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Fourth group conscience meeting

Forum for moderating the WhatsApp group and posting etiquette
Josh
Posts: 0
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2020 10:46 pm

Fourth group conscience meeting

Post by Josh »

First off, I am one person so take that with a grain of salt, but I am not sure about all these limitations/suggestions. We should still being giving these proposals up to the GC, but my opinion would be to have this WhatsApp group be renamed as CGAA + All Fellowship Recovery and then have a newcomer focused room which we can call CGAA Only Recovery. We can put both links in the WhatsApp sticky.

Recovery is different for people at different stages. Newcomers need more handholding, and long-timers have the capacity and desire to take what works and leave the rest. I learn so much from the text from other fellowships. My concern is that if we start asking people to tag any outside text they wish to share, they might decide the effort to tag what they wish to share as not worth it. That would be unfortunate if people felt less inclined to share. At the same time, newcomers might need a slightly more controlled environment to feel safe until they get their "recovery feet". This makes sense to me and would love to support both newcomers and longtimers as best I can.

Some feedback on "Text that promotes God as the one right higher power concept" would like to say is that to label God centric text only is too pointed and unfair. If we have to tag God centric text, we have to tag any text that talks about a higher power without using the terms higher power. Perhaps we can say to only use Higher Power text in the CGAA Only Recovery room rather than tag only God text, which seems very unfair in my opinion. I understand newcomers might not like God or the affiliations it normally has towards religion, so having the newcomer room (CGAA Only Recovery) only use Higher Power text seems fine to me.

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Josh
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Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2020 10:46 pm

Fourth group conscience meeting

Post by Josh »

Date set for GC on Feb 12th 230-330pm EST.

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Josh
Posts: 0
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2020 10:46 pm

Fourth group conscience meeting

Post by Josh »

Agenda for the GC is:

1. Discuss problem of, "Newcomers checking out CGAA and the whatsapp group see literature posts that have no explanatory message and make assumptions: they are CGAA text, and/or they accurately depict the CGAA program, or the outside group or text is affiliated with CGAA, and/or religious views in the text are promoted by CGAA."
2. Discuss possible etiquette for posting triggery content.
3. Duration of service positions. (GC chair, admins)
4. How many admins to have.
5. Vote on who should be admin, if we have any volunteers who wish to be of service.
6. Discuss possible template for greeting newcomers or a service position of newcomer greeter to encourage them to participate and familiarize them with the group.
7. Discuss if a CGAA emergency contacts only WhatsApp group should be created for those who only want to reach out for help or who wish to provide it.

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desire2stop
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2020 10:46 pm

Fourth group conscience meeting

Post by desire2stop »

Unfortunately, the group conscience is occurring smack during the middle of my work day--and most of the times proposed were smack during the middle of my work day.

I would love to see the fellowship itself do a group inventory regarding use of the word "God" as I think our touchiness in this area is increasing, rather than decreasing.

I think the attempts to dissuade anyone from using the wording "God" is actually dissuading those who come to us with a positive background regarding their faith or religious experiences.  

It's also critical to realize that while we tend to think of things like Christianity and Judaism in incredibly broad brushes--they are not the same.  Because of these experiences we have, if we haven't recently inventoried them, we might miss the fact that where some (but not all) Christian fellowships in the US require unquestioning obedience to religious tenets, the majority of Jewish faith communities practice active questioning and debate of God, religious tenets, etc. and this is encouraged from earliest childhood.

I mention this because I think it's become far too easy for those negatively impacted by Christian experiences in the US to want to dominate and control CGAA group expression and discussion in a way that is not modeling getting to a place of peace around these topics--while we also have Jewish members who have grown up encouraged to have a questioning mind, to debate, and to openly question God.  

And if anyone might be reacting to my use of the phrase "God":  that is a sign you need to do steps on this.  Hopefully our coming step guide includes sections on writing about our resentments against institutions because there is a great deal of freedom we can gain from this.  You know I'm not religious, you also know I'm not a theist--but I'm also adamantly opposed to squashing our friends who are at peace with the use of the word God, or may be Christian or join a Christian fellowship as part of their recovery story.

Keep in mind the precedent this sets--if we become controlling in this area regarding use of Christian terms without enough finesse to verbally state and remind newcomers they are welcome to choose their own higher power, to notice how each group member talks about these things differently, etc. we set the stage for future growth to include those who might feel the need to squash languaging from group members who might be culturally Muslim, Shinto, or other religious background, in other parts of the world.  This is a serious issue we need to keep in mind for the growth of our very international fellowship.

