I am a sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous who has been sober a number of decades. I was struggling during Covid lockdown due to isolation from my friends & support people and because my small business was closed which put me in extreme financial stress. A friend in AA suggested I do an online meeting so I looked up a Women Only meeting. We have a problem with predatory men in AA and its important particularly for new women to stick with other women and learn how to manage the problems in their life sober through peer support. The way alcoholism impacts women physically and psychologically and the foundation of our recovery is vastly different to the way it impacts men. When I stopped drinking women used to say “Stick with the Women” and I believe if I hadn’t listened to them I would not be sober today. So during Covid Lockdown I logged in to the only women only online meeting. Not only was there a man in a dress in the meeting but he was chairing the meeting. Choosing speakers and speaking himself. Centring himself in a group of vulnerable women. To add insult to injury this person is a prominent media personality with a military background so some of the attendees seemed enamoured to have a “celebrity” in their midst and were practically fawning over him. I left in disgust.
All I could think about was the new vulnerable women, usually coming to terms with the reasons they drank, most often as a consequence abuse at the hands of men. Almost all female alcoholics experienced abuse or sexual assault during active alcoholism. And they turn up to a meeting because they are thinking about drinking and instead of seeing women and experiencing identification and receiving support they are confronted by a narcissistic man in a female only space demanding to be the centre of attention. I contacted AA to complain it was “women only” and they told me there was nothing they could do about it.