Young lady asked to chair meeting, what to make of it?

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emeraldg
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Young lady asked to chair meeting, what to make of it?

Post by emeraldg » Sun Feb 28, 2016 10:33 am

Hello everyone,

I have a bit of a conundrum here I was hoping to gain some insight on.
A young lady who is about 6 weeks into sobriety was asked to chair a meeting (next week's) today by another gentleman after the meeting. This was the third time he had asked her and each time she declined but consistently will do a reading at a meeting. Today she responded to the man "thank you so much for asking, but I just do not feel ready or comfortable yet to chair a meeting".

He rather abruptly "snapped" at her that "you don't say no to AA". She looked very visibly upset and excused herself and left. I heard another woman in the room shake her head and say "and we wonder why some newcomers don't come back. Wow".

I had heard this young lady previously speak in closed meetings that she had a LOT on her plate to deal with...health issues, a special needs child, a broken marriage, a job etc so maybe that is why she declines to do service work. On the other hand I kind of understood this guy's exasperation. This young lady is polite and respectful and comes early to socialize, but really participates in no extras aside from doing readings.

What do you all think?

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Re: Young lady asked to chair meeting, what to make of it?

Post by Reborn » Sun Feb 28, 2016 11:06 am

I think that 6 weeks might be a little early to chair a meeting. It also seems that she declined politely...so why push it. When I think back on when I was 6 weeks sober I was in no way ready to chair a meeting. I think a better idea for someone new like that is to encourage them to get into the action of the 12 steps...that is where the relief is. I learned very early in recovery that "NO" is a complete sentence.
We have recovered, and have been given the power to help others. BB pg 132

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Re: Young lady asked to chair meeting, what to make of it?

Post by Layne » Sun Feb 28, 2016 11:19 am

I have done a lot of things in AA that I didn't want to do, but I did them anyway.

No is only two letters and pretty easy to for me to blurt out when confronted with a request for action on my part. Usually when I do that it is fear based and I would be better served by taking a little more time before responding.

No can be a very valid response to individuals. I have yet to find no to be a valid response for this alcoholic to any suggestion in the big book.

I would imagine the young lady responded in the manner she did due to emotions felt at the time, a fairly typical human behavior.

I would imagine the gentleman responded in the manner he did due to emotions felt at the time, a fairly typical human behavior.

Was either the young lady's or the gentleman's response, the one that I would choose for them...way above my pay grade.

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Re: Young lady asked to chair meeting, what to make of it?

Post by ezdzit247 » Sun Feb 28, 2016 12:00 pm

emeraldg wrote:

He rather abruptly "snapped" at her that "you don't say no to AA". She looked very visibly upset and excused herself and left. I heard another woman in the room shake her head and say "and we wonder why some newcomers don't come back. Wow"....What do you all think?
Some AA groups have adopted a lot of traditions/customs that are not only not in the BB or the 12 & 12 but actually contradict AA's 12 Traditions. The custom of imposing a rule on AA members, especially newcomers, that prohibits saying no to an AA request is a dangerous cultish "group think" that grossly contradicts AA's 3rd Tradition.

Editorial by Bill W. -- A.A. Grapevine, February, 1948
"Our membership ought to include all who suffer 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."

This is a sweeping statement indeed; it takes in a lot of territory. Some people might think it too idealistic to be practical. It tells every alcoholic in the world that he may become, and remain, a member of Alcoholics Anonymous so long as he says so. In short, Alcoholics Anonymous has no membership rule.

Why is this so? Our answer is simple and practical. Even in self protection, we do not wish to erect the slightest barrier between ourselves and the brother alcoholic who still suffers. We know that society has been demanding that he conform to its laws and conventions. But the essence of his alcoholic malady is the fact that he has been unable or unwilling to conform either to the laws of man or God. If he is anything, the sick alcoholic is a rebellious nonconformist. How well we understand that; every member of Alcoholics Anonymous was once a rebel himself. Hence we cannot offer to meet him at any half-way mark. We must enter the dark cave where he is and show him that we understand. We realize that he is altogether too weak and confused to jump hurdles. If we raise obstacles, he might stay away and perish. He might be denied his priceless opportunity.

