Meeting Summaries 2020

1-5-2020 #156. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we read and discussed the “Living Clean – The Journey Continues” up to page 113-2. This is a link to a free PDF of the book, available online. The pages are slightly different, but, the content is similar.

We began our group discussing “Is it possible to be addicted to program? Is that a transfer addiction?”

We are continuing on the subject of physical recovery. Today we discussed gratitude, disability, and emotional and spiritual crisis.

The topic of having regular business or group conscience meetings was brought up.

As a review: The 12 Traditions are the general guidelines and guiding principles that keep 12 Step support groups focused on unity and singleness of purpose.

They address how, as addicts, we can live and work together as individuals within a group, the 12 Step organization as a whole and with the world outside.

Perhaps as a group, our next topic could be “how would we like to implement the traditions and improve how our group carries the message of recovery to those who still suffer?”

In order to look at how to practice the traditions, a great place to start is this pamphlet on the topic by AA. After that, the group could do a group inventory (each word is to a different link to the same information). A group inventory is a wonderful way to assess “How well is our group carrying the message of recovery?”

Next, how does a group make an informed group conscience decision?

Here is a great link to a discussion on tradition 2 and group conscience which includes direct quotes from program literature.

There are a few articles that I found on how to have an informed group conscience:

This is an article from 1958 on AAs Group Conscience in Action from the AA Grapevine. (This is more for historical purposes).

These are short documents on this topic:

Informed Group  Conscience

InformedGroupConscience

Informed-Group-Conscience

What is the purpose of having a business meeting?

Business Meetings_Grp Conscience

How does one chair a group conscience meeting?

Here is a link to the OA Group Conscience Meeting Format

This is one from NA.

This is a word document on how to chair a group conscience meeting:

how_to_chair_a_group_conscience_meeting_1 (1)

This could be a wonderful learning opportunity for the group. What would everyone like to do??

1-12-2020 #157. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we read and discussed the “Living Clean – The Journey Continues” up to page 123-0.

During the first part of the group, we had a group conscience on whether or not we want to schedule regular business or group conscience meetings.

We reviewed that the 12 Traditions not rules. Instead, the 12 Traditions are the general guidelines and guiding principles that keep 12 Step support groups focused on unity and singleness of purpose.

As addicts, we are seeking to change from being self-led to being God-led. We are seeking to change and recover from our addictions by living according to the principles that are embodied in the 12 steps, 12 traditions and in the 12 concepts in all our affairs – both inside and outside of the rooms.

The purpose of the 12 Traditions is to keep the group focused on “why are we here?” And, “how well are we carrying the message?”

Outcome of our group conscience today:

Everyone present in the meeting today shared that they are happy with how we currently resolve any issues or concerns.

Up until this point, whenever something comes up, we discuss the issue, come to a resolution and then continue on with the meeting. The preference is to continue with that method, rather than instituting something more formal.

As a group, we agreed that we would finish reading “Living Clean – The Journey Continues.”

Then, we will read this pamphlet on how the meetings fit the overall structure of program, followed by doing a group inventory (each word is to a different link to the same information).

The purpose of a group inventory is to assess “How well is our group carrying the message of recovery? How well is our group demonstrating how to practice the principles of the program?”

We will conclude our workshop by reading and discussing the book A New Pair of Glasses by Chuck C. (There is a more expensive text of the same book also available on Amazon. I am not sure how to distinguish one from the other.)

During our group conscience, we discussed the 7th Tradition. As a 12 Step group, Emotional Sobriety and Food does not having any fees or dues. However, we do have expenses. It was suggested that everyone give a donation of $25 in January and June to help cover the costs of our group. Any leftover money can be used at Shira’s discretion.

Shira: Thank you all for your generosity and support. I want to emphasis that I believe that God will provide the resources we need to run this group. And, any money received is a donation, not a fee. All are welcome!

This week, we read and discussed the “Living Clean – The Journey Continues” up to page 123-0. This is a link to a free PDF of the book, available online. The pages are slightly different, but, the content is similar.

