There was a time when I didn’t feel so close to my home group. My position at work required me to travel frequently. In fact, for a couple of years I consecutively moved from job site to job site, town to town, only to return home on the weekends. I valued my job and respected my employer, so this was a sacrifice I was willing to make, and besides, I kept faith the situation was only temporary. However, this put a substantial strain on not only my personal relationships, but the ones I had in the program as well. Even though I still made out of town meetings and enjoyed the luxury of visiting groups in other cities, I couldn’t help but notice and feel this huge disconnect with the fellowship.
I found myself sharing this in a meeting while at home one weekend. After the closing, a friend whom I admired approached me. “Oliver” he said, “I know where you are coming from. I too have felt this apartness from the group. I’m glad you revealed that in your share. Would you be willing to meet with me and a couple other guys about something new we want to try? I think you could benefit from it greatly.” This was my first introduction to Steel on Steel. Four guys with a common goal and an agreed upon solution. One of these men had formally been involved with SOS and was fairly new to our group. He explained to the other three of us how it works. We listened to a speaker tape outlining the meeting and looked over a .pdf file document which included the format. There are links to both of these at the conclusion of this blog.
At the first meeting it should be established a date and time to meet. Some groups meet once a month and others meet bi-monthly. Currently the group I am a part of gets together every two weeks. Time is of the essence in Steel on Steel. To accommodate restraints a ‘time keeper’ should be appointed, whose responsibility it is to watch the clock. Something else that should be addressed is where to hold the meetings. Since Steel on Steel is not an approved AA or NA fellowship, I would discourage members from meeting at their home groups. Unless, of course, it has been okay-ed by the steering committee or foundation board members. SOS is not an AA or NA-approved program. Out of respect to our groups guidelines and bi-laws, we should honor those agreements and suggestions. What has worked well for my recent SOS group is alternating homes. We break bread, in which each member brings a dish, drinks or desserts. Meeting an hour earlier, we engage in small talk to catch up and get to know one another on a casual level, before getting down to the dirty work. Having copies of the .pdf file document is also ideal, for each member to peruse the format and look over the questions. Even a ‘dry-run’ is helpful, just to give everyone an idea of how the meeting is conducted.
Exchanging phone numbers is also encouraged. That way we can keep in contact with one another in between meetings. One thing I have found is that when we divulge the close, intimate information that we do during the course of SOS, members begin to think about and pray for one another. It is nice to receive a phone call of genuine concern, especially if we are dealing with an urgent issue, or one that repeatedly comes up during the inventory process. Keeping in touch is also important if a member has an important date or trip that excuses their absence. If such a member is online, I have found that using an internet video chat service such as Skype or G-Talk is sufficient to resume the meeting, should such an event occur. Otherwise, the group can meet in a number of three, however that is discouraged. But, we will get into that more in the next blog.
Steel on Steel Speaker Tape (MP3):
Steel on Steel Meeting Format (.pdf):