Al-Anon's Delisting of Gottawanna Meetings.
Al-Anon of Orange County, is the location of many of the Gottawanna Meetings.
They do not list Gottawanna Meetings in their "Meeting Directory". For "any group that violates the Traditions... " there is a procedure within Al-Anon to "remove meetings causing serious problems from the local meeting list..."
The Al-Anon District 60 website, the home area for the Gottawanna's, was decommission by A-Anon. Because the Gottwanna's were using the site to recruit and advertise Gottawanna functions in the name of Al-Anon.
There are several reasons why Al-Anon took these extraordinary, exceptional, and extreme, steps.
"The action was not punitive in nature, but an acknowledgement of fundamental differences in ideology and practice."
"The separation of these groups from others is their own choice. That they identify themselves by another name [Gottawanna] indicates a desire or belief that they are unique, as does an earlier attempt to hold their own convention."
In the following information, the blue type represents quotes from Al-Anon (CAL), or the Delisting Letter on the "About Us'" page.
THE GOTTAWANNA'S CULT PRACTICES AND TACTICS.
"The practice of farming or recruiting members from panels or other meetings is not in the spirit of “attraction rather than promotion.”
Many have reported a popular tactic of Gottaqanna's is to approach New Members at one of their first Meetings, or at a Beginners Meeting. After the Meeting they,"Walk them to their car" to "Make sure your safe", while offering kindness and love. Your first impression will be very positive.
When you are approached by the Gottawanna's they will use what Psychologists call "love-bombing" a cult tactic used in recruiting.
Becoming "Instant friends" with you. Sharing with you that "They" and "Only They" understand what you are going through.
They will strongly suggest that you attend one of "Their Meetings". The "True Program".
They will suggest that they pick you up the next evening, (they now will know where you live) and take you to one of "Their Meetings".
At the Gottawanna Meeting you will be overwhelmed with the Love and Support of the Gottawanna's. It is Promotion of their program!
The Gottawanna’s present a very attractive image, through it’s “Dress Code”, and it’s Loving interactions with the ‘“Newcomer”.
It is good PR.
Members are required to recruit, something Al-Anon does not do, nor Promote.
Al-Anon is a Program of “Attraction not Promotion”!
"We come to Al-Anon seeking change. We want to end our pain, and we turn to Al-Anon in the hope of finding out what to do."
PRAYING ON THE VULNERABLE.
Gottawanna's will attend Al-Anon meetings, and Beginners Meetings to recruit “Newcomers”, giving the false impression their Groups are Al-Anon. One reason they focus on the “Newcomers” is because of their naivety.
The “Newcomers” are usually in a desperate state of mind. They come to Al-Anon in a weak and vulnerable condition, because of the Alcoholic behavior in their lives. Most are seeking Help and Hope! Lost and looking for direction!
They are easily influenced by the propaganda of the “Lovely Ladies of Gottawanna”.
The “Old-timers” who know Program are not fooled, and not easy to recruit.
The Love that a “Newcomer” may feel in recruitment is a Heart and Mind Control tactic use by all Cults!
If the “Newcomers” knew their true practices and beliefs beforehand ,they would know “This is not Al-Anon!”
There will be high pressure to attend “Their Meetings”.
And will be told not to attend other Al-Anon meetings. Creating separation from the Al-Anon community.
Thus creating an even tighter bond with Sponsors and the others in the Groups
WHY DO THE GOTTAWANNA'S NEED TO RECRUIT?
The Gottawanna’s have expenses that are not, and would not be approved by Al-Anon.
Gottawanna’s collect “Dues” for their private expenses.
Activities not approved by Al-Anon.
The “Dues" are collected to support their own place of worship, “The Hall”.
Their own Conference’s, Retreats, Celebrations, and Couples Weekends.
The collection of “Dues” is not voluntary!
There are repercussions for those who do not, or can not pay.
Some can have dire consequences!
The Al-Anon Preamble states, There are no Dues for Membership."
"There are no dues or fees for Al-Anon membership. Contributions are not voluntary when there are negative consequences for non-compliance."
Members have shared, once you attend a Meeting, you will feel the pressure of the “Group” to attend all of their sanctioned Meetings.
You will be told which meetings to attend.
You will be told that the other Al-Anon meetings, to quote Sue D, “do not work a good program” and are “sick people”, in "sick programs"
Gottawanna’s Sponsors will tell you who you can or cannot talk to, or associate with.
In Al-Anon "Guidance never imposes a decision on someone else or dictates an action. Any orchestration of personal relationships, or living circumstances, defies the Al-Anon credo not to make decisions which affect the lives of others, particularly about family situations."
