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Post Info TOPIC: Cross Talk in AA Meetings


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Cross Talk in AA Meetings
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Good Morning All,

I was just reading the Board, and I saw something that is sort of one of my little "pet
peeves" And that is someone with a lot of time, giving unsolicted advised to someone that is newer in the Program.

Whether it be someone saying good quality sharing, or some unsolicited criticism of another fellow AA member. Taking their Inventory, right in the middle of a meeting.

I do have to say that I have not seen that done here in meetings where I am at now, and that has been over 3 years. It is truly a rare occasion. But someone really needs to take that person with more years aside, and ask that he reframe from his behavior.

No Cross talk has always been a very strong point, even to the point that it is rarely ever even needed. However, unfortunately I have heard some "Old timers" doing that after the Meetings, with gesturing in someone direction and saying "Wow, that person really has a great program", or worst, "She really does not have a good Program".

I have never understood where these people are coming from, the ones that have this incessant need to judge others. Obviously a deep character flaw in the Person doing the Blabbing about this stuff, but what hurts, are the ones that these comments are made to, in and out of the meetings. For if someone is Judgeing you, you can feel it.

There are some new people in their first or second year here on this Board, that have a little or a big resentment at so called "old timers" being a pain in the a....!

Over the years we have all seen them, and they have the potential to really hurt newer people, and in some rare cases, actually make the scared new person leave the meetings, and who knows if these people will return, find another meeting, or just leave AA altogether.

I would really like to hear how anyone else feels about this subject and is there a simple way to change these "old timers" behavior.

Thanks for reading.

Hope you all have a great Saturday.

Toni

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Aloha Toni...I've listened to the crosstalk issue probably from the time I started
coming and have refrainded from addressing it except for in private when I took
the courage. LOL I learned that method from...you guessed it, how it was done
for/with me.  In the other room we read a "no cross talk (defined) statement" at
the start of each meeting and that's a good reminder for me.  I've got no power
over what the other members do even after the statement is read.  I work at not
letting it affect my serenity.  My home meeting seems to have it down pretty good
and I believe that the reason is because we are tight and  have a respect for
recovery and our fellows. 

Great subject; greater expectations.

smile

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Cross talk, cross sharing, sharing back - all the same things I think. What a blasted minefield.

I hear it soemtimes from the old timers (who maybe have 20+ years sobriety from drink but can still behave as if they're emotionally drunk.) Sometimes I stick my neck out and ask them is it appropriate to share across like that. Sometimes the response is maybe not, maybe I made a mistake, ranging right up to that's how we used to do it back in the old days!

I try to enforce my own rules to myself that I will only cross share if the sharer has asked for an opinion or help - in fact that happened tonight, a new member was bemoaning that it's a bank holiday weekend and they were fed up of being sober 'cos everyone get's hammered at bank holidays and then went on to say it's all her fault not having the willpower to drink properly, what do people think?

When I shared I felt it was appropriate to refer to the doctors opinion. More productive than suggesting that this member get their head from out their arse and get off the pity pot (which was what I wanted to do.)

Now I'm not sure if this was appropriate, was cross talk etc. so I'm asking here, as I asked some more experienced members on the night.

I have been on the other end of it, I well remember a meeting where I was first share and was bemoaning my lot and very anti Higher Power. The meeting all shared back on me and although I hated it at the time and got angry with time came an appreciation of the rest of them just trying to help. I think it works sometimes, but it's a damn fine line.

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I have an ego that likes when a person cross shares saying they liked what I said. That is something that could use some work. It's a really difficult issue because no matter what, AA is like Soylent Green...it's made of people and people are flawed regardless of the years they have in sobriety.

