152: Is There Ever a Time to Shut Down Someone Sharing? (Sort Of)

You know when you are in a meeting and THAT person shares? Yeah, that one. Do we ask people to stop sharing? Or shut down their share? If someone is clearly talking about a mode of recovery that is not the 12 step approach, is there benefit to stopping their share? We tend to think about keeping the integrity of the program intact, or about the atmosphere of recovery, but what about for the individual that gets asked to stop speaking, is there any benefit to them? Or harm? We explore what types of things can be shared at meetings that might invite a home group member to ask someone to stop sharing, and also possible best practices of taking that action. Listen in and then share your experience with us. 

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Episodes mentioned:

Clean Time Counting


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recovery sort of is a podcast where we discuss recovery topics from the perspective of people living in long-term recovery this podcast does not intend to represent the views of any particular group organization or Fellowship the attitudes expressed are solely the opinion of its contributors be advised there may be strong language or topics of an adult nature

welcome back it’s recovery sort of I am Jason a guy who isn’t going to tell anybody not to talk and I’m Billy I’m a person in long-term recovery and we’re here to talk about a very kind of interesting topic that sort of came up a long time ago and we weren’t so sure we wanted to do but now we’re going to do it anyway and the idea of you know if there’s an appropriate time or way to ask people to stop talking in meetings um basically uh just real quick couple pieces of recap we you know the topic people would like to hear more about another person said mat and its place in recovery which I thought was an interesting way to say it but um and we keep getting this mat idea or somebody that’s on mats and has been successfully for a while and we are working on making that happen uh I would give credit to the person who sent that in but it’s a bunch of letters and numbers so I can’t read so um and we got one other message from Pete he said greetings from England he’s an addict named Pete and wanted to thank us for our show it’s helped reassure me of the humanness of recovery I love n a and I’m eight years clean you’ve expressed disgust and explored a lot of questions that I have with members nice to feel less alone I write and express with poetry the last thing I ever saw myself doing was whilst wishing to be clean creatives for want of a better word and performers in recovery very seemed to gel together and I have tried to include many in performing and writing because I only ever performed for judges or probation officers I remember thanking performers in the rooms were so distant from anything I could ever be and feared talking to them I wondered what your views on artists singers performers in recovery might be keep up the great work love and hugs so thank you Pete and I I thought that was pretty fascinating on something you don’t necessarily think of too often but yeah and I’ve had some friends over the years guys that play guitar seems to be the big thing that you know how do you continue to play music and do that obviously most of that happens in bars or clubs or events where people were drinking and having a good time and yeah how do you stay connected to that yeah well and I would imagine that uh at least I can remember this for me and I I feel like it was a bigger thing when I was going through it but this idea that I’m way more creative and free to express myself when I’m high you know what I mean like I feel like that was always a thing like people can’t push through that that self inner critic talk to even get to the creative Place yeah when you’re not and so yeah that’s a that’s a difficult one right how do you do that and I the interesting thing is though a guy that I know I consider a friend actually was part of opening a specific rehabilitation center that is specific for performers um and so I’m wondering if maybe we could talk about this whole time it might be good yeah I’m gonna reach out to him and see if he’ll come on in the future and yeah he might be he realized like some challenges and first thought a lot about it sounds like he is a uh a performer himself I think he had something to do with the wire at one point and he’s put out a CD so yeah should be interesting I’ll uh I’ll reach out and see if I can get him on here um so back to today and you know this topic sort of came from an experience you had so I’m gonna let you maybe describe as much of the experience as is safe or comfortable for the public yeah and of course there’s I’m gonna say lots of different reasons to consider asking people to stop talking in meetings I mean we’ve all heard different people go on you know whatever religious tangents or tangents about some book or something that they read or some therapy thing that they’re doing that’s sort of an outside issue and that’s one thing this particular case is a guy that I’ve known for a while um he’s had been around meetings for over a year you know so he had a lot of connections he year had made a lot of friends had a lot of relationships here um and then he had a relapse and since its relapse he’s not really been able to put any consistent amount of days together and he but he’s still going to meetings fairly regularly at least three or four a week from what I can tell and he’s drunk you know like like drunk in the meetings and you can kind of tell um you could probably kind of tell if you didn’t even know him but the fact that I know him so well it’s obvious you know that he’s very acting very differently and so this has been going on for a couple of months now and the the interesting part for me was I tend to think no one will ever [  ] want to come to a meeting when they’re high or drunk I’m like that would be the last place I would never want to come yeah it’s like why would I want to come sit in this meeting you know and be around straight people when I’m [  ] up like that sounds crazy but sounds boring yeah it’s like why would you want to do that but anyway I guess to each his own and we were talking with some friends of ours about this recently and he was sharing with us that he had done the same thing he’s been clean now a while but he had done the same thing he had a relapse and he was still coming to meetings and getting high like in the parking lot right before the meetings and one thing he said that I had never thought about was he had built all these relationships over his time coming in that were like all these like good healthy people and they were like honest and they were these good relationships and then back now this guy was doing heroin so it might have been a little different than the guy that’s drinking I don’t know but he said you know the people that he was dealing with when he was using were all like the [  ] shady characters that we’re used to when you’re you know people that you don’t necessarily like they’re Liars or thieves you know it’s just all the people that are in chaotic use and what they bring and that he loved having these relationships with these like fun stable people nobody just wanted to be high so that’s why he had done it and I was like ah that doesn’t outweigh for me the awkwardness of trying to be high around straight people well and I guess for me uh you know telling that story which is a fascinating story because my my initial reaction