Friday, March 12, 2010

Sponsorship 4...

We had one of the best jail AA meetings we've ever had at the facility I'm at monthly last night.  However, increasingly I feel we do folks a dis-service to attempt to have a regular AA meeting behind the walls.  As I've shared here in the past, this meeting has gone from behaving like an AA meeting to completely off the wall and now seems to vary somewhere in between.

It doesn't take much to figure out why:
  1. Most (probably 95%+) of the folks there are really unclear about what AA is and what it is not
  2. As I am only there once every month (and most of the other volunteers rotate the same), it's hard to "own" a program when as many as 75% of those attending rotate through in a month
  3. Few of those that generally attend (including those who chair) identify as alcoholics
  4. Occasionally, we have well-meaning case managers who "require" their charges to to come to the AA meetings
So, as we went around the room with the 8 people there last night (thankfully, case managers seem to not be requiring meeting attendance now), it was a small miracle that everyone shared and at least 2-3 of them might be willing to look for a solution to their drinking problems while outside.  One of them mentioned how he wished they could get AA sponsors to work with them while they are incarcerated.

I've been thinking for a long time what might serve these guys and AA a lot better would be to either develop a sponsorial relationship with them or to have a weekend workshop where we could completely explain the AA program of recovery and even get them started working on the 12 steps.  Both these have faced huge security roadblocks in the past.

In other areas, AA meetings are being shut down in prisons.  The reasons are varied and beyond what I want to go into here but it occurred to me last night that, in many cases, it might actually be a good thing for AA and the inmates to finally shut this meeting down.  Rather than experience what, to me, is often a caricature of what an AA meeting is, they could instead learn about an AA program of recovery that could help them sober up while locked up and then join the fellowship when released.

Hard to know.  As I related in that other article, up to 100% of them committed their last crime while drinking so I keep thinking that, at worst, what this meeting may be or become is some sort of Public Information opportunity.  As to a real solution, these guys need one-on-one time with someone who can take them through the program of AA as outlined in our Steps, Traditions and, Concepts.

For now, I pray that God's will be done and that, when that moment of Grace meets that moment of oportunity, they can and will find a solution in their lives.

I hope that God can handle that.

I think he can.


chitowngreg said...

Thank you for your service and being there. The one way to make sure that nothing good comes out of our jails is for no one to care or work at it. Have a good weekend!

Steve E said...

Bottom line for bloggers is that you show us how it is done...staying sober for a quarter of a century--oooops!

Good post, thank you, Ed

Pam said...

"when that moment of Grace meets that moment of oportunity, they can and will find a solution in their lives." Now that, my friend is something I can really wrap my mind around.