2: Meetings Suck (Sort Of)

10/27/19 We explore the reasons we think that meetings can suck at times and the goods and bad of what goes on in meetings. We look at sharing early in recovery, being on your phone in meetings, chants, and bringing kids to meetings.

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Transcript:

recovery sort of is a weekly podcast
where we discuss issues around living
with addiction from the perspective of
two people and long-term recovery this
podcast does not intend to represent or
endorse the views of any particular
group organization or fellowship the
views expressed are solely the opinions
of its contributors be advised there may
be strong language or topics of an adult
nature
[Music]
all right so welcome back to recovery
sort of where we talk about recovery
sort of so we you know got our podcasts
up and running bill we had supposedly
like five or three listens depending on
which statistic you look at on our site
and I’m assuming that one was my wife
and two were you that’s of the three I’m
imagining no one else probably heard
this yet including myself my wife was
firstly listening to it too so maybe
that’s three that works out so yeah this
week we’re gonna talk about meetings and
why they are great or why they aren’t so
great depending on which one you hit
that week and of course we’re coming
mostly from a 12-step meeting
perspective on that but generally I
think both of our shared experience is
that all meetings and all people in
general kind of fall into a certain sort
of category or group of people and they
kind of act the same no matter where you
go yeah that’s kind of been my thing
early on obviously through going to
inpatient treatment or even
recommendations of outpatient treatment
I had checked out a bunch of the
different 12-step meetings I know I’ve
been to at least four different versions
of 12-step meetings mostly the big ones
this sort of you know Alcoholics
Anonymous Narcotics Anonymous there used
to be one around I don’t know if it’s
still around called CDA chemical
dependence Anonymous I had been to a few
of those meetings not many and then of
course you got the essay and Overeaters
Anonymous I’ve never been to either of
those meetings but I know a little bit
about them have read some of their
literature and things so the 12-step
model seems to be pretty popular for a
lot of people you know meetings wise
right um recently I’ve actually been
looking into some other non 12-step
meeting options that are out there which
I have been to at least one of the
versions that have seen of an
at least one of those is a meditation
type version there’s some different you
know non I don’t you want to call it
like their their their less focused on
the God and the spiritual aspects and
more focused on the like the cognitive
behavioral therapy aspects of meetings
there’s a couple others in our area
which have already been kind of googling
up and trying to figure out how I’m
gonna fit them into my schedule or check
them out so I think that should be fun
I’m really open-minded to that kind of
stuff not because I want to leave the
fellowship that I’m in I’m quite happy
there I the 12-step model has worked
great for me and I still feel like it’s
got a lot to offer me I have friends
that I’ve known there forever I’ve met
my wife there pretty much everyone in my
personal network of friends outside of
my immediate family I know from 12
sefalosha PI over a year so I’ve no
plans on looking for another home so to
speak it’s more just curiosity no and
I’m with you I like to experience
different experiences at one point I
definitely when I first got to you know
my particular fellowship I bought into
this is the only answer I need I don’t
need to go anywhere else and I was
completely against it and then through
some other experiences of checking out
other 12-step meetings overtime
you mentioned Overeaters Anonymous and
then there’s like SLA a and sa a and
debtors anonymous and all these other
things that I’ve you know participated
in for research and or for personal need
and I’ve enjoyed the experience of being
exposed to new ways of saying things or
thinking about things right I will say
that one of the things I find funny so I
okay you all agree that like the 12
steps probably work because they changed
the way we think right they’re more of a
thought process than a guide process in
that aspect the 12 steps themselves and
yet I’m I truly still cannot fathom
going to a fellowship that doesn’t
necessarily focus or believe in the
spiritual side of it because I’m like
well in that initial moment of clarity
for me
I don’t think that happened because of
my own brain right like I think there
was some other power at work that made
that switch in the beginning in order to
even think about changing my thinking in
a 12-step fellowship I don’t think I
thought my way into getting out of
addiction yeah and and what I think of
there’s other types of meetings so not
all of them are even abstinence based so
the goals of the different meetings can
be quite different some of these other
alternatives to 12-step meetings are
abstinence based but some are not some
are more how to manage your addiction in
a way where you can go socially drink
and that is what I don’t want to use the
word fascinates me it sort of scares me
to death is like I only for me
personally think that an abstinence
based recovery motto will work because I
even from an early on age never did
anything to any sort of manageable level
for more than two days you know like
everything was always full on all the
time this is the way that I even now
engage in most things in my life in my
life it’s it’s like all or nothing I’m
all-in so to think that oh I can figure
out how to drink manageably like for me
personally like that’s ridiculous like
that’s not an option you know that I
want to explore in my life I don’t even
want to try it so yeah and then the the
spiritual aspect I think you know get
down a road of people tend to mix up
these words spiritual with religious and
they start to look at 12-step meetings
as being more of a religious kind of
thing and all the dogma and that that
comes along with just the word God you
know the stigma and what people think
when you hear this word God and hang-ups
with that me included like I am right
there with you know all the lack of
belief in sort of some of the organized
religion principles that I just buck at
and you know those can be easily
confused in 12-step fell
it can be easy to think well this is
really just a Christian thing that
they’re trying to sneak God in some kind
of backdoor and they’ll say it’s not but
it is so for me personally like the the
spiritual aspect of meetings is you know
I go to learn about spiritual principles
that I want to apply in my life and when
I apply those principles in my life I’m
living spiritually and it’s kind of that
simple it’s not this you know I need
some belief in some deity to bless me so
that my life becomes good right no I
that’s funny I I can’t imagine doing an
on abstinence based program myself the
thought of trying to do something in
moderation escapes me even clean like I
definitely have caused many a moment of
chaos in my life because I don’t seem to
have that moderating force within me
when I get into anything but you you
mentioned you know people who can
confuse the fellowship with or a meeting
with a religious entity and and that
would be one of the things that makes a
bad meeting for me is when it happens to
be a speaker meeting or someone shares
and they are overly sold on their their
particular God it’s one thing to mention
who your God is I’m fine with that oh
hey like I love Jesus I’m not cool
that’s cool no and if that’s all you say
about it I’m good with that but when you
start to really go into that in the form
of hey everyone in this meeting we all
really know where this is going and
where this comes from and we understand
that you know the disease and maybe this
other figure the devil it might be the
same thing and you know character
defects might be sins we all get that
I’m like no we don’t all get that and
please stop and just shut up yeah that
doesn’t bother me as much anymore I I do
get concerned sometimes like I think oh
you know if someone’s new coming into
meetings and that’s their first
introduction you know or their right
only been going to meetings for a short
amount of time and then they hear this
religion thing and they get a little bit
freaked out I do worry a little
about that but at the same time you know
you can go into a meeting and you can
have a guy go on a 20 minute diatribe
about his war story and glorify as using
which can be just as detrimental to
people you’re gonna have people go on a
15 minute diatribe about how terrible
their life is since they got clean and
they’re having all these problems and
issues and you know people say all kinds
of crazy stuff at meetings I’ve been in
enough to hear pretty much every
tradition violated probably I’ve done it
myself at different times in my life you
know broke every tradition there is
about speaking about meetings I mean
when we crack Smee up so when we neat
read you know one of the readings in the
fellowship I go to they say we’re not
interested in what or how much you use
