Stale Homegroup

Is the concept of a Home Group dying? What is a Home Group anyway? Talk about it here.
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Catrianna
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Stale Homegroup

Post by Catrianna » Sun Oct 13, 2019 5:55 am

Hi - I’m new to this forum!! I am seeking solutions on a my home group that seems to go stale. It was at one time (Before me joining) a popular meeting but what I have heard many people have gotten resentments and moved onto other local meetings.

My homegroup consists of approximately 10 members and the meetings attendance ranges from 12-15. Rotating positions seems to always to be a struggle because of our limited members. It also seems that there are 2 people running the show (always making coffee, setting up, holding the keys to the building where it really should be only the leader & coffee maker). I have already expressed my concerns with one of theses people about what “others” are seeing.

We also have a incoming speaker meeting once a month but we don’t go out to other meetings. I have expressed that this looks selfish and this we should give back to other meetings or rehabs.

There is a big beginners meeting at the same time in the next town and another smaller beginners meeting down the road that’s starts an 1/2 hr earlier then ours. Oh, we are mainly all women and the meeting down the road is mainly all men with an attendance of about 12. It was told that this meeting is our offspring. I also suggested that we merge with the other meeting down the road but I think that might be our last resort

I was told that our meeting is very clicky so I am going to suggest that we do not set up the round tables any longer and just use chairs to get away from a group sitting together all the time. I am also going to the new greeter where we don’t have one.

Any suggestions on how to bring in fresh faces to revive this stale group?

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avaneesh912
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Re: Stale Homegroup

Post by avaneesh912 » Sun Oct 13, 2019 7:18 am

How many times d0 you meet? And what is the format of the meetings? If its open discussion meetings, you may want to change them into literature based meetings more geared to help the newcomers understand the concepts laid out in the book. Take a deep dive into the big book You know after about 10 years in the fellowship I noticed the "ever" in the sentence "We know that no real alcoholic ever recovers control." is in italics. You can find some interesting things like that. And see the beauty of how Bill narrates his story: Right off the bat in the first paragraph, he paints the picture of the alcoholic: ------and in the midst of the excitement I discovered liquor. .....................I was very lonely and again turned to alcohol. Forget the craving part, count how man times Mind and Mental are used in the recovery portion of the book.
Last edited by avaneesh912 on Mon Oct 14, 2019 4:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)

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PaigeB
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Re: Stale Homegroup

Post by PaigeB » Sun Oct 13, 2019 9:21 am

Catrianna wrote:
Sun Oct 13, 2019 5:55 am
Hi - I’m new to this forum!! I am seeking solutions on a my home group that seems to go stale.

Any suggestions on how to bring in fresh faces to revive this stale group?
Send out Flyers to the others local groups inviting them to "come join" you in a celebration - any will do... but make it upbeat. Maybe even just We're still going Strong. Reminding folks you didn't fold.

If it mentions food or treats you will get a better response!

Take 30 flyers to the District or Area business meeting. If need be, get a local contact by using the hotline or get a mailing list of local registered groups from GSO in NYC.

Make sure that newcomers meeting gets one too!
Step 6 is "AA's way of stating, the best possible attitude one can take in order to make a beginning on this lifetime job... with most of them we shall have to be content with patient improvement." 12&12 Step Six, p.65

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PaigeB
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Re: Stale Homegroup

Post by PaigeB » Sun Oct 13, 2019 9:23 am

PaigeB wrote:
Sun Oct 13, 2019 9:21 am
Catrianna wrote:
Sun Oct 13, 2019 5:55 am
Hi - I’m new to this forum!! I am seeking solutions on a my home group that seems to go stale.

Any suggestions on how to bring in fresh faces to revive this stale group?
Consider an earlier start time - or a "Late Night" (9pm) meeting. That is a good reason to send out a flyer too~!
Step 6 is "AA's way of stating, the best possible attitude one can take in order to make a beginning on this lifetime job... with most of them we shall have to be content with patient improvement." 12&12 Step Six, p.65

Catrianna
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Re: Stale Homegroup

Post by Catrianna » Sun Oct 13, 2019 10:23 am

Thanks for the feedback. I’m the GSR and I will definitely look into sending out flyers. We were even discussing an anniversary meeting since the group is coming up on 40yrs old. Food always bring people out - haha

I’ve seen flyers for other meetings wanting support and I was wondering how successful these were.

