A very sad and dangerous group. There are many other groups in Syracuse that meet mornings, at noon, and in the evening. There is no reason to attend a group that is so patently aggressive, invasive, and insistent that a person does it their way or the highway. A normal AA group encourages members to take a turn chairing, or leading, the meetings. There is no organized leadership. Everyone has a chance to bring a topic for discussion to the table. Anyone that has had a bad week is given encouragement, advice, and support. It is up to the member what advice they choose to heed or not heed. I am glad that the group has been exposed. Although AA is an anonymous program, a group such as is the subject of this investigation needs to be outed to prevent people from being sucked into their dangerous web.
There are also multiple meetings at various times of the day in the Utica/Rome area, West to Oneida and Canastota, North to Booneville, Lowville and beyond, as well as East to many meetings down the valley.
There are people from every walk of life, people with long-time sobriety, people with a willingness to share their story, and the tools they use to stay sober one day at a time. I found through my association with a good sponsor, that in my own case attending meetings every day for a year, and attending different groups with different people gave me a broad group of not only friends but also mentors. I was fortunate to acquire a sponsor while I was still a resident patient at McPike treatment facility, which at the time was at Marcy State Hospital. It has since moved to the Utica Psychiatric Center campus.
My first sponsor was a former drunken Irishman with 7 yrs of sobriety at the time that I met him. He was a true believer that attending daily meetings and working actively on staying sober one day at a time became a lifestyle. He always attended the meetings at the rehab unit. He taught me that one could accrue a new group of friends that could relate to your situation, and found AA to be a way of life that offered them a social life that didn't include booze, but included lots of sincerity, lots of encouragement, lots of support, a willing ear when you were having a bad day or were struggling to avoid drinking. The friends I made in AA were much more sincere and willing to be there when a person needed a friend most.
Tom M. had an old chevy pickup truck that was the first vehicle he was able to buy after getting sober. When I got out of rehab he picked me up and took me to a meeting every night for a year. We traveled anywhere from the local area to Rome, Ilion, Herkimer, Booneville, Brookfield, New Hartford, and many other places to meetings. Surprisingly I ran into many people that I had drank with over the years that had disappeared from the bars. leaving me to wonder what happened to them. We went to picnics, pitched horseshoes, played volleyball, softball, swam, and hiked. We gathered at different places on weekends for open meetings that we called "eatin meetings" where we got together for a covered dish meal, and had invited speakers that came and related their story and how they got sober. There were priests, lawyers, and a doctor. There were even a couple of nuns that attended a group down the valley.
Tom and I both loved to fish. We found a place on the moose river near McKeever where we occasionally would wilderness camp in a tent and trout fish for the entire weekend, taking the time out to attend meetings in Booneville on one day, and Old Forge the next. Tom passed away many years ago with well over 20 yrs of sobriety. The principals that he instilled in me have kept me sober since 1976. I, in turn, have tried to pass his wisdom along over the years. I continued to go with a group to Auburn Prison for several years occasionally to hold meetings with in the walls. Several people from local groups also held meetings at the Oneida County Jail and I took part in a few of those years ago. I no longer attend meetings on a regular basis but shared with friends and they know that I am available if someone wants to talk. I just encourage them and point them to a meeting, and go with them for the first few times. I know a couple of people locally that have some long term, quality sobriety, that I put a newby in contact with. I no longer sponsor anyone but still make myself available if someone wants to talk.
It is a life-saving program for those that truly want to WORK the program. There is always support. A person works the program one day at a time, and on some bad days they have to work it hour by hour, but always have someone that they can call that will help them get through a rough spot.
If a person seeks out the program and finds themselves in an overzealous and radical group such as exists in Syracuse, I hope that they will try other groups and find the true support they need. After 40+ years since I got sober, I still am in communication with many of the AA folks I have known ever since I first found my way to the tables. It is a group that costs nothing to be a member of. The only money involved is a voluntary collection taken when coffee, cups, creamer and sugar are needed. In all the years that I attended meetings, I can't recall EVER going to a meeting where there was not a welcoming pot of hot coffee available. I find myself much happier with my hand wrapped around a coffee cup than I was with it wrapped around a shot glass or beer bottle. When I came home from Vietnam and got out of the military I drank myself to sleep every night for 7 yrs before finally finding myself desperate enough to seek out help in the form of rehab. It definitely saved my life.
Last Edit: Oct 19, 2019 17:28:10 GMT -5 by Clipper