to your connections were what you have
done in your past how much or how little
you have but only on what you want to do
about your problem and how we can help
and then at almost every speaker meeting
starts with at least a 5 to 15 minute
story about all you’re using and how you
got to where you are and how you sort of
quote-unquote earned your seat there and
just even that you know cracks me up now
and we do it for identification purposes
but it’s like wait a minute we just had
a reading that says we don’t care about
these things but that’s how we
quote-unquote qualify ourselves is to
say all those things right so at that
particular statement I look at that
particular part of our reading I look at
is as interesting because we say all we
care about is you know what you think
you’re what you want to do about your
problem and how we can help and we don’t
really want to know what they want to do
about their problem like we want to give
suggestions about what they can do about
their problem and so I always found that
interesting like I don’t really care
what any of my spawn sees what they
think the solution to their problem is
too much like because they usually don’t
have the right solution inside I don’t
know I find that interesting I I don’t
know I’m always amazed that so many
people don’t like what they refer to as
war stories or just talking about their
use and I think that is a crucial part
of my story personally and that’s
because when
I got here that was the only goddamn
thing I heard when people shared I could
identify with the feelings of the
getting and using and struggling like
usually a great story for me early on
was somebody who talked about their
using they talked about what it was like
they definitely had a couple of funny
stories to like because it’s the first
time I could laugh and forever so I
could laugh at myself a little with
their funny stories and then they would
talk about the horrors of the of some of
their using days you know like hey I was
using and I got burned or I was gelling
up and whatever it was right some of the
things that I could identify with I
couldn’t [ __ ] connect if you only
shared about the 12 steps in your life
in recovery I’d never I’d have never
felt a part of and so I personally
definitely make sure I’m not an
apologist for sharing some of my using
nor do I ever avoid sharing it like
that’s the point of my share is to
connect with that guy walking in the
door have him have something relatable
and then tell them what it’s like now
for me after that yeah and I think that
is the one of the best things about the
anonymity involved in the program you
know we talk about that word anonymity a
lot being like oh you’re not supposed to
give out my last name and you’re not
supposed to tell people you saw me in a
meeting but you know anonymity also has
the value of that you know no meeting is
set by any particular standards that
they all identify or around this sorry
they all develop their own flavor if you
will their own sort of identity you know
so that I go to certain meetings and I
really relate to you know I have been in
my home group for a long long time and I
like the form out of that meeting I’ve
had people go there and be like dude
this is the worst meeting like I don’t
know how you go there on a regular basis
and get anything out of that and you
know I can go to another meeting or my
wife and I are a perfect example so you
know we’ll go to a meeting together
which is just happen recently we go to a
meeting together we walk out of the
meeting and she’s like man that was a
great meeting and I’m like really like I
think that was a terrible meeting you
know so what we’re looking for and what
we need
in that out of you know meetings in
general I think is different for each of
us you know it’s part of the autonomy of
the program it’s like why I go to
meetings and what I do you know is
unique to me like I don’t think we all
go for the same reasons and I’ve changed
the reasons that I go throughout am i
using you know in the beginning I went
to a lot of meetings all the time
because I just didn’t want to get high I
had no kind of social activities outside
of getting high so I went to a lot of
meetings all the time it connected me
with people it gave me some as you said
people I could identify with one of the
first meetings I walked into there was a
guy in there that I had been in jail
with so I was like hey I know that guy
I know where he cain’t I had used with
him before we were in jail together then
we got to hang out a little bit in jail
together so there was that point of
identity just from seeing that person so
I see how you know that that
identification of hearing people’s
stories can be really useful it’s hard
to remember back to when I first started
coming to meetings what I liked about
him to be honest meetings over the years
so here’s a question and maybe this will
at least point us in the direction for
this topic who’s the meeting for right
because I would tend to think of course
everybody in it right the guy with 30
years needs to hear something useful for
him and and be a part of providing
what’s useful for others just as much as
the guy with one day clean at his first
ever meeting right I tend to believe
that both of those people need it but I
would say that initially maybe the
primary purpose right is the still
suffering addict who could be either one
of those I tend to lean towards the
meeting is definitely for the guy
walking in the door for the first time
or early on right like yeah of course I
want to get something out of a meeting
but a lot of days when I go to a meeting
now I’m trying not to think oh should I
go to this meeting am I gonna get
anything out of it and it’s more of like
this is the meeting I said I was going
to go
– and I need to show up whether I’m
gonna get anything or not because
sometimes I’m the guy that’s giving the
stuff today right but I think the
meeting is more for the person who needs
to come in and get that initial shot of
hope to come out of despair what do you
think so yeah I don’t know I I don’t
know that I’ve thought that much about
who is the meeting for I mean obviously
you know it’s like say that the still
suffering person who can be anyone so I
think the meeting is for everyone
personally because we’re all suffering
in some way shape or form as addicts if
we’re not treating ourselves so going to
meetings I guess I think a lot of times
is what our meetings for like what is
the purpose of the meeting okay because
if you think about it like I would apply
to like Oh someone that goes to a group
therapy session well if you have people
that go into a group therapy session is
that group just for one of those
individuals or is one of those
individuals needs to trump the needs of
everyone else in the group or is it for
the good of the group you know and I
look at meetings more as that like
meetings are so I’ll go down this road a
little bit
I don’t think meetings are where you get
recovery I don’t really think they’re
what I understand of at least through
the 12-step model is that the recovery
what I need in my life to help me deal
with my problem of addiction is found in
the 12 steps right and that the meeting
is just a place where I go for positive
reinforcement of those ideas of why I am
staying abstinent why I choose that
lifestyle why I continue to sort of
practice the 12 steps to the best of my
ability why I’ve made a decision to not
use drugs on a daily basis anymore right
and in that as a result of working the
12 steps in doing like a 12-step where
I’m trying to practice these principles
in all my affairs you know I try to
identify who’s I try to identify other
people’s needs and do my best to help
them meet their needs because
that’s a I want to be a loving caring
kind compassionate person in all areas
of my life I don’t want to be selfish or
self-serving or self-seeking so even if
I’m suffered and I go to a meeting and
someone else in there is suffering as
well I want to identify and relate with
that person suffering and try to share
with them and you know that helps us
both kind of deal with our stuff but I
don’t have ever thought that a meeting
is for one person over another at the at
the risk of beating us to death or you
know going a little too far to try to
prove I’m right because that’s not my
goal here but I guess from for me it
stems from yeah I agree mostly with
everything you said about you know what
the meetings are for they’re not that
where the recovery happens right I just
think there’s like a reminder of what we
need to do and a reinforcement like you
mentioned and and you know a shot of
hope sometimes when we’re feeling a
little down but I would say for me the
reason I say the Newcomer is probably
the most important what you hear
meetings even though it’s not in our
literature is because I think the guy
walking in doesn’t have any other
ability to get that right so if a guy
was 10 15 20 30 years is in a meeting
even if he is the guy that’s still
suffering at that point I would hope
that he has learned some other ways to
deal with his suffering right hopefully
he’s got a sponsor he knows to call he’s
got a network that he relies on and
calls regularly or meets up with for
coffee maybe he’s learned some coping
