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MIP Old Timer

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Bob K wrote:

Good morning Tasha. Each group is autonomous but the 3rd tradition says we will refuse none who wish to recover:

 

Our membership ought to include all who suffer from alcoholism. Hence we may refuse none who wish to recover. Nor ought A.A. membership ever depend upon money or conformity. Any two or three alcoholics gathered together for sobriety may call themselves an A.A. Group, provided that, as a group, they have no other affiliation.


 What Bob said.  biggrin  Technically there are no "Women's" or "Men's" meetings either.  In the early days when I was more brain damaged (I healed somewhat )   I showed up at a few women's meetings at 8pm, too late to go somewhere else.  I just went in and sat down.  Those nice ladies never asked me to leave.  smile



-- Edited by StPeteDean on Friday 19th of April 2013 01:56:46 PM

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MIP Old Timer

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Does anyone know if groups are allowed to ask people to remove hats and wear dress clothes to a meeting?  Suit and tie - and dresses for woman?  If I decide I want to go to a meeting where this is taking place... can they kick me out if I show up in my usual bucket hat and regular casual clothes???  Just curious if the only requirement for membership is the desire to stop drinking in all groups, or if some can make their own rules. 



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MIP Old Timer

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Groups can always claim they have certain rules and have made them so by "group conscience." However, if these "rules" go against the primary purpose and other superceding AA traditions, I believe the group is placing itself at risk for not being a sanctioned AA meeting if anyone was to alert general service of such practices.

Hence, they can always try and "make" certain things happen, but AA is AA...Also, what will they really do if you show up dressed different than they want? Ask you to leave right? Then you say "no" and then what? Nothing really I bet. But not sure you wanna be the AA Rosa Parks in this situation LOL.

There is one group near me that violates traditions so badly I stopped going. There is like 1 person who is eternally chair and another who is eternally secretary and those positions never change. Those people consider it that they own the meeting because they founded it but it's not such a clear violation of traditions because it doesn't allow any newcomers or other folks to do service... I've considered reporting this to general service but the meeting would still happen anyhow and the meeting still helps some people so I dunno.

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MIP Old Timer

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Well - that is just it - I'm just wondering if they are actually going to kick me out, or if I can just say - "thanks for the suggestion".

I do not own any dresses, and I don't plan on buying any to be a part of a meeting.

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Good morning Tasha. Each group is autonomous but the 3rd tradition says we will refuse none who wish to recover:

 

Our membership ought to include all who suffer from alcoholism. Hence we may refuse none who wish to recover. Nor ought A.A. membership ever depend upon money or conformity. Any two or three alcoholics gathered together for sobriety may call themselves an A.A. Group, provided that, as a group, they have no other affiliation.



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MIP Old Timer

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You go Girl!!!



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Where do you find these groups?smile

Do you have a long coat and tall boots?



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Holy mackerel, where do you find these groups? I would refer the group to the traditions of AA where it states the only requirement is a desire to stop drinking. I have had to call General Services on one of my home groups before because they started up with some baloney like you stated above. A dress code of such rigidity is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard. Sounds like they are trying to dress themselves right out of being listed on the meeting schedule.

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We had a group started by 2 guys here. They imposed so many restrictions that it ended up being just the 2 of them left at meetings. The finaly shut it down. Now they come to my home group and try to tell us what we're doing wrong and we kindly invite them to have a big hot steamy cup of shut the hell up. confuse



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MIP Old Timer

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You should go in your wedding dress and ask if its too formal.
Tom

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MIP Old Timer

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bbbbbbbahahahahahaahha!

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MIP Old Timer

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I'd like to see that!!!



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MIP Old Timer

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If that were the case?

Me thinks Ide be kickin some ass...on the way out the door :)



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They wouldn't have liked me! When I lived in MN I worked at a Steel Manufacturing Plant and routinely went to meetings in my dirty jeans and steel toes!

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Col


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Huh. This sounds a bit elitist for an AA meeting! I like the wedding gown idea... With your bucket hat and a great big smile.

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MIP Old Timer

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A dress code! Crrrrrrrraziness! I would totally want to show up in the grubbiest clothes I own.