was obviously you’re not alone feeling like you would not want to be high and go to a meeting because we don’t see it too too often like it’s not the norm right so obviously there’s a whole lot of people who don’t want to be in a meeting once they get high right I think a lot of people agree but the second piece of the story really makes me think well [  ] man this is my problem with us not being more inclusive right I mean that guy literally wanted to be around the type of people that were in recovery and and I guess for whatever reason I don’t know if he was still using heroin at this point or if it had switched drugs and was using something else like but I don’t know the fact that he wants to be around why can’t he yeah that bothers me a little well I I think he can I mean the the guy that’s coming drunk and and my wife shares it when she tells her story you know of recovery she would say like I went to meetings drunk I went to meetings high no one ever kicked me out no they always just told me to keep coming back you know and that part I think is I don’t want to say universally agreed upon but for the most part that’s universally you know hey if you’re high you can come you know welcome this is where you need to be some meetings have different things that they’ll say in the beginning of the meeting you know we want you you know if you have drugs or paraphernalia take them outside we want you and not your drugs and that’s more for the risk of the meeting place and the legal ramifications and that probably goes back to the 50s like nowadays I don’t know that’s as big a deal but it could be a trigger for people if you have drugs and stuff on you or you know you drop your [  ] bag of weed on the floor you know I tried to get that trigger yeah yeah it could but I I tried to get that taken out of one of my home group’s readings yeah and they were like why I was like because I’ve been here for like 15 years and nobody’s ever [  ] left and took their drugs outside not one person has ever gone we’re wasting our [  ] time but uh I I had another you know fellow home group member that had a lot of time in recovery too and and they said yeah but I think it it sets the tone and lets people know that we’re serious about our program and I was like okay I wasn’t totally bought in but I was like that sounds [  ] good enough for me okay well we had one meeting up here for a long time that said if you have any drugs paraphernalia or weapons please take them outside and that was because they had an incident at the Home Group it was a lady there she was a little mentally unstable and she had come in and had some anger issues or resentment issues at somebody and she came in and I guess pulled a gun out and like laid it on the table and kind of did one of those dared some people to say some [  ] to her or say whatever she thought they were saying behind her back or or something like that but she had action so that in their format they put if you have any drugs paraphernalia or weapons please take them I mean I would keep the weapons one even if we got rid of the drugs one thing it seems safe to me now I mean it was what it was like a month ago two people got shot in a meeting in Florida did you hear about that I didn’t hear about that oh yeah so I I think what I got after the you know actual news story was that maybe it was like a jealous ex-boyfriend and he went in and shot the new boyfriend and the girl kind of and I think himself too I think it was all three yeah yeah that’s gonna happen yeah but it’s just not one you hear about often like usually 12-step meetings aren’t it might happen in a parking lot but they’re not in the meeting I am yeah but in any case so this guy uh my friend has been coming to meetings and you know again I’ve always been of the thing hey keep coming man it doesn’t you know whether you use today or not just keep coming that’s that’s what’s most important oh can we go back to that because I forgot to address that part of it so yeah I agree with you I don’t think we’re ever saying for people not to come back at all um I’m just picturing somebody so you know try to think back to when you were like somewhere in your first five years of recovery and you got a guy that hangs out in your you know Network whatever you guys do in your first five years hanging out going to meetings together whatever and he uses but still wants to be part of that group he’s not going to be okay you know he’s going to be looked down on if he comes out and gives up his clean time or whatever and gets honest whereas I wish there was the ability for him to just be like guys look I drank uh I still really want to hang out you know I still feel like I’m recovering drinking’s working for me right now whatever just if he could be authentic and real in that and I don’t think there’s any room for that because he will be treated different either a I mean there’s going to be people who just treat him different because well he’s [  ] using he’s not working our program anymore but there’s other people who are going to say that’s just dangerous I can’t be around that now I can’t help him anymore yeah I feel like a lot of people are going to say that and I’m like the fear of the dangers right yeah and that’s just I’m like that’s disappointing because that guy you described who was like I really like the people we were the perfect place for him to be able to keep coming and be authentic and just say look this is what I did this is what I’m gonna do for now well for me that so and this gets more to the heart of this issue is so this guy is coming to meetings and he’s sharing at every meeting and like doing readings reading readings and like slurring his words like it’s it’s pretty bad right you know and not only that but he was in a meeting you know that I was at and he shared a bunch of things and I know him really well you know over his time clean and he shared a bunch of stuff that isn’t what he thinks or believes at all it was a bunch of just sort of drunken regurgitated things he thought were the right things to say in a meeting so he wasn’t really being his authentic so right you know what I mean he was he was it was something else and I don’t know you know one I don’t know if that’s helpful to him you know to do that and I don’t know if it’s helpful to anyone else in the meeting for him to be doing that you know when we’re supposed to be this atmosphere of recovery and and whatever you know clean sober whatever word you want to use and so it’s not the fact that I don’t think he should come because I certainly think he should come but it’s almost like when he comes in now you know he’s gonna share in the meeting and that’s [  ] awkward right it’s very awkward so does does everybody know the few people that I know personally that we’ve talked about it yes they all no I mean it’s I hate to say it’s like he’s not falling down drunk but he’s talking in very slurred speech and like say makes a point to try to read readings or talk or you know whereas if you just sit quietly no one would probably know I’m not gonna lie and I feel like a really good human for this so I’m definitely gonna brag about a little the first thought that comes to my mind right now is is he driving back and forth to meetings maybe one of you guys yeah yesterday yeah I just thought about that yesterday I thought holy [  ] he’s probably driving to me yeah like I’m wondering if I didn’t even crossed my mind I’m like man maybe one of these season members should offer to pick them up each week so he’s safer well let me back up just a minute and tell