A few days ago at our noon meeting we had a newcomer on his first day. After the meeting I put out my hand to welcome him to our group. We chatted briefly, then I made him the offer I like to make to all newcomers. “If you will commit to going to 90 meetings in 90 days and you still want to drink after that, I’ll buy the first one.” He looked at me like I was slightly out of my mind.
The message I carry to
those seeking sobriety is to make a commitment to give AA a serious try
for three months and then re-evaluate. During this time I suggest they
put AA activities at the top of their to-do list, ahead of family,
business and everything else. Going to a meeting every day is a proven
prescription for newcomers. There are no guarantees, but the ones who
make "90 in 90" seem to have a much better chance at sticking than those
who go to meetings only when it is convenient.
AA doesn’t get
me sober and keep me that way. That’s my Higher Power’s job. I connect
with my Higher Power when I place myself inside the AA circle of
recovery by doing all that’s suggested. I connect with the group by
showing up early and helping to set up the chairs or make coffee. I
connect with other alcoholics by asking for phone numbers and picking up
the 500 pound phone and calling them. I become “a part of” when I join
up for coffee or a meal after the meetings. Once I am connected to my
HP, there are a whole bunch of other suggestions contained in the 12
steps about how I can grow and strengthen my connection: inventory, pray
and meditate, carry the message to others. But none of these activities
work real well unless I am connected.
The newcomer said, “I’m
not sure I can come everyday during the week because I have to work.”
“What time do you start?” “9:00 AM,” he answered. “Well, you are in
luck. We have a nice little meeting that starts every morning at 7.” I
looked into his bloodshot eyes and could almost see a glimmer of hope.