, 11:47 AM
  # 41 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location:    USA                        Recovered with AVRT  (Rational Recovery)  ___________
Posts: 3,680
Originally Posted by langkah View Post
HP...Passing out flyers as the crowd is exiting a meeting is a great idea. I hope that you decide to do that.

Many are compelled to be there because of various offenses or parole after prison time and they'd often much rather be in any small group where they can act as they'd like to act.

Line up about 10 and you've got the makings of a good group session.
That's funny, langkah. Someone like yourself actually encouraged me to leave the program and to try and take some perpetual malcontents with me.
Terminally Unique is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Terminally Unique For This Useful Post:
onlythetruth (12-03-2011), Zencat (12-03-2011)
Old 11-30-2011, 12:49 PM
  # 42 (permalink)  
Shape-Shifting Super-Hero
Thread Starter
 
HuskyPup's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Eating Tofu!
Posts: 882
Originally Posted by langkah View Post
HP...Passing out flyers as the crowd is exiting a meeting is a great idea. I hope that you decide to do that.

Many are compelled to be there because of various offenses or parole after prison time and they'd often much rather be in any small group where they can act as they'd like to act.

Line up about 10 and you've got the makings of a good group session.
I think I will try this. I have talked to the local Unitarian Church about the idea, and they thought it a good idea, though we would need to pay a room rental fee, as any other group would.

I am going to contact a few other potential meeting places, as well...the local GLBT center is one, though it might limit things too much, as many might feel uncomfortable going, and there is a liberal Episcopal church nearby that seems like a goos place to try, as well. and t

Well, thanks langkah for the support in the idea of passing out fliers, and maybe even posting them on bulletin boards where meetings are already held. I am sure there are some in AA who will not at like this, but then again, there are many there who will also just leave, and never return, and at least this offers something, another chance. If anyone gets crabby, I will simply reply that, like them, I am only trying to help people, which is, in fact the case, myself included. I just hope I don't get beat up outside of a meeting for this...well, if I do, I can then sue them, and use the money for the room rental fee, always good to look at the positives, here.

Now to come up with careful wording, so that it does not seem to be 'bashing' anything, but offering an alternative, emphasizing the positive, but perhaps mentioning frustration with concepts like gods and higher powers as 'necessary'.

And then to consider certain structural aspects, as even the most 'open' groups benefit by some degree of organization.

Maybe in trying to create, I will find more drive and energy to abstain...I was pondering that for some people, it is things like creation and reinvention that are more helpful than following prescriptive guidelines.
HuskyPup is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to HuskyPup For This Useful Post:
Zencat (12-01-2011)
Old 11-30-2011, 01:31 PM
  # 43 (permalink)  
Administrator
 
Morning Glory's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: CA
Posts: 10,652
Blog Entries: 2
Reminder: AA is off topic in the Secular Connections forum.
Morning Glory is offline  
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Morning Glory For This Useful Post:
Dee74 (11-30-2011), Threshold (12-17-2011), Zencat (12-01-2011)
Old 11-30-2011, 04:45 PM
  # 44 (permalink)  
Shape-Shifting Super-Hero
Thread Starter
 
HuskyPup's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Eating Tofu!
Posts: 882
Oooops, forgot...I guess it comes up sometimes, just by way of contrast and comparison! So I will not mention it anymore, but just say what I would like to see in a group, vs. what I have seen, as I try and picture some possible ways things might be structured.

Well, in any event, I think passing out fliers at existing groups en route to starting a new group is an excellent idea.

As was stated before, even if I could get 10 people together, that would be a decent size for discussion. In the big groups, it seems like a lot of the time passes reading all the rules and regulations kinda stuff and then one person generally takes up half an hour, leaving maybe 20 minutes to discuss things.

I think, too, I would like to have more of a dialog based approach that what I have encountered in the groups I have been been to, where mainly just a few people speak. I'd like to give as many as possible the chance to share, and even get feedback, if they cared to.
HuskyPup is offline  
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to HuskyPup For This Useful Post:
Morning Glory (11-30-2011), soberlicious (11-30-2011), Zencat (12-01-2011)
Old 12-01-2011, 01:22 AM
  # 45 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 117
That SOS recommendation on the other thread I read might be worth looking into. I was looking at the website yesterday and it looks completely secular to me. I'm just thinking this might be useful to you in terms of structure, support, promotion, literature etc. if you decide to start your own meetings. See what you think. I should be looking at doing something like this myself.
simian66 is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to simian66 For This Useful Post:
langkah (12-02-2011), soberlicious (12-01-2011)
Old 12-02-2011, 07:18 AM
  # 46 (permalink)  
Member of SMART Recovery
 
onlythetruth's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 1,722
Originally Posted by Morning Glory View Post
Reminder: AA is off topic in the Secular Connections forum.
I know, but sometimes I wonder why. Most, if not all, of us who post in the Secular Connections forum have had experience with AA or other 12 step programs; these experiences are part of our lives and have had an impact on our recoveries. Why can't we talk about these things? We are pretty careful not to bash, unless simply giving reasons for not being in a 12 step fellowship is considered bashing.
onlythetruth is offline  
The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to onlythetruth For This Useful Post:
andypandypdx (01-10-2012), doorknob (12-03-2011), recycle (12-02-2011), soberlicious (12-02-2011)
Old 12-02-2011, 10:53 AM
  # 47 (permalink)  
Administrator
 
Morning Glory's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: CA
Posts: 10,652
Blog Entries: 2
2 reasons. All the topics will soon go into AA bashing instead of secular topics.
AA members will come over and share there point of view. We already have the alcoholism forum that allows those topics. This forum was just becoming a duplicate of that forum.

