An experience recently told by a member, 24 years sober.
I came to A.A. with many problems and sometimes possibly I even deluded myself into thinking that I drank to cope with the many problems. Alcohol carried me through in a strange sort of way,even though it was also killing me . When drinking life is one big problem. One drama after another. Problems are as consistent as the next drink. I found Alcoholics Anonymous in the nick-of-time and then found a good group. One where the OSM’s were keeping people like me sober. In this group I learned how to get rid of the problems. “And” the OSM Keith said, “Don’t get any more problems in AA”. For goodness sake. What does he mean, I asked.
Well, he said, to start with stay away from the people talking about resentments. This is an example of one getting more problems after coming to AA. Recently I witnessed another example at a Topic meeting.
Unfortunately the Topic Meeting agenda is common in recent times. At this particular meeting it highlighted an even bigger problem. The problem of predatory behaviour. Mainly this is done by men who target younger women but some crazy women can be just as bad or worse.
This day I had driven a long distance to attend the meeting. It was not listed as a Topic meeting. If it were I usually avoid topic meetings. The meeting opened and the designated chairman suddenly and without warning changed the intended ID meeting to become a Topic meeting. He did this by quickly asking his friend opposite to choose a topic. (I will note here that there was a young and very unstable women at this meeting.)
The friend quickly and also without hesitation replied, ‘Selfishness’ and the chairman then changed the meeting to a topic meeting on selfishness. He asked his nominator to speak first on ‘selfishness’. Everyone elae is then expected to talk on this topic. Changing the agenda was done without consultation of other members there on a desired topic. This is how it’s done usually at topic meetings. That way members have a little time to digest the concept and a topic. Not this time – that’s so bad.
Also bad for members to be talking such negativity about themselves. Calling themselves selfish will send them nuts and cause the head to spin. If an alcoholic has a spinning head he will drink. If not immediately after the meeting then eventually they will. There’s no other choice to settle the thinking down.
New members to A.A. (short-termers) have little protection from predatory behaviour at AA meetings these days. Why? Because there’s very few genuine older sober members (OSM’s) around these days. There’s no-one left to police predatory behaviour in the meetings. OSM’s have all died off and there’s no-one staying sober to take their place. I was told 24 years ago by the OSM’s that this situation will happen.
Back to the first speaker at this meeting. He said that he was selfish. Selfish when drinking and that he is still selfish and trying to overcome it. Claiming many years of sobriety and apparently still no better off. He went on talking this way for too long. His story was all negative.
For members to try to then followed suit on such a topic is madness. The instigators listened closely to what women said about themselves. The meeting had no I.D. for alcoholism. We had no way of knowing who’s in attendance: Primary or Secondary Alcoholics, Drug Addicts, Headcases or Sex’os. No I.D. no way to sort the oats from the chaff.
The meeting opened with everyone sitting around the table. A women pushed a Get Well card towards me, with pen, to sign it for someone. A get well wish for some unfortunate who attends this meeting and is not yet dead. At this meeting everyone identified with being sober only “today”. I suspect in that way when someone gets drunk no-one knows about it. The predator’s tracks are covered. With so much negativity generated at this meeting I recognised that if I were in such a state of mind as these people then I would have to drink. For alcoholics in early sobriety there’s no other choice.
That’s the difference between a primary alcoholic and a drunk. Primary’s drink because we have to and not because we want to. I.D. meetings can stop this drinking process, but not Topic meetings. Not like this one. This meeting would cause them to drink .
another short-termer asked to speak and he couldn’t. His head was spinning so much. He tried by babbling something about feeling pain and then declined to speak further. He demonstrated a very mixed up head. He held himself up on a wall outside after the meeting and none of his group members spoke to him. He didn’t appear to know where he was. No-one at this meeting paid him any attention. He was not helped. The unstabel women had left and the two men were gone as well.
On closing this meeting they hang on hands when saying the Serenity Prayer. As I see it – if you have not already had a big dose of their negativity then the negative energy by physical contact will finish you off. I stood back, not joining in, to see them hanging on hands to play a form of, ring-a-ring-a-rosey … and they all fall down… dead.
At A.A. meetings you will often hear people claiming sobriety will get up and say, from the floor, that they are not responsible for the people who don’t make it in AA. What a load of hogwash. Yes they are.