We concluded the subject of physical recovery. Today we discussed aging, death and dying, living with grief and courage. The chapter concluded that with courage, we gain acceptance of our physical reality and the willingness to live to the level that we are capable of on life’s terms.

1-19-2020 #158. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we read and discussed the “Living Clean – The Journey Continues” up to page 141-1.

This is a link to a free PDF of the book, available online. The pages are slightly different, but, the content is similar.

Today, we began reading about relationships in recovery. We discussed how recovery does not happen in a vacuum. The relationships that we develop as we recover, both inside and outside of the rooms — give us the opportunity to repair the damage that may have occurred while we were living in our disease.

Not everyone had the opportunity to share. Please review what we read and we will start our meeting next week with open sharing about what we read this week.

1-26-2020 #159. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we read and discussed the “Living Clean – The Journey Continues” up to page 156-1.

This is a link to a free PDF of the book, available online. The pages are slightly different, but, the content is similar.

02-02-2020 #160. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we read and discussed the “Living Clean – The Journey Continues” up to page 175-1.

This is a link to a free PDF of the book, available online. The pages are slightly different, but, the content is similar.

02-09-2020 #161. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we read and discussed the “Living Clean – The Journey Continues” up to page 189-1. We began the chapter, A New Way of Life.

This is a link to a free PDF of the book, available online. The pages are slightly different, but, the content is similar.

This week we discussed if we would like to alter our group format to leave more time for discussion.

It was suggested that the total amount of time allotted for sharing will be adjusted each week in order to enable 3 minutes shares for each person present. The total amount will vary depending on the number of participants present.

Up until this point we only allowed for 15 minutes of discussion, which was sometimes frustrating for people.

We also discussed the possibility of reading the book No Guilt No Games No Drama the 7 Keys to Setting Smarter Boundaries by Steph Sterner (her name links to her website).

This is definitely not program literature. However, the issue of setting proper boundaries and knowing the balance between self-care vs. self-absorption and selfishness is a reoccurring theme for so many of us in recovery.

Please review the book. We can decide if it is appropriate to read the book as a group or not.  If not, I highly recommend reading the book individually.

Aidel also reminded me of another great book, Loving What Is by Byron Katie. She also has a website called TheWork. Her books are very insightful and helpful!

02-16-2020 #162. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we read and discussed the “Living Clean – The Journey Continues” up to page 203-0.

It was suggested that we do not read the book No Guilt No Games No Drama the 7 Keys to Setting Smarter Boundaries by Steph Sterner (her name links to her website) as a group.

In program, we are seeking a spiritual solution to our problems. The AA BB tells us that “self-reliance always fails us.” This is the difference between a self-help approach and and following a spiritual program of recovery as outlined in the AA Big Book. Therefore, since this book does not offer a God-reliant solution to our problems, it would be best for anyone who is interested to read the book independently if desired.

02-23-2020 #163. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we read and discussed the “Living Clean – The Journey Continues” up to page 219-0. We completed the chapter, A New Way of Life.

Next week we will start the final chapter, The Journey Continues.

When we complete the book, I would like to read from the stories in the AA Big Book before moving onto our next source of literature.

As discussed, we will read from this pamphlet by AA to look at how to practice the traditions, and assess “How well is our group carrying the message of recovery?”

As part of Step 12, we will do a group inventory (each word is to a different link to the same information).

We will conclude our workshop by reading and discussing the book A New Pair of Glasses by Chuck C. (There is a more expensive text of the same book also available on Amazon. I am not sure how to distinguish one from the other.)

03-01-2020 #164. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we read and discussed the “Living Clean – The Journey Continues” up to page 232-2. We are now reading the final chapter, The Journey Continues.

spring forward

Next week begins Daylight Savings Time. Please remember to turn your clocks forward 1 hour. That means that 5:30 AM will feel like 4:30 AM.

Our regular meeting will still take place.

If our group is very small, we will read from the stories in the AA Big Book instead.

I am going to try and go to bed 1 hour earlier. Perhaps that will help to compensate for the loss of 1 hour of sleep?

Looking forward to seeing everyone next week.

Together we can do what we could never do alone.

