Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Long-Winded Speakers.

Two of my favourite blogs today are adressing the issue of crosstalk, and MrSponsorPants
also addresses those who have a tendency to go on forever. In my home group, we have 3 of these. When all 3 are at a meeting together, the combined self-absorption can swallow the entire share time, leaving the rest of us voiceless.

How do we deal with this? None of the three are newcomers. All of them have been at meetings where it has been pointed out that we have quite a few people, and not a lot of share time, and that hasn't slowed them one iota. They cannot, or will not, self-regulate in this area of their recovery. One member will talk for 15-20 minutes non-stop, if permitted.

I came into Al-Anon with an enormous self-loathing, which stopped me from saying much more than one or two sentences at the beginning; nowadays, recovery keeps my share nicely curtailed, now that I'm more comfortable in my own skin. I have a horror of blathering away, driving my fellow members to thoughts of welding my mouth shut just to silence me, so I am very aware of my time speaking.

Most members have an ability to regulate themselves, some do not. What then, are the options for the rest of us?

One night, when I was chairing the meeting, I tried mentioning to the one long-winded member, that I thought perhaps she was losing her focus, and the ferocity of her response left me patting my face to make sure my nose was still safely attached. (This is manipulation through hostility. More on this at a later date.)

MrSponsorPants mentioned timer meetings - I've never heard of this, but I just love the idea - talk about equality! I'm going to bring this up at the next meeting, and see what sort of response I get. But I'm not holding my breath.


  1. I attend an Al-Anon meeting on Fridays and in a business meeting, the group conscience decided to limit the sharing to three minutes. Someone holds a cardboard clock face that they simply hold up if the sharing goes over. This procedure is announced before the start of the meeting each Friday. Since this was begun, the clock has never been raised.

    Works great. I look forward to hearing what your group thinks about time limiting sharing.


  2. I was first exposed to timers at a CoDA convention a couple years ago. Once I got used to it, I felt very taken care of. My home CoDA group uses them as well, it's a large meeting and it feels great. I think maybe because it means that we are all equally important.

  3. I like the idea of timed sharing. There are some major windbags in one group. Lots of redundancy of thought and lots of doubling back in thinking. I find myself wondering whose ego is in charge here because someone sure likes talking.

  4. ..we use a 3 minute timer in the meetings i go to.. I like that we do.