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Old 05-28-2011, 08:36 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Becoming A Circuit AA Speaker?

I was wondering how one becomes one of those guru speakers who travel around to big meetings throughout the country? Do they just become popular and they grow and grow or what? I just starting listening to an old speaker take w/ a guy who has 35year sober. I was surprised to hear he talked about his struggle w/ drugs also. It was a great tape & I would like to see him in person.
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Old 05-28-2011, 08:49 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Do the work in the first 9 steps, actively work with the disciplines of 10, 11, and 12 and a promise right smack in the middle of the fear inventory comes true...We let God demonstrate through us what He can do.

Remember, we are here to play the role that He assigns...and we don't get to decide what that role is.

I have heard Mark H. and Chris R. speak on this topic, it does not appear that they came into AA wanting to do that, lol.
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Old 05-28-2011, 04:12 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I know a few of these circuit speakers and a few people who are on a state convention committee whose job it is to get those circuit speakers for a state convention.
there are quite a few different kinds of people out there speaking . I do not believe we have guru`s in AA,just alcoholics.

a man I know,lets call him "R", has a "circuit speaker sponsor" who is also a circuit speaker.
this guy gets "coaching and help " from his speaker sponsor.

"R" used to get a guy to tape his talks in his basement,with only the two of them there so he could "improve" on his talks when he listened to them.He would then mail them out to certain people,tapers, and state convention chairs.Can we say promotion?
'R" got on the circuit and stayed gone almost every weekend,he almost lost his job.His marriage came to a end during this time because of it.
He wasn`t taking care of his family.

My friends who are on their state convention committee has told me about a few folks,with holding their names ,who has good talks from the podium but are genuine butts when the meeting is over.They want the best rooms,the best food,and all kinds of stuff including money.Some want to chase women while away from their families.In other words,some of those folks are pretty sick and they just got a polished talk that sounds good.

however,not all are like that,there are some really good folks out there who really practice honesty and live a good program.I not trying to take anything away from them.

Frank S was a member of our group.He used to be on a circuit,going everywhere talking.When he reached 25 yrs sober he got drunk.They got him and helped him get sober. He never spoke again,staying sober,helping newcomers out,going to prisons and stuff.He stayed sober over 27 more yrs until he died.
There is a high burnout ratio among them.

My second sponsor used to be a circuit speaker,and one day he realized he was just entertainment.Thats when he quit the circuit.

A good talk to listen to is Tom Brady,emotional sobriety.
he got blunt honest about that speaking stuff and what it did to him.

so if you wanna be a circuit speaker there are several ways to do it.
one way is to manipulate and promote and kiss butt,and the other way is to let it happen when or if it happens.
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Old 05-29-2011, 06:15 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Just, that "lifestyle" involves a whoooooole lot of work, stress, time and commitment.


I too have been mightily impacted (in a positive way) by many of those guys but the commitment (for the more popular speakers) is immense.

If you do a google search for "Chris Raymer's Schedule" you'll see the majority of his weekends are booked with speaking engagements. Some of my speaking "heroes"
(ie Mark Houston, Joe Hawk, Bob Bisanz, Sandy Beach, Don Major, Earl Hightower, Bob Darrall, Clancy, and so on) mention over and over and over in their talks about the tremendous pressure being a circuit speaker puts upon them.

It sort of reminds me of being Persident of the US. It "looks" like a cool job.......until you see the effects it has on the faces and lives of the ppl who actually GET to do it. .......and for us alkies......that pressure can put us on dangerously thin ice.
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Old 05-29-2011, 07:43 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I prefer to hear local AA members tell thier story. Less polished, but they speak from the heart.

By listening to local members tell their story, I develop a network of AA members that I can go to when I struggle, knowing that they have been where I am.

I think we have about 100 AA members just in our town, and probably another 100 within an hours drive. Each time someone tells thier story, I get something different out of it, even if they have spoken before.

Even those who seem to me (yes, I can be judgemental) to be way off base on the program, still give me insight into my own areas of "not doing such a great job at this program". And in general, they will say something that is helpful to my own recovery.
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Old 05-29-2011, 11:25 AM   #6 (permalink)
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My sponsor and her husband were both supposedly 'circuit speakers' not by any promotionn on their part.

