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Post Info TOPIC: Worst. Meeting. Ever. California Group, Chicago, Tues 7PM AAAARRGGH


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Worst. Meeting. Ever. California Group, Chicago, Tues 7PM AAAARRGGH
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I love AA and owe my life to it.  But this BS makes me sick.  That people would co-opt and distort our loving and tolerant and inclusive program into what i describe below makes me really angry.

So I knew this was a "pacific group style' meeting (or a "real" meeting as they describe it).  I had been to Atlantic group in NYC a few times and was really turned off, but i thought what the hey, lets see.

For the opening, instead of preamble, was a reminder of trad4 (each group is autonomous). In other words do not question how we do stuff.   Then in the spirit of ever inclusiveness "those with problems with substances other than alcohol should find another fellowship".


The speaker (who had dinner with CLANCY!!!!) spoke on step 5. He started by mocking newcomers who dared speak on the sacred text to much chortling. He then said "what I say is not what I think, it is what the BB says". Yikes.  The belief that my words are coming from anywhere other than my own mind ridiculous, no matter what I am quoting. I think he meant "I am the law" or words to that effect. He also said "a sponsor is someone who has no emotional involvment with you". Didn't read that in the BB so since it was not his thoughts it must have been transmittted from the radio or something. He lectured about the wrong way to do 5 (also missing from my copy of the BB), how others "don't get it" (much laughter), a lot of head shaking at "them" (I guess me). Arrgh.

Lets see, rules rules rules -- don't speak, don't stand up, no hats (men only), no talk of drugs, of course, lest we upstanding alcholics be tarnished by the mere presence of addicts, no cussing, no spitting I guess, did I mention no hats?

Then the "involuntary sharing". is that a new PC term for taxes? The instructor read of a list of 'random' names, people came up and spoke for 2-3 mins each. I was told it was "random' but each person was called by name, clearly known by the chair.  I guess they dont want to hear things we do not already know.

So there is a nice list of who was at the meeting now. BTW That is in the literature -- no records are kept, you do not have to identify yourself.

One girl slipped up and nearly said the "f" word. Did you think I meant F***? No, she said "...and when I did 5th step my feeling....Uh, uh oh, I didn't mean that. I meant my ....Maximum Service!!! My grandsponser has a great grandsponser!!"

So there is a nice list of who was at the meeting now. BTW That is in the literature -- no records are kept, you do not have to identify yourself.

Pageantry, ritual, and control control control. All that is missing is eating the host.

It is a sad irony that these people believe by exercising rigid control they will learn how to let go and develop faith.

And it is reprehensible to me to mock or criticize newcomers. Pathetic.

 



-- Edited by pinkchip on Wednesday 28th of November 2012 07:04:50 PM

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Aloha hecramsey2...I didn't read that when you got into the room they locked the door behind you.  I guess now I am grateful for being oppositional and defiant when it comes to be forced to accept the unacceptable.  I've left more of such meetings than I've attended.  Get up; get out; go have coffee with your HP if you havent' found anyone else to do the same.  As was mentioned in my mornings meeting...this is a spiritual program.  If it even appears to be diminishing my spirit...I'm gone without resentments.

Keep coming back smile



-- Edited by Jerry F on Wednesday 28th of November 2012 10:14:49 PM

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I edited your F bomb. Nobody really cares but we try not to curse in our posts. I get your point Hecramsey...There will always be groups of people that take a good thing and pervert it. Try not to let it rent too much space in your head. AA is still generally wonderful everywhere we go.

Hope you stick around and share your good experiences with AA also.

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hecramsey2 wrote:

I love AA and owe my life to it.  But this BS makes me sick.  That people would co-opt and distort our loving and tolerant and inclusive program into what i describe below makes me really angry.

So I knew this was a "pacific group style' meeting (or a "real" meeting as they describe it).  I had been to Atlantic group in NYC a few times and was really turned off, but i thought what the hey, lets see.

For the opening, instead of preamble, was a reminder of trad4 (each group is autonomous). In other words do not question how we do stuff.   Then in the spirit of ever inclusiveness "those with problems with substances other than alcohol should find another fellowship".


