CONTROLLING AND DISRUPTIVE MEMBER – How can we reign in an Intergroup rep who is being disruptive?

The comments below were given by various members of the Conference Steps, Traditions, and Concepts Committee and do not represent a group conscience of the entire committee. The opinions expressed here are solely that of the person giving them. Take what you like and leave the rest.

The Question:
I was wondering if we could have a real time discussion on the next call of a problem we’re having at our Intergroup. We have a member who is making it difficult for the Intergroup to conduct business. For 2 Intergroups he has taken over the floor and had multiple spiritual reminders called on him (30 seconds of silence). Intergroup Reps and officers have expressed that they don’t feel safe in the Intergroup meeting anymore because of him. Some are considering stepping down. What are the traditions around asking this person to leave Intergroup if he is causing a problem and/or asking him to step down as Intergroup Rep?
(NOTE; This was a real time discussion and might not contain full sentences.)


A member like that has to go. They’re not listening to the spiritual reminder. And other people actually want to drop their service positions because of a member like this. I think it would be most beneficial to ask the member to leave. Maybe approach it as “We’ve taken a group conscience.” I think the member should be present for that kind of stuff so he doesn’t feel like a lot of stuff is going on behind his back. A group conscience would help; enlisting help of member’s sponsor. I’ve seen that happen before with some of my friends in the fellowship if someone had a problem with something they were wearing, they went to that person’s sponsor and the sponsor’s in a good position to guide the person who’s causing the issues. If there’s a group conscience they could find another job for him to do that might be better suited for him. The role this person is in is not really suiting him.

Intergroup’s primary purpose is to carry the message and person’s behavior is preventing them from doing that efficiently and safely. It seems as though this person’s behavior is preventing the Intergroup from focusing on the common welfare of that region. I don’t think Intergroup can tell the representative that they can’t participate if their meeting has empowered them. But I do think that the Intergroup can ask that individual to reconsider if the member’s contribution is preventing them from carrying the message and I do think that the Intergroup can bring it up at the business meeting that that individual is acting as the service representative. Maybe Intergroup could have a separate meeting – that is a group inventory – NY Intergroup has a format for holding a group inventory, which is found on their website.

Agree that Unity should come first and something needs to be done so Intergroup work can be done although excluding a member is always a delicate situation if that person has a desire to serve are there ways of conducting business that conscribe such behavior like having a round robin specific time allotted for speaking and nothing else allowed. Talking personally with the person. Group conscience. I know we’ve had difficulties in our Intergroup with one member and there were things going on outside of the meeting so people could vent away from the person and try to find a workable solution. I know there should be a group conscience but maybe try a personal approach first with the person and if it doesn’t work try a group conscience for a common approach toward that person.

I’ve asked other Intergroup members this question and they’ve expressed to me that Intergroup isn’t exactly like a meeting and it would be OK to ask a person to leave for that meeting if they were causing so much of a disruption that the Intergroup wasn’t able to conduct business. I’ve heard people say there could be a procedural vote just in order to be able to go forward with the business of the Intergroup they would vote what the next indicated step would be whether they would ask the person to leave or taking them out of the room to talk to them or whatever the next indicated step would be. I’m in favor of the group inventory sounds like a great idea. I’d like to find out more about that.

Intergroup is different from a meeting. The members’ don’t have an opportunity to go to a different one because the members have taken a commitment to represent their meeting and the officers don’t have the opportunity to go to a different meeting. It’s important that intergroup is a safe place where people feel safe and comfortable and hopefully a place for serenity and spirituality to the extent it can be achieved; and not sure what to recommend. Not sure what the chair can do. I would empower chair to do whatever’s necessary for Intergroup to be a safe and serene place. I don’t think it’s OK for there to be a high drama atmosphere at Intergroup where people want to resign and not come to the meeting.

This reminds me of other questions. Like group inventory to see what is the reason for this disruption. Traditions do apply to Intergroup, group, and individual members and even applies to us at the ABM that we keep the Twelve Traditions in mind. Our common welfare, Tradition 1 should come first; we need to be united as one. Tradition 2, the ultimate authority on anything is our Higher Power as it is expressed through our group conscience. Unless Intergroup has empowered the chair to take action through their bylaws, the chair is kind of hog tied as to what the chair is able to do. It is a good idea for if it’s a man, a couple of men should take this man aside or a couple of women if it is a woman and tell him/her how the group is feeling. You can get the sponsor involved if you know who to sponsor is people don’t always know who the sponsor is because for some people that’s top secret information and no one really knows who the sponsor is and maybe they don’t have a sponsor also. There needs to be a safe place. A question like this does need to be addressed and if the Intergroup does need to take a procedural vote about allowing the behavior so be it if it has to come to that but I would hope that it could be resolved peacefully and quietly with just a few members working with the individually to try and calm the situation.


What do you think?
The CSTCC is a group of volunteers, some of whom were ABM delegates, and others who volunteered out of interest. We do not represent a group conscience of S.L.A.A., but are committed to bringing thoughtful discussion and study of 12 Step Fellowship literature and experience to the questions that are brought to us. We offer this summary as the results of our discussions. We present the major points of concern in the hopes that wider discussion in the Fellowship will help us evolve our customs and practice of the S.L.A.A. program of recovery to better represent the loving guidance of a Higher Power. Always, we affirm the autonomy of each group and the need for each individual to follow her/his own conscience. No decision of this group, or any other, is ever forced upon another, even when we believe a practice is clearly in conflict with the Steps, Traditions, or Concepts.