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Here in South Louisiana, Cross Talk seems to be the rule rather than the exception. The culture here is loose and casual, so i guess the AA meetings have taken on this carefree attitude. In fact, after a 16 months of meetings my first go round in AA (4 years ago), i had just heard of the "no crosstalk" rule about a month ago. i had no idea that directly replying to someone's share or giving/offering advice was frowned upon. Thank GOD i never found myself wise enough to offer any "advice" ... so it seems i'm not culpable in that regard.

i can see where it should be frowned upon, as it would bother me when someone would basically scold someone in a meeting by saying negative things about what they've just shared ... i would think to myself "If i were that person, and this was my 2nd meeting, and i got THAT kind of treatment ... i don't think i'd have EVER come back!"

i can see where it's detrimental FIRST HAND, and i agree that it should not occur.

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tistahchrehzyunphuctupdaywuzyea


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When I cross talk I'm no longer sharing the message of recovery, I'm telling somebody what "I" think "they should do".


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Dear Toni Baloney,  Forgive me if i'm off in my understanding of your post.   I totally agree that cross talking in meetings is disruptive, not to mention hurtful if it contains negative contents at anything or anybody!!    To say that you "overheard some old timers AFTER the meeting" in my opinion not cross talk.   To give someone some encouragment on their share in a meeting is not cross talk...it displays love and support.   I also believe that if someone has one or two years of sobriety and is effected by an ignorant comment/s in or out of a meeting, he/she really needs to talk with their sponser A.S.A.P.   I also feel that if one holds "pet peeves" what they really mean is that they are in resentments and to an alcoholic such as myself these can and will lead me back to drink.   I am also confused about the use of "old timers" as a source of the "pet peeves", trust me when i say that the length of sobriety doesn't always coincide with someones health of body,mind and spirit.   We cannot change the world until we change ourselves.   If your anything like i am,  I have my hands full!!!      Peace to you all

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I need to watch my ass on this one. Feeling abit guilty after my share with Tipsy now but I hope it can be taken in the spirit it's meant while I endeavor to be continuingly more careful! It is a good habit & an important discipline for me to keep myself sharing just for myself with 'I' statements. Where 'I' was, what 'I' did & what it's like for 'me' now. It's a 'we' program so I don't know if it's even bad for me to generalise when I'm talking about 'us' or 'we'.

I've just started Coda so hopefully my conscience will become more attuned to helping me in guidance to all this stuff & more too in regards to others. I wonder if it is ok to offer words of caution & suggestions to avoid pitfalls tho? The vibe here@MIP does seem to be more conversational at times with a danger towards discussion but I do feel we try our best to keep our shares safe & HP guided. Any suggestions for improvement? Learning still, Danielle x

Ps. I am talking about my online sharing here. I am much better in meetings & tend not to offer advice. I do get a bit 'advice-happy' outside of meetings which I am working on keeping with 'I'. It's also important for me to check if help or advice has been asked for! ;Dx


-- Edited by Sobrietyspell on Sunday 30th of August 2009 07:16:08 PM

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Same issue here Daniella.  Really not so great about drawing the "advice giving" line on here.  But again, like I said before....none of us are perfect.  I keep working on my boundaries and try and recognize when I gave completely unwarranted advice.  I also figure, what the hay...as long as I'm acting out of genuine concern my suggestions are just that...suggestions.  I'm glad those of you who might think I'm full of crap haven't told me so yet....and yes, I'm quite sure I'm full of crap plenty of the time (not ripping self as I say that...just acknowledging reality).

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In my homegroup, the chairperson's reading asks that there be no crosstalk during the discussion.

Myself and a few others actually started a new meeting due to the crosstalk happening at another meeting.

Direct dialoge should take place "one on one" after the meeting.

I have seen serious problems and actual fights happen due to cross-talk.

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I know that this is an old thread, but I am writing an opening for a new group for the chairperson to read, so I have been searching for a concise definition.

