24: Special Interest Meetings Versus the Traditions – Should You Go to That Women’s Rap? (Sort Of)

3/29/20 Ever had a feeling that men’s raps violate the 3rd tradition, which states the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop using? Ever found a special interest meeting to be extremely valuable to your recovery? Ever considered that by allowing LGBTQ meetings to exist, we might also be paving the way for hate groups to have a meeting of “special interest?” Ever felt unwelcome at a meeting? Did you know that some 12 step programs have an official stance on the topic (Sort Of)? Very good discussion about the pros and cons of special interest meetings

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Transcript:

recovery sort of is a podcast where we discuss the recovery and addiction 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 views expressed here are solely the opinion of its contributors be advised there may be strong language or topics of an adult nature

hey welcome back to recovery sort of I’m Jason I’m a guy and medium recovery and I’m Billy I’m a person in quarantine recovering yeah quarantines that’s a good one so we wanted to start off this week we’re definitely going to get into this whole topic of different types of specialty meetings but we wouldn’t start off we got an email from Selina and it was just it was really nice it talked about how to podcast impacted her life and how she’s been running and you know she’s been listening to us while she runs and Sharon like 22 miles last week which is incredible because wow I might have run 22 miles my entire life together right and she just she talked about how not having you know meetings not having her church service or being able to get to that recently and and just having this conversation in her ear made her feel a little more connected and a little more tied into recovery principles and it just anytime we get an email like this man it touches me that somebody would take the time to type up you know a four paragraph email to send us that they appreciate us it doesn’t always feel like we’re appreciated for sure and any aspect of my life I don’t know about you so I was I was really thankful about it I just wanted to thank Selina and yeah that’s awesome thank you very much it’s very kind and so you know now that we’ve mentioned that this week’s topic it started off with a random kind of text message from you to me and I will let you tell that story okay so I was a facebook messaging back and forth with former sponsor who’s out in California we were conversing back and forth about some meetings and you know it was asking me kind of about some different people that were still in the area um you know that he remembered he had been in this area about 10 to 12 years ago and he was bringing up some different members hey how so-and-so how so and so and it sort of pretty quickly you know came to be that probably only one or two out of about five people that you mentioned to me were still like actively involved in na and connected to na people that would be you know considered old-timers and that we went back and forth a little bit about you know how it seems like na has a hard time keeping the dinosaurs the old-timers you know connected to the fellowship connected to the program why we thought that might be wasn’t a very deep conversation but it was just kind of messaging back and forth his take was that you know we have this kind of saying in Narcotics Anonymous that is you know the newcomer is the most important person at any meeting because we can only keep what we have by giving it away he didn’t quite agree with that philosophy and that I guess in looking a little bit into it seems to be pretty a unique saying to na I guess other fellowships that I know of at least in his opinion AAA doesn’t share that same philosophy as the new comer being the most important person but anyway we got into you know what you know the sort of primary purpose of the meetings how you keep old-timers connected and so I had kind of message Jason about some of that and then that sort of turned into some conversation about specialty meetings and should we have that maybe we should have you know old-timers meetings where you only allow people with 20 years or more to share or you know topic meetings where it might be topics just about long-term recovery it’s funny so I I remember when I got to na and somebody said oh one program one disease one fellowship one set of steps to answer the problem and all that like why would you ever go anywhere else besides na no matter what symptom of your addiction happens to be you know presenting itself right now like yeah we deal with drug addiction but our steps also treat you know if you’re acting out sexually if you’re acting out with gambling like our steps include all of that and I remember thinking yeah I’ll never go anywhere else right this is all I need and then later on way later on somebody gave me the opinion hey that’s kind of only in your area that people believe this that na is all you need like in other areas they say if one 12-step fellowship is good then five is better and I was like oh really like I had no idea other people thought differently and so my instant reaction to this conversation is I’ve always heard that like there was this guy in my old area who was trying to a rumor had it I don’t even know if this was really true rumor had it he was trying to start a meeting for people with 20 years-plus and and I don’t doubt it I mean it seemed kind of fitting for him and I used to think what a jerk right like you can’t do that you’re excluding people that’s not okay and then as I got a little bit more time I started to see some meetings and ways meetings worked and I was like ah I kind of understand why he wants this 20 Bussieres meeting still offended by it because I’m not able to go but I get it but but I could see now how just my once very steady opinion about life or how things should work is definitely a lot more open now to well maybe I don’t know maybe things aren’t so concrete and so I’m just asking around on Twitter this morning got lots of answers because I wasn’t completely sure that this was a AAA thing – but Liz and and Surendra and Maria and Shirl’s and my buddy spicy queso me and Paul and Doreen and Barb all assured me that like this is definitely universal to 12-step programs it’s not unique for na and I remembered you know there’s some other fellowships that definitely do this too and so this this started a huge conversation about it and so where do you stand like basically if old-timer meetings are okay then we got to be okay with also the men’s reps and the women’s reps and the LGBT meetings LGBTQ sorry and and maybe youth meetings and and all these sorts so where what is your stance on these meetings because I have personally always held that something’s wrong with them they shouldn’t be there yeah and at times so I’ve gone back and forth and I know it’s funny I say I go back and forth but yet ever since I got clean in this area we’ve had specialty meetings and no one ever booked at it and when I say that we used to have a meeting actually in the area it’s actually not around anymore but it was over in Harford County the next county over still part of our area called youth and recovery and that was the name of the meeting you know you’re in recovery so you know everyone always supported that meeting and thought it was a great thing but if you talked about opening a men’s meeting or a women’s meeting people had very strong opinions about why you couldn’t do that but a youth meeting was fine you know so it’s weird and it for whatever reason I guess it may be because there’s an IP that’s about youth in recovery so we feel like that was okay you know we don’t have a men’s only eyepiece it’s not okay you know who knows where we draw these weird arbitrary lines but IP as informational pamphlet is not an informational pamphlet on and now it’s called something else I don’t think they call it user recovery anymore it’s got a new for young people for young addicts something like that wrote anyway but yeah so I have sort of changed and become more open-minded in my approach and part of that is you know I think in general we have a level of I’m gonna call it arrogance and of course I have it too we all have it I think most of us where we think that the way that we’re doing it is the rightest of right waste and that this is how it should be and that if it’s okay for me it should be okay for everyone else right and I have a tendency to have a very narrow scope and a limited view with only my world view you know shining through it’s like looking through a looking through a scope you know my my view is so narrow and when I say that just look at something like you know in all of our literature they make suggestions about having a sponsor I don’t think it ever really talks in the basic text anywhere about actually writing steps um the word actually writing out of this epps I don’t believe is in the basic text anywhere about world resource well we write it talks about the way to write a 4-step is separated so it does say for some for the fourth step but and I guess where I’m going with that is you know we talk about a lot of these things being suggestions but then there’s a lot of hard core people that would say well they’re not [ _ ] suggestions they’re what you need to do and you can’t work steps without a sponsor well guess what there are probably some people that work steps without a sponsor there are probably some people that say you know oh well I read the first step I’m gonna go meditate on it this weekend and when I come back Monday I work step one and that’s good and you know my immediate knee-jerk reaction is ago well that’s [ _ ] wrong you didn’t really work the step that’s not correct but I don’t have that right you know what I mean if that works for them and that they’re you know if they have stopped using lose the desire to use and find a new way to live then Who am I to say well you’re working the program wrong but we do it constantly you know we do that kind of thing constantly and I think we tend to do the same thing with these meetings and traditions well this this meeting should be this way because that’s what works for me and it should be good for everyone else well it is and not to say I look self-righteousness is a core part of my story unfortunately like I’d like to be a different person who is much more accepting but I’m not always but I will say that you know when I read traditions and and they say things like our hard-won experience right and like this that the traditions will keep us from getting wrapped up in things that could destroy our fellowship I do think oh damn dish it must be important like let me pay attention and not go against these because that’s not gonna be beneficial to this program right so I think there’s a level of importance to it I also think