Tuesday, May 08, 2007


It seems a lot of us are talking about THE Newsweek article ostensibly about AA this week. There was a copy of it lying around the meeting room the other day. Great message for the newcomer. Someone tried to steer the meeting topic to it last night. It didn't work - there are so many new people in the room, I am sure most of them had no clue about the controversy.

So the Midtown Group in Washington DC is bad. So what? There are "bad" groups all over this country. There are many, many more good groups. Whenever you have self-governed groups of social misfits like many alcoholics, you are bound to have trouble now and then. We are alcoholics in various stages of recovery. You have the people who are only there for sex, the people who are only there to try to scam something, etc. If they are alcoholics and keep coming back, and doing the deal, they may eventually straighten out. And maybe not.

The important thing is: If you are alcoholic and want to stay sober in AA, you will either stay sober in whatever group you are in, you will find another group to go to - or you will get drunk. This is not rocket science. It is unfortunate that vulnerable newcomers get hurt by people in AA. But it has happened since the beginning of AA and probably always will. The real story is the incredible love that is showered upon newcomers and oldtimers and everyone in between at most AA groups all around the world - every single day. But who wants to write an article about that?

Last night I had an upsetting incident. I got home and cried. Then I cried some more, and then my crying seemed to feed my crying. I got on my knees and prayed. And still I cried. After a while, I realized I would need to call someone. The person I thought of was Larry, so I called Larry. He listened to me while I cried. He listened to me even though I had a hard time telling him what was wrong. He listened, and listened, and listened. He told me that when he sees me his heart is happy. He told me I am a kind person and a good person. He told me that whatever I was telling myself was not correct. And he told me that I would need to do some work and get with my sponsor. I told him I am already writing and working with my sponsor. This is what AA is about. One drunk helping another drunk. A simple voice on the other line, listening. The incredible love that we show one another, in the most simple ways.

I am forever grateful for Alcoholics Anonymous and all that has happened to me in it... good and bad. Because it is all good - I am a sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous, and you can't get any better than that - if you are a drunk like me.

"It all went on a little care about golf-score size. The cover read: 'Middleton Group #1. Rule #62.' Once the card was unfolded, a single pungent sentence leaped to the eye: ' Don't take yourself too damn seriously.'" -- Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 149


IndyRick said...

Hi, I'm a new reader to your blog. Good writing, and I look forward to being a regular reader. You write well.

I'm in Indianapolis and very grateful for what God has done for me, though the program of AA.

Thanks for being here.

Trudging said...

The only controversy in A.A. I want to know about what kind of doughnuts to get. Take what you need and leave the rest I say.

Scott W said...

Ah, the beauty of the WE of the program!

dAAve said...

Good points, well taken.
Our little recovery community writes "articles" every day about the good of the program.

Thanks for helping Larry. He needed a good tear in his ear.

Syd said...

Like you said, there are good and bad people in every group, whether it's AA or not. Character defects are still there. We are working towards perfection and will never achieve it.

do it sober said...

Excellent points. It's nice to see an objective view. As a member of the aforementioned group, seeing the spat among about a dozen or so people turn into a Newsweek article has really been kind of surreal. I have seen many personalities collide in AA. I have been part of a few collisions. Letting go of resentment has been the solution that has seen people happy and sober in every case. Doing something instead of judging others, even though I think I need to make my case, has always kept me sober. Punishment is definitely not a spiritual principle! :-)

Zane-nawwaa said...

Hi MC, hope you felt better after your cry. Now that's a friend, somone who listens, that is so page 84.

Anonymous said...
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Damian Karras said...

I really wish the people in my local area were as worried about making sure their meetings got opened, newcomers got greeted, and literature was available as they are about the Midtown Group which is three hours away. LOOK, THEY'RE DOING IT WRONG!

You better make sure you're doing it as right as you can be before you call someone else out.

Christine said...

I love listening to a longtimer like you about controversy. You are so wise.

I don't know why you cried or were in such pain but you are so beautiful to me.

Meg Moran said...

MC, expresses with wisdom and courage. Thank you .

Shannon said...

I am glad you brought this up, and want to go get this Newsweek and read the article for myself. Some of the comments left here are very intersting. I know a group that is not so healthy but I know many many groups that are wonderful and lots of sobriety.

Mary Christine, I am giving you a hug, I just love your honesty it really helps me.

Hope today was a good day. Have a good run hugs


Sober @ Sundown said...

Well said.

Sober Chick said...

You have an absolute beautiful soul . . . and absolutes in AA are not good, but your soul challenges this theory :) Precious.

Pam said...

thank you for putting the whole Midtown thing into it's proper perspective.....you are so groovy MC. I'm glad that you know what to do when things in your heart get heavy.

Anonymous said...

@true texan
You said: "How sad to see such a nonchalant attitude towards harmful and illegal actions being allowed to flourish in an AA group."

How do you know it's flourishing? From reading a Newsweek article whose author attended no Midtown meetings and talked to no members?

Maybe the people feeding the story have a resentment aginst Midtown, or AA?

allamericom said...

Whenever you have self-governed groups of social misfits like many alcoholics, you are bound to have trouble now and then. Sponsorship is not about being self governed
The label, sponsorship did not come from A.A. nor is the word mentioned in there BIG BOOK. Sponsorship lacks altruism and is the downfall of the A.A. message.
Sponsorship came from recovery places that injected it into A.A as a whole thus creating a sect in A.A .not of A.A which is altruism and brotherhood. – The message of A.A. is clear “ God could and would if sought”–
Sponsorship challenges another and discriminates against the faith in God that one has. The belief of God’s ability to intuitively handle situations that use to baffle them is again the message of A.A. but not sponsorship. You can count on if it doesn’t come from ones own heart (personal willingness) it is not A.A. its sponsorship and sponsor ship is not about being self governing. Hold the sponsor responsible not A.A.