Early Morning Zoomers Inventory Synopsis Discussions, (Thurs 6/29, Sun 6/2, Tues 7/11, Mon 7/17)
Reaching Out to Newcomers
*Greeter who shows up online 15 minutes early
*Provide a workshop on how to 12 step newcomers
*Chairperson call on those who don’t share often or have their cameras off
*Newcomer liaison who announces that they are there to answer questions or chat w newcomers
*Invite sober house attendance or support from other meetings
*Create a Beginner’s Meeting
*Breakout Rooms-emphasize the importance of and ask newcomers to join at the end of meeting
1st response: If we change the Living Sober Meeting on Friday to a Beginner’s Meeting, we are counting on the beginner knowing that that meeting is a Beginner’s Meeting. We don’t always have beginners in sobriety on the Meeting. One thing I’ve seen done before in other meetings is that if a newcomer identifies as someone new in recovery or at their first AA meeting, the group shifts the topic from what was planned to the first step so everyone in the room shares on the first step.
2nd response: I think Beginner Meetings are great. A newcomer won’t know that there is a Beginner’s Meeting on a specific day, but after they come to a few meetings, they will pick up quickly when a Beginner’s Meeting is being held. There is a Beginner’s Meeting in the 5:30 pm meeting and it’s very successful. Even people with a lot of time will say that it’s ultimately a 24 hr a day program and there’s a side of us that we are all newcomers. People with a variety of recovery times seem to enjoy the Beginner’s meeting because the topics serve as good reminders with talk about the foundations.
3rd response: We might consider holding the Beginner’s Meeting on Mondays. I’ve heard story after story that benders that bring people to the meetings happen on weekends, holidays, etc. If a Beginner’s meeting was held early in the week it increases the odds that we will reach beginners just coming in.
4th response: In another meeting I attend there are people identified as Newcomer Representatives (NCR’s) that’s announced at the beginning of the meeting. It seems like an effective way for people to know who to talk to after the meeting.
5th response: In in-person meetings the newcomer is “swarmed” by people of the same gender to offer information. I don’t know if there is some way to mimic that approach on the zoom meeting.
6th response: I’m feeling squirrelly because we keep getting compared to the 5:30 meeting. We are our own meeting. We’ve already talked about identifying as a newcomer rep or availability to sponsor in some manner with a hashtag. How would we get the message across what each abbreviation means.
7th response: I don’t think there as many newcomers who come to our zoom meeting as compared to the in-person meeting I attend. Maybe the newcomers don’t hear about the meeting. I’m in favor of giving out flyers in in-person meetings to let people know about the zoom meetings.
8th response: I’ve been to meetings where if someone is new, they automatically make the topic the first step. We should also tell newcomers to go to the breakout room men with men, women with women. We
all should go to the breakout room too. We need more people going to the breakout room after the meeting to support people.
9th response: Regarding the newcomer meeting, we started one in NYC and announced it on the intergroup website underneath the category of beginners. In CT it would be at ct.aa.org. By simply putting it on the website in New York, the beginner’s meeting became the most popular meeting we had.
10th response: I love the idea of switching the topic to step one if there is a newcomer. My experience, which is unfortunate is that a lot of in-person meetings don’t take the zoom meeting very seriously. If newcomers go to in-person meetings, it is possible they are hearing that the zoom meetings aren’t as good as the in-person meetings.
*Add “What is heard here, let it stay here” at end of meeting
*Care taken to not talk about people’s places of work, what they do or where they live. Newcomers may worry about being identified in this way.
*Speaker at speaker meeting end by suggesting a topic to deflect group adoration of the speaker.
*Similarly, care not to have an individual veneration meeting when anniversaries are announced
*Designate anonymity as a regular topic in meetings
1st response: Bill Wilson, AA’s co-founder, was very firm about anonymity. His last letter was about it. I would like to suggest that the anonymity statement is read at the beginning of each group so the newcomer feels safe. (Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions. Please respect this and treat in confidence who you see and what you hear.)
2nd response: At an AA meeting I recently attended, they say after the Serenity Prayer, “What you heard here, let it stay here. It was also a speaker meeting and after the speaker spoke, they were asked to pick a topic. If we could do those two things, it might be helpful.
3rd response: I’ve always heard it said, “Who you see here, what you heard here, let it stay here.”