I joined AA in 1988 in NJ, but had never heard the term cross talk nor experienced it until I went to meetings in MI. MI is unique in that most meetings are subdivided into tables with its own table leader chosen by the table members. Cross talk is easy to know when you experience it, but hard to define. No cross talking is considered an unwritten rule here if it isn't included in the opening.  Quick comments or laughter are usually tolerated and small amounts of cross talk may be tolerated depending on the number of people at the table.  Often times the table is open at the end for any additional comments.  But a conversation at the table is usually not tolerated. I have found in my research that some places don't allow "feedback", which I find strange, but criticism isn't warranted.  I was once scolded for "piggybacking", a term I have not heard before or since, and if everyone is speaking on the same subject, all but the table leader who speaks first is "piggybacking." A concise definition is cross talking out of turn.  My draft statement on the subject is as follows:

"We ask that you refrain from cross-talking or speaking only when it is your turn and remind you that we only offer our experience, strength, and hope, positive comments and emotional support, but no advice."

 



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Welcome to MIP SoberInMI, ...

Personally, I like your 'draft' statement with one exception ... 'but no advice' ... My time in AA has taught me that the whole program is based on 'suggestions' for working the program of recovery ... and I may not be looking at this as you intended, but 'advice' to me means a suggestion ... ... ... SO ... there may be a better way to convey that thought ...



Love ya Brother and God Bless,
Pappy



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This old thread brought a lump to my throat. Tonibaloney died some years back. She'd been a good on line friend to me when I needed it (and a hell of an arse kicker) Isn't it grand that all these years later a thread she started is picked up again for a useful purpose.

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Yes BB, ... as with John, we have lost many that truly left some wisdom we all needed so much of ... It's something I aspire to do myself and pray that someone, somewhere, can benefit from my experience ...


Love ya Brother and God Bless,
Pappy



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Pythonpappy:

Advice is telling someone what they should do, something alcoholics abhor! Suggestions are either worded as a suggestion or we indicate how we worked out a similar situation. So the difference is the approach.

I heard an interesting analogy very recently: If  you are parachuting from a broken airplane, it is SUGGESTED that you pull the rip cord.



-- Edited by SoberInMI on Wednesday 24th of May 2017 09:36:08 AM

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Pythonpappy wrote:

Welcome to MIP SoberInMI, ...

Personally, I like your 'draft' statement with one exception ... 'but no advice' ... My time in AA has taught me that the whole program is based on 'suggestions' for working the program of recovery ... and I may not be looking at this as you intended, but 'advice' to me means a suggestion ... ... ... SO ... there may be a better way to convey that thought ...



Love ya Brother and God Bless,
Pappy


 

Advice is telling someone what they should do, something alcoholics abhor! Because of that, suggestions are either worded as a suggestion or we indicate how we or others worked out a similar situation suggesting what the person should do. So the difference is merely the approach.

I heard an interesting analogy very recently: If you are parachuting from a broken airplane, it is SUGGESTED that you pull the rip cord.



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Yes, and on the same note ... My sponsor told me years ago that 'The mind is like a parachute, it only works iffn' it's OPEN' ...



Yeah SIM, ... I see your point and agree ... but I think I went through most of my life thinking that advice and suggestion was the same thing ... my bad .... I always did what I wanted to anyway ... which is why the Good Lord led me to the rooms of AA ... ... ... otherwise I'd be rotting in Hell ...



Good topic, ... God Bless,
Pappy



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I have double digits. I follow all of the rules all of the time. I never, ever crosstalk.

So I am in a meeting where everyone seemed to have just relapsed. I said "If you guys would go to as many meetings as I do, you would stay sober too."

At that point and while I was still sharing, a kid pops off "I have gone to lots of meetings and did not stay sober , so the saying that meeting makers make it is simply not true.

I was not able to respond as that would be crosstalk. so the conversation ended right there with him winning the argument.

A newcomer was in the meeting and took note of the fact that meeting makers do not necessarily make it.

Because I follow the rules, I sometimes feel that I am fighting with one hand tied behind my back.

But, alas, I got this far by following the rules and I suppose that by continuing to follow them, I will continue to have more years sober.

I see the crosstalk problem as weak meeting leaders who do not stop it.

I am a strong meeting leader, have been to dozens of meeting leader workshops, but do not lead meetings and thus no example is given by me on how its done right.

I will not sign court slips so I have to sit and watch inexperienced people lead the meetings and allow crosstalk.

