Saturday, November 18, 2006

If you're loaded, you can't hear the message

Has this ever happened at your meeting? This is not the first time it's happened at this women's meeting I go to about every Saturday. We have a few chronic relapsers who come in and out like it's a swinging door and we always greet them warmly and try not to judge. We never know when someone's going to "get it" and stay clean and sober. However, on more than one occasion, it's obvious that they are loaded and they take up at least ten minutes of meeting time talking about whatever it is they are focused on that particular day, and it's normally about what everyone else is doing to them, not about "Hey, I'm struggling here."

I guess they think we don't notice they're blasted and assume we just fell off a turnip truck. I may have been clean awhile, but hey, I know a dope fiend when I see one. This morning was no exception. One of the gals had just gotten out of a 21-day treatment program (again) and it was obvious, as she nodded out during the meeting, that she was loaded. Now I didn't make it overnight, and people put up with me. But when I got clean we usually had a disclaimer that was read at the beginning of each meeting that asked that if you used in the past 24 hours, to refrain from sharing. Then, if she wants to talk, that's her decision, but at least we've done what we need to set the message that sharing is for when you're clean, not loaded.

Maybe I'm being selfish, but I don't want to waste precious meeting time for someone who may sorely need to hear the message of recovery to listen to someone who's loaded blather on for ten minutes about how tough her life is. We had a newcomer there with eight days and I would have rather spent that ten minutes talking about the first step.

I was taught that the secretary of the meeting is responsible for keeping it on track. After the meeting I spoke with the secretary, who is stymied about what to do. We could, I suppose, as one of my sponsors told me, take a quick group conscience about "do we want to continue to listen?" I'm frankly not sure what to do, but I do know this -- it would not have been tolerated 24 years ago when I rolled in. We were polite but firm. If you were loaded, we really didn't want to hear from you.

I planned to talk to this gal at then end of the meeting but she slipped out the door before I could grab her. I know it's her path. But it's "my" meeting, too, as well as all the women there with a year or two weeks or ten years who are trying, one day at a time, to stay clean.


Anonymous said...

im pretty sure there is stuff in the aa guidelines about what to do. also tradition 5. ive seen the secretary ask to if you've had a drink today would you please just sit back and listen, someone will speak to you after the meeting'. 'im afraid if youve had a drink today I will have to ask you not to disrupt the meeting. just listen for the time being and smeone will speak to you after the meeting'
allowing drunks to speak is NOT practicing tradition 5. and it is up to the members of the meeting to enforce the traditions, in oder to protect the group.

Gwen said...

I was thinking the same as your sponse. It is a group concious decision. At our meetings who ever is leading is responsible. I have my self approached people who I knew where loaded and taken them outside. Of course they were not sharing at the time. That is a hard call. How about looking for some answers in Working With Others?

SCoUt said...

Happens here all the damn time and it irks me to no end. We need to talk to these souls outside of the meeting to try to help them learn how to share and how to get what they need when they are NOT in the rooms.
But it still irks me when it happens. We ALL need to hear a message of recovery--of E,S, and H.