Gottawanna's do not use the "How Al-Aonon Works." the book that "Working the Program" in Al-Anon is based on.
The book that defines the guidelines and philosophy of the Al-Anon Program.
Al-Anon's three Legacies, Recovery through the Steps, Unity through the Traditions, and Service through the Concepts.
The Twelve Steps, "the Steps are a "How-to" guide that helps us find answers to our most pressing questions, answers that previously eluded us."
The Twelve Traditions, "A set of guidelines that hold our program together". "They suggest ways to make decisions that are in the best interest of all concerned and provide a structure that is based on spiritual principles."
The Twelve Concepts of Service. "The Concepts of Service show us healthy ways to work with others and make wise, constructive decisions, they can be very useful situations at home and at work, as well as in Al-Anon service.
In Gottawanna you must read the A.A. "The Big Book" with your Sponsor before working The Steps.
The Big Book serves as the basic text of Alcoholics Anonymous, describing how to recover from alcoholism. The reasoning is: once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic.
The “Big Book” is not Al-Anon approved literature. For a very good reasons.
“It is well to remember that A.A. literature is written for and from the viewpoint of alcoholics and is not Al-Anon/Alateen Conference Approved Literature. Reliance on opinions expressed in A.A. and other publications can distort the Al-Anon approach, particularly for the newcomer.”
There is a hierarchy of who “Shares” at a Meeting, and who does not.
In which order the sharing will happen.
Who “Must” Share at a Meeting. What they “Must” share about.
In Al-Anon we believe that, "Sharing involves revealing something about ourselves to others. But not everyone fells comfortable opening up to a roomful of people, especially at their first Al-Anon meeting. And some subjects are too personal, too detailed, or too embarrassing for such a public discussion. That's why sponsorship is so important."
Gottwanna’s have to travel in groups together to Conferences and other Events.
Self Policing Tactics, and Group Pessure to keep members with-in the Program.
The Gottawanna's will keep you busy with their priorities, “Their Meetings”. Everyday of the Week.
They will have you take on Service Positions, in "Al-Anon Meetings" to promote Gottawanna's ideology and practice.
Gottawanna’s need to make you believe that there is no where else you can go and still be saved.
That your actions could cause Alcoholic to drink again, and could die because of your actions.
The fear based control mechanism is designed to keep you in a Gottawanna’s and Dog On The Roof relationship.
This fear also gives the Sponsors tremendous power over you.
Any Newcomers” who do not get with the program, will be kicked out and told “Do not to return!”.
Go To An Al-Anon Meeting. You’ll find none of the above.
Non of the above actions and tactics are part of the Al-Anon Steps, Traditions, Concepts, or Warranties of Al-Anon! Which all Al-Anon meeting should follow. Or risk being Delisted from the AL-Anon Meeting List.
CONTROLLING PRACTICES OF THE GROUP.
Sponsors, and Sponsorship.
The “Newcomer” is assigned a “Sponsor” in their first Gottawanna meeting. And reassigned as determined by others in a "higher power" position of “Authority".
Al-Anon suggest that a “Newcomer” attend at least 6 (different) meetings before “selecting” a Sponsor, that is of their choosing.
Al-Anon does not require anyone to have a Sponsor. In Al-Anon, everyone Practice the Program in Their Own Way!
There is no “Authority”, other than your own personal “Higher Power”, in Al-Anon!
In Al-Anon, “Sponsorship is a confidential relationship between two Al-Anon members who benefit from sharing experience, strength, and hope. The intimate details exchanged strengthen the bonds of compassion, acceptance, and understanding. This private relationship is focused on the Al-Anon principles. Making a commitment to this special relationship, or letting go of the relationship, is a personal choice.”
The Gottawanna Sponsor has a very rigid rule of Sponsorship.
An example of a very rigid rule is in regards to prescribed medications. They play "Doctor" with you, and your loved ones lives.
Al-Anon believes, "A group policy, however, to refuse to sponsor anyone on anti-depressants and/or instruct any individual to stop using prescribed medication as a condition of being a group member is an unacceptable and potentially dangerous practice."
The Sponsor reports to a “Higher” Sponsor.
A Sponsors “Authority" is based on their time in the Group and their Status.
These “Lieutenants” may report directly to the “Highest Level” (Sue D), that will make the decisions, and be sent down thru the “Chain of Command”.
"There are no secrets in Gottawanna.” Sue D.
From behind the “Closed Doors” of a meeting. To the “Closed Doors of the bedroom”. There are no secrets in Gottawanna or Dog On The Roof!
These secrets become "Public Knowledge" with-in the Groups, then with-in the "General Public". With the ability to cause great "Harm" to family, friends and to relationships.
