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Post Info TOPIC: An explicit "AA" sign outisde a meeting place--problem?


MIP Old Timer

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An explicit "AA" sign outisde a meeting place--problem?
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We hang a sign outside our meeting place as well. It's not a blue sign mind you, but just an ordinary cardboard sign that says A.A. on it, that's all. No one has ever complained about it or even questioned its placement, but it isn't on a busy street like you just described, so you might have a legitimate grievance after all. We hold our meetings on a private sanctuary in the middle of nowhere, so it really doesn't matter all that much. I guess it's up to the group conscience to decide -ultimately, even though it sounds welcoming if anything. I guess you have a point, though, being that it's so busy and all, but again it should be addressed within the confines of that particular group and not A.A. as a whole. But that's just my take, though. I hope this helps.

P.S. I like Ruhig's idea of a coffee cup. It's neither suggestive nor is it too obvious. So give Ruhig's idea a shout out at your next meeting. It can't hurt, can it?



-- Edited by Mr_David on Saturday 7th of July 2012 02:03:37 PM

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Mr.David


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A group just moved and members want to hang one of those blue AA signs outside to guide people to the new space.

The sign would be on a heavily traveled city street in front of a building that is otherwise closed.

It is not a huge step of logic to think the people entering a builiding after hours with the big old AA are AA members.

I feel this is a breach of confidentiality, anyone observing will assume the people walking in are going to AA.  Neighbors, coworkers, parents, children, etc may see this. When I was new I was terrified someone would see me enter a meeting.

A better alternative I think would be:

1) The name, time place of the meeting ("7PM meeting of the OurMeeting group is in room 22")

2) Circle and Triangle symbol

3) "friends of bill meeting here"

or a combination or all or whatever.  I think for anyone loooking for a specific meeting art a specific place the phrase "meeting here"  covers 90% of it.

What do you guys think?



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I don't really know what to contribute to this butt... We have a club house here, and it's called (with the typical store front sign) 8477 clubhouse. With a steeming coffee cup between the numbers and word. From what I've gathered from diner workers-- aaers are notorious for our coffee and so this has been efficient in attracting new people (new as in probably hung over first meeting in their entire life new) but another place I know of, they have the circle triangle in a 2ftx2ft sign on the door with the word clubhouse nailed above it with it's hours of operation (ex. Monday open 8a-10p). I had driven past those places and I think it's obvious enough to me, but discreet enough to public. I have felt, and still do, a bit of shame in attending meetings and not wanting to be seen. And in my experience, if I'm unsure where a meeting is, I will watch for people smoking and or with cups of coffee entering a building and ask if I can follow them to bills classroom. Usually they respond with a smile or a hand signaling me to follow them. So signs can be creative as well as discreet. But also, make sure that google knows to place you on their map, google&aa working together has saved my a$$ a few times.

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MIP Old Timer

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RE: An explicit "AA" sign outisde a meeting place--problem?
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I might choose to break my own anonymity but I don't care for an explicit AA sign out in public that is highly likely to break it for me. We have meeting books, telephone service, online schedules etc. to direct people to the building-usually, find the building and you can manage to find the meeting room, and internal signs are usually standard. We don't have too many people wandering around looking for a meeting and hoping to stumble upon an AA sign out on the street. "Meeting in rm. 10" with a coffee cup symbol ought to do it.

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ITs funnys how you can spot a group of AA's. I was at a diner and at some point the waiters shook their heads and got to work building a big big table for like 20. At 10 after the hour 20 people of all walks of life walk in, young, old, black, white, hipsters, wall street types, park avenue/ park bench . They sat down and asked for separate checks. You could see steam coming from the waiters head. Yup.
(we're known for being bad tippers--it's in the 4th edition of BB!).

Clusters of people on the sidewalk smoking and drinking from styrofoam cups are also a good sign.

I agree it is not a AA wide decision, I just wanted some input, opinions, ideas. Thanks!

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I was just about to sign-off when I read this Matt. It's funny. You're right. Who needs a directional sign...the flock know how to spot and find each other. That was a cute post, made me smile!

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Lol David, when I saw your post I thought of a sign that said "FREE COFFEE ROOM ###" lmfao

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Where I live now the clubhouse buildings have big AA Logos painted on the side/front where the meetings are held, or in some cases, stenciled on the glass door. I also have seen this in a few foreign countries, driving through the middle of town and there in the middle of town, doors wide open, the logo and you can see the people inside. No one cares.

