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The Glass is Half Full, Dammit!

 

Today is Monday, so, once again, I will write about the meeting I started.  I mentioned in an earlier post that I did a “media blitz” in an attempt to draw more people to my meeting.  While it is always wonderful (at least it is in my humble opinion), I believe that more people should be able to experience the wonder, because, generally speaking, I have no more than 6 people in attendance.  Again, I am not speaking to the quality… 2 people can have a great meeting, but the more people, the more input, the more wisdom that is shared.  So off I went, papering my local area with a snazzy new flyer, and speaking of it to anyone I could find to listen.

Last week I had 3 newcomers, which was wonderful, but several “regulars” did not show up so I had the same basic number… six attendees.

So this week, the literature I used (week 4 in the rotation is “chairperson’s choice”) was an article from the AA publication The Grapevine, written by the founder of AA, published in 1947.  Very cool article, and very, very relevant to the “clubhouse” that houses my meeting.  I was quite proud of myself for finding it, and printed out a few more than I normally would have in attendance…

And I STILL didn’t have enough, because 14 people attended my meeting, my largest to date!  Several of them raised their hands and said they came as a result of the flyer I sent out… awesome, right?!?

So here’s why I posted the image above.  About 2 minutes into the reading of the article, a woman abruptly stood up and left the meeting.  For those who do not regularly attend AA, this is a breach of an unspoken rule of etiquette… except for an emergency, wait for the break in the meeting before you leave.  Certainly there could have been an emergency, but of course my insecure mind grappled with this incident for several minutes… Oh no!  She hates the meeting, she hates the article, she can’t even wait for the break to get out of here.  Did I ever mention I like to make things all about me?

So here’s the progress:  first, I only struggled with this for a short amount of time.  Second, I shared about it with people I trust at the earliest opportunity.  I find that the quicker I “tell on myself,” the quicker my ridiculous trains of thoughts evaporate.  And, most importantly, I turned it around, and will be floating on air for the rest of this day… 14 people at my meeting!

Today’s Miracle

Did I mention that I had 14 people attend my meeting this morning?

The Gift of Giving: A Small Tribute to My Sponsor

The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them. – Ernest Hemingway

Normally I would write about the lessons that come from my Monday morning meeting.  While the meeting was as awesome as always, the topic of today’s meeting was Step 4, and since I am committed to writing about the steps each week for the next 12 weeks, I will save this topic for a future post.

Instead, I want to write about an experience I had yesterday.  I mentioned numerous times in the past how instrumental my sponsor has been in helping my recovery.  She spent many hours with me, one-on-one, taking me through the steps in the most in-depth way, more so than most people I encounter in the Fellowship of AA.  She is always available when I need her for ongoing support.  Most recently, she is a tremendous source of guidance as I stumble my way through the early stages of sponsoring other women.  In short, she is a gift from God.

The one challenge my sponsor and I encounter is our geographical distance, because we live about 45 minutes from each other.  Because of this distance, Anne and I do not run into each other in meetings, and our sober support networks are very different.  There is some overlap, but not much.  There happens to be one woman who attends the same Friday morning meeting I attend, and we are both lucky enough to be Anne’s sponsees.  This woman mentioned to me, in passing, that she was planning a surprise luncheon to celebrate Anne’s AA anniversary, and that I was welcome to attend.  I got the date, time and venue from her, and told her I would be there, but that is all I really knew about the celebration.

I arrived, yesterday, at the restaurant, thinking that it would be myself, Anne, and maybe one or two others that I probably wouldn’t know.  What actually happened was this:  we had our own room within the restaurant, and we needed our own room because there were 22 women all coming to celebrate the anniversary of the woman who had helped each of us get our lives back from the disease of addiction.  22 women!

I wish I had a picture of Anne’s face as she turned the corner into the room of women waiting for her.  You know that play of emotions… first confusion, then shock, and then the tears start flowing?  It was all there… she truly had no idea she was coming to a celebration just for her.

For me, the experience was just overwhelming… to see that much love, and that much joy, in one room, was awe-inspiring.  These are 22 women who would not know each other in “normal” life… in fact, I thought I was the only “odd man out,” since I had come the furthest distance, but as it turned out, many of the women did not know one another.  We had two things in common:  we are all alcoholics, and we owe an enormous debt of gratitude to the woman we were honoring that day.

I know, for myself, that I have thanked Anne numerous times, and felt I could never repay her all the time and attention she lavished upon me.  Every time I attempted to verbalize these thoughts, she always told me that she was getting so much more out of the experience than I knew, and that someday I would understand how much she enjoyed teaching me the 12-step program.    Spending time with all the women Anne has helped through the years, and seeing all the lives she has touched, I know one thing for sure:  I am so blessed to have met this very special woman!

Today’s Miracle:

I wrote last week that I had a goal of getting to as many different meetings as I could in an attempt to market my own Monday meeting.  Today’s miracle is that, as a result of my “marketing campaign,” I had 3 new attendees at today’s meeting!

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