AA …. Okay.
Alright, so. I’ve been super-hesitant to commit to an AA group/meeting/schedule/program because (and some of you have mentioned this yourselves) of the whole God-thing. I’m still not a huge fan of it, especially with one of the groups I shadow every once in awhile – they are bible-thumping, verse-quoting zealots. Not my bag.
However, in spite of my hesitancy, I have shopped around a little and visited four different meetings/groups on several occasions in the past six weeks in order to keep people’s faces near me. People in sobriety. Real live, living, breathing human beings. I love the blogworld – I love it to pieces, but I also know I can isolate (Who?! Me?! Miss Set-Myself-In-My-Living-Room-Chugging-Wine-For-4-Straight-Years?)… Ahem… Yeah…. So thus my goal of staying physically connected to people in the Real World.
And do you know? I had a beautiful experience yesterday.
I arrived back at a Thursday morning meeting in Suburbia after two weeks away, and was greeted immediately with smiles and kindness. I’ve mentioned this group before as being made up of almost all women, and almost all of those women are older than me – 50 years old and older. These women have
years decades of sobriety, and they are so generous with their spirits. You can tell they’ve been around one another a long time. They are comfortable and relaxed, and they laugh a lot. So good.
So. Just a jaunt back in time to when I was getting ready to tell my people about my sobriety… That day, I decided I was going to hit an AA meeting to be in the presence of other alcoholics, and to give me strength to make the phone calls. It was my first time to the suburban group and to their meeting. I sat next to a chic woman in her early 60s (I would guess). She was grounded and kind, welcoming. She exuded strength and confidence. She didn’t take things for granted – all this I felt by just sitting next to her. Yow.
Well, as that first meeting went forward, I shared with the group that I was going to tell my family and friend that I was thirty days sober. I got teared up and choked up as I voiced my fears and worries, and the Woman next to me handed me a tissue. The meeting went on.
At the end of the hour, the Woman turned to me and said in the kindest voice, ‘Your phone calls are going to go great. Your family sounds supportive and loving. They will be happy to hear your news. You’re strong and ready, and remember, you carry all of us with you. We’ll all be thinking of you.’
And even though I received many hugs and encouraging words after that, her words were what I clung to and held onto and remembered.
So, now back to yesterday and my second AA meeting with this group… I was anticipating and looking forward to this near-stranger who had made such an impact on me. I walked in the room with the leader of the day’s meeting, and it began as soon as we sat down. I spied my Woman and smiled at her (and others), but didn’t have a chance to say anything.
In the first five minutes, there was an invitation to share any news, and my Woman raised her hand. Her voice was strong and grounded as it was before, but this time, her news shook me. She announced to the group that she had been diagnosed with lung cancer the week before. She wanted the group to know in case she was in and out for the coming months. She was positive and courageous and brave. She said a number of times that she was going to fight this, and that she was more worried for her husband than for herself. She asked us to pray for him even more than for herself. She made a joke about never smoking a cigarette in her whole life, and now here she is with lung cancer. She even said she was grateful to have an answer to a persistent cough she’s been suffering from, as well as so much fatigue…
Gah. Just struck to my core.
I don’t even know Her, and yet she made such a beautiful mark on my life. On the way to the meeting, I was flirting with the idea that if she was present, perhaps I would ask her to be my sponsor, but now. Too much.
I loved what her current sponsee said to Her in the course of the meeting, that She has given so much to others and now it was Her turn to take. And wasn’t it beautiful how the cycle of service and reaching outside of one’s self can help in one’s own recovery, and look to see what a difference She has made in her sponsee’s life. There were tears in her sponsee’s eyes, which made me want to cry with her, and the Woman just reached out a hand and calmly held her sponsee’s hand for a moment. Truly beautiful.
And the whole meeting was like that. From the heart. Honest. Raw. Reflective. Inspired by the reading/the tenet of the day regarding service to others, as well as acceptance and not making it all about Me.
I was so moved, that I committed and bought myself a copy of the Big Book. I know in my heart of hearts, that having read some of it before, I do not love it, nor do I know if I will commit to the twelve steps, however, I am moved and inspired by those in the program. I am inspired by their words and lives and by their reflections on what the Big Book’s words to mean to them. I find beauty in their lives and in their journeys, and I know I will continue to return because of them.
Day 52, thanks and thanks, and ever thanks.