skills for him like meditation or you
know whatever it is some kind of comfort
method to treat himself with like the
newcomer that’s just shot dope yesterday
and trying to get cleaned today does not
have those options right so I’m assuming
that that’s the most important person
because they don’t have anywhere else to
get that bit of hope or relief from the
way they feel whereas people who do have
time even in their times and suffering
have other places to go and other means
to to get some you know relief or help
with their problem right so then how do
we identify who is a newcomer and by
that I mean I was first introduced to
12-step meetings when I was 17
years old I didn’t get clean or get
sober when I was 17 years old you know
that I went to meetings through
different times I was court-ordered to
meetings at different times you know but
I was 26 when I came back to meetings
and found recovery this time right so at
what of those points was I exactly a new
Co like so with all that said when I
came back the last time when I came the
meetings I had a pretty clear
understanding of what if I wanted
Narcotics Anonymous to work for me what
I needed to do right there was no secret
at that point I knew what I was kind of
going there for I wasn’t completely lost
and totally abandoned in my life well we
should probably write out a list of
rules kind of like the n-c-double-a
eligibility rules for college play and
we can have you know if you’ve only been
to meetings for two years but never had
more than nine months straight clean own
to sit consecutive occasion like you
know what I mean we can have some crazy
now or if you’ve been to meetings for
five years and never worked a step right
I guess I mean the only way you can
really go by that for me and this
doesn’t help with our conversation at
all but it’s the same like you’re clean
when you say you’re clean you’re a
newcomer when you say you’re a newcomer
all right I don’t know any other way to
to delegate that on you know on to
someone unless it’s somebody with 20
years clean that I want to make fun of
and then I call him a new comer all
right but yeah I don’t know how to pick
that out yeah it’s interesting and you
know I don’t I don’t know I this is bad
to say but I’ll say I don’t care um you
know we hear people say that you know
the new comer is the most important
person at any meeting and I’m always
like well I don’t know if that’s true
you know I mean if we got five newcomers
in a meeting and no one there with any
real experience of recovery or any real
experience of doing anything what are
those five people have doll for each
other you know well and if you if you
lay out the rest of the statement the
newcomers the most important person the
meaning because we can only keep what we
have by giving it away and I would not
still be in recovery if it wasn’t for
becoming a sponsor if it wasn’t for
reinforcing this program in myself by
helping to teach others and helping
others to grasp it right and that
doesn’t mean that I did anything special
except show up like obviously for me the
God of my understanding does the real
work in individuals not me it’s not like
I’m out here saving people’s lives
personally but it has definitely been me
showing up for the newer member and
helping them to read the page there one
like I’m generally a guy that’s just
reading a later page in the book so
that’s what’s helped me stay clean and
that’s why I think that statement is the
newcomers the most important person
because if nobody new came in after me
and I didn’t have this to give back to I
would have already forgotten what I
needed to do so I think the newcomer is
the most important person because
they’re actually for my recovery it’s
kind of like helping other people
because I know it makes me feel good
it’s selfless in a very selfish way yeah
and and I’ve thought that before like
you know what I’ve come to believe as
far as you know my problem you know with
addiction is that I am a totally
self-centered and self-serving person
and that most of my initial actions and
initial responses to life for how do I
get what I want
how do I get more of what I want what’s
gonna serve me best in this situation
and by trying to help other people
putting other people’s needs first
that’s like the antithesis of my disease
that’s the that’s a counter opposite you
know that’s the that’s the spiritual
part is you know learning to put other
people’s needs ahead of my own
the reason I do think you know kind of
try to think deeply about some of those
reasons for some of those sayings and
stuff though is because I don’t want to
be a person that or I shouldn’t say I
don’t want to be it’s hard for me to be
a person that just does stuff because
someone else told me to do it I gotta
think about it be like well why am I
doing this what is the reason behind
doing this is there a reason behind
doing this
or am I just doing something because
somebody told me to do it sort of that
dogmatic
approach to things and I’m not a person
that likes to just have a dogmatic
approach to life you know I want to make
sure that because I can only you know
have good intention if I know what the
reasons behind what I’m doing are you
know I have to have reasons behind what
I’m doing so that I can make sure my
intentions and my actions are all in
line I agree with that a buddy of mine
and I discussed a lot of times he talks
about it’s important to do the right
thing for the right reason and we’ve
gotten into you know good debates about
I would say it’s if you just do the
right thing for the wrong reason [ __ ] it
like at least you’re doing the right
thing and and he believes the intent
really does make a difference but what
you’re going into
we should really just take a note and
make that an episode of our the cliches
you know go through every cliche we can
think of and like is this one [ __ ]
stupid or is this a really good one
because there are some really stupid
ones that we say for sure yeah I’ll buy
into that I feel like we’re completely
off the topic of whether meanings suck
or not there so yes let’s get into yeah
we’ll get back to you know what what
makes a bad meeting or what things are
annoying about meetings to me it’s all
the sort of group chanting and the
things that we all say together when we
chime in and through yeah that drives me
nuts if and it ties back to one of my
times in treatment I was you know we
watched I believe it was the Sandra
Bullock like 28 days I think it’s the
one she was in that’s this recovery base
alcoholic you know thing where she goes
to treatment and to watching a movie and
see all these groups of people like
saying these sort of chants like it
looks very cultish and it looks very
corny and you know it’s just like gosh
is that really what my life is relegated
to is this corny cliche of a you know
thing so that bugs me and over the years
what’s gotten worse is that we do it
just more and more and more I will agree
with that every year we’re adding a new
like let’s just say this part pretty
soon we’re just going to all be reading
the whole readings all together and
and doing all that and it’s that would
be funny I find it hokey I find it great
no so I agree so in my home group they
definitely have more and more and more
like you’re talking about and that part
does kind of bother me like a oh hey we
have the basic text for sale at cost and
also the sponsorship book that you work
with a and then everybody supposed to
yell out sponsor and like it’s just more
and more group participation and a lot
of it does seem really weird and I guess
hokey is a good word for it to me but I
will say going back to early recovery uh
in my area they would read the the the
one reading how it works and they would
say alcohol is a drug and I caught it on
real early that the cool people would be
like what and then they’d have to say
alcohol is a drug again and I always
felt a part of for knowing that and
being able to participate in it and that
was like one of my first comparing in I
feel a part of this group and I think
that’s a big a big part of my recovery
was buying in like to feel a part of
something for once in my life instead of
so isolated and alone on an island and
so in that sense I will say that I think
that particular whatever was good for me
I think maybe that’s good for other
people too if they had that same problem
I had so then is is there a counter to
that though that you know what about the
people that don’t know the chance or the
sayings how awkward they must feel
standing there when everyone else is
doing this thing on this inner circle
and they’re the ones left on the outside
cuz they don’t write the saying or so I
don’t know right and you know when
you’re sitting there when you’re that
person you feel like everyone in the
meeting is staring at you and everyone
knows that you’re not saying the little
rose saying that everyone’s like that’s
the way you feel is that oh my god
everyone’s looking at me and I’m not
saying these words that everyone else
knows so right and you’re right but I’m
thinking back so for me and I know
everyone is not like me I at least I’m
rationally aware that even though I
don’t believe it most days and my
self-centeredness but for me when I had
bought into na and I was ready
