GSF Topic-Welcoming the Newcomer

Welcoming the Newcomer

Issue – Cliques / Alienation

Many newcomers (and other members) feel alone, different and afraid coming to their first meeting. When they walk in a room for the first time they quite often see a room full of strangers. These strangers are often gathered in small groups talking among themselves. It can be very intimidating to approach any of these people.

Solution – Cliques / Alienation

-Pay attention to the newcomers. We can usually spot somebody new.
-Having a greeter
-Invite them into a conversation, offer phone numbers.
-Make an effort to remember names
-Tell them that you’re / we’re glad that you are here.
-Introduce them to other members
-Offer literature and maybe talk to them about a pamphlet for example.
-Mention and announce fellowship for after the meeting and invite people to come.

Issue – Preaching

“You have to do this to stay clean”,” You have to do that, or you’re going to die”. My reaction: “Don’t tell me what to do!” Sometimes suggestions can come across a little hard or sound a lot like peaching.

Solution – Preaching

-Share your experience not your dogma.
-Be conscious of how somebody is reacting to what you are saying.

Issue – Not Respecting Personal Space

For example: unwanted hugs or injecting oneself in to a private conversation

Solution – Not Respecting Personal Space

-Ask people first
-Be polite
-Don’t take a refusal personally

Issue – Key tag Anxiety

What the heck is this key tag thing? Do they expect me to go up there? This is my first meeting, but I have been clean for 33 days now, should I get a white key tag? Can I get an orange one? What did that person just say about relapse? Do I have to relapse to get one of those?

Solution – Preaching

-Create a format that is clear for everyone, especially the newcomer. Stories and humour can be fun, but it must be clear and not intimidating.
-Ask all members that have picked up a white key tag before to raise their hands. You are not alone!
-Some groups specifically offer the white key tag a second time in case a person was to shy or didn’t understand what was happening.

Issue – Making Assumptions

Member 1: “Well I heard that David picked up a white key tag, poor bugger must be hurting.”
Member 2: “He’ll have to resign his service positions now. Maybe his partner will leave him.”
Member 3: “I’ll call his partner now and see what’s happening.”
NA Member 4: “His name is Kevin, he just quit smoking, just started a new sub-committee chair position and he and his partner just got married. Imagine if you had called his wife!”
Member 5: “Oh, welcome back, are you Okay?”
Member 6: “I never left, I have 6 years clean. Do I look like I relapsed? I will be leaving this meeting now though; you twerp.”

Solution – Making Assumptions

-Do not make assumptions
-If you are wondering, ask the people involved directly, otherwise it is just gossip.
-Do not make assumptions
-Ask or just let someone tell you where they’re at.

Welcoming the Newcomer – Spiritual Principles

Love, Acceptance, Empathy, Unity