Saturday, December 26, 2009

Saturday Morning

On the advice of my sponsor, I didn't go to the 6:30 meeting this morning. It is odd to be sitting here at 7 a.m. on a Saturday morning. But OK. I would rather be sitting here than sitting in the meeting wondering what to do about a 3 year old who is allowed to carry the 7th tradition basket around the room, give people without any money the evil eye, and allocate funds as she sees fit, while the members of the group smile indulgently and carefully edit what they are saying so that it doesn't offend the ears of a tiny little girl.

So, let's sit in an AA meeting and pretend there is a Santa Claus, shall we?

I alluded to this yesterday when I spoke of apologizing to my daughter for dragging her and her siblings to AA meetings when they were young. There were not many of them because I was not made to feel that this was a good idea and I thank God for that.

When I was sober about 8 or 9 years, I was visiting in the Idaho home of someone I deeply respected in Alcoholics Anonymous. I was still in my hero worship phase - he had been a delegate, he had first, second and third editions of the big book in his house, he had written a page of the "Daily Reflections" book, etc., etc., etc.... And he, this man I thought the world of, told me that he never brought his children around AA functions (including picnics, potlucks, etc.) when they were small. I was incredulous! Why? I demanded to know!

He astounded me when he said that "AA is not a safe place for children." And "It is not supposed to be a safe place for children." And "It is supposed to be a place for alcoholics." And he further elaborated that there may be people with all manner of horrible history in his group, and AA is the right place for them to be if they are alcoholics, but it doesn't make them safe for children to be around. He thought it was extremely naive to assume that because a person was sober that they had recovered from all their other problems. Given time, a person will need to, but is it fair to demand that an alcoholic be rendered white as snow in their first thirty days of sobriety because you don't feel like getting a babysitter? um, I don't think so.

I will pray for knowledge of God's will for us and the power to carry that out.

And now I will get on my new treadmill and run some miles. YAY!


Ed G. said...

A good lesson for me to hear.

Blessings and aloha...

Anonymous said...

You made some good points there. I did a search on the topic and found most people will agree with your blog.

Lou said...

Occasionally, we get a small child or two at my AlAnon meetings. We keep crayons and sticker books for that purpose and they stay at a separate table than where discussion is taking place. It's been my experience that parents only bring them as a last resort, and it happens very infrequently.

If we are having an open meeting, or a speaker, we make arrangements for child care in another room.

PS I did mean you (and some others) when I wrote about helpful recovery blogs. So do accept the compliment!

~Christina~ said...

If I didnt have the option of taking my son to a meeting with me when I was despesrate and dying, I would probably be dead.

As with everything, moderation is key. A person shouldnt bring a child cus its fun, but only out of true need, and then ask for help to caring for the child outside, or otherwise occupied.

Its important to me to remember my desperation and that others may be in a similar situation. If the issue is being abused in a group, a group conscience could be made to offer another solution.

Scott W said...

I find it very distracting when children are in the rooms. Also, that people amend their language because of the kid being there hits me as absurd. If the child can understand and be offended by off color speech the they shouldn't be there. I also understand that some people have/had no choice.

My sponsor says God leads the meeting. So whatever happens to a meeting I am attending I SHOULD be able to accept, not that I am adept at it.

Anonymous said...
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Syd said...

I would think that Alateen is a safe place for youngsters but would agree that the adult meetings are not. Happy running.

Di-Git said...

I agree with the children rule. The meetings that I have attended with children really cause me to limit my shares. I am there to get sober and I need to share.
Thanks for bringing this issue up for review.