It was a cold wintry night. Only a few guys showed up in the old church basement. The 12 steps were hung from the ceiling, the slogans and the 12 traditions. Chairs were set up facing the long table where the secretary would sit. An old oak varnished podium stood to the side with a copper plate in which two letters, AA, were roughly engraved. The coffee was made in the kitchen. As guys straggled in alone or in pairs each would go and get himself a cup before sitting down to wait the beginning of the meeting. The gavel was struck. The meeting began.
I was asked to read "How It Works" from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Service in AA is first said to be 'filling a chair'. Helping set up and take down the chairs and such is another form of service. Making coffee each week, filling the secretary position, acting as treasurer, any of a number of innocuous positions are available for those in recovery to give back to the organization for it being there when they needed help. Sharing when called upon is another form of service. It's all a privilege and honor to participate. Addiction in contrast has been call the dark room where you go to develop your negatives. Most alcoholics and many others depend on liquid courage. Meetings of AA give people the opportunity to do things that they might never have done without a drink, now sober.
Reading "How It Works", I was moved again by the line "God would and could if he were sought". I remember when I first came to AA and faced the vast unknown of the world of sobriety. I'd got into the alcoholic rut of controlling change and wanting things to be my way because I couldn't tolerate the uncertainty. And that's where AA challenges the alcoholic to accept he's out of control and transfer control to some power outside oneself. "Let Go and Let God" is one of the slogans. G.O.D. "group of drunks' is one of the sayings. Anything is better than trusting yourself when your own mind has turned on you and tells you to keep taking poison.
Tonight a couple of guys shared. They both had drunk themselves into situations of suicidal risk taking that had resulted in comas. During the comas the doctors had told both of their families that the likelihood would be that they'd come out vegetables but there was just a tiny bit of hope. Mothers and sisters had cried and prayed by bedsides. Days and weeks later the miracle occurred and both these men in separate hospitals and separate occasions had come out of their comas. That alone hadn't stopped them drinking but it was the point of when the turn around had begun. Not long after they'd both came to AA.
"I never knew we shared comas in common," the second speaker said, "I guess that makes us coma brothers."
The few men who'd made it through snow and icy streets laughed.
"So how long was your coma?" he continued.
"Longer than yours," the first guys retorted
And we laughed. We laughed till tears came to our eyes. Here were two guys alive and sober who'd drunk themselves into comas. Today they were competing and comparing comas. Whose was longer? Only in men's AA.
The meeting closed with reading of the 12 Traditions. The gavel sounded. We talked some of the up coming Christmas party we were planning. That's the one night of the year women are invited to come as guests to this meeting. After the clean up, we all wandered out alone or in pairs. The snow was still falling. The streets were even more icy. The night was warmer though. And it was warmer inside my truck as I thanked God for Recovery and the ability to laugh again.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad