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Post Info TOPIC: Cross talk and other rules


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Cross talk and other rules


I'm stumped by something that has come up in my new Al-Anon group. I have recently moved to a new city after spending many years in a place with no meetings and I had to rely only my alanon mojo and literature for survival. I tried for years to get a meeting up and running to no avail. Its one of the reasons I've moved. The only alanon meeting in town is nothing like I've seen before There seems to be a very strict format for the meeting as it centers on reading literature. I dont handle lots of rules all that well I admit but I'm stumped and want badly to make a go of this new meeting. I'm trying very hard to just listen and learn but I'm afraid I've hit a pothole I cant get out of. It was shared at the last meeting that cross talk means I cant share my own e,s & h on a topic someone else brought up in the meeting during my time to share. This was by no means about giving advice, interrupting someone or anything to do with another member, just me saying this is how I handled the situation in my own family. Has some new guideline come out I dont know about. How do I share my e,s, and h in a way helpful to others in like circumstances? When I came to alanon what helped me most was hearing how others had handled similar situations in their own lives.Also, the group has talked about how to tell the alcoholic's doctor about the drinking and it scared me to death. Someone said it doesnt violate the traditions because the alcoholic isnt in the program. Help! I feel like I'm in reverse alanon.



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I'be been poking around watching here for a few weeks and I guess I'll start writing today. I have seen this in my many years of Al-anon. What I do is share on a different topic than had already been discussed. If I feel tempted to give advice in a meeting I stop
The thoughts right away.

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The cross-talk thing confuses me too. If I share something that is on my mind, I appreciate others sharing their experience with similiar experiences/situations. I certainly do not expect others to give advice but their ESH is helpful, i.e, food for thought.

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I've been in some groups where crosstalk is defined for that particular group by the group and announced at each meeting following a group conscience meeting(s). Some groups seem to have a stricter crosstalk policy than others. One of the group meetings I attend defines crosstalk as interrupting, giving advice, or making comments on what another member has shared which makes it easier for me (and certainly hope for others) to know what is appropriate and not appropriate within the confines of our particular group/meeting.

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I, too, have found that guidelines differ among groups and I like each one for their uniqueness.  I am still learning what is and isn't appropriate for this forum and, at times, step where I ought not step.   



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Paula



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This is the reason I dropped out of my favorite face to face meetings a few months back. It turned out that we weren't supposed to even say "Just like so-and-so said earlier...". But everybody was doing it, and it turns out that was wrong? I had no idea there was anything even remotely disrespectful about that, and the whole subject turned into a power-struggle yelling match at the last meeting I went to. I was pretty shaken up and didn't go back.

So I don't really know what the point of the meetings are other than to find a sponsor.

I have had so much help here on this board that has helped me be a better person in the real world, immediately, and far more help than I ever got at any meeting.

I hope you can find a good home group, CWYA. I hope I can too, actually.

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Thank you for your input. I 'grew up' in Alanon where sharing coping strategies about a share was usual and helpful. The 'rule' is not explained in this group so dont know if they have ever had a group conscience. Will listen and read I think from now on but I'm going through a really hard time right now and I am too sensitive to people 'correcting' me. Someone else in the group kind of went off about "rules" last week so will see what happens next.



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~*Service Worker*~

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I agree the no cross talk rule can become confusing unless the group clearly defines the meaning of the rule. I do so understand the need for this stipulation because the alanon disease looks for an any reason to take the focus off ourselves, place it on someone else and then subtly give advise as to how successfully we handled this situation. By doing this I am not staying on the meeting topic and I am not sharing where I am today.
 
As far as the rules in alanon I have found that my alanon disease wants to fight every rule,disagree with any "leader, prove them wrong. etc/ That is why I find alanon so full of wisdom It understands us so well. We solve issues by group conscious and consensus on all issues. No leaders- just trusted servants. Meeting topics are chosen so as to keep the group focused on the selected issue.
 
My understanding of the alanon tools and there principle is that the program believes that the answers for each of us can be found within . If we each take the time to work the Steps and the slogans, do the readings, attend meetings and take the time to look within, the answers are there . Unless I learn to trust myself and HP I will always be looking to others for confirmation or advise. . If people are sharing "How they did it " I do not have to look within and connect with my inner voice. This type of communication can be handled after the meeting one on one If the member wants to hear how you handled the situation then she will agree to listen if not she will tell you
 
No direct comment on anyone else's share also means no naming names
 
As far as protecting the anonymity of the alcoholic the CAL states that if the alcoholic is still drinking they have no anonymity as everyone can see them drinking and know the truth We are not to gossip about them but if a medical situation should occur then it is acceptable.
 
