Seeking the truth

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Noels

Seeking the truth

Post by Noels » Tue Mar 01, 2016 8:59 am

hi everyone, im new on this site and have been with one group for six months. I am loyal and we knowing that i haven't quite " fitted in " with society I was determined to accept the change that sobriety offered with both hands and knees. Things have been bothering me though and id like to hear from other members of other groups whether this is simply how a group operates in which case I am at fault and need to work harder on myself or whether it is worth looking into.

We had a group conscious meeting last night in which meeting we were informed that the New York head office sent out a letter to all AA groups and requested them to refrain from using social media - i.e wassaps for AA daily group messages, emails containing extractions from Big Book, daily reflections, and inspirational messages, etc. Here I must say that we as members were not allowed to post on the group wassap as it was for information only. None of us said anything to the contrary last night but this morning myself and 2 other members asked that the decision to shut down the wassap information group be hold over for further thought and discussion as we feel it is effective. At 13h10 it was shut down without any response or discussion.

From the day that I walked through the doors of our group I was told to shut up and listen as I have nothing to offer. if I had anything to offer I wouldn't be there. since then I have found out that this happens to every new comer so whenever there is a speaker and the floor is opened we don't say anything. A few speakers from visiting groups have commented on our silence in a joking manner after their share which makes me wonder if this is how it is supposed to be ? In my six months I have shared once. Approximately 2 weeks ago when an arranged speaker cancelled. I have reached the point where I have nothing to say anymore and am glad I don't get asked to share. I simply do what ive done all my life - to discuss whatever im feeling and going through with my Creator.

Our meetings are planned. On a Monday there is an arranged speaker 90% of the time. Should there not be a speaker a member with more sobriety behind them is asked to share. On a Friday there is Big Book teaching.

I have tried on a few occasions to suggest that the members be treated a bit differently as it really got to me when I was about 3 months sober. I was advised that our trusted servant was not looking for views and opinions.

My " view and opinion " from being a human being and also from reading the big book is that we respect ALL alcoholics and have to treat each of them in that way. Yet to me it feels as if because we haven't been sober for many years we are considered " unworthy " to share our experiences. This just feels wrong as every experience is valid to the individual who experienced it and have attributed to who that person is today and also why that person is now a member of AA? Also, from speaking to members I have found that there are members who have been abused emotionally, physically, sexually, who grew up almost on the streets since a young age and to me those members - although not sober for many years are absolutely extraordinary. They shouldn't be treated as "nothing to share" or " nothing that I want"? In my eyes alcoholics and addicts who have stopped drinking and drugging are the most courageous people - even more so when they come from extreme backgrounds? So I ask you - how long do we have to be sober to be " qualified enough " or " deemed worthy enough " to speak or share our experiences? Is sharing or telling our stories not supposed to help us get rid of the bad stuff so it can make place for new good stuff to come in?

We started making friends in our group - sort of to help ourselves between ourselves with questions to which we want simple and direct answers without it becoming a lecture and also to bond which is what we thought the word "fellowship" meant. We became really close and then I noticed one member pull back, suddenly another member pull back ..... this was strange until one day our trusted servant during a chat mentioned to me that I should be careful who I speak to and confide in. This made me wonder so I mentioned this to a member whom I am very friendly with. Low and behold, upon further enquiries we found out that it was mentioned to each and every one of us. It breaks my heart to ask this question but isn't this deliberately attempting to divide the group trust and if so, how are we supposed to bare our deepest feelings, be completely and utterly open and honest about ourselves if we cant trust our fellow members and at this stage for me - even our trusted servant?

The really sad thing about this is that our trusted servant is exceptionally well equipped with knowledge, experience and always willing to help any drunk who wants to be and stay sober. No matter what time of the day or night we phone he is always there to take our call. He will come to your house at 3 in the morning and sit with you to help you through a bad patch. Our trusted servant has the potential and ability to save thousands if not millions of lives ....

So depending on your comments I have 4 options available to me.

1. If this is as it should be, to turn inward and work on myself even more.
2. If this is not as it should be, to shut up, go to my meeting, be selfish and take only what I can get to help me.
3. Say stuff it, its not my problem, leave the group and find another group.
4. Try one more time to approach our trusted servant with whatever information I receive and manage to gather from hereon and be a part of the change.

