Day 119: The Ol’ Stomping Grounds

AA meetings. They’re the one thing that, no matter how far south my program seems to have gone, I cling to.

While I over-think just about everything, meetings are the one thing that keep me centered. Give me a place to go. People to be around. Provide me with a message I need to hear. Remind me of the tools I have at my disposal. And, luckily, despite my recent depression and chairing my own pity party committee, I have been able to keep up with my meetings. So, I know I’m holding on.

Today, after my 7AM meeting, the whole day ahead of me, with no plan or agenda, I knew that I needed another meeting. While I rely on my home group at 7AM to know me and keep me together, I’ve been feeling like I need to branch out. Sometimes too much of something is a bad thing. Getting too comfortable can hold you back. So, rather than go to the noon meeting at the same meeting hall I usually attend, I went to the meeting in town that’s known for it’s nitty gritty, old-school approach. It’s hard core and Big Book-centric.

Subsequently, it was the first AA meeting I ever attended. My introduction to AA’s arms. And, as I walked in the dank, old house that it’s held in today, it felt oddly comforting. Like I was returning to something important. There are the rooms that make you grow in AA, and then, there are the rooms where you grow your roots. The rooms where you attempt to get your feet wet, and then, run away, only to run back.

As I walked across the creaky floor to the dirty, blue couch on the far side of the room, I felt grounded. The last time I had been in this meeting room, I had been a mess. Newly sober, and still clinging on for dear life. I had been in that same meeting room before, and then, after the meeting, gone directly to a bar for my Maker’s Mark on the rocks. Drowning out anything I’d heard that I wanted to forget. Perhaps the fact that I was, in fact, alcoholic. That, in order to truly believe that I could give myself that title I had to get fucked up, just one more time. And, it never was just one more time. Until, it was.

Today, I am different. Lonely and lost in a different way than the last time I sat in this very seat. The meeting felt old and new. And, in that dichotomy, I found some comfort. No matter how crappy I may currently feel, I’m different, changed. And, in many ways, better. And, all it took to realize that I’d made some progress was to return to the beginning. The ol’ stomping grounds. Where everything looks as it did, but, through a different set of eyes. Eyes that have seen what I couldn’t possibly have seen or known when I started.

And, in that room, I felt a little spark ignite. That renewal I’ve been seeking, I guess it can be found if I start by going back. I can feel that strange, inexplicable pull. Return to the start when you can’t see the end. Walk the road you know you can traverse, and when you return back to the impassable fork in the road, maybe, just maybe, you can see a bit further than you’d been able to see last time.

At least, that’s what I’m hoping.

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