In what ways has the Fellowship of AA changed

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DaveP1951
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In what ways has the Fellowship of AA changed

Post by DaveP1951 » Sun Mar 01, 2020 10:40 am

This is my second post { re: topic selection] on this forum since I joined a short time ago. Just to clarify, I joined this forum, because it offered me an opportunity to ask questions that are important to me regarding my sobriety as well as questions that would give my-self a better concept of AA outside of my home group. I must say I appreciated all the feedback from the first post and wish to move on to my next question/topic.
During my almost four decades of sobriety in Alcoholics Anonymous I have seen a number of changes in the philosophy and functioning of our society. [relating to the society of AA] Some seem to be beneficial to our survival and others perhaps not so beneficial. I am interested in what others on this forum have noticed in the way of changes in the fellowship in what they believe to be both positive or negative aspects. The reason underlying this question is I seem to hear a lot of “AA isn’t what it used to be.” This topic is posted in the hopes of giving my-self a better understanding of how others outside of my geographical area feel about the path AA is on.

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PaigeB
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Re: In what ways has the Fellowship of AA changed

Post by PaigeB » Sun Mar 01, 2020 1:57 pm

I was sober in AA for about 3 years back in 1989. Back then it was all about "change your playmates and playgrounds" and "keep coming back" and "meeting makers make it". They read out of whatever literature and/or had "burning need" topics like "Acceptance". One day I showed up at my "sponsor's" house with what I thought was a 4th Step to read to her... I imagine that it was a list of grievances. She said, "that is not how it is done." I had some inkling that I needed to work the Steps, but I did not know how and no body was really talking about it.

Then I drank for 17 more years and came back in 2009. This time everyone was talking about the Steps. "Do you have a sponsor yet?" was heard by me and every newcomer that came back more than a couple time. "The steps are the key to longterm sobriety" was another staple of conversation. All reading came out of "Conference approved literature". Some meetings ask for people who were willing to be sponsors to raise their hands. There were Big Book Study Meetings and Step study meetings and Weekend workshops on the Steps and retreats that were Big Book Based.

Service weekends are populated by my district too. Service positions are always filled and there are lots of people volunteering to serve and volunteering to step down at rotation time.

Things have changed for the better in Iowa.
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

DaveP1951
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Re: In what ways has the Fellowship of AA changed

Post by DaveP1951 » Sun Mar 01, 2020 4:03 pm

Wow great stuff. Next time I am asked the question " Do you think AA is still working as well as it used too," I have an answer. It will go like this "From the people I correspond with in Iowa it certainly is." Thank you so much for your input.

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Re: In what ways has the Fellowship of AA changed

Post by Spirit Flower » Sun Mar 01, 2020 6:59 pm

No smoking. :lol:

Seriously, I am now an "old timer" I guess, 34 years. I think that when I was new, more old timers came to the meetings, often every night. Everyone came to the Friday birthday celebrations and most of us went to dinner after. Now, I don't notice as much regular attendance from old timers. People come to the celebration meeting when it is a friend of theirs or for their own birthday. Nobody goes out to eat. So it is less of a fellowship. Except OTOH we do have more social activities, like pot lucks and watching football games, so in that sense, it is more of a fellowship.

Our meetings are and have always been literature centered, with steps and sponsorship emphasized.

More drug addicts.

About the same mix of young and old.

Most of the new people have been to treatment. When I got sober, most got sober by sitting on their hands and going to many meetings. Treatment centers were few and expensive. Insurance didn't pay.

Where I live now, Kansas City, there aren't too many court ordered. But in Texas, there was a tremendous number of court ordered.
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Re: In what ways has the Fellowship of AA changed

Post by Db1105 » Sun Mar 01, 2020 8:19 pm

Been sober since 1977. Still basically the same AA, but with different generation. Back then we still had some of the area founding members, and the WWII veterans were inspirational. Every meeting was smoking and you could cut the air with a knife, while sitting in church basements with friable asbestos insulation falling off the pipes. But, How It Works is still How it Works.
The only things I’ve changed is not smoking and putting $5 in the basket instead of $1.