you’re right like don’t take ourselves too seriously or as if we are the ultimate authority for sure so it’s it’s interesting i I don’t say that there’s a real answer I know I am much more open to the topic now for a while a good while I was like this is ridiculous I was using like one quoted line out of one of our pieces of literature as my reasoning for why this was terrible uh and and definitely I don’t wanna say boycotted but avoided you know specialty meetings for the most part just from my general knowledge I try my best to avoid specialty meetings throughout my recovery I know I’ve been to an LGBTQ meeting because it happened to be near my house early on and I didn’t really care I did go to a men’s rap once or twice but I generally tried to avoid that I’ve probably been to more women’s raps on people’s anniversary than men’s right honestly it’s just not really my belief that it’s a great idea or something that I personally need when I got clean you know we had men’s raps they just weren’t official meetings it was the 45 minute drive to the meeting and the 45 minute drive away from the meeting because I was hanging out with the guys and my sponsorship family and so I guess like you said I took that small scope of this is what worked for me and said y’all don’t [ _ ] need men’s and women’s wraps you do that on your own time the meeting is for everyone it’s for the still suffering addict is for the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop using and all these these great wonderful quotes that I can throw at people to try to belittle them into thinking my way as writer and so I don’t know so we posted this question we kind of wanted to get a general consensus of where people in the Fellowship might stand on this and we posted on Facebook and got a lot of very interesting / informed / intelligent opinions on it I think I was really impressed there was no bashing no arguing a lot of curiosity a lot of questioning and I was really appreciative and I love when we can come together and have a conversation along those lines that that means a lot to me and so we started my buddy skip he said anyone may join us regardless of sexual identity creed religion or lack of religion sound familiar and he also said you know he’s careful about giving his opinion but confident about what our literature says so what’s your take on that how do you I feel like you’re pretty open to having these specialty meetings I might be a little less open even though I’m like okay they’re here [ _ ] it I’m not going to be anymore I’m still not big on them personally so what’s your take on him to kind of argue in my side of the street just a little bit well and and this is you know where it gets into some questioning things maybe you can answer for him but what when you say you know anyone may join how does you know one does that mean you should have the right to join every meeting all the time no matter what okay so what does that mean you have the right to join the fellowship as a whole right no and I get that so I was reading and this kind of struck me interesting struck me as interesting recently I was reading the group booklet for a whole nother purpose to try to prove someone else wrong that’s the only time I research and so I was researching the group booklet and it said it mentioned the distinction between the meeting and the group and how those are two different things but it wasn’t talking about the group as in the fellowship as a whole either it was talking about basically like if you and I got together or we form a we can form a group right when we choose to meet and our regular meeting is one piece of that but the group itself is not the meeting and so obvious I don’t know that distinction kind of sticks out to me as being weird so and just to go down a little bit with that so when I did some research into some AAA and their history on this that is a very clear distinction in their descriptive of some of this that you can’t have special interest groups but you can have you know they call composition mmm whatever that means especially talking 1500 yeah yeah so you can have special composition meetings but not special groups so they distinguish that so I’m just trying to picture what that looks like so you and I decide we’re gonna form a home group right we’re gonna form a group and it’s going to be our home group and so we say okay we’re the you know surviving Friday night meeting or surviving Friday night group all right and we’re the only two members and will allow members into our group conscience but they can’t attend our meeting one Friday night like I don’t I can’t picture how the hell that were well and that becomes another not to get to off of this because I want to stay here for a minute but just to clarify again some of this gets to be where are you drawing these you know kind of lines or rules you know what I know of at least in this area it’s always been with what I’ll call the special interest meetings is anyone’s allowed to go they’re never gonna lock the door and say you have to leave or you’re not welcome or there’s not a [ _ ] secret code when you show up right you know we have a meeting called a women’s rap we have a meeting called a men’s rap if a woman shows up to the men’s rap no one’s gonna tell them they need to leave if that person comes in and says look I’m gonna use I got nowhere to go can I come into the meeting you know it’s an open meeting for anyone just the topics and the discussion of the meeting you know in general which funny enough the men’s rap meeting reads out of that we do recover book in our area so whatever it’s not even specifically men oriented discussion but it’s a call to mens rea um maybe you’re just getting men’s take on it I don’t know I don’t take the testicular anyway yeah observations but you know is I mean I would say if you had a group that was not letting people come that that would be I mean if you told people you’re not welcome here I feel like those things would be a violation of our traditions but to say that we have a meeting that centers around specific topics is what’s wrong with that we do that with other specific topics and who gets to decide what specific topics are important enough you know no absolutely I think you take us down just to skip around a little in these comments Chris had said something along those lines he said you know the same people can join us regardless of any of their circumstances and then he said I think it’s [ _ ] if someone goes to a meeting gets turned away for any reason and any group does that shame on them it can cost them their life right and so we had a little back-and-forth I said I don’t think most groups are turning people away if they happen to show up and they’re new and don’t understand the difference between women’s and men’s I really don’t think that’s happening often I’m sure it has happened I don’t think it’s the norm right and he said it’s come up with conversations before and he met people who were turned away not in you know the specific area he’s in but he has heard of people being turned away like I said I’m sure somebody somewhere has gotten turned away at some point and then so another guy comment under a buddy of mine Mike and he said if I go to a woman’s rap and they say you can stay but they also give me a schedule and tell me to go to a different meeting the following week what are they implying that I can’t be there so like we’re talking about this requirement for membership he says it’s a violation of the third tradition why can’t we just be addicts he said what’s next I’ll start a ginger meeting just for Red’s redheads I don’t do well with women and have little experience with gay people what a great place to interact and get a better understanding of someone who’s different than me diversity is our strength I don’t like the separation and labeling I’m gonna had a cold mic right and I I love people who can be bold in their in their you know statements and beliefs I kinda am bold in my statements and beliefs and yet don’t ever want to voice it without being diplomatic for some reason so I I kind of appreciate both of those sides of it but I I think he’s got a point so yeah okay we’re not turning them away week one but we are telling them implying at least telling them don’t come back so what is like the women’s rap in this area would accept a guy who showed up for a meeting absolutely but do you think they would encourage him to come back the next week and continue to come to their meeting or would they encourage him to go somewhere else uh I don’t necessarily know that they would do either I can say there was a guy that was going to that meeting for several weeks in the beginning so um you know the only reference I have to your question is that that isn’t what happened at I mean he knew it was a women’s meeting anyone anyway and no one ever said you can’t come back you know what I mean that just never happened so maybe I don’t know it was probably more on you know I don’t know it just it didn’t happen that way in what in my one limited I don’t I only know cuz my wife was in that group so I only kind of know about that’s what happened and I would say he showed up again she was like yeah you know madam eating and when no long and no you know I would say your wife is pretty open and inclusive and I would say she’s kind of the lead or was the meat of that group so people are gonna follow in her footsteps and so she says you know what all are welcome because that’s completely her personality then nobody’s gonna tell him to go away I guarantee that there is meetings in my old area where the women definitely said this is not for you for next week right I I know those people down there and that’s probably how they felt about it so I get that that’s not your experience with the one experience up here but when we’re talking about the only requirement for membership or anyone made join us a sexual identity right when we’re speaking about that and we say there is a meeting who is asking you not to come back next week what does how does that affect that so I look at it as joining the you know the program or the fellowship as a whole and I have in this area 30-some other meetings that I can go to and plenty of opportunity to join um you know can I join that specific I mean again in my belief and understanding of the traditions I can still join that group if I want um how comfortable and stuff that’s gonna be for me yeah probably not too comfortable you know what I mean right um so I would hope I mean when I talk to people about finding a home group and join in a home group I always tell them go to a bunch of meetings see which one you feel the most comfortable at see which one you feel like you connect with the people with and join that meeting who would say the same thing applies there you know and I mean who gets to decide if I’m too old to join a youth meeting that’s what I was about that so I first got