Groups can always go to Alanon World Service to resolve any dispute on issues


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Betty

THE HIGHEST FORM OF WISDOM IS KINDNESS

Talmud


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Hmmmmmmmmmm. Now, I'm confused about this board after reading hotrod's response. I know not to share the things you've listed here, Betty, at meetings, but when it comes to this board, it appeared to me that we were able to share our own experiences that might include how we handled something or what helps us in certain areas and so I've done that based on what I've seen since coming on the board in December. If I've shared in error, I will certainly make an amends now and ask if the same things we generally follow in meetings apply at this board? Since I can't seem to get into the Chatroom or meetings, I've basically seen this board to be a larger member to member fellowship than I've understood it to be in Al Anon meeting format. Help me understand what is the standard for this forum in what is appropriate for sharing. Thank you.

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Hi Grateful 2be

No need to feel bad or apolgize  You have done nothing wrong

The cross talk rules do not apply to this Board.  This discussion was about meetings and the cross talk rules that apply at the Face to Face meetings 

Here we treat each other with respect and courtesy, do not gossip or judge each other   Crosss talk is not an issue



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Betty

THE HIGHEST FORM OF WISDOM IS KINDNESS

Talmud


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Great!  I am so glad to learn that.  I appreciate the feedback.  I'll relax now.  Thank you, Betty.



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Thank you so much! this helps immensely, most of all because it enabled me to adjust my focus to where I was at. It is such a joy to find so much Alanon wisdon only a click away. I wasn't able to do this at the place I used to live. Your shares helped me identify the guilty culprits within.



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I have the same concerns as the first writer, CWYA. As long as we share "OUR OWN ESH" that is what "loving interchange" can mean and I support, not prohibit, it, IMHO.

Walt

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Walt, Gentle Journey AFG, Daytona Shores, Fl - USA



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CWYA...

            I think groups go through lifecycles just as we do... If you live in a city with choices, this is well and good.

             I have seen groups bogged down in ritual with little or no time for sharing. For me this reverted back to my childhood home, with the no-talk rule.

             This board here is my group of choice. I make the most of this... there is lots of room for diverse opinions, and good honest sharing. smile...



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There does indeed seem to be a wide latitude in how crosstalk is interpreted. My home group defines it as "editorializing," i.e., giving an opinion on another's share, although using another's share as a launching point for one's own ESH is perfectly fine, since the goal is to share tools for living. I have visited (and walked out of) meetings where advice was solicited and given, and to me it felt very uncomfortable, since a great deal of share time was spent by members telling each other what to do and how to feel.

Part of the wisdom of this program is that each group can define crosstalk for themselves, as led by HP in a group conscience. And the beauty of that is any Al-Anon member has the right to request a GC for any reason - in this case, to perhaps review and clarify what "crosstalk" specifically means for your particular group.

Crosstalk rules evolved for the reason that many of us have been in environments where we were not allowed to own our realities. Others were telling us what to do, what to think, and how to feel...or to just shut up. The value of these rules is that they create an environment of safety where each member can find his or her own voice and can share his or her reality without fear of invalidation, which has been key in my own recovery to be sure.

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Since "crosstalk" is not an approved topic, why is it being used in Al ANON? To me it conflicts with the approved practice of "loving interchange", undermines it, and tends to become more controlling in how it is applied in some meetings, etc.

I suggest we stop using it and instead focus on using "loving interchange" and what our Group Conscience explains it and how it should be applied in our meetings.


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Walt, Gentle Journey AFG, Daytona Shores, Fl - USA



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Tradition One reminds us that our common welfare should come first and that personal progress for the greatest number depends on unity.  

 

Walt that suggestion should submitted to Alanon World Service Organization for review, discussion and possible approval.



-- Edited by hotrod on Tuesday 22nd of November 2016 02:31:34 PM

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Betty

THE HIGHEST FORM OF WISDOM IS KINDNESS

Talmud


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I did and was advised the WSC had not come to any agreement on crosstalk and each AFG through a Group Conscience is to determine how they will use it.