The topic was allowed for a long time and it was just used to bash and debate. The recovery topics are much better since we made the 12 steps groups off topic.
Morning Glory is offline  
The Following 7 Users Say Thank You to Morning Glory For This Useful Post:
doorknob (12-03-2011), lostbutterfly (12-02-2011), recycle (12-02-2011), RobbyRobot (12-04-2011), shockozulu (12-02-2011), Threshold (12-17-2011), Zencat (12-03-2011)
Old 12-02-2011, 12:05 PM
  # 48 (permalink)  
Ethanol Intolerant
 
recycle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Cascadia
Posts: 665
Blog Entries: 3
Originally Posted by Morning Glory View Post
The recovery topics are much better since we made the 12 steps groups off topic.

I have agree with that statement.

The "I don't fit in" complaint from newcomers and the "because you are unwilling to change" response has to be the most common discussion in all of recovery regardless of program. For whatever reason, that discussion quickly becomes acrimonious here, and less so two screens up.
recycle is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to recycle For This Useful Post:
Morning Glory (12-02-2011), RobbyRobot (12-04-2011)
Old 12-02-2011, 01:10 PM
  # 49 (permalink)  
Member of SMART Recovery
 
onlythetruth's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 1,722
Okay, I yield to the opinions of others. I have indeed found the forums much less acrimonious lately and appreciate the hard work of the mods.
onlythetruth is offline  
The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to onlythetruth For This Useful Post:
Morning Glory (12-02-2011), RobbyRobot (12-04-2011), shockozulu (12-02-2011), wellwisher (12-20-2011)
Old 12-02-2011, 02:14 PM
  # 50 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 1,146
Some good feedback on this thread at SMART regarding the original subject...

SMART Self-Management And Recovery Training
langkah is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to langkah For This Useful Post:
shockozulu (12-02-2011), Zencat (12-05-2011)
Old 12-03-2011, 07:54 AM
  # 51 (permalink)  
Knucklehead
 
doorknob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Davenport, WA
Posts: 4,005
Since no one has mentioned it:

http://lifering.org/
doorknob is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to doorknob For This Useful Post:
onlythetruth (12-03-2011), Zencat (12-03-2011)
Old 12-03-2011, 09:13 AM
  # 52 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location:    USA                        Recovered with AVRT  (Rational Recovery)  ___________
Posts: 3,680
Ultimately, the reason secular groups don't spread is actually very simple. They copy AA's surface format (meetings, sharing) without copying the deep structure, which includes the 12th Step. They also falter because they are not really grass-roots organizations where the individual members are responsible for their growth. "Not God: A History of Alcoholics Anonymous" by Ernest Kurtz, which chronicles the evolution of AA for general readership, would be instructive for those interested in this topic.
Terminally Unique is offline  
Old 12-03-2011, 09:37 AM
  # 53 (permalink)  
Knucklehead
 
doorknob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Davenport, WA
Posts: 4,005
I would say that the reason secular groups don't spread as widely as many of us would like is because secular minded people are a minority and non-theists are to a great degree looked down on in our society, or at least in the US. Also, I believe the proselytizing that comes from the treatment industry and traditional groups discourages people from exploring other ideas.
doorknob is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to doorknob For This Useful Post:
simian66 (12-03-2011)
Old 12-03-2011, 11:23 AM
  # 54 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 1,146
TU, imo you're correct regarding a big reason for the slow growth of programs which offer alternatives is the lack of anything comparable to the 12th step. But I see more lacking besides that in the alternative programs that keep them down...something relating to our tradition of unselfish and free service to new people in various ways, one's local meeting setup and operational maintenence, involvement in the organization governing structure at various levels, the organization and execution of conventions all over the world, the maintaining of vast speaker archives and resources, the involvement of members in areas of society and government and law where decisions about recovery issues are made, the integration into different public entertainment and information venues, the identification of more than a few well known members to the public in areas of life wherein they are leaders in their fields...the alternative programs lack more than just the 12th step.

It obviously does not bode well for their continuance if only the occasional big-hearted member puts back in for a little while in the real world before no longer participating and fading off.

LifeRing is at this time in only 14 of the 50 States and 4 countries (including the US) and SOS has meetings in possibly 21 States and possibly 3 countries (including the US). SMART is active in 32 States and in 9 countries (including the US).

