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Response to steve2470 (Original post)

Mon Mar 31, 2014, 02:58 PM

205. off-topic anecdote about AA

In about 1984, when I was young and naive and in grad school, I called up the local AA support line to find a meeting I could go to for my research requirement for a class. The guy on the phone told me, go to location X. Ok, I thanked him and went to location X at the prescribed time.

I went into the meeting room and it was filled with all men. Coffee pot, steel folding chairs, filled to capacity pretty much. Location X is in a semi-tony suburb of my birth town, so there was every stratum of humanity there. I don't remember seeing a single woman there.

The meeting got under way and the men began to say the archetypal "Hi, I'm Joe and I'm an alcoholic" type of introduction, and then tell their story. This went on for about 30 minutes or so, so I heard several stories. Of course, I could not tell you today who they were even if they shook my hand.

The leader of the meeting looked around and spied me in the back. I was obviously a newcomer. He called on me and asked me if I wished to speak. I said " Hi, I'm Steve and I'm not an alcoholic but I'm here to do a bit of research. I'd like to talk to some of you." Words to that effect.

A hush fell over the room. I was hustled out of there faster than you can say HUZZAH. It was a polite hustling, though. A couple of men said, um, you were given a CLOSED meeting, and not an open meeting where everyone can come and ask questions. I was very embarrassed, apologized profusely and promised gravely not to compromise anyone's confidentiality. Satisfied with that reassurance, they bid me good luck and went back into the meeting.

MORAL OF THE STORY: All AA meetings are NOT alike. MOST of them are closed to alcoholics or people who may think they are alcoholics. If you simply want information, go to an OPEN meeting. Make sure you make that 10000% obvious to the person on the phone if you call them. It's obvious the guy on the phone did not understand what I wanted, or it's also possible I was not clear enough.

Steve

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