I have learned that AA Meetings have a specific format. At first I thought this was silly. All these laminated papers passed around and read out loud. After a few meetings, some days it is the only thing that is normal.
42 days ago, I stopped drinking. As every day, just like everyone else that is an alcoholic, I have this one to get through without drinking. We can have hours, days, weeks, years, decades without booze but everyone of us has this day to get through. Alcohol loves a victim. Alcohol looks for the weak, sad, mad, challenged, pick your adjective Alcohol is on “the hunt” and it wants you or anyone else that it can put under it’s spell. We are powerless.
I looked around the room and notice that there is someone missing out of our normal group. The next day, that same person is missing, the next day and now it has been more than a week since I have seen him. I am sad. Sad for him because he was trying so hard to not drink, he was sober 5 days longer than me. He gave me inspiration that first day. Many others in the room had years of sobriety and hell I was trying to get through the meeting without shaking myself to death. There are others that are missing too but he is the one I am praying for the most, we got to be non-drinking buddies. When it was raining, I would give him a ride. He was a lot younger than me in years but much older than me in experience and troubles. I felt like he was a little brother. Maybe he will come back again?
I am amazed at Bill W. and Dr. Bob and the program they put out there for us. While it is so simple in thought, who would have thought it so simple when your mind feels like such a bowl of overcooked spaghetti? The readings are there for structure. If we go across the country or across town as alcoholics, we need a meeting that has the same goal and no surprises. The laminated pages seem silly when I first heard them but now when my life is whirling about me, those pages ground me in recovery. That is what I am there for. Recovery. Not drinking. Singleness of Purpose. You get the idea.
It is interesting when people that have been “out doing research” (back drinking) know that they can come back to AA. I think the most that we can grow as individuals is when we don’t criticize or judge people that bob in and out of the program, until they get it right. We don’t take ownership of their choices, we don’t make their problems ours. We can’t. We have to reach out and hug them when they return and remember they are fighting the same battle we all are. I know as I laid on the couch and shook the last day I drank, I pulverized myself emotionally, mentally as well as my body making me feel like there was an earthquake going on inside me. Going into that room where I heard people tell their thoughts and stories that sparked inside me, I knew I was in the right place.