Planting New Meetings

I had an idea in my head. My idea was to plant meetings around Scotland. I thought even if it doesn’t help many SAs in Scotland it would probably help keep me sober. I am grateful that I have been sober from lust since December 2008.

Some of my SA friends said they would support the idea when they could. In September 2008 SA-Aberdeen was born with four regular members, initially meeting fortnightly before changing time, date, venue and becoming a weekly meeting.

We organized open Public Information (PI) meetings in Glasgow and Edinburgh. The Aberdeen group and Intergroup enabled another member with 18 years sobriety at the time to come speak. The Glasgow meeting flopped, but the Edinburgh fellowship supported our meeting. Most importantly, I stayed sober. The other Edinburgh members are still attending meetings.

Not deterred, I tried again. My thought was to catch people after Christmas breakups. So on the coldest day of the year a fellow and I traveled from London by coach to Inverness to meet two Aberdeen members for an open PI meeting. No professional showed. We had a meeting ourselves and stayed sober that day. After a train back to Aberdeen, my fellow and I were invited to attend a similar PI event at Dundee. Once again, no professionals showed but we had various Aberdeen and Edinburgh members and an S-Anon show. At another Aberdeen PI event nurses, professionals and therapists plus Aberdeen and Edinburgh members attended. Success at last.

A different tack now. I arranged to visit a sex counseling center in Glasgow with a sober fellow from Edinburgh. We spoke to about 20 professionals and sold some White Books and distributed leaflets. We repeated this at a similar sized gathering of professionals in Aberdeen. They dealt with all sorts of sexual issues and not just addiction to lust.

Before the visit to Aberdeen counseling center, I planted meetings in Dundee and Glasgow, each many miles from my home. Again a few Aberdeen and Edinburgh members came to the Dundee meeting. One of our fellows had his first exposure to SA in Dundee even though he lives in Edinburgh. Today he is a year and a half sober. Our HP was at work as I set up a conference call and members would phone in on weeks that nobody showed. That meeting couldn’t find anybody to keep it running when I started college full time. But, I stayed sober.

Going to Glasgow by train meant starting work extra early so I could catch a train that got me to Glasgow in time for a meeting. Usually I got back to my bed after midnight. I went five times or so. We had interest from other “S” fellowships and our Edinburgh fellow has kept the meeting going. It struggles sometimes but can get five or so some weeks.

Simultaneously another fellow appeared on the scene in Inverness. I’d had enquiries from other Inverness loners but nothing took. This man accepted the help of a sponsor and I traveled up to see him by train. I encouraged him to start a meeting and helped him find venues to visit. He did this even though he had never had any Twelve Step experience.

Along with a second meeting in Edinburgh, we had six SA meetings in Scotland when there had only been one. Also we have had two non-residential three-day conventions in 2016 and 2017. This year we doubled the numbers and planned a residential convention April 6 – 8, 2018 in Perth.

Throughout the whole of this process various Scottish SA members have sent emails, letter, leaflets and filled in web forms for churches, religious centers, medical centers, therapists, counselors, bishops, chaplains and medical doctors. No obvious direct referrals yet, but we stayed sober a day at a time.

The results are mixed: We do not have twenty strong meetings, we are not all sober. Our service positions are not all filled, we do not have old-timers with long-term sobriety guiding us. But quite a few of us have more than a year’s sobriety and are grateful for and appreciate what life throws at us. Most importantly, I am sober today.

I cannot say if the meetings in Dundee, Perth or Stirling will take off, and I don’t know if newcomers will stick or even attend. But I am sure the majority of fellows going to a Scottish meeting will stay sober for that day, and by God’s grace I will remain sober today, one day at a time.

So if you fancy attending a Scottish meeting either come in person or to our Perth gathering or else phone or VOIP into one of our meetings.

Yours in Love and Fellowship,

Richard

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