Fear in AA

The other thing that’s happening in my little corner is some fear.  This happens from time to time.  Sometimes, someone acts dangerously at an AA meeting.  I’ve seen this a few times.  I have generally felt safe in the midst of that because it’s always been just one person, with plenty of other people to react if there’s a problem.  It’s really rare, and I can count the times it’s happened to me on one hand out of many many meetings.

What’s going on now has happened a few times in my experience.  There is someone who is attending local meetings who people are afraid of.  This person has not acted dangerously, that I know about, but he has a past that frightens us.  This in the context of AA meetings where people regularly say they have been in prison and for a long time, and somehow they don’t cause fear.

It’s very important for me to point out that AA meetings are not “safe” places.  AA members are not “safe” people.  People must use common sense and protect themselves and especially their children.  Just like anywhere else, you can’t trust someone in AA until you’ve known them for a while.  You just can’t.

There is now the question of what to do about our fear and how to treat this person as gently as possible and as well as possible while still protecting ourselves and our children.  It’s difficult.

A few years ago someone was attending meetings and people were afraid because he acted generally aggressive in a vague way.  I can think of at least one local attender who gives some people a creepy feeling with not much else to go on than that.  And now this guy, with a definite past and a need on our part to share recovery with him while protecting ourselves.  I hope we end up doing what’s best for everyone concerned, while of course I really don’t know right now what that is.

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5 thoughts on “Fear in AA

  1. You are absolutely right and its an issue that has crossed my mind on several occasions. I always think of the demographic that attends these meetings and how easily it would be for a member to be victimized. Yet, for the most part we feel safe, don’t we? Once separated from my husband and on my own, I needed to rethink the meetings I attended because my original home group was rich with ex cons and homeless men and, once separated, I sometimes needed to bring my children with me. They would play in an adjoining daycare room, but I still had to be mindful of whom I was bringing them around.

    • And, in practice, I have actually been safe. Even when I was drunk and helpless in AA, I got groped just once, which was awful, but I sure wasn’t protecting myself.

  2. Lydia — I’ve encountered such people as well. It’s hard because you want to support their recovery, but you need not tolerate their craziness…

    FYI — I jettisoned the old blog cause it was clear that Carrots was still reading it. I have a new one now.

      • I guess she could find me without looking too hard. But I only ever gave her my blog url … not my “goplacidlyamid” at wordpress moniker. So, unless she is crafty and determined…

        And if she’s that desperate to read some ex-sponsee’s bitching, then I guess I’m glad she’s not my sponsor anymore.

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