They say seeing is believing.
When I first started hitting the rooms of AA, six months before I actually decided to get serious about getting sober, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into.
The first time I went to an AA meeting, it was a desperate and unplanned event. I’d woken that afternoon in bed with a new boyfriend, of sorts, after a night of drinking. And, after a pot of coffee, he left. We’d had a fun night out, a pleasant morning together. Things seemed, I dare say, good. After I shut the door behind him, I sat down on the couch in my fuschia bathrobe. Alone. And, after what seemed like one minute, my skin began to crawl. I couldn’t define the desperate and wretched feeling that overcame me, and, for no apparent reason.
My immediate instinct: Get. To. The. Bar.
But, for whatever reason, at that moment, on that day, it seemed wrong. Why go drink when it’d been a good start to the day? Was it boredom? Guilt that I might possibly be moving on from my ex? I didn’t know. Without any forethought, I pulled up the Portland Area Intergroup meeting list online. There was a meeting in forty five minutes in SE Portland, about 3 miles from my apartment. I was without my car. So, I literally ran into my bedroom changed out of my bathrobe, and ran all the way to the meeting.
I knew nothing about how these meetings worked. Nothing of the Big Book. Nothing of AA etiquette. Nothing. Only what I’d absorbed from press and films.
It was safe. I felt at home. Unjudged.
Yesterday, as I sat in a meeting with my sponsor, I thought about that first day. How little I understood, how little I was willing to bring to the table. And now, how I’m bringing everything to the table. Because, I have to if I’m going to crawl out of this hole and walk tall again.
They say, ‘Keep coming back, it works if you work it.’ And, much to my surprise, they were right. The more meetings I attend the more I see people living the life I want. I want what they have. Sobriety. Dignity. Pride. Friendship. A fellowship of the forgotten and lost. Remembered and found.
As I sit here, typing this, it occurs to me that my strange compulsion to run to my first meeting on that strange and desperate day, was my higher power. I couldn’t have known it then, because I wouldn’t have known God then the way I do now. I hadn’t believed that something bigger was at work in my life. And, the program has given me that, if nothing else.
So, I’ll keep coming back. Because, when God takes you somewhere, you’d be wise to stay.