i went to an aa meeting tonight. that's right, alcoholics anonymous. no, i don't drink. i'm as sober as ever.
why did i go?
1. to support a friend who was going
2. many of my closest friends have directly or indirectly been affected by alcoholism
3. a good friend recently pegged me as "an alcoholic who had a spiritual experience before she ever started drinking"
4. pure curiosity
what was it like?
a profound tribute to humanity and the capacity for change. the format was both informal and ritualistic. the meeting started by verbally reviewing the serenity prayer, 12 steps, and the aa promise. after brief introductions, the member leading the meeting opened the discussion topic "living in the present" with 2 simple rules: no cross-talking and limit your shares. each member who spoke introduced themselves by name and as an alcoholic, addict, etc. the group responded, "hi ________", and the person shared his/her thoughts. after, the group affirmed with, "thank you for sharing" and the pattern repeated itself for about 1 hour. we closed with a circle as a single person led the group in an "_____________ keeps me sober".
how did i feel?
before attending, my friend assured me it was an "open meeting", which welcomed anyone from anywhere. i felt nervous about sticking out or offending someone by my presence. once the meeting started, my brain was filled with all sorts of thoughts (in no particular order):
1. how much i related to the feelings expressed
2. direct relation to acting philosophy of being "in the moment"
3. the overwhelming courage and strength i observed
4. how that observation made me feel more alienated than anything else
5. reflecting on flippant remarks, secret confessions, and candid assessments about my friends' experiences with alcoholism
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