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Brock
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Re: Stale Homegroup

Post by Brock » Sun Oct 13, 2019 11:07 am

Welcome here Catrianna, thanks for the question.

The first thing that surprised me was the group having 10 members, and attendance in the range of 12-15. Where I live the meetings are small as well, but generally the amount of visitors far outweigh the members, I sometimes go to a Sunday meeting and went today, they have two members, and the meeting had a total of 10 people today.

But you have 10, and as you say it seems to be 2 running the show. From my experience this happens for two reasons, firstly nobody else wants to do it, especially the ‘lower’ positions like setting up, and the other is that some people make an identity out of these positions. I have seen close to a physical fight, with one fellow protecting his coffee making job, ‘this is my job he shouted,’ the problem is he has been doing it for a couple of years, as I say it’s become his identity.

It’s a lonely business, caring more about how a group is doing than the rest of the folks there, they maybe just got used to it this way and stopped caring, and may resent you trying to change it, even though the change is for the better. To change their mind on rotating service positions, I think the best way is to show what AA says. There are things to be found by just Googling ‘AA Trusted Servant Rotation,’ or words like that, there is a grapevine article from the June 1966 edition about it, and others, the simplest and maybe effective for you might be found at page 28 on this AA leaflet, which shows basically how a group is to be run - https://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/p-16_theaagroup.pdf

Your ideas about opening up the group with just chairs instead of the round table, may help stop the impression that it’s cliquish. I like the idea of a few treats like biscuits passed around, and there is nothing wrong when visiting another group, that your members if asked to speak, finish with a mention of your group and time, just saying my home group is so and so, and we are struggling a bit for more visitors, all are welcome, or words to that effect.

Once again, good on you for caring, but please be careful. Sometimes we can get so tied up in things like this it upsets our peace of mind, read the well known part of the story in the book, where it says ‘acceptance is the answer,’ anytime you feel your trying to make changes is making you lose your serenity, and best of luck with those efforts to change your group for the better.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."

Catrianna
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Re: Stale Homegroup

Post by Catrianna » Sun Oct 13, 2019 12:04 pm

Thanks again!! I am wondering if it’s the personalities that are keeping others away. I was just talking to someone that said there are some bossy people in that meeting (the 2 which are running the show) were mentioned but I can’t see why this would affect the attendance. This would affect membership though. I was told by another that there was a lot of “you can’t do it this way. Youhave to do it this way” kind of direction. Too many rules and being bossed around and tension.

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MyNameIsBetsy
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Re: Stale Homegroup

Post by MyNameIsBetsy » Sun Oct 13, 2019 8:21 pm

Hi Catrianna, My name is Betsy, and I'm an alcoholic. Just my own thoughts . . .

Sometimes there are problems in meetings. It would be wonderful if we all get along and that no one exert control issues. But that isn't always realistic . . . especially when dealing with a bunch of alcoholics!

How much I am willing to express my thoughts depends on which meeting it is. In my primary meeting (home group), I have years invested and know those ladies very well. When controversy impacts THAT meeting, it is worth speaking up. It happened recently. The group voted and settled the issue. There remains some awkwardness and a few of the women are looking for a new meeting. It will settle down with time.

At other meetings where I am not so attached, I either ignore the controversy or find a different meeting. It's not my job to fix meetings so they will run my way!!!

My question to you is how much do you want your meeting to be available for you and others? Is it worth bringing up the controversy? Are you strong enough in your sobriety to set aside any personal sensitivity for the good of the group? If you bring it up, you might hear some things you simply did not know. Others might see things differently. We alcoholics are sensitive people.