you my thought process for all this because we started to think we started to talk about this way and then I got off track so he’s been coming to meetings he relapsed and he was out for a couple of months and he went through some pretty chaotic use and and things were pretty bad and you know he got all the way to sort of homeless and you know whatever and he and it was a couple of months where he wasn’t coming to meetings at all then he reached out to me and some other of our friends and said you know he wanted to come back to meetings and so then he started coming back to meetings and it’s been this most recent couple months where occasionally he’ll call I’ll go pick him up we’ll go to meetings together or whatever I’ll see him at a lot of meetings but he would talk and be all kind of like quote unquote weird you know like different and I’m like I think he might have pickled his brain the last time he used you know because I’m sure you’ve seen I know I’ve seen over the years people that like relapse and then when they come back like there’s noticeable impairment from the person that they used to be to the person that they are now um from long periods of [  ] chaotic use of any substance man it can mess your brain up well I think it’s more than just the substance itself too just the whole way of life and I mean it can really like you know we talk about how we live in an animalistic level and you know I some of that comparison I think bothers me but the idea that like we do get really soaked into this one purpose living right it’s just about getting ways it means to get more drugs to feel okay yeah and there’s a certain anti-social piece that comes along with that way of life yes which might be more from our society than just a natural byproduct of drug use and that’s something that’s kind of fascinating to me I always assume that was just oh yeah you use drugs you want to be away from everybody but I’m I’m wondering if that’s what I’m seeing with like n a with kind of the shame piece yeah is it the chicken or the egg like it would become antisocial because we’ve been pushed out of society so it’s like [  ] them right what I want to do yeah yeah so he’s you know been coming back to meetings and sharing and talking and when I talk to him like he’s called me on the phone a few times we talk and and I have just assumed that he’s clean but or it’s over whatever word you want to use and that he’s just weird yeah now he’s just weird now he’s just different because of some you know and I keep thinking man if he would just stay clean a little while some of that I think comes back you know for some people if if they get clean especially you know what we see with the uh crystal meth you know the methamphetamines like that [  ] yeah that [  ] really messes people up but in any case I have just given him the benefit of the doubt and my approach to most of these situations um and not to get too far off the track but it’s like people that are on like a maintenance program or anything else like my opinion with most of that has always been if they’re not talking to me about it and we’re not having an intimate conversation one-on-one about what they think my opinion is I don’t give a [  ] if you say you’re clean you’re clean and I can have my thoughts and opinions and like oh I think that person’s [  ] up but I’m not gonna care you know what I mean for the most part you want to celebrate you want to do whatever like that’s that’s your [  ] that’s not my [  ] to decide and so if he comes in and tells me that he’s clean and that he wants to be here and that he’s doing good like that’s what he says a lot I am doing really good I’m hitting lots of meetings you know things are going really good I mean compared to two months ago he’s not lying yeah well I don’t know I’ve heard some other stuff that it’s not that you know so in any case I’ve just given him the benefit of the doubt and then in talking with some other friends they’re like dude you’re [  ] crazy like he’s totally drunk and I’m like I don’t know I don’t know maybe he’s not and they’re like no he’s [  ] drunk so then yesterday or a couple of days ago now he actually called me on the phone and said hey you know I just I I wanted to let you know like things really haven’t been going good it’s really been going really really bad I’m I’m like on the doorstep of being homeless again and I’ve been drunk in these meetings I don’t know if you’ve known I said well you know kind of but I you know whatever and he’s like and I keep going to meetings and I keep like sharing and trying to say what I think people want to hear because I want to help people and you know I don’t want people to do what I’m doing just and he was drunk then too so it was a bunch of drunk talk as well and we talked about getting into treatment or whatever else but part of that conversation he’s he says well if you’ve known you know why don’t why don’t you say anything I’m like well you know it’s not my place to call you out on stuff I want you to feel welcome in the meeting I don’t want to be a person that tries to throw like guilt or shame or any of that on you know to you to push you away like I want you to come and I it doesn’t matter to me if you’re drunk or not if you’re showing up and you’re here like hopefully you know you’ll get the message or you’ll find what you’re looking for like that’s what I keep telling them like I just want you to find what you’re looking for that’s going to help you and that what you want out of life but he was like oh no no I think you know you should call me out on this and and you should shut me down in the meetings and I was just like oh I don’t know plus he was drunk so if I did that and he was drunk another time it might lead to a fight right right wow yeah which guy shows up drunk that night he’s a happy drunk 12-step guy or bitter drunk I’m gonna whoop your ass for saying something guy yeah that that’s such a weird thing that it’s almost like he’s arguing this thing well and I mean I’m sure you’ve been to enough meetings over the years and and whatever like there’s been always those cases where people show up and they share and they’re intoxicated and you can kind of tell you kind of know but it I mean in my history of all that 99 of those times the people share for a couple minutes it’s [ __ ] completely awkward and uncomfortable and then they just stop talking right and usually they don’t keep coming to meetings like usually it’s once or maybe a handful of times and then you never see them again this has been months and it’s a couple meetings a week and like I say he shares at everybody

