The future of our fellowship

From that ten-cent phone call and a cup of coffee to AA's General Service Office. What's your take on service?
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Re: The future of our fellowship

Post by PaigeB »

Hi Service - Good to see you again, sorry that you are still upset about something I don't understand. Even being an atheist I find I can't agree that AA is religious.

Keep coming back. I hope you can find us welcoming and open. Please try to stay within the parameters of the Forum Guidelines so we we can all share and enjoy the recovery here.
Cling to the thought that, in God's hands, the dark past is the greatest possession you have - the key to life and happiness for others. With it you can avert death and misery for them. page 124 BB

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Re: The future of our fellowship

Post by desypete »

the problem in aa is me

what work am i prepared to do to help anyone else ? or do i want them all to read a book and just follow some words of wisdom ?

there are far to many wine drinkers in aa who wouldnt know what a rock bottom is really like and still have there old ways they cling onto, the only change in there lives is that they mention the word god in there shares but do nothing else in life to help anyone else out just ask them what they do daily to help anyone and you will then hear all there excuses of why they just dont have the time

i was pushed into service work in aa as part of learning how to work my 12th step, and i have been an active aa memeber for many years, i dont lecture people on 12 steps i show them how i live today compared to how my old selfish way of living has been

believe me it makes most people feel very uncomfortable

but then when i came into aa i came in with no money, no family left, kids were in social services care i had been to prison many times, had my own business at one time and had a lot of money and so called respect, i lost the lot and ended up in a flat that was given to me by a charity helping people out like me who had nothing etc

i was so lucky to meet the right kind of aa memebers in my area who helped me, they took me around meetings, they helped me with food and gave me some money to help me out, they really did take care of me and all they wanted to see was me keep coming back to aa as they knew i would find the answers there
after just 12 months i got my kids back out of care and became a single parent dad and i had a job earning money again all because of the help those people in aa gave me and they guided me and my thinking.

to many people in aa go and share all about there love of god and do absouloty nothing to help anyone other than look down there nose at the less well off or those who end up in prisons

i took up service work ruining a prison meeting and do all sorts else to help those like tramps,

you should see what aa members can be like when i take a tramp to a meeting.

they talk about love and god but when a tramp needs help well they leave it down to others and some even leave the meetings as they dont like the smell

have a read of what the early memebers really did when working there 12th step there is a whole chapter in the book about step 12 thats how important it really is,and compare your own efforts to working that 12th step and you might find out why the recovery rates are so low, as not many in aa really do help others as its still all about them, there only interest is in trying to get everyone else in aa to do it there way and to say the things they want to hear

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Re: The future of our fellowship

Post by Tommy-S »

Thanks for the share, desypete, and welcome to the site.

We come from Jail to Yale, Park Bench to Park Avenue... Like you stated, those of us who have gone lower maybe appreciate what AA has for us more, and that gets reflected in the Action our Gratitude takes.

Today, I know I never had it so good, thanks to those who showed me the way up and out.

Thanks... Tommy
Together, we don't have to cave in or wimp out to that Fatal First One, no matter what today!

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Re: The future of our fellowship

Post by zteknik »

Just got to reading this post.
Like it was said there's a lot of outside influences, more people being mandated to go as opposed to going on there own.
I see a lot coming in just to get papers signed and never see them again- until the next time...
I also see of other so called treatments that don't stay true to 12 step work. So when people see another softer easier way they tend to gravitate towards that.
But for the most part the ones I see that come in broken and truly have the desire to stop drinking are the ones who usually stay.

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Re: The future of our fellowship

Post by desypete »

i wonder how many drunks got sent to aa from the courts and ended up staying ?

i used to run aa prison meetings in my area as part of my service work in our area inter group, i had been to prison so had experience of what its like to wake up the next day in big big trouble after drinking, those who havent done that yet can count themselves very lucky indeed, as for me i was a regular in the police cells after my drinking

i would give up drinking with ease when i was in trouble and blame the drink and swear never to do it again over and over again, only for time to go by and my head to start to think up other ways i might be able to drink and not end up as drunk as a skunk and cause mayhem

