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BANGKOK 18 March 2019 21:27
MrPatrickThai

Small AA Group - Tradition 3

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I've recently started a small AA group, closed meeting. The issue is that there are two members that come but are not alcoholics. They both identify as alcoholics but say they don't need to use the AA steps and suffer from other mental disorders(depression and PTSD). They say they use alcohol do treat their problems but never have any craving the next day, and can even stop after a few beers.

Tradition 3 says that one must have the disease of alcoholism -

Our membership ought to include all who suffer from 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.

What to do? There are a total of 5 members. 2 are 'demanding' their right to be there ? Should they be kicked out or asked to start their own, non-AA, AA meeting?

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Surely, if they do not need to use the steps (their words) then there is no reason for them to be there.  And by being there,  perhaps they are negatively impacting the benefit to be gained by the other members. I would ask them to start their own group which better meets their needs, such as one for their mental disorders (depression/PTSD).   

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Patrick, you are almost behaving like a troll because an AA of your standing should know the answer. If you are really struggling with this issue, which I actually doubt,  surely your AA intergroup is the place to take this matter, not a forum such as this. 

 

'The only requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking.' It is unequivocal. It is the bedrock upon which AA has been built. The door must always be open and we can never choose who we let in; they don't even need to say they are alcoholics. All they need is a desire to stop drinking.

 

If these people continue to drink and see no reason to do the steps then they are not going to be very different from many AAs at the beginning of their time in AA.

 

I would strongly urge you and any other AA to focus exclusively on your own problem with alcohol and not concern yourself with that of any other, and in particular to avoid any consideration of whether  a person is or is not an alcoholic. It might be these people you are concerned about are actually getting a considerable benefit from being at your meeting. And you might inadvertently harm them if you tell them you don't think they are alcoholics - if you were to have told me that in all earnestness in my early days I may have gone out drinking to my considerable detriment.

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On 7/9/2018 at 2:12 PM, Johnniey said:

I disagree. The OP states the 3rd tradition in full, one must be an alcoholic(suffer from the disease of alcoholism).

 

Tell them to stop being so stingy and pay for professional counselling. AA is not a self-help group.

Agreed, the short form of the tradition was made to give to hospitals. Kick them out, they could harm an alcoholic.

Or let them stay but don't let them share.

Edited by Neeranam
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Well, something brought them through the door. And if they are powerless over alcohol but haven't done enough self examination as yet to determine that, give them some time. Maybe, if truly alcoholic, they haven't hit bottom hard enough yet. Perhaps someone will share something that triggers that inner switch that causes oneself to look deeply into the mirror. If they're self medicating with alcohol for any reason that's an issue. Also it's not how much you drink, it's how it affects you. I'd leave the door open for now unless they disturb the purpose of the meeting. If they become a problem tell them to leave and not come back till they are willing to admit they are powerless over alcohol and willing to try to complete the 12 steps.

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On 6/26/2018 at 12:00 PM, MrPatrickThai said:

Our membership ought to include all who suffer from 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.

 

You'll notice that it doesn't say "Our membership ought to include all who suffer from alcoholism and should exclude all who think they don't".    My sponsor and his sponsor and his.....said I should read the black and the white and not add my own interpretation. 

 

The 3rd step is near and dear to my heart since I didn't think I was an alcoholic when I darkened the door of my first meeting 29 years ago.  But someone suggested I may want to see if giving up the booze may not improve the quality of my life- since most of my problems seemed to start with a snoot-full.  She explained the short form of the 3rd tradition, which opened that door to me- otherwise, I'd have never gone.   It wasn't until I heard people telling stories very similar to mine that I realized my concept of what defines an alcoholic was screwed up- like most of the Earth people's concept.  

 

It's one thing if they're disruptive.  It's another thing if they're just not my kind of alkie.

 

Edited by impulse
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On 7/30/2018 at 9:21 PM, impulse said:

You'll notice that it doesn't say "Our membership ought to include all who suffer from alcoholism and should exclude all who think they don't".    My sponsor and his sponsor and his.....said I should read the black and the white and not add my own interpretation. 

I think it's pretty obvious what it means. I agree, read the black and white; if you don't suffer from the disease of alcoholism, stay away, to which my sponsor, 40+ years sober, and his agree with me.

I've been in small meetings most my sobriety(in Thailand) and to tell you my honest opinion, a guy that decides he's an alcoholic when over 60 years old, with no drunkalogues to tell, is a lonely guy wanting attention or a group of friends. They are disruptive in that they keep real alcoholics away.

A real alcoholic generally doesn't reach 60 years old and decide to quit drinking and have no need for detox, no need to work the steps, and live happily ever after.

Different if the person is 20.

 

 

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5 hours ago, Neeranam said:

I think it's pretty obvious what it means. I agree, read the black and white; if you don't suffer from the disease of alcoholism, stay away, to which my sponsor, 40+ years sober, and his agree with me.

I've been in small meetings most my sobriety(in Thailand) and to tell you my honest opinion, a guy that decides he's an alcoholic when over 60 years old, with no drunkalogues to tell, is a lonely guy wanting attention or a group of friends. They are disruptive in that they keep real alcoholics away.

A real alcoholic generally doesn't reach 60 years old and decide to quit drinking and have no need for detox, no need to work the steps, and live happily ever after.

Different if the person is 20.

