I'm trying to learn to "trust my experiences more than the untrustworthy words of others." This has always been a stumbling block for me in program - several times, I've negated my feelings of caution regarding the level of trust I should place in a person I've met through Al-Anon, and then regretted it when my concerns have proven to be accurate.
As MrSponsorpants points out, attending 12-Step meetings for many years does not indicate recovery, any more than sitting in our garage turns us into a car.
When someone consistently stomps my set boundaries, or refuses to respect my heartfelt requests that there be "no gossip or criticism of one another" what are my choices?
I can "say it one more time." (And just how often is that effective?)
I can fall silent and tolerate unacceptable behavior. This will cause me no end of discomfort, resentment and unhappiness.
I can avoid them - treat them with respect and courtesy when I encounter them at an Al-Anon meeting, but sidestep any invitations to get together.
I can take the difficult path of being kindly direct, letting them know exactly why I will not be seeing them socially in the future. With a sponsee new to Al-Anon, I have much more willingness to restate and restate my boundries, remind them that if they want to feel safe, they must behave in a safe fashion towards the other people in (and outside) the meeting. I certainly needed to learn to adopt an attitude of loving acceptance towards my fellow members of Al-Anon, I didn't arrive at the doors of the meetings rooms with it.
I don't want to spend my precious time with those who have attended meetings for many years, but who still do not respect the principles of 12-Step. I can like some aspects of their personalities, and still know that for me, they are not a safe person with whom I can be friends. I don't want to listen to gossip and criticism about the members of my home group, I find it extremely distressing.
Some days, there is no other way for me, but to say "Thanks, but no thanks." That's just life.