I brought a gift to my first meeting all wrapped in denial, fear, and shame: my disease. Only I didn’t really believe this gift was an illness; I thought it was a weakness, a moral weakness. If I were a better, stronger, smarter person than I could drink alcohol with out borrowing trouble.
Because trouble came with every drink.
Sometimes, trouble was dark feelings; sometimes it fomented stupid arguments. Other times, trouble and I did some dumb and dangerous things – like I coulda been arrested for some of those dumb things!
At that first meeting, though, many people seemed to have what they said was their disease better wrapped. Nobody looked weird; they made sense when they spoke, and some seemed to know my story.
That was weird.
What was more strange was no gave me a lecture; they laughed – sympathetically. They nodded, and smiled. The people at that first meeting gave me time to speak – briefly, and told me to keep coming back.
After I got over the shock, that yes, there was room in this room for me and my drinking patterns, that invitation to come back was like a tiny spark. Maybe I would not screw up the way I saw others doing – or, worse, the way I was headed, with drinking my primary goal in daily life.
At the meetings I attend today, the group not only invites newbies to keep coming back, but we tell them we need them.
Why do we do that?
Because newcomers, or new –again-ers teach us by their experiences what we will have if we think we are sober enough to pick up. Hopefully they will discover from our experiences, the strength and hope to work their own recovery.
They can take what works, and leave the rest.
Even the court-ordered “visitors” I need. I need to remember:incarceration is more likely in my future than me learning to drink responsibly.
Recovery is a way better gift than the one I brought. It’s not always easy or simple to unwrap; it is worth it. And I’ve been told, if I want my misery back, I can have it when I pick up. Not a good exchange for me today.
May God strengthen our hands, with the hope of His gifts of Hope and healing.
Love in Christ,
Sober and Grateful