Blog

Oct 14
Relocation on Oct 12. 2013

​Saturday Night Fever was actually cancelled on October 12th, 2013.  However, we arranged a meeting location at the Downtown initiative on 1001 Florida Ave.  This was not really designed to replace Saturday Night Fever but rather to provide a meeting spot for people who did not get the message that SNF was cancelled and showed up at the usual location.

It worked out splendidly. There was a small turn out, which was good because we had a small venue. There was a couple of groups of people who meet at SNF with their sponsorship family and they had an opportunity to share their stories.  In addition, there was a couple who was relatively new and were attending SNF for the first time.  The kids at the church gave them our flyer and they came downtown. 

That was the point of scheduling an alternative venue. It was not about making sure we had an awesome speakers meeting. Rather, it was about making sure that if somebody showed up to AA and needed to find the certain solution to the problems that dog them, the doors were open. Ultimately, 24 people attended our impromptu meeting.

Sep 01
Group Officer Elections- October 26

It is such an honor to be able to be of service in Alcoholics Anonymous.  I was reminded this afternoon by the speaker at the Tampa Bay Fall Roundup.  She was taught the value of service early in her sobriety. She said it is an honor to be able to make coffee at her home group.  It is an honor and it has been an honor for me to be involved in Saturday Night Fever.  However, it is time for elections.

The founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, Dr. Bob, said “Our Twelve Steps, when simmered down to the last, resolve themselves into the words ‘love’ and ‘service.’ We understand what love is, and we understand what service is.”  That was a reasonable assumption in 1950.  At that time almost everybody had been indoctrinated into A.A. by one of the founders or somebody that had been indoctrinated by one of the founders.  They emphasized selfness and service almost as much as they did prayer and meditation and in some places they emphasized it even more. He knew that anybody who had gotten involved in an A.A. group in the 1940’s would be compelled to be involved in the groups business.

Tom I. from Southern Pines, was reflecting on the early days of A.A.  He said service was the name of the game.  That there is some notion in A.A. circles that they were more pure in their approach to A.A. in the good old days.  He said something to the effect “if they were more pure in their approach I didn’t experience it, we mostly used the Big Book to beat the new comers over the head to get them in the car.”

Occasionally I have to be reminded that it is an honor to get to be of service to my home group. I have been unlocking the meeting hall and helping with the chairs.  I started doing this in 2011 when I moved to Tampa.  I saw a big meeting that is relatively close to where I live and decided to make that my home group.  I chose that group because there was a lot of people at that meeting.  I liked Jerry, Kate, Michelle, and John, who were all involved in setting up the meeting. I have been involved in A.A. long enough that I knew that as big as Saturday Night Fever is, there would be something I would be able to contribute even though I was new to town.  It would be an honor to get to be part of it. Oh yah!

It is an honor to be a part of Saturday Night Fever. I got sober in 1987 and my first sponsor had me volunteer to be of service before I had much more than 30 days sober. They would announce at the meeting that they needed a leader for the Tuesday noon group and he would raise his hand and say Wayne will do it.  They would announce that they needed someone to take a panel to the detox and Hank would raise my hand and say “tell them you’ll do it.”  He insisted that I be part of A.A. Not because A.A. needed me because it didn’t.  There were plenty of people willing to take meetings into the detox. There were plenty of people that were committed to seeing to it that there would be someone to cover the Tuesday meeting. He insisted that I get involved because I needed A.A.

That is right.  I did need A.A.  I was living like an animal. I was irresponsible and lazy. I was self-centered and selfish which the big Book says is at the root of our problem. What was the solution to be? It was to develop a life based on spiritual principles.  How is that to be accomplished? Through action and more action.  So, he had me make an inventory and start to pray and make a list of amends but he also had me start to get involved in selfless actions.  He had me volunteer to do things for others and not expect any credit. He did this because he knew I would not intuitively know to get involved. I had to be taught. The Big Book has a chapter named “Into Action” but not any chapters named “Into Thinking” or "Into Fitness."  He knew that I needed to be part of the group and I needed to be of service.

The only reason that I could be part of service was because people like him knew how important it was for the new members to get involved. He was going to be at the meeting every Tuesday, he could have raised his hand and said “I’ll take it if nobody else will do it.”  He didn’t.  He said Wayne will do it. So, that I got the honor of being of service. So, fast forward 26 years.  I have not always been at the center of the group nor did I always maintain service commitments because of many very good reasons (rationalizations and excuses.)  However, I have been at the center of Saturday Night Fever for the last two years.  I have been the secretary and have filled in at virtually every position at some point. I showed up to set up chairs but when it was necessary for somebody to step in and provide some leadership I filled that void. Now it is time to turn the leadership over to somebody else. It is time for the honor to be given to somebody who needs it, whether they realize it or not.

Aug 27
It's about the money

The reason we're building a web site is to increase financial transparency. I sobered up in Southern California and it was traditional for the secretary or the treasurer to provide a finance report.  It was also traditional to read "More about Alcoholism", read the traditions, have a smoke break in the middle of the meetings, and go for an hour and half.  I am pretty happy with the format and traditions of this meeting and have no desire make changes because we used to do it different.

However, recently some of our home group members have become concerned with the treasury. They have expressed that they have been approached by others.  They have been told that people who attend the meeting are concerned that somebody might be stealing the money in the 7th tradition.  I sincerely hope that it is not been happening but the concern is there. So, we are going to attempt to increase communications.

We have made other adjustments.  We have increased the number of people collecting 7th tradition to make it quicker and more likely to reach out to everybody.  Now we are going to start giving near real time finance reports. They are going to be posted on the Internet and encourage participation in the group process.

I wish I could insure everybody that there was never any theft but I can't.  I know of at least one Saturday when we barely covered the cost of the coffee even though there were over a hundred people in attendance.  There were just too many people contributing to account for such a low 7th tradition. Finance reporting does not prevent theft but it does insure that the trusted servants are not hiding anything. All we want to do is let people know what's going on with the money.


Aug 25
The Invisible Boat.

The background picture on this site is to honor Clancey I. who has told a story that reflects AA's relationship to treatment centers.  He tells about the booze hound that has reached the end of the line. He is fed up, washed up, bound up, busted and downright disgusted.  He goes down to the docks to get sober

When he reaches the dock, he meets these guys smoken and joken and having a good time doing something.  They were all working on what may have been a boat but the rummy couldn't see a thing.  They said to the drunkard, "come with us, we have a solution." "Where is that", asked to souse, they replied, "right here in our invisible boat."  The poor sot declined their offer and went a little further until he reached the S.S. Treatment Center.

The S.S. Treatment Center was modern and appeared to be substantial. They welcomed him aboard and set sail straight away.  They went along discussing anger management and relapse prevention and taught him vast amounts about the nature of alcoholism. When they were far from shore with no land in sight, the alkies fair ran out and they told him he was now prepared to face life once again and threw him overboard.  On his way down he shouted out, "What do I do now?"  The captain said “find those guys with the invisible boat.”

Sure enough, when he began looking there were these guys in the invisible boat. They said "come on, get in, here is an oar, start rowing. "  The old juicer didn't have any place left to turn at this point. So, he took up the invisible oar and stuck it in the water and began to row. As he rowed an amazing thing happened. The boat began to materialize around him.  He started to laugh and have a good time.  He started to stay sober and the more he put into this thing the bigger and more substantial the boat became. 

That is what it is like in Alcoholics Anonymous.  We have a really big boat.