 

But since it is not an approved term, why is it being allowed to creep into meetings and conflict/overtake loving interchange?

 

One other observation: When looking up the meaning of "interchange" in the Webster dictionary, it basically says "the mutual exchange between two entities..."

How would that be applied in Al ANON? If member A shares and member B shares his/her own experience about that same subject, but speaks in the "I" sense without giving advice to member A, that to me is loving interchange and not so-called crosstalk.



-- Edited by Walt on Tuesday 22nd of November 2016 02:54:35 PM

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Since we cannot make any ruling on the subject, I can only provide my opinion. Personally I see no harm in the requirement. Growing up with the disease of alcoholism many of us were never granted the ability to speak and express ourselves freely, without being interrupted or challenged. The no cross talk rule attempts to address this.

 

It appears from your discussion with the World Service Organization, that although they cannot seem to come to any agreement on the defining" crosstalk" , they have not banned the use of the term from meetings and instead have relinquished the definition of the term to each individual group. I support their decision.



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Betty

THE HIGHEST FORM OF WISDOM IS KINDNESS

Talmud


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I just sent the following question to WSO asking for the CAL TERM "Loving Interchange" to be explained as to its approved meaning:



Walter L. Elden, P.E. (Ret)
IEEE & SSIT Life Senior Member
sites.google.com/site/webpagesofwalterelden/
w.elden@ieee.org
386-882-6398 CELL
386-763-1135 HOME

Begin forwarded message:

From: "Walt"
Date: November 25, 2016 at 3:45:53 PM EST
To: wso@al-anon.org
Cc: DR, GR, Sect
Subject: Loving Interchange Means What????

As "Crosstalk" has crept into Al Anon meetings and literature, but is not CAL, and been defined in many ways, conflicting with the CAL term "Loving Interchange", there needs to be a clear understanding of what the latter term means, includes and allows.

So, what does the WSC say "Loving Interchange" means, includes and allows in AFGs and is CAL, so we all use it appropriately?

Walt, Gentle Journey AFG


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Walt, Gentle Journey AFG, Daytona Shores, Fl - USA



~*Service Worker*~

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Please keep us updated on your response from WSO

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Betty

THE HIGHEST FORM OF WISDOM IS KINDNESS

Talmud
wp


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I have experienced both types of f2f meetings. The one that was so strict came off as uncaring and mean. Mind you I was new to the program then. The other meeting was much more relaxed and friendly, and I came to love those folks. However, in neither meeting was the meaning of crosstalk explained or the rules of that group either for that matter. In retrospect, I wonder if it involved an alanoner's trait of not being gifted in the art of honesty. Not sure. wp

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 ...regarding the thoughts of our brother Walt that "crosstalk" is not an approved topic in Alanon.

If we apply tradition 4 it is clear that anything is on-topic, so long as the group conscience allows it to be.

[My tuppence worth.]



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As of 2006 the WSC had no agreed definition of "crosstalk", so to me it is not CAL. We are suppose to use CAL in our meetings but can use non CAL outside of them.

Let's use "Loving interchange" which is used in CAL.

Walt

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Walt, Gentle Journey AFG, Daytona Shores, Fl - USA



Member

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I was referred to this article by Sharon Barnes of the WSO:

 

http://www.al-anon-co.org/images/NewGR_CrosstalkOrLovingInterchange.pdf

 

with the words "many of the concerns can only be answered by the groups themselves".

It seems until the WSC issues one final group conscience on this for all of Al Anon, it is left to each AFG.



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Walt, Gentle Journey AFG, Daytona Shores, Fl - USA



~*Service Worker*~

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Thanks for your follow through Walt. Please do keep coming back



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Betty

THE HIGHEST FORM OF WISDOM IS KINDNESS

Talmud


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 "A loving interchange amongst members" is a good start.

It seems to me that in the United States kids in college most always start an essay with a dictionary definition.

Not so in my country. So you are looking for a definition for 'no cross-talk'?

 

Here on a message board- greeting time, sharing time and coffee time are all lumped into the one space! With personal sharing I try to give people a lot of space... listen and listen up large.

I usually only offer opinions [not advice] when asked to.