Knowing myself I can not simply turn and run. I feel a responsibility to the newcomer who still have to walk through those doors when I have gone so please let me have your comments and feedback. It is important not only to me but to those who have yet to come through doors.

When I walked through these AA doors six months ago I felt hopeless and worthless. The warm welcome and niceness in the first 2 months opened me to hope again. Since then its been like riding a see-saw - constantly between " oh yes meeting was nice tonight or the wassap messages looks like there could be change " to a member being slammed down with a negative or nasty remark directly after his/her share, etc, ete, etc, Right now I am tired of the see-saw. I need to know the truth.

Thanking you in anticipation.

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whipping post
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Re: Seeking the truth

Post by whipping post » Tue Mar 01, 2016 9:22 am

Help me out here. What is a trusted servant? I've never heard that term before relating to AA.

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Brock
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Re: Seeking the truth

Post by Brock » Tue Mar 01, 2016 10:14 am

Knowing myself I can not simply turn and run. I feel a responsibility to the newcomer who still have to walk through those doors when I have gone so please let me have your comments and feedback.
Welcome to e-AA Noels. I admire what you said above, most people would say vote with your feet and find another group, where I live they aren't that many meetings, and I also feel a responsibility to attempt to change things to better suit newcomers.

Whipping post is wondering about the 'trusted servant' term, I am as well, although it is used in AA. Right here you will see certain members listed as 'trusted servant,' they are really moderators who's main function is to delete spam (advertising) which we get a fair amount of, and from time to time try to cool off the odd heated discussion. But like any other AA group they serve for a period of time, in most face to face meetings I know the term to usually be six months.

Your group sounds a bit 'undemocratic' to me, as if one or a couple of members are calling the shots. And as stated above, even if you have one or two dictator types, their term comes to an end and someone else gets voted in, if they want to do some other service like coffee they can. But the vote of each member counts as much as another, the pamphlet “The AA Group Where It all Begins” can be found on Google, and you will see there clearly that every vote even a newcomer counts the same, it even says something about paying close attention to minority opinions.

The idea of newer people not speaking is stupid and something I have never heard, on this forum many people have said that they gained very much from hearing a fellow newcomer, and nowhere in our literature is it suggested they should not speak as soon as they feel comfortable doing so.

I am sure others will give there two cents on this topic, best of luck to you.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."

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PaigeB
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Re: Seeking the truth

Post by PaigeB » Tue Mar 01, 2016 10:38 am

For "trusted servant" clarification, study the 3rd Concept of Service.
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: Seeking the truth

Post by Adreg » Tue Mar 01, 2016 12:18 pm

Thanks for this insight Noels. As I used to be a member of a such a group I decided to move on as we were told if you don't feel comfortable on how this group is run, you can leave and are more than welcome to join another group which is what I have done. Maybe I am still dealing with my vast amount of defects of character but when my late sponsor who was 41yrs sober, whom I let down told me, just remember 1 thing I am only 1 drink away of getting drunk'. I try not to judge others but people get onto their high horses thinking they the bees knees I think twice. I am not better than anyone else out there who choses life over death, because thats what I have done. I just thank my HP for walking each and every day with me. I am currently staying with an individual who is still actively drinking, but has not admit or accept his disease, who used to be a member of a group where he felt ostracized as I was. I just thank you Noels for all your support and not judging me for who and what I am. You are an amazing individual, and I salute you in Sobriety.

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Brock
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Re: Seeking the truth

Post by Brock » Tue Mar 01, 2016 2:06 pm

For "trusted servant" clarification, study the 3rd Concept of Service.
I understand why the wording 'trusted servant' is suitable for use at sites such as this, because very often they will have to make 'judgment calls,' should so and so's post be deemed as spam and removed, or an argument possibly broken up by deleting an offensive post. Often there is no time for debate to reach a group conscience decision, and so the servant is trusted to act on their own initiative.

By the same token Bill in concept 3 speaks of trusting these servants to make decisions, but he is referring to service above what you do in a normal group, generally the person sent to a conference who will vote on the groups behalf, it says in part - “Delegate who can not act on his own conscience in a final Conference vote is not a “trusted servant” at all; he is just a messenger.”

