Strathcona Men's AA in Vancouver began 54 years ago. There are those there who are sober over 3 decades and others sober only days or weeks. Over the years so many men have come there and begun their journey of sobriety or stayed to help others on the path of recovery.
Every year at Christmas the men get together, raise money and form crews to set up, cook and clean up. It's the only night of the year that women are invited. Wives and daughters appear. Tonight there was even a fiancée. It's the night when ladies of AA are also invited and instead of men alone standing at the podium sharing their 'experience, strength and hope', women are called upon to share as well and do.
A lot of gratitude is expressed to AA in general and Strathcona Men's in particular. Surprising as much to ourselves, the men clean up pretty good for a bunch of 'drunks', behaving as gentlemen in the company of these gentle women who are so refined and so very elegant.
It's a joyful night. When the meeting concludes with a recital of the traditions, the feast begins. Ham, Roast Beef,Turkey, salads, vegetables, pumpkin pie, pecan pie and much much more. We all eat this festive fare and drink coffee in a church basement. A lot of reminiscences are about the Christmas times when drinking occurred. Typically there's a lot of laughter. Shame in addiction. Dignity in recovery. We are not alone.
It's so much better to be sober and present for this sacred time of year. Thanks to AA and thanks to Strathcona Men's Vancouver.