Alcoholics Anonymous is a program. It is not a quick fix, it is not a course of study. It is a design for living which has brought us an understanding of life and our place in it. We have been rescued from insanity and we have gained knowledge and understanding about alcoholism and we experience joy through extending the hand of A.A. to those still suffering from the disease.
We attended our first meeting either after being sent there or through a suggestion by someone who truly cared for us. After that we kept going to meetings because the members asked us to ‘Keep Coming Back’ or because we realize that we found some people who had overcome alcoholism and had happy lives which we also wanted.
Soon we start attending the meetings to learn more about the program. While working our own steps of recovery we attend meetings to gain knowledge and understanding from others with more experience than us. Maybe we can find a sponsor to guide us along the way in a group or in a meeting.
Before we know it we notice that we have achieved some sobriety. The craving for alcohol seized after we learn to stay away from the first drink and the withdrawal effects have left us. While working the steps undoubtedly also the obsession we had for booze started lifting and we start experiencing the fourth dimension and the promises as described in our ‘Big Book’.
You might ask yourself: “Why a meeting?. After all the steps are outlined in the book. We may do this through self-help.” Some stop attending meetings after some time sober and dedicate this time to other endeavors. In addition to the reasons listed above we list some helpful reasons to incorporate regular A.A. meetings in the design of your new life.
In A.A. meetings we can give back to the program that which was given to us. An important part of the program, step 12, which we will continue to exercise if we want to remain sober teaches us to carry the message of recovery to other alcoholics. We should always be aware that this is a step in OUR recovery. It may be helping others to achieve sobriety but it allows us to maintain ours.
We listen to fellow members express their struggles with alcoholism. This is an important part of the program for both the speaker as well as for the listener. We experience that when we transform the worries and anxieties we have in our heads in to words and get these thoughts across our lips we gain a better understanding and a better grip on our situation and we learn to deal with them.
When we listen to another alcoholic dealing with their demons we are reminded that we are not unique. We are no better nor any worse than millions of members of A.A. Our self-centered ego may not want to listen to other people’s problems and may want us to focus only on our own tribulations but it is exactly through getting out of our selves, through compassion and love for the next guy, that we deflate the ego and build healthy balanced lives.
Finally, we attend meetings to stay connected. We have become part of a community in A.A. No man is an island. We are members of a greater body. Like fingers form a hand, members make up the group. Like hands working together groups cooperate and work for one purpose only. The more hands the lighter the load and the most effective we can be. By doing this work we ultimately learn that we are part of a greater whole which is guided by a Higher Power to do it’s work. If we stay connected we also know we have a network to fall back on. We stand a better chance in staying recovered, like some insurance we buy.
“The farther you go, however, the harder it is to return. The world has many edges, and it’s easy to fall off.”
― Anderson Cooper