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Grapevine : November 2011
as I could possi- bly get. The young lady wanted to introduce herself. Thankfully she hadn't heard the cacophony of con- versations about her that had just been going on in my head. After the pleasantries, I told her that tex- ting during the meeting was very distracting. She apologized and said she has trou- ble remembering things and wasn't texting ... she was taking notes. "Then get a paper and pencil," I told her. "It's not about you, it's about the message we give to the newcomer." She burst into tears and wouldn't let me hug, console, or even talk to her at all, running away crying as I called out her name. I thought about it more, realizing that texting during meetings is about more than distracting the newcomer from hearing the message of hope and recovery, it's about anonymity too. If someone thinks everything they are saying at a meeting is being transmit- ted via text, our critical privacy is vio- lated and our sense of safety broken. AA has flourished, and I believe one of the reasons for this is that ano- nymity remains a necessary compo- nent of our soci- ety. Imagine what would happen if a celebrity came into the program and everyone started texting ev- erything they said during the meet- ing? I have seen snippets of this as people have texted during a meeting about a boring speaker. I fear this has al- ready begun. As alcoholics coming into recov- ery get younger and younger, sponsors have to make sure the basic elements of our program don't melt away in the face of this fast-paced technology we have all so readily embraced. In no time at all, we've gone from pagers buzzing to cell phones ringing to text alerts pinging in the middle of meet- ings. Sponsors today have new "sober etiquette" responsibilities that did not exist when the Big Book was first written. At 75 years old, our program is still in its childhood and we have to make sure it grows along with us or we'll end up duck soup. Snow P. Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. What if a celebrity came in ... and everyone started texting? aagrapevine.org 57