 

The pioneering ethos- the Old King James Bible is a part of the American Dream, at least for some people.

People look for some canon, some firm guiding principal, in their world, and for us in Alanon CAL is a part of this idea.

 

Sometimes we fear mentioning some things in case we can't comply with the CAL canon!

So groups, and individuals, are delegated to determine what goes, inside of their own territory, with guidance... huh?



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Al Anon's CAL topic "Loving Interchange" maybe could mean:

After a member shares an experience or a newbie a problem, if I have an experience which bears on it, I share my ESH on it in a warm, compassionate manner, speaking in the "I" sense.

Can that be a beginning of what is meant by LI?

Walt

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Walt, Gentle Journey AFG, Daytona Shores, Fl - USA



~*Service Worker*~

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It certainly can and I find that this " loving interchange" can and does happen after the meeting in the meeting after the meeting,with sponsors and in alanon telephone calls.

I find the" no cross talk" requirement keeps the meetings on target and seems to understand the alanon disease so well that it discourages cross talk on anyone else's share so we are not tempted to fall into our disease and attempt to save each other or compete with our own "war story"  I am pleased that WSO has left this up to each group to decide.

 



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Betty

THE HIGHEST FORM OF WISDOM IS KINDNESS

Talmud


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I have just revisited this thread and read many of the shares and actions it has generated. Al-Anon is truly extraordinary and I have appreciated everyone who has contributed on this topic. I have since moved on, literally as well as figuratively. I moved to a new state as well as 3 new meetings. I have since seen 2 meetings fail over issues like this. I did my best to stick to the formats at each of those meetings about these various areas of disagreement between members and group structure. I am now very happy at my last move and feel greatly the many blessings that come from following CAL and following fully functioning group consciences. The flaws of the 2 meetings that I saw as fatal were dominance and failure to follow GC decisions. If the ESH of long-term members is no longer considered welcome, I do not see how a group can function.  Both of the meetings had decided to have one "president" who governed how everybody should share, act, and behave and abandoned any formats for a so-called GC. I cannot imagine how these types of groups can still call themselves AFG meetings. But that's not my business. I think that we abandon the traditions, steps, and CAL at our own peril. I Know I'm a hard-core rule person but I work hard to keep that character defect in line. But I dont believe it is healthy for newcomers to eliminate all guidelines and order. If it was decided decades ago by a group to follow Robert's Rules of Orders in the GC meetings, I believe that should be adhered to unless there is a new GC decision where all are allowed to vote. I dont think Anarchy is healthy!



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Agree completely CWYA glad you found a healthy , working group.



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Betty

THE HIGHEST FORM OF WISDOM IS KINDNESS

Talmud


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Loved this post. Learned a lot from it...thanks everyone

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Formerly broken513


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REPLACE "INTERCHANGE" and "HELP" IN MEETING OPENINGS

I feel the CAL words "Interchange" and "help" in Al Anon's Meeting Opening create Crosstalk meaning problems and therefore are suggested to be replaced. At last weekend's Area 9 North Florida Assembly I presented my research about Crosstalk, but was restricted to use only CAL sources with no OPINIONS.

I have attached links to both my Personal Opinion follow-up paper and my CROSSTALK research paper.

I invite discussion, comments and suggestions.

I have submitted this to WSO Literature Committee for consideration, and Area 9, District 4 and my AFG.

Walt, Gentle Journey AFG,

Daytona Beach, District 4 in Area 9.



-- Edited by Walt on Wednesday 10th of May 2017 02:43:13 PM

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Walt, Gentle Journey AFG, Daytona Shores, Fl - USA



~*Service Worker*~

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 Thanks Walt... some tweaking... hope you get a good hearing...

 

on an online group like this one I find that we have greetings, sharing time, and coffee time all rolled into one.

It takes sensitivity to discern when to speak and what to speak about. When ~listening up~ is required I usually listen.

 

When I am asked for an opinion I like giving one. However this is a big meeting and I run a thought through my head- about who around the board would have the best answers- and I mean by that those who have had the personal experience, of that issue, and who are qualified to answer.

Sometimes I am one of those people... aww...



-- Edited by DavidG on Wednesday 10th of May 2017 04:21:13 PM

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So, DavidG, what can you share about this?

