Last night was my home group meeting for my 12 step program. For those who don’t have experience with a 12 step program, traditionally, most A.A. members through the years have found it important to belong to one group which they call their “Home Group.” This is the group where they accept service responsibilities and try to sustain friendships.
I’ve been told that I should never miss my home group meeting unless there is a serious illness or death…..and although my attendance hasn’t been perfect, with membership came a sense of responsibility which has often forced me to leave the house, bad hair day or not.
Last night the meeting was jammed, there wasn’t an empty seat to be found. There were many unfamiliar faces which for me is awesome, it means either visitors or people whom I haven’t met yet.
When I first began attending the meeting each time I saw a new face I would immediately think to myself “Oh there’s a newcomer” and get excited for them. The person would then share and I’d learn they were a visitor with 10+ years of sobriety….duhhhhhhh!
Let’s say I was over eager and leave it at that.
When I first got sober I was going to as many meetings as possible, reading the literature and talking, seeking from others in the program with more sobriety than myself. While these behaviors were integral to my sobriety, I could be a smidgen annoying.
See, I put so much effort into understanding my disease that it seeped from my pores. Interactions with me generally included information on recovery. I was jazzed up, it was an entirely new prospect to me …this life without ingesting alcohol.
Up until that time the thought of hanging with friends with out a wicked-good bottle of wine was equated to asking me to picture myself in the tartan parachute pants of my teens; something I secretly wanted but had no idea how to pull off.
Alcohol had become ingrained in the outline of who I was, my knowledge of it, my use….it was all just part of my whole. If you were a visitor at our home in my drinking days, you could expect to find our home well-stocked and a gregarious host to spend time with.
I shared generously because I loved having company but also because I generally had a secret stash that I would polish off after you left.
Nowadays recovery is still at the forefront of my mind and while conversations do often turn to that topic, my delivery has improved.
The efforts this egomaniac has put into learning to listen are paying off, my ability to pay attention to something other than my sassy self have improved.
Have you ever been in a conversation and while the person is speaking you’re busy formulating your response?
While that’s appropriate in many situations, it’s not while a person is talking to you about their emotions, their innermost concerns.
I did that.
How annoying was I?
Thank goodness I didn’t twirl my hair or actually pull out my mirror to touch up my makeup but that’s essentially what I was doing.
I had a habit of saying saucily “I am the axis of my Earth” and I sincerely thought it was cute.
Not so cute when it’s pretty much the truth.
Perception is everything my friends, if I’m not paying attention people notice. They may not realize precisely why but they feel that my input is inauthentic. Eventually people would only want to share superficial time with me.
I was so good at superficial time but it was exhausting.
Now I strive to be truly connected with life, to experience the time with others authentically and be open enough to hear their experiences to actually learn from them.
There is no more fear of being open, that left me when I admitted my life had become unmanageable.
OK sometimes there’s a bit of fear but it’s no insurmountable, the need for living out loud far outweighs my aversion to judgement.
I’m still inclined to be self-centered, I am often found belting out the songs at church to the dismay of my neighbors but I’m not critiquing my own voice anymore.
Now I know that it’s unlikely for a talent scout to spot me in the congregation and beg me to sign with them.
My caterwauling is not just for myself now.
Yes my friends, it’s for all the world to see and for God to enjoy!!
I’m told God loves all worship…irrelevant of quality….I’m going with that.
Today I’m going to a youth facility to tour the facility and schedule a date to speak with the kids who are in recovery. Imagine me coming to them with my old approach. Teens have an innate ability to spot BS from a mile away. I had better have my ducks in order if I hope to promote change in their lives.
Funny how I’m progressing without noticing.
Hope you all are too, addicts or not, I hope you take time to review, reflect and effect change.
A.A. Thought for the Day – May 25 In twelfth step work, the third thing is conviction. Prospects must be convinced that they honestly want to stop drinking. They must see and admit that their life is unmanageable. They must face the fact that they must do something about their drinking. They must be absolutely honest with themselves and face themselves as they really are. They must be convinced that they must give up drinking and they must see that their whole life depends on this conviction. Do I care enough about other alcoholics to help them reach this conviction?