Committing to the Sobriety Definition Unites the Galway Group

In February 1995 an Irish SA member living in the USA, was informed by a friend of another “S Fellowship’’ meeting in Galway. He carried the following message to that meeting: “You are all newcomers. You will only relapse back into your disease unless you get a sponsor, make calls and have fellowship after the meetings.” SA began in Ireland late 1995 early 1996. The first Galway SA meeting started in November 1996.

At our Saturday meetings, we are now reading the pamphlet “Practical Guidelines for Group Recovery,’’ which is written to foster group recovery and make meetings strong. Our group has a strong emphasis on the Solution, sponsorship, Steps, service, literature and developing a relationship with a Higher Power. Our Higher Power keeps us sober. We lead with our weakness, share our gratitude lists and don’t get into the debating society!

Giving our sobriety date makes our meeting strong and more spiritual. We focus on the solution not the problem. We are committed to the sobriety definition that unites us; when someone says they are sober we all know what this means. We focus on progressive victory over lust. Hearing and giving away First Steps to the group has been liberating.

At one meeting, the secretary was outnumbered by members with insobriety. These new members were complaining about giving the sobriety date. The Secretary got into giggles when reading the format in the first part of the meeting—“only those with 30 days of sobriety can share first”—as he was the only member with 30 days! He suggested that if they wanted to change the meeting format to come to the Group Conscience next week. Well, they didn’t show up and soon left SA.

The most heartbreaking time was when we lost our dear friend Ian, who took his own life in March 2016. Ian touched the lives of many, here and overseas. This was a real shock to our group. We held a beautiful Remembrance Day for Ian at our meeting venue, sharing stories, music, poetry and song. This helped the group grieve.

We had difficulties dealing with a member with some legal problems, but the group faced into and dealt with it as best we could – this gave us more strength and increased safety. After this a statement that protects the meeting was inserted in our format.

There is a commitment to service, encouragement to serve on the different levels and rotation is important. The group is committed to carrying the message (our group’s purpose) to counsellors, priests, doctors and health professionals.

We have been blessed with comfortable meeting rooms and a good rapport with the owners. Keeping to the meeting format and guidelines, starting and finishing on time is adhered to. We introduced spiritual time-keeping so that everyone would have adequate time to share. We have regular monthly group consciences, separate from the meeting, and this is working well. Pre-Covid, we invited monthly speakers to share with us, from both within our group or from other groups or even abroad via Skype. This helped greatly to connect and stabilize our group.

On one occasion, a member stormed out of a meeting, throwing the chair and White Book across the room! Unfazed, the Secretary continued with the meeting as if nothing had happened! Another version of Problem and Solution!

Two members meet prospects for tea, (or virtually for coffee!!) introducing them to SA, informing them of the sobriety definition from the very start. We ask the 20 Questions and share some of our story before asking them if they want to come to a meeting. We follow up calling them, encouraging them into the group. When a newcomer attends a meeting, we have an appropriate reading. There is a real desire and spiritual energy to try to help and welcome the newcomer. We encourage getting temporary sponsors immediately.

Members of our group testify that they value the sense of fellowship that “lightens the load.” Organizing conventions and “Gratitude Days” (meetings, recreational time and sharing meals) as a group helps us connect. We have stayed overnight for some fellowship, cooking together. We have fun, laugh and cry together. We share with each other. We phone each other. Attending conventions in Ireland and travelling together overseas, members have connected more and come back to the group sharing their renewed enthusiasm for SA.

A female member shared: “I feel safe and comfortable here. At first when I attended a phone meeting, I felt overwhelmed but another female member contacted me, and I felt secure. Anonymity is protected for members and the venue.”

Please come visit us.

The Galway group, Ireland

Total Views: 92|Daily Views: 2

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!