I was amazed at the honesty I heard at my first meeting, but it was the laughter at my second meeting that sucked me into the center of Alcoholics Anonymous and kept me kept me coming back for almost twenty years. I was sitting in the back in “half-measures row” worrying about what you thought about me. I had just spent eight months in drunken isolation and the seventy men at the meeting that morning seemed a little to “up” for me.

After the readings, the birthday celebrations began. One of the celebrants -- a sad-faced young man -- stood at the front of the room. He blew up the candles on the cake, his sponsor said a few nice words about him and gave him his three year token.  He looked down at his feet as he recounted, in graphic detail and four letter words,  how he caught his girlfriend sleeping with another man the night before. He went on for a good five minutes, bad mouthing the woman, some of the other stunts she pulled, how he never should have trusted her in the first place and what he would do to get even with both.

The group was completely silent until he finished, then burst into riotous laughter. I caught myself alternating between feeling sorry for the guy and laughing my butt off. It was the first time I had really laughed in years. I connected with this guy because I identified with his wacky solutions, his rationalizations and justifications. I love AA because we develop the courage to tell it like it is. Where else does this happen?

I'm coming to believe life is a third rate comedy and we are all slipping on banana peels. Growing along spiritual lines allow me not to take my little plans and schemes too seriously. I simply can't enjoy life fully if I do. When I finally learn to laugh at myself, I'll have a lifetime supply of material.