I believe in this case the person at the group that Noels is a member of has no cause to be referred to as a trusted servant, and certainly not 'the trusted servant,' as described here -
I have tried on a few occasions to suggest that the members be treated a bit differently as it really got to me when I was about 3 months sober. I was advised that our trusted servant was not looking for views and opinions.
If this so called 'trusted servant' holds the position of chairman or any other position, he can not act on his own, and has no more authority than a normal member without a service position. If it is the person them self who is saying they should be addressed as "The Trusted Servant,” I recommend they be given the trusted boot up the backside.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."

Noels

Re: Seeking the truth

Post by Noels » Wed Mar 02, 2016 2:23 am

Good morning everyone. Thank you very very much for your responses. The " trusted servant " is the person who opened the group many years ago. A chairman etc is appointed every 3 months but nothing gets decided without confirmation from the " trusted servant ". Ill use this term for no better word at this stage. Well, not one that is appropriate to share to be honest. In the meetings when terms for positions change we used to offer but was told we start with tea group. When I was 3 months sober and the other lower positions were filled I offered to hand out tokens. I was told AA doesn't work like that. We cant just walk in and assume higher positions. We start at tea group or set-up. This happened with quite a few members that time so last week when positions was up for change firstly half the members who was there last year have already left and I have lost interest so I stay on tea group so a 2 month sober member whose eyes have not yet opened and hang to his every word was appointed to hand out tokens. Its really a joke. We don't say anything anymore because our " views and opinions " are worth nothing. When we used to say something it ended in long lectures wherein the end this person put his view across so perfectly that we end up believing that our viewpoint is completely wrong, we know absolutely nothing and we need to dig deeper within ourselves. So in short. We are just bodies there to fill space so that this person have someone to teach. I did research the term group consciousness specifically as used in AA (The A.A. Group ... where it all begins) and our group conscious meetings are the complete opposite. We listen. He talks. Like every other meeting.

It hurts to finally see and acknowledge the truth especially when I know in my heart that it could have been so different. With his knowledge, passion for AA and experience and the members who have already left because of the treatment this group could have achieved miracles.

So thanks for your honesty beautiful courageous people. In my heart ive known the answer for a long time but after yesterday and opening my heart to you, I have realized that this situation is threatening my own sobriety and that, for myself, my family and all those still suffering alcoholics who will cross my path when I'm ready, I can not allow it to continue. That will be selfish and destructive to me.

So I am still gathering information but will be visiting other groups as from today and will hopefully find a group which I can finally call my homegroup as this group is from today no longer my homegroup.

Once I have all the information I will give it to our trusted servant together with my posts and leave as it is true - we have been been told before that if we are not happy with how that group is run we are welcome to find another group as this group will still stand long after we're gone. So in a last attempt to try and help I will hand over all the information I have gathered with a prayer to my Creator to take it from there and I will not return to the group which I once thought of as my homegroup.

Perhaps I have been placed there for this period of time to do exactly what I am doing now with the difference that once my task have been completed I need to cut ties and move on to where I am needed again.

Thank you for your insights. Each one of you are a blessing and I salute you in sobriety.

Love and Light,
Noels

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clouds
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Re: Seeking the truth

Post by clouds » Wed Mar 02, 2016 7:00 am

A beautiful moment for us on e-AA. :)
" 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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Re: Seeking the truth

Post by Db1105 » Wed Mar 02, 2016 4:09 pm

It sounds like the group has some major issues. A great resource for any questions about AA is AAWS website at AA.org.

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Re: Seeking the truth

Post by Lali » Wed Mar 02, 2016 9:42 pm

Noels, I would find a new group ASAP if you feel your sobriety is at stake. I have never heard of meetings like the one you describe. It doesn't sound healthy for anyone.
Step 1: I can't
Step 2: He can
Step 3: I think I'll let him

Noels

Re: Seeking the truth

Post by Noels » Thu Mar 03, 2016 3:35 am

Good morning everyone, thank you very much for your responses. Yes last night I attended a new meeting and it was very very different to what ive been experiencing so far. It was a round robin with a chosen topic (we have had a few of those this year before it got changed again at the group I used to be at) but strangely at the group where I was at last night the chairperson didn't comment on any share or personal interpretation of the topic which was extremely refreshing. Everyone who felt the need shared on their personal experience and interpretation of and relating to the topic and even I said something. Felt strange to speak though but I'm sure that will come right. This is how I thought it would be in AA. That we share our experiences and interpretations without fearing that we will be told in front of the entire group that our experience or interpretation is incorrect followed by a dissection and explanation why his experience and interpretation is correct. So tonight I'm going to another meeting at another group to explore some more.