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Re: In what ways has the Fellowship of AA changed

Post by DaveP1951 » Sun Mar 01, 2020 11:23 pm

Spirit Flower wrote:
Sun Mar 01, 2020 6:59 pm
No smoking. :lol:

Seriously, I am now an "old timer" I guess, 34 years. I think that when I was new, more old timers came to the meetings, often every night. Everyone came to the Friday birthday celebrations and most of us went to dinner after. Now, I don't notice as much regular attendance from old timers. People come to the celebration meeting when it is a friend of theirs or for their own birthday. Nobody goes out to eat. So it is less of a fellowship. Except OTOH we do have more social activities, like pot lucks and watching football games, so in that sense, it is more of a fellowship.

Our meetings are and have always been literature centered, with steps and sponsorship emphasized.

More drug addicts.

About the same mix of young and old.

Most of the new people have been to treatment. When I got sober, most got sober by sitting on their hands and going to many meetings. Treatment centers were few and expensive. Insurance didn't pay.

Where I live now, Kansas City, there aren't too many court ordered. But in Texas, there was a tremendous number of court ordered.
Much like up here on the West Coast of Canada. However the Monday night men's group I belong to is predominately old timers. We don't seem to get many younger new ones. And about six of us meet at McDonalds every Thursday afternoon for a coffee. Thanks for your answer.

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Re: In what ways has the Fellowship of AA changed

Post by DaveP1951 » Sun Mar 01, 2020 11:30 pm

Db1105 wrote:
Sun Mar 01, 2020 8:19 pm
Been sober since 1977. Still basically the same AA, but with different generation. Back then we still had some of the area founding members, and the WWII veterans were inspirational. Every meeting was smoking and you could cut the air with a knife, while sitting in church basements with friable asbestos insulation falling off the pipes. But, How It Works is still How it Works.
The only things I’ve changed is not smoking and putting $5 in the basket instead of $1.
Oh boy do I remember the cloud of smoke in those rooms. I attended a group at one time that met in someone's backyard garage. It had a ceiling of those old asbestos 24x24 ceiling tiles that had been water damaged at some point. They were all sagging and looked like they could fall in on you at any time. But there was some good AA meetings there just the same. Thanks for the memories.

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Re: In what ways has the Fellowship of AA changed

Post by D'oh » Mon Mar 02, 2020 12:04 am

1987 was my first time in, 2015 when I got back.

Less After Meetings
Less Smoke
More Beeping Pockets
and Way Less "If you don't choose a Sponsor, One will be Appointed"

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Re: In what ways has the Fellowship of AA changed

Post by tomsteve » Mon Mar 02, 2020 3:03 am

DaveP1951 wrote:
Sun Mar 01, 2020 4:03 pm
Wow great stuff. Next time I am asked the question " Do you think AA is still working as well as it used too,"
AA is working just as good today as it did in 1939.
its not the program that doesnt work- its the people so lets put responsibility where it belongs- on the people comin in.

what ive seen change is more paper hangers and more people straring at their dam phones under the table.

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Re: In what ways has the Fellowship of AA changed

Post by avaneesh912 » Mon Mar 02, 2020 6:36 am

The shift from 12 step to attending more meetings. Also wearing away from the basic text. In away Bill dug the fellowships grave by writing the 12 and 12 and addition of other books to the "conference approved books" like living sober. It generated lot revenue for AA but we are not seeing results. There is a different understanding today that members have to attend many meetings to be reminded and they believe that the new comer is capable of calling somebody in the network or their sponsor before they take that first drink, which is highlighted by the slogan on the 30 day chip where I live. One side is the serenity prayer and on the other side "Time to call your sponsor is before you take the first drink not after". Thats the most fundamental flawed understanding the fellowship has to overcome. "At Times" our basic text says, an alcoholic cannot bring into consciousness the suffering even week or month ago.
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: In what ways has the Fellowship of AA changed

Post by DaveP1951 » Mon Mar 02, 2020 8:46 am

D'oh wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 12:04 am
1987 was my first time in, 2015 when I got back.