my kids new better than me i can remember my 13 year old daughter crying with fear when i brought a case of larger home one day, i spent that day trying to convince her she was wrong and there is nothing to worry about if dad drinks, i am not going to drink the whole case i would say, i would promise the case was for the week and i meant it as well, of course i fell flat on my face, i would soon polish off the booze and got out to get even more and my little girl could cry all she wanted it wasn't going to stop me from getting the drink

anyway i have met many people running the prison meeting who also wished they never had a drink the night they commited there crimes, and it could be either drinking and driving to assaults, criminal damage you know when you smash a door in a drunken rage or smash a window etc its criminal damage and carrys a term of 5 years in prison
its amazing just what drunks get away with when there drunk but in the end if they keep on repeating offences like i did the court send you to prison

i often wonder how on earth other types of alcholics never seemed to end up in police cells or kept there driving licenses etc and then have the cheek to try to look down on other drunks who end up in the gutter as if there a better class of drunk lol

yes i know many will come to aa who are sent there and it will not work for them as there not ready yet but there is a chance that it might just help some so in my book its got to be worth having

one lad who i met ruining the prison meeting and is now free for the last 5 years he has turned his life around he has been sober now for over 5 years he has a job, and not long ago i was proud to be at his wedding as he is now married, he certainly has come a long way from the drunken bum he ended up just like i have and many many others have thanks to aa

i had a run in with inter group members when i tried to get funding for 12 aa big books to be taken into the prison, the prison meeting was only 1 hour a week so it seemed like a good idea to have big books for the inmates to take to the cells etc
you wouldnt believe the amount of argument that was put up by some of the more well off aa memebers who had never been to prison etc they came in a different route, they even suggested that the inmates would use the pages for roll up cig paper to smoke

anyway i stood up to this lot and i won the vote for funding by 2 votes how ever i was also trying to introduce the chit system that is used in the usa into out area and i lost the vote on that to be used although as a consession it was deemed ok to be done meeting by meeting ie each group can support it if it wishes to

but it made working with the probation staff on that issue unworkable as they needed proof that if a court sent someone to attend meetings rather than send them to prison that the person did stick to it

its still not used in my area today thanks to the guys in aa who dont want them being sent

i just hope one day those same guys dont end up picking up a drink again and end up in court facing prison as you can bet they would jump at the chance to go to aa rather than prison but in my area its not an option they will have to go to prison and then find aa in the prison

i dont like it but its one of those things that i had to accept

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Re: The future of our fellowship

Post by Niagara »

I think the chit system is a great idea in theory...however, at my old home group we have had people using this as a get out of jail free card. They show up to meetings, have no intention of learning anything about recovery, and are using AA as a means to avoid prison time.

I do know of people it has helped, but also ones who have exploited it for their own purposes - some freely admitting that they go there only to pick up a chit and with a bit of luck an alkie bird cos, apparently we're all desperate sluts (I have heard this said, by a group of young men using the chit system...a group, not singular). I also have to mention many people are hugely vulnerable when entering the rooms. They get mixed up with one of the ones who doesn't really care about recovery, only collecting their chit and they get used/abused, newcomer thinks that's what AA is all about and are never seen again.

I have only been around a few months, and already I have seen this, quite a few times. Way more times than I have seen someone collecting a chit and actually wanting recovery, to be fair.
It's not that I am looking down my nose at anyone (I'm not someone who got in trouble with the law...yet) - indeed some of the people who I really look up to are from those horrific backgrounds of homelessness and jail time - but it's fair to say that the intentions of the person picking up that chit worries me, for the reasons I state above.
If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn't sit for a month -
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Re: The future of our fellowship

Post by desypete »

hi Niagara

you highlight just what i was up against within aa at the intergroup, namely that those memebers had never been to prison and it was a yet for them also

they were mostly lucky to have not been arrested for there drunken things they might have done so its so its impossible for them to believe that one day there lucky might of run out,

many of them come to aa to save there jobs or familys not because they want to be in aa but because they have no where else to go as they will have tired everything else and there full of fear of losing and being on there own etc so they give aa a try

for some it doesnt work and for others they hear things and it starts to sink in

it is no different for a someone who ends up in court and getting sent to aa than someone who comes to aa to try to save themselves from losing whatever it is there going to lose

you should try and attend a prison meeting and see and hear from people who have ended up in prison all because they had a drink the night before and ended up drunk as a skunk and ended up doing something wrong, the day i heard a murderer who had done 18 years in prison for his drunken fight that went wrong it scared the hell out of me as that could of been me and i was lucky it was just stupid things or minor fights that didnt end up in a death etc

so even i have been lucky as i havent killed anyone yet !!!!

