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A Better Understanding

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I have heard it said, “A meeting is a meeting,” but I don’t really think that’s true. For a meeting to be strong, it must have certain things about it to make it so:

Is the meeting a welcoming place for both long timers and newcomers?

Is the nature of our illness discussed? In my opinion, a strong meeting will explain that this is an illness and both the physical allergy and the twist of the mind make up its nature. Even if it’s only read aloud in the meeting format, this should be talked about.

If it is a speaker meeting, is the speaker abstinent? Does the speaker talk about the way they work the Steps on a daily basis? If there is no one who meets that criteria, perhaps a piece of OA approved literature can be used instead.

Does the meeting emphasize the need for a spiritual awakening, the result of working the Steps? Is it made clear, either by the speaker or the readings, that the only relief we have from a “seemingly hopeless state of mind and body” (Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th. ed., p. xiii) is that vital spiritual awakening? Basically, does a newcomer or longtimer come away from the meeting with a better understanding of the illness and its spiritual solution? If this is covered, then I believe that meeting is strong.

— Harlan G., Scottsdale, Arizona USA

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