clean I was 26 and I’m like I was too old to go to the youth recovery be like now I feel like that’s exactly probably where I could have been but I was like on 26 like I’m too old to be a recovery but uh you know in fact I think it was you know Mike about the ginger meeting and all that I mean and I hate that I want to be too over boat in my statement but shocker Mike it’s not about you it’s about other people and how do they feel and do LGBT do you honestly believe you’ve been to enough meetings in this area do you honestly believe an openly gay person would feel comfortable in most meetings around here to share about homosexual experiences or homosexual issues I think I’ve seen someone that’s homosexual share in a couple of meetings in this area I mean they’re around they’ve been around with yeah Cecil County isn’t quite that terrible I guess I think we’re a little more open recovery meeting myself a little bit it’s a little more open in the last couple years yeah I can tell you I’ve seen racist comments I’ve seen sexist comments you know and when I say that I don’t mean just you know on the sly I mean openly you know as an open attitude in what I would consider this this county like it or not is a little dated in some of our general beliefs as far as racism open homosexuality we are generally a very conservative Christian community you know with a history of overt racism Road so to say that homosexuals and and you know even blacks or you know people of any minority any ethnicity not white Christian in this general community the recovery community is probably a little more open and I would mostly attribute that to the introduction of recovery houses we’re getting a lot more outside influence in the last five years that we’ve had in a long time right right and so okay so all this Mike’s comment your comments they’re kind of time to send us some other people’s comments on here I’m gonna try to wrap that in when I can it’s hard to keep up with all of it though so the next one ginger said sometimes those meetings give people with similar experiences a place to share more deeply than they might elsewhere for example I’m not sure I want to hear my pilot or doctor give specific details about their adventures they are more likely to be honest with other doctors or pilots however there’s I’m she’s trying to say they shouldn’t do only those types of meetings it can give them a place to hide depending on group dynamics be dangerous right and so what I’m what I’m seeing here I don’t know man cuz okay yeah could somebody possibly get more honest in a woman’s wrath than she could in a men’s rep excuse me um yes because they might have I don’t know I’m really I’m so like torn on this one right because I get that you’re gonna share similar experiences with other women and from a woman’s view but I think the cool thing about na is that I can come and connect with somebody that’s nothing like me because we already have the similar experience of being addicts right that’s our connection and I get to hear oh my god you look nothing like me on the outside and yet we have so much in common that’s incredible to me but that’s making an assumption that if we have these meetings that we’re gonna isolate our people down to just those meetings you know what I mean like just because we have a men’s rap or a women’s rap or whatever a couples meeting doesn’t mean that that is absolutely the only meeting those people are ever gonna go to and it’s the only time you’re ever gonna hear from them and that that’s the limitations of recovery well it’s not I can’t go to that meeting and sit in and participate and listen and be respectful and maybe just choose not to share and I hear you um well and she mentioned she cautions against only doing those type of meetings because that might be you know dangerous or a place to hide so I say this uh I get where a woman or LGBTQ person might feel not safe in a normal meeting I can understand that I don’t think men’s meetings especially white men’s meetings unfortunately because we’re the norm right we don’t have to feel unsafe anywhere to some extent that’s not completely true but basically we don’t have the limitations that some other you know minority groups might have on their safety so I can understand where they might need a meeting where they can feel a little safer that kind of makes sense but if I am somebody in the LGBTQ community and I’m in a thriving recovery community like Baltimore area and there is LGBTQ meetings every night and I’m always comfortable there why would I go anywhere else right then I become the person who only watches or or associates with people who talk about things they agree with and I lose the outside opinion right I find this problem with with people who only watch certain news channels for their political agenda and only surround themselves with people who are like-minded on Facebook they don’t ever get any other external input to be a part of their life and so if people are only in one type of meeting they’re limiting the what they can hear what there’s possible but if you’re practicing the traditions and the steps in your life what difference does it make if you’re only hearing from other gay people if you’re still loving kind compassionate and and going out and live in a spiritual life outside of meetings then who cares if the only I mean let’s take it to this point I go to my home groups pretty much the only meeting I regularly go to and for some members in my home group I can tell you it’s the only meeting that they go to and it’s the only meeting that they’ve gone to for years we are very small we have a very influx of diverse opinions you know it’s predominantly white men and there’s seven or eight the same you know eight to 12 of us there every week unless somebody’s anniversary they’re not getting a vast diversity of opinions and inputs into their to recovery and I don’t if it’s two million I mean doesn’t stimulate well what I’m saying is if they are still practicing these principles to the best of their ability and all their affairs I don’t feel like that necessarily limits their life they might make them a little more close-minded it might mean they’re not necessarily as broad perspective in society as they could be or should be but that doesn’t mean that they’re you know damaged in their recovery or that there’s some way okay so I hear you right and I disagree because I would say that especially people in an area such as this who are raised with parents who come from an area such as this who all have not all where there’s a lot of opinions about you know certain things being right or wrong certain people being less or inferior and we need to combat that you don’t combat that by not being around those people right I had the opportunity to do some internship and some different things in in a predominantly minority community right and I took it as a huge opportunity because I might be the only exposure some of these people get to a kind white person a lot of white people that people deal with in that setting and it’s complete minority setting is people who have power over them people who are gatekeepers over you know what things they can access and what things they can’t and so you know when I get opportunities like that I need to expose people that hey not every white person is a dick right I need to be that example of there are people who give a [ __ ] about you there are people who aren’t racist there are people who are worth talking to and through those interactions and examples people do get a broader perspective if you’ve never had a good interaction with someone of a different you know gender or ethnicity or sexual preference you’re not going to be as open to them you’re not going to be as able to practice spiritual principles there because you’re still going to harbor things that go on or you’ve grown up with because you’ve never had a chance to attack them or address them do you not see that so I agree with everything that you said but I don’t necessarily understand how that specific I mean that’s like great rules to live by but I don’t specifically understand how that is tied in to Narcotics Anonymous or working steps well just the people who only attended LGBTQ meetings would never get the exposure to know that some people do not hate them just because of their sexual preference and I think the more exposure people get to other people who are understanding and loving is positive I think that helps them in life and to practice spiritual principles with all people not just other LGBTQ people so let’s take a quick break and we’ll come right back and hopefully move on to the next comment this episode has been brought to you by voices of Hope Inc a non-profit grassroots recovery community organization located in Maryland voices of hope is made up of people in recovery family members and allies together members strive to protect the dignity and respect of those that use drugs and those in recovery by advocating for treatment support resources and mentoring please visit us at

www.canadianoutback.com

again like it’s right you know we have to just trust that there’s a loving God you know in our lives that’s that’s working through all of this bigger than you know you know bigger than what my specific situation is but more back to what you were talking about you know we all have things we could do that would better our lives outside of Narcotics Anonymous we know that healthy eating and going to the gym and all those things are great but that has nothing to do with Narcotics Anonymous working the 12 steps you know being abstinent from drugs like all the those things know so you know if we’re talking about just within the confines of a 12-step fellowship abstinence based 12-step fellowship where we stopped using lose the desire to use and find a new way to live I don’t know that open-minded life experiences or being open minded you would hope that would be a result of working the steps I know for me it certainly has been I am way our open mind and now as a result of working steps in my life but I don’t think that’s a prerequisite or a requirement I agree no I’m with you and I can buy that and and we might have gotten a little out in left-field maybe I took that out to left field a little bit but I would say that by your theory of a loving higher power making sure it all gets taken care of I mean you could take that to the extent to say well why do we have laws against murder because we should just trust that a loving higher power it’s gonna make sure it all works out the right way like we need to have laws and rules and traditions still even though we trust that that loving higher power is going to make it work and so that’s that kind of thing where we’re at with this talk is the is this against the tradition of allowing everyone to enter when they want to if we’re having specialty meetings I think that was kind of I don’t know so when I say a loving