On Wednesday evening I headed to one of my home groups. It has become quiet small lately, some groups do this waves or attendance go up and down, it’s been as high as 15 – 20 regulars but is now a handful as it has been in the past. Anyway it is held in a Village Hall where other activities regularly happen, bowls, parish council public meetings, WI etc. A couple of people opened the door before we started thinking we were some parish planning meeting. I put up the AA sign on the door. A guy came in asking “Am I in the right place?” I said “Friends of Bill W?” (AA code) he looked confused. So I just said “AA?”
His first meeting. He described himself as “shitting himself”. I gave him the starter pack we always give out, got him a tea and sat with him. I explained a little about the format of the meeting, encouraged him to listen with an open mind. He then told me why he was there – difficulties at home with his wife and sons, changed job recently and drinking is no better, he thought it would be etc. etc. I said after about 5 mins as the meeting settled to start “I think you’ll find a lot in common with us”.
Being a small meeting we had a chair speaker and readings then all the regulars shared back with an emphasis on the message for the newcomer – I did this, you can do this, keep coming back, you hear similarity here you are in the right place etc.
He spoke at the end. We all talked to him and encouraged him to come back. He walked off refusing my offer of a lift home – love that self reliance in him so reminded me of myself. Will he come again? I hope so. Did it do him any good? Who knows, he seemed happier at the end than the beginning.
The thing I will say though – did me the power of good. After say goodbye to him I walked to my car with another friend who said “Blimey that was a good reminder”. Indeed it was, a man beaten by his drinking, lost, confused, angry, tired, frightened, etc. Oh how glad I am I’m not him at this moment. Oh how grateful I am I’m sober and have moved my life on. It was a fantastically great meeting for me – I hope so for him even if only in years to come he comes to reflect on it that way.