so it’s like what do you know I’ve never been a person to shut someone down in a meeting I’ve never done that I’ve came close a couple of times to really kind of trying to protect the Integrity of recovery and the Integrity of the meeting but I’ve never actually done it so it’s interesting that I got all the I feel like we come in with these topics like should you shut people down in a meeting or not and instead of coming to that answer we come to like 48 other different conclusions and I’m like huh it’s fascinating but uh the first thing that came to my mind when you said about this phone call of him calling you it’s almost like he’s he’s looking for this reaction for people to push him away right like that’s what he’s been conditioned to in his life is like he shows up he’s this drunk [  ] and people disconnect from him and push him out of their life and isolate him off you know on the sides of society and I think your response actually was beautiful because it’s it’s almost like he’s showing up and not getting that response and he’s like what the [  ] man why aren’t these people dissing me and then you’re like nah man we just want you here like we just we just want to love you we don’t care and that’s like damn that might have been exactly what he [  ] needed yeah I don’t know I don’t know it just came across as pretty powerful to me maybe it didn’t feel that powerful for you at the moment but it seemed like it no but thank you um I don’t know it makes me think of so many different things so uh in general I think the only thing the Narcotics Anonymous specific literature that I know of at least has to say about this topic is in the group booklet which if you don’t know what the group booklet is it’s a it’s not quite a pamphlet it’s like a small booklet that is supposed to you know describe how home groups should operate for the most part um and it goes through a list of positions like the secretary and the treasurer and all that and you know what you’re looking for for this person to have um and then it says there’s other positions outside of that one they call it the leader and it says also called the chairperson in different areas but the statement it makes is the person leading the meeting is responsible for establishing an atmosphere of recovery although sharing problems is necessary for identification sharing Solutions is necessary for Recovery it should always be in the leader’s mind that we are here for the specific purpose of staying clean and helping other addicts Define recovery from addiction so I feel like in my mind this is the statement I always use to justify being whatever trying to follow rules or Traditions or whatever I was saying I was doing uh for most of my time in recovery like you know if you’re sharing a hot mess that doesn’t feel like it’s conducive to Leading this meeting in the topic of spiritual principles and Recovery life then right you know I subjectively get to decide that and tell you to shut the [  ] up I mean I could see how it could be used to justify that easily yeah and I I guess I’ve seen meetings try to accomplish that in different the five minute timer for me is always like that’s really what that is that’s just a way of keeping things on task if anybody’s too off track you know oh you’ve been fighting timer goes off five minutes shut it down yeah no that’s exactly and I feel like so I had a home group that actually I had saw that method in another group and brought it back to my home group and we implemented it we had a five minute sign and you know the secretary or the chairperson was supposed to time that and and yeah that to me it was the most polite way for people who a or either not talking about things conducive to recovery or B they’re just going too long right like either even that always subjective like the time five minutes was always like up to the at least in a lot of the ones I’ve been in like if it’s somebody you like or a friend of yours you kind of shut the timer off real fast if it’s somebody you don’t like or they’re sharing a big mess he’d you know might be a little louder or let it go a little longer until they stop yeah I I think so I had to uh be the chairperson or whatever or the secretary whatever you like to call it at one point and the way I would do it was honestly if if it felt like engaging if somebody went six seven eight minutes but you’re still talking about a relevant issue and still making a point I’m not saying [  ] yeah if you’re talking nonsense you’re getting the [  ] timer like and I I really didn’t use it much I didn’t want to um I tried to kind of get people’s attention more of like one-on-one while they’re talking makes my contacts make a little watch thing you know the little five whatever but I do think there’s times especially like when the meeting had run over the hour and I was done I was like yeah it’s time for this bad boy up um but yeah I mean I I do think that’s one of the more pleasant ways and and also I overall time sharing wise I think that’s really the way to go oh yeah now have you ever like shut someone down for topic wise like for what they were saying or what they were God I feel like I have I feel like I have but I don’t remember any specific incident but I I yeah man like just I’ve always tried to do it nicely like to walk over to them and just kind of whisper to him like Hey let’s go outside and talk or something like that but even that I’ve seen not get a great response when other people have done it in meetings over time you know or the person like they whisper quietly to the guy like hey you know do you want to go outside and talk and the person’s like shut the [  ] up why are you talking to me while I’m sharing or something like Whoa okay yeah I don’t want none of that so yeah no and so I tend to not want to lead the meeting and I always get mixed up with the words is it secretary or chair like who’s the person that sits up at the front so according to this book yes the secretary is also known as the leader and they’re the person that sits up front Okay but I’m sorry that’s the chairperson and the leader so the chairperson is the person that sits up front I run I always get those words mixed up when we don’t even use those positions different around here like for us secretary is the person who sits up front of the meeting and gets speakers usually and then the speakers usually the chairperson so I don’t yeah that’s what that’s why I’m always views yeah anyway I don’t like to personally sit up and run and all this goes back to one of those like I had a sponsor early on that told me one time that is a service position one when you’re sitting up there you shouldn’t be sharing from that position because you are in a service position at that point and your job is to be running the meeting and taking care of all of that stuff not sharing your own personal [  ] the other thing is that gives a weird possible uh leadership role to that person that’s sitting up front you know so anyway and that always just stuck in my head like oh okay if that’s what you say then that’s the way it is and now that’s just the way that I do it right and I tend to go to meetings I don’t want to say with the intention of sharing because there’s plenty of meetings that I don’t share at but I don’t like to not give myself that ability either so one of my first sponsors I think it was my first sponsor told me that too but his work around was if you really felt you needed to share at that meeting you got up and leave that position sit in the audience and share and then go back up which I thought was fair enough I guess at that point in time I think over time I I’ve just I generally have adopted like you said like I heard it once and it seemed legit so I went with it not that I haven’t ever done it but I’ve probably tried to keep it like short yeah and yeah because I’ve been at my home group where there’s like five people in the meeting so then it’s different you know it’s like well now we’re just trying to fill up the hour right right so everybody’s getting a turn today so they’re apparently there’s not much official n a stance on what would constitute shutting down a share or not um and and you know Caroline had mentioned this topic she hasn’t been on for a while she actually will be on soon but um she had mentioned this a long time ago like when when is it okay like we you know as a topic when do you shut down somebody in a meeting is is it because they’re high is it because they’re talking about a certain thing like when is it appropriate and I kind of brought that topic to you and you were like I would never like we just don’t [  ] yeah I don’t even want to talk talk about it I’m like oh I guess that doesn’t give us much to say but I feel like here we ended up here anyway yeah and I don’t remember that because I think I would well yeah maybe when I said that I meant for me personally but yeah that’s where it’s hard that’s why and that’s another reason I don’t want that position because when I’m in a seat I feel like that’s that person’s responsibility right you know what I mean like hey man why are you not shutting this [  ] yes

