How To Handle Disruptions In Meetings

Our common welfare depends on DA unity

Thought for today:

It’s easy to judge another person’s lack of commitment to recovery.  If we see them missing meetings or arriving late all the time, we may feel that their priorities are wrong.  When they complain about being unable to bring themselves to track their numbers, we may wonder what it will take for them to hit bottom.

Sometimes people can be disruptive at meetings, by things like not putting their phone on mute during a phone meeting, or indulging in cross talk after the group requests no cross talk.  We can’t understand why they’re so inconsiderate.

In their pain, they may not even realize the damage they are doing to the group.  How should we respond?

BDA Tool 10.  

We detach from difficult personalities and poor paying clients and put principles before personalities.

A member shares:

“In the beginning the only emotion I could express at meetings was anger.  I was really angry at myself, though.

“I hated that I had spent so much money and had nothing to show for it except mountains of debt.  I hated that I had put my family at financial risk.

“Sometimes my anger came out sideways and I would feel threatened and irritable around other members.  This, too, was part of my disease.

“I had to discover the Twelve Steps in a very personal way.  My sponsor let me know that I needed to be gentle on myself and others.  I needed to take a moratorium from my debts for a month while I put together my numbers.  I needed to get perspective again.

“Let’s face it – I’m here at meetings because I’m not all there!  The difference today is that I know I need to work on my defects of character., and I do it, bit by bit, one Step at a time.”

Personalities coming together

It is a paradox that when we come together in meetings to try to pool our collective suffering, we find healing and escape.  By individually surrendering we collectively win.  This is the principle of recovery which must come first.

It’s impossible to “do recovery” for another person.  They must go through their own process of rebuilding their lives.

In the mean time, we need to detach from difficult personalities, focus on the Twelve Traditions, and focus on the welfare of the group.  After all, any of us can look back and see ourselves reflected in today’s difficult personality.


Do I see a piece of myself in today’s difficult personality?  Am I able to clearly detach from their behaviors with love, and refocus the meeting on the principles of recovery?

Meditation for today:

The vision we have for our lives is more important than any petty bickering that may come up during the day.  When disappointment happens (as it often does) we need to keep our eyes on the prize.  We can choose not to take part in fear and anger.  We need to humbly refocus our attention on what is best for the group, and not take anything too personally.

Affirmation for today:

“As I give to the world, so the world will give to me.”**

** From Al-Anon’s Just for Today.

Recommended reading: 

Visioneering: God’s Blueprint for Developing and Maintaining Vision

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