By Roger C.
The first nonbeliever’s group ever to be booted off an “official” AA meeting list has been re-listed.
The Indianapolis We Agnostics group was actually de-listed twice. The first time was in November, 2010, when the group received a letter informing them that because “your group reads a changed version of the Twelve Steps… it is the judgment of the Indianapolis Intergroup’s Service Committee that your group has decided it is not an A.A. group.”
Without further discussion, We Agnostics was removed from the Indianapolis AA meeting list.
And later put back on.
And removed again – this time no reason was given – on May 8, 2011.
The full story is told in A History of Agnostic Groups in AA on this website.
The issue simmered and festered over the summer and into the fall.
And it did a lot of damage within the AA community in Indianapolis.
Virginia R, the AA area delegate for southern Indiana reported: “The committee’s action caused all sorts of collateral damage. Long-time friendships were affected and there was a general sense of simmering hostility from all corners of our local AA community.”
Faced with an unprecedented backlash, the Intergroup Service Committee met again on Thursday, October 6, and voted to re-list We Agnostics.
At this point, “it got very twisted,” according to Joe S, a founder of We Agnostics, as he described the whole process of re-listing his group.
The de facto lawyer for the Service Group and the author of the article Indy AA remains undiluted in the July issue of the Indianapolis Intergroup newsletter, Stephen U, argued on Saturday, October 8, that the vote to re-list We Agnostics was “null and void.”
Something to do with proper notice of the vote not having been provided.
A day later, on Sunday, October 9, a general membership meeting of the Indianapolis Intergroup was held.
At that meeting representatives of AA groups in Indianapolis expressed their lack of confidence in the Service Committee and voted (“something like 112-72,” according to Donna) against the decision to delist We Agnostics.
The following Thursday, October 13, the Service Committee met in a special meeting and voted, for a second time, to re-list We Agnostics.
Proper notice must have been provided this time because the next day – more than six months after having been delisted – We Agnostics was back on the meeting list on Intergroup’s website.
It was a gruelling experience for all involved.
Joe, who is the first to acknowledge that his own behaviour was not always impeccable, says that he is exhausted as a result of the controversy. “I have been detoxing from it for weeks,” he said.
The area delegate, Virginia, says, “The whole ordeal was physically, emotionally and mentally exhausting. Glad to be done with it.”
And the final outcome?
According to Joe, the Service Committee has now taken the position that “if anyone complains about a meeting, they will be told to go to another meeting.”