that’s so funny yeah that’s I mean that’s who’s supposed to be in charge of that [  ] right and if I was sitting up there I would feel like that was my responsibility you know like I have sat in many meetings where somebody is sharing too long about something that I feel like is definitely not recovery appropriate and I am always like my first thought is what the [  ] secretary and then my second thought is I can’t believe this [  ] home group I can’t believe they wouldn’t come over and shut this [  ] down Knowing damn well when it’s my turn I’m sitting there like dreading the hell yeah they’re doing stop talking oh my God don’t make me get up and come over and say something to you I don’t wanna yeah so yeah it’s so difficult you know because a lot of times people I always think their intention is good and that their heart is in the right place but it’s like when you’re impaired it’s different I not different I think your heart might still be in the right place but your intellectual capacity isn’t where it should be so like say with with my friend it’s like you can tell like what he’s saying is just off like it just doesn’t it almost doesn’t make sense you know like it makes sense but it’s like this is some [ __ ] I think and uh you know and it’s a subject though it’s a little different whether it’s somebody’s religious beliefs or something like that that feels a little different this episode has been brought to you in part by Voices of Hope Inc a non-profit recovery organization made up of people in recovery family members and allies together members strive to protect the Dignity of those that use drugs and those in recovery by advocating for treatment harm reduction and support resources and mentoring please visit us at

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thank you well and maybe maybe this is the point where we talk about like when do you think about even considering shutting somebody down like is there a thing that’s worth making somebody stop talking for it and I don’t know what that would be right is it because they’re high is it because the subject material is it because they shared that they’ve used today you know I mean like what is your description of the right kind of yeah people that come into specifically in like an n a meeting and talk about being on a maintenance program or or how much that saved their life or how great that is for them or they talk about their recovery house and how great their recovery houses or their treatment center and how great the treatment center is you know it’s like all that stuff is is always to me like right on that line of you know right and it’s I guess that’s the point of when you’re in a home group and having that group conscience and electing that person to chair the meeting like that’s the importance of considering that position I don’t think we do that a lot I know I don’t you know we get in the home group we all get together and go hey who wants to run the meeting oh okay Dave yup Dave run a meeting sounds good thanks you know appreciate it right so and then Dave does it and you know we haven’t even talked about any of that stuff or if they have the willingness or ability to shut someone down right right and set up there with like nine months clean and have a 15-year member talking some dumb [  ] like all right do I really feel like I could sell this right can I really tell that person to stop talking I don’t know I couldn’t do it so let’s see things that have bothered me over the years when I’ve heard them in meetings um definitely when people just I feel like share about irrelevant [  ] that’s what bothers me more than anything I think when they’re just like babbling on and I’m like not connected to the conversation and it doesn’t feel like it’s got a storyline and it’s not necessarily going anywhere I’m like what the [  ] are we listening to like I don’t know I guess from my point in time today the biggest problem is disconnection like that’s what comes to mind for me like what has us all here together on the edge of our seat having the same experience and then what has us all kind of starting to space out and tune out and do whatever like that’s but that’s not something I think you should shut it down for it’s just very subjective I think because is it though yeah is it I I don’t I don’t know that it’s as subjective as you think it is because I think you could have a very entertaining speaker someone who’s good at engaging a crowd and good at speaking share about some really irrelevant [  ] I mean I don’t know I’ve been to conventions or big meetings where people just rattle off a bunch of cliches loudly and the [ __ ] crowd has gone wild you know and I’m like this is not really saying anything I mean it’s almost like our cliches episode when it’s like when you look at most of those cliches they aren’t

and it’s like if you just yell that real loud with you know stay clean no matter what you know if people [  ] get all into it but and that’s just me I mean they’re all connected but I don’t know I for me one of the things and it isn’t always specifically the subject as much as how people say things you know like if I was to go into a meeting and say something like yeah you know from my experience and I know this isn’t for everybody but like I didn’t come through a treatment center or anything I just came the n a meeting stayed clean that day and that worked for me I you know for some people they go to a treatment center if they say yeah I needed to go to a treatment center and they’re sort of vague and they’re not specific but it’s like you know there’s a way to do that without going oh I went to Ashley and went in at Ashley you know it was great because we had a chef and they gave us all this food and you know it was really nice and we got this great support and they took us to these outside meetings and you know we went to AAA and n a and then they had therapy you know and then you’re talking all about the [  ] treatment center and you’re not really sharing about recovery in general you know to me that’s always kind of off yeah but is it worth stopping somebody for depends on how long they want to talk about their Treatment Center you know I mean so I what do you think qualifies and what benefit do you feel you gain so I you’ve mentioned a few things so far like this guy you’re talking about the original story he was drunk right at the meeting but you also mentioned that he’s like trying to say what he thinks and A’s message is or what he thinks recovery’s messages or you know something helpful even though you don’t think necessarily that he agrees with it or is living it at the moment but I don’t know that that’s something I could like if I use that as a qualification for shutting people down I feel like you’re shutting everybody down that’s got less than two years because that’s exactly what all of us were doing was spouting some na [  ] that somebody else said that we thought we believed yeah yeah this is their criteria there or is it