Making Your Group Smaller and Smaller
© The A.A.
Grapevine, Inc. - Date unknown
become aware of a certain restlessness, recently, among
some of the older members.
say the group has become so big they don’t know
anybody any more. Others regret that the people who come
around these days aren’t like the ones they once
knew. A few grumble vaguely that AA just ain’t what
it used to be.
like this has led us to compile a few suggested steps
that might prove helpful in arresting a disruptive influence
- rapid growth - in your group.
Never talk to strangers atmeetings.
Call all newcomers “pigeons,” especially to
If a pigeon is getting any other help for his drinking
problem - whatever it is - knock it. (Be firm on this,
allowing no room for indecision. Tell him that all doctors
are quacks, that no headshrinker ever sobered up anybody,
that all clergymen are thinly disguised prohibitionists.
And be sure to tell him that for an alcoholic, all pills
except aspirin - regardless of their ingredients - are
goofballs and will lead to suicide or maybe something
Rely entirely on the slogans. Properly used, they can
be a dandy way to shorten discussions. (If the pigeon
begins to wonder how, in practice, he can find God, tell
him in a loud voice to “keep it simple.”)
Remember to insist that they honeymoon will soon be over.
(Nothing can raise the noise level at coffee time like
a couple of starry-eyed newcomers who talk as if they
were just hauled back from the gates of hell. Tell them
that they had better be ready for things to get tough
again. Tell them that even though you’re sober five
years now, you’ve still got lots of trouble, etc.)
Insist that whatever worked for you will work for anybody.
(The fact that it worked for you is all the proof a pigeon
really needs. After all, he has no experience at getting
sober. If you took the Fifth Step with a priest in Minneapolis,
offer to call up l o n g - d i s t a n c e and ma ke an
appointment for next Monday. And if the pigeon begins
to alibi that Minneapolis is a thousand miles away, remind
him that to get this program we’ve got to be ready
to go to any lengths.)
Question all pigeons very closely to make sure they are
ready. (Beware of the false bottom. If they haven't been
to jail as often as you, or to asmany hospitals, don't
hesitate to suggest that they may not be ready to quit
drinking. This is clearly the best way to avoid a lot
of wasted Twelfth Step work.)
seven steps, of course, are only suggestions. But they
are based on a considerable amount of personal experience.
Rarely have we seen them fail.
you apply them conscientiously, soon your group will become
so small and comfortable that you will quite probably
be the onlymember left in it.