Saturday, February 04, 2017

Anonymity means where you go to meetings is your business

I spoke briefly the other day at an AA meeting. The topic was anger (not my choice; every meeting at that time slot each week discusses anger). After I shared my tale, and I'm always careful to follow the Traditions, someone I barely know and haven't seen in years spoke up.

"The last time I saw the speaker," he intoned, "was at an NA meeting." The chairperson, an oldtimer, and I both looked at each other thinking the same thing: "WTF?" 

"So much for my anonymity," I said. The chairman simply snorted, as disgusted as I was.

I'm still not sure what the speaker's point was, especially since I probably hadn't seen him at an NA meeting in 25 years or so. I let it pass and didn't bother to ask him about it after the meeting ended. I don't waste my time today with stirrers of discontent, which it seemed he was trying to do.

Here's my thought, though. What business is it of anyone's what 12-Step meeting you attend? Really, other than your sponsor, it's absolutely no one's business where or which meetings you attend.

I do the majority of my service work in NA because that's the program that saved my life. But if it hadn't been for AA, I'd be dead, because I have no doubt despite Jimmy K's wonderful gift of NA, he wouldn't have developed the 12-Step program that has saved so many lives without exposure to the Mother ship of AA.

I sponsor girls in NA, and if they have a problem with gambling, for example, I recommend GA. If they're having serious food issues, I recommend OA. I don't, like many NA members, feel NA has all the answers, at least not for every member.

I'm glad today I'm open minded enough to respect other members' anonymity. I was taught early that many things were "outside my hula hoop." Where others go to meetings is just one of them.

I hope you are all doing well. It's been a rough few weeks for America. However, we are a tribe, and tribes gather together for survival. 

Hang in there.

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