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PaigeB
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Re: Stale Homegroup

Post by PaigeB » Mon Oct 14, 2019 10:28 am

Catrianna wrote:
Sun Oct 13, 2019 10:23 am
Thanks for the feedback. I’m the GSR and I will definitely look into sending out flyers. We were even discussing an anniversary meeting since the group is coming up on 40yrs old. Food always bring people out - haha

I’ve seen flyers for other meetings wanting support and I was wondering how successful these were.
Flyers tend to be VERY successful !!! Get them out early and resend closer to the event if possible. I have seen incredible success for meal and speaker anniversary meetings - especially 40 years! Congrats! Do a 10 minute speaker on the history of the group and let the seekers know that you are alive and well, but looking for support with cookies*. THIS even will also energize the HomeGroup members who will each have a service job. You'll need speaker pickers or topics, food team, cake person, Chair, secretary etc...

Make the 40 & the date & place of the event prominent - you only get a glimpse or a few seconds to get folks attention.

GOOD LUCK!

*Have cookies at every meeting if you can afford it! LOL
Step 6 is "AA's way of stating, the best possible attitude one can take in order to make a beginning on this lifetime job... with most of them we shall have to be content with patient improvement." 12&12 Step Six, p.65

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PaigeB
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Re: Stale Homegroup

Post by PaigeB » Mon Oct 14, 2019 10:30 am

Also make it known that if folks are looking for service work the group's annual rotation is coming up and many jobs are open to choose from.
Step 6 is "AA's way of stating, the best possible attitude one can take in order to make a beginning on this lifetime job... with most of them we shall have to be content with patient improvement." 12&12 Step Six, p.65

Catrianna
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Re: Stale Homegroup

Post by Catrianna » Mon Oct 14, 2019 4:18 pm

MyNameIsBetsy wrote:
Sun Oct 13, 2019 8:21 pm
Hi Catrianna, My name is Betsy, and I'm an alcoholic. Just my own thoughts . . .

Sometimes there are problems in meetings. It would be wonderful if we all get along and that no one exert control issues. But that isn't always realistic . . . especially when dealing with a bunch of alcoholics!

How much I am willing to express my thoughts depends on which meeting it is. In my primary meeting (home group), I have years invested and know those ladies very well. When controversy impacts THAT meeting, it is worth speaking up. It happened recently. The group voted and settled the issue. There remains some awkwardness and a few of the women are looking for a new meeting. It will settle down with time.

At other meetings where I am not so attached, I either ignore the controversy or find a different meeting. It's not my job to fix meetings so they will run my way!!!

My question to you is how much do you want your meeting to be available for you and others? Is it worth bringing up the controversy? Are you strong enough in your sobriety to set aside any personal sensitivity for the good of the group? If you bring it up, you might hear some things you simply did not know. Others might see things differently. We alcoholics are sensitive people.
Thanks Betsy!! I thought about that too. Not everyone see’s things the same as others. I just went to an Assembly this weekend that brought up the topics of the home group and how to stimulate the attendance, membership, etc. I was suggested to call a business meeting to bring up some of the solutions such as doing speaking commitments, flyers and and anniversary meetings. I can only suggest and leave it to the group for their vote. I can only say I tried if the members aren’t for the suggestions. Some members may like the small meeting we have and don’t want to change.

I’ve seen several of people leaving the group and going elsewhere and that’s an indication that there is something wrong but you are right though that I can’t fix the meeting and it can leave me open for resentments. I will be giving it to God after my suggestions on Friday and leave it at that.

Catrianna
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Re: Stale Homegroup

Post by Catrianna » Mon Oct 14, 2019 4:23 pm

avaneesh912 wrote:
Sun Oct 13, 2019 7:18 am
How many times d0 you meet? And what is the format of the meetings? If its open discussion meetings, you may want to change them into literature based meetings more geared to help the newcomers understand the concepts laid out in the book. Take a deep dive into the big book You know after about 10 years in the fellowship I noticed the "ever" in the sentence "We know that no real alcoholic ever recovers control." is in italics. You can find some interesting things like that. And see the beauty of how Bill narrates his story: Right off the bat in the first paragraph, he paints the picture of the alcoholic: ------and in the midst of the excitement I discovered liquor. .....................I was very lonely and again turned to alcohol. Forget the craving part, count how man times Mind and Mental are used in the recovery portion of the book.
We meet every Friday and it’s an open discussion meeting. The 1st Friday of the month is usually a speaker meeting and the last Friday is celebration meeting. What’s funny we have people come and celebrate but don’t come to the meeting on a regular basis.

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