Thank you, R208.
R209, I was only yelled at once. That was enough. I stopped speaking much. But I did watch other people on the grill.
The literature is great and still inspires me, but it is very far from how the program is practiced. I think that is the problem. And interoffice group call lines? That is a new one on me.
You are right that meetings can be different. But they are similar that there is an inner circle that clearly feel warm toward each other and then there is everyone else. I suppose that the "everyone elses" could form their own circle, but that does not happen. I think the isolation and sadness of meetings makes reaching out hard. There was always the undercurrent that if you do not have the financial and social success in recovery that some do, that you are worthless.
Maybe it is changing with the internet. In real life 12-step recovery you are not supposed to ask questions about the program---but online people do all the time and now there is little or no resistance to it. Anonymity is also fading away, which is a good thing. The internet has made it so people in the program now share their last names, which a decade or two ago was seen as a huge breach.
R173's describes one way in which meetings are isolating. I actually like the no cross-talk rule for the reasons others have stated. But I wish that that there were ways to express support. R212 says people go up after meetings to express appreciation. I have seen that. But more often than that, people go up to someone who shared so that they can criticize. It is painful to watch.
I wish the warm, fuzzy AA/NA that you see in films and television and read in the literature was more prevalent. Some people online describe their experience in those terms so I am guessing it does exist somewhere.
But the sneering tone you read here when some one does not like what another person writes is what I saw more often. It is as if someone having a different experience is some kind of threat.
You also see here the voice of real recovery. It is there when people say, they are sorry or express sympathy, while saying that they had a different experience. They are sharing hope while not negating what someone else has said.
But as you read the thread, which voice predominates? Which comments are the ones that stick with you?
That is the problem. Maybe the negative people are not in the majority--but they have no qualms about telling us that they are right and know better than anyone else--so their voices are the loudest. Here and in AA.