So when he asks, "Are there any conditions?" we joyfully reply, "No, not a one." When skeptically he comes back saying, "But certainly there must be things that I have to do and believe," we quickly answer, "In Alcoholics Anonymous there are no musts." Cynically, perhaps, he then inquires, "What is this all going to cost me?" We are able to laugh and say, "Nothing at all, there are no fees and dues." Thus, in a brief hour, is our friend disarmed of his suspicion and rebellion. His eyes begin to open on a new world of friendship and understanding. Bankrupt idealist that he has been, his ideal is no longer a dream. After years of lonely search it now stands revealed. The reality of Alcoholics Anonymous bursts upon him. For Alcoholics Anonymous is saying, "We have something priceless to give, if only you will receive." That is all. But to our new friend, it is everything. Without more ado, he becomes one of us...."
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children...to leave the world a better place...to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Re: Young lady asked to chair meeting, what to make of it?

Post by D'oh » Sun Feb 28, 2016 12:14 pm

I think that it is Great!

It should not be Forced upon, But the New Comers are always good to hear.

The most important person in the meeting, (next to God) is the Newcomer. And it should be a very good meeting. I wish I could attend.

It might make some Old Timers squirm, with a fresh view on "What it use to be like"

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Re: Young lady asked to chair meeting, what to make of it?

Post by Brock » Sun Feb 28, 2016 1:07 pm

I think a better idea for someone new like that is to encourage them to get into the action of the 12 steps...that is where the relief is.
I agree, and also agree with those who say nobody should feel 'pressured' to do this or any other AA service.

We had a question a few days ago, from someone who at his first meeting felt some pressure from a member sitting him down for half an hour after the meeting, pushing steps on him and squeezing his shoulder, actions which had him feeling uncomfortable. At the time I said they were some overly pushy people in AA just like anywhere else, this I believe is another example of that.
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Re: Young lady asked to chair meeting, what to make of it?

Post by PaigeB » Sun Feb 28, 2016 1:28 pm

she had a LOT on her plate to deal with...health issues, a special needs child, a broken marriage, a job etc so maybe that is why she declines to do service work.
Chairing a meeting is not so difficult and might even get her to let go of all her troubles, if only for an hour. It might just be her first real success in AA! One that she can grow it by doing more and other forms of service. It really works - it does.

I hope that a seasoned member of the group is close at hand to help if anyone gets out of decorum, talks too long or goes off topic or whatever your group otherwise adheres to - but leading the prayers and readings is pretty easy and, like all service work, doubly fulfilling.
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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Re: Young lady asked to chair meeting, what to make of it?

Post by leejosepho » Sun Feb 28, 2016 1:30 pm

emeraldg wrote:... I heard another woman in the room shake her head and say "and we wonder why some newcomers don't come back. Wow".
The problem here begins long before any new attendee is either asked or given an opportunity to chair a meeting, and the solution lies in responsible groups members -- if there even are any -- keeping 12th-Step work, sponsorship (helping others into actual recovery) and so-called "service" (as if chairing a meeting is some kind of alleged chore or task to be done) in proper order.

I have never said "No" to A.A., but then neither has A.A. ever asked me to do anything...and so the error here is in asking a question in place of simply being ready, able and willing to answer one.
=======================
"We A.A.s do not *stay* away from drinking [one day at a
time] -- we *grow* away from drinking [one day at a time]."
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Re: Young lady asked to chair meeting, what to make of it?

Post by Lali » Sun Feb 28, 2016 3:41 pm

First of all, 6 weeks is too early to chair a meeting IMO and this is the case in every meeting I attend.

I think the OP is being judgmental. If the woman does a reading at meetings that is more than most do (my meeting has a lot of newcomers from halfway houses).

She has said no to him, he need not keep asking.
Step 1: I can't
Step 2: He can
Step 3: I think I'll let him

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Re: Young lady asked to chair meeting, what to make of it?

Post by positrac » Wed Mar 02, 2016 7:25 am

I've been to a lot of different meetings around the world and in the US I can say that a lot of un-spoken norms get adopted and mainly one I see is the hurry up and get involved. I feel if you aren't ready then why press someone to resist and go out and get drunk. Next I would suggest that a meeting be set to go over procedures of the groups and chairing practices. I've been to many meetings that allow chairing after 30 days. I believe good oversight is important to ensure some good order in the meeting and the other kind of things like the 7th tradition not being lost for example.
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Re: Young lady asked to chair meeting, what to make of it?

