Meeting makers make it! How many times I have heard that phrase since I’ve been a member of AA. It is as true today for me as it was when I first came into the rooms. When I came to my first meeting, I don’t know if I really heard anything that was said by anyone. What I remember the most is the feeling of not being alone. The people in the room welcomed me and told me that I was in the right place and to keep coming back. At that time in my life, I was no longer being welcomed and I definitely was not being asked to return.
I started my journey in Alcoholics Anonymous by going to my first meeting. The gift of desperation is what brought me to the meeting. I desperately wanted to stop drinking and I wasn’t able to do it on my own. It was in a meeting that I learned that I could stop drinking for just 24 hours. I learned more about my alcoholism. You told me that it wasn’t because I was a weak person, or a bad person, but that I was a sick person, trying to get well. I was told to go to a meeting daily and to not drink between meetings.
I was told to ask for help and that everyone in the meeting was praying for me too. I sat and I listened while you all shared your stories. You were talking about things that I had always kept inside of me. At first I was appalled and then I was astounded because after someone shared something that seemed horrifying to me, the room burst out in laughter. You told me things like, “stick with the winners” and when I asked who that was, you said they are the people that go to meetings. They go to meetings, they have sponsors, they work steps and they help others. They get involved in service work. It was in a meeting that I heard the phrase “service work keeps you sober.” It is as true for me today as it was when I first heard it.
It was in those first meetings that I came to understand that I was not alone and that I was like you and that I wanted more than anything to be more like you. I witnessed your joy, your happiness and your serenity and that is what I wanted to have in my life, so I kept coming back. I got to know your names and some of you became very instrumental in those first days, months and years of my staying sober, one day at a time.
When I come into a meeting today, I try to remember the way it felt during those first initial meetings. I want to remember so that I can be there for the person that is in their very first meeting, just like everyone had been there for me during my first meetings. I want that person to feel the “ah” of knowing that they are in the right place. I want them to want to come back to the meeting the next day, knowing that this is the right place for them to be if they want to get help for their drinking. It is the people in the meetings that are the face of Alcoholics Anonymous.