higher power I mean specifically to the program not necessarily out in life um and I guess I would okay to maybe get away from the woowoo God stuff cuz it’s kind of a little loose I said that in language that I thought other people would understand what I mean to say is that’s how it would apply for me is within our fellowship we should be living by spiritual principles of love acceptance humility honesty faith you know those when I talk about a loving higher power what I mean is you know we should be starting from a place of love and acceptance and Trust of others that you know the the goodwill of the whole is gonna come through over the limited ignorant of a few of our members but is it just a few that’s the question I don’t know so let’s we’re getting way off I feel like we’re getting too far out there Rachel said she has no problem with any meaning men’s women open close doesn’t matter to her and I can appreciate that and so I asked her I said well if none of that bothered her would it bother her if they did one for people with only ten years or more and she said nope I don’t think that would bother me that is something I think I would actually enjoy myself right and so I I get that because I have thought that same thing damn I might enjoy that meeting right without all the riffraff and the chaos and nobody sharing about their every house or you know their girlfriend well they might share about their girlfriend still but I did ask so when you brought this comment up like I said okay one I want to ask this on Facebook and two I want to ask somebody who doesn’t have that amount of time how would they feel about that right and so I did I asked a buddy of mine Jason and I said how would you feel if there was a meeting that had ten or more years clean to attend and he said it would it would make him feel less than like he’s got a little more than a year he’s working steps he’s working a ten a program I would say he’s got a n/a message he you know live spiritual principles he practices these principles in his affairs and yet he wouldn’t be qualified to attend that meeting and he said it would it would bother him it would hurt his feelings and so I just thought generally when you’re talking about creating a certain type of meeting you got a look at who it’s going to affect and ask them right not just who it’s going to benefit but who it’s also gonna hurt well again you’re saying attend I mean anytime you say someone can’t attend a meeting you’re violating a tradition there’s a difference now you could say you know you have a meeting that not everyone is open to share it’s not an open sharing meeting you know what I mean we have those anyway when you have speaker meetings or when you have a meeting where the speaker picks who gets to share or you have a topic meeting like we do a lot of these things already we just don’t always specifically identify them um we have asked the basket meeting some of the asked the basket meetings you get the most benign ask the basket things that have nothing to do with recovery you know what I mean so why is having a specifically catered topic to a meeting any different I don’t know I don’t know I don’t I just don’t know I mean I don’t think men’s or women’s have anything to do with recover either I don’t think recovery had anything to do with whether I had a penis or vagina personally my drug addiction truly didn’t I would disagree my got it okay so there’s always this sort of you know maybe not so untalked about you know guys preying on the newcomer girls and and all those issues that come in and the guy in a halfway house hooking up with the girls in the halfway house and all that [ _ ] as a guy it might be nice to go into a meeting and talk more openly about how you’re struggling with some of those things and have feedback from other guys without worrying about the criticisms or you know whatever of a female I wouldn’t necessarily say that’s again I agree that it shouldn’t be all you should go to but it would be nice to have that environment where you feel a little more safe to talk about some of those specific issues that you might have as a young guy in recovery I had some issue okay I’ll share what I mean so I had some issues when I very first got clean um I had actually had an opportunity to hook up with two different chicks you know and said no and like walked out in the middle of like a situation where you know it’s getting ready to get into it with this chick and I’m like wait a minute I can’t do this I gotta get she was a married person and you know somebody I had fooled around with a bunch when I was using and then I got clean and I’m like I don’t want to live this way anymore this isn’t the person that I’m trying to be now and you know what I feel honest you know and now I don’t care but back then you know here was I had two opportunities to turn down sex as a 25 year old guy like what the [ _ ] is wrong with me and that’s actually how I felt at that time I’m like what the [ _ ] is wrong with me right something’s going on I don’t know if I like this recovery thing all the sudden you know I’m developing these [ _ ] morals and values that now I’m trying to live by and that’s strange um I don’t know how comfortable I would have been sharing that in front of a bunch of women you know what I mean it would have felt emasculating and that’s even a word you know masculinity you think demamp yeah whatever that word is you know it would have felt awkward and weird as a person new and recovery to share that in a group of non you know men and I that’s probably means it’s not meant for the group that probably means pull up a dude after the meeting and talk to him about it but I guess what is the okay so and I would go back here with this particular statement and then the whole concept in general so what is the harm to you and your personal recovery if we decide on Monday night there’s a meeting that deals with specifically women’s issues how is that limiting or in any way taking away from your opportunity to recover or grow in a fellowship of narcotics for me specifically probably zero okay so I’m now is that limiting or affecting the opportunity for anyone that you can see is there a is arrow I mean besides the most benign like you can only walk to that meeting you have no access to any other meeting anywhere ever and that Tuesday night at eight o’clock is the [ _ ] only remotely possible time in your entire life that you can get to a meeting so I would say if that situation exists then it doesn’t matter if it affects anybody else because if it affects that one addict from getting recovery then that’s a [ _ ] problem and you just loaded that up for situation could possibly exist and then you’re keeping somebody from getting clean because if they show up at the meeting and people say this is a woman’s rap you don’t have to leave tonight but here’s a schedule of how to find a different meeting next week then even if they can’t find a different meaning there’s no they don’t have any other recourse they can’t or they gonna go back to that meeting that they were just told they weren’t welcome at that’s nobody’s gonna do that especially not early on but now you’re talking about how that information is presented to the individual and what arbitrary rules are being doled out by whoever the gatekeeper is it I mean when I talk about all this suit so the way I think about this and maybe I’m wrong the way I think about this is these are topic meetings with a specific topic these are this is you know the men’s meeting we call it a men’s meeting it’s a men’s topic meeting these are LGBTQ topic meetings they’re not this meeting is only limited to men this meeting is only limited to LGBTQ that’s definitely who they’re asking to come I don’t know about the LGBTQ meetings that might be a little more to anyone and just maybe a safe spot for LGBTQ in particular I’m not completely sure about that but I think men’s and women’s raps are specifically it’s not hey this is the topic men come share about women at the women’s rap this is we’ve really only want women here and many meetings are carrying themselves under that umbrella as hey yeah if the newcomer shows up we’re not going to turn you away but we are gonna suggest you’re not here again like this is not what we’re here for we’re here to have a safe place for women which I’m not saying is a terrible thing right I get I can understand where minority groups feel like might feel like they need a safe place I’m not against that I do think it might not be right for the newcomer who needs a meeting and that’s the one they can walk through the situation you just gave I don’t know I think that’s kind of shitty so you think that program has a responsibility to I mean what about the people that can’t make it to meetings on the times that meetings are what about people that work night shift and there’s no day media you know now we’re supposed to open special meetings to accommodate for them because obviously we’re not doing a good enough I don’t know so you can’t possibly be available for every person 24 hours a day through a meeting through a meeting online right well there you go so that answers your question to the Tuesday night at 8 o’clock person I’m just saying when we talk about this the the program is not a meeting the program of Narcotics Anonymous does not exist as that one hour that happens on Tuesday night at 8 o’clock salute is a meeting you know what I mean the program exists you know through the 12 steps and 12 traditions so if you if someone can’t get to a meeting or they go to a meeting that’s not maybe you know the meeting they like or on a topic they like or not as welcoming as they think they should be maybe they’re the only white person in oh that’s beautiful if that Issyk I messed that word up I can’t say it or maybe they’re the only you know female my home group for example tends to be all men yep when woman walks in she feels completely uncomfortable that is not by design that is by no wording of our own our meeting is called any way we can it’s there you know there’s nothing in there that indicates but everybody kind of notices so when women come in they feel uncomfortable so we could have men’s and women’s wraps that are on that topic without even having to specify that they are that and they’ll turn out that way oh yeah – seems to be that anyway not that we even want it to be you know to me like we’re not even doing that on purpose if 10 chicks showed up and wanted that you know be a part of the group we would welcome that you know we have no problem with any of that right that would be fine nobody would have an issue but it doesn’t happen right right time but we don’t even need to specify that people don’t need to be there for that to take place like we don’t even need to tell women hey this is a men’s rap don’t come it just happens because that’s what’s required or needed or in the area on that night it just goes that way yes