One of the main Principles of Al-Anon is Anonymity!
"Personal information of a sponsee should never be exchanged between a sponsor and others. Honoring the inviolability of the sponsor/sponsee relationship is paramount."
Another of the controlling tactics of the Group is, Shunning. You may be shunned for a variety of reasons. By the Group, or by Sponsors. It may be with-in the Groups, or publicly. It is a form of group pressure to perform or conform to the will of others. A Cult tactic use to control members.
Al-Anon believes that , "When members leave these groups, or fail to do something required of them, they run the risk of being shunned. Rejection is contrary to our one purpose: to help families of alcoholics."
SPONSORS AFFECTS ON PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS.
Members have shared, that a Gottawanna Sponsor will be involved with matters that are outside the scope of Al-Anon.
The Gottawanna Sponsor will be involved in all of your personal relationships.
To include your work relationships, family and friends.
And your Love life.
The Gottawanna Sponsor will control your marital and dating decisions, with direction from their Sponsor.
Paring of members and the un-paring of members is under “Their Will”. Not God’s Will.
They will interfere with any relationship that does not have their blessing. Or is not beneficial to the Groups.
To disagree with a Sponsor is to disagree with the Higher Power”
As Sue D. says "Their is no sicker Higher Power, than the Higher Power of a newcomer!"
There are very severe consequences with saying “No!” to a Sponsor’s request....
Al-anon is not a religious program, but it is a spiritual one. our Twelve Steps speak of a Power greater than ourselves and a God of our understanding. We do not impose a particular image or definition of that God or Higher Power. Instead, we leave it up to individual members to define these terms for themselves, and to find a personal, spiritual relationship that allows them to benefit from what our program has to offer.
GOTTAWANNA'S, AN UNSAFE ENVIRONMENT.
"When Anonymity is not respected, it creates an unsafe environment."
And it has had it’s consequences, on many. Families and Lives have been "Harmed".
"We don’t gossip in this program, we network.” "We share information."
Sue D., 10/13/13, 36 Annual Brazos Riverside Ca. Al-Anon Speaker-Sue D., 10/11/14. 57:00
Members and past members have expressed, "Everyone knows, everyone's business" in Gottawanna and Dog On The Roof.
They explain, Personal and Private information between a Sponsor and a Member is “Shared” with the Group.
When a Sponsor, or their Sponsor, determines that it should be. It is “Shared" in meetings, and after meetings publicly.
And could be shared by Sue D., believing she has the “Authority”, to share intimate information.
Many in Al-Anon believe breaking anonymity "Harms" the lives of Members, and Family and friends who are not in the Groups.
It "Harms" all the Members of the Groups, and it "Harms" the Groups, when anonymity is broken.
Breaking of Anonymity is used as a “Controlling Tactic” to keep members in line.
And to discredit members, and to encourage shunning of members who leave the Groups.
These tactics are not, in keeping with the slogan “Keeping the Light Touch” as quote from the Gottawanna Website.
"In Al-Anon, the more LOVE we offer, the more LOVE we will find within ourselves."
Many in Al-Anon believe, these are the heavy -handed tactics of a cult. These tactics are used to keep members under the control of powerful group leaders. Since the members are under the leader's will, they will also follow the group's ill.
Tradition Two: “For our group purpose there is but one authority – a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants – they do not govern.”
This loss of individual responsibility is very troubling to us and is a sign that the Gottawanna's are not following Al-Anon practices. Al-Anon does not endorce a power structure like this, instead it encourages it's members to use their own judgement.
One of the three obstacles to success in Al-Anon is dominance. In Al-Anon, we have no authority figures. The First Step has taught us that we have no power over anyone but ourselves. We are reminded to place principles above personalities and be a fellowship of equals.
Al-Alnon we believe that you should "Take what you like, and leave the rest!"
THE SUGGESTED AL-ANON CLOSING
In closing, I would like to say that the opinions expressed here were strictly those of the person who gave them.
Take what you liked and leave the rest.
The things you heard were spoken in confidence and should be treated as confidential.
Keep them within the walls of this room and the confines of your mind.
A few special words to those of you who haven’t been with us long: Whatever your problems, there are those among us who have had them, too. If you try to keep an open mind you will find help. You will come to realize that there is no situation too difficult to be bettered and no unhappiness too great to be lessened.
We aren’t perfect. The welcome we give you may not show the warmth we have in our hearts for you. After a while, you’ll discover that though you may not like all of us, you’ll love us in a very special way - the same way we already love you.
Talk to each other, reason things out with someone else, but let there be no gossip or criticism of one another.
Instead, let the understanding, love and peace of the program grow in you one day at a time.