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MIP Old Timer

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JEEEEZ, skip right over rule 62 and make up rule #63smile

Your sponsor is the only one allowed to tell you how to dress,  so pay attention to their attire before you ask them to sponosr you!! LOL



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MIP Old Timer

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Doesn't everyone wear Valentino ball gowns and Jimmy Choo heels to meetings? I skip the tiara unless it is a very special day though. *grins and winks*

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Does meeting exist or are you just asking? Though there is no AA police perhaps a visit by the local area Intergroup Unity Committee could stop by and offer a few suggestions.

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MIP Old Timer

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The really cool thing is, there are tons of other meetings. I've gone a whole year without running into them. Just recently, have I decided to start changing up my meetings and exploring other options. My kids are getting bigger, I have decided I will try some of the later night meetings now because they aren't so needy at bedtime. I had an unpleasant experience with one of my sponsors (now ex sponsor), and I just decided I needed a change of pace and a fresh start. This is where I wound up lol... but... there are lots of other options : )



-- Edited by justadrunk on Saturday 20th of April 2013 03:34:52 PM

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MIP Old Timer

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This meeting does really exist. The worst part about it is what happens to the newcomer. I realized my first ever meeting (I did not go to treatment or know anything about AA) was at this group. I was treated 'unworthy' my sponsor demanded I would only go to their meetings and no other ones, and never called me back when I said they didn't work with my schedule (my husbands work schedule). So - she just left me hanging with not even a word to say - well it's not going to work out with us, find another sponsor. I had no clue what was going on or why she wasn't returning my calls. Anyway - I remember way back when posting how my first meeting was awful and wonderful. I knew I was in the right place, but I was in the wrong place - if that made sense. Luckily - my next meeting was good - it wasn't a pacific group meeting, and even though no one explained what happened to me - I now know that I had landed in my biggest fear - the cult meeting.

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What exactly is a pacific meeting? I don't know the difference

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MIP Old Timer

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Apparently they are just here in Eau Claire WI - and in California.

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MIP Old Timer

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I was told there are other meetings like it all over the country though... but the GSO have bigger fish to fry.

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MIP Old Timer

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I have heard of this "Pacific Group" crapola. Sounds scary.

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I researched it a bit now that you mentioned it. The following is stuff I dug up an cut and pasted. It's not my words but quotes from others having attended and sounds like it backs up what you are saying. The most lengthy resource is the last one and I included the website:

"Clancy the self-appointed guru of the Pacific Group tells women they have to wear dresses and men jackets when they participate at their meetings. Men must not have beards. The idea is that conformity is part of the so-called cure of Alcoholism. Very controlling male chauvinist."


"There is an AA meeting in woodland hills called the Pacific Group. It's a mens stag meeting on fri. nights. This meeting is run like a Cult. AA is to help people quit drinking, not to try to control the members ever move. They will tell you how to act, what to wear etc... No where in the Big Book of AA does it talk about this BS."

"There are cult like groups within AA. Mostly in California. For example, The Pacific Group, where you are not allowed to have facial hair and are required to wear a suit. They have a GURU named Clancy who controls the group and many individuals."

***
Probably the most lengthy and informative info came from here :http://qtpi1969.net/recovery-spirituality/the-dark-legacy-of-a-rehab-cult-the-pacific-group/

Pacific Group "Rules"





Group speaking rules:


Wear a modest dress and make-up (men must wear a jacket and tie. No gym shoes allowed. Iintroduce yourself as a Recovered Alcoholic. Give both your sobriety date and sponsors name. Do not use curse words, and limit quotations either to the first 164 pages of the Big Book or to the Other Big Book.



Group rules: (partial list)


1) No medications should be taken whatsoever. If a sponsee or fellow AAer is doing so, they are told that is "untreated alcoholism". The PG considers all psychiatric/psychotropic drugs regardless of doctor prescription ruinous to ones sobriety.

Pacific Group members and sponsors, are telling people to stop taking prescribed medication for illnesses such as bipolar and schizophrenia, and just trust the Twelve Steps to heal them. That borders on criminal irresponsibility.


It is also practicing medicine without a license, because they are countermanding the orders of a real doctor.

It is also practicing medicine without any training those fools have never gone to medical school. Attending A.A. meetings for a few years does not make someone a competent doctor or psychiatrist.


Medications of any kind are disparaged, and any diagnosis of disorder other than the Big Book's disease concept of alcoholism meets with strong opposition. The parallel with "faith healing" should be obvious and the same pitfalls are present. To such individuals, there is no such thing as clinical depression.