but i sure do know exactly what its like to have to face going to prison and have to learn how to survive in prison with some people who are no better than wild animals who terrorize people and bully etc and thats them being sober not drink its just how they are and how they have had to be in prison

anyway the chit system got voted down like i say so anyone who ends up getting drunk and commiting an offense that will send them to prison will sadly have to go to prison but the good news is that we operate a prison meeting inside so there not left alone if they want a way out

of course we get all sorts who come to the meeting inside, many of them just want to get out of there cell or meet other inmates from other wings of the prison there not there to hear anything but i have seen people sit up and take notice and of course i have met real alcoholics in the prisons who wished with all there heart they had never drank the night before etc

i dont know any other way to try to highlight to others that maybe they should look at themselves and in an honest way and think about why it is there so against anyone being given a chance of freedom rather than the hell prison will give them

there is no harm done should they come to meetings and not bother as they will end up back int he same mess again and this time go to prison, but at least they will have been given the chance and when they get sent to prison who knows they might of wished they had stayed in aa ?

all i do know is when aa was first starting off the memebers tried to work with all the hard cases there are around and it was this that made the headlines as the hopeless cases were turning there lives around

there are hardly any members running hospital or prison meetings these days simpley because they didnt end up in that sort of mess but lucky there are still people out there who do it not for glory as there is none and its very frustrating and you have to get used to being ignored but every now and then one person responds and to watch them grow is the wages

anyway like i said it makes no difference now as i they voted against it and i have just have to accept these guys know better or are wiser all i can do is just do my part in trying to help others, and try to accept there motives are honest and not based on there own selfish desires to not have riff Raff in aa

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Re: The future of our fellowship

Post by avaneesh912 »

I hear you. I am the corrections rep for District 16 E up here in Georgia. To find people to take meetings to the corrections facility is a drag. However I do want to mention that when I wanted to take meetings into the Gainsville state prison with good intention resources followed. Now we have 3 people taking meetings into the facility every Sunday. And when the Hall County invited us, same deal, aboslutely no volunteers. But I pursued with honest desire and again few people have volunteered and we have papers in place. There are altruistic people out there but at times we need to share and ask and people do get inspired and come forward. Even though I never was incarcerated, one of the first few spearkers I listened to was Don P. Don P talks about taking meetings into the prison. That was all he mentions. He never talks about going to regular meetings. He had people visit his home to go through the big book. So, I never conditioned by the "90 in 90" message so prevelant in the f2f meetings and also was inspired to take meetings into corrections facility. It didn't happen immediately though, God paved the way for me when the time was right, after 7 1/2 years.
Show him the mental twist which leads to the first drink of a spree. We suggest you do this as we have done it in the chapter on alcoholism.(Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)

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Re: The future of our fellowship

Post by desypete »

hi avaneesh912

i would urge anyone who wants to get involved with prison work to give it a try, i can promise them that once they have tried a prison meeting they will go home after it and give there wives and kids a really special hug as they will be grateful its not them, i know for me it was so good for me and made me come to see just how lucky i am to have what i have in this world. which isnt much and hasnt been much in terms of money or things of that nature, but to me there not important anymore so long as i am sober and i have my kids with me then i can get by

i used to go around the meetings in my area and at the end of the meetings when it was aa announcements time i would plug the prisons and ask people to volunteer to come alone to a meeting

you dont have to have been someone who has been to prison to attend the meetings are open to all
you would have to fill in a form for secruity clearance that the prison asks for and anyone who has convictions shouldnt let that put them off either as its ok no one i have submitted forms for clearance has not been given it, i think the only thing that would not be accepted is if someone had links to terrorist organizations

so like i say anyone can join in there first action should be to find out who is there prisons liaison officer in aa, and take it from there

it really is one of the best soul searching experiences i have ever had in aa, when i took the job on there was nothing happening in our area with prisons and the post had remind vacant for a long time, now its going good as a volunteer who came along got really into it and has taken the job over from now asi had had to stand down as i was 2 years into my service and my son got ill with his stomach cancer and i had to nurse him 24 / 7 he was only 16 i had to give up my job as well so it really knocked my whole life around but my son is and was my life like all my kids are, i lost them through my drinking and got them back again thanks to aa when i sobered up, it took over a year the courts gave me my kids back out of foster care, i am a single parent since that time and what happened to my son and how its knocks the stuffing out of us all, its shown me being sober and living a good life etc is just for today as anything and everything can change anyone's life around in just one day