I used the qualifier 'possibly' for SOS because per the founder of LifeRing the head of SOS has been caught in the past claiming the existence of meetings that never existed involving contact people who never existed and I'm not completely sure if he's given up that practice yet or not. Hopefully Mr. Imaginative straightened up, but it's anyone's guess. That's in the letter Nicholaus wrote to Jim in the late '90s explaining why he wasn't coming to LA to celebrate an anniversary with him, that he had little use or respect for him if Jimmy wouldn't give up his salary paid by the non-alcoholic NY humanist group that kept him going and step down as leader of SOS, or at least start doing something productive to earn the atheist group's money. Clearly the LSR/SOS split was impending.

Too bad LSR deleted their old archives, as some wonderful stuff was in there for those interested in what actually happened.

So to really become a vital force and realistic option for people, the groups need to somehow convey an obligation to their membership to do something, anything. If members who manage to get six months sober open a meeting somewhere and give it their effort for a year or two the whole picture and balance could slowly change, and possibly in 15 or 20 more years these groups could be active in all US States and maybe even double their present number of countries worldwide.

The solutions to these problems just take some commitment and steady effort.
langkah is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to langkah For This Useful Post:
Terminally Unique (12-03-2011)
Old 12-03-2011, 12:59 PM
  # 55 (permalink)  
Member of SMART Recovery
 
onlythetruth's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 1,722
TU and langkah, I think there's more to it than either of you have stated. I think that in some cases, 12 step group members actively try to undermine the availability of alternatives.

I'm thinking of the counselors who work for rehabs, who are themselves members of 12 step groups and who tell their clients that 12 step is the only possible way to recover.

I'm thinking of the justice system personnel who require attendance at 12 step groups and who refuse to accept alternatives, even though this practice has repeatedly been declared unconstitutional.

And I'm thinking of situations where 12 step members infiltrate (there's no other word for it) alternative groups in an attempt to undermine them. It's sad, but there are some zealots who are so sure that they have the One True Way, that they think nothing of playing games with the recovery of people who have chosen different paths.

Some of this behavior is probably based in ignorance or is well-meant, if misguided. But I'm afraid that a lot of it is deliberate, which is extremely sad.
onlythetruth is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to onlythetruth For This Useful Post:
doorknob (12-03-2011)
Old 12-03-2011, 12:59 PM
  # 56 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 117
OK, so it might not be 'in person', but there is the chat room here. It seems empty quite a lot of the time. I haven't been in there lately but I think there may be several 'rooms' for different people with different approaches. Maybe there is a secular room? I can't remember. We could always come up with some pre arranged time to meet in there...
simian66 is offline  
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to simian66 For This Useful Post:
doorknob (12-04-2011), langkah (12-03-2011), Terminally Unique (12-03-2011)
Old 12-03-2011, 05:54 PM
  # 57 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location:    USA                        Recovered with AVRT  (Rational Recovery)  ___________
Posts: 3,680
OTT,

As long as the "alternatives" keep playing ball with the existing addiction treatment industry, they will always be susceptible to being undermined, and they won't get very far. It has been abundantly proven that "AA clones" do not work very well without the deeper structure, as per the numbers Langkah provided. A viable model must start from the ground up from without, not as a cheap imitation of AA. The Internet provides everything needed to do this, including the maintenance of a running historical archive; someone just needs to step up to the plate. Picture an "In the Rooms" type network maintained by a grassroots movement.
Terminally Unique is offline  
Old 12-03-2011, 06:01 PM
  # 58 (permalink)  
Administrator
 
Dee74's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Australia
Posts: 191,805
Blog Entries: 1
the mechanics in the new chat room escape me for the moment, but I believe you can still create a room in chat quite easily just by hitting an icon - it's not permanent but it's ideal for meetings etc.

D
Dee74 is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Dee74 For This Useful Post:
doorknob (12-04-2011), Terminally Unique (12-03-2011)
Old 12-03-2011, 06:15 PM
  # 59 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location:    USA                        Recovered with AVRT  (Rational Recovery)  ___________
Posts: 3,680
Originally Posted by doorknob View Post
I would say that the reason secular groups don't spread as widely as many of us would like is because secular minded people are a minority and non-theists are to a great degree looked down on in our society, or at least in the US.
It is a mistake to exclude people of faith from any non-12-step model.
Terminally Unique is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to Terminally Unique For This Useful Post:
Threshold (12-17-2011)
Old 12-03-2011, 07:34 PM
  # 60 (permalink)  
Knucklehead
 
doorknob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Davenport, WA
Posts: 4,005
Originally Posted by Terminally Unique View Post
It is a mistake to exclude people of faith from any non-12-step model.
They aren't excluded from any that I know of. Religious beliefs are OT for secular recovery meetings, so a persons faith or lack thereof is not relevant. My point is that there may not be enough demand for secular groups for them to become prevalent.
doorknob is offline  

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 10:28 AM.