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What should I do—or not do!

Using the same sort of foul language that I used as a thirteen-year-old to impress my parents that I have finally grown-up, leaves the newcomer with the impression that I am too immature or slow-witted to be taken seriously. Psychologists call this attention-grabbing technique: “shockers”.

If I mock the Twelve Steps during the reading of chapter Five (What’s the point? Balk-balk, Ha! Ha! etc.) I am likely to leave the newcomer with the impression that the AA Twelve Step program is not to be taken seriously. The “Ha-Ha” may also come from seasoned members, just to be polite, although they may consider this “AA virus” as a crashing bore.

It feels good to share “let it all hang out,” at discussion meetings. However, if I do not share how the Twelve Steps are working in my daily life (my experience, strength, and hope), I leave the impression that AA is limited to a group-therapy solution. Bill Wilson wrote: “Sobriety—freedom from alcohol—through the teaching and practice of the Twelve Steps, is the sole purpose of an AA group.” * Group therapy is good, so far as it goes, but AA is better than that! We have a Twelve Step solution that really works.

If I spend my time during the important “meeting after the meeting” with my regular friends, but ignore the newcomer, I am apt to leave them with a negative impression of AA—they came in lonely and left lonely. A less-than-welcome reception may cause their first AA meeting to be their last AA meeting. I need to have AA literature ready for them with a robust welcome before they dash out the door.

I need to better maintain a neat appearance at meetings—something I am not always so good at! A general conception is that AA is comprised of skid row bums. Newcomers are happily impressed to find this is not so. After all, if I am to be trudging the road of happy destiny, shouldn’t I be dressed for the occasion?

*Problems Other than alcohol (Excerpts) F8

By Bob S.

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of the AA Cleveland District Office.