so what’s the harm in just identifying is them I don’t know that keep I mean look the the women’s rap on Monday is closer to my house than the men’s rap and so I will say this I don’t think these meetings exist in an area where there’s not plenty of [ _ ] meetings I don’t think they’re like there’s one meeting on Tuesday in a 100 mile radius and then somebody says you know what we need a [ _ ] women’s rap on Thursday like generally there is already a meeting every night of the week for somebody to get to so I I don’t think it’s super harmful honestly it’s just kind of a debate of whether it’s okay and we’ll get into further why this might matter down the line in this talk here so reassess I personally don’t attend women’s meetings unless asked to share because I don’t agree with the segregation and do feel it is a violation of traditions however I’m open to the fact that others want those types of meetings does not mean I need to attend those there are so many meetings in our area that a few meetings targeted towards a certain population is not going to affect my recovery and Wayne you know completely agree with that and and I would say I agree like generally when these meetings are started that specialty meetings it’s because there is a wealth of other meetings to attend and it’s not really negatively impacting people is it that people might have to go to a further away meeting because you know the one closest to them isn’t available yeah but generally in small you know localized urban areas where there’s a lot of population and a lot of meetings it’s not that big of a hindrance to go out of your way bud says he was on a long vacation months years ago and really needed a meeting he found a local directory went to a meeting it was closed called the hotline the game an address to another meeting and the girl told him it was a gay meeting he needed it so he went the guy’s helped him line up some other meetings and gave his phone number to stay connected he went to another meeting his friends and he asked the guy he said hey why do you feel like you need a meeting specifically for gay men he was told that gay men felt very uncomfortable sharing in a regular open meeting he also said that no one was ever turned away except for some people who had been disrespectful and using homophobic slurs so bud said he’d never thought about it that way and he’d get why how women could feel the same and a woman’s only meeting as well they might feel safer especially a lot of you know difficulty with men and thirteen stepping and predatory behavior and all that great stuff so and then he says I don’t see why anyone would object people always gotta throw in there I don’t see why anyone would object well no but I do I do love that he laid this out but I this caught me so I loved his story that you know gay people did not feel safe I thought that was an important piece of understanding why we have specialty topic meetings as you would call them but I do want your take on this he said you know they felt uncomfortable sharing he also said that no one was ever turned away except for some people who had been disrespectful and used homophobic slurs people are being turned away from this meeting is that okay um so we have a couple things and again if you’re representing if you’re you’re making an assumption here that an NA meeting is of the fellowship and I don’t think that’s the premise here if I throw you out of a meeting that does not mean you cannot be a part of Narcotics Anonymous those are different things a meeting is not the fellowship or the program it is just a piece of something that we do it’s a thing that we do um meetings what if you let’s say you know me and my wife split up and she has to get a restraining order from me and she’s at a meeting and I show up there does that mean you know is that what happens then one of us has to leave I have a restraining order I’m not allowed to be there but n/a is not gonna tell you to leave the law is that’s totally different well we asked people with drugs or drug paraphernalia to leave we asked them to take that outside not for the person to leave oh you asking them to leave we ask that people that have used their you know what I mean we do some of these things okay there’s people that have been and I guess you could say the fellowship doesn’t do it but we expect people to um I don’t know I’ve heard other situations where people have been asked to leave meetings and I don’t necessarily disagree with that because I don’t think asking someone to leave a meeting is kicking them out of the fellowship no one has see if you look at the traditions and and this is I wanted to kind of circle back to the first and third tradition of the traditions so if you look at these traditions as rules that need to be followed you have kind of one take on them if you look at them as protections for individuals and as a a loving guiding principle they kind of take on a different feel you know and what I mean by that is when we talk about our autonomy and we talk about our primary purpose to me those things are inviting these you know people that are you know have different issues these are invite hey we want women men people who aren’t sure what their sexual identity is we don’t care what you identify as you can come here and you can recovery here and this is a safe place we guarantee that no one will push you out like I look at it more that way not you have to conform to our identity and lose all your personal and anima D like it’s I look at it the opposite way of that like these and and so I do want to get back to that like after we get through the Facebook comments I had looked up some stuff about traditions and it kind of I want to say that’s not totally far off from where I was getting a little different take on him this time reading oh but I do want to say I feel like early on you kind of started in a place where like hey these meetings aren’t turning anyone away and that’s why you know that’s not my experience they’re not turning people away and kind of you know protecting the fact that we can have specialty meetings because they’re just topics and they don’t turn people away but now it seems like you’ve kind of gone – it’s okay to turn people away from a meeting as long as they’re not turned away from the program itself I don’t know that it’s I would say that it’s okay it happens I mean I’m sure I mean as you mentioned in your earlier posts with the very first guy that made a comment you know what I mean does it happen yes do you feel like it’s the norm no right you know I mean and I think and again we are paraphrasing like now we’re getting at third hand from bud on a experience he remembers from someone else so you don’t even know specifically you know does he have specific examples of how many people they’ve turned away and you know if somebody used a homophobic it’s kind of getting back to the same thing of I heard from a friend that this happened well I’m not saying it isn’t possible or it didn’t happen but do I think that that’s like the norm and that’s what’s happening all the time no I don’t think that’s what’s happening all the time if someone used a homophobic or racist slur in your home group would your home group ask them to leave

and and I don’t think so right what if you had a home group member that was openly of a different you know ethnicity and also a different sexual preference would your home group then find that important as a new person in the meeting that shared like that to leave or at least mention that that’s not okay maybe you don’t have to ask him to leave right away

well I think people would have I think people would definitely talk to them about it not being okay um I don’t know that anyone in my home group would I’m trying to think just curious yeah so while you think about that let’s go yeah well but I think in a meeting that’s LGBTQ it’s much easier to say hey you can’t say that here because you know we have a majority here this is kind of like our safe protected area which I’m not saying it’s a bad thing per se it’s just interesting that that’s a different dynamic so Christine says I think some people feel more comfortable sharing more personal things in certain meetings my home group is LGBTQ but all are welcome someone once told me if you don’t like gay marriage don’t marry the same sex same thing applies to special interest meetings if you don’t like them don’t go that’s cool until you start I mean I don’t know that’s alright when you’re the one included I guess when you’re not on the inside of that it feels a little different right yeah if they had a meeting for people who had ten years plus clean wouldn’t bother to [ _ ] out of me I got ten plus years clean sure no problem at all if they had a meeting for people with thirty plus years clean I might be offended I think if they had those meetings I would be like man I need to stay clean longer [ _ ] that I would go and root through old yeah I meant your [ _ ] 30-plus meeting what do you do about but see that’s what I mean though that’s all ego that’s all that is his ego it needs to be about me what about me I need mine I’m not gonna get it’s all fear-based ego you know there’s plenty of recovery there is plenty of Narcotics Anonymous the beauty of the traditions in all this is that they protect and guarantee that is for everyone you know it’s not limiting how is it not so to think that we need a meeting just for people with 30 plus years how is that not ego to think oh that newcomer has nothing to share it’s gonna help me I’m not gonna get anything out of this meeting unless it’s for people with only 30 plus years that’s I don’t think that out of a meeting with 30 plus years you’re taking that out of a meeting with 30 or so for them what I hear is hey guess what at 30 years clean I have some different issues than that [ _ ] guy that just walked in the door in his recovery and that’s ego to think that you have different issues that people would tend don’t have or that someone else hasn’t already experienced just because you think you have to have a certain amount of time to get that I think that is also ego or you can be talking about life issues aging issues relationship issues which people basically could have if they’re your age if they’re in your career with your amount of time in your career like I just I think all that is ego every last piece of it I think no ego means everybody’s connected and we don’t need any segregation or divert or separation and so I think the same thing you’re saying yeah it might be my ego that says [ _ ] them dudes having that meeting I can’t attend is the same thing going on with them having that mean the difference with it so what you’re calling I guess ego maybe I would think of more as humility so we are all different in our life in our experiences um the application of these principles in general you know you can we’ve always sort of made the joke and I think you and