I am going to be veeeeery careful this time before I make a decision to settle with one group so I'm sincerely going to enjoy going around to gain insights into the procedures, how big book meetings are held, etc, This time I am in it for me first. I know this sounds selfish but I honestly feel the need to at this point just attend the meeting and fill myself with energy and recover again.

Thank you once again for your interest, insights and help. I will definitely keep you posted as to developments.

have a blessed day and will chat again.

Love and Light,
Noels

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Re: Seeking the truth

Post by Spirit Flower » Thu Mar 03, 2016 3:45 am

Yay!
...a score card reading zero...

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PaigeB
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Re: Seeking the truth

Post by PaigeB » Thu Mar 03, 2016 10:00 am

This time I am in it for me first. I know this sounds selfish but I honestly feel the need
That is the way to do it Noels!

Have you ever heard that the safety instructions given by flight attendants include telling parents that in case of emergency to put their own oxygen mask on before they put on the masks of their children~! At first blush, this sounds selfish but the truth is, unless the parent has oxygen, they might pass-out before being able to help their children and ALL might perish.

So take care of yourself. This allows you the opportunity to help others. You give away what you have. :wink:
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

Noels

Re: Seeking the truth

Post by Noels » Thu Mar 03, 2016 2:48 pm

hi everyone, its way past my bed time but I simply HAD to share with you quickly.

firstly PaigeB thank you very very much. I get what you say and jip, sounds terrible but very very true. thank you for that.

well, I went to a new meeting tonight at another group and my goodness how awesome! The set up was very similar to the old group but it felt nice. There were 2 shares tonight - one from someone who have been sober for 12 years and believe it or not, the other a young man who have been 6 months sober. The amazing thing is that I am today 6 months sober so I understood the pain which I felt coming through his share.

in any case, tonight I realised that I shouldn't be upset or angry with (remember I'm using this for lack of a better word) " trusted shall I rather say leader" from the old group as ive realised that the foundation of AA which I received at that group was of the best quality. Suddenly I also understand that because the foundation have now been solidly lain (laid?) it is time to start building and unfortunately this person (who have opened many groups through his relocations apparently) have worked with only newcomers for so long that he does not know how to " grow " a group and unfortunately is not yet prepared to listen to suggestions.

So I now understand that everything have happened exactly as it was supposed to and its simply time to move on. If you look at building a house - first you lay the foundation. If the foundation is not solid whatever you build will collapse. (hehehe I am no builder so please bear with me). So I had to experience all these horrible things to ensure that the foundation is proper and solid. But now the time has come to build. If I stayed he doesn't have the ability to take me further (house example - there are no bricks) so the foundation would remain empty. Therefore I have to move and will find another group in time which would be the next phase of the building process - starting to lay the bricks.

Thank you my (I don't know, internet AA friends or what do I say?). You have been a part of an enormous growth experience with me so far. Now ive gotta go to bed. Happy, energised and thankful. Bless you all.

Love and Light
Noels

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Re: Seeking the truth

Post by D'oh » Thu Mar 03, 2016 8:26 pm

First off, Congrats on 6 Months Noel.

And as Paige has pointed out, I was told by my Sponsor that it is a selfish program.

That took me many months to figure out. The BB says many times that we have to be rid of self" or it will/can kill us. And of course Tradition 1 Our common welfare should come first, Personal recovery depends on AA unity.

But if I didn't put My Program first, I wouldn't have my family, job, sanity, or anything to offer others as was freely given to me.

So please, do what is best for your Sobriety. Don't analyze what is being offered, utilize what is being offered. Sometime in the future, the things learnt at the first meeting may all make perfect sense and help you in carrying the message.

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