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« A Prayer for the beginning and ending of a year from a mentor | Main | 10th Tradition Follows On »

03 January 2010

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Stephen Grant

Meg, Most AA and NA meetings are called "open meetings". What this means is that anyone can go. They do not have to identify as an alcoholic.

AA has an inter-group which is a kind of clearing house that serves the individual meetings and helps drunks looking for a place to go find one that is appropriate for them.

If you wanted to attend a few meetings to do your own research, I would call the AA number and simply explain that you wanted to find a meeting (or, I would suggest several different meetings) in your area to simply see what is happening.

You will discover that there are many different kinds of meetings: big speakers meetings that seem a lot closer to a church service and small intimate meetings that resemble a small group Bible study in a college dorm room.

Most meetings will ask that if there are any new comers they identify themselves by first name only. You can say at that time, "I am Meg and I am simply checking AA out." After the meeting undoubtedly someone would initiate contact to see if they could be of service, but it is no big deal.

NA is the same way...

I'd encourage you to check it out and see what you think...

Barefootmeg

"When asked, he’d say that the fellowship was his higher power. It was all he needed. He could trust it."

I found this part particularly interesting. I think this is true of a lot of people regarding church. They put their trust in the organization rather than in the God that the organization is supposedly all about. Then something happens (a pastor has a particularly egregious "mess up", or someone in the church hurts them in some way) and suddenly all of their trust has just been blown and they're instant atheists. I've seen this happen on multiple occasions.

As far as the 9th tradition goes, it seems to be saying, "the group should reflect the people therein." So rather than already having a style or feel or program that the participants have to fit into, the group should have the look and feel of those who are in it -- which I suppose would mean that everyone should also be adding their own piece to the puzzle for that to happen. And the old-timers need to be comfortable and willing to let the new-comers alter the feel of the group.

I've never been to an AA meeting. I'm curious, is everyone required to participate (introduce themselves, state their issues, etc.) or can you come multiple times without ever squeaking out a word to anyone?

Stephen Grant

I think you are exactly right, Steve. Most of us put God on and take Him off like we would a coat. I overheard an NA old timer state: "If recovery isn't the center of your life it won't work." I think we could say that for the church as well...I think that is why so many people get disillusioned with God. It is not that God lets them down, but that they weren't really giving him a chance taking control too much of the time.

Steve Ganz

Hey Steve, do you think that one reason why AA and the church differ is because so many people who are in the church have never felt their own depravity so deeply that they cling to Christ with their entire strength as those in AA do to their 'traditions'? If Christians actually set their hope FULLY in Christ and followed the Holy Spirit as if their life depended on it - that our church structures would look very different than they do today?

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