Anyway, I have thought and thought and thought about this whole concept of "Clubhouse AA." You know, that inferior subspecies of AA. Where those people who wouldn't quite fit in at a church basement meeting show up.... like maybe people who don't know their way around AA yet? Or maybe people who have some problems that we don't like to think about. Or maybe people who don't belong in AA at all, but just need a place to hang out or hide out.
I got sober at a meeting in a Club. It was a terrible club. There was every sort of chicanery that goes on in clubs that gives us a bad name... it was all going on in this place, some of which I gladly participated in. People from those nice meetings would tell me that I needed to go to healthier meetings at better places, but it seemed to me that I needed to be where I was needed, and even when I was brand spankin new, I knew I was needed at this club!
When I was sober 5 years, I met a man (at the club) and we moved to British Columbia and ended up finding our home group in a small town in northern Washington. Finally, I could see what was better about meetings at churches! There were no clubs in this small town, just churches, and one "meeting hall." My home group met once a week and traveled together to another meeting once a week. It was really wonderful. The fellowship had a very different quality. We were in and out of each other's homes even when the other person was not at home! It was wonderful.
When I moved back to Denver, my husband had found a wonderful man in AA to sponsor him and we went to his home group. It was also a wonderful group, full of wonderful people. We largely talked about how we had it right and everyone else was doing everything wrong, but those were heady times and I felt that I belonged to something beneficent. When the marriage fell apart, that group became a hostile place for me. Suddenly, I found that I was the one who was being criticized as not doing it "right." I didn't feel at home in my home group.
So, I went back to my old club house and went to the stinky old meetings there, with the stinky old drunks there. I became the GSR of that group for a while. I made sure that people knew the difference between a club and an AA group. I made sure that people became aware of AA Traditions. In other words, I tried to be a responsible AA member. I didn't just walk away from them mumbling about how superior I was to them, I actually tried to be responsible in whatever way I could. As a sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous. It was NOT prestigious to be the GSR of that group, but I found it incredibly rewarding. It might have been the best service position I ever had.
Over the last 25 years, there have been times when I have gone to church meetings, and times when I have gone to club meetings. It has largely been a matter of what has been available to me at that time. I can be of service no matter where I go. And frankly, there are already enough gasbag old ladies with decades of sobriety at the "nice" meetings. I can go to the club meeting and just sit and be quiet and be available. No, it is not always convenient. It is not always just the way I want it, but I do believe I have a responsibility.
I can sponsor women when they ask me to. I can take them through the big book of Alcoholics Anonymous and show them precisely how to do what it says to do. And then they can share that with others. This is how I get to be useful to God and my fellows... not by attacking them for not being up to my standards.