just if someone’s I mean in the in this case I think it more has to do with like he’s literally slurring his speech to the point where like you know he’s drunk and maybe this is the opportune time because we’re always talking about like this you know we talked about it last week this purity test of of clean and how we’re monitoring sort of each other and and this big fear that if we don’t keep the 12-step environment pure something bad will happen right like if if there’s High people leading the meeting uh newcomers might get high as well and die or something I think that’s the fear that we’re all worried about I’m guessing but like maybe this is the time to interview newcomers that go to that meeting you’re talking about that he’s at and say hey how does it affect you that that this guy is doing this like what is that does it make you feel like you want to go out and do it or you know what I mean kind of get some inside input because we always say that’s the fear is the newcomer here and that person well let’s ask the newcomer yeah and I never think of it as the newcomer specifically I think of it as anybody you know like that’s the way I always looked at it like I know we sort of say that oh like with a bunch of clean time people were supposed to be better but I don’t exempt myself from the desire compulsion to use on any given day okay well does it make you want to use because he slurs the speech at the meeting no but it’s also like you know I wouldn’t go to church and then start talking about the Buddha a bunch either like it’s just not the appropriate place or the appropriate environment for that that you know like there’s a place for that it’s not here and even if like I’ll hang out and talk with them after the meeting even that’s fine or if he wanted to go get something to eat I’d probably go get something to eat with him you know but in the meeting during the meeting just doesn’t feel appropriate it doesn’t seem like that’s the best thing I guess it would be the way you describe that right there to me that would be more relevant if he was in there saying like oh my God James beam Jim Beam that’s the answer that’s [  ] step 13. y’all got to get on over there Step 0.5 everybody needs a drink it feels great like it’s not like he’s in there attempting to deliver a non-na message like it might not be the name message he necessarily is living or believing but he’s trying and attempting to give the right information so in his case yes in the maintenance programs though that’s that’s what that message feels like you know what I mean like that’s where that one gets a little hairy because we’ve had that I’ve been in meetings where people are like yeah I’m on you know methadone and it’s great it’s working great for me and it’s like oh yeah that’s the same as someone saying oh yeah well I just drink wine now and that’s good for me and I can do that you know I wonder though I feel like after the fact we’d all be okay right so like somebody’s up there and they’re like celebrating their second year and they’re like yeah you know my path just like you would share you know my path wasn’t through a detox center they would say you you know my path was through as Suboxone maintenance program for a while to detox down that’s not everybody’s story like I feel like we’d all be like oh great that’s a beautiful NH message thanks yeah but if they’re in the middle of it and they’re like yeah I’m on Suboxone I’m working on tapering down I’m hoping one day to you know be off of that we would be like oh why are you sharing in our meeting you don’t have anything I don’t know see that I would be okay like that I feel like is I don’t know I me personally I wouldn’t that wouldn’t bother me so much but what if they didn’t say they were tapering down what if they just set them on Suboxone and it’s going well yeah that would be different I mean again that’s just me but and I don’t know that I would shut them down specifically but I guess I’m thinking more back to this this idea that the drunk person sharing is the problem and I don’t know if that is that that’s going to cause someone to want to use I don’t know if that is the fear for me um the fear for me more has to do with the Integrity of the fellowship and the program and it’s the same with people on maintenance I have anything against people that are on a maintenance program and want to be on a maintenance program and if they needed a [  ] ride to the clinic I’d probably even give them a ride if they were a friend of mine you know what I mean like I wouldn’t support them in that Journey but in the n a meeting like we have all these readings that say you know we’re a program of complete abstinence from all drugs you know this is why we’re doing this is because we have this addiction problem and when we use it leads us to this chaotic lifestyle that we don’t want to live anymore and you know all those things that we read those readings say and then when you have people come in that are you know drunk or talking about a maintenance program and no one in the meeting is really shutting them down or just making that like oh that’s completely okay too like what message does that send to the new person like how much Integrity do we have in this abstinence thing how much importance is there really are we staying clean is it okay to smoke weed is it okay to you know be on a maintenance program is it okay to just drink and not do other drugs like you know it starts to get blurry if we’re not consistent in our message of what we’re doing there um that’s where I think it gets a little more dangerous than the specific hearing a drunk person and thinking that you’re going to go get drunk or high it’s interesting Integrity as a program or as a fellowship I don’t know trying to think through that idea I feel like the Integrity is is in self right like my Integrity is that I am doing what I say I’m doing not so much like our program has to it’ll be more like Fidelity I guess everybody’s looking the same you know what I mean like I don’t know that the program or group has an integrity that’s kind of an interesting concept I’m not saying it can’t I’m just I don’t know how we would enforce Na’s Integrity you know what I mean yeah and I guess where the that the enforcement part is where it gets tricky because we have those Traditions that are supposed to sort of keep us along the right path but they seem to only work if everyone’s following them like when you have a few Rogue people that are doing other things it’s like what do you do with those Rogue people that you know like like how do you manage them in a way that keeps everyone else on the same path right because the Traditions aren’t you know as we discovered going through all of them they’re not a legal system they’re not a system of laws and a system of punishments for if those laws are broken like they’re just ideas and you know and these are nice you and I found just looking for a couple minutes trying to find some anything about what you would do with a person that was using and sharing in a meeting there’s nothing in any of our literature and in anything in you know AAA literature that I could find you know there’s nothing easily available that’s like oh yeah if a piece of person’s using in a meeting and they want to share this is what you do right you know there’s not that yeah it doesn’t exist it’s it’s definitely a challenge you know one of the things this brought up for me um which is going back to that idea I was telling earlier like this disconnection versus connection idea from the strangest of places I my