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New ideas for running a meeting

It's great that you want to spice up your meeting. There are many different ways that you can 'mix up' the meeting. I have found over the years by going to many different meetings that it is good to see first-hand how other meetings are run and if they seem beneficial from the different format. People could make suggestions to you but they might not be beneficial or even successful in your particular group. After all, even though everyone has the same illness, the individuals are different and might not adhere to the change.

A group discussion can sometimes backfire depending on the overall unity of the specific group. I have seen members take offence when their opinions are opposed (can be seen as criticising) and this can lead to members never coming back. However, it can be beneficial if kept brief. I know of a few meetings who will utilise any remaining time when their therapies are finished to have a short discussion on any topics that might have been spoken about.

Although don't you think it would be better to ask your group this first, it is called a conscious meeting. Most meetings will have them maybe once a month or just a few times a year. They don't have to be long, just 15 minutes is normally enough time. Then you or any other member can make suggestions on areas they feel might need attention with the existing group. You might find that some of your more longer-standing members come up with a few excellent ideas that would be perfect for your particular meeting.

As there is no hierachy in GA it is only fair that any potential changes be made by the group rather than an individual. If you do decide to change something I would suggest you tell the group first but be prepared to go along with the old format if they are not keen on your idea. I have seen meetings nearly crumble because someone came along who decided to take it on him/herself to alter the format of the meeting. As human beings (and addicts) most people don't like change.

Big Dave (Eastcote/Uxbridge)
Hi BrianTheBear,

Love that name by the way!!

Just sharing another experience..

Before my first chair, I spoke to some of the other members of my group about the ideas I had. They guided me with care and honesty. Anther advantage was those members had chance to think of what they were going to say in the meeting and bring the meeting to life. I was so nervous that first time but the group understood and worked with me. The meeting was well appreciated and gave me the confidence to chair again.

Love the enthusiasm. Please don't lose that.
In unity
Hello again

I understand what you are saying, It can be quite monotonous when you're hearing the same stuff every meeting.

Over the past 7 years I have probably given close to 2000 therapies. Although I have repeated certain content at different meetings I try to change my therapy every time. When I first started coming to GA I remember saying to a member that I didn't know what to talk about to which I got the response "after 35 years of irresponsible gambling you've got nothing to talk about?!". So I tried to speak about different events in my life while gambling. At first I found it quite difficult because un-earthing the 'skeletons in the closet' caused me to experience uncomfortable feelings as I spoke about them. These types of feelings and emotions were everything I used to try to escape from when in action, which is why it was so difficult. Now I am totally used to talking very openly and the I always tell people that the benefits far out-weigh the pains felt.

I think everyone has a shortened version of their own story that can fit into a 5-10 minute therapy, some members, unfortunately fall into the habit of repeating this as it is much easier than speaking about something they have never mentioned before, even though it will benefit them in the long run.

In regards to your meeting, I would never split the group up. Everyone in the room should be made to feel equal. What I would do (and have done many times) is, in regards to therapies, add material to the meeting that makes them want to talk about something different. Start a topic or theme at the start of the meeting e.g. 'When did I cross the invisible line into irresponsible gambling' or 'what has GA done for you?'. Hopefully everyone will base their therapies around your chosen topic, then you could leave time at the end to discuss the differences and similarities, and also welcome feedback.

As I mentioned before, there are so many different things that can be done, but I really do think that the group should be asked first. I understand what you said that "it is only one meeting and we can go back to the old format next week" but the thing is it is not your meeting, the meeting is the groups'. Any decisions or changes should come from the group and not an individual.

I am only saying this as I know that some people in GA (especially, as addicts, 'we' are immature) will not appreciate it even though it is a very positive thing you are doing.

Big Dave (Eastcote/Uxbridge)

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