A Truly Excellent Meeting

I am guessing (I write with a martyred sigh) that I will be writing my Monday Meeting Wrap-Up posts on Tuesdays during the summer months.  I just can’t seem to get my act together before then, but, better late than never!

Yesterday’s meeting was wonderful in a way it hasn’t been in quite some time.  It’s not that any one big thing happened, I guess a collection of smaller events, but the totality of the experience had me in an upbeat mood for the rest of the day.  Add to it that I was able to meet with my sponsee later that same afternoon, and she is getting close to celebrating 6 months of continuous sobriety, and I had a recovery day unlike any in recent memory.

So what makes a good meeting?  There were a few components that made it special.  I think the number of participants helps.  Too many, and you can get lost in the crowd, or feel intimidated (not that I have ever had to worry about this particular issue).  Too little (an ongoing struggle for my particular meeting), and then people feel forced to share, which can lead to somewhat muddled topics.  We had 10 at yesterday’s meeting, which, as Goldilocks would say, was just right.

Next ingredient that made the meeting magic was the celebration of anniversaries.  We got to celebrate two:  one gentleman had 27 years of sobriety, another had 60 days, and the juxtapositioning of these milestones was inspirational!  The importance of their sober time was so evident to each of the men, that it gave me the chills.

I guess the final piece of the puzzle was the subject matter.  Now on this portion I am obviously biased, since as chairperson, I select the readings.  I picked Chapter 6 from the book Living Sober, entitled Getting Active.  The title jumped out at me, due to my recent commitment to physical fitness, but there was so much more in that chapter than exercise.  In relating to the chapter with the group, it allowed me to relive my life and daily routine in early sobriety, and compare it to the present day, not something about which I sit and ruminate by myself.  After I spoke, every person had something relevant and insightful to share… again, it was a cool thing to hear the perspective of someone 60 days sober, versus someone with 27 years (actually, we had 2 different people with 27 years!).

I will end with this small story, just to give an update on the posts about mystery woman who was “helping” me in June.  When I first arrived, a friend was there before me, a gentleman who normally does not make it to my meeting because he likes to sleep in.  I expressed my surprise and gratitude, and into the parking lot roars my mystery chairperson.  I must have had a look on my face, because John said, “oh, you know Crazy B?”  John is one of the people who have 27 years, so he probably knows most of the AA members in the area.  I explained what had happened in June, and then she walked in.  He immediately took over.  He starting talking with her, and within 2 minutes of the conversation managed to fit in, “You know Josie, right?”  She is the chair of this meeting.  You’re not the chairperson, correct?”

As I’m typing this story out, it sounds condescending, but I promise you it was not.  It was direct, and assertive, but not as obnoxious as it may seem in my storytelling.  She said, “No, I just decided to chair in June.”  John said, “Well, from now on, Josie can let you know if she needs a replacement, you would be willing to help her, right?”  She says, “Sure.”

And in 30 seconds the situation resolved itself.  By the end of the meeting, the woman approached me, and said she is thinking of starting her own meeting!

So, my recovery friends, I’d love to hear from you… what makes a good meeting for you?

Today’s Miracle:

I have been doing a walk/run mile on the treadmill, and was able to shave off an entire minute… Hooray!

Posted on July 9, 2013, in Monday Meeting Miracles and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. I like John there! What a way to settle things down without hurting any feelings and making everyone feel good. Yet assertive. Good stuff from him.

    Glad you had a wonderful recovery day. Sometimes I get them, often I don’t. It’s the kind of plugging away stuff at times. But you get days like the one you had where things just kind of line up and you feel more alive and in tune with things. Meeting with a sponsee certainly helps and chairing the meeting you started has to be a highlight too! and hitting the treadmill gives that physical high on top of that…you must be smiling ear to ear tonight 🙂

    As for what makes a good meeting for me? I don’t have a list of what it is – I guess I could go the cheesy route and say “whatever meeting I’m at” – but that would be a bit dishonest. I certainly have specific meetings that I enjoy more than others. Keeping it literature based is helpful and having strong sobriety in the room, along with a mix of newcomers is always nice. Speaking of, it’s been almost three weeks since my last meeting. Yikes. Life has been crammed for me, so I am going to have to carve out time. Hope ego isn’t getting in the way (who am I kidding, ego always gets in the way…lol)

    Great post!



  2. Hi Paul,

    Thanks for the feedback. I feel a twinge of something… I’ll call it regret… that I was unable to handle it on my own. So I will just focus on the gratitude I have for John, and yes, you would absolutely love him. I often wish I could somehow merge my two worlds: online support with my in-the-rooms support, that would be a hell of a party!

    I am really glad that you said the part that “every meeting is a good meeting” would not be fully correct, because that always has irked me when I heard it in the rooms. It’s not to say that because it was not a “good” meeting, it automatically makes it a “bad” one, it just means, for me anyway, it did not meet that minimum standard of magic that I have come to enjoy.

    So I am waiting with anticipation for your post about the first meeting after 3 weeks of absence… that will be interesting!


  3. i’m so glad things are working out with your woman! She kinda freaked me out, if you wanna know the truth, and i’ve been reading your comments closely about her so i know how to deal with that kind of crazy should it ever rear its ugly head when i’m chairing.

    Thanks for doing this so well!


  4. Thanks, Al, and I appreciate the validation. Believe you me, I was plenty freaked out, and so grateful my friend was there to support me!


  5. I’ve left this post in my box for a week. I couldn’t answer then and I’m still struggling now. While I know I have often said “that wasn’t/was a good meeting” I’m not clear on why I say it. This is bugging me because all my “logical” explanations reek of judgment. I have some journal work to do here. xox me


  6. And I can’t wait to read the post that results from that journaling! Thanks for even taking the time to consider the question, and if you ever reach a conclusion, I hope you share it!


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