My first sponsor used to say that meetings are like sex. All meetings are good, but some are better than others. The best meetings for me are when members share from the heart about the pain in their lives. This was difficult for me. Even if my ass is falling off, my ego wants you to think I’ve got it all handled, that I’m “fine.” Allowing myself to tell you guys I was hurting was one of the most difficult challenges of recovery for me.
Life on life’s terms is not always a trip to the beach. Those who came before me taught me by sharing their experience not their opinions. I watched them walk through terminal illnesses, financial ruin, debilitating physical problems, and deaths of loved ones. I listened to the heartbreaking frustration as they describe a son or daughter actively practicing our disease and beyond human help. By watching other members stagger through their stuff, I grew the faith I could too.
I like the promise that says, “No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we can see how our experience can benefit others.” A year after my wife passed, a member in my home group lost his wife. I didn’t know this man very well, but I put my hand out to him and shared my experience. My motivation was to help him, but talking with him had a wonderful healing effect on my own grieving process and on my own recovery. If I do not go to meetings I cannot hope to know who I might help with my experience.
I love that Alcoholics Anonymous is a “We” program. I can’t stay sober, but “we” can. When I share honestly about what’s going on at a meeting or one-on-one with another alcoholic, I move from the problem to the solution and grow as a result.