I have talked about this when you hear people share you can almost pick out how much time they have sometimes by certain things that they say you know what I mean you can almost figure oh yeah that person’s about here maybe not in years but on steps or whatever I think in general that’s probably an ego a thing to say you know what I mean like if you sure it’s not humble well okay so what is the difference between ego and humble I don’t know humble is an honest not making yourself better than or less then yeah ego is saying that I deserve I should have I need it’s about me I am eating for 30 plus for your people there you go well if you say it that way if that’s your motivation then yes that is ego well what else is the motivation for making it the humble person I want to create a meeting where people that have a longer lived experience we wrote a [ _ ] specific book about it what do you think the the new what’s it we do recover book is about they specifically went out and wrote a book that was designed for people with longer amounts of clean time because we realized that we didn’t have that within our fellowship it was a recognition they at the World Conference they voted on it as a need they said this is the thing that we need because it is lacking in our fellowship so is that ego base that we decided that we needed that it was ego to think that that book was only going to help people with lots of time because it helps everyone because it’s incredible information it is but there is I would say information in there that is more specifically catered towards people with time I’ve not done it can’t help okay so if and again this is me if I had a meeting that said ok as people with 30 Moors or year 30 years or more can chair I wouldn’t limit it to just I wouldn’t say we don’t want people with less time know if you have [ _ ] 3 years 5 years 10 years come sit listen hopefully you’ll get something out of this hopefully you’ll grow and change and learn you know I think abroad listen that book right they probably designed it I said this is gonna affect people with time way more because it really deals with their niche right in this and I don’t think it did that I think it helps everyone the same just the same way when I read the basic text with three months clean it meant one thing to me and now I read it again it means something completely different to me the same exact words because all this recovery stuff can affect us right I don’t think their purpose might have been out of ego or thinking that we needed special you know words for people of a certain amount of time I don’t think it worked out that I think it worked out in a beautiful way where everybody gets the same thing from or not the same thing but everybody gets usefulness out of it in a different way I learn more for my five-year-old and a baby frequently than I do from people who have also have clean time as much as me right I learned things from all over for the person with a week clean who’s got the insight to remind me of something that I need to know in my life right the guy who had just over a year who who I asked about would you go to a meeting men’s wraps and and how do you feel about a meeting with more than 10 years Jason he had a very spiritual response to all this that like kind of put me in my place a little bit right because I wasn’t being so spiritual in that moment I was asking him my five-year-old who just shows me ways to be innocent and loving like I think it’s very egotistical to think that I need a specialty meeting for an amount of time to get that kind of information and so that’s where when we talk about our diversity being our strength yes like that is but it’s making the point it’s like okay if all you’re ever around is your five-year-old you’re gonna be lacking in some absolutely if you can’t find a safe place to get the influence and the input and application of these principles you know through adults then you’re going to be lacking in your recovery and I don’t know Ellucian where it’s catered around you know maybe different life experiences or or different application of these principles or you know different ways of life styles like how those principles are applied only enhances our experience it it only helps to to further like an understanding of the principles right so the the last guy on here and I don’t disagree with anything you just said the last guy in the comments it was John he said at a 30,000 foot view which I don’t know if he’s a pilot or he just feels very separated from this not emotionally tied down I’m really not sure but he said at a 30,000 foot view I think that all meetings should be for all people our strength is in our diversity we need to make sure that we don’t start dividing ourselves up into factions with that said I understand the appeal of men’s meetings women’s meetings LGBTQ meetings etc but in my humble opinion if someone that doesn’t fit that in the specific profile shows up they shouldn’t be denied a meeting and in most cases I don’t think they are for me sponsorship families enable us to get our same-sex meeting fixed and share about the issues we don’t want to discuss in an open forum and we can find other avenues to get support for other feelings and challenges that we may face for other reasons I this tends to be a good wrap-up for the kind of way I felt before we went into this topic for sure I don’t understand why look it doesn’t even okay so maybe I don’t want to share about you know sleeping around in an open meeting and it would be more comfortable in a men’s rep right maybe there’s just [ _ ] that isn’t meant for an open meeting it doesn’t matter if it’s a men’s rap open meeting for all people and LGBTQ maybe if I’m not comfortable sharing it in an open meeting I should keep that [ _ ] and share it with just my network or just my sponsor maybe it’s not meant for a meeting like that’s my take on that when you say oh we should be able to share these at certain specialty meetings I’m like well maybe you shouldn’t I don’t necessarily mean you should only be able to share them what I mean is it’s it’s a little easier it’s more comfortable with safer you know your I always again go back to I think the idea is to make things more inviting like the the broader our our base you know the more people we can reach right you know the safer we can make it for people that are discriminated against or you know that feel not a part of or that feel less connected like the broader we can make that net the more of those people we can bring in and then of course you hope that by bringing them in they recognize that this does work for everyone or anyone you know the love that’s here can be shared amongst all of us but maybe what it takes you know to help break down some of those barriers of you know fear and and self-loathing and lack of self-worth and all those things that do still affect people with a lot of time that affect newcomers as much as they affect old timers you know you get old timers that you know they feel totally disconnected from the program because the [ _ ] the kids are talking about nowadays didn’t even [ _ ] exist twenty years ago you know the drugs that are out there and what people were doing and and the way people were living like that was unfathomable you know even 20 years ago and technology’s done passed you by and you know there are issues that are just unique to people in their lives and I don’t I guess understand why as long as the the groups are following the traditions and the steps why it matters if they have specialty topic meetings why it’s gonna be so looked at is so exclusive versus inclusive and so I guess for me that’s this is where that takes us there’s something we kind of slightly touched on earlier I don’t I don’t consider this a topic meeting this is a meeting who is telling you who should and should not come to it it’s not like hey we’re gonna have a step meeting right I mean people who don’t work steps obviously come to those meetings they’re not saying only people who work steps should be here these are meetings that aren’t about a specific is not the topic is not women the topic is Narcotics Anonymous meeting but women are the ones here you know it’s it’s telling you who’s coming it’s not really the topic so I think when you say it’s just a specialty topic meeting that throws me off a little bit because it’s not really is it the topic sort of but it’s also telling you who’s really welcome or wanted at this meeting okay so if you had a mince rat meeting and female biologically showed up that I identified as a male and that’s where the Boise work I’d you know what I mean lingo means anymore I’m just saying no I’m saying the idea of a to me and I’m just giving my think like the opinion of a men’s rap meeting like where it’s not meant to say oh can we check your dick at the door and if you don’t have one you got a leave I’m definitely doing all but it’s not the intention you know what I mean that is not the intention of that maybe I am starting a men’s meeting and we are not doing hugs the door just to make sure you know I know I get it and look if I was ever a part of a men’s rep it would absolutely be I don’t give a [ _ ] who you are if you show up come to a meeting right cuz I’m just an inclusive person but I have that freedom to be inclusive because I’m also a white guy right I am the norm I don’t have to feel that unsafe nosov being a minor I don’t understand racism I mean I don’t I can’t say that I’ve ever experienced that in my life you know what I mean I don’t understand what it’s what it’s like to be criticized you know as a minority Mike I know and and some of this it was kind of honestly fun but it was interesting to go back and read like the history of a a they’ve had a similar history with with specialty meetings and stuff too and there was a lot of you know pushback from people but you know if you didn’t know back when I first started they didn’t let women in the meetings they wouldn’t even allow they ran them out and then it was the same with you know blacks or african-americans they ran him out of meetings or said you well you can come but you got to sit in the back and not share so those groups went and formed meetings and pushed through you know that that exclusion they they push through and they created women’s only meetings they created you know minority meetings they created these LGBT key cube meetings and you know through that they were able to grow and prosper and the fellowship itself I believe has benefited from that well and and so you know for anyone who does not think there should be specialty meetings I say look at the case of like sex addicts anonymous or sex and love addicts anonymous where the opposite sex at times because not everybody’s of you know a regular sexual preference right not everybody said regular sorry of the normative you know sexual preference or the heterosexual right well I want to be inclusive I’m not