when they chanted before I knew it I
just couldn’t wait to learn it I was
like eating it up trying to memorize it
while they were saying and I’m like you
haven’t get this one of these meetings
right I’m being on the in-crowd
so I don’t know though but I guess it
could go either way it doesn’t always
have to be you know the way I
experienced it one of the things I
definitely disliked in meetings is when
I go to a meeting and hopefully not the
speaker if it’s a speaker meeting
because that’s a really lengthy awful
chair but even even from the floor just
having to listen to somebody who is not
ready to share about any recovery based
information and they drone on and on
about the awfulness of their recovery
house or what’s going on there or
they’re just completely bitching or the
same guy share in every meeting about
the same dumb [ __ ] session that never
involves a solution or any recovery
based information never even ends with
hey at least I stayed clean through this
[ __ ] that I’m like I guess for me
it’s just a cut like when people share
that aren’t plugged in enough to have
anybody tell them hey you probably
shouldn’t be sharing ever or definitely
not as often because you don’t know any
[ __ ] recovery you’ve never worked a
step in yet you’re still in this meeting
every week talking about why recovery is
not working yeah and that so I think
about it as from the the spirit from
where they’re coming from with that to
clarify when I talk about like a when we
talk about war stories like there’s a
spirit behind that you know when I talk
about someone having what I consider
like a war story that’s almost a
glorification of their using and how
much drugs they were doing and how much
they were selling and all the stuff that
they acquired and how many women they
had and you know that sort of
glorification of it it’s not just
someone who talks about using you know
there’s more the glorification side that
I consider like using it as a status
almost to gain recognition like right
are you how cool they were and I think
for me with what you’re talking about
there is again the spirit behind what
they’re saying is it’s someone that’s
coming in
it’s really like pained up that
suffering that is just trying to voice
their suffering or are they just
complaining when it’s really a bunch of
nonsense you know complaining for the
sake of one to complain out loud and be
heard I mean obviously with advent of
Facebook and all these other things we
see plenty of people doing that all the
time like I just want a [ __ ] and yell
and scream about what I’m not happy
about so people pay attention to me
right you know when it’s that attention
grab thing yeah it’s pretty annoying but
you know for some when I hear newer
people come in and talk about the real
suffering that they feel of not knowing
how to deal with life without drugs not
knowing how to deal with their problems
and just wanting to use and and just
nail-biting through that you know in
that early part like that hits my heart
pretty hard you know whether they add
some recovery in there or not most of
them don’t have it at that point that
right no and so I think you just pointed
out a really good way to qualify whether
it’s something worth listening to or not
I would totally agree yeah I think that
the pain of using is part of recovery
right and I’m definitely more focused on
the people who are just complaining
because they are still living in the
perspective of the world is out to get
them and they have had no you know
recovery change of maybe there’s
something I can do or maybe there’s some
support I can get to help deal with this
they’re just stuck in you know the
Eeyore mode of wanting to be miserable
right poor me I think that one of the
things that’s hard about qualifying it
that way is that there’s no actual way
to measure that right and so then it
just becomes a and that’s probably a lot
of what we’ll talk about today there’s
no real you know measurement device to
point out hey this was a good meeting or
this was a bad meeting it’s more of just
a feel that’s what we deal with
yeah and that’s where the that autonomy
comes in it’s like you know for an area
similar to ours at the moment that has a
lot of recovery houses popping off you
have a lot of people
and in the meetings that are in recovery
houses well for the 10 other guys that
are in that meeting in a recovery house
they can relate with that recovery house
guys [ __ ] you know anything like for
them that’s their point of
identification that’s her like yeah I
understand that difficulty I understand
that struggle I know what I can relate
to that whereas you know if they went to
another me like in particular my home
group there’s a bunch of guys there with
a lot of time you don’t hear a lot of
Bali’s from the members of the home
group there’s not a lot of talk about
man I really had a hard time just not
getting high today like this is not a
topic that comes up a lot at my home
group because you know the home group
members have double-digit clean time
more than half of them so our struggles
with recovery have more to do with you
know applying spiritual principles try
not to give in to like the self centered
self seeking behaviors some of the you
know struggles of you know just living
life on life’s terms sometimes not as
much the identification of using and
being in a recovery house or being early
and recovery and trying to get a job
with a criminal record like those aren’t
things that come up at my home group
that much so I think some people would
fall into the category of people who say
you know every clean day is a successful
day and I’m sure not everyone agrees
with that you know you could not get
high today and and you know beat your
wife and and kick your children and and
you know smash your puppy’s head or
something really awful which that just
went to a really you know extreme right
there am I in my version but that does
bring to the point that question like it
for our programs purpose and for where
we come from and for just not going back
to that miserable place right not that
we can’t get miserable and recovery but
supposedly if you don’t use today
there’s always hope that you don’t have
to be as bad tomorrow or have as
terrible of a day tomorrow so you know
is is that the truth is it if you just
don’t use today it’s been successful and
that maybe we should remember that in
meetings like you mentioned your home
group not ever really talking about that
point of addiction but can we say like
hey today was a rough day and I’m
struggling to put
spiritual principles into my
relationship with my wife and I don’t
want to cheat on her but you know I
didn’t use today so it’s it’s still
better than where it was when I got here
yeah and I think I try to do that as a
member with time I try to identify look
the main reason I’m in this meeting is
because I was an addict who suffered you
know with addiction to substances that’s
the you know our primary purpose in the
meetings is to you know sort of carry
that message and then the application
and living on a daily basis of applying
those principles of recovery is the
application part um I think that’s
that’s hard because you’re you’re
relying on the individual members to
each take responsibility and the truth
is in a you know in the say my home
group or any meeting that you go to
there’s 10 12 15 people there some of
them have a application of some of these
principles and steps and traditions and
all those things and some don’t you know
some have never been involved in any
sort of service at any kind of level
where they’ve had to mull over some of
these principles and how they apply and
and some haven’t really worked past the
third or fourth step even though they
got multiple years clean and you know
that’s a whole nother conversation of
have you been clean all these years but
you haven’t really worked a lot of steps
or you know yeah what is the quality of
your recovery and what do you what do
you really even do and hit unit to me
that’s always the thing I’m like what
are you even doing here like I don’t
understand that
and I would definitely add into that
that from my experience on any given day
with steps and recovery at times I still
might be that guy who’s not you know the
one taking personal responsibility for
what I say at a meeting like I can show
up and be the idiot
any day oh yeah definitely through the
years I’ve done like say every bad thing
sat in a meeting and text it on my phone
you know but of course what I’m doing it
it’s it’s obviously something important
like what when I’m texted on my phone
everyone should understand that it’s
obviously either my kid and it’s a
really important issue or it’s a
babysitter and it’s a really important
issue or if I get up and walk out of the
meeting to take a phone call
well since it’s me you should know that
it’s completely important right and when
it’s someone else it’s just a bunch of
[ __ ] and how disrespectful they are
to me and the rest of the meeting for
them to be such an interrupt I
definitely spent two years of my
recovery basically going to my home
group each week and that alone and all
my phone through my entire home group
whether it was candy crush or watching
the football or baseball score update
and and I did that telling myself that I