Walt

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Walt, Gentle Journey AFG, Daytona Shores, Fl - USA



~*Service Worker*~

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I am grateful to have a lovely home group and our opening covers what we've collectively agreed is crosstalk and meeting etiquette. we've been blessed to only have ONE person who was overly assertive in a couple of meetings and she stopped coming.

We don't have issues and have a great opening which covers what we view as crosstalk. It does align with what's mentioned in your documents. I guess we are blessed that our group culture is good enough that newcomers feel welcome and keep coming back.

I have been to other meetings with different structure and it worked for me. I understand better than most about the autonomy suggested for 12-Step Recovery as I've been in AA for a long while. After thousands of meetings, I've come to understand what works best for me, my recovery and my serenity and move forward accordingly.

I have no idea what is required to try to make a change to the formal Al-Anon documents.....that sounds like a huge undertaking! I wish you all the best as you move forward!

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~*Service Worker*~

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Hello, Walt.

I've followed your comments on the thread, and your efforts to bring change to an area of the program that seems to be of much bigger concern to you than it is to me. I have attended hundreds of meetings in multiple states, and have found that, in the spirit of Step 1, it is more in line with my program to simply find another meeting if one was not meeting my needs.

I will further preface this by stating that I am not a moderator on this board, nor hold any official position. I am merely someone who comes here for experience, strength, and hope, and have been very grateful for the blessing and fellowship I have received here. For me, I feel some discomfort with someone (you, in this case) coming onto the board, with little other to express than a desire to change the program, and probing a specific member for input on your cause.

What you choose to do from here is not in my control, but as you expressed interest in getting feedback, I will share that I fail to see how your endeavor is strengthening or helpful to me or the spirit of this board. I find it instead, a negative distraction, and after this, the second time you have pursued this topic, would prefer not to hear of it again.

Wherever your decision, I hope you find and enjoy the peace and fellowship that you seek


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Paul

"...when we try to control others, we lose the ability to manage our own lives."  - Paths to Recovery 



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Take what you like and leave the .......

 

FYI

I WAS INVITED TO ANSWER AND SPEAK ABOUT  CROSSTALK AT LAST WEEK'S AREA 9 ASSEMBLY. I did not volunteer.

I was restricted to use only CAL material and to cite the sources and no opinions were allowed.

From that, I learned things which gave me new insight on the CAL words "Interchange" and "help", both used in the suggested meeting greeting. Having practiced "communications engineering" in my career, I felt these words presented more "crosstalk" meaning and would not be appropriat. I saw a better set of words which would align better with CAL intentions.

With that new insight, applying "the courage to change the things I can" from the Serenity Prayer I wrote a separate opinion about using better language, and that brought me here.

So I shared my ESH and you are free to "TAKE WHAT YOU LIKE AND LEAVE ....."

 

 



-- Edited by Walt on Thursday 11th of May 2017 06:15:06 AM



-- Edited by Walt on Thursday 11th of May 2017 06:38:29 AM

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Hi Walt,

             we are both at a meeting where there is no time limit- ~phew~. I think the issues you raise are valid. These days I live more 'in the present' some I am more interested in how the issue might be relevant to this group.

I live in a small country town, to the option of picking up my ODAT book and moving to another group was not an option. We always had to resolve issues, inside of the group, and move on- from that perspective.

In the first place- being the only man in the group for many years I learned to read between the lines- in the programme and find the similarities, and not the differences- I found this easier as time went on.

I think Alanon policy should be consistent and fair. It should always hold onto it's core values- but should be prepared to adapt some aspects, over time, if required.

This is what the steps, Traditions and Concepts are for.

I have already commented on the cross talk issue.

I always hold true the Alanon Concept 4- ~Participation is the key to harmony~.

You choose to participate in the policy making arena- I can only applaud that!

DavidG.

 



-- Edited by DavidG on Wednesday 10th of May 2017 08:23:09 PM

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~*Service Worker*~

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Hello Walt I agree with other posters. This is an issue that appears to take up an inordinate amount of your time and energy and one that many are not at all interested in changing or arguing. I was tempted to delete your post as I considered it controversial and not in the spirit of this Message Board but decided to leave the post and see how MIP Members responded . Glad that you brought this where it belongs- to the Alanon WSO

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Betty

THE HIGHEST FORM OF WISDOM IS KINDNESS

Talmud
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