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MAA AWOL - Beginning Monday, June 17th, 2024

 

Thank you for your interest in the upcoming Media Addicts Anonymous AWOL (“A Way of Life”) program.

 

Below is some general information regarding the MAA AWOL program, including the commitments you will be asked to make at the end of the second session. The first two sessions are open to all who are interested. The AWOL will then be closed for its duration and no additional participants may join the group.

 

Beginning on June 17th, the AWOL group will meet for one-hour during its first open session at 6-7pm Eastern Time on Zoom. The second open session is on June 20th at the same time and is required if you wish to participate for the duration of the AWOL. Thereafter, we will meet each Monday and Thursday from 6-7pm Eastern Time on Zoom. Please arrive 5-10 minutes early so we can start on time. To receive the AWOL Zoom details, please send your contact information to the AWOL co-leaders using the email address at the bottom of this page.

 

About the AWOL

 

This is not a quick fix, but rather a process for anyone who wants to live a media sober life. We are all just one click away from a media binge. AWOL is an acronym for A Way of Life. If we truly want a life free from addictive media, we must change who we are—because the person we were will use media addictively again without a life changing spiritual awakening. By thoroughly working MAA’s 12 Steps, we are promised to experience this awakening and gain lasting freedom from our addictive media. This AWOL is about creating the space so that these changes can happen for anyone who is serious about their recovery and has the willingness to work the 12 Steps of MAA while media sober. The AWOL format allows participants to move from resentment, guilt and shame to a place of love, acceptance and gratitude. This is an incredible journey you won’t want to miss, but it is your decision if you wish to participate. It takes a dedicated commitment on your part to be all in. Practical experience has shown that you can’t achieve sustained recovery from media addiction by either half-measures or osmosis.

 

The AWOL will take about 8 months to complete. It is geared to all different levels of recovery where each individual brings their experience, strength and hope with them. It is a place to learn about recovery from others with long term sobriety, as well as from those who are new to recovery. We all have ESH and gifts to share. There are no experts here, and YOU matter. That said, we do trust in the wisdom of the A.A. founders as set forth in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous and A.A.’s 12 and 12, upon which the AWOL is based. We are coming together so we can recover and work the Steps together in a safe, supportive and loving environment.

 

Once the AWOL has closed following the second open session, the format for meetings will consist of readings from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous as well as the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous. There will also be readings from The Little Red Book and Drop the Rock: Removing Character Defects, Steps 6 and 7 (2nd edition) by Bill P., Todd W., and Sara S. You will be required to have copies of these books as the readings will not be shared on the screen. Everyone will take turns reading the material. Two key thoughts (Keys) will be taken from each day’s readings, in addition to one or two brief questions (Comments). The Keys and Comments will be the focus of sharing during the meeting. Everyone will have an opportunity to share. There is little written homework until we get to the Step 4 inventory process. The MAA website’s area for Open Back-to-Basics has many good worksheets and materials which may be helpful as we proceed through working the 12 Steps. However, you may decide with your sponsor how best to do the written inventory work required of the action Steps (4-9) and Step 10.

 

AWOL sessions are not MAA meetings. MAA meetings follow the 12 Traditions of Media Addicts Anonymous. The AWOL does not adhere to all of MAA’s Traditions, as this is a closed group and participants are required to regularly attend weekly sessions, and maintain sobriety from their addictive media while working MAA’s 12 Steps. Further, being an AWOL participant demands rigorous honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness—this is the HOW of the program—as practiced to the best of your ability. The commitments below help to create the space necessary for meaningful recovery to happen. You are responsible for your own recovery. No one will be checking up on you. This is your journey. The AWOL co-leaders are simply creating a space where we can recover together, if we choose to.

