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Politics in 12-step meetings? Anyone else run into this sort of thing?

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raccoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-19-09 11:30 AM
Original message
Politics in 12-step meetings? Anyone else run into this sort of thing?
Not long before the illegal invasion of Iraq, I went to an AA meeting that I attended at that time, and someone was holding forth about his negative opinions toward the world-wide protests in January of 2003. I said, "Excuse me, what does this have to do with AA or sobriety?" He saw the error of his ways and backed off.

Then a woman chimed in and put in her 2 cents worth. The chair of the meeting basically sat there like a bump on a log. I got up and walked out.

Feelings are running high about politics these days, and to me, AA/Al Anon, etc., is no place to discuss politics. That meeting, as you may imagine, did nothing for my serenity or peace of mind. If I had been a newcomer, that might have been the last meeting I ever went to.

It is the responsibility of the person who is chairing the meeting to put the lid on this kind of B.S. If he/she does not, I don't consider that meeting a safe place to come and share, or even to come and listen.

Any one had any similar experiences in the last 8 years or so?

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get the red out Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-19-09 02:47 PM
Response to Original message
1. Too much so.
Edited on Thu Nov-19-09 02:50 PM by get the red out
My home group literally sat divided last fall, I looked up one Thursday and the known righties were on the right side of the room and all us lefties were huddled on the left side of the room. All of us huddled furiously criticizing the other side before the meeting started. One night a good old guy mentioned something good about the President in passing as he shared, not too political, just nice and a rightie had to follow him up with a rant for the next 10 minutes on how he disagreed with the first guy and how wrong he was. Another guy keeps blaming Obama for everything on the planet prior to the meeting (forcing his leftie sponcee to listen to his crap) and there are some RW religious type women that bad mouth the President after the meeting. And all of what they say is just stupid BS, like being mad that the President took the First Lady out on a date! I have been in AA for over 17 years and have never seen people as obsessed with politics in that time. Myself included to be honest, but I am trying to do better, righties won't try, all they want to do is blame and rant.

A question that has been disturbing me is why so many recovering people just buy into that RW bs hook line and sinker? Is it that they think it is the "religious" thing to do and believe they have to act all religious to be sober? I live in the Bible belt so I may be in a skewed location. I'm pretty sick of the whole thing though, I can keep my peace if they will, but they aren't into keeping peace and quiet about such things. Lately I have been wondering if we will all end up with meetings for liberals and meetings for conservatives?

Thanks for the opportunity in this thread to get that off my chest. I have really been trying not to get into the mix at my group, but it doesn't keep it from getting into my head and stewing some on it, making myself a bit of a mess in the process. And knowing me I can't keep the good act going around them forever either, LOL! And it's Thursday for God's sake, but my good old union Democrat friend that caused the rant from the righie is chairing this month and he has 26 years so all should be ok.
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NMDemDist2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-19-09 06:52 PM
Response to Original message
2. i live in a very rural and red area and we are all VERY careful to not mention politics
but in 2004 in Phoenix what I used to do if ANY mention of politics came up I' 'borrow' the 12x12 off the desk and read Tradition 10....

The Washingtonian Society, a movement among alcoholics which started in Baltimore a century ago, almost discovered the answer to alcoholism. At first, the society was composed entirely of alcoholics trying to help one another. The early members foresaw that they should dedicate themselves to this sole aim. In many respects, the Washingtonians were akin to A.A. of today. Their membership passed the hundred thousand mark. Had they been left to themselves, and had they stuck to their one goal, they might have found the rest of the answer. But this didn't happen. Instead, the Washingtonians permitted politicians and reformers, both alcoholic and nonalcoholic, to use the society for their own purposes. Abolition of slavery, for example, was a stormy political issue then. Soon, Washingtonian speakers violently and publicly took sides on this question. Maybe the society could have survived the abolition controversy, but it didn't have a chance from the moment it determined to reform America's drinking habits. When the Washingtonians became temperance crusaders, within a very few years they had completely lost their effectiveness in helping alcoholics.
The lesson to be learned from the Washingtonians was not overlooked by Alcoholics Anonymous. As we surveyed the wreck of that movement, early A.A. members resolved to keep our Society out of public controversy. Thus was laid the cornerstone for Tradition Ten: "Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy."

and then follow it up "Live and Let Live" and always remember "Principles before Personalities" then from page 61

Our actor is self-centered - ego-centric, as people like to call it nowadays. He is like the retired business man who lolls in the Florida sunshine in the winter complaining of the sad state of the nation; the minister who sighs over the sins of the twentieth century; politicians and reformers who are sure all would be Utopia f the rest of the world would only behave; the outlaw safe cracker who thinks society has wronged him; and the alcoholic who has lost all and is locked up. Whatever our protestations, are not most of us concerned with ourselves, our resentments, or our self-pity?

Selfishness - self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity, we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate.
and end up with asking the group to forgive me if my fear had caused me to violate the spirit of the traditions.

that usually shuts em up :evilgrin:

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raccoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-20-09 09:11 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. Thank you! Great response. nt
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Kajsa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-21-09 11:11 AM
Response to Reply #2
4. That's an excellent response, NMDem!

I always repeat Tradition Ten when someone starts in
with politics at a meeting.

That's NOT the place for it!
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progree Donating Member (129 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-05-11 04:34 AM
Response to Reply #2
6. Another good one is Tradition One - recovery depends on A.A. UNITY
Tradition Ten's admonition on outside issues is a great one.

Here's another I like:

Tradition One - "Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A.A. unity"

Bringing up national politics divides us into factions, causes anger and resentment, and harms recovery.

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Fire Walk With Me Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-02-10 02:46 PM
Response to Original message
5. Yes. If it's not in the Books, Steps, or Traditions, it might need to wait for fellowship time.
Edited on Sat Jan-02-10 02:46 PM by Fire Walk With Me
And we also can't get people from making shout outs to their favorite sports teams :rofl:
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Fire Walk With Me Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-05-11 04:13 PM
Response to Original message
7. Everything from that to the complete rejection of the 3rd Tradition.
If a meeting continues to remain outside the Traditions, find a new meeting or start one. As they say, all it takes to start a meeting is a coffee pot and a resentment ;)

Good luck, it sucks to lose quality sobriety time to Outside Issues.
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Tripod Donating Member (534 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-13-11 11:06 PM
Response to Original message
8. This kind of thing has happened to me.
In my area, a lot of people leading meetings are brand new at sobriety, and AA also. This has happened to me, and all most every one I know. Walk in to a meeting, then asked to Chair. Not a bad thing, because it helps build confidence, self-esteem, voice, and commitment to AA. But it's hard on the group some. Because leadership is hard to come by.
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