was still getting something out of the
meeting I can candy crush and still
listen I can play words with friends and
hear the speaker and I look at that now
probably eight years after stopping
doing that because I decided it was
important to sit still for an hour and
be involved and be present and I say get
the [ __ ] off your phone and a meeting
dude that drives me crazy you’re
distracting me from paying attention cuz
you’re on your [ __ ] phone and it’s so
goddamn rude like if I’m talking I’m
talking because I need people to listen
and hear me and talk to me and relate
right and so I need to give that to
other people I [ __ ] hate when people
are on their phones at meetings dude
yeah for me it’s a it’s a respect thing
it’s a level respect so if if something
does happen and it’s important I try to
kind of get up and quietly walk out it
doesn’t happen very often time I turn my
phone like completely off where it
doesn’t even vibrate I’m try to remember
to do that so that it doesn’t even go
off during the meeting unless I’m in a
situation where hey I might be expecting
an important call or you know something
going on with one of my kids or whatever
then there’s some important things that
I need to stay in contact with same for
me if there’s something I know might
happen yes I’ll have it on vibrate but
generally my phone is completely turned
off right and it carries outside I mean
I’ve stood outside of meetings for an
hour and never looked at my phone after
the meeting and you know it’s been three
hours since I looked at my phone thought
that phone right I’ll deal with it when
I look at it
now right now I’m dealing with whoever
I’m talking to right in front of me so
I’ve had two people that I very much
respected in recovery wise one of them
used to sit in meetings and actually
knit it was a guy and he would actually
sit there and knit like blankets and
sweaters and [ __ ] and he’d just be or
crochet I’m not sure which ones I think
it was a knitting anyway he would sit
there and knit the whole time with the
needles go in and thread and just sit
there knit the whole time while the
meeting was going on do you feel like
that’s weird I feel like that’s
different than a phone well it was weird
because to me being probably sexist but
thinking there’s this old white guy
sitting in a meeting knitting no time
like that in and of itself was weird
right you know and who [ __ ] knits in
the 20th century but and then I had
another sponsor who was actually my
sponsor at one point used to stand sort
in the back of meetings against the wall
and would do like Tai Chi poses and [ __ ]
while the meeting was going on and he
had talked about that instance with the
guy that would knit or himself doing the
Tai Chi poses and said well and this was
just his perspective which again I
always listen to and think about it’s
like he would say well there’s a lot of
sort of nonsense conversation going on
in meetings it really isn’t very useful
and I don’t want to sort of bog down my
brain with all this useless stuff but
when someone starts to say something
really important I’ll stop what I’m
doing and pay attention and he would
point out this guy that was knitting he
would say watch him one time when he’s
doing that during the meeting and when
someone says something that he finds
particularly insightful or particularly
useful he’ll stop and he’ll really
intently pay attention and then when you
can tell when he feels like it goes back
to [ __ ] he’ll start knitting again
and see I think that’s even worse
personally because I try most of the
reason I listen isn’t because what
people have to say is [ __ ] you know
baffling me with the mind-boggling
intenseness of how important it is for
my life it’s usually dumb [ __ ] right but
I’m listening because I think I want
them to know that
there worked me listening has nothing to
do with what they’re saying I don’t give
a [ __ ] what they’re saying usually it’s
like hey look you matter right that’s
what I want you to know you matter and
I’m gonna sit here and give you a
respectful listening and yet for me one
of the points of the meeting like one of
the reasons I think meetings are
important and beneficial is that sense
of community that sense of connection
that we get go in there like we form you
know a community there we have shared
values shared beliefs you know that we
reinforce through you know these
different practices and actions and like
it’s important that I show that respect
to those people you know I tend to not
do any of those things for the reasons
you say like to me now it’s become just
a level of respect for someone who’s
talking and sharing and you know early
on you know I thought major you know
minor issues in my life were these major
life boggling experiences that I didn’t
know how to deal with you know that that
I struggled with they really were
emotionally challenging for me in my
life you know burning a pizza for dinner
or you know what I was gonna do cuz you
know some girl didn’t call me back like
those things early on in recovery were
just so detrimental you know so
overwhelming I guess yeah I got stuck
you’re a gas on the way home from work
what the [ __ ] right and they could be
totally overwhelming to you know now in
my life I’m like dude you’re getting all
hung up over [ __ ] you know what I
mean like my kids are all healthy you
know I have my electric Tom we have food
in the fridge I have a place to live you
know my family’s all doing okay I’m
doing okay like the minor stuff is
really not the stuff that I need to get
bulk now with what it’s they could be
you know all this time to learn how to
manage those emotions and it’s so I look
at my teenage daughters and say they are
regularly overwhelmed with minor really
[ __ ] meaningless [ __ ] right like they
were going to take their phones to
school which they’re normally not
allowed to do they were going to Friday
for their birthday and then they did
something I didn’t
I changed my mind and said no you can’t
just leave me here you’ll get him after
school and my one daughter cried about
it right and there was a day they set up
this thing of going to a football game
and then like the information came to me
later that they weren’t supposed to be
there without parental supervision and I
wasn’t going to the football game so I
told him they couldn’t go and my
daughter cried about it and I’m like get
the [ __ ] over it it’s such a small thing
right but for them in that place it’s
their whole life right and I try to
remember that it’s hard at times when
it’s really really stupid [ __ ] for my
five-year-olds man that he can’t you
know I have the snacky once before
dinner that’s important to him but I
think when people come into recovery
especially they are kind of stunted in
their emotional growth and they are kind
of five-year-olds or teenagers and that
[ __ ] is huge to them yeah and it’s funny
you know I think back through all the
years that I’ve been going to meetings I
am sure my reasons and rationales have
changed through that time you know I
remember so so I always think of that
funny thing it’s like you can almost
tell where someone’s at in their
recovery like how many years they have
buy what they share what they talk about
it’s that you know the newcomers in the
first year like everyone’s all like
great and recovery is great and life’s
great and everything’s fabulous and you
know all that and then you get to the
like the two to five years where you
become like the know-it-all person who
like I know what every person needs to
do and when people share they want to
share back at them like how they need to
fix their problem and what they need to
do about it you can almost identify that
person by how they share they wait till
the end of the meeting so that they can
share their great advice or everyone
else you know and then we get you know
later in recovery so I’ve done all those
things um that five to ten years I was
the person who was in all the meetings
to help everyone else you know I didn’t
I didn’t need to be there I was there to
grace everyone else with my presence and
to you know not necessarily fix all
their problems but to be this great
example of recovery and and and it’s
funny you just see people go through
those things and then you know once you
get to that I think it’s like the 15 to
20 years you become the person that like
most people don’t know what the [ __ ]
you’re talking about any
even clean like I don’t know what all I
ever say is they don’t know what’s going
on in life and they don’t know what
they’re like that’s how I feel now by
like I don’t know what I’m doing I’m
just winging my way through most of this
on a daily basis trying my best getting
it right sometimes getting it wrong
sometimes I don’t have any answer for
anybody so one of the other things you
can like or dislike about a meeting
would be formats right so I got clean in
an area where almost every goddamn
meeting is basically a speaker meeting
right and I’m very used to that it
definitely can be a plus or minus
depending on who your speaker seeker is
and what kind of speakers you’re getting
are you you know getting enthusiastic
people who’ve worked some steps and are
really into their program or you just
ask in anybody I mean I’ve been in