 

Below are the commitments you will be asked to take at the conclusion of the second open AWOL session on Thursday, June 20th:

MAA AWOL Commitments

 

Sobriety - You are asked to work with your sponsor to define what media sobriety looks like for you. Not everyone’s sobriety will look the same, so please do not share your sobriety plan with others. While we are NOT requiring that participants commit to a full media fast for this AWOL, you may still wish to fast from unnecessary media, particularly if 1) you are new to MAA, 2) have recently had a relapse or a series of slips, or 3) in the event you find yourself struggling with addictive media after the AWOL gets underway. Fasting allows media addicts to have greater clarity and focus when working the 12 Steps. Even though you may choose not to fast completely from unnecessary media, there are certain aspects of media sobriety which ARE expected during the course of this AWOL. Everyone is expected to be abstinent from all bottom-line and addictive media. Bottom-lines may be easier to see than addictive media, so as we learn and grow, our media sobriety may change over time. Therefore, we ask that participants regularly review their media sobriety plan with a sponsor, and make any necessary adjustments. As stated above, you need to be media sober to work MAA’s 12 Steps.

 

You may ask, “Does a slip into addictive media disqualify me from participation in the AWOL?” The answer would be: “Not necessarily. If you have a slip which doesn’t become an ongoing pattern of behavior, and are able to learn from it and reconnect to your sobriety in a new way, then you may continue in the AWOL. A slip sometimes awakens one’s awareness to the power of media addiction, and provides motivation to adjust your sobriety plan so that you may continue working the 12 Steps in a meaningful, honest manner with integrity and purpose.” If, on the other hand, you find yourself more and more drawn to media, then we ask that you bow out of the AWOL.

 

Lastly, you must remain sober from all other addictive substances such as alcohol, drugs, food, sex/love, shopping, etc. If you find yourself caught up in these substances, then you will not be fully present for the miracles that happen when working the 12 Steps fully clean, sober and abstinent.

 

Sponsor - You are required to have a sponsor who is a media sober member of MAA and has gone through the 12 Steps of MAA themselves. If you need a sponsor, you are encouraged to attend MAA meetings and ask if anyone is available to sponsor. You also ask during the two open AWOL sessions if there is anyone with time available to sponsor you. It is your responsibility to find a sponsor. Keep in mind that your sponsor must have sufficient time to hear your 5th Step after you have completed your 4th Step inventory work. Unlike MAA’s Back-to-Basics, many AWOL members spend hours or days preparing their inventories (resentment, fear, sex conduct). Your should ask your sponsor, in advance, whether they will be available to schedule and spend the time required to facilitate your inventory work. You should also expect to spend at least two hours with your sponsor on each of the three 4th Step inventories during the third month of the AWOL.

 

Attendance - AWOL meetings are Mondays and Thursdays at 6-7pm Eastern Time. Attendance at all AWOL meetings is expected. Any absences require that you to contact one of the co-leaders in advance. If you do miss a meeting, you are to call someone in the group or your sponsor and share your answers to the Keys & Comments for the day you missed. You may bow out of the AWOL at any time. However, since this is a closed meeting you will not be able to rejoin at a later date. The AWOL must be a priority! Recovery first. All else will follow.

 

Meetings - You are required to attend 2 regular MAA meetings weekly. Make these committed meetings in which you become known to others and participate in service. Reliance on the AWOL sessions alone is not recommended. 

 

7th Tradition - As this AWOL will not be taking a 7th Tradition, it is suggested you make a donation to MAA. If you are already donating to MAA, please consider increasing your donation.  You can find the link on the MAA website at www.mediaadictsanonymous.org/donate. 

 

Other - You must show up on time, with your camera on, and be present for each meeting. No multitasking. You may attend from your car if that is the quietest place for you, but you may not be driving. If you are driving your attention needs to be on driving. You can always pull over and be present for the AWOL, but you can’t do both.

 

If you are interested in attending the two open AWOL sessions on Monday, June 17th, and Thursday, June 20th at 6pm Eastern Time, please contact KateRin or Jeff at awolmaa@gmail.com and include your name, phone number (with country code), location, and time zone. Zoom information will be emailed to you in advance of these two open sessions. You will have an opportunity to ask any questions you may have during the two open AWOL sessions.

 

We look forward to seeing you!

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