Beginning new journey’s can be intimidating and fearful. On a recent online AA meeting, I heard a gentleman say “If you have faith, you don’t have fear” and “if you have fear, you don’t have faith”. When I first heard this from him, I thought that this guy is a real grouch. He had been making other statements and comments during the meeting that I thought were very forceful and would scare away a newcomer that just joined the meeting or sobriety. Being in recovery for 4 years, this man’s statements and phrases seemed to be regurgitation of the Big Book and he kept repeating the same concept, but using different words (which became more aggressive as he rambled on). Part of AA meetings that I don’t like is that at times you have one ‘Negative Nancy” (man or woman) in the group that just seems like an angry, sober alcoholic.
It’s important that people open up their ears when participating in AA meetings or any other meeting that has to do with addiction. Commenting on what a newcomer has said and pretty much presenting your statements as a rebuttal is absurd and especially when you are trying to prove someone else’s statements wrong. The great thing about recovery, is that you have to do what works for you and sharing those things at meetings may help others. It’s not worth scaring away a new person to sobriety because you don’t have any control of how you present yourself and your thoughts/beliefs. People have the right to talk how they want, but people also have the right to not listen. In my experience, it’s just as important to listen to someone as it is to speak to that person. As I have been attending more AA meetings online and from my experience in the rooms, all meetings aren’t like this, but one sour apple can effect the demeanor of the environment. People are supposed to feel safe in AA and not feel like they are being judged by what they say. This is extremely important so that people continue to go back. I do not want to go into much more detail about the meeting because anonymity is critical in AA.
I’ve been in recovery for 4 years and still feel like an outsider when I join some AA meetings, even though we are all supposed to be following the same creed. This feeling of being an outsider at times is fine with me, because this is my recovery and no one else’s.
Outsiders – Eric Church