meetings where people asked people from
different fellowships to share people
who’ve never worked a step or never
attempted to like I’ve heard some really
awful speaker messages too so that can
be a bummer to listen to that for 25
minutes but moving up here to an area
where it’s generally not speaker
meetings and my home group is not a
speaker meeting every week it’s
definitely a difference I’d be I don’t
hate round robin or meetings or people
you know open meetings where there’s no
speaker I think there’s definitely some
value in it but being that it’s not what
I’m used to sometimes it can get a
little boring having to listen to you
know 15 different people share for five
minutes as opposed to one main overall
positive message and then three people
afterwards what’s your take on all that
well again I think all of them are
useful at different times I personally I
prefer the meetings that I mean I got
clean and only really ever went to
meetings in this area predominantly in
the area that we are now so I’m pretty
used to like open meetings what I like
best about them is most of the time they
allow you to get to know people on a
more personal basis because I can tell
my actual you know story without getting
anything specific into my life and Who I
am today and what I like to
and what my values are and what my
beliefs are I can tell my whole recovery
story from my using too early you know
treatment to finding my way to meetings
without really letting you know much
personal information about me at all I
connect now more with people through the
personal aspects of you know their
stories their their personal struggles
with recovery right
so I like that a little more I do think
there’s definite value to having topic
meetings when they’re based on like the
literature or the steps I can’t believe
we used to have some step meetings we
don’t have any really around anymore
um I really always like step in
tradition meetings early in recovery I
felt like they were I felt like people
in recovery had all this knowledge that
I needed to get because I didn’t know
how to live my life and in the beginning
of my recovery I didn’t trust people a
whole lot and I felt like most people
were full of [ __ ] or giving you the best
version of themselves that they had you
know their representative you got to
meet a representative and then what they
did when they left the meetings or
weren’t speaking in meetings was
probably different than the great [ __ ]
they were talking in the meeting so
identified a lot with step meetings and
talking about topics and talking about
nowadays I don’t get that much about
them because I’ve done my own
exploratory you know work into those
things I’ve went out and sought that
information and knowledge from people
that I respected and admired and
recovery you know so it’s changed for me
over the years right now I’m with you so
I’m I first sponsor was all about
chasing step meetings and I dug it and
that’s what we did and if you know it
was it was really a judgmental thing it
was like hey if you’re not chasing step
meetings what the [ __ ] are you really do
it right because that’s what this is
about
so I will I will say I agree with a lot
of what you said I do think there’s a
lot of value in open meeting I do think
I get to know people I almost wonder if
meetings should have an attendance cap
and not to in not for a reason of like
keeping people out but more of a reason
of like at some point we have so many
people here that
we can’t really all get a chance to talk
and get to know each other right so
maybe we need to cap this at 30 and open
up a separate meeting right across the
street at the same time so we can have
another 30 people that instead of having
60 people in my home group every week 30
of which are hiding almost you know
they’re invisible because they don’t
speak up and nobody ever gets to know
them or talk to them or reach out to
them so I like format meetings too when
the format makes sense right and so what
I’ve seen a lot of lately at some point
in time I don’t know 10 years ago 12
years ago I started seeing this
alternating format right every week we
do something different and I’m like hey
in theory that sounds interesting if my
home group did a little something
different I get a little taste of
everything but what I noticed about all
those meetings that did that was that
they seemed to read what their format
was at the beginning of every meeting in
their little prologue and it was like
hey in this meeting the first week of
the month we do this and the second
meeting and I was like you were wasting
so much [ __ ] behavioral time talking
about what your meeting does keep it
simple right even if you’re gonna have a
rotating format shut the [ __ ] up about
it and just do it and so what I find now
is a lot of groups tend to go that way
or not maybe a lot but there’s
definitely quite a few groups that go
that way and they don’t seem to fit
who’s at their meeting I don’t feel like
so the group booklet that is particular
to one fellowship that I go to it speaks
about hey figure out what the people in
your group need and try to provide that
as a home group member and I see all
these groups that have like 12 tradition
meetings when they know that 88 percent
of their attendance is people with less
than three months who’ve never heard of
a [ __ ] tradition and I’m like that’s
dumb like that’s not useful why are we
doing this let’s have meetings about
like hey this is a meeting about the
first three steps because that’s what
the [ __ ] you need to hear about not hey
here’s a meeting on concept 11 that
you’ve never even heard of and I’ll
never talk about again I don’t get that
yeah and that’s that’s one of those
things it drives me nuts I don’t usually
say anything about it I just try to suck
it up but as a
step purist it’s like when you have
those you know when there is a step
meeting and they’re talking about step
six or seven and the person opens up
their sharing by saying well I never
formerly worked this six step with my
sponsor but I’m gonna tell you what I
think about it and how it apply like
that drives me nuts and you get it a lot
with the eighth step and people trying
to make amends when they got forty days
clean and learn how poorly that just
sounds in your head when you’ve been
through like a formal understanding and
practice of what amends means and so
that stuff can become annoying and that
it’s the same thing with you know
concepts and traditions you hear people
talk about these things and you think I
don’t think I’ve ever seen you do any
kind of service work you know I don’t
think I’ve ever seen you at any you know
events being of service to other people
how do you think you know what these
things I mean my biggest problem always
was I thought I knew how to do lots of
things and I thought I knew all the
answers to everything and I didn’t need
anyone’s help you know came now – I got
this figured out I don’t need anyone’s
help for direction I’m good
and that didn’t serve me well in my life
you know so when I came to recovery I
tried to get out of that mindset and
think well I’m just gonna open my mind
up to what people have to say and then I
have to look at that person and place
some value on how they’re living and
what they’re doing and are they someone
I admire are they someone that I look at
and go no I don’t think I want to live
like that person’s living because
there’s some of those around that you
know we can look at you think that guys
on like his third marriage and I know he
cheats on his wife half the time you
know I think what he has to say about
commitment and loyalty and you know I
think that carries much weight with me
right right so one other point I know we
wanted to touch on before we wrapped up
here would be you know the idea of
having kids in meetings and and maybe
even you know further to dogs
or anything else that might be in a
meeting but generally the idea of is it
okay to have your child in a meeting and
and what does that look like you know
Kanis yeah I have come to appreciate it
I used to really be bothered by it for a
couple of reasons one the language and
the context of the meeting is most of
the time inappropriate for children in
my opinion I try my best to you know be
mindful of when kids are around but the
truth is I forget or I’m just talking
and I’m so used to and comfortable being
in that meeting and being able to you
know swear or talk about on child
friendly things you know that it becomes
awkward for me like I feel a little bit
awkward about it sometimes but with that
being said I’ve also come to appreciate
how important it is for those kids that
their parents be there that their
parents for the sake of those children
their parents need to be there no matter
what they got to do to get to a meeting
I mean we push that to people so I
really have come to a place where I
tried to be supportive of people
bringing their kids but doing it in a
way like an arm grip for a while and
I’ve done it at times you know we just
happen to be lucky in our meeting space
in the back of the room there’s a
curtain that you can kind of close off
and they have some kids toys there
because it’s in a church house where
they use it for other activities and
I’ve actually taken kids kind of back
