Had a great experience the other day, one that hasn’t happened in a while. I’m trying to get back into AA a little more and while I have a pretty consistent meeting once a week and I’ve been back to the morning meditation and prayer, another meeting is a good idea. I decided to try a meeting close to my house. I went in, like I tend to these days, with low expectations. I know that isn’t the right thing to say when it comes to AA, that every meeting is a good meeting, blah, blah, blah. I’ve been to thousands of meetings at this point and trust me there are some crappy meetings. Sorry, but I don’t always “feel” it when I go to a meeting. So many times in the past few years I go to a meeting and it feels comfortable, almost too comfortable. It is very common that I’ll walk into a meeting and immediately have the most sobriety in the room. Again, I know that isn’t the proper thing to say in AA, that I’m measuring up, comparing myself to others, and sadly closing myself off a little bit. Unfortunately, that’s the truth. It’s easy to be in a room and start to feel annoyed, or worse just bored. I spot the guy who is “hard core,” the Big Book expert, the crier and on and on with the AA meeting archetypes. The best way to sum it up is, quite frankly, I was feeling a bit stale in AA.
I received quite a jolt Monday night. Like I said I went to the meeting with low expectations, a neighborhood meeting in Chicago can be a mixed bag. Many times I’ll go to a non-club meeting only to find out it has stopped meeting, or that it is overly cliquey; or it doesn’t have a real core. I could not have been more wrong on all counts. It was a big meeting, with a good mix of people, with a lot of gray hair. It was apparent that the folks had been going to meetings, this meeting in fact, together for some time, but they made it a point to welcome the new comers, but it didn’t feel forced. People came by and said hi, asked about how I was doing, but also gave me some space. There were also some “real” new comers there, one guy at his first meeting ever, so I got to do some12th step work as well. As far as the meeting itself, it was quite a treat as well. A woman, great-grandma in fact, gave a great lead. I’m talking just kick-ass, relatable, understanding and funny. There was something about a grandma saying she was a violent drunk that I just needed to hear. I always feel at home at a meeting, but I REALLY felt at home at this meeting. I needed some old-timers, not including myself. Oddly enough, I also needed to get to a meeting where I didn’t know anyone. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great, necessary to get to meetings, touch base with people who know you to stay honest. I needed to feel new, to get out of my sober rut.
I felt great afterwards, chatted to one of the new guys for a little bit and was home in five minutes. It was just like old times. I felt connected, useful, and for lack of a better word, young. I’m glad I went, I’ll keep coming back.