trying to be rude to anyone so in those fellowships where oftentimes you know the opposite sex is your drug of choice it would be like saying hey we can have heroin in the meetings with the heroin addicts like that’s dangerous so is it safer for them to have only men’s and women’s meetings or at least to have them exist for people who feel triggered by being around you know their particular quote-unquote drug of choice like we also have to think about all these exclusions and cases that might affect it so I want to kind of go through this is some stuff I pull it out of traditions none of it I looked for a tradition a statement in our literature something that explained that this was wrong right I wanted to have the final evidence none of this I will say none of this did that for me right I definitely kind of like you were talking about earlier how sort of had a different take on the traditions from looking at more of it I do want to hear your response or the way you feel about it so tradition one talks about these are quotes from our literature you know tradition one is our common welfare should come first personal recovery depends on n a unity these meetings sort of to me don’t promote unity they kind of promote division a little bit but the quotes it says our purpose is to carry the message to the Attic to still suffers I can see where these meetings still do that our traditions are the guidelines that protect us from ourselves right and that’s what I thought was interesting and says they are our unity the traditions are our unity they protect us from ourselves so which side of this debate is ourselves [ _ ] it up is the real question right are we are we being are we saying hey we do need these specialty meetings and it’s okay because people are safe here but we’re messing up our unity in doing that and we’re not protecting us from ourselves or are we are the people who are arguing against it saying now you shouldn’t have that just put these people in every meeting are they the ones [ _ ] up the unity it was that question I don’t know well so I would say yeah that’s right yeah I feel like I mean I can give you my take on it so again when it comes back to what I consider the program which is the steps and the Commission’s you know that’s I believe what our literature says is anybody that follows these steps in these traditions can find this new way to live and that the spirit of the first tradition is to say that as long as we keep our you know eye on living by the steps living by the traditions that this will work for you that you can stop using lose a desire to use and find a new way to live and if the again this is playing out that the groups maybe that have these specialty meetings are still following traditions you know as they understand them to the best of their ability that they are doing that you know they’re they’re creating a safe environment that is primarily focused on helping sick and suffering addicts find a new way to live and so that kind of ties us in the tradition three because uh the only requirement from membership is a desire to stop using right and I’ve heard you say many times today that the you consider the program and the meeting different which I agree with right I’m not against that I do think there are different things I personally think tradition three applies to both right the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop using no homegroup that I’ve been a part of has ever been able to tell someone they could not join that home group they chose to join that home group as soon as they said they were a member right so these are some of the quotes about tradition three and there’s quite a few of them so bear with me a desire is our only requirement addiction does not discriminate this tradition is to ensure that any addict regardless of drugs used race religious beliefs sex sexual preference or financial condition is free to practice the NA way of life does not say come to a meeting says practice the anyway life all addicted persons are welcome and equal in obtaining the relief that they are seeking from their addiction every addict can recover in this program on an equal basis again only says program does not say meeting but to me this applies to a meeting too because if you hold on let me finish then I’ll say that we feel that the ideal state for our fellowship exists when addicts can come freely and openly to an NA meeting whenever and wherever they choose and leave just as freely right that definitely does say meeting and so we had these groups that are saying maybe you’re not so freely able and openly able to come to these particular meetings but more what I’m getting at with this is you keep saying that the program and the meeting is different which I agree I’m not arguing that they’re not they are but if I want to get clean in my hometown neighborhood and for whatever reason maybe I’m like the only person of color in a very judgy area maybe such as this right who knows and at some point in time like a a did not allow women or did not allow people of color into their meetings how do I get the program if I can’t attend the meetings define the program how would I ever get it what am I supposed to like that was pre-internet how are those people ever gonna find AAA or na if the only meetings around were specialty meetings that didn’t allow them which at that time was every meeting they were all specialty right so I just I’m looking at that like how if people couldn’t if people aren’t able to find the program because they can’t get to the meeting that talks about the program because the meeting is saying we’re a women’s meeting you’re not welcome here or you can come for one time but you know go somewhere else next week if people can’t get to the program then how can they be a part of that if the meeting is supposed to be kind of like our local introduction to that well at least for now what I see is these what I’ll call specialty meetings are pretty limited percentage of meetings in any area there seems to be a lot more that are just open you know meetings that aren’t specifically geared towards rental interest you know if and again getting back to that one person that says all right the only possible way I can get to a meeting is this one that I can walk to on Tuesdays at 8 o’clock and the only one on Tuesday at 8 o’clock is a specialty meeting I mean I don’t know what do people do and completely remote areas where they don’t even have a meeting every day you know we got a IP for that yeah owners staying clean and isolation go that’s awful it’s stupid well nowadays it’s way more it would be written and updated right has there way more potential jump on an Internet those things but I guess you know did so I don’t want to take you too far off but this exact quote here we feel that the ideal state for our fellowship exists when addicts can come freely and openly to an NA meeting whenever and wherever they choose and leave just as freely do you feel that women’s and men’s meetings and and other such and meetings for people with 30-plus years or whatever the hell young people what else did we find couples meetings agnostic illness and recovery do you feel people can come freely and openly to end any of those meetings whenever they choose again you’re reading that statement different than the way that I hear it when I hear that it says the ideal state what I hear that to be is what we hope would happen is that there would be enough meetings 24 hours a day seven days a week that any addict on any day could find a meeting that they could go to that’s what I hear when you first read that I don’t hear like the draw on the line in the sand rule there I hear a spiritual ideology of love that says you know wouldn’t it [ _ ] be great would it be awesome if you know a sponsee called you up said hey man I’m really struggling and you said you know what let me come pick you up there’s a meeting around the corner ladies and gentlemen this is a prime example of when you have a belief and you go and get information you take that information and mold it to your belief not the other way around right you’re not molding your belief around the information available you’re actually molding the information available to what you already believed internally ahead of time and that is why we are reading the same exact line of a sentence and hearing it differently in our heads because we had different beliefs going it and that’s what so we had talked about this I said I wanted to get online yesterday and start commenting for lunch people and not to try to make anyone right I I mean I know I do that – there’s that in I recognize in myself the inherent nature to want to be right and to convince everyone I don’t see how anyone would think differently but I also like I get curious sometimes like I read something and I hear some you know thing and then like say someone reads the exact same thing and here’s something very different and and of course there’s that little side of me that wants to be like well they’re seeing that way wrong but I also sometimes wonder like how do you get to that state you know how do you how do you hear you know again when we talk about our traditions and things like I look at them as this really open thing that’s there to protect people and encourage people and inspire people to like hey come here try this do this right you know we want you to come we want you to feel safe we want you to feel like this is a place that will work for you when everyone else has told you you’re a piece of [ _ ] and this won’t work and you’ll never do it and you’re never going to be nothing we’re the place that says come we want you here we want you to be a part of this you can do this if you just live this way you’ll [ _ ] find freedom from addiction and a new way of life like that’s what I hear when I hear these traditions of unity and you know so I went on tradition five said some stuff each group has but one primary purpose to carry too much today I could still suffers obviously I couldn’t figure out how these meetings didn’t still carry that purpose out especially if they were a safe environment where a woman or a person of color or you know an LGBTQ man would not go to a regular meeting and they only felt safe in these particular meetings then I felt like these meetings did fit our primary purpose to carry the message to the addicts who suffers right so I’m reading through them seeing this tradition twelve of course is where our diversity is our strength that’s where that comes from tradition one talked about that the diversity enriches the fellowship and gives rise to new and creative ways to reach addicts who need our help and as I [ _ ] like that new and creative ways specialty meeting right this is where I start it starts [ _ ] with my head I know and then tradition one said this and this is what really [ _ ] me up last night Billie or two nights ago I think it said with an attitude