Women chasers in AA meeting

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Women chasers in AA meeting

Unread postby milkpaint » Tue Mar 17, 2009 4:33 pm

I have been in AA for under a year, go to meetings regularly and have met many genuine and supportive people along the way. As much as there is to gain from these meetings, there is one factor that is not a positive. AA is supposed to feel like a safe, caring environment. That said, it is extremely undermining when some of the men at these meetings clearly interested in more; even when the interest is one sided. Newer to sobriety, (and I am told this is common) I feel vulnerable in my efforts to take a new direction. It takes courage and strength to show up to a group of strangers. A number of men seem to look for the newer and inexperienced members and are quick to impart all kinds of "advice" early in the game. After a few minutes talking to me, for example, they have found creative ways to get my contact information, sent me email, or press me for details about my life. One guy has said on several occasions (in so many words) that I must not have had much of a problem judging by the way I look. If it sounds like a compliment, it didn't FEEL like one. It felt wrong for a lot of reason... here's just one: we alcoholics are always looking for ways to tell ourselves that WE weren't as bad as all the OTHER alcoholics, and WE probably don't have a true problem. Not a good mindset for the newly sober.

Here's the kind of conversation I've had more than once. The guy will start off talking and soon into the conversation asks,

"Where do you live?"
"Oh, nearby," I say.
"WHERE though?"
"About 10 minutes from here," I say and look away.
"Yeah, but what town - where do you live?!" Etc, etc."

Another subtle message is sent with men's "innocent" comments like, "yeah, I know where all the women's meetings are, heh heh heh."

I have a friendly (but NOT AT ALL flirtatous) personality which seems to have translated into a problem in meetings. I am always told by members I "should" hang out after meetings to get to know people, I "should" come with this group or that to such-and-such a meeting. There is a lot of encouragement to be open minded and willing to buy into the program; not to resist it. When there are subtle gestures that are undoubtedly efforts by men to get involved, it undermines everything.

I suspect some readers will think I am either conceited, paranoid, cold or just have a big imagination. I am not saying poor me, and I am not saying that I am some tragic victim. I am saying, though, that AA is the only solution for a lot of people. It needs to be a safe place and not one that makes women feel closed off or self conscious. That is the very thing that leads to drinking. If women are going to come to co-ed meetings (my preference because I like a variety of perspectives and the convenience of more meetings available to me) we have to feel comfortable and not objectified. Women's meetings are an option which might be my best bet for now.

For men, I would like to add that if a woman is friendly by nature (friendly to everyone, not only to you), do not take that as her being INTERESTED in you. If a woman is interested, you WILL KNOW. Otherwise, when she's new, treat her as you would any male newcomer, or if you get to know her well treat her as a sister. She is a person, not an object. If she wants it to be more (and you do too), she will make it obvious. It is not ok to pray upon women who are at meetings to get well - to save their lives! Many of us have had men prey upon us much of our lives and trust is already an issue. This is not what we need now. The completely inappropriate concept of the "13th step" should never happen.
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