About Me

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I have recovered from the disease of Alcoholism. I believe there is only one person really,.. everybody. And that peace of mind is everything. -So treat your neighbor as you would treat yourself, because your neighbor IS yourself. I think most of recovery is what I would call common sense, but that learning to be ordinary is a true gift very few people acquire. My ambition is to accept everything unflinchingly, with compassion, and therefore be intrinsically comfortable in my own skin, no matter what. I am comfortable being uncomfortable and am willing to go to any lengths to improve my life. I believe the Big Book was divinely inspired, and is extraordinarily powerful. Unfortunately AA's best kept secret a lot of the time. (In my opinion). I just try to do what works, no matter what it is.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Never ceases to amaze me how great meetings are

I am so accustomed to being able to choose from hundreds of meetings within easy reach, that I completely forget sometimes how lucky I am. It’s not something that really makes sense to people unless they have actually been to meetings, but basically I have an extraordinary range of scope in terms of the type of people that I get to speak to on a daily basis. I can very easily completely forget that this is not normal for most people. I’ve been living like this for over 20 years or so, so I forget all the time that this is not the norm.
Anyway, I went to a meeting that I normally can’t get to because it clashes with something else but I have enjoyed going to in the past, and I was wildly impressed at what a great meeting it was. For me, AA is ‘the pub with no beer.’ It’s like a David Lynch movie sober. Reminds me of Twin Peaks. Some amazing characters.
I LOVE that nobody knows how great AA meetings are except the people that actually go. I like that it’s a unique subculture with a genuine democracy, accessibility, and authenticity unlike any other social sphere I have encountered. And remains completely free as well. Amazing in this day and age.

Perhaps it’s really different out there in the sticks? but I have a feeling it is ? might be pretty similar. I used to drink in fairly remote places compared to where I am now, and it didn’t seem to matter where I was, because I always ended up hanging out with pretty !! colourful people, no matter how conservative or parochial the neighborhood was. I think alcoholics must have an affinity for seeking out the nonconformists. Who knows. But all I know is that I am extraordinarily fortunate to have seemingly limitless access to fascinating people who feel like long-lost friends even when I’ve never met them before, at my fingertips, any day of the week should I feel like dipping my toe into AA. It’s like this ? magic multiplying address book of connections, that never seems to stop getting bigger. Just when you think you’ve met more people than you’ll ever (!) have time to speak to, you meet some more ‘long lost friends’ who are actually strangers.
All this would be completely unsatisfying if there was not a meaningful and authentic connection with these people, but to me they feel like family. All of them. I really don’t understand ? why it works like that, but I just know it DOES, and I consider myself extremely fortunate to have this. No matter where I am in the world there will always be people within easy reach who feel !!! utterly familiar, even when I’ve never seen them before in my life. My family is huge. Well that’s what it feels like anyway.

None of this will make any sense to you if you never really got into the swing is going to meetings, like most things in AA it only makes sense once you actually DO it. Until then ..it sounds like hokey :)

10 comments:

Syd said...

I was lamenting to myself the other day that my biological family is almost non-existent. But I have the Al-Anon family that is huge. I am glad to have so many wonderful friends in the fellowship. Thanks for sharing this. It sums up how I feel as well.

NOS said...

I can completely relate! I don't go to AA, but I have been to two hospitals for my eating disorder and I can definitely say that the people I meet there are like no other people in my life. They are so familiar. And understanding! The bonds you form while going through recovery are so strong and unique.

It's great that there are so many meetings near you. And that you still go to meetings. You're a living, breathing example of recovery.

Wishing you well,
NOS

Em said...

I agree that AA meetings are like sober bars. So much more fun than drunk bars :) and yes, normal people think I'm lying when I say I was at an awesome meeting, or I was laughing so hard at this meeting the other day...Ah, we have a joke in my homegroup that AA is the most expensive country club in the world but there's no pool lol. however, I consider myself lucky to be a member.

Mary LA said...

I so agree with you --especially that democratic, accessible and authentic part.

If I had five or 25 local AA meetings where I live, I'd get to all of them!

You are so lucky.

Bobby said...

Meetings are life savers for thousands of recovering alcoholics. When they have no place else to turn they are welcomed into a room of people relate to their problems on a very personal level. AA may not be for everyone, but there can be absolutely no denying it has helped many, many, many people stay sober.

Kathy Lynne said...

so true, so true..and we can go anywhere in the world and find a meeting and feel right at home as I did in London recently:) its comforting and supportive and yes, feels like family from the crazy uncle who sits in the corner, good old aunt who's always knitting and brothers and sisters and cousins everywhere..so different yet so much the same....xo

Dean S said...

Yes, You make a great point on how important connection is. Relating, understanding and connecting are keys to growth

Mallory Shaw said...

Dear friend,

As remote community chair person for District 78 in Alberta, I respect so much your admiration and love for your gratitude to be able to go to a meeting whenever, wherever...
We are so blessed when we think about the first four years when there was no literatute, now, as this new generation we are blessed with so much to learn. Are you heading to the international conference?

An Irish Friend of Bill said...

Hi Mallory, I've never been to an international convention, and I suppose I shouldn't rule it out, but I am more likely to book meditation retreats if I have free time instead of conventions.
because there are so many meetings available locally with an international variety of attendees, I can have a mini convention on almost any given day if I choose to go to 4 meetings in one day. I think I'm much happier on a meditation cushion on a silent retreat than in conventions. I prefer to talk less on holiday, not more. all the talking in AA conventions wears me out :) I find them socially quite intense experiences. satisfying but very draining.
Are you going?

The Scurrilous Pamphleteer said...

I just moved to Imperial Beach (outside San Diego) and I am not happy with the meetings here...but I LOVED AA in Washington,DC,where I'm from. 30 years ago I was sent to AA out of the foster care system, and grew up in meetings, and have little contact with biological family...but have had a million AA friends! I love California, but miss the people who taught me to knot a necktie,helped me with homework, and invited me to Thanksgiving. Thank God I do have my AA wife 9 years...she is a lawyer, I have a GED. Where else could that miracle happen?