Sponsor direction to stop seeing a psychiatrist and/or a psychologist, resulting in relapses, suicides, and psychiatric episodes.



2) Opposite sex Sponsors are encouraged. Sponsors are assigned rather than chosen. Sponsorship in the PG is not optional.





3) Long distance sponsorship is encouraged.





4) The cross-continent sponsorship line (ie:Grandsponsors, great grandsponsors, etc) is integral and important to know.




5) Inventories are called "Giving a First Step"
which is a detailed confession to the entire group that often goes back to earliest childhood and then focuses mostly on the period when the 'sinner (confessor)' had the most hormone-related activity, because that will have the most cachet. The more lurid the details, the more intently the group listens. Afterwards, there is much hugging and congratulating, so everyone can feel absolved.



6) Members are encouraged to break off contact with friends and family outside the program, even those who do not drink, and to get an "AA boyfriend". Members are also known to be pressured into having sex with other members.




7) The PG does not allow drugs to be discussed in meetings.



8) The PG makes the newcomers sit in special chairs so everyone knows they are fresh. (Lamont Oaks)



9) The PG group actively goes out to attract older men and younger women.




10) If someone attempts to leave the PG group or go to other, non-PG meetings, they are told: "You will fail. You will die."

Members are only allowed to go to their meetings, and only talk to people in their group.


11) People are told that only AA knows what is good for them, and if therapists or doctors disagree, drop them and find one that does.


ALSO:

*In order to become a member of the PG, a member of the PG must sponsor you

*In order to vote at a group conscience meeting, you must be a member of the PG, which means that you must have a sponsor in the group.

*The PG groups believe in sponsor direction, not sponsor guidance.

*Direction to attend a meeting every night of every week, and, as mentioned earlier, only MG meetings. Attendance is mandatory and the sponsor must grant permission when a meeting cannot be attended.

*Direction to withhold child visitation to a spouse who is outside the PG or AA in general.

*Direction on who to be sexually active with and/or who to get into a personal relationship with, regardless of his/her age.

*Direction to live with others in the PG in PG group homes.

*Sexual activity is encouraged by justifying it as helping members stay away from drugs and alcohol and by stating that it is a "true spiritual experience."

*Sponsor/sponsee confidentiality is violated and personal information is shared with the leader and others in the hierarchy regularly. Written 4th Steps (an AA member's very personal inventory on sensitive issues including sex) have been passed on from sponsors to members of the hierarchy. This information is sometimes revealed openly in front of others during a meeting.

*As is suggested in the Sponsorship Pamphlet, new members are strongly encouraged to select a sponsor of the same sex. In the PG this is frequently violated, resulting in the abuse of power.

*Certain members of the PG direct other members to serve the leader and his hierarchy. While they do bring meetings into detox centers, rehabs and jails, it is for the sole purpose of recruiting new members into their group. Certain members of the PG refer to this practice as "Outreach". (AA, as a whole, is a program of attraction, not promotion. AA does not recruit members.)

*Financial support is often disguised as gifts.

*'Service work ' includes activities such as raking a sponsor's lawn, cleaning his/her home, doing his/her laundry, etc. (This is documented as cult behavior in literature on the subject and is not considered AA service.)

*They have directed members to cease seeing their psychiatrist and/or therapist. (A cult tactic that is described in literature on the topic.)

*They have directed members to stop taking medication prescribed to them by a medical professional and based on a diagnosis and treatment plan.
"AA is not a medical organization, does not give out medicines or medical advice."24
AA does not discourage members from seeking
qualified help and even encourages it in our primary literature.

*They have directed members to throw away prescribed medication and to change their sobriety dates inferring the member was never sober while taking the medication.

*Certain members of the hierarchy have ostracized and alienated other members and directed sponsees to do the same if those members are on any medications. Some former members have experienced being completely ignored when speaking to or approaching anyone in the group.

*The California Group offset of the PG group actually has a specific form of doing a 4th step, which includes answering over 300 questions (most of which are very private and most of which do not even pertain to a real AA inventory):



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MIP Old Timer

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Yes, the part where you are escorted to a separate part of the room is part of the shaming and shunning that they do also for people who slip... not just newbies or people not dressed up. It's awful.

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Why do you want to go?