my son would be 18 now and living a good life for himself with his sibblings and me but he is not he is dead and he died infront of me daily getting weaker and weaker all he tried to do is curl up in a ball and sleep i even had to beg the drs to increase his morphin and they wouldnt as they might of killed him so he had to be in a lot of pain first before they helped him the poor mite

fancey having to be in pain before being given more ? also knowing your not going to live

i am haunted by the images of how my son died and its changed how i feel in aa or more to the point how i feel towards the god side of things but i still believe in aa and the people in aa who without them and the aa meetings i would never of got my kids back in the first place or stopped going to prison they helped me change along with the steps and my sponsor, i can explain to anyone how the day i came into aa with nothing left, and my life was in such a mess, my head was full of anger and revenge on all those who dared cross me like the courts who dared to take my kids away, or the police who dared to lock me up if only they all left me alone anyway they didnt and i am so lucky today that they didnt as it got me to the doors of aa
i found people there who helped me like can be found in aa meetings the world over its what i love about aa the most is those people who put in that effort to help new comers i can list lots of things that have been given to me by members from money for food to being taken into there homes for a meal with there familys etc they were not interested in converting me in any direction all they did was show me there is hope for anyone to turn there lives around no matter how bad it gets

all they have to do is not pick up that first drink and for me i had to be around aa day and night, i had no job and nothing else in life so aa for me was my only chance to be with people who were interested in me, as everyone else had long since wiped there hands of me

anyway i have a bad habbit of waffling on an on at times lol sorry for the long post

i have forgot now what the point was i was trying to make other than for anyone in aa who is interested in getting into prison work then give it a try dont be scared of put off just make the move and see what happens

now i will shut up lol

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Re: The future of our fellowship

Post by clouds »

Yep, from my experience with prison and treatent center meetings, I felt more useful at prison meetings.
What mainly hits me at prison meetings is that a lot of things women are sent up for I did when I was drinking.

After my daughter died there were a few people I wanted to do away with, as I saw her death as a direct result of their actions and I wanted revenge in the worst way and I was sober 20 years at that time. I think what saved me from not doing something really insane while I was drowning from resentment and anger was that the program for prison inmates at the group I attended included guys who were let out to go to meetings directly from prison with a parole officer once a month with good behavior. They shared stuff at our meetings that made me able to hold it together in sobriety and not take things into my own hands even though I was all wrapped up and obsessed with hatred. I believe there are things to be learned from all people if we listen to them. I don't recall anybody at the meeting being afraid that prison people would be a threat and some members of my group even suggested we go for coffee after with these guys on account of my dry drunk mind set.
That was my opportunity to ask them some questions and find out for myself just how awful it is to get caught and end up in th criminal justice system.

AA people have guided me through the worst times of my life. A person who had done a murder came to me and talked to me about everything about that. Over time I lost the desire to kill. But sometimes I still feel like a coward for not avenging. I guess smart criminals get away with murder and sex abuse a lot of the time. I moved half way across the world so I'm not near any of those people any more. It helps. I still have to work hard at these resentments and the anger. A lot of people would say its not my place to be the great judge and that vengence belongs to god alone. They might be right about that, its hard though, to see the guilty living the good life and your dear ones dead in the dirt. When I have been honest about how hateful I have felt, people that care enough about me who don't want to see me do something as horrible as that, are there to listen and help me through the bad times.

I know I am really fortunate to have had those people around me in AA at that time who helped me to see that what I was thinking was a really bad way to go, and that it wouldnt solve anything, and my daughter would have been the last to want me to be violent as she was a lover of peace and forgiveness to all humans.

So we got a bit off the original topic here, sorry for that. I think AA has changed a lot, but it still works.

I also encourage anyone to get involved in taking AA to prisons, even if they have never been to jail, you really will be surprised at what it can do for your own sobriety.
" Burn the idea into the consciousness of every man that he can get well regardless of anyone. The only condition is that he trust in God and clean house." page 98 A.A.

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