Saturday, 23 December 2017

Having a home group

I have two home groups, each meeting once a week. (And, for the Traditions Police: I participate in group conscience meetings concerning matters affecting AA below group level or AA as a whole at only one group, so that I abide by the principle of one person, one voice, one vote within the fellowship of AA as a whole.)

So, back to the topic: I have two home groups, one on Friday, and one on Saturday.

What does that mean?

  • I go every week unless
    • I am out of town
    • I am at death's door,
    • There is a genuinely exceptional overriding interest (which happens in my experience maybe once or twice a year). Ordinary social engagements do not count.
  • I take on service assignments.
  • I turn up early.
  • I am amongst the last to leave.
  • I go for fellowship dinner after the meeting.
  • I see myself and act as one of the custodians of the spiritual entity that is the group.
    • I periodically consider:
      • What is our purpose?
      • Are we fulfilling that purpose?
      • What are we doing well?
      • What are we doing badly?
      • What do we need to do better?
      • How can that be implemented?
    • I watch out for where systems are falling down and am ready to step in.
    • I look out for newcomers and visitors and make sure they are welcomed.
  • I share my experience, strength, and hope, before, during, and after the meeting.
  • I am open to all.
Why? Well, because I've been taught to, is one reason.

But behind that:
  • It fosters a sense of unity and belonging.
  • It fosters a sense of purpose and fulfilment.
  • It provides a spiritual domain that I can then inhabit 24 hours a day, every day, whether or not the group is holding a meeting that day.
  • It provides an anchor and place of retreat from the world: in difficult times, I trust that all I have to do is get to my home group, and my sense of wellbeing will be restored.
  • As my home groups are solid Big Book/Twelve Step groups rather than general discussion groups, the members and visitors are typically AAs who live God- and others-centred as opposed to self-centred lives. I need this example around me and I need to be this example to those around me. Living a God- and others-centred life is impossible if surrounded by those who are not (or if living a solitary life, even if physically surrounded by people). Few have the spiritual resources to be effective monks or hermits.
In my experience, the above is at the core of the AA experience, and from it flow all other good actions, specifically Steps and service. Without this, the project of Steps and service always eventually falters and fails. The home group is both glue and fuel pipeline.

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