Leading AA Anonymous Meetings

The Value of Leadership in Alcoholics Anonymous

Leadership is an essential component in any organized group or setting, and this holds true for Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings. The meeting structure provided by experienced leaders, also known as secretaries, is often a comfort to newcomers.

Guiding the Meetings

In my early days of sobriety, secretaries led the meetings. They determined topics and selected speakers unapologetically. The clarity of this structure was reassuring. My role as a newcomer was to absorb the proceedings and learn about AA’s approach to tackling alcoholism.

The meetings started and finished punctually. If someone spoke longer than usual, the secretary would politely request them to conclude. People who arrived late would have to wait until those who were punctual had their turn to share. This seemed only fair and helped maintain order.

The Art of Orderliness

The meetings I attended were orderly, primarily due to the secretary’s competence and confidence. These individuals were deeply rooted in the AA steps and program and understood the unique dynamics of the meeting they were leading.

They demonstrated leadership by preparing a topic in advance and tactfully choosing speakers based on their sobriety duration and presentation style. They skillfully balanced the participation of newcomers and old-timers and ensured out-of-town attendees, birthday celebrants, or willing participants were given a chance to share.

These well-conducted meetings were vibrant, informative, and immensely helpful to me in my recovery journey. Much credit goes to those proficient secretaries whose leadership built a solid foundation for decades of my sustained sobriety.

Identifying the Problem and Suggesting Solutions

So why are many meetings today not conducted in this way? I believe it’s largely because many attendees have not experienced a well-led meeting. Moreover, leading a meeting effectively requires specific skills; as I was once told, “leading a great meeting is a work of art.”

Another contributing factor is the preference for fairness over effectiveness. Many believe that meetings should be ‘self-run’ by volunteers or use random selection to determine speakers, viewing this as more democratic than using discretion. However, this approach neglects the wisdom of the AA Big Book, which reminds us, “God gave us brains to use!” Thus, thoughtful leadership should be applied when conducting meetings.

So, if you’re given the opportunity to be a secretary, I encourage you to LEAD the meeting. Be prepared, manage time wisely, select speakers strategically, and keep the meeting dynamic. By doing so, you will create an engaging and supportive environment that keeps participants coming back.

Discover more from Pause When Agitated – AA Wisdom

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