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The Online Meeting is an out-growth of the Ann Arbor Monday Night Group, but functions as its own distinct group. Individuals may participate in one or the other, or both.
If you are new to Emotions Anonymous, it would probably be helpful to have a look at the introductory material at the Monday Night Group pages at www.aapro.net/ea and the Emotions Anonymous web site at www.emotionsanonymous.org to learn more of what EA is about. Then come back here if you think an online meeting might be for you, or use the Emotions Anonymous web site to look for a “face-to-face” meeting near you. (Or both!).
The Online Meeting uses a web page interface combined with email to present a weekly meeting, consisting of readings from the EA literature, a discussion topic, and sharing by group members. Each week there is a new topic of discussion. You receive what others share by email, but are asked to go to the “meeting room” web page to contribute to the discussion. This way you do not need to know everyone's email address, which is an anonymity concern for some people, as well as a practical problem as people join or leave the group. The web interface takes care of sending what you write to the current members, as well as presenting the readings for the week.
You may optionally provide an additional email address. If you do, discussion email will always be sent to both email addresses.
At “face to face” meetings, it is customary to read all of the Helpful Concepts, Just for Todays, Slogans, Traditions, Steps, and Promises. We invite you to look at these in full at your convenience. Here we present those which correspond to the current month, as there are twelve of each. For example, in the fifth month, we read the fifth Helpful Concept, the fifth “Just for Today”, and so on, except that each week we read the full version of just one of these, in rotation.
All of the opening readings, and about half of the discussion topic readings, can also be found in the book, Emotions Anonymous. You are expected to have a copy of the book, but we can provide one for you, and you can start right away because the readings for each week are presented online.
Each month we start by focusing on the “Step of the Month”, that is the first step in January, the second step in February, etc.
For the first week of the month, we read about the step from the EA's “Big Book”, Emotions Anonymous.
The second week of the month we present other reading material on the same step. Some of this is drawn from material originally written for Alcoholics Anonymous, on which the Emotions Anonymous program is originally based. They are essentially the same 12 steps, and some good descriptive material is available in the AA literature, some of which is in the public domain.
The third week we read one of the personal stories from the EA book. The EA book says this in introducing the personal stories:
These stories are the personal experiences of Emotions Anonymous members, told in their own words, about how they found recovery in this program. We believe these stories demonstrate the variety of reasons why people have come to EA and the success they have had. Since we are experts only on our own stories, no one is speaking for EA as a whole. Because in EA we believe no one is more important than another, the stories have been arranged in random order.
The fourth week of each month is a pre-arranged topic for discussion as follows:
|January||||Courage to Change|
|February||||Honesty and Being True to Ourselves|
|May||||How We Spend Our Time|
|June||||Relationships, People in Our Lives, Loneliness|
|July||||Humility and Self-Worth|
|September||||Doubt/Indecision or Impulsiveness/Rashness|
|December||||Giving and Getting|
On the fifth week of a month (which only happens 4 times a year) there is no set topic of discussion. Everyone is welcome to talk about whatever is on their mind (sometimes referred to as “going barefoot”).
To join us, you need to fill out a short form with some basic information, including your email address. (Please be sure to enter it carefully.)
Only your first name and last initial (or optionally a nickname if your prefer) are used in communication with other group members. Your email address is not made public either. All information is stored on our server at a professional web hosting facility in protected directories.
We present readings from the Emotions Anonymous book, which is copyrighted. We ask that you have legitimate access to a copy of the book if possible. It really is good for you to have a copy anyway. You can buy one by filling out and mailing the form at emotionsanonymous.org or by ordering from Amazon.com or many other bookstores, online or conventional. But you can join us right away, and get the book as soon as you are able.
We ask for your surface mail address in case something should come up where we really want to contact you, and email isn't working. For example, if your email address doesn't work for us right from the start, we can send you a note letting you know the situation.
Please understand that email addresses become inaccessible too often for us to follow up on these that have been working and stop working. And we get flooded with returned mail from such accounts, so we must remove these accounts from our system. If you stop getting messages from us for more than a week (including the weekly topic message that comes out around Sunday), this is probably what has happened. You just need to sign up again.
We ask that you refrain from using obscene language or hateful or bigoted remarks. We are sure you can fully express what you are feeling, even anger or outrage, without using language which will offend others. Failure to comply can result in removal from the group.
When it comes time to join the discussion, you can type directly into the box provided, or if you prefer you can compose the text elsewhere and paste it in to this box. For example, if you prefer working in your email tool, maybe because of its spell checking, you can do so. When you are ready to send your message, select the text you have written and copy it. Then paste it into the Discussion box by using control-v, or the Paste option on the menu obtained with the right mouse button.