Personally I don't care anymore, and the truth is...no one does except us and other alkies. It took me over a year to attend an AA meeting in the town I got sober in, and the town was literally about a block and half long with a church up behind the firehouse, I -finally- attend a meeting and knew everyone there but didn't have a clue they were sober although I had lived there off and on my entire life. I wasn't paying attention so I didn't see them. It took me a long time to figure out no one was really thinking about me or paying attention to what I did, just as I walked around in my own head thinking about me all the time I learned pretty much everyone does that, "normal" is pathologically self centered.

So this is just me but it would be a "non-issue" to me. Better things to do with my time ya know?

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MIP Old Timer

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Hi Matt,

I agree with you, the circle and triangle should work. I know a lot of people in our area would have a problem with a big AA sign.

If it is just a week or two, I would probably deal with it. If permanent, and it was my homegroup, I would bring it up at the next business meeting or see if you can have one to cover the issue.
If it's not your homegroup, I would see if you can get a couple minutes with one or two trusted group members and express your concern and see if it can be brought up at a business meeting, if it remains just work your program and make your decision.

My experience in issues like this, the worst thing to to is talk a lot of the people at the meeting about it and cause a stir, just takes away from our primary purpose and causes more harm than good.

Hope this can help



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when i was in Oahu and looking for a meeting, the location i went to had ceased to have meetings, but the bartender/waiter was wonderful when i asked him about it, he used a laptop to find the new location a few blocks away...  i was so happy!  it had a simple, small cardboard  'AA'  sign that caught my eye and i was so grateful.  being a few minutes late, i was nervous, but was so relieved to see a group of individuals sitting in a circle listening to 'How it Works.'  i was home.                         jj/sheila



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 P.S.  the waiter was perceptive, because i was crestfallen and reluctantly ordered one of the $5 cups of coffee (to think and pray about what to do next) when he offered to look it up for me.  i left him a nice tip and not because the coffee was so good.



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MIP Old Timer

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Our group puts out a sandwich board sign with the triangle/circle about half an hour before each meeting and bring it in afterwards. Seems to work well, people find us. :)

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mattbox wrote:

What do you guys think?


A.A.®Guidelines from G.S.O. states in part:

CARDS AND SIGNS
These are often used to offer the telephone number of the nearest
central office, groups, or A.A. contact (depending upon the
size of the community), or to give the times and places of nearby
meetings. Cards and signs have been placed in telephone
offices, police stations, sheriffs offices, hospitals, county infirmaries,
hotels, and taxi stations. Signs may be in the form of car
cards (in buses or subway trains) or of road signs or billboards
(those that welcome the traveler to 'our town' by listing local
lodges and civic clubs).

I think the idea of anominity at the level of press, tv and radio means I shouldn't go out in public trying to make a name for myself as an A.A. guru. It doens't mean that A.A. is a secret organization. It is alright for A.A. groups to publish meeting times/places, list hot-line numbers and take other measures to make meetings easy to find and avialable to those seeking help.

What is not alright is for clubhouses and other outside institutions to use the A.A. name claiming to somehow respresent A.A. or be affiliated with A.A. just because they rent space for meetings.

It funny how none of us (well me at any rate) was worried about who saw us going into the bar - we just worry about someone seeing us trying to get healthy.



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rrib wrote:
mattbox wrote:

What do you guys think?


A.A.®Guidelines from G.S.O. states in part:

CARDS AND SIGNS
These are often used to offer the telephone number of the nearest
central office, groups, or A.A. contact (depending upon the
size of the community), or to give the times and places of nearby
meetings. Cards and signs have been placed in telephone
offices, police stations, sheriffs offices, hospitals, county infirmaries,
hotels, and taxi stations. Signs may be in the form of car
cards (in buses or subway trains) or of road signs or billboards
(those that welcome the traveler to 'our town' by listing local
lodges and civic clubs).

I think the idea of anominity at the level of press, tv and radio means I shouldn't go out in public trying to make a name for myself as an A.A. guru. It doens't mean that A.A. is a secret organization. It is alright for A.A. groups to publish meeting times/places, list hot-line numbers and take other measures to make meetings easy to find and avialable to those seeking help.