4th response: In response to the group adoration part of anonymity, this is an unwieldly topic especially in this group because we have grown to trust and care about each other. It makes sense that we would have veneration of each other because of how we care for each other. It is a result of the unique openness of this group and will be hard to control.
5th response: When in the meeting should the anonymity statement be read. I’ve seen it read in the beginning of the meeting and at the end when it would be the last thing on your mind as you leave the meeting.
6th response: Anonymity is not just about what you hear in our meeting, but what you hear anywhere. We shouldn’t be sharing anything from any other meeting either.
7th response: Discussion of the difference between Speaker Meeting (speaker can use the entire meeting to tell their story) vs a Speaker Discussion meeting (the speaker speaks for 20 minutes and then the rest of
the time is for comments from the group). The Sat. Speaker meeting is a Speaker Meeting. We would have to change the format in the business meeting to Speaker Discussion if we want to have a topic after the speaker concludes.
*Ask people who are available to sponsor to raise their hands at the beginning of the meeting
or identify with an asterisk in their name
*Open chat for those who want to talk about sponsorship with newcomers
*Designate a monthly meeting on sponsorship
*Sponsor availability list to provide to newcomers (men only?)
1st response: The idea of using an asterisk is a good one. Having a list is a little tricky because, over time, you have to check back with those people to see if they are still available to be sponsors. Whereas the asterisk is more just for today.
2nd response: I would love to see if there is a way to offer the newcomer our phone numbers. The breakout room was used recently and how important it was to make that vital connection to at least, get, a phone number and take it from there. It’s not so much about sponsorship, but it’s about opening up the chat or getting that newcomer into the breakout room.
3rd response: What is said in the opening remarks as it stands now: “If anyone needs help finding a sponsor or would like to connect with another member, please stay on after the meeting.”
In a more traditional meeting a pamphlet is given out with numbers on the back. The newcomer has to be willing to make the effort to make the call. In the opening remarks, we could say, if anyone wants numbers, they can contact the host. If anyone identifies as a newcomer, the host could request from members of the meeting phone numbers to be given to the newcomer. I don’t like the idea of totally opening the chat. Also, the opening remarks could mention the availability of breakout rooms after the meeting.
4th response: I try to put myself in the position of being a newcomer. When I was new, I wasn’t going to go asking for numbers. I didn’t do that-I learned to do it. It’s vague as it’s presented right now. I like the idea of members identifying themselves as available to be sponsors. I remember when I heard someone share in a meeting who inspired me, it affected me. And maybe I would go up and talk to them, but it was scary for me. Not being in-person, I’m not sure how to go about reaching out. For me, I needed a little guidance as to what a sponsor is. I didn’t know what it was. If we are serious about being there for newcomers, then it is up to us as members of the meeting to let it be known that we’re available to sponsor or to talk. It doesn’t have to be about choosing a sponsor. I think that can be a little overwhelming. I like the idea of suggesting the breakout rooms, but a new person might not know what that is either.
5th response: The breakout room is a really good feature. When [the women] see someone new, we go there (to the breakout rooms) and we surround the new woman. We talk with her, welcome her, and make her feel loved. We talk about ourselves, it’s personal and it’s face-to-face. It’s just like an in-person
meeting. If the opening remarks said more about that and if more people from the meeting went to the breakout rooms, that would be awesome.
6th response: Men do the same thing when there is a man just coming in. Sometimes it’s hard to explain how to get into the breakout rooms if it’s their first meeting on zoom.
Daily readings, length of and sensitivity to content
*Not reading How It Works at the beginning of the meeting or only reading the steps
*Reading first page of chapter 3, More About Alcoholism at the beginning of the meeting
*Reading selections from As Bill Sees it at the beginning of the meeting
1st response: We don’t do anything differently than any other groups as far as readings are concerned. I think there is a sensitivity across the board that certain readings have too much emphasis on the word God. Using the word Higher Power takes away some of that issue for me at least. We use a broad spectrum of readings which are consistent with AA in general. I think How It Works takes too much time out of the meeting. Some of the groups I have been involved with in New York read it only on certain days. They make sure they read it at Beginner’s meetings.
2nd response: I’m in favor of reading just the 12 steps and then citing the reference for the complete passage of How It Works in the Big Book
3rd response: I like the suggestion of doing different readings on different days. The daily repetition of How it Works is deadening. I think if we mixed it up, it would make everyone more alert to what is being said in the reading. We could pick from a variety of different AA readings.