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MIP Old Timer

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I went there at my first meeting and didn't know better, and I went there Thursday night and didn't know I was stumbling into such a mess either. I had no clue this was happening in our town or to what extent.

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They sound like something to avoid.  Good to know.



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MIP Old Timer

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That description, Mark, holy sh...

AA allows these groups to be associated with AA?!

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MIP Old Timer

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Wow, Tasha. I'd heard about those guys. I had NOT registered that they were your first contact with AA.

You were obviously serious about your sobriety at the start, more serious that you may have realized. A lot of folks might have seen that and run as far as they could have from what they thought AA was. I'm pretty sure I'd have reacted that way.

Steve

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I agree, Steve! That's a bit dangerous for newcomers, in my opinion... I might've gone running to the nearest bar in my jeans and Sex Pistols T shirt haha- if they had let me in the door! Wow- I've never heard of this! Tasha- good for you for going back, but if I were you I'd seek other meetings where the message of true AA is focused on, not your attire or sexual relationships. That doesn't sound very healthy:)

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MIP Old Timer

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stuff like this will be the end of AA

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MIP Old Timer

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I heard many of the bad things about the Pacific Groups as PC posted here at MIP and at various internet sites. If you dig around you can find plenty of negative things about AA in general online, we all know they negative things can happen anywhere and they sometimes happen in AA.

I have dinner almost every week after our Friday meeting with a handful of AA's. Two people almost always there is a couple who are in their early 60's he has 33 yrs sober and she about 25 yrs, they are both wonerful people that I have a lot of respect for, they both lived and went to meetings in the LA California area.

The topic of Clancy came up and I mentioned a few of the thing I heard about the Pacific groups and they both corrected me, saying they where good meetings and groups that helped a lot of people and it was nothing but good positive AA, and the things I heard about the groups where BS.

I was reminded of why we always share "our" experience, not opinions or heresay.



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Kinda realize now why some may have thouht AA was "cultish" Have never been to, or heard of meetings where there was a dress code. Also don't realize why my sponser should or would tell me how to dress. And I don't follow how this could enhance or deter my sobriety. I think that you may be asking to get your feelings hurt by telling someone how to dress for a AA meeting. We are not all form the same social, economical, or cultural  class, and this is what makes AA special in it's own way. This can work for anyone, all you have to have is the desire to stop drinking, no matter what you wear to the meeting. Check your ego at the door and take a seat! God Bless!!

   



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MIP Old Timer

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Some of this comes from "old school" AA and the image they were trying to put forth of a recovering alcoholic. It was viewed that alcoholics were hobos and bums and it still is. To that end, some folks do believe that we have to bust that mold to do effective 12th step work and change other's perceptions. "Sit down, shut up, and get with the program" works to an extent and it is something we unruly defiant alcoholics may need at times, but it has to be tempered with lots of caring and backing off depending on what the person is ready for. In earlier days, the notion that alcholics need ego deflation (which we do) was even more prevailing. In rehabs they would actually make a person wear a sign saying "treat me like a baby" and give them a pacifier and such if they had a history of acting like a baby and throwing tantrums. That stuff might work for many but it also is degrading and clearly crosses over from learning humility to being humiliated.

So, I can understand where this develops from. I can even understand that this type of meeting might be helpful for many. Again, I look at it as probably meaning well but taking a wrong turn.

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MIP Old Timer

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- I have first hand experience with this. It's from my own mouth because it happened to me, and I watched it happen. A man with blue hair was escorted to the "naughty" corner - and that just isn't right. I don't know about any of the sex stuff, and I don't plan to stay long enough to find out - but I have an elder in the area who has given me a warning about that very thing, and I have gotten an invitation to a "retreat" at a private party up north in Ashland with one of the pacific group elders for a weekend on the beach - and didn't know any better at the time - but after reading Mark's post - it made sense. I was new to AA at the time. I'm remembering more and more things that now make sense as I go along, and there is no question that these things are actually taking place. I heard sexist remarks made by the speaker last Thursday - jokes about woman were actually the theme... even my husband was disgusted and couldn't believe his ears... one about a new camera coming out that was so fast it could record a girls mouth flapping... and woman were never called anything but 'little girls' - and a few Sundays' ago when I was so upset at being called "a little girl" when I was shut down from chairing a meeting - I was also at a pacific group meeting and didn't know it. I'm starting to get it all put together, and it's appalling. When I went back to make amends to that man for me leaving without saying good bye (because I was about to cry) - he said "oh I just figured it was a woman thing - you guys are overly emotional". He said that right to my face, and took my apology for 'over reacting' as an opportunity to belittle me even further. Then I saw him in the grocery store with his hysterical young boy having a tantrum, and tried to help - (with the boy) and he snubbed me.