What is not alright is for clubhouses and other outside institutions to use the A.A. name claiming to somehow respresent A.A. or be affiliated with A.A. just because they rent space for meetings.

It funny how none of us (well me at any rate) was worried about who saw us going into the bar - we just worry about someone seeing us trying to get healthy.


 Where I live now one "Group" can have multiple meetings, ie; 60-70, and the "Group" rents a hall that is that groups "Hall", so for example one meeting/group I attend has a big sign outside that says AA, has the logo and has "The Traditional Group" underneath it.

 

It's not a club, it's a "Group", now where I am from, one meeting = one Group, and each meeting had it's own business meeting etc. here there is one business meeting for -every- meeting in that Hall, because they all belong to the same "Group"

 

Big AA Logo and the double A's outside of most of the meeting "halls" here, when I moved here a lot of what they did and how they did it made me uncomfortable but it was -pounded- into me that different areas have different customs, and just because it was different didn't make it "wrong" and I needed to make peace with that if I was to stay sober and be a part of AA in different areas when I moved.

 

I have yet to meet anyone with long term sobriety that doesn't/didn't think that (if they moved) they did it right, or better where they got sober, and were doing it wrong in the new area.

 

By me going to different places and seeing different things, such as huge blue circle and triangle and AA on the side of the building made me comfortable with there is more then just "my way" of doing things. Did they do it differently where I am from? Yes. Am I more comfortable with that? (no huge sign out front) Yeah.

 

Is it important compared to my serenity?

 

No



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@Lin -- I am aware the AA sign outside a meeting is not an 11 trad issue, that is why I used the word "condfidentiality".

What type of sign is GSO talking about?  WHat does the sign say?  I am all for clearly IDing the meeting, just not explicity as an AA meeting to outsiders.

What I would do is, to tell people looking for the 7Pm meeting of "Our Group" is hang a number of clear, bright orange signs that read

"7PM Meeting of OurMeetingName Meets Right Here"

Even if someone has never been to the OurMeetingName, if they are looking for it and close enough to see an AA sign, they are close enough to see the above.  I would be really suprised if anyone looking for the 7Pm meeting or OurGroupName or "a meeting"  seeing this sign would not get their attention.  I doubt others would even notice.

 

Also I am talking about a highly traveled city street early evening, very easy to see and be seen.



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As am I (talking about a highly traveled city street) with this HUGE AA logo and double A's...

I guess my point is I just don't care anymore, I don't "lead" with any sort of blather about how I'm sober and have found God blah blah blah in my life but I don't hide it either, if you know me, you learn at some point I am sober, and frankly 90% of my 12 stepping in the classical sense is people I know in the world approaching me and asking me about Sobriety, if I go to AA etc. not because I talk about AA, because I don't outside here, meetings and my support group, but because of the 11th Tradition's "Attraction Not Promotion", they like what they see, so they ask for help. I just could give a rats patootie if someone sees me walking into a meeting hall any more, there is one across the street from my favorite coffee place and I bounce over there once in a while, my coffee place knows I'm sober, and there, just like everywhere else in the world it's a non issue, except when it's a good thing

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MIP Old Timer

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mattbox wrote:

@Lin -- I am aware the AA sign outside a meeting is not an 11 trad issue, that is why I used the word "condfidentiality".

What type of sign is GSO talking about?  WHat does the sign say?  I am all for clearly IDing the meeting, just not explicity as an AA meeting to outsiders.

What I would do is, to tell people looking for the 7Pm meeting of "Our Group" is hang a number of clear, bright orange signs that read

"7PM Meeting of OurMeetingName Meets Right Here"

Even if someone has never been to the OurMeetingName, if they are looking for it and close enough to see an AA sign, they are close enough to see the above.  I would be really suprised if anyone looking for the 7Pm meeting or OurGroupName or "a meeting"  seeing this sign would not get their attention.  I doubt others would even notice.

 

Also I am talking about a highly traveled city street early evening, very easy to see and be seen.


 I think youre on the right track,  I personally don't care that much about anonymity,  but it's not all about me. 

If you can let people know where the meeting is and maintain discretion it makes sense to me.