03-08-2020 #165. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we read and discussed the “Living Clean – The Journey Continues” up to page 248-1. We are now reading the final chapter, The Journey Continues.

03-15-2020 #166. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we read and completed “Living Clean – The Journey Continues.”  It was a wonderful book and absolutely worth rereading either individually or as a group.

Next week we will begin reading from this pamphlet by AA to look at how to practice the traditions.

After that, we will do a group inventory (each word is to a different link to the same information) to assess “How well is our group carrying the message of recovery?”

We enjoyed reading the NA literature so much that we discussed as a group that we will read Guiding Principles the Spirit of Our Traditions by NA. Here is a link to a pdf of a draft of the book if you would like to preview some of the content.

03-22-2020 #167. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we read discussed the story in the AA Big Book “A Late Start.”

Next week, we will continue reading the stories  out of the AA Big Book, as there are only 2 more left!

After that, we will begin reading from this pamphlet by AA to look at how to practice the traditions. Aidel suggested buying the pamphlet from AA directly, as it will be easier to read.

Included in that pamphlet is the group inventory (each word is to a different link to the same information) that we had discussed doing already to assess “How well is our group carrying the message of recovery?”

Since we enjoyed reading the NA literature so much that we discussed as a group that we will read Guiding Principles the Spirit of Our Traditions by NA. Here is a link to a pdf of a draft of the book if you would like to preview some of the content.

We will conclude our workshop by reading and discussing the book A New Pair of Glasses by Chuck C. (There is a more expensive text of the same book also available on Amazon. I am not sure how to distinguish one from the other.)

03-29-2020 #168. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we read and discussed the story in the AA Big Book “Freedom from Bondage.”

Here is the link to read the Freedom from Bondage Prayer.

With the extra time, we read the recent postWhere Are You in Your Spiritual Journey of Recovery Today?

Next week, we will read the last story out of the AA Big Book.  After that, we can either discuss the questions from the post or start to read the pamphlet by AA to look at how to practice the traditions.

An email was sent out to the group with the pamphlet attached. Alternatively, you can order a printed copy directly from AA.

04-05-2020 #169. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we read and discussed the final story in the AA Big Book A.A. Taught Him to Handle Sobriety.”

During our meeting, I shared more information about the author of “Freedom from Bondage.”

The author of the story was Wynn L. from LA. Here is a link to a biography of her. And, here is a link to a recording of one of her talks. This is a link to the recording directly on YouTube.

The author of the story today is Bob P., from Connecticut.

Here are 2 different links about him and the wonderful service he gave to AA.

Here is one of his most famous quotes from a talk that he gave at the 1986 General Service Conference. Bob gave what the 1986 Final Report called “a powerful and inspiring closing talk” titled “Our greatest danger: rigidity.”

He said: “If you were to ask me what is the greatest danger facing A.A. today, I would have to answer the growing rigidity – the increasing demand for absolute answers to nit-picking questions; pressure for G.S.O. to ‘enforce’ our Traditions, screening alcoholics at closed meetings, prohibiting non-Conference approved literature, i.e., ‘banning books,’ laying more and more rules on groups and members. And in this trend toward rigidity, we are drifting farther and farther away from our co-founders. Bill, in particular, must be spinning in his grave, for he was perhaps the most permissive person I ever met. One of his favorite sayings was ‘Every group has the right to be wrong.'”

After that, we discussed the questions from the recent post on the blog, “Where Are You in Your Spiritual Journey of Recovery Today?

An email was sent out again to the group with the pamphlet that we will be reading next. It is available to read for free online. If you choose, you can print it up on your own computer or you can order a printed copy directly from AA.

As discussed, I am going to be transferred to a medical unit to care for COVID-19 patients starting next week. My schedule will be changing and I may have to work on Sundays.

What would everyone like to do?

Our choices are:

Change the day that we meet to accommodate my schedule, OR, someone else from the group can lead the meeting instead.

Please consider what you would prefer.

