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February 09, 2011


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We had a guy talk about packing a gun in a meeting, and he shared about wanting to kill someone. A newcomer freaked out, went home and called the cops. So then we had cops coming into our meetings, asking for the guy with the gun. The fellowship has suffered because of it.

People who are are packing don't advertise, for starters. And how many of us said, in frustration or anger, "I'd like to KILL that guy!" And how many people take that literally? There never was any gun, or any real threat. The rooms are full of tough guy posturing, and unfortunately, it will scare some people away. If I was this letter writer, I'd make a point of talking to the new people and telling them that he's full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.


There was a fellow at an AA meeting who was disrupting the meeting, undressing, being loud during the meeting. He was asked to leave. He was told by the chair that he could come back when he was no longer disruptive. Dramatic outbursts that happen during a meeting could be considered disruptive. That is unclear from the email. Situations do come up when someone has an underlying condition and as you wrote, it is important to have a safe meeting to attend. Tradition one shines through in all this.

Jayne Dough

Although it's probably the rule of the club house anyway, your group has a right to decide, during a group conscience, if it wants to include in its format a request for people to not bring weapons, paraphernalia, animals other-than-guide-dogs, etc. to the meeting. Several meetings in my local area do this.

I always assume that any meeting that does this used to have a problem with 1 or more members' specific behaviors in the past. These types of requests support the safe environment of 12 Step as a whole and/or enforce a group's contract with a particular landlord. They are generally considered to be "autonomy supporting" (rather than Tradition violating).

Some programs even ask that no "sexually abusive language" or "naming specific [insert thing that members are abstaining from]" occur.

If the group wants to set that type of environment, people will vote (after the motions passes/fails) with their feet by either attending or dropping the meeting (or re-voting it next month).


I've been in groups where other Big Guys with Lotsa Time have a word with guys like this, and things calm down. The guy might not leave, and that's OK...

As a good friend and mentor who is a psychologist once told me, "We all have to come to terms with our dark side." People who act out in meetings or otherwise provoke me usually are putting their fingers on something I'm afraid of in myself. It's these folks, sometimes, who teach me the most tolerance and patience, while also teaching me firm and flexible boundaries. --G

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