A few weeks back I wasn’t sharing in meetings regularly, I wasn’t talking to other alcoholics much. I was as they say “isolating” – this was in the middle of the phase of “This is a disaster why did I choose to do this” as detailed in my last post. I was also beginning to think, really I’ve nothing of value or new to bring to the party, I’m stale and unhelpful sharing the same old stuff. Best I keep my mouth shut. Also I realised I’d not been asked to speak at a meeting for about a year or more – probably because I wasn’t sharing and talking to people. I have to be honest there was a touch of resentment and the little monkey on the shoulder was beginning to be heard saying “Maybe you don’t need all this recovery stuff so much – move on”.
Then a couple of weeks ago I turned up a meeting I regularly go to – I had to regardless my friend who holds the keys was away visiting his daughter and so I was key holder and milk provider. So I turned up a little earlier than I normally do to open up and get the kettle on (most important part of any AA meeting getting the tea ready!). The secretary was there and said as I walked in. “Darn the speaker just called and isn’t going to make it tonight”. I assured him it’d be ok, someone would turn up. We set the room up and then he said “I’ve never heard your story fully. Would you mind?” In AA there is a saying “Just say yes” – when asked to do something for AA you just do it, it will be good for you, you’ll get something from it. So I said yes.
A friend who’d been struggling came to that meeting that night, she’d contacted me earlier in the day asking if the meeting was on, she’d never been to that meeting before but wanted a meeting. It was a small meeting, normally is just a handful of us. I told my story as I can.
Since then in the last 2 weeks I’ve been asked to go into a rehab near me and talk to the current crop of inmates there and last night that friend who’d come to that meeting a couple of weeks ago invited me to speak at her home group – which was a regular home meeting of mine in my early days of sobriety. These things just happened and I said “yes” to them as I’ve learnt to do so. They’ve been immensely valuable to me – they’ve reaffirmed my connection with AA and the programme that I can’t “wallow in a retrogressive groove” – that monkey on the shoulder is in a huff now as I’m not listening to it at all. I belong in AA.
Whether what I said helped anyone I may well never ever know, I hope it did. Whatever it’s done me the power of good. Going to the rehab and seeing 20something faces some just with that total lost and vacant expression of people completely battered by addiction and newly arrived in what is without doubt a very surreal setting. Some with a glow, a spark, a shine in their eyes and an interest the ones that look like they have hopefully turned a corner and will make a go of recovery once they leave there. See all that reminded me so much of my days in rehab, the confusion, anger, despair, hope, etc. Going back to my old home group brought back memories in my first 2 years of sobriety when I was a regular there and the love and support I got there. That was the room I went to the day it was clear my Mum was about to die and I cried and people hugged me and told me it would be ok. I shouted in that room, was angry, lost confused – things now that happen rarely and I can’t remember the last time I was angry with AA – that all shows how much I’ve moved on.
It may be a year or more before I’m asked to be a speaker again, it maybe next week who knows. What I do know is that if I start to feel that disconnection and drop off again I need to force myself back into the middle of boat, if I sit on the outside a wave might just knock me out and if I’ve not been talking to people just before that they may not notice. It is my responsibility no-one else’s.