Two Meetings a Day

In order to make the HIW group approach to sobriety available in the most effective manner possible, it is suggested, especially for the newcomer, meetings are held twice a day. Early morning meetings on scheduled Monday through Friday (e.g., at 7:00 a.m. in Palm Springs, CA). Evening meetings are scheduled at 5:30 p.m. Morning meetings on Saturday, Sunday, and major holidays are scheduled at 9:30 a.m.

Twice a day meetings were voted in at the first Palm Springs HIW group meeting – a group conscience meeting – held on October 10, 1991. Although there have been abortive attempts to include noon and late evening meetings and recurrent suggestions to make other minor time changes over the years, experience has shown that more members are accommodated with the original schedule.

The twice-a-day schedule also reflects the experience of the group conscience with respect to the need for discipline and sacrifice to improve the effectiveness of the AA program. As discussed on pages 85 and 88 and of Alcoholics Anonymous, “we alcoholics are undisciplined.” The HIW group found that making the commitment to attend twice-a-day meetings whenever possible allows “God [to] discipline us in the simple way” required to obtain “a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition.” It is not unusual to hear HIW group members say to a newcomer that “if you are willing to sacrifice other demands on your time and to make attendance at two meetings a day your top priority, we [all but] guarantee that the HIW program will help you recover from alcoholism.”

Of course, not everyone attends two meetings a day. A substantial majority of the members of HIW attempt to do so whenever possible. Others find that due to work, family, or other commitments, regular twice-a-day attendance is impossible (or, at a minimum, is not conducive to a meaningful recovery). Those that can’t or simply choose not to attend two meetings a day are still very much welcomed into the group and its activities. Indeed, because some members felt they were being pressured to attend two meetings a day, the group brought up the topic in an early group conscience meeting. The group voted to insert a specific reference to attendance into the last paragraph of the How It Works’ Preamble (in use prior to September, 2004). “None of us makes a sole vocation of this work, nor do we think its effectiveness would be increased if we did.… All of us spend much of our spare time in the sort of effort, which we are going to describe. A few are fortunate enough to be so situated that they can give nearly all of their time to the work.” Although that specific reference was not included in the new Preamble adopted on September 30, 2004, it retains its importance to the group and may be found in Alcoholics Anonymous on p. 19, Chapter 2 – There is a Solution. The new HIW Preamble continued the emphasis on sacrifice and discipline as indispensable, albeit voluntary elements of the recovery process. Using words taken from p. 25 of Alcoholics Anonymous, the new Preamble states: “If you are as seriously alcoholic as we were, we believe there is no middle-of-the-road solution…. [We had to] accept spiritual help. This we did because we honestly wanted to, and were willing to make the effort.”