Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Walking Out Of A Meeting - A blong (Grin)

October 14 - The soul is very clear that its purpose is evolution. That is its sole purpose--and soul purpose. It is not concerned with the achievements of the body or the development of the mind. These are all meaningless to the soul. Meditations from Conversations with God, Book 1, page 82.
Hey there you bunch of alkies. How the hell are you? Sober as usual I bet.
Saturday night I wrote about not walking out of the meeting during the share I found very hard to listen to as the speaker was very monotone. I also mentioned that I had only walked out of one speaker meeting because of what the speaker said. And I would do it again. As it turned out, it was a learning experience, but if the same thing happened again, I would walk out again.
The meeting was the Saturday night speaker meeting at Colfax in the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles in the summer of 2001. This was a predominately gay meeting and usually had 200-300 in attendance. The format was readings, a ten minute speaker, birthday celebrations, and then the main speaker. The speakers were not always gay and that was ok, we were there to hear ESH. Usually most speakers would say that what they shared were their own experiences and thoughts and not necessarily those of AA.
In LA, medication for a psychiatric diagnosis was very controversial as were prescription drugs for pain or during surgery. The latter being espoused by a smaller group was said to take away your sobriety. If you were on these drugs you were not sober. In my third year of sobriety, I heard this at a workshop at the AALA convention. I quit my meds - I have been diagnosed with Major Depression, PTSD, Anxiety/Panic disorder. Oh and I also quit my doctors. Within a short period of time I was very suicidal and had gone into a very depressive state. It just all kicked in. My sponsor asked me what was going on, and I told him I was following AA's rule of no drugs. Nothing stronger than and aspirin; no mind altering drugs, etc. He just looked at me in amazement and asked what page I read that on. Of course it is not there. He insisted I call both my Psychiatrist and my Psychologist right then and there and set up an appointment ASAP. I did get better shortly thereafter.
Now that previous paragraph is just a prelude for the walkout story. After the Birthday Celebrations the meeting Secretary introduced the speaker as someone that was very special to her - her sponsor. The guy took the stage and introduced himself as "I'm Jack" an alcoholic. I have been clean and sober for 28 years. I have never spoken with a gay group before and I am here to share my ESH. I am going to piss a lot of you off, because of something that is most prevalent in so gay AA's so called sobriety. I really don't care if I piss you off or not, I am going to be telling you the truth. The truth of Alcoholics Anonymous, some of you will probably walk out, but I don't care. This needs to be said. How many of you are on mind altering prescriptions drugs or prescribed pain pills . Don't raise you hands, I don't want to embarrass you but you are not sober.(Three or four people started for the door.) See I told you some of you could not handle this. That's right taking those drugs equal YOU ARE NOT SOBER (as he yelled the capitalized words). Another few people left. Then my best friend and was going down the aisle for the door and "Jack" yelled THAT"S RIGHT LEAVE, THE PHARMACY IS STILL OPEN. With that about half of the hall got up and walked out mostly by way of the back door. We gathered as a group and more and more people came out. We were told there was about 50 people left. A lot of people just went to their cars and left. About 50 of stayed for awhile and a group of about 5 said we needed to demand the resignation of the secretary and the guy should be censured to the AA Central Office Of Los Angeles. That was what was in our minds when we left. A group of us went to our regular after meeting hangout, ate, talked about what happened and then went home.
As the week went on many calls were made, lots of people with hot tempers tried to prevail. Many of our "community icons" agreed with us. Many did not. Finally, As it turned out what we had wanted to do was outside the 12 traditions. Which one - read them to find out. Pay special attention to tradition three but the answer is in all 12 of them. As I said this was a learning experience. We followed the traditions, no one was voted out, no one was censured. That is not the way of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Today, I would probably walk of a meeting if something of this type occurred again. I want to hear ESH, not be attacked. Now I can handle someone expressing his/her opinion during their share - as long as they don't try to twist it as Alcoholics Anonymous regulation. We don't have them. We have the steps - a suggested way of life. We have the traditions which is to the group what the steps are to the individual. We also have the 12 principles and the 12 promises. My favorite Promise is "God doing for me what I cannot do for myself." Now it just does not get any better than that.
Tonight I am grateful for:
  • God, my Higher Power
  • My Sobriety
  • Mamie my schnauzer
  • My Sponsor
  • Others gratitude lists
  • My fellow bloggers (you are all treasures)
  • The serenity prayer
  • Working on quitting fighting any and everything.

Y'all be pretty now, ya heah.


Akannie said...

LOL...there are sure a bunch of loonies in the rooms of AA everywhere. I got sober in northern California--the REAL northern Callifornia, about an hour from the Oregon border--in 1990. Even then there were some people who tried to tell other people what to take and what not to take...and yet others who said very clearly "We are not doctors. Your mental health is something you take up with a mental health professional." I'm glad. I wasn't taking meds then, but at 11 years sober I was in an industrial accident and then it all hit the fan.

But hey...today I'm not a martyr. I had a sponsor who would say "Get off the cross--we need the wood!"


dAAve said...

I guess gay men aren't the only ones who enjoy drama.

Scott W said...

There is a reason why they are called SUGGESTIONS. That wasn't yelling, just emphasis!

J-Online said...

Wow. I can see how that wouldn't go over so well.

Before you told this I kept thinking about what would make a group leave during a speaker meeting. Now I get it.


I'm not for walking out of meetings, but I could see it as a possibility given your description of this particular meeting.