there just on my own because we don’t
have specifically set up that way or if
there’s people that we know bring their
kids or want to bring their kids I’ve
approached them after the meeting and
said hey look you know we can kind of
close these curtains and put them back
there depending on their age it can be
disrupt this RUP disrupt full you hope
that the parents are being mindful of
what their kids are doing and that
they’re not a total distraction to
everyone in the meeting which at times
they are that happens you know and I
just try to accept it and not get hung
up on it because they used to really
bother me a lot right so I I – let me
give the disclaimer
beforehand that I have been blessed in
the sense that I have never had to
really take my kids to meetings there
are a couple of times I’ve taken the
real tiny babies when it was convenient
and they you know weren’t really hearing
anything because they were too young for
any of that I mean of course they heard
it but I didn’t think it was a big issue
but that was always it seemed by choice
and I’ve always had enough support
around me to where I didn’t have to do
it so I’m definitely blessed in that
area I wasn’t forced with that decision
of do I go to a meeting and take my kid
or do I not and I also don’t have the
answer right I will say that up front I
don’t know what’s right and wrong with
this topic but I do I have had some
changing feelings so okay I started out
with like get your [ __ ] kid out of
the meeting they’re driving me crazy and
they’re distracting me because I
struggle to pay attention and this is
all about me and since then it’s evolved
to understand that people don’t have it
you know they might not have the
supports in place that I did they might
not be blessed enough to have somebody
else to watch their kid that they trust
but I still struggle and to me it’s
almost like coming down to that that’s
psychology ethics experiment of there’s
15 people gonna get hit by a train but
you could flip the switch on the tracks
to make the Train go the other way and
only one person dies like and which is
right is it doing nothing because then
you’re not involved in actively killing
someone is it choosing the the 15 lives
over the one like is that more ethically
responsible and there’s no real good
answer it’s just kind of a thought
experiment but that’s how I sort of feel
about kids and meetings is that if
you’re bringing your kids and for me if
I was to take my kid to a meeting I am
already gonna be hyper vigilant about
parenting so I’m not gonna get very much
out of the meeting I’m gonna be too
disturbed wondering if my kid is
distracting other people right and so if
my kid is a distraction a I’m already
not getting much out of the meeting and
now I am keeping five other people from
getting what they might need to stay
clean that night
and so I’m I’m bothered by that fact
it’s I feel like if it was me I would
get more out of being at home
distracting my kid for 20 minutes with
whatever distracts that I’m a TV show a
cartoon and calling my sponsor or my
network for that 15 or minutes I would
get more recovery out of that mode of
gaining it then I would taking my kid to
a meeting where I’m gonna distract not
only myself but also a number of other
people in the meeting I feel like that’s
doing a disservice so from that like
kind of ethical thought-experiment
standpoint I don’t think kids should be
in meetings and and yeah so you can’t
come to a meeting without your kid what
meetings aren’t the only place for the
recovery like we already said we don’t
believe recovery even happens there it’s
more reinforcement and why can’t I just
get that reinforcement in some other
mode of a phone call to a sponsor or a
peer that’s also in recovery or some
other way why do I need to go to the
meeting with my kid and distract you
know possibly some or all of the meeting
when I can do this a different way and
and be better for others I myself and so
in that line of thinking I actually feel
like from from why I just heard you say
I feel like that encourages my line of
thinking only to say that the point of
the meeting is for that connection and
community and positive reinforcement I
don’t know about you but in our area
like I have literally watched you know
kids grow up through their parents being
in recovery and seeing them as young
kids coming into meetings with their mom
and watch them grow as if parents have
stayed in recovery so if the point of
the meeting isn’t really to
quote-unquote get recovery you know is
it that person be in there that sense of
community in that sense of connection in
that sense of positive reinforcement of
values and ideas I don’t think you get
that from a phone call you can get
recovery from your sponsor with a phone
call but if you’re someone who’s a let’s
take say a young mom who’s at home all
day raising her kids early in recovery
say in a recover
we house or somewhere you know and and
your whole social network of using
people is gone because you’re not
associating with them anymore and you’re
trying to develop this new community of
people in recovery are you really gonna
get that from a couple phone calls are
you gonna get that from going to
meetings and so you know there there is
you you hope that these anyone learns
life skills in recovery you know because
we come in without them and a lot of
people don’t know how to raise kids and
and I’ve been lucky enough I haven’t
really had to take my kids they have
been to some meetings that I’ve had a
couple funny experiences so I we have
taken our kids to a lot of events you
know the fellowship I belong to has a
lot of events picnics and get-togethers
and gatherings and whatever and we’ll
take our kids to those things because
people know us they know our family they
know our kids you know we’ve developed
these relationships over years and so
one time a few years back I was asked to
speak at a picnic and I sat up there and
I gave my whole story of all my using
and everything else and I didn’t realize
in my periphery over on the far side you
know my at the time probably about ten
year old daughter had sat there and
heard me share my entire story
totally unfiltered and unaware that she
was sitting there so I didn’t filter
anything I didn’t try to I was you know
my whole raw version of you know my
story and after I found out she was
there I felt really awkward and weird
because I knew my kids knew we went to
meetings um there was another time where
I had I had taken my daughter she was a
little older than she was probably about
fourteen my taking her to my home group
and she came in I said we could just sit
in here through the meeting and kind of
chill out do whatever you want it’ll be
about an hour and so as we’re sitting in
there and people start talking in the
meeting I realized that half the people
in the meeting or it felt like all the
people in the meeting that shared had no
respect for that there was a
fourteen-year-old young girl sitting in
the meeting and the the my hyperaware
of the context of what people were
talking about what they were saying we
actually got up and left probably about
10 minutes into the meeting because I
got so uncomfortable for her for myself
and for everyone else in the meeting
like this is just not an appropriate
place for her to be at the stuff and we
got up and left you know right but that
was with a lot more years clean and a
lot more years you know and then
recently my son was the same thing I was
actually at a meeting speaking at a
picnic you know someone asked me to
share a picnic and he actually came kind
of as I started he came over and sat
right next to me as I’m sharing my story
and put his arm right he saw at one
point I was sharing you know early on
and I sort of got a little choked up a
little emotional about some things as I
started to share and being supportive he
came over and kind of put his arm around
me to kind of give me a hug and let me
know what’s okay and then he said
there’s always kind of hyper aware of
him sitting there as I spoke and I don’t
know I’ve come to appreciate like that’s
a that’s a part of me that’s being
intimate with my kids and I don’t know
if that’s good or bad I’m not really
sure right um if nothing else I feel
like it’s honesty and it’s a part of
myself that I hope that they know about
me because as they get older and get
into using they might decide in their
life like hey I want to socially drink
hey I want to smoke pot or you know I
want to try some things and that’s
normal
I think that that’s normal in life
especially nowadays I want them to know
that the dangers hey this is what you
need to look out for this is what you
need to be hyper aware of that your
parents are addicts so you are
biologically predisposed to addiction
and you should be aware of these certain
indicators are these certain red flags
that this isn’t something that is
healthy yeah I mean the research says
the biological component separate from
any other environmental piece is just
one innate for a one addict parent you
have a one in eight shot of your kid you
know being an addict and then for two
parents it’s one and four it doubles so
any kid coming from a – addict parent
relationship is a 25% chance they’re
gonna have addict biology in them
without any other factor going into it