Post by clouds » Wed Mar 02, 2016 8:15 am

I'd say focus on what every newcomer needs:
A book ( Alcoholics Anonymous), make sure they get one.
A sponsor, make sure they have the oportunity to get one.
Frindly AA folks who give out their phone numbers and are willing to talk to the newcomer.
Going out for coffee with a group of AA's after meetings, inviting the newcomer along.
If a newcomer declines several times to chair, just give them time to trust. Its possible to mention in an indirect way at meetings how you yourself have benefited from AA service work, like the washing up and chairing meetings.
Leave it up to the newcomer to become as involved as they want in their own time.
We can practice Attraction rather than Promotion, if we are doing the right thing ourselves, to the best of our ability.
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Re: Young lady asked to chair meeting, what to make of it?

Post by Annette222 » Sat Mar 12, 2016 8:19 am

So when he asks, "Are there any conditions?" we joyfully reply, "No, not a one." When skeptically he comes back saying, "But certainly there must be things that I have to do and believe," we quickly answer, "In Alcoholics Anonymous there are no musts." Cynically, perhaps, he then inquires, "What is this all going to cost me?" We are able to laugh and say, "Nothing at all, there are no fees and dues." Thus, in a brief hour, is our friend disarmed of his suspicion and rebellion. His eyes begin to open on a new world of friendship and understanding. Bankrupt idealist that he has been, his ideal is no longer a dream. After years of lonely search it now stands revealed. The reality of Alcoholics Anonymous bursts upon him. For Alcoholics Anonymous is saying, "We have something priceless to give, if only you will receive." That is all. But to our new friend, it is everything. Without more ado, he becomes one of us...."

Don't tell me there aren't any conditions. How many posters here have quoted the BB by page and verse or paragraph? If we don't do the 12 steps, we are doomed. What if I don't believe in a "higher power"? FTR, I do believe in God. Just not religion. I will tap into the power inside of me.

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Re: Young lady asked to chair meeting, what to make of it?

Post by avaneesh912 » Sat Mar 12, 2016 8:36 am

I will tap into the power inside of me.

Yes. That great reality deep down within as the book states it.
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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Re: Young lady asked to chair meeting, what to make of it?

Post by Annette222 » Sat Mar 12, 2016 10:04 am

I'm sorry, I think you missed my point, and no offense meant to you, but THIS is what I don't agree with:

In Alcoholics Anonymous there are no musts.

Well, please explain to me why the 12 steps are a must. If someone doesn't do the 12 steps, they are a failure and they will start drinking again. I don't agree with that. Everyone needs to do things on their own, in my opinion. But, people here quote BB like it is scripture. That, to me, turns me off. I'm sorry. I was preached at for years and lived by rules and regulations of the Church. I'm done with that. I really don't want to make anyone angry, but this just rubs me the wrong way.

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Re: Young lady asked to chair meeting, what to make of it?

Post by ezdzit247 » Sat Mar 12, 2016 12:32 pm

Annette222 wrote:I'm sorry, I think you missed my point, and no offense meant to you, but THIS is what I don't agree with:

In Alcoholics Anonymous there are no musts.

Well, please explain to me why the 12 steps are a must. If someone doesn't do the 12 steps, they are a failure and they will start drinking again. I don't agree with that. Everyone needs to do things on their own, in my opinion. But, people here quote BB like it is scripture. That, to me, turns me off. I'm sorry. I was preached at for years and lived by rules and regulations of the Church. I'm done with that. I really don't want to make anyone angry, but this just rubs me the wrong way.
Good post. I never liked being preached at either. Still don't.

The 12 Steps are not a must. Despite what you may hear someone say in meetings or read in any thread on this forum or any other internet recovery forum, nothing in the AA program, including the 12 Steps, is a "must". Everything, absolutely everything, that is shared in the BB is SUGGESTED as a tool for a program of recovery. No one has to believe in anything, including God, or do anything to become an AA member. The only requirement for AA membership is a desire to to stop drinking. If you have that desire, welcome to the AA fellowship, Annette!

Keep coming back....
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