04-12-2020 #170. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we read discussed the AA Group pamphlet by AA up to 12:0. The pamphlet covers four main areas: what an A.A. group is; how a group functions; group relations with others in the community; and how the group fits into the structure of A.A. as a whole. This week, we discussed the principle of anonymity and the first tradition on unity of purpose.

04-19-2020 #171. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we read discussed the AA Group pamphlet by AA up to 16:0.

04-26-2020 #172. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we read discussed the AA Group pamphlet by AA up to 20:0.

This week we discussed the importance of creating fellowship both inside and outside of the meeting and the importance of shared leadership and of service.

We discussed that the traditions are ideals to strive for, not hard and fast rules.

Although it is healthier for the group to rotate leadership positions, if the same people provide service, it is not necessarily “unhealthy.”  There is a difference between providing service so that the meeting can continue for one’s own benefit versus insisting on controlling the group and not allowing other people to do service.

There is a delicate balance between providing service and avoiding seeking to control. It is very important to check one’s motives.

05-3-2020 #173. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we read discussed the AA Group pamphlet by AA up to 28:0.

This week, some group members shared that they find the pamphlet boring and not beneficial for their recovery.

The question was asked: “How are the traditions useful for my recovery?” And, “are the traditions really necessary for recovery?”

This is a common sentiment expressed by many members in program. Clearly, the traditions do not provide the same instant gratification that one receives by taking the steps.

The 12 Steps are the program of action that lead to a spiritual experience that facilitates recovery from our addiction. The 12 traditions were created to ensure the survival of the group. They embody the spiritual principles that serve as the guidelines by which the fellowship operates and maintains its unity.

It is my experience that when people are not knowledgeable about the traditions, groups get mired in conflicts and do not survive.

Personal recovery depends on unity of the fellowship. The unity of the fellowship depends on how well we follow the traditions. If not, how will someone get to a group to learn about the steps if there is not a group to come to where they are being taught?

Nevertheless, we discussed that we would have less discussion and read the content of the pamphlet more quickly.

05-10-2020 #174. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we read discussed the AA Group pamphlet by AA up to 30:0.

This week, we agreed that we would read the whole pamphlet, even if some of the parts are not as relevant. Today we began the group inventory and discussed the first 2 questions: “What is the basic purpose of our group?” And, “What more can our group do to carry the message?”

This is a great explanation of the 12 Traditions. Check it out!

05-17-2020 #175. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we read discussed the AA Group pamphlet by AA up to 30:2 and completed the group inventory. We agreed to ask during the introduction of our meeting “who is available to sponsor, what time and what fellowship are you in?”

5-24-2020. This week, we completed the Group pamphlet by AA.  Unfortunately, I forgot to record the meeting, so there is no playback recording or mp3 available.

Overall, the response to the pamphlet was mixed. Some of us enjoyed it, and others found it boring and not helpful for their recovery.

Personally, I enjoyed hearing everyone’s experiences with the traditions as applied on the group level.

Sometimes, just doing something for the unity of the group, with grace and equanimity demonstrates incredible spiritual growth! Please consider: Do you think that you would have been willing to be so tolerant and accepting when you first started program? So, thank you everyone for your patience, tolerance and kindness. I am humbled by the level of recovery you demonstrated.

Next week we will begin the book Guiding Principles the Spirit of Our Traditions by NA. Here is a link to a pdf of a draft of the book if you would like to preview some of the content.

05-31-2020 #176. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we began the book Guiding Principles the Spirit of Our Traditions by NA up to 10:1. Here is a link to a pdf of a draft of the book if you would like to preview some of the content.

06-07-2020 #177. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we began the book Guiding Principles the Spirit of Our Traditions by NA up to 18:0. Here is a link to a pdf of a draft of the book if you would like to preview some of the content.

Here an affirmation for Tradition 1: Let me remember that my fulfillment, love, joy and forgiveness come through my sharing and joining with others in our common welfare.

Practical application: The A.A. member conforms to the principles of recovery; at first because he must, later because he discovers a way of life he really wants to live. (Unity)

06-14-2020 #178. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we continued reading and discussing the book Guiding Principles the Spirit of Our Traditions by NA up to 30:0.

This week, we began Tradition 2: For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority—a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.