The traditions say we are not affiliated, so I will not sign under penalty of perjury that the person was at the meeting and then they put the slips on a table at the back and the people pick them up and leave asap.

Am I wrong? Should I start perjuring my self and should I start cross talking at point in my recovery. Have I become a tight ass.

Are they any rules at all that I should follow?

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I have 34 years sober and I will take your advice and stop going to meetings so that the newcomers will not get upset. Thanks for the heads up. 

And sorry for my past meeting attendance which has caused newcomers to relapse. I am a bad person and stand guilty as charges. 

Yep, the whole problem with AA is those pesky old timers. That is the problem. 



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Tsar777:

I understand  your frustration!

Recently I was at an open talk or speaker meeting were the speaker spoke only of his drug use, but apologized profusely for saying nothing about alcohol, and also neglected to share any of his experience or wisdom gained from his struggles getting sober.  Knowing this members story, about 5 supporters from his AA home group came for moral support.

The groups treasurer at last nights meeting, which is the same group, railed about cell phone use during the meeting demanding that all cell phones be placed on vibrate or off AND taken off the tables and put away despite the fact that the group conscience has not tackled cell phone usage at all. (I embrace proper cell phone and table etiquette, but the cell phone Nazis go too far!)

I heard of a member at another meeting who was assaulted for texting during the meeting and the person relating the experience thought it just.

The same group treasurer/cell phone cop went on a road trip after 18 years and claims 36 years sobriety after returning for 18 more years  and also sponsors his daughter who at 40 lives at home.

A newcomer at my table claimed that she had completed the 3rd step after 60 days and then got diarrhea of the mouth cross-talking after all at the table had shared .

An oldtimer of 18 years shared on the 3rd step decision is merely a decision to do the fourth step.  This same oldtimer asked the drug addicted/non-alcoholic speaker to tell his drug story.

A newcomer sat next to me who had attended 2 meetings in 16 days and brought his girlfriend to the table as support to a closed meeting identifying as an alcoholic who admitted that he drank alcohol, but that drugs were his problem.

The last person who shared shared that she (selfishly) dumped her non-alcoholic husband early in sobriety after injuring him with her alcoholism because he (didnt recover from her harm fast enough and consequently) failed to support her in her sobriety

It was revealed to the chairman during the opening that the girlfriend emotional support was not an alcoholic, but nobody said anything until the marathon cross-talking session began after the last person shared and then it was the member espousing that the 3rd step decision is merely a decision to do the fourth step.

I entered the program nearly 30 years when what oldtimers said was gospel and so was the Big Book.  Today newcomers dis oldtimers, and while the Big Book is still held as gospel to the extent that no one would change a word, it is common to twist and distort and self-interpret the steps and traditions, like the decision in the 3rd step is a decision to do the 4th.

I empathize, it drives me nuts too, and I dont mean the acronym Not Using The Steps!

 



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Thank God for young and middle aged people in meetings. Otherwise we'd have a bunch of grumpy, complaining old farts mumbling under their breath about how it used to be. We all have seen the type...where everytime they open their mouth, it's a rant or complaint. The entire room silently pitys this person as if they are mentally challenged and everyone is just ITCHING to say "thanks for sharing"

biggrin



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Visionz wrote:

Thank God for young and middle aged people in meetings. Otherwise we'd have a bunch of grumpy, complaining old farts mumbling under their breath about how it used to be. We all have seen the type...where everytime they open their mouth, it's a rant or complaint. The entire room silently pitys this person as if they are mentally challenged and everyone is just ITCHING to say "thanks for sharing"

biggrin


 

I have seen many an oldtimer stick with other oldtimers because they have given up on giving back as the program suggests, the newcomers know better! And then they go out.  And then they go out.  And then they go out.  And then they are gone and some actually die out there.  shocked.gif

Newcomers never point to an oldtimer and say I want what you have:  real long term sobriety.  And DEFINITELY never say and I am willing to go to any length to get it! 