mother’s boyfriend of like 12 years passed away a week ago and so we ended up at the funeral yesterday and so we’re in this funeral and you know I’m already like funerals like it’s not the kind of [  ] I want to be at you know it’s just dreary and awful and but you go in there and then they start in with the the guy reading out of the Bible and you know doing his thing I guess it’s a sermon of some sort and everybody’s just kind of sitting there like whatever sort of half spaced out right but then they had two people come up and and share you know meaningful events um and connections from this guy’s life and I guess one of those is the eulogy and one’s just another person who wanted to get up and share and they were both so perfect and beautiful right and like everybody in the [  ] place has Tears in their eyes and we’re all like connected and sharing our grief together it was like exactly I was like holy [  ] I have never had this experience that like this is exactly what a funeral’s supposed to be like we’re supposed to be grieving together and that’s what it felt like and then the the second share ended and the you know Pastor Reverend whatever he was got back up and started talking again and within a minute all dry eyes everybody disconnected again and I’m not trying to [  ] on the Bible that is not the goal here right it’s not about the Bible I guess for me and this kind of took place at the last two funerals I’ve been at they just didn’t feel like the Bible felt authentic right right I’m not saying the person didn’t believe in God and didn’t think they were going to heaven and didn’t follow Jesus but they never talked about that around me right like that was never a conversation we had I never heard those words come out of their mouth at any point in time and I’ve been around these people for a while so to me it just feels so you know if you had somebody that was highly involved in your church and and they passed away like everybody would probably feel connected and comforted by Bible verses or whatever else but this wasn’t a particularly religious event and and it just felt so so I just looking at that idea of like damn there are ways we can come together and really feel connected and United depending on what’s being said in the environment and what’s not and it was just so drastic and for everybody to like connect and then disconnect so quickly depending on what was being you know talked about I was like damn that kind of feels like it makes a lot of sense for this episode because it you know it’s it’s not so much that what they’re sharing that I’m scared of what it’s gonna do or Integrity like for me it’s just is everybody spacing out and starting to check their [  ] Facebook again because we’ve lost the [  ] meeting at that point right the point is for us to be here and connect but going into that too and and I’m you know about to shut up and let you talk a little because I’m getting dry um this idea that I feel like you know I’ve gone over before when I came to a meeting there was 30 people in the meeting and 27 of them had more than six months right and then you know towards later points in my recovery it’s a meeting of 55 people and you know 26 of them have never been there before because they just got to recovery this week and it’s like this this shift in size and and senior members or whatever and you have 26 people coming in more interested in being on their phones they’re already part of this disconnection of the meeting so like how does that impact the whole meeting atmosphere and is there going to be more kind of Rogue shares if that’s going on and people aren’t connected because when you’re connected you’re responding to what the last share was you know what I mean you’re kind of riffing off of that you’re a part of a whole yeah and all those things again just bring up to me why it is important that we have a chairperson or a you know a home group or a group conscience that addresses some of those issues I mean you know I feel like if I was in a meeting where I had a whole bunch of people that were new from a treatment center a recovery house coming a lot maybe I’ll do a speaker meeting maybe I’ll do something else to try to control you know try to keep the focus where it needs to be yes it’s tough you know we want to have an atmosphere of recovery I’m a big person that if I go to a meeting and it has a topic I’m going to share about the topic you know whether I have some personal [  ] going on I mean if it was really like life or death personal [  ] I might share about it but most of the time I try to keep what I’m saying relevant to the topic because I feel like that helps at least tries to protect this Integrity protect this connection this is what we’re all talking about today and we can feel connected and unified in that whereas you got different people sharing about different stuff in the past I have felt differently about that though I used to have a home group we didn’t have a topic or anything you came in you shared about what was going on with you in your life and at that point I just felt like it was more relevant for me and my recovery to know like how are you really doing this what are you really doing in your life and how are you applying this [  ] like at your job and with your wife and with your kids and what are you doing outside of these meetings because I can read you know Oodles of information about whatever uh spirituality and how to you know be honest and practice these principles but what’s that really look like when you’re living at your job you know when you’re when you’re at your job and you’re in a situation where somebody gives you too much change like what does that [ __ ] look like yeah I guess you know if we get down to the the actual doing of this task though the actual shutting someone down in a meeting I don’t know what benefit happens from that right I feel like there’s going to be unintended consequences I feel like there’s probably some better practices to try to not alienate this person you know from the group in trying to get them to stop sharing and yet I still feel like once you start the process of I’m going to try to stop them from sharing you don’t know what’s going to happen and it doesn’t matter how good your compassionate practices are this person might be in a place where you know I mean they’re already giving clues that their reaction is not going to be all that great because they’re not really all in the right place is there a good way or is there a better way to try to shut someone down or is it better to just not really do it I mean ever’s a strong word because you could have somebody who’s completely off the rails doing whatever and you do have to kind of be like hey excuse me but most of the time let’s say with this guy even because he never goes too awful long and it’s not it’s just like say it’s just like a drunk person talking for a couple minutes would it be maybe better as either the home group or as an individual you know one of us that knows him well because some other guys in the home group know him pretty well too to do that after the meeting or a side and say hey look man we know you’ve been struggling you know we want you to keep coming back but if you’ve been using that day maybe don’t share you know maybe try to try to wait till you get a day or try to wait till you’re sober to come in and share because we’d really rather have you and hear from you not the intoxicated you and is there a nicer way to do that because that’s just sounded mean at the end

