I arrived early with three of my AA buds in tow in a show of support. There were women outside chatting and having cigarettes, and I found that they had no “format” or literature that is typically read before an AA meeting starts. I borrowed a Big Book and went down into the basement, where there were already about 20 ladies waiting for the meeting to start. Said a quick prayer that God would direct my thoughts and my words and that at least one would benefit from what I had to say. Even if that one was me.
I decided I would read from Chapter 4, “How it Works,” and end with the last few paragraphs of page 164. The in-between was up to God. I also found out, just as I was sitting down, that out of the 30+ ladies in attendance, only one resident was an alcoholic; the other were in recovery for drug abuse. Also learned that most were there because of State sanctions, right from prison, completing what is required of them prior to going out into the world again – 30, 60, 90 days or 6 months is what is required, depending upon their charges.
I had a couple of moments when I felt intimidated. What on earth do I have in common with these ladies? Would anybody even think I was an alcoholic because of my *bottom* not being that bad (according to some)? Self-doubt started to infiltrate but I quickly asked God to remove the thoughts and forged ahead.
I had my 3x5 cards but in the end, didn’t really need them. I tried to keep it vacillating between serious and light and found that more people were nodding in affirmation than nodding off into a doze (although there were girls sleeping, too…) I found the ladies in the back row to be mysterious as they were slumped down into their sofas and I wasn’t even able to see their faces, let alone their bodies. It was okay, though. It was about me, but it wasn’t. It was about God – what He has done for me, things I could never do for myself. How alcohol took me to places I didn’t want to be and had no business being in the first place. How when anything bad happened, it was usually under the influence of alcohol or drugs. How there was a period of my life that I would snort anything before me and have no regrets. How I gave up my cocaine addiction without help and without picking up again and how for the last 20 years, I’ve probably been a dry coke head.
My history is my history. I told them I glance at it to keep me *green*, but don’t stare. How even as of the previous day, I had the desire for a drink, but because I have amazing support through Alcoholics Anonymous, I wasn’t in it alone and the power of God took me through the day by way of my friends. That there is hope for me and that but for the grace of God that is on me – and every woman in the room – I can get through a day without picking up a drink or any other addiction; that nothing is worth forfeiting my sobriety, and that I can do anything, one day at a time. Just one 24-hour period at a time, when things get so overwhelming you are unaware of which way is up, that we should put one foot in front of the other and simply breathe. If that is the best we can do, it is acceptable for that day.
So yes, I guess I did okay :) It was far beyond my comfort zone. I figured I was there because God wanted me to be. I am confident for my next time, however, I won’t be needing the cards.