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I just want to thank Tasha , PC, and the others who contributed to this post ... I have learned a lot and feel much better 'prepared' for the day I mistakenly walk into a 'Pacific Coast' group meeting as Tasha described ... It seems to me that they 'defeat' many of the objects for why AA was even brought together for ...

They may do some good for a few, but what is the cost to the many??? ... ... ... I can easily see now that this method of recovery would be costing some, their very own lives ... to leave without finding out about the true AA way ... never to return and to succumb to their disease ... ... ...



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MIP Old Timer

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There's some extremist AA groups near where I live.

Basically they go around to various meetings and in sharing tell everyone that they're doing it wrong, that they're killing newcomers and more or less that they have the only proper way of doing the steps. I've seen them in meeting a number of times and their line is always the same.

I'm just very lucky that they weren't my first exposure to AA, otherwise I don't know where I'd be today.

Shame, but I guess that wherever on or two come together in any name, a few will start to take it to extremes.

Steve



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I'm beginning to see the possibility of why there are so FEW woman with recovery in this area! If they have stumbled upon these groups - which I now know have overtaken 3 meetings - and are trying to get 2 more, I imagine many run for the hills never to look back. However - I still must believe and take comfort in my faith that we are all exactly where we are suppose to be. It's harder some days.

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It makes it all the more wonderful that when women DO come to a meeting that isn't one of these extremist things they have you as a wonderful model of sobriety, Tasha.

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Thanks Ruby : ) That means a lot to me coming from you!

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Seriously. You are an inspiration to me for sure!

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Tasha, since we have been having the online meetings I have had the opportunity to read many shares by you. I love what you have to say. I see many sponsees in your future. It's a credit to your willingness to recover and stay sober that you didn't run far  and fast from  AA. I for one am glad we have you here to share with us. Keep it up.



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Ditto, ... My sentiments exactly ... ... ...



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This is NOT what AA is about!!! AA does NOT judge!!! So in other words, I must stop taking drugs to control my Epilepsy and trust God????? As an aside, I am not on meds as I have been on many and none have worked.

So, what if I seize?? Will I be taken to the 'naughty room'? As I will not be acting normally????? I will be unable to speak or respond when spoken to? Will I be judged as being drunk or on other drugs????

This is just so wrong.

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Pacific Group is a cult. AA is too weak, for political reason having nothing to do with the traditions or steps, to remove their meetings from sanction. Is it legal? Yes. Are they really AA? No. Chuck Clancy is an egomaniac who will only help you if you have a God as HE understands it.


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As long as it's not obscene or hurtful, I'll wear whatever the @%#~ I want to any A.A. meeting.

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I come from an area where there are a lot of meetings (40-50 within 25 miles of my house, every night of the week), so my thoughts come from that perspective.  My thoughts in no way are to defend the group, because my first thought is "Rule #62".  We have a group locally that asks that people coming to speak wear suits.  I found it to be disturbing, but whenever I am disturbed the problem is with me.  I realized that it wasn't all about me and I wore a suit when I went to speak out of respect for them.  I didn't agree, but in the big picture it wasn't a big deal.  I'd rather not distract from carrying the message because I wanted to make a point about clothing.  If you know that is what the group is asking and refuse you need to take a look at yourself.  Why are you being defiant?  What purpose does it serve?  On the other hand, if you don't know, show up for the first time, and are asked to leave, I think the group has an issue and they need to look at themselves.  Why are they being unwelcoming?  Why will they apparently not consider the AA Declaration that when anyone, anywhere reaches out for help that the hand of AA should be there?  Should I just find another group more in line with the AA purpose of helping one another?

If you are in an area where there aren't a lot of meetings then you may not have the choices I have.  In this case, the issue with self is the same.  Take a look to see if the issue is with you.  Is it a big deal to dress in a way that the group finds to be something that makes them feel good about themselves?  But if they are turning people away who didn't know, or they are not willing to consider a person's means who may not be able to afford it, then their spirit is not in line with what AA is all about, and they need to make some adjustments to their refusal to acknowledge what the Big Book tells us...our real purpose is to be of maximum service to God and those about us.  Love and service is our code.



