Another day, another milestone! Today I had the privilege of chairing my first 12-step meeting. A little background… each fellowship, I am sure, has its own proceedings, but in Alcoholics Anonymous, each meeting is very regimented. It is typically one hour long, and has one person who leads the meeting… that person is the chairperson. There is an agenda that is followed exactly the same at each meeting. There are different types of meetings: speaker meetings, where the chairperson asks a member of the fellowship to share his or her story. There are literature meetings, where the group reads a portion of AA-approved literature. Finally, there are topic meetings, where the chair person talks about something related to recovery. No matter which type of meeting, the last 30 minutes are devoted to sharing, where the group talks about how they relate to the speaker, literature or topic, or they simply share what is going on in their lives as it pertains to their addiction.
Mondays at my group are speaker meetings, so I asked my sponsor to share her story with the group. I was very surprised to discover that I was nervous this morning. Typically I don’t mind speaking in front of people, plus I believed that the chairperson has a fairly straightforward job. But I did not realize how different it would feel sitting in front of the group, rather than in the midst of it. And I felt the importance of my task from the moment I sat down… this meeting could be life or death to someone, and I was in charge of it! It felt like a tremendous responsibility in the moment. And yet, at the same time, the encouragement and support from the “regulars” who have gotten to know me in the past 93 days was absolutely overwhelming, and gave me the strength I needed to power through.
And I don’t really have the words to describe the feeling of accomplishment I had when I completed the meeting. I have been watching the chairperson for a really long time, and thinking that I would never meet the requirements for taking on the role (90 days of sobriety), so the feeling of pride I have, even now, is amazing, and I look forward to volunteering for the role again!
If I get to bed tonight, I will have 90 days clean and sober. This is a milestone in the recovery world… I will receive a coin to commemorate the event at my meeting tomorrow, and I will get lots of accolades from my comrades.
Since I am so close to a mile marker, I have spent some time reflecting on what has happened in the past 90 days. And really, it is nothing short of a miracle. In many ways, 3 months is not a very long period of time, and yet…
Three months ago I truly believed my life, as I knew it, was over. Every single relationship in my life was in jeopardy. My marriage, I believed, was over. My home life, ruined. The list goes on and on about what was wrong. I really cannot overstate the depths of despair that I was in. I felt that my addiction caused permanent, irreparable damage to every area of my life.
Fast forward to today… I start off the day, in my own home, with a warm hug and a waiting cup of coffee from my husband. I have the privilege of getting my children ready for, and taking them to, school. I spend a little time getting prepared for a big family party, then head down to my regular 12-step meeting. I walk into the meeting, a little early, and am greeted with yells from across the room, calling me by name. People stop to ask me specific questions about my life, and genuinely want to hear my response. When I tell people about how good my life is, they are ecstatic, because they clearly remember how sad I was when they first met me 90 days ago. And that was just the morning!
The miracles are too numerous to count. If all this can happen in 90 days, imagine what will happen 6 months, or a year?