For fun, I thought I would add here an affirmation for Tradition 2:

Let me remember that God, as we understand Him, is our only True Source, that we are His children, His agents, His individual expressions, and that we have come together for His purpose. Even now He is guiding and directing us.

This book is very helpful for deepening our understanding on the traditions and how we can apply the principles of the traditions to other areas of our lives.

Here is a link to a pdf of a draft of the book if you would like to preview some of the content.

Practical application: When we come to understand the wisdom of the group decision and the necessity of patiently awaiting developments, the real and permanent leadership of A.A. can offer the quiet opinion, the sure knowledge and humble example that resolve a crisis, leading by example, rather than driving by mandate. (Group Conscience)

06-21-2020 #179. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we continued reading and discussing the book Guiding Principles the Spirit of Our Traditions by NA up to 42:0.

Practical application of Tradition 3:  When confronted by the fear that is the true basis of intolerance, we need only ask, “What would the Master do?” (Membership)

06-28-2020 #180. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we continued reading and discussing the book Guiding Principles the Spirit of Our Traditions by NA up to 62:0.

Aidel asked about the 12 Concepts. Here is a link to a pdf about them.

Here is a link to the 12 Concepts Checklist of AA.

Here is a document on an overview of the 12 Concepts, if anyone would like to explore them more deeply.

07-05-2020 #181. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we continued reading and discussing the book Guiding Principles the Spirit of Our Traditions by NA up to 80:0. We completed Tradition 4 and the principle of autonomy.

07-12-2020 #182. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we continued reading and discussing the book Guiding Principles the Spirit of Our Traditions by NA up to 98:0. We completed Tradition 5 and the principle of primary purpose.

07-19-2020 #183. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we continued reading and discussing the book Guiding Principles the Spirit of Our Traditions by NA up to 117:0. We completed Tradition 6 and the principles are: solidarity, non-affiliation and singleness of purpose.

Tradition 6 Short Form

An A.A. group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the A.A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property or prestige divert us from our primary purpose.

Tradition 6 Long Form

“Problems of money, property, and authority may easily divert us from our primary spiritual aim. We think, therefore, that any considerable property of genuine use to A.A. should be separately incorporated and managed, thus dividing the material from the spiritual. An A.A. group, as such, should never go into business. Secondary aids to A.A., such as clubs or hospitals which require much property or administration, ought to be incorporated and so set apart that, if necessary, they can be freely discarded by the groups. Hence such facilities ought not to use the A.A. name. Their management should be the sole responsibility of those people who financially support them. For clubs, A.A. managers are usually preferred. But hospitals, as well as other places of recuperation, ought to be well outside A.A.—and medically supervised. While an A.A. group may cooperate with anyone, such cooperation ought never to go so far as affiliation or endorsement, actual or implied. An A.A. group can bind itself to no one.”

Practical application: We are all perfectionists who, failing perfection, have gone to the other extreme. We cannot be all things to all men, nor should we try. (Non-Affiliation)

07-26-2020 #184. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we continued reading and discussing the book Guiding Principles the Spirit of Our Traditions by NA up to 138:0. We completed Tradition 7 and the principles are: remaining free of outside influences, gratitude, self-supporting, and responsibility.

The seventh tradition tells me: “I can’t keep it unless I give it away.”

This tradition also includes the principle of voluntary poverty and simplicity. We learn to trust God that He will provide us what we need so long as we stay close to Him and do His work well.

The principle of being self-supporting is not only is it a responsibility of sobriety, it is essential to our self-esteem. It means that I live within my means and most importantly, I live honestly and with integrity.

The principle of voluntary poverty and simplicity obligates the members of the fellowship to contribute to the financial welfare of our fellowship. Without this obligation, we could easily revert back to our habitual character defects of selfishness and greed.

When we were in our active addiction, we often depended on people places and things to support us and supply us with what we thought we needed or were missing in our lives.

In recovery and through the application of this tradition, we shift from a material dependence on people, places and things to a spiritual dependence on God.

