the importance of a home group

my home group - i actually have two. i loved the one meeting i went to every Sunday and it became my homegroup for service commitments - i make coffee every Sunday and went and did my speaker meeting at the women's center because our commitment was for the month of april. i am close to a few in this room, as well, and think of them as mentors.

my "every day" home group - the meetings i attend daily, 6 other days a week - they are my soft place to land. i can go and listen and empathize and give cards to my sisters and help clean up and set up coffee (before doris came back from florida!) and it is just wonderful. overlooks the bay, the breezes, the smells as you walk in... it is an intimate group, we all know each other's *stuff* and it is where i go and can really unload and receive a tremendous amount of support.

two things worth mentioning - i went to my first "AA function" last night - a party, surprise at that, for one of our morning members who has been having a bit of a rough go. what a turn-out! the food was amazing, there was a tremendous amount of love and peace in the home, and outside we had impromptu meetings with the smoking section. it was really an awesome night and it showed me i can actually go to a party, be among friends, and not pick up a drink.

and then chair a meeting the next day, no guilt attached :)

but what i really wanted to say is you get to know your home group - the individuals' ups and downs, their trials and tribs, their stories. and you love them in spite of themselves -- i recognize how folks have loved me when i felt not one ounce of love for myself. most people share, but there are some who come daily and do not. their silent presence is actually a comfort, and every now and again, they may speak up. but usually they don't.

one such person is howard. he sits in the corner next to the coffee table and simply listens. he reacts affirmatively, nods and smiles, but doesn't say too much. to give you a visual, i think he is about 6'7, zz-top rivaled beard and i think he is bald, but he wears a cap or a toque so it is hard to say. also, biker wear -- tee shirts, chains. i have an affinity for him because i think he is a good soul, only he doesn't share and doesn't say much to anyone other than the men.

as i alluded to earlier this week, i had a meltdown on wednesday a the meeting. when it came time for the "has anyone had the thought of a drink?" question, little miss I Haven't Had the Thought of a Drink for Weeks piped up and spilled. i honestly don't know how they understood me, i was stream-of-consciousness speaking, but it ended up my home group 12-stepped me. it was an amazing show of warmth and support and by the end of the meeting, i was crying tears of gratitude for these people because they touched my heart.

i missed thursday due to a work obligation, but after the meeting friday as i was leaving, howard approached me with an envelope with my name on it. he said "if you like what you read, maybe pass it on. i thought you might like it." i gave him a kiss and a hug (much to my sponsor's chagrin if she knew, i am sure) and was blown away at this act of thoughtfulness. i couldnt' imagine what was in the envelope, but it didn't even matter if it was something that wouldn't reach me -- it was touching and sweet and the effort wasn't lost on me.

in the envelope were several things -- Desiderata by Max Ehrmann was the lead-off paper -

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

next was a piece by Aldous Huxley on Silence - "desirelessness is the condition of deliverance and illumination..." a piece on paradox and finally, one by a Cree indian as told to her by her grandmother when she was a young girl.

blown. away.

it is so easy to breeze by people based solely on appearance or lack of communication (other than by the eyes). i chaired the meeting this morning and was surprised to see him there as he is usually a week-dayer. i had printed out something i had here and we talked a bit about literature and being able to share with me whatever he felt i would enjoy. i made the comment today as i drew the meeting to a close -- our meeting was on happiness -- about how i came into these rooms simply to stop drinking. as basically a loner who isolated for many hours, one of the most amazing by-products that God has provided me with is some very cool friendships.

my morning homegroup is a huge part of that - and for that, i am humbly grateful.

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