Instead we get whiny, arrogant, argumentative, egostistical newcomers who continue to work their own program even after the fog of alcoholism lifts.  So why not start your own program!  How about NA, most newcomers are non-alcoholic drug addicts anyway?



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SoberInMI wrote:
Instead we get whiny, arrogant, argumentative, egostistical newcomers who continue to work their own program even after the fog of alcoholism lifts.  So why not start your own program!  How about NA, most newcomers are non-alcoholic drug addicts anyway?

 I like Old Fashioned 'AA' the PreAmble way before there was a Tradition Three

behind which the Liars and Cheats are hiding.

It is unfortunate that Bill and Bob are both dead and gone. The FellowShip has become rudderless and AAWS does not have the tools to get the FuckingDrugAddicts out.

Maybe a 5th edition BigBook will contain the wording to do it. :)

Does this qualify as CrossTalk?

Marc

 

 



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SoberInMI wrote:

 

So why not start your own program! 


 How fitting.



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Visionz wrote:
SoberInMI wrote:

 

So why not start your own program! 


 How fitting.


 Because I have no problem following the AA program as it is laid out; those who want to follow their program should do so.

 

Note we cannot afford anger or resentments... Just saying...



-- Edited by SoberInMI on Tuesday 20th of June 2017 03:42:15 PM

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AA history and literature educate us that AA members can legitimately and productively interpret the program as they like as long as they employ the tools of honesty and humility.

There are few absolutes in the program of AA. And there are multiple paths to spiritual growth as suggested by AA. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help others stay sober. No one person has the one true way to accomplish that holy mission.

Some mistakenly think they do, of course.Their tools are sometimes dishonesty and hubris


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Tanin wrote:

AA history and literature educate us that AA members can legitimately and productively interpret the program as they like as long as they employ the tools of honesty and humility.

There are few absolutes in the program of AA. And there are multiple paths to spiritual growth as suggested by AA. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help others stay sober. No one person has the one true way to accomplish that holy mission.

Some mistakenly think they do, of course.Their tools are sometimes dishonesty and hubris


There is an incorrect "self"-interpretation.  We alcoholics don't respond well to being told what to do.  So we give "suggestions" rather than advice often through sharing our experience, strength and hope.  The most important (implied) suggestion starts the 5th chapter, How It Works: "Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves."  I read somewhere that the reality was that they had NEVER seen a person fail... but felt that it would better received if softened to the current version.  Thus, the AA program is NOT open to self-interpretation, but those that do self-interpret put themselves at risk of not getting sober and/or not receiving the full benefit of the program and harm the newcomer who hears it.

Hence my suggestion that those who take issue with too much of the program as written should start their own program and then they can tell everyone in that program how to work it instead of saying they are working the AA program when it can be clearly demonstrated that they are not.

There is a saying that demonstrates how important suggestions can be:  If you are parachuting out of a broken airplane, it is "SUGGESTED" you pull the rip cord.



-- Edited by SoberInMI on Tuesday 20th of June 2017 12:13:41 PM

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Let's talk about how Dr. Bob loved high powered sedatives, probably more than alcohol, yet such a man could be a co founder of aa.

 

Let's talk about Bill's LSD use.



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Visionz wrote:

Let's talk about how Dr. Bob loved high powered sedatives, probably more than alcohol, yet such a man could be a co founder of aa.

 

Let's talk about Bill's LSD use.


What do want to say about it? Did they violate the long form of the 3rd tradition?

Maybe you can find a use for that luxurious anger!



-- Edited by SoberInMI on Tuesday 20th of June 2017 12:19:01 PM

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When all else fails, attack character.

 

Work is done here. 



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Visionz wrote:

When all else fails, attack character.

 

Work is done here. 


You're right, I should have "suggested" that you do something about that luxurious anger.

May God bless and continue to be merciful to you and may you find time to do the 4th and 5th steps soon.



-- Edited by SoberInMI on Tuesday 20th of June 2017 12:20:58 PM

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Funny how some people stir up shit and then die.


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