Less After Meetings
Less Smoke
More Beeping Pockets
and Way Less "If you don't choose a Sponsor, One will be Appointed"
Equal on all three points in my neck of the woods also. The "less after meetings" is what I personally feel is the saddest one of the three. I owe a big part of my sobriety to those meetings after the official meeting. Maybe now-a-days the majority of the people go home and answer all those texts they received while at the meeting. LOL

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Re: In what ways has the Fellowship of AA changed

Post by DaveP1951 » Mon Mar 02, 2020 9:41 am

avaneesh912 wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 6:36 am
The shift from 12 step to attending more meetings. Also wearing away from the basic text. In away Bill dug the fellowships grave by writing the 12 and 12 and addition of other books to the "conference approved books" like living sober. It generated lot revenue for AA but we are not seeing results. There is a different understanding today that members have to attend many meetings to be reminded and they believe that the new comer is capable of calling somebody in the network or their sponsor before they take that first drink, which is highlighted by the slogan on the 30 day chip where I live. One side is the serenity prayer and on the other side "Time to call your sponsor is before you take the first drink not after". Thats the most fundamental flawed understanding the fellowship has to overcome. "At Times" our basic text says, an alcoholic cannot bring into consciousness the suffering even week or month ago.
I sooooo agree with you about that the lack of use of the Big Book of Alcoholics is the main obstacle AA faces in regards to getting the “message” out to the still suffering alcoholic. The other books are meant to be a supplement if in fact a supplement is needed. It seems to me, at least in my area of the world, the Big Book has long been forgotten about. So sad. I seem to be hearing more about some book called Drop the Rock (which as far as I know is not even AA approved literature). And this book is being quoted by newcomers.
In the Big Book in the chapter Working With Others it say’s “If he shows interest, lend him your copy of this book.” This quote is referring to when dealing with a first visit. However it seems to me now-a-days it could refer to many people in AA that have been around for some time. At any rate I found the following excerpt on the net. It was written in the New York Times Magazine on Feb.21, 1988.
“It (AA) now brings in $8.8 million annually, or 76 percent of A.A.'s yearly corporate revenues. ... At the time of his death, early in 1971, Bill Wilson was earning about $65,000 a year in royalties from the Big Book and three other books he wrote for A.A. Last year, his widow, Lois, received $912,500 in royalties.” Both Bill and Lois died extremely rich,

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Re: In what ways has the Fellowship of AA changed

Post by PaigeB » Mon Mar 02, 2020 11:56 am

DaveP1951 wrote:
Sun Mar 01, 2020 4:03 pm
Wow great stuff. Next time I am asked the question " Do you think AA is still working as well as it used too," I have an answer. It will go like this "From the people I correspond with in Iowa it certainly is." Thank you so much for your input.
Its BETTER! =biggrin :D :lol: :wink: :mrgreen: :shock: =surprised :o :) :D =biggrin =confused :mrgreen: :roll:
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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PaigeB
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Re: In what ways has the Fellowship of AA changed

Post by PaigeB » Mon Mar 02, 2020 12:05 pm

avaneesh912 wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 6:36 am
other books to the "conference approved books" like living sober.
I hear there is a push to drop that book... Check with GSO on this, but I know that my Area voting to drop it from Conf App. Literature.
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: In what ways has the Fellowship of AA changed

Post by tomsteve » Tue Mar 03, 2020 4:16 am

avaneesh912 wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 6:36 am
The shift from 12 step to attending more meetings. Also wearing away from the basic text.
ive been to a few meetings in metro detroit i call Whatver-ya-want Anonymous meetings. problem based where people show up to talk about their day,their car broke down, etc.
also too much meetingmeetingmeeting without talking about THE program being the solution.

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