There is a way to talk and write about this that promotes the idea of expansive and tolerant thinking.  Putting a "trigger" warning for use of the term God or someone's expression of a theist higher power or spiritual source is not the way to do that.  I think it's fair to question posting direct copies of religious texts because we already have some principles around that.
Scott
Posts: 44
Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2020 10:53 pm

Fourth group conscience meeting

Post by Scott »

I've been talking with people and working on these issues for almost the entire nine years I've been a part of this fellowship. In the past year or so, I've been working with several people on welcome letters to new members. One is for those unfamiliar with recovery fellowships and explains that CGAA is not affiliated with religion and does not promote specific religious beliefs, despite some things they'll hear that create the opposite impression. The other is for those already familiar with recovery fellowships that explains that our international fellowship has steps and a website that are worded to include all higher power concepts, including God, and are not worded to put any one concept above all the others.

The central issue that we've been trying to solve is doing our best to adhere to the twelve traditions by not implying CGAA is affiliated with outside religion, not implying that CGAA has opinions on outside issues, and not implying that CGAA has an additional membership requirement regarding religious belief.

In all these years and conversations, I have never once heard anyone say that people should not use the word God. Zero times in my 9 years in this fellowship and 23 years in AA. Also, I have never heard anyone say that mention of the word God should be accompanied by a trigger warning. Zero times.

I don't want anyone to avoid the word the words God, Allah, Yahweh, Wakan Tanka, Jesus, Atman, Universal Consciousness, Mother Goddess, Krishna, or Buddha. Many times I have heard people talk about their spiritual or religious beliefs or worldviews without implying anything about CGAA as a whole. It's actually very, very easy to do. Most of us do it all the time.

In fact, there are times when I wish people would use the word God. When someone describes the general higher power concept (rather than their personal concept) as a single Higher Power who is a male creator deity who has a plan for everyone and wants obedience to his will, it creates the false impression that higher power = God. It would be better if the person used the word God instead.

People brand new to recovery fellowship seem to have a very easy time with this, including people who believe in God. They may talk about their beliefs, but they don't imply that the fellowship as a whole has those beliefs or that the program or steps require those beliefs or that anyone else is expected to adopt those beliefs. The same is true of people of non-monotheistic religions or worldviews. I never, ever hear them imply that their beliefs are expected of anyone else.

Some people active in other fellowships have a hard time with this conversation. This is understandable and reasonable. When we allow ourselves to see the problem with implying CGAA has an affiliation with or opinions on monotheistic belief, then we face the prospect of seeing the same problem in our other fellowship. No one wants to see a problem with their fellowship. It's scary. It seems to threaten recovery. Once we see the problem in our other fellowship, we face the terrible choice of either keeping silent about it or bringing it up and facing the same sort of accusations of intolerance, censorship, domination, oversensitivity, closed mindedness, and creation of disharmony that keep coming up here.
Josh
Posts: 0
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2020 10:46 pm

Fourth group conscience meeting

Post by Josh »

We need to have this conversation either over mumble or telephone.

We also need to understand that the WhatsApp group are not meetings as the group conscience for WhatsApp has determined. We are a lobby where people hang out before and after meetings. The 12 traditions loosely apply here and possibly need to be discussed as another agenda item. We cannot adhere to all the traditions because there are times that it is necessary to remove a problem from the group for group safety. This goes against the tradition where all are welcome.

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desire2stop
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2020 10:46 pm

Fourth group conscience meeting

Post by desire2stop »

Josh wrote:
5:32 PM - Feb 12
We need to have this conversation either over mumble or telephone.

We also need to understand that the WhatsApp group are not meetings as the group conscience for WhatsApp has determined.  We are a lobby where people hang out before and after meetings.  The 12 traditions loosely apply here and possibly need to be discussed as another agenda item.  We cannot adhere to all the traditions because there are times that it is necessary to remove a problem from the group for group safety.  This goes against the tradition where all are welcome.

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This.  This is what I am objecting to.  The fact that the conversation has gone as far as spilling over into the WhatsApp group, which is not the program, tells me that it's time for the entire group to do an inventory on this.  
desire2stop
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2020 10:46 pm

Fourth group conscience meeting

Post by desire2stop »

Scott wrote:
5:08 PM - Feb 12

In all these years and conversations, I have never once heard anyone say that people should not use the word God. Zero times in my 9 years in this fellowship and 23 years in AA. Also, I have never heard anyone say that mention of the word God should be accompanied by a trigger warning. Zero times.

I think it's important to reflect on actions vs. words.  If this is perceived as the implication, that's important to note.  

It takes me back to the whole, "is this bringing harmony or confusion?"

I think it's in how it's conveyed, and that is built upon a series of interactions.  Not one specific forum post.
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