His name is Robert Paulson

A word or two about meetings. And a question.

I’ve attended a few meetings to date and while I do understand where they can be effective I’m yet to see what I can gain.

This is the format for a typical meeting: We show up at the designated hour; exchange pleasantries while waiting a respectable number of minutes for latecomers; then hold hands while we recite the first few lines of the serenity prayer. (Yes, I googled and the prayer is actually quite longer than most folks are aware.)

Continuing: The meeting chair introduces herself and asks if anyone would like to share anything specific; if not, we move onto a suggested chapter in The Big Book and we take turns reading and commenting if we are moved to do so. Then, a daily affirmation is read out loud from The Little Book; and we close with the Lord’s Prayer, (which somehow always sounds to me a little like “His name is Robert Paulson.” But that just might be because at my first meeting, there was another group in the next room which wrapped up before we did. I could’ve sworn their muffled words through the wall sounded exactly like the Project Mayhem tribute.

Robert Paulson

His name is Robert Paulson.
His name is Robert Paulson.

Perhaps I’ve watched so many movies with these sort of scenes that the whole group thing seems cliche to me now. Why do we have to sound like a bunch of broken desperate souls wanting to be reassured all the time? Yes, I know it is very difficult for some and meetings are their only outlet, but shouldn’t we also be accountable when we mess up? The whole “Would you like to share your story?” with the automatic assurances that “You’re ok, we’ve all been there, everything will work out.” seem a little too much like a Catholic confession ritual: if you sound sorry enough you’ll receive absolution.

(Please know that I’m not trying to offend anyone and I respect every person’s right to practice what they believe in.)

Maybe I just don’t get it. Maybe I haven’t found my group yet. Aside from the fact that I don’t drink anymore, I have little else in common with the folks I’ve met. But I’ll keep looking. There are dozens of meeting groups in my area so I’m hopeful. In the meantime, I’m sticking with my online group. You guys have helped me in so many ways, without opening and closing rituals. 🙂

Oh! I almost forgot my question: Have you found meetings to be helpful?

Phoenix

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7 comments

  1. I do find meetings to be helpful. My home group is a large women’s group, and it’s a lead meeting. There’s something about being in a women’s group that is so reassuring to me. I feel like I belong, and that everyone gets me. If I’m having a shitty day, someone always seems to sense that and reaches out to me. Last night I was at a discussion meeting, and the topic was meditation. Earlier in the day I was talking to someone about meditation, and how I’m not sure how to start. Hearing a room full of seasoned veterans speak about meditation was quite enlightening and just what I needed! 🙂

    1. Thanks for replying about your experiences. I am open to exploring other groups to find one I’m comfortable with and have more in common with. I’d love to find a group with people who meditate and practice yoga.

  2. Hi Phoenix,

    What a cool feel to your blog! I like how you write and I’m glad to have found it.

    You do not have to do anything or find anyone — in early sobriety it’s just about staying sober for today. Just don’t drink.

    I’m the Queen of doing what other’s say but with my recovery I have found I need to tune into my instincts. I’m not interested in a sponsor that I have to call and rely on. I’m looking for like minded people who understand the inner search to regain who I am after years of drinking to bury my feelings. I’ve developed a relationship with one group and from that I’m building trust and love for myself and others. I also love my blogging friends but there is nothing like the feeling of real people offering their experience, strength and hope. To accept it is not easy and it is part of my process.

    Your recovery is your own to do as you wish. There’s nothing you must do. Just don’t drink!

    Fern

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