 

Under those terms, a significant percentage of my best AA friends (myself included) would have never gotten sober.  Because we didn't have a clue what alcoholism really looked like until we heard people telling stories similar to ours.  Which, of course, required being in the meetings to hear those stories.  I was a binge drinker.  I could stop for months at a time.  But once I picked up that first drink, I could not predict whether I'd stop at one, or stop next Tuesday. 

 

Conventional wisdom told me anyone who can abstain for months can't be an alcoholic.  Dozens of alkies in the meetings I attended assured me that my behavior qualified me for a seat.  But not until I was around long enough to hear dozens of alkies with stories just like mine.  My first meeting, a guy suggested I try another program down the hall.  Thank God for the blue haired ladies that jokingly told the guy off, poured me a coffee and welcomed me anyway.  They told him I didn't look sick enough to attend Al Anon.  Dark wicked humor, those blue haired angels had.

 

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3 hours ago, impulse said:

 

Under those terms, a significant percentage of my best AA friends (myself included) would have never gotten sober.  Because we didn't have a clue what alcoholism really looked like until we heard people telling stories similar to ours.  Which, of course, required being in the meetings to hear those stories.  I was a binge drinker.  I could stop for months at a time.  But once I picked up that first drink, I could not predict whether I'd stop at one, or stop next Tuesday. 

 

Conventional wisdom told me anyone who can abstain for months can't be an alcoholic.  Dozens of alkies in the meetings I attended assured me that my behavior qualified me for a seat.  But not until I was around long enough to hear dozens of alkies with stories just like mine.  My first meeting, a guy suggested I try another program down the hall.  Thank God for the blue haired ladies that jokingly told the guy off, poured me a coffee and welcomed me anyway.  They told him I didn't look sick enough to attend Al Anon.  Dark wicked humor, those blue haired angels had.

 

I'll bet you, and your friendd, were younger than  50 or 60.

I don't waste my time with those, when there are real, admitted alkies to work with, and help. They have reached a place where they are willing to do anything to work the steps and start sober. 

If you had gone away,  you'd have been forced back later when you see were sure. 

I was also a binge drinker, but after enough DT experiences and rehabs, I was ready. Maybe if I was spared those last ten years, I wouldn't be sober today. 

The great thing about large AA meetings is that there are high bottoms and low bottoms, but in groups of 5 or so, it can be impossible with a 65 year old, "I have a desire to stop drinking, but ain't believing in any God" type of guy, who has a couple of drinks then goes to bed. AA is being watered down and suffering as a whole, by letting disco dunks in.

 

Edited by Neeranam

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On 8/10/2018 at 12:43 AM, Neeranam said:

I'll bet you, and your friendd, were younger than  50 or 60.

I don't waste my time with those, when there are real, admitted alkies to work with, and help. They have reached a place where they are willing to do anything to work the steps and start sober. 

If you had gone away,  you'd have been forced back later when you see were sure. 

I was also a binge drinker, but after enough DT experiences and rehabs, I was ready. Maybe if I was spared those last ten years, I wouldn't be sober today. 

The great thing about large AA meetings is that there are high bottoms and low bottoms, but in groups of 5 or so, it can be impossible with a 65 year old, "I have a desire to stop drinking, but ain't believing in any God" type of guy, who has a couple of drinks then goes to bed. AA is being watered down and suffering as a whole, by letting disco dunks in.

 

 

I was fortunate enough that I didn't have to ride the elevator to the bottom.  Paying attention at meetings to people with stories similar to mine convinced me that my concept of alcoholism was wrong, and showed me (life size, up close and personal) what happens to people who keep doing what I was doing.  But I had to be tolerated at the meetings in order to hear those stories.  I'm thankful they saved me the 10 additional years you suffered through.

 

One common policy of many meetings that seems effective is to request during the pre-amble that "we limit our discussion to our problems as they relate to our alcoholism".  Vote on it (group conscience).  Then, enforce it.  If they can't stay on topic, they can't talk and then they have to decide whether to keep coming or not.   If they continue to show up, sit there silently, and it still bothers the other attendees, I'd suspect there's more going on. 

 

Bottom line- I have no right to decide who gets in and who gets excluded based on my opinion or my interpretation of anything.  And I'm thankful that the guy who would have excluded me got told off by the little old ladies.  Those blue haired angels probably saved me those 10 years you talked about.

Edited by impulse
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2 minutes ago, impulse said:

On common policy of many meetings that seems effective is to request during the pre-amble that "we limit our discussion to our problems as they relate to our alcoholism".  Vote on it (group conscience).  Then, enforce it.  If they can't stay on topic, they can't talk and then they have to decide whether to keep coming or not.   

Yes, I agree.

This is difficult in a meeting of 3!

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I don’t see kicking people out who identify as alcoholics in line with my understanding of the program.

Seems “no one can tell you you are alcoholic” but we can tell you you’re not...

Whatever

But apparently we can tell

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This dude again on the same topic!

 

Attempting to use "parts" of the literature as a weapon. Why don't you quote the full writing. Tradition 3 has a very painful history and in the end it was settled.

 

" We were resolved to admit nobody to A.A. but that hypothetical class of people we termed pure alcoholics." So beggars, tramps, asylum inmates, prisoners, queers ( old skool useage) plain crackpots, and fallen women were definitely out." 

The next paragraph delves into the fear - "isn't fear the true basis of intolerance? Yes, we were intolerant."

The modern outcome is " You are an AA member if you say so. You can declare yourself in; nobody can keep you out." 

Later in the chapter we read " Who dared to be judge, jury and executioner of his own sick brother?" 

 

 

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