I don’t know that there’s a nicer way to do it I do think 101 is probably preferred to in the event itself but I feel like usually after the event itself it’s kind of like it’s [  ] over now we don’t want to I guess if it was a regular pattern like this like I I haven’t seen too many regular patterns no this is a new one for me I gotta be honest yeah usually you see something like this and you’re like outside of your area or it’s a person who’s never been there before it never comes back well and what’s funny is it didn’t come up in our conversation like when him and I were talking because more I was it is just me personally I was leaning on him to try to get back into treatment I think that’s what he needs but that’s just whatever but I didn’t use that opportunity to say you know when we were talking about him drinking in the meetings like I didn’t use that opportunity to say Hey you shouldn’t be doing that you know don’t share when you come into meetings drunk like it just didn’t feel like the right timing right it was a different conversation but I I put it on myself like I didn’t use that opportunity that he brought it up to say you probably shouldn’t be doing this anyway so don’t put it on me to correct you you need to correct yourself right yeah and that’s kind of fascinating because I feel like that might have been and Depends because I might have been called off guard by that phone call too but like it does feel like one of those times you could just say something like if he said to me why aren’t you shutting me down in the meeting that’s the right thing to do I’d be like well why are you talking that right if you don’t think it’s the right thing to do why are you open your mouth well and I will say too there is that part of me as a member in recovery that has that old school like this person’s using I should just try to shut this conversation down and get off this phone because this is a bunch of irrelevant nonsense and I don’t know that that’s true but that feeling comes right away you know when I’m like oh he’s drunk this is stupid right you know but I just use the opportunity to say the things that I feel like I would say if he wasn’t drunk and whether he hears it or not is it not really up to me but then I do try to find at some point to get off the phone because what ends up happening or at least with this particular individual is he starts saying all the same [  ] all over again you know the exact same things all over again like I don’t want to hear this four times you know 40-minute conversation that really was a five minute conversation five times so this is a shitty question but I’m gonna say it anyway so what happens if a guy like this or this guy they end up on heroin and then I come to the meeting and they’re doing this pattern but every time they share they nod out like 25 seconds into it so then you wait like 15 seconds and you’re like well that’s how we’ll get past it we’ll just let somebody else share but then they keep coming back to the story every time they wake up do you have to shut them down like multiple times like yeah I’ve never had that that would be interesting that would be [  ] up yeah I actually think I have kind of seen something like that but they were they didn’t finish the story they just kept waking up with a few words and then going back yeah well and there’s always been people that talk out a turn at meetings like that but that always seems so Random like usually nowadays I’m a little forgiving when I’m like oh it’s just a brand new person that’s not been like they don’t know the culture they don’t know the environment they’ll figure it out if they keep coming back you know now isn’t the opportunity to push them out and that I feel like is very different you know that that I feel like is like at least for me personally like I’m a little more tolerant of that the difference with this situation is this is an individual that’s been heavily involved he was in service he you know I mean he for lack of a better word like he knows better you know like he knows the expectations and the environment and the culture so it’s not a it’s not a surprise that he shouldn’t think that that’s okay well his his brain knows better but I I wonder and this could go two ways right with the nervous system just thinking about like if the alcohol comes his nervous system more that might make it easier for him to hear things in that moment yeah but then if it’s the opposite and he’s in survival mode it doesn’t matter if he knows better or not because he’s not going to have access to that kind of thinking well and as my friend what I keep trying to get to him and I can’t ever get a good answer is like well what are you looking for like do you want to be abstinent or do you not like if you don’t then that’s okay two like I’m not here to judge anything but if you want to be abstinent and hear doing this then there’s some things you got to do you know and if you don’t that’s fine I’ll still be your friend but this is weird like you’re in the middle of two things so is there a time to shut somebody down in the meeting ah I’m sure like you said I don’t want to never say never because there’s always a weird situation you never know but I I don’t see me shutting anybody down in the meeting yeah it would be really rare I’m probably more apt to do it now than I ever was only because I have a little more whatever you want to call it like integrity and self-worth where I feel like if I were to do it I would feel okay with that decision but as far as five years ten years ago I would have never I would have just never happened and it wouldn’t even matter what they were doing I feel like there was a way better chance of getting me to shut somebody down five or ten years ago yeah because I I definitely would have bought into some kind of Integrity that you’re talking about of Na or Fidelity or whatever we’d like to refer to it as but I I just don’t feel like I do anymore oh I don’t know say whatever the [  ] you want I ain’t here to tell you not to I don’t know what the hell’s supposed to be said or not I need the master of that I can’t picture it but there’s just so many I feel like for every case you could give me where I’d be like oh yeah that might need to be shut down I would see another case of a person not high and just stare in some similar [  ] and I’d be like but I would let them do that so I’m like yeah I just I’ve heard so much shitty stuff out of people that are clean in recovery working steps I’m like I don’t know I don’t shut none of that [  ] down why would I do it for anybody else yeah and I guess that’s the importance of a good chairperson think about who your chair people are in your meetings yeah ask them you know what do you think protects the Integrity of the group yeah well it’s an interesting conversation it is it is and I feel like we all would have a different answer of like what’s allowable or what needs to go or what’s not helping us connect in an atmosphere of recovery but it I would be interested in like more chair people or secretary’s answers like what would what would it be to you where do you draw your line and what does that mean to you how do you judge when to say something and how do you say it yeah be curious and I think that all gets back to the autonomy of the group’s autonomy of the meetings and what what different groups want to be you know what kind of atmosphere you’re trying to have awesome so go out there and feel safe in the knowledge that you can share whatever [ __ ] nonsense you want and I will not shut you up have a good week

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