Meetings are important to me. I love them. I am active in my Home Group at the Shelter and enjoy outside meetings from my Home Group. My Home Group is responsible for a meeting every day. 7 days a week – Early Bird Grapevine, Monday thru Friday. Saturday is Living Sober and Sunday is 12 and 12. If I could only go to the Shelter meetings I would make a meeting every day.
People have referred to the Shelter Meetings are the “Front Line of Recovery.” “White knuckle” sobriety. Lots of relapses, many newcomers. And though I am dedicated to the Shelter Meetings, I find for my own Recovery, I need some exposure to some long term, (or old timers) to balance things off.
Shelter Meetings remind me of how it was like to be in Early Recovery. Other meetings with people having years of sobriety, help me know how to live in Recovery. It is perspective. The Shelter Meetings are helpful in getting a double dose of gratitude and the stories remind me that it isn’t any better “out there” since I entered my new life.
When I travel for work, I try to attend meetings also. Sometimes my travels take me to places where there is one meeting per week or none at all. Often times the meetings are scheduled outside of my trip. Still, I seem to manage to make one and people are usually friendly. (Not always, some meetings people don’t introduce themselves at all. My sponsor told me once that my goal should be to attend a meeting without any other expectations. That has been great advice on the road or in my hometown.)
Last week, I was in an area where there were plenty of old timers. Not only were they old people (I am in my early 50’s) but they had 15, 20, 30 years under their belts. They all know each other, in fact, there was a knitting group of 6 women that only talked to each other. The men sat with their arms crossed and would speak when spoken to only.
As the meeting got under way, I was glad that I was there, though still I did feel like an outsider. I decided that when I returned to my Shelter Group, I would make more of an effort to look out for visitors and do my part in helping them to feel welcome. Summer is coming and there is a lot of tourism that brings people through. We made a sign recently and put it out front so folks wouldn’t have to be intimidated by coming to the Shelter and wondering if they were in the right spot.
Sometimes being “turned off” shows me things I need to see. I needed to feel left out so I would be aware of what I can to do reach out the hand of AA on my turf.