When it comes to heading a meeting or being the secretary as we call it there are not any etched in stone AA wide rules on how much time somebody should have before taking over a meeting. At my fellowship the guideline is 6 months but there is an out as people can make an exception and give somebody a meeting who does not meet that criteria. I wanted to get peoples feedback today and what they think about this topic.
Personally, I am not in favor of giving somebody a meeting who does not have 6 months of clean time. This is our group guideline and while I do understand making an exception, at the meetings I have gone to enforcing the guideline is the exception. I have seen way to many people take a meeting with limited sober time only to not fulfill their duties and shortly after forfeiting the meeting either by getting drunk or by simply not showing up. Typically when we vote somebody in and they have the less than 6 months suggested time I am the only one who raises their hand in a no vote. Maybe I am an uptight stick in the mud but I believe that it is important for alcoholics to know that if we want to be upstanding members of the community that the rules do indeed apply to us. Just because something is inconvenient doesn’t mean we ignore doing the right thing every chance we get.
Another point i want to bring up is the notion that the meeting belongs to the secretary. While not verbalized I have heard many people act as if we are doing them a favor by giving them the meeting. Here, this position is for you. Therefore a no vote can be taken very personally. I am uncomfortable with that but I stick to my guns and will vote no if a person has less than 6 months sobriety. I believe that when you elect a secretary the notion should be that you are doing the meeting a favor by presenting them with a trusted servant. The secretary is supposed to be of service to the members, the position is not to reward you but to serve the group.
There are good arguments to be made about making the exception and allowing somebody with less than 6 months time to secretary a meeting. Please feel free to present that argument as I welcome a good friendly discussion on the topic. Or if you agree with me I can use the validation as well.