More will probably be added in this section as the need arises. If you have problems or questions, you can always send email to the group secretary at:
Sometimes people want to discuss practical matters relating to the ongoing functioning of the group and online meeting. People who are new to the group and/or EA, or who may be struggling with severe emotional difficulties, can find such matters confusing or more than they can handle. But such issues do need to be discussed, because it is the collective group conscience which determines how such matters are to be handled. For such issues, use the Discussion box, but check off the "Group Business" checkbox, so that the message which goes out as a result has an appropriate subject and header.
This has been put together from past postings in response to concerns expressed by soome group members in the past. It is quite long. Don't expect a final auhoritative answer.
This is NOT necessary reading, especially for newcomers to the program. If thinking about such things is uncomfortable for you, please just go to the Online Meeting page and read what's there and share how you're feeling instead.
Remember, to see the Traditions (or Steps, Concepts, Just for Todays), click the "See full readings." link near the top of the Online Meeting page.
There is an area of concern involving discussion of other 12-step groups (OA, NA, AA, CODA, etc.), other therapies or organizations (various treatment centers, therapists, motivational speakers, Weight Watchers, etc.) or religion.
Tradition 2 says: "For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority -- a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern." So it is up to the group to determine how to govern themselves.
Regarding outside literature, the goal here is to make sure newcomers, in particular, do not get confused and think such items are officially part of the EA program. This confusion does happen, and it is not that hard to avoid. For example, "I have found the (non-EA) tapes by Jane Doe helpful".
In general some caution and discretion is advisable any time we mention something not in the public domain. We can say something helped us, but it is best not to make it seem too much like a sales pitch.
Regarding references to specific religions...
Helpful concepts 6 and 7:
6. We never discuss religion, politics, national or international issues, or other belief systems or policies. EA has no opinion on outside issues.
7. Emotions Anonymous is a spiritual program, not a religious program. We do not advocate any particular belief system.
The stickiest part here seems to be "We never discuss religion". And yet, the very next Concept 8 says:
8. The steps suggest a belief in a Power greater than ourselves. This can be human love, a force for good, the group, nature, the universe, God, or any entity a member chooses as a personal Higher Power.
Isn't this very concept discussing religion in a way? If "Emotions Anonymous is a spiritual program" and we are to share our experience, strength, and hope, how can we avoid discussing things which are spiritual and hence which may be religious?
I think the *main* point (not necessarily the only one) is to avoid making the *focus* of discussion be religion, politics, ..., belief systems or policies, some motivational speaker's personal philosophies or strategies, or for that matter a *different* 12 step program. We may (in my opinion) mention such things to illustrate our personal experience regarding Emotions Anonymous, but they should not become the focus of the discussion, and when we get close to that distinction, it is wise to add a few extra words like "it's not EA literature, but I have found so-and-so's tapes helpful" (and how this relates to EA might be good) or (for example) "EA doesn't advocate any particular religion, but I have found Philippians 4:4 from the Christian bible helpful with respect to step 3."
Now I think my last example may still make some uncomfortable, and I am open to views to the contrary in that regard. (If I were actually saying this, I would probably have said "and some portions of the Tao Te Ching" as well, though I don't think it should be *necessary* to do so in order to make the first statement.)
The goal is we want to avoid making anyone feel out of place here. It doesn't take much for some people to feel they have wandered into a revival camp. Or that they are being recruited for another 12 step group, or perhaps don't fit in here unless they also belong to some other 12 step group.
Let us consider concepts 4 and 11:
4. We do not judge; we do not criticize; we do not argue. We do not give advice regarding personal or family affairs.
11. Each person is entitled to his or her own opinions and may express them at a meeting within the guidelines of EA. We are all equal - no one is more important than another.
I think we certainly have to avoid:
a) Arguing about which religion is "right".
b) Discussing the theology, practice, or precepts of any particular religion.
Regarding (b), I think we would have make an exception where this may have a real personal significance to the individual relating it, such as where the mention (mention, not discussion) of such is important to understanding some emotional significance, such as (contrived example), "watching baptisms in the church of my upbringing, which used full immersion baptisms, was terrifying to me because of my profound fear of drowning." Note the difference between this and discussing the relative merits of full immersion baptisms versus other forms.
Further, as people work/discuss step 11, where it is suggested we "Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him", many will find it helpful to share and hear from others regarding some pretty specific spiritual or religious practices that they find helpful in this regard. But always be sensitive and open to other views. An extra phrase or sentence, e.g., "in my personal understanding of a higher power", can help a lot.
Regarding giving advice regarding personal or family affairs, there are a few things to consider. We can generally say how we felt in or dealt with a similar situation. For example, compare "you shouldn't be so sensitive to criticism" to "it sounds to me like you are sensitive to criticism, I'm the same way, this is how I deal with it." But even this can sometimes sound like implicit advice. Is the person to whom you're responding asking for such feedback? This can make a difference in gray areas. If in doubt, ask them first.
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