An experience with topic meetings recently told by an AA member, 24 years sober.
I came to A.A. with many problems. luckily I attended ID meetings, not topic meetings. Sometime before attending AA meetings I deluded myself into thinking that I drank to cope with many problems. Alcohol carried me through in a strange 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 found a good group. The OSM’s were keeping people sober. In this group I learned how to get rid of problems. “And” OSM Keith said, “Don’t get any more problems in AA”. For goodness sake. What does that mean, I asked.
Well, to start with stay away from people talking about resentments. That’s an example of one way to have more problems after coming to AA. Recently I witnessed another example at a Topic meeting.
This Topic Meeting agenda is common to recent times. The particular meeting highlighted even bigger problems. The problems of predatory behaviour. Mainly by men targeting younger women but crazy women can be just as bad or worse.
Meetings Not listed as Topic Meetings
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, the designated chairman without warning changed the intended ID meeting into a Topic meeting. He did this by quickly asking his friend opposite to choose a topic. (I note here that there is a young, very unstable women at the meeting.)
The friend quickly and without hesitation replied, ‘Selfishness’ and the chairman then changed the meeting to a topic of selfishness. He asked his nominator to speak first on ‘selfishness’. Everyone else then expected to talk on the same topic. He changed the agenda without consultation on a desired topic. That’s how it’s done usually at topic meetings. That way members have some time to digest a concept and topic. Not this time and that’s so bad for people in attendance.
Members talked so negativity about themselves on this topic. Calling themselves selfish. Doing this will send them nuts, causing the head to spin. If an alcoholics head is spinning he will drink. If not immediately after the meeting, not long after. To settle the thinking down.
New members (short-termers) have very little protection against predatory behaviour at AA meetings. Why? Because there’s very few genuine older sober members (OSM’s) around these days. No-one left to police the meetings. I was told 24 years ago by the OSM’s that this situation will happen.
The first speaker at this meeting said that he was selfish. Selfish when drinking and still selfish. Claiming many years of sobriety and he apparently is still no better off. He went on for too long. His story all negative.
Topic Meeting had No Identification
For members to followed suit on such a topic is madness. The instigator listened closely to the women. The meeting had no I.D. for alcoholism. We had no way of knowing who’s is who: Primary, Secondary Alcoholics, Drug Addicts, a Headcase or who the Sexo’s are. No I.D. means no way to sort the oats from the chaff.
Everyone was sitting around a table. One women pushed a Get Well card towards me, with pen, to sign. It obviously being for someone unfortunate who attends this topic meeting. At this meeting everyone identified by being sober “today” only. In that way when someone gets drunk no-one knows about it. A predator’s tracks are covered. With the amount of negativity generated at this meeting I could see that if I were in this state of min then I would drink. An alcoholic in early sobriety there would be no other choice.
That’s the difference between a primary alcoholic and a drunk. Primary’s drink because they have to not because they want to. I.D. meetings will stop this happening. Topic meetings will not. This meeting would cause anyone to drink .
A short-termer asked to speak, his head was spinning. He tried. He babbled something about feeling pain then declined to speak. This member held himself up on a wall outside after the meeting. No group members spoke to him or offered assistance. He didn’t appear to know where he was. The two men who chose the topic followed the unstable women. She would not be selfish and deny them sex.
On closing the meeting holding hands to say the Serenity Prayer and if you haven’t already had a big dose of negativity then this negative energy received by physical contact will finish you off. Sober people stood back, did not joining in and instead watched them play a form of, ring-a-ring-a-rosy … and they all fall down… dead.
At topic meetings you often hear people from the floor say that they are not responsible for anyone to get sober. What a load of hogwash. Yes they are.