However, when they first started speaking, some folks 'taped' them and slowly they got more calls to speak. As time went on, they spoke al over the country and Canada, at conventions and roundups, and even did a few 'Sober Cruises' by invitation.

I believe this happened to and for them because the LIVED the steps. They walked (lived their lives) the way they talked.

I have met some great folks who have shared their ES&H, some 'circuit speakers' and some not.

I did some speaking in California and Nevada. It started, because a visitor in L.A. from San Diego heard me share in two meetings, later found out I was one of my sponsor's 'babies' and called and asked me to speak in San Diego. I was terrified, but my sponsor said try it. Just ask HP that it be HP's words an not mine. Slowly more calls came in. There were some, as I got more calls that I had to decline as I had to balance my time, between work, my home life, my meetings, my sponsees, and just trying to continue to work on me. I had to work on BALANCE at all times.

I know there are some 'speakers' like those mentioned by BBallard, but most of the ones I know, it came to them because they walked the way they talked. It was NOT their desire or dream to be a 'circuit speaker.'

So, work on you, don't drink, do your steps, then learn to live your steps, and who knows someday you will be invited to share from the Podium.

J M H O

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Old 05-29-2011, 12:50 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I was wondering how one becomes one of those guru speakers who travel around to big meetings throughout the country?
I have asked several ex-circuit speakers how they got in the game. They all sought out sponsors who were involved in circuit speaking and asked them to mentor them for that purpose.

If you look at the sponsorship lineage of all of the popular circuit speakers you will find many who have Clancy I. Don P. or Chuck C. in their Heritage Tree somewhere.
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Old 05-29-2011, 02:59 PM   #8 (permalink)
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and there is more than one "circuit" out there
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Old 05-29-2011, 03:07 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Just out of curiosity does anyone have any idea how much they get paid, is thery any money in it? I doubt that anyone could keep up with some of those schedules unless it was a full time job.
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Old 05-29-2011, 03:49 PM   #10 (permalink)
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They do NOT get paid.

However, if it is a convention or roundup, they get their room and the 'saturday banquet meal' and transportation to and from their home to said convenion or roundup.

And they still usually end up spending a nice 'chumk' of their own money on 'incidentals.'

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Old 05-29-2011, 03:53 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Just out of curiosity does anyone have any idea how much they get paid, is thery any money in it?
Believe it or not - most get paid nothing. They usually do get transportation, hotel and meals paid for. Sometimes they travel second class and stay at members houses. Guys like Chris R. have weekday jobs and leave Friday afternoon and then return Sunday evening. Most of the others are retired or own their own business. They seldom, if ever, get any royalties from their CD's or tapes. That is why it is considered a grueling job.
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Old 05-29-2011, 04:14 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Do the work in the first 9 steps, actively work with the disciplines of 10, 11, and 12 and a promise right smack in the middle of the fear inventory comes true...We let God demonstrate through us what He can do.

Remember, we are here to play the role that He assigns...and we don't get to decide what that role is.

I have heard Mark H. and Chris R. speak on this topic, it does not appear that they came into AA wanting to do that, lol.
Mark H. and Chris R. are two of my favorite speakers...very powerful messages.
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Old 05-29-2011, 04:21 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I only listened to Sandy Beach and a few others but Sandy seemed like a really polished speaker. A lot of great insight there.
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Old 05-31-2011, 08:13 AM   #14 (permalink)
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I only listened to Sandy Beach and a few others but Sandy seemed like a really polished speaker. A lot of great insight there.
Some of his talks are near and dear to me.

Unfortunately for them, most of the speakers I really like.....the ones who seem so wise and experienced.......got that way by going through tremendous turbulence in their lives and in their sobriety. Not that their talks are war-stories.....but when I hear about someone having problems IN sobriety......WHILE working the program to the best of their ability.....those are the talks I really listen intently to. Those guys aren't trying to impress. They're up there talking about their failures in the hopes that we may find some comfort and/or some wisdom.
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Old 05-31-2011, 09:56 AM   #15 (permalink)
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DT,thats when I grow,when life hits the fan.It is hard for me to grow when I am laying in the sunshine taking it easy on the beach.
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Old 05-31-2011, 11:02 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Yeah Bball....... I know. It's funny, when I'm laying on the beach of life and taking it easy it hits me that I wish I was growing. When I'm engaged in growth though, I wish I was on the beach taking it easy.
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