As we practice and grow to depend on God, as we understand Him, our actions reflect how we are able to tap the “unsuspected inner resource” which we receive from strengthening and depending on infinite God rather than our finite selves.

By sharing our resources, whether time or money, we learn to work together. This strength in unity allows us to feel a part of “something greater than ourselves”.

Tradition 7 Short Form: Every A.A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.

Tradition 7 Long Form: The A.A. groups themselves ought to be fully supported by the voluntary contributions of their own members. We think that each group should soon achieve this ideal; that any public solicitation of funds using the name of Alcoholics Anonymous is highly dangerous, whether by groups, clubs, hospitals, or other outside agencies; that acceptance of large gifts from any source, or of contributions carrying any obligation whatever, is unwise. Then too, we view with much concern those A.A. treasuries which continue, beyond prudent reserves, to accumulate funds for no stated A.A. purpose. Experience has often warned us that nothing can so surely destroy our spiritual heritage as futile disputes over property, money, and authority.

Practical application: How important in my recovery is the feeling of self-respect, rather than the feeling of being always under obligation for charity received?

Tradition Seven Affirmation– Let me remember that as God’s agents we are able to be fully self-supporting – by His Divine Grace we can be free of outside interference. He will give us all we need to do His Will.

Shira’s Prayer for the 7th Tradition: God, I humbly ask You to remove my shortcoming of selfishness and self-centeredness. May I not fall prey to the worship of other things, including money. Guide me and protect me so that I may place my trust and reliance upon You and only You. May I trust that You will provide me with what I need, so long as I stay close to You and do Your work well.

In explaining the Seventh Tradition as it pertains to AA, the 12&12 hints at how it may benefit us personally.

“To people familiar with endless drives for charitable funds, A.A. presented a strange and refreshing spectacle. Approving editorials here and abroad generated a wave of confidence in the integrity of Alcoholics Anonymous. They pointed out that the irresponsible had become responsible, and that by making financial independence part of its tradition, Alcoholics Anonymous had revived an ideal that its era had almost forgotten.”

08-02-2020 #185. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we continued reading and discussing the book Guiding Principles the Spirit of Our Traditions by NA up to page 156. We completed Tradition 8 and the principles are: fellowship, service, diligence and zeal.

Tradition 8 Short form: Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever non-professional, but our service centers may employ special workers.

Tradition 8 Long form: Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever non-professional. We define professionalism as the occupation of counselling alcoholics for fees or hire. But we may employ alcoholics where they are going to perform those services for which we may otherwise have to engage non-alcoholics. Such special services may be well recompensed. But our usual A.A. ’12 Step’ work is never to be paid for.

Practical application: Do I sometimes try to get some reward—even if not money—for my personal AA efforts?

What happens when I give with an expectation to receive a particular outcome or reward? What happens to my desire to give when I do not get the reward?

Tradition Eight Affirmation – Let me remember that we were freely given our special gifts so we must share them freely, not as a professional.

Shira’s Prayer for Tradition 8: God, I humbly ask You to remove my shortcoming of pride, ambition and greed. Please bless me with the willingness to share what has been so freely given to me in a real spirit of joy, diligence, and zeal.  May my actions and words be compassionate, and friendly and demonstrate a genuine concern for the well-being of my fellows. May I remember my responsibility is to carry the message to those who still suffer and leave the outcome of my actions solely in Your hands. I ask that I may have a truly open mind, and trust that You alone are running the show. Thy will, not mine be done always!

Quote: Alcoholics Anonymous will never have a professional class. We have gained some understanding of the ancient words “Freely ye have received, freely give.” We have discovered that at the point of professionalism, money and spirituality do not mix. Almost no recovery from alcoholism has ever been brought about by the world’s best professionals, whether medical or religious. We do not decry professionalism in other fields, but we accept the sober fact that it does not work for us.

Every time we have tried to professionalize our Twelfth Step, the result has been exactly the same: Our single purpose has been defeated (Tradition Five). Alcoholics simply will not listen to a paid twelfth-stepper…The money motive compromises him and everything he says and does for this prospect. (AA 12 & 12: 166)

Freely ye have received; freely give.  (AA 12 & 12)