Case Study Three:
A member continuously disrupts group meetings with loud abusive and bullying behaviour towards fellow members and newcomers. Membership in the group continues to decline. New people coming to the meeting for the first time often do not return.
AA, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, P. 143-144
The elders led Ed aside. They said firmly, “You can’t talk like this around here. You’ll have to quit it or get out.” With great sarcasm Ed came back at them. “Now do tell! Is that so?” He reached over to a bookshelf and took up a sheaf of papers. On top of them lay the foreword to the book “Alcoholics Anonymous,” then under preparation. He read aloud, “The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.” Relentlessly, Ed went on, “When you guys wrote that sentence, did you mean it, or didn’t you?” Dismayed, the elders looked at one another, for they knew he had them cold. So Ed stayed.
The Twelve Traditions Illustrated
Our brother the noisy drunk affords the simplest illustration of this Tradition (One). If he insists on disrupting the meeting, we “invite” him to leave, and we bring him back when he’s in better shape to hear the message. we are putting the “common welfare” first. But it is his welfare, too; if he’s ever going to get sober, the group must go on functioning, ready for him.
1. Can a member be thrown out of a group for disrupted, abusive behaviour?
2. How might the group deal with a member whose conduct is threatening the common welfare of the group?
6 thoughts on “Tradition One: Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon C.A. unity.”
Hi I have stopped going to CD discussions for the reason that the old timer leading the group can’t stay quiet — same old story, he has to put his input in after everyone speaks . Many with many years of sobriety speak continuously about their drinking days and not the benefits of sobriety. For a new comer hearing continuously about drinking leaves a negative impact on them and do not return. The group is being toxicified by these people. The group should all leave until he gets the message.
We sometimes attach too much significance to the only requirement for membership. We also know that the sole purpose of an AAA meeting is to carry the message of recovery and that can’t be done if there are disruptions distractions Etc. It is the responsibility of the meeting leader to keep us on track and if that can’t be done we need to try gentle persuasion. Certainly a disruptive member can be banned temporarily from a meeting for the good of the whole.
I know when i arrived at an AA meeting drunk and argued with the group, they asked me to leave and thought the groups health need come first. I didn’t have a desire to stay sober just looking for the magic words that would help turn on the light, but that light never came on since i had a lot of fight left in me.
It is the responsibility of the secretary to direct the meeting that best suits the group as a whole.
Looks great, love this sharing so much, thanks!
M sponser has rejected me after 2 months of sobriety. I went away with her and I had a small slip. She insists I am not being honest with myself and says I need too find God. I feel confused scared and angry with her. Survey this is not what AA is meant to make a Newby feel.
Louise. It seems to me that most in AA are hypocrites. But at least you had a sponsor that stooped so low as to communicate. After 17 years, I haven’t found even that just a bunch of people who talk the talk