The speaker (who had dinner with CLANCY!!!!) spoke on step 5. He started by mocking newcomers who dared speak on the sacred text to much chortling. He then said "what I say is not what I think, it is what the BB says". Yikes.  The belief that my words are coming from anywhere other than my own mind ridiculous, no matter what I am quoting. I think he meant "I am the law" or words to that effect. He also said "a sponsor is someone who has no emotional involvment with you". Didn't read that in the BB so since it was not his thoughts it must have been transmittted from the radio or something. He lectured about the wrong way to do 5 (also missing from my copy of the BB), how others "don't get it" (much laughter), a lot of head shaking at "them" (I guess me). Arrgh.

Lets see, rules rules rules -- don't speak, don't stand up, no hats (men only), no talk of drugs, of course, lest we upstanding alcholics be tarnished by the mere presence of addicts, no cussing, no spitting I guess, did I mention no hats?

Then the "involuntary sharing". is that a new PC term for taxes? The instructor read of a list of 'random' names, people came up and spoke for 2-3 mins each. I was told it was "random' but each person was called by name, clearly known by the chair.  I guess they dont want to hear things we do not already know.

So there is a nice list of who was at the meeting now. BTW That is in the literature -- no records are kept, you do not have to identify yourself.

One girl slipped up and nearly said the "f" word. Did you think I meant F***? No, she said "...and when I did 5th step my feeling....Uh, uh oh, I didn't mean that. I meant my ....Maximum Service!!! My grandsponser has a great grandsponser!!"

So there is a nice list of who was at the meeting now. BTW That is in the literature -- no records are kept, you do not have to identify yourself.

Pageantry, ritual, and control control control. All that is missing is eating the host.

It is a sad irony that these people believe by exercising rigid control they will learn how to let go and develop faith.

And it is reprehensible to me to mock or criticize newcomers. Pathetic.



-- Edited by pinkchip on Wednesday 28th of November 2012 07:04:50 PM


Rules, rules, rules . . .

Control, control, control . . .

AA is like the rest of the parts of modern societies with regard to power relations. AA is not immune (though it professes to strive to be thus) from controlling behavior. Lord Acton's famous observation holds true quite often in group behavior. People act to control, to invoke rules, even when it is neither valid nor beneficial.

Why do people, in general, believe in RRR and engage in CCC?

Because they can.

 

pinkchip wrote:

I edited your F bomb. Nobody really cares but we try not to curse in our posts. I get your point Hecramsey...There will always be groups of people that take a good thing and pervert it. Try not to let it rent too much space in your head. AA is still generally wonderful everywhere we go.

Hope you stick around and share your good experiences with AA also.


 Here's a small example.

There is no AA.Activeboard rule against use of the "F" word.

There is a rule, or understanding, that the word not be used excessively or gratutiously. But that, obviously, was not the case in the OP.

Do a search of the the term (and its variants) here and you will find a few dozen posts where the term is used. We have managed to survive 8 years of existence with an occasional "F" word? An occasional instance doesn't hurt anything or anybody. Never has. Never will. Some of the most distinguished members of this site have introduced posts with the word included. They were not censored. The bad words are still out there.

Why censor it today?

Because we can

And it just seems like the right thing to do. confuse

 People do the darndest things . . . both outside and inside AA. I'm sure they mean well . . .

RRR . . . CCC

 

 



 



-- Edited by Tanin on Wednesday 28th of November 2012 08:06:45 PM

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I personally don't care how many times people drop the F bomb. Here is what my duty as moderator was explained by Dean when I took the committment: This is a direct quote cut and pasted from his writing:

"Profanity I usually just replace with *****."

That is what I WAS TOLD TO DO. When you take a service commitment to make coffee do you make tea? Or do you do what you were told to do?

I would point to this as an example also for any newcomers:

This is how to NOT treat people doing service.  This is also how to keep a tired old resentment going even after the person has written you, tried personal amends, and everything else possible.  Sicker than most I guess.



-- Edited by pinkchip on Wednesday 28th of November 2012 10:35:21 PM

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pinkchip wrote:

I personally don't care how many times people drop the F bomb. Here is what my duty as moderator was explained by Dean when I took the committment: This is a direct quote cut and pasted from his writing:

"Profanity I usually just replace with *****."

