Monday, December 28, 2009


We are still out on the boat. I haven't read most of your blog posts but will get around to each of you to comment. In the meantime, I hope that each of you is doing well.

Last night we talked about what a shame it is that one of the local AA groups may be asked to leave. It appears that the group has been standing outside the church talking loudly, using profanity, and leaving cigarette butts on the ground. One of the Al-Anon groups I attend also meets there which makes me wonder whether it's location is in jeopardy.

To me, this suggests that it pays off greatly to practice the principles in all our affairs. Disrespect does nothing to engender good relations with each other or the world at large. The traditions were born from experience. Breaking them is not indicative of recovery. The steps and traditions are self-enforcing. When they are not observed, the group is in danger of self-destructing.

This isn't a rant but an observation of concern. We respect and love both programs. I hope that others will do the same.


  1. Profanity and AA have always, apparantly, been close companions. But there's no excuse for leaving butts on the ground outside a church. And yes: we should have respect for our surroundings. Swear in the meeting, sure! But keep it to a dull roar outside.

  2. THis is one of the pins in my side about some of the groups. There is no excuse for rudeness or disrespect. I would no sooner want someone to empty their ashtray in my yard therefore I was always aware when in public. I no longer smoke but when I did, the military taught me well. Snuff it out and put in your pocket until you could find a trash can. I'm 3 years + now smoke free and I don't now how I ever smoked in the first place.. eww...

    For those who do smoke and ARE considerate... THANK YOU!


  3. Same problem in Naples with one meeting venue. Each meeting the chair announces regarding the cig butts, loud, party-type shouting, to about 150 people.

    Meanwhile though, some who should be hearing these instructions are still outside smoking, etc. They usually make their Grand Entrance about 10 minutes into the meeting. Hmmmm!

  4. I've seen this go on a lot through the years. Meetings get sick as much as individuals do when they get away from the program. My hope is we all (including the meeting) can grow past our spiritual malady. I believe we can.

    Blessings and aloha...

  5. I guess when that many people get together there will always be some that are rude. I wonder how other large groups have handled this problem.

  6. I attend an al-anon meeting that has an NA meeting inthe room next dooe. Its a much larger crowd 40+, noisy, smokers, typically *harder* type folks. They are loud, throw their butts on the ground and despite numerous *reminders* that there is a pre care classes at this church, they use a lot of profanity.

    When many gentle reminders are ignored, God will ensure that the message will be delivered. And that may come in a harsher manner such as eviction.

  7. We have a meeting three days a week at a church meeting hall. In the preamble we ask that people refrain from using profanity to show respect for the church environment. We also have a butt can and some of us quietly go about cleaning it up from time to time. AA people can show respect, but it takes the leaders and older members to help "police" the area. Some of us just aren't there yet, I guess.

  8. respect is needed, no matter who we are or where we are...

  9. Some people don't even know that there are traditions to disrespect. But I suspect they would disrespect them even if they did know about them.

    But there does need to be quiet leadership in the group, if the group doesn't have that, maybe it does not need to survive.

  10. You are so right. This is a heart breaking look into the reality of a group that seems unable to fully function under the principles of the program as it is.

    I have many beliefs and observations but the truth is none will change prosaic reality which is that is that the controlling group conscience seems to believe that we should move to a place where the behavior won't be so disturbing to church or residential neighbors.

    The hope I have is that Alanon will be allowed to stay and will be able and encouraged to utilize the more accessible and larger space to host their meetings. It would be nice to see that group able to grow and expand into more comfortable surroundings.

    I'm very concerned too.

    I still pray for a fearless group inventory. I'm encouraged that our GSR is trying to encourage this situation into proper perspective and to encourage thoughtful and loving action.

    There is, it seems, not a common belief that the need is to break the cycle of dis-ease in this group where it is, and so we move in another direction. The common sounding board is "how can you expect newcomers to act sane." I am not the least convinced that it is newcomers that cause the issues. I'm willing to listen more but so far I'm not convinced. We cannot blame the newcomer for an issue that resides deep within the group conscience. And I can do nothing to affect positive change if I'm not willing to participate at the deeper levels.

    Surpassing the reality and the truth of the situation, there is a lot of resentful talk, and the tone in which some speak of church leadership and the neighbors is display that it probably is in the best interest of the church and neighbors for this group to move.

    The group is, if nothing else, a place where the alcoholic still suffering CAN find some hope and some help IF they choose TO SEEK it there, it is truthfully also a place that one can sit in dis-ease for long periods. The group is very large and it is possible to remain there over long periods still in disease. This may be true of any group, I don't know.

    I'm hoping and praying. Knowing that God's will be carried no matter what the outcome is, and I know that I am required by my maker, to continue to try to carry the principles of unity, service and recovery into all my actions and experiences today.

    The new year promises great change.

  11. Come back after 4:00, Eastern time, Syd. You may like my presenataion scheduled to post then.

  12. I hope the church decides to give them a chance to STOP littering their butts - its really inexcusable.

    Have fun on the boat and wave to any dolphins you see for me!

  13. Even groups have to make amends at times. Good time for a group conscience. We need to have one too. Timely topic, Syd. Enjoy the boat.


  14. We have Al-Anon and AA groups that meet in our church. It has been frequently brought up that the church property has been disrespected, whether it is just not cleaning up or harming property. I don't attend meetings at my church so I don't know any of these people, but I am really glad you brought this issue up. Church is a sacred space for a lot of people and it is a grace to be able to use a space for free. I think that wherever people meet, they should consider that someone has to clean up.


Let me know what you think. I like reading what you have to say.