I wasn't looking to reconnect with life when I walked into my first AA meeting, but that's exactly what happened. I wasn't a joiner. Intimacy made me uncomfortable. I had just spent eight months in isolation getting drunk twice a day. There was no one else in my life and I liked it like that. If I had my way, I would have hung out on the outside of AA, separate and apart. Thankfully, when the men in my first home group found out I was new, they reached out and pulled me through the door.
I was shocked when the sharing began. I had never heard anyone share honestly about their lives before, certainly not my golfing buddies at the country club. I was more surprised to learn these men knew all about me. They were talking about themselves but they were sharing about me -- about my campaign of self hate, my fears and insecurities, and my fragile ego. Their stories were different from mine, but the feelings they drank against were exactly the same.
The group broke into riotous laughter when one sad-mouthed young man shared his solutions to his relationship "issues." It was the first time I had laughed, really laughed, in years. I wasn't laughing at him, I was laughing because I had tried every one of his solutions at one time or another. Perhaps it was the laughter more than anything that kept me coming back in those early days.
I remember one of the men shared when he took a couple of drinks he couldn't stop until the booze was gone, his money was gone, or he was locked up. I realized I never wanted to stop after two drinks either. As other men shared about their bottoms, what happened and what their lives were like today, I had hope AA would work for me too. I wanted what you had and I was graced with the willingness to do what you did.
After the meeting a number of men surrounded me in welcome, gave me their phone numbers and invited me to breakfast. They told me to get a sponsor, work the steps, keep coming back and don't drink no matter what. As I walked out of the meeting room to my car I had the sense I had found my way home. I learned I can't stay sober, but "We" can.