That is what I WAS TOLD TO DO. When you take a service commitment to make coffee do you make tea? Or do you do what you were told to do?

I would point to this as an example also for any newcomers:

This is how to NOT treat people doing service.  This is also how to keep a tired old resentment going even after the person has written you, tried personal amends, and everything else possible.  Sicker than most I guess.



-- Edited by pinkchip on Wednesday 28th of November 2012 10:35:21 PM


 

 i think you are missing the point. It was only an opinion.

I'm sure people mean well. We Hanks for your service.

BTW, here is an example where Dean did not change the "F" word. Nobody got hurt. Nobody complained.

http://aa.activeboard.com/t29788194/totally-bummed/

 

Thanks again for your service.



-- Edited by Tanin on Wednesday 28th of November 2012 10:58:46 PM

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Like I always say: "It's A.A. you know and not a museum of perfect people". I try not to let these things bother me like they once did, or as Mark said "don't let it rent space in your head". It's good for only one thing anyway; another resentment. And one we can't afford, mind you. Besides, we have alternatives today...they're called meeting lists. It may work after all. Onward...



-- Edited by Mr_David on Thursday 29th of November 2012 03:08:24 AM

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"those with problems with substances other than alcohol should find another fellowship".

I was just wondering what you thought was meant by this phrase. Did they mean our membership ought to include all who suffer from alcoholism, regardless of any other addiction, or our membership is restricted to "pure" alcoholics and if they have anything additional they should go somewhere else, or did they mean they cannot offer AA membership to non alcoholics?

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@Fyne I'm not really analysing the subtlties of the language. The first words spoken at the meeting were "don't ask any questions about how we do things and if you aren't an alcoholic find another meeting." The tone was defensive, defiant, exclusionary. I found it cold and ugly.

The 3rd trad says the only req is the desire to stop drinking. I don't need to say I am an alkie, I can have a billion other problems. People with faith tend to be welcoming and open, not suspicious throwing "us and them" walls up.

What I find disturbing is the harsh, angry, intolerant quality of this style of meeting and its popularity.
This bastardization of AA fits the characteristics described in the book The True Believer by Eric Hoffer, it is about mass movements and the people attracted to them.

I am not looking for advice on how to deal with this. It is not "renting space in my head without paying", does not occupy much of my attention. I am not starting Orange Pages Part 2.

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Thank you PC for your service you do an excellent job!

hecramsey, one of the reasons I love AA so much is that I have a choice of which meetings I attend. I have walked out of meetings before, and changed my meeting schedule to attend others that were more to my liking. I heard at a meeting "if you like everyone in AA you haven't been to enough meetings". People vote in AA with their feet, don't go back.

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I don't think I have ever been to a meeting like that. In my experience, meetings that forget our traditions tend to dissappear anyway.

We have a group on the other side of town that is quite business like in its operation compared to the rest of our groups. They run two meetings, steps and BB study, the only group that runs more than 1 meeting. I visit them once in a while and am always impressed by the inclusiveness. They all turn up for group conscience for example where as in our other groups, if you get more than two or three members turn up for GC, you are doing well.

Occasionally I have visited meetings where I am not known and have been ignored. One time I ended up explaining AA to two medical students who had also been ignored. I could have been the man in the moon - I am talking of our most popular meeting, 40-60 in attendance. By contrast, in the more structured group, no one gets in without a warm welcome and being introduced around.


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Pacific Group Meetings aren't for everyone (including me) but it's simple

You don't like it you don't go, getting your panties in a bunch about it isn't helpful to anyone.

The Pacific Group adheres to the Traditions religiously, they are old school AA

The Spiritual Axiom is if I am upset about something there's something wrong with me, if I have a problem with someone or something it's my problem.

Staying inside my own hula hoop keeps me from qualifying for other 12 step programs

and Mark, you're doing a great job, don't let someone with a hair up his ass about you that follows you across threads and picks arguments with you get you down, but don't engage either, you don't have to explain yourself to anyone but Dean, when you engage you appear to be no different then them.

