I was less then 90 days sober when my grand sponsor caught me walking into the meeting a few minutes late. "Do you need a new watch?" he asked after the meeting. "No, why?" "Because you were late. You didn't hear How It Works. If you understood How It Works, you wouldn't be late!" Then he added, "AA is my church and church starts on time."

Today AA is my church too. I connect with the God of my own understanding in AA meetings. I also connect with God in my wife's church, in Buddhist temples and in hiking alone in nature, but it's not the same. Sometimes I actually sense the power circulating throughout the meeting room. A mighty power, a healing power. I think the other big book says when we seek together, "when more than one are gathered," our power is multiplied ten fold. I am so grateful I don't have to wait until Sunday to go to my church. I can attend "services" three times a day, even here in Shanghai.

Meetings are where I practice spiritual principles like acceptance, tolerance, and forgiveness that, for some reason, I struggle to practice in the outside world. It's where I feel most at home, most comfortable in my own skin. I have nothing to prove and nothing to fear. You all have already seen all my warts and love me anyways. It is in AA meetings I experience the joy of seeing the light come on in a newcomer's eyes.

I don't know what my life would be like without meetings because I've never gone without. I can't see this changing in the near future. I found a useful, contented life in meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous. I'm not about to screw with the formula if I can help it.