Friday, 5 October 2012

Newcomers

Newcomers - this is a term used in AA about people new to the fellowship, the programme, sobriety etc.

Over the years I've seen Newcomers come and go, some come in and either don't want to really stop or expect someone to do it for them or whatever.  One saying I heard a long time ago was - It is no good coming to AA for back problems.  The Newcomer looks at you oddly.  You know to get your wife off your back, your boss off your back, your landlord off your back etc.  Many I think just make a show of it exactly to ease those back problems.  Some do connect and put in the effort and seem to be getting it then suddenly drop out.  I remember getting a call from one guy like that who decided to stop coming as he couldn't get the courage up to share (i.e. speak) at a meeting.  I tried to tell him it didn't matter - his choice etc.  In the end I realized he needed a justification for why AA couldn't work for him.  His choice.

Anyway some newcomers come in and get it and stay - they may slip and slide but they become regulars, I watch them collecting monthly sobriety chips in their first year etc.  I see the light come back on in their eyes. Then sometimes they amaze me - someone a few months in shared at a meeting and it was one of the most profound moments in my life.  I won't share what he shared just that it struck such a chord in me it was like a massive resonance in my head and heart.  Fantastic.  I also gave a newcomer a lift home one night this week - I nearly didn't recognize this clean, well dressed man from the scruffy guy who'd sat at the back the week before in his first meeting.  A man who has a chance now and seems to want it asking about more meetings and not trying to run before he can walk just trying to get to meetings and staying away from the drink - his new lodgings have a no alcohol on premises policy which is good for him too.

People who have no personal experience of AA or addiction sometimes ask me why I still need to go to meetings.  Firstly to get and keep me sober but also to help these others if I can, but frankly more often than not it is them helping me rather than the other way round!

11 comments:

  1. I completely agree. Newcomers help me tremendously. When I see them, I am reminded that no matter how difficult I might have things at the moment, drinking makes it worse.

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  2. Thanks for this reminder.

    And "back problems" lol. I'd never heard that one before c

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  3. Hi I went back to N/A this week.... I will update later. Sometimes I'm reluctant to share as I think maybe they think "O same old story" . . . So it's nice to know that it works both ways and that us newcomers can also be of help to the old timers!
    I love chatting to these people, I find it amazing that they were once Heroin addcits and then broke free . . . I really respectand admire them, and am willing to listen to anything they have to say . . . they've obviously got it right somewhere and can hopefully teach me something that I really need to know.
    Thanks for sharing this, with love x

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  4. Indeed, furtheron, people who haven't reached a level of desperation will always come up with excuses. And it's pointless trying to persuade them. They need to reach the point - well, that you reached some years ago. Well done for continuing, and I'm sure they would say they learn and gain much from you too.

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  5. My father-in-law has been going for decades although he's been dry for many, many years. He never misses a meeting although (and I'm certain this sounds naïve) I'm not sure he needs them anymore. No matter. He goes.

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  6. I wish to write something here anonymously... Not everything is black and white. I have seen over the many years in and out of the program the tendency for members to become very locked into a perception that a drunk is doing something "wrong" if they are not able to stay sober...as if they are intentionally choosing to be insane...as if they really have any choice in the matter. It is possible to get struck drunk...even if you do everything right, even if you have worked the steps, have a sponcer, go to meetings, work with other drunks, and pray. Please show compassion to the newcomers... no matter how many times they come in, or for whatever reason they come in; just because they wear the skin that picked up that first drink it isn't their fault...alcoholism is evil, the alcoholic is not.

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  8. I have enormous respect for anyone who can do something as difficult as giving up drink and I know the only way I could do that would be with constant, limitless help from others.

    I've seen two friends this year give it up. The weepy, bitter, resentful, embarrassing woman who used to snipe at me out of jealousy about my friendship with a sort of on-off boyfriend of hers, has blossomed into an actually very attractive, chatty, friendly, open and interesting person. I've always avoided giving her my number but I did so last week as I am so pleased at what she's managed to do; and also, simply from my POV, she's such pleasant company now--as all the people who knew her agreed she could be.

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  9. This is a great reminder, Furtheron. We learn from each other and what a great inspiration for the newcomer to see than you, someone who has been sober for years.

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  10. your quiet support is, as always well recieved and appreciated
    take care

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  11. We all need support some time, and for many, most of the time.

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