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Ok, I feel the need to post a response to this, as someone who has had first has experience with the Pacific Group for almost a year now. After reading the post by PinkChip, of the rules they found about PG, I need to state my own experience with some of the things mentioned. First and foremost, since its the biggest point of topic, the attire. To attend a meeting, you can literally wear sweats, a scuba suit, a ball gown, soccer uniform... whatever you like. They do, however, suggest wearing a dress or suit if youre speaking, to look presentable, just as one would for any presentation. Its a group tradition for speaking. Not to attend the meeting. Which brings me to the speaking rules mentioned make up isnt required. Thats a lie. You dont have to introduce yourself as a recovered alcoholic. Thats a lie. You can talk about any part of the book you please- what was mentioned is not true. And people often state their sobriety date, home group, and sponsors name as a way of making clear they are an involved member of Alcoholics Anonymous. Onto group rules 1 I have plenty of friend with OG sponsors who take medications. Psych meds. Etc. some sponsors have been known to suggest not taking anti depressants, but would NEVER force someone off of their medications and especially not make someone stop taking medications for more serious mental illnesses like no-polar or schizophrenia, etc. but that is not the rule of PG sponsorship. 2 It is highly encouraged that the men stick with the men and the women stick with the women. Most male/female sponsor/sponsee relationships I know of are between gay/straight people. I do know that Clancy does sponsor both sexes. 3 Not sure about the long distance sponsorship being encouraged. I think if you have a sponsor and you or they move, they would be open to long distance to preserve the relationship... not sure though as I dont have must personal experience with this. 4 sponsorship family line is a fun way to have a smaller community inside of a bigger one. It isnt a rule that you must know who these people are, though. Most of my friends dont even really know who their grandsponsor is. Again, not a rule of PG. 5 Ive never heard of an inventory being called giving a first step. And absolutely have never seen anybody share someones story from the podium. Sponsors take their sponsees confidence VERY seriously. Sharing someones inventory with someone else is atrocious and most everyone in the Pacific Group would agree with that. This is a lie. 6 PG is a group of AA and the goal of AA is to get sober and build a life back. That includes reuniting with family and friends. No WAY are people encouraged to cut off ties with family or friends. Thats a lie. AND NO ONE IS ENCOURAGED TO HAVE SEX WITH ANYONE EVER. Where is this information coming from?! 7 Its suggested you keep the primary purpose (as it is an AA meeting) but people mention drugs all of the time and no one is punished or shunned for it. 8 Never once has a newcomer been told to sit in a special newcomer section. That doesnt exist in any of the meetings. That a lie. 9 PG doesnt have any weird pedophilia ring going on. There are a lot of young men in the group and older women, too. Like... normal society. 10 if someone leaves the group, they leave the group. The most that happens is people will say Dang, I miss seeing so-and-so. Thats about it. People take cakes at PG all of the time who dont have PG sponsors. My sponsor was a secretary of a PG meeting with no PG sponsor. Youre a member if you regularly attend the meeting. Sponsor direction is a term used, yes. Its semantics, though. Its advice, guidance, experience, etc. it isnt demands. Meeting attendance varies with each person. In someones first year, its suggested they attend a meeting a day. And I do run it by my sponsor if I want to miss a meeting because I sometimes just want to skip and sit and think about myself. But I can miss a meeting. It isnt sacrelig if I do. Sexual activity is typically DISCOURAGED. Again, sponsors take the confidentiality of their sponsees VERY seriously and there is no heirarchy that reads all of the inventories. Clancy knows nothing about me, or the majority of the group. The dude has enough on his plate with his OWN sponsees. Never heard of sponsors making their sponsees do their laundry. Thats kinda hysterical and messed up if true. I know of nobody who has been told to stop seeing a therapist.. maybe its happened but it isnt the PG rule. See above about the medication stuff. NOBODY IS DISCRIMINATED AGAINST FOR TAKING MEDS. Theres a guy who is in a constant state of meth induced psychosis and has to take meds as a result and hes one of the most loved members of the group. Not sure about the California Group.

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Ebby Thatcher
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