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Thursday, January 3, 2013

Men's Discussions: Current Status After One Year

Some of the very BEST things that exist in San Diego's Tribe are the weekly Men's Discussions every Wednesday at 7PM. I've never attended a Recovery Meeting, but I truly think that this is what one must be like, when everything is working the way that it should.

Our brother James was feeling lonely and isolated out in Afghanistan, so we had him join us via the internet during our Men's Discussion!
Imagine a non-judgmental, warmly welcoming space, with men being as open and honest as anybody can be. A mutual support-system that deals with substantive topics, such as "What Are My Limits? What is Holding Me Back?" or "Getting Away From Shame" or "Is This A Real Relationship, Or Am I Just Being Used?" or "What Is A Man?" (this one powerfully morphed into "Shedding Our Shells To Reveal Our True Selves"). Once the topic has been covered to everyone's satisfaction, it's time for sociability.

The end-result of all of this depth and meaning, in a zone that guarantees a quiet, non-bar environment, is that the men who show up are developing true friendships.  In the Age of the Internet, that is really saying something. More importantly, the men who show up with burdens that have been too heavy to bear all alone have found dedicated listeners, coaching from their brothers, and a lightening of their outlook.

I can't tell you how many men have shown up for their first meeting with their self-defense mechanisms at Full Alert, and after a few discussions, have become sassy, bratty, playful and optimistic. Their Bullshit Detectors have told them (after so many years feeling isolated and unsupported) that there is no reason to hold back any more. Cynicism melts away, to be replaced by affection, trust and camaraderie.

It's a wonderful blessing for a Tribe that has needed something like this for decades. You can see the result at our other events: there is a casual, natural and true rapport between us, that is exactly opposite of what many outsiders would expect to see from a crowd of free-range, strong-willed individuals. Our easy and natural assurance with our brothers sets the tone for the entire crowd, and that's why nothing ever goes wrong, even after hundreds of events.

We're attracting, building and nurturing grown-ups. This is how the Tribe gets better and better.

It's clear that not everyone is ready for this sort of deeply meaningful conversation and growth, but it sure is wonderful to have the option. After its first full year, the Men's Discussions have transformed many men's outlooks for the better, built a solid team of trusted friends, and welcomed shy, new faces among us with calm acceptance.

Our brothers up north are now doing the same thing, and I am thrilled. Every city needs this incredible resource, and right away.

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