… I’m thinking of dropping out of active AA membership. I never thought I’d feel like this but recently I’ve felt disconnected, the few chairs I’ve given (i.e. the speaker sharing their experience, strength and hope at the start of a meeting) helped reaffirm my recovery from alcoholism but I’ve a dissatisfaction with AA that is sticking and I’m feeling increasingly difficult to shrug off currently.
Why you ask?
Firstly – 12 stepping. I’m happy to talk to a newcomer if they ask me. I’m happy to share with them as I can remember what it was like for me in the early days what I tried, what didn’t work, what did. However – I believe AA is about attraction therefore I’m not going to be in the newcomers face about being at meetings and doing what I suggest they should – it is their choice. I see no point in this zealous over promotion. I’ve been openly criticised recently on that but I’ve re-read the big book etc. regarding this – I don’t get it and I don’t agree with it. If someone comes to AA and listens to the members and want to work it my only advice will be “Don’t drink, come to meetings and listen” – I strongly feel that is the best advice I can give for the first while. Also where in AA “rules” does it say I have to be on the local meeting 12 step lists?
Sponsorship – I don’t sponsor people overtly. I’ll advise anyone who asks and I’ll listen as I can but I don’t impose anything on anyone. I really have an issue with again the over zealous nature of some sponsorship relationships. I hear people saying “my sponsor tells me to do this and that… I just do it”… Really? Where is it in the AA programme that you forgo responsibility for yourself? I feel it is the opposite that should be true. My “sponsor” (i.e. the person actually people I look to for advice) give me advice about my alcoholism, that is why I turn to them for advice. Hearing someone say “I agree with my sponsor about my depression medication and he advised me to hire a new secretary… amazing his sponsor is not only a recovering alcoholic but a doctor and an MBA qualified business consultant apparently… Funny, when I need new glasses I go to an optician I don’t ask my sponsor… BTW – no step or tradition in AA mentions sponsorship. It is mentioned in Living Sober but it is not a requirement it is a option and I really do fear vulnerable people being manipulated by others for the wrong reasons. I was recently asked if I had a sponsor when I discussed a vacant service post, I will not be allowing my nomination to go forward since again I see no requirement for having a sponsor being in any of the service guidelines but it seems others do.
Egos – sick to death of them.
I thought the only requirement for membership was a desire to stop drinking. I’m getting the feeling that for too many people around that isn’t enough and I’m not prepared to move to their interpretation of the AA traditions.