I have some experience with that bwawawawawawa



-- Edited by LinBabaAgo-go on Thursday 29th of November 2012 05:37:24 PM

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It was not the well organized quality of the meeting that I found disturbing, it was the mockery, us vs them stuff, exclusiveness, the control exercised over who spoke, that sort of thing. There is nothing wrong with careful planning, coordination, that sort fo thing. I find I learned a lot about how to function at work from setting up meetings, being involved with the group functions,etc.

I must stress I am not looking for advice. Not interested. This is not an out of control thing for me. I saw it, i didn't like it , I talked about how I didn't like it and why. This is a forum, I was under the impression people came to forums to shoot the EXPLETIVE DELETED about stuff.

Generally if I am looking for advice I will say "what do you guys think I should do here?" or "anyone have any experiecne with this?"

Statements like "if you don't like it don't go" or "if it bothers you there is something wrong with you" offer no insight and do not address the issue at hand .

The Spiritual Axiom you quote is used here out of context. It does not mean the situation I am observing is a-ok. It means the first thing I need to address is the discomfort i feel, not attempt to change the situation. Note the use of the words "the first". That means more actions will follow. What you describe is not acceptance but passivity. Acceptance mean acknowledgment.

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My pet peeve of the day? Folks who post the whole entire quote of some other post they are responding to. It's like leaving in the 100 other e-addresses when you forward a joke already forwarded to 100 people from another person who left in yet another 100 addresses. Two inches of space later you can get to the message. LOL

And the "nobody cares" about the F word?  Hey, I do. I care. 

I spent several long, almost painful, years in my early recovery learning how to utter a single sentence that wasn't mostly comprised of curses and foul language used as punctuation and emphasis. It was so habitual I couldn't stop when I wanted to! These days, if I tell someone I think that blah blah blah is a F'ing shame, they immediately ask me if I'm off my meds again. If I say it's a MF'ing blah blah blah, they call my therapist. More LOL. 

But seriously, I relate to the irritation at experiencing an uncomfortable meeting--and venting about it. I am not of the belief that there is "no such thing" as a bad meeting, having stumbled into a few that were way, way under the threshold of "I can still learn something, still give something, just won't be coming back".   And I reject the notion that if I'm bothered/upset with someone else or external happenings, there's automatically something "wrong" with me.  If a lead anvil drops on my foot I'm gonna yell, ya know? I'm not gonna engage in spiritual introspection as to whether my foot bones have somehow offended the Universe and I need to correct that for my own healthy growth. And yet more LOL. (Mood for the day--this whole thread just kinda cracked me up.)

I do think it was tacky to call out the group name, time, location, tho. 

Pink Chip...do your thing--it is MOST APPRECIATED that people (not me, one must notice) are willing to step up and give of their time to help maintain this wonderful board.



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Well,

Guess you keep learning things, I have never heard of the Pacific type AA groups. I actually heard that Chi-town has some really good AA in general.

Are there any other people in AA, who are nationally famous for being in AA other then Clancy? Not judging, I don't know that much about the west coast stuff....just always was interesting
to me.

All in all, it is pretty amazing how good AA is almost everywhere I go....especially when you consider we are a "bottom-up" organization that does not report to head offices.

Hope this post makes everyone grateful for their Home Group and inspires us to work to make them even better.



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Yeah...I never heard of this "Pacific group" stuff. I gotta say thanks for the info.

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We have it here too. People bad mouth it all the time. We've had entire meetings based on bad mouthing it. Even the people I respect the most seem to give into the riot act. It amazes me, and it also keeps me fully aware that even the people I respect the most - like you Mark (pinkchip), are totally human, I can completely respect that AND accept that. I am here to learn to love and tolerance, and what I got was much much more than that. This program has taught me how to truly love someone despite their faults, and for the first time in my life... love people for EXACTLY who they are. We are all someone's son or daughter. We are all just trying to do the best we can with what we know. There is nothing unlovable about that. My joy in watching people make progress is no different than when I watch people fumble... we are all exactly where we are suppose to be, as it has been laid out perfectly for us. Today I believe that so deeply in my heart.

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