Friday, 14 November 2014
Going to unfamiliar meetings
A description of early meetings from the Big Book:
'Seeing much of each other, scarce an evening passed that someone's home did not shelter a little gathering of men and women, happy in their release, and constantly thinking how they might present their discovery to some newcomer. In addition to these casual get-togethers, it became customary to set apart one night a week for a meeting to be at tended by anyone or everyone interested in a spiritual way of life. Aside from fellowship and sociability, the prime object was to provide a time and place where new people might bring their problems.'
My home group is actually pretty like that, fortunately. However, yesterday, I felt a l alienated at a meeting I went to (my closest one geographically but not one I have been to in years); lots of camaraderie, mutual appreciation, non-alcoholism-related identification, and funny stories; no clear teaching about alcoholism, barely any talk of sponsorship, God, Steps, or any recovery-related idea at all. Still, someone approached me and I gave her my card and told her about my (Big Book-based) home group and invited her to that and also spoke to the speaker, who was new in town, inviting her, too, to my home group, so not a wasted evening, all in all.
The main lesson is not to be disturbed about 'how most of AA is'—something I can forget—and not to see 'how most of AA is' to be a problem. I still have the opportunity to go wherever I am I led by God in AA and observe how God uses me once I am there.
As a 'Big Booker', what is your relationship like with the parts of AA where the solution to alcoholism is generally believed to consist in social get-togethers, telling stories about drinking, and recounting the general thoughts and emotions of the week to the group, rather than the programme of recovery outlined in the Big Book?
Can you find a purpose in (sometimes) attending such meetings?
Can you do so without contempt or rancour?
Can you remain useful even in groups that are quite different in their approach?