of open-mindedness we seek to understand other perspectives and I was like you [ _ ] got me so at that moment I said man okay so I don’t from that point I don’t have an issue with the meetings right this is where I got to though in all of this if we don’t draw the line at not being able to have specialty meetings at all where can we draw the line once you say that okay we have men’s raps women’s raps LGBTQ youth couples agnostic illness and recovery and according to the NA literature a pills meeting whatever the hell that terrifies the hell out of me right I don’t know when we’re gonna have a suboxone meeting of black onyx Anonymous where do you draw the line if you don’t draw it at none where do you draw it because I feel like we’re gonna have hate groups that are calling themselves NA meetings I feel like that’s possible maybe not maybe we’re all spiritual enough that that doesn’t exist right but I feel like this can be used against us to hinder us and said oh well you have men’s meetings and women’s meetings and all this why can’t we have our specialty meeting of what we believe in so where do you draw the line if you don’t draw it at the beginning that’s my problem I got I mean if you’re asking me specifically yes well you’re the only one here yeah so I don’t know if that was a general question but um I would say I I mean like you know gentleman earlier mentioned about a gingers only meeting I mean me personally I wouldn’t object to it honor that’s what you want to do if you can get enough people there and they support it you’re following the traditions and there you only want people with red hair there have had it why it’s it again to me it’s not limiting or affecting or impairing my ability to recover in Narcotics Anonymous and as far as I know I can’t directly see a way that it’s impacting or affecting anyone else’s ability to recover in Narcotics Anonymous if you have hate groups I mean I guess if they’re threatening violence you have some areas there that might be but if you said you know we want to have a Hispanics only meeting a Narcotics Anonymous I don’t necessarily have a problem with that so if I don’t have a problem with the Hispanics only me or a Hispanics spanish-speaking whatever you want to call it you know right Latin American whatever you know we want to cater it towards those issues I personally don’t have a problem with it so if I don’t have a problem with that then do I have a problem with the white people’s only meeting and I would say no I mean yeah no I don’t have a problem with one so in my worldview it would be hypocritical to have a problem with another yeah this is definitely an argument that I feel like I could get into with a lot of people in Cecil County and I don’t think you’re much like the people in Cecil County so don’t take a right well no but I so I think and we’ve kind of mentioned this like when you talk about meetings for minorities that’s a safe space right the minority is not what’s getting the most attention normally right it’s kind of like heaven oh well we got Black History Month why don’t we have white History Month every [ _ ] month is 98% white History right you know well we have B et television why don’t we have W et et tell well because 95% of what’s on TV is already for white people like it’s it’s not that we can’t have white interest groups it’s just what’s kind of already what the [ _ ] interest is like we don’t need to have specialty groups for you to have a version of your culture represented right these these minority groups are specialized because people don’t have versions of their culture represented anywhere and so that’s kind of my argument events why do we have we need I don’t know but I say then there we sort of generally saying na is not for the racist like racists aren’t welcome here I mean Narcotics Anonymous isn’t for those people – we’re saying it’s all inclusive everyone all no but it’s absolutely sure everyone means people I don’t like means people I don’t agree we’re not the Christian Church we’re not turning away from them to be to keep us a you know maybe maybe like it I don’t know again I wouldn’t support it I wouldn’t you know I wouldn’t go there I wouldn’t encourage people that I sponsored together well because it’s not a way that I want to live but here’s where I thought I think that it shouldn’t be right here’s where I thought Mike had a really good point of if he comes to the fellowship and his entire exposure has been maybe an upbringing that’s around racist family members who you know don’t like homosexual individuals and he doesn’t want to live that way anymore how does he gain exposure and understanding and sensitivity to people of that nature if they’re all over at some other meeting that he’s not going to explore then that’s where I think he had a really good point of like this is where we learned to be sensitive and respect other people and understand that they’re way more like us than they are different it’s easy to sit in my house and say oh my god if you got brown skin or if you’re got a vagina you’re way different than me but when I hear you talk and you express very very similar feelings I’m like ah [ _ ] like you’re a lot like me and I would say again being in an area that’s had a few if I’m not in a bigger area where they have a ton of them but maybe you remember from there you were in before I mean do you know these different like all the men in the area don’t go to the men’s only meeting no no all right yeah right now it’s like for all the women in the women’s you know in the area don’t go to the only the women’s meeting there’s plenty of these other people there’s plenty of diversity in the other meetings that it’s not like the only representative of that community you get is that special interest meeting there is definitely men and women who you know go to the majority of meetings and probably LGBTQ it’s not as openly represented or obvious like I don’t really know who the hell’s gay just by looking right so I can’t tell you I mean I’m sure there’s probably people in a lot of meetings that you know have a different preference I guess I don’t know I don’t know though maybe you want them to wear letters so we know some you mean all of them you gotta wear different letters on your shirt you know I tend to be you know all-inclusive like yeah if you’re gonna have specialty topics and again I call them topic meetings I go back to this so in again I did some reading of my own and I went on an a has a bullet number 18 that sort of vaguely addresses some of this and and AAA has a bulletin that vaguely addresses some of this both fellowships in general seem to believe that there’s no direct conflict to any traditions or you know the steps or the traditions that would specialize I like that in in their experience between the two fellowships there’s no direct like oh this is a direct violation of our traditions right and you know in the basic text it says there are two basic types of meeting those open to the general public and those close to the public for addicts only meeting formats vary widely from group to group some are purchase patient meetings some speakers some our question-and-answer and some focus on special problem discussions so you know that’s where would I talk about on being special problem discussions or special topic meetings I tend to think that’s what they should be and in respect to those things you know you would hope that people that didn’t fall into those discussions or topics would know the truth is we do have a spirit in this program of anonymity that you know is in all of our traditions and all of our steps that says that I don’t have to identify myself as anything when I go to any meeting I can just go say my name is Bill and I’m an addict and I can sit there as freely as I want and no one has a right to tell me to leave and no one has a right to question whether identify myself as a female whether identify myself as LGBTQ whether you know maybe you could question whether I’m african-american or Hispanic because I don’t necessarily have the look but even then there’s some you know you know you’d have to start making some assumptions that you don’t necessarily know you don’t know how was raised or what culture I was in or if I was adopted into a different culture you know in the spirit of anonymity you would hope would carry through the meetings to where we aren’t running people out of these me that would be wrong you know in any context ya know we’re not the Christian Church and and so I think that’s a beautiful thing I hope people are never getting turned away from exposure to recovery because I think we desperately need it by the time we’re willing to show up and so I hope that everybody is welcome no matter what meeting format you get I do think if you listen to this podcast long enough we are going to become well researched trying to prove each other wrong I will I will consent on this one I will you know say hey I had a much stronger opinion about this years ago I’ve been way softer on it since and kind of like I don’t think these meetings are going anywhere for one thing and even I think this conversation and the research I did put in to get to this conversation I’m even way softer on it now it’s very much a you know this probably isn’t affecting my recovery in any kind of way am I gonna go probably still not because I just don’t have any interest I call it my own issue maybe I want some eye candy in a meeting and I don’t get that in a dress too often except our buddy Aaron he’s kind of cute but yeah in general this doesn’t really affect me and I can see how it could really help some people to find a safe place to talk and so I that’s where I got out of this I’m pretty open even further opened to the idea of this being all right and it would be beautiful if in our society in the next I’m gonna wishfully say ten years so maybe longer that uh people don’t feel a need for that like I think it’s a shame I think it’s it’s sad that you know different groups of people within this country feel so persecuted or so isolated or alone or disconnected from others that you know they feel like they can only relate or reflect within their individual group so I would hope that you know we can all be open enough to everyone’s struggles that you know our meetings aren’t that people feel safe there are people feel loved that they feel supported enough to to share their experiences with each other I think you got at least twenty maybe thirty years for society it’s that we gotta wait for a generation to mmm possibly not be here and we’ll see you next week that wraps up this episode please subscribe rate and review this podcast on your preferred platform if you have ideas for topics you’d like us to talk about or just want to add an opinion contact us through Anker email us at recovery sort of at gmail.com or find us on Twitter at recovery sort of

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