What individual or corporate goals work or don't work among the Alcoholic Anonymous group To find out the answers to these and many other questions an Alcoholic Anonymous group meeting was observed.
Bob Kirk was well ahead of time. He saw to the last minute arrangements in the Oyster Room where he had called for a meeting at 6 pm. The group of forty-six people were special. They were ex-alcoholics but in their words, "We are alcoholics who won't drink to-day".
I had met up with Bob about a week ago and had asked him to let me sit through an AA meeting he regularly conducts. I sensed his reluctance for AA meetings are very cloistered. He relented when he found out that my intrusion was purely for academic reasons and that no video was involved. I grabbed this moment of weakness and set the date, so here I am!
People started to come in. One striking thing was that they were all coming in twos and threes and it seemed that they needed each other. The other was that they did belong to the cross-section of the society. By six, thirty-eight chairs were taken. They sat with the look of triumph on their faces. The kind the achievers have. They interacted with one another in a very open and honest way, extremely upfront and without any reservation. Very refreshing I must say from the sham I am so used to.
This cohesiveness and closeness I found is brought about by candid verbalizing of the lives that are lived. Every one was accountable to the other kind of relationship, a compadre influence that affects their behaviour.
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This was fascinating since there apparently was such a great diversity of the economic and social status of every individual. Yet a brotherhood of colors, where among the blacks and whites even a turbaned Punjabi from India was present.
Then it is wonderful to watch as eyes close, heads drop, knees bend and very audibly the Serenity Prayer is said. Four lines of sincere appeal:
"God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference".
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. The men who were gathered at the Oyster Room held this in their hearts.
As the leader, Bob, allowed a re-cap of the last week and by the frank declarations he assessed the standing of each member. He highlighted the Group Goal, the first being to phone any member before they reached for the bottle. The second being, to reach out to others those who needed help. He thanked Tom and Derrick for bringing in three new members to the meeting. This support system appropriately in place has helped so many through out the week during their weakest moments.
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It was sad to hear the pathetic cries of failure. Two of the group had succumbed to the temptation. There were no accusations but a quiet understanding. They had decided not to come to the meeting but the others had gone and picked them up. Looking at them one can make out that they were drawing strength from the gathering and building up a reserve that they