so yeah I mean just going with some of
the stuff you were saying that stuck out
like I I think ideally if you’re just
getting clean you have no connection to
anyone in recovery yes obviously you
might have to bring your kids to a
couple meetings hopefully you get some
phone numbers you connect with women
that are also parents maybe they’re in a
position where they’re able to leave
their two kids at home with their
husband and and maybe they can offer
that to you hey you got your kid you
can’t why don’t you come to a meeting
with me and your kid can stay here with
my husband it’s not a big deal right for
an hour like hopefully these kind of
things take place and do foster the the
community through the phone calls the
connections I do get what you’re saying
and how it can be tough and how bringing
kids can possibly you know emphasize
that community and connection I know for
me so my opinions on things
self-centered lis are all about how much
they bother me right a [ __ ] kid
distracting me in a meeting where I
can’t hear what’s going on bothers the
[ __ ] out of me it used to bother me when
I was sharing a meeting and there were
kids in it because I felt a head to
filter or say things in certain ways or
pay attention and honestly a lot of my
life today is revolved around finding
ways that I can deal with situations
that work for me whether they’re the
kosher everyone would approve way or not
yesterday my daughter’s had a softball
game and like generally I go to all
their softball games yesterday I really
wanted to go work out and I had to make
that decision and it was like look this
might not be the popular thing it’s
right for me I went and worked out it
meant a lot to me to go do that
yesterday I have limited time to do it
it’s like a lot of people might judge
that and say you should have been showed
up for your daughter’s and usually I do
yesterday I [ __ ] chose not to and I
was happier I would have been unhappy
going to their game right and that’s how
it’s it’s I’ve had to evolve with the
kids and meetings like if there’s a kid
in the meeting and I’m sharing I don’t
give a [ __ ] you brought them they’re
gonna hear what I got to say I ain’t
filtering no more and that’s made that
aspect of it okay with me I just I got
to do what’s right for me no matter what
and that’s one of those things I had to
come to I don’t give a [ __ ] if people
judge me I’m gonna say my [ __ ] all
meeting long and if your kids here
that’s just too bad like that’s not my
issue right the distraction thing I
don’t know how to deal with that in a
way that I can tune them out I try I set
up front I try not to you know be near
it but I can’t get around it so I’m
still annoyed by it and and I always
think of something a sponsor told me one
time was you know in most of our
problems that we run into in life as as
attic people like the solutions the
immediate solutions of those problems
are extreme so when you think about kids
come to meetings it’s either
well you gotta let kids come the meeting
and just put up with all their [ __ ]
and they’re screaming and they’re
banging [ __ ] and put up with all of it
or you just know kids at meetings and we
can’t have none of it well execute it as
soon as they walk in the door yeah and
they’re not welcome when they gotta
leave and the truth is usually the best
answer somewhere in the middle of those
two things right I hope I would like to
believe that as a fellowship as a group
of people in this community of you know
hopefully like-minded individuals that
us more experienced members can take an
active role in creating a positive
experience for everyone when you see
someone has to bring kids or just owning
up to the honesty that hey this meeting
really isn’t kid friendly you know we
really don’t this is not an atmosphere
where we encourage parents to bring
children because I mean a lot of
meetings will say you know it’s okay if
you bring your children but they’re your
responsibility and that’s okay but that
reflects the responsibility I think of
the home group to to create a place for
kids to be for someone that needs to
bring them and you don’t have to do it
but if you’re gonna say that it’s okay
to bring them and you’re gonna say that
you encourage people to do it then you
also should try as experienced members
to take an active part in that solution
which is you know like say creating a
space where maybe their parents can take
them where it’s quiet or maybe someone
you know I know there’s a meeting in our
area that says a
child care in the meeting where they pay
a babysitter each week so that people
can bring their kids that’s an active
solution I don’t know that there’s a
one-size-fits-all solution but as
members that are experienced in recovery
you know we can help the newcomers find
those solutions we can create you know
places in our home groups to help
support those situations without you
know forcing the parent so the parents
can get what they need but that the
other members in your home group and
that are at the meeting King at what
they need to child care is definitely a
great solution my home group does
participate in having childcare which is
awesome but then you know it goes back
to the debate of hey so you’ve got some
meetings in your area that have
childcare now should they be the only
meetings that parents take their kids to
should they say okay look you’ve got
these three or four options throughout
the week now keep your [ __ ] kids out
of the other meetings right where
they’re gonna cause disturbance or is it
still like oh you’re welcome everywhere
like [ __ ] it even though you had these
options to get around that you don’t
have to choose them yeah well again I
think it’s the autonomous autonomy of
the home group to do that just [ __ ]
be honest about what you are right now
and if you’re a group that really
doesn’t want kids there or dogs or
whatever else then just say it
just be honest maybe we’re a group that
doesn’t really encourage you to bring
your kids and pets to our meeting we
don’t appreciate it maybe I should just
start sharing some really crud [ __ ]
anytime I see a kid example don’t want
to bring it back I know whenever I sit
up front and have secretary my home
group I always announce like hey we do
allow kids in the meeting but please put
them on vibrate so they don’t make a
noise like just keep them quiet right
now
you met young kids that’s impossible
this is an individual it’s not it you
know because it bothers me just as much
when you see like a parent sitting there
with a young kid and they’re like
holding their hands and yelling at them
the whole time to be quiet I mean how
about you and I when I you know
six-year-old boys aren’t made to sit in
a group discussion meeting and be quiet
for an hour like that is totally
unrealistic expectation of that child
and multiplied by the fact that
all these children are coming from
trauma right like they don’t have coping
skills they don’t have healthy people in
front of them teaching them how to sit
still or relax for a little while and
play afterwards like they’re coming from
places of abandonment and issues and
pray and of course they act wild and and
you know with no focus
all right so yeah generally meetings are
tough to wrap that up it’s that’s all I
got to say they’re tough I don’t like at
my home group I enjoy my home groups
around my home group since I first got
clean I picked at my second day I’ve
stayed there a long time built
relationships have been lucky enough to
do that with some other guys that have
been there longer than me or as long as
me and it’s a place I look forward to
going to every week that’s been an
important part of consistency and going
there so there are some definite
positives to go into meetings that’s why
I still go and participate but there’s
annoyances and we should just talk about
them and you know laugh about it we
laugh about it at my home group all the
time you know it’s it’s funny you know
absolutely absolutely I I don’t
rarely do I feel like going to a meeting
only because my general state of being
is I don’t feel like doing any [ __ ]
thing but I generally do at least 95% of
the time feel better after I’ve went to
a meeting
there’s definitely meetings I’ve left
where I don’t [ __ ] feel better I’m
like Jesus Christ I just wasted like two
hours my life I wish that it never came
here but more often than that
I definitely I’m like I’m glad I came I
heard a little something I liked
connected with somebody I saw somebody I
haven’t seen in a while we got to talk
for a little bit before or after so
means are definitely a positive for my
life yeah so that’s about all I have to
say about meetings at this point
hopefully I’ll get a chance to check out
some of these other non 12-step meetings
and we could get some input onto some of
that yeah and at some point in this
podcast future we might be a scheduled
enough where we actually know what the
[ __ ] we’re talking about next week that
we could tell you that now but right now
we don’t know that so we’ll figure that
out and enjoy your week
so that wraps up this week’s episode
please as always feel free to leave a
message in voice or text we’d love to
hear from you have a good week

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