 

 



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MIP Old Timer

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This one comes up over here with regularity - In a Yorkshire meeting, I was looking for the meeting place, i had the address, but the building had 2 doors on each face - which one was it? No signs, nothing. So i watched and waited and sure enought the most dapper chappy in the shiniest car I'd ever seen met with a well turned out woman in the most delapidated car I'd ever seen. There was about 40 years between their ages but with a hug and a kiss for each other I knew they were who I was looking for.

So I raised it later in conversation - why no circle triangle on the door on the street? oh dear me no, we all live in the village and don't want people to know we attend AA was the common thread. I asked if they had done any of their drinking here. Most of them said yes, one said no. So I asked why they were so worried about people who had surely seen them at their worst, should see them at their best and see them in recovery. I also pointed out it made it difficult for tourists to find the right door.

That meeting still doesn't have a sign on teh door but they make sure there is someone there to meet and greet.

So for me seeing the blue circle triangle on the door is a welcome sign, but my first meeting there was no sign and I got there. I now don't give two hoots who knows where I go of an evening. Some people do. When i was first around I WAS scared that people would see me going to AA and judge me / persecute me / belittle me, so I can understand and empathise with some people's fears.

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Ah, the "they saw me walking into the bar" thing. 90% of the people walking into the bar are not publicly proclaiming themselves mentally ill, and addiction is a mental illness (among other things).

I don't personally feel stigmatized, but am aware that many people do view alkies as "the other" and "sick", sober or not.

When i was new I was mortified. So we need to be senstive to the needs of the those who may be as well. A well placed easily viewed " 7:30 Meeting of the ThisMeetingGroup meets here"
I feel covers the bases and will not make anyone nervous.

BTW now when asked what "all you people are doing here" I answer "it's a spiritual fellowship". Usually by the second "l" in fellowship they are sprinting down the block.
I used to say "it's a book club" but they woudln't run as fast.

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My name is Richard E. I have been a sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous for over 30 years. Our twelfth tradition sates that Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions and we must place principals before personalities. I feel that my anonymity as an AA member must always be held in the highest regard and protected by all other AA members and I am obligated to guard their anonymity. As a resident of this community I feel that my membership in AA should be guarded and I remain anonymous. The meeting location is clearly indicated in the meeting schedule book and online as there is only on Congregational Church in this town.
I believe that the use of signs clearly indicating that an AA meeting is being held in the building is an unnecessary risk to the anonymity of myself and other AA members that meet in this building. This church is a public building and is open to all members of the community that may witness my attendance at this meeting. The public incudes my immediate neighbors, teachers at my sons school parents on my childs sporting teams and coworkers. I do not want my membership in AA or as a recovering alcoholic reviled to these people as the public holds a dim view of alcoholics and I could potentially lose my job or future employment opportunities.
While I recognize the AA meeting signs are meant to guide people to the meeting I believe they do more harm than good. Members that feel strongly about the signs may not recognize they are placing the anonymity of other AA members in jeopardy. Newcomers may see the signs and decided not to attend the meeting for fear of being seen by the public at an AA meeting. Traditional signage for an AA meeting is a circle and triangle, a camel or friend of Bill sign not a clearly marked AA meeting sign. I recommend the existing signs be removed and that a single sign be placed on the outer kitchen door. This sign should be a circle and triangle or friend of Bill W sign.
On nights that other events are held here at the church and the existing signage is out I will not attend the meeting.
Thank you for allowing me to share.


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Welcome to MIP Richard E. ... ... ...

I tend to agree with your post ... each individual and situation is different ... personally, after 10 years, I don't really care if someone recognizes me going into a meeting ... as long as I'm not stumbling drunk ... But, I'm retired, don't have a public job, and have been sober for a long while ... my philosophy is, 'what other people think of me is none of my concern' ... I just stay 'true to myself and God', my 'Higher Power' ...



Love ya Bro and God Bless,
Pappy



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MIP Old Timer

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Welcome to the forum, RE. Glad to have you aboard.

This subject is a very important one. It's good to see our archive of posts allows the discussion to continue, even though it started years ago.





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Gracious Lord how in the hell did I miss this post!!  I guess I was supposed to for reason that I use to be (?) so freaking opinionated when I was "out there"  Now with my home groups (2) we have more experience than opinions.  We meet out in the open many times in park facilities with those attending knowing who and what we are.  So often we are greeted by friends and family and fellows who have known us closely and tag us with titles like brother and uncle never alcoholic.  Everybody is working the program by experience.   (((Hugs))) confuse



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