by Mark H.
“Meeting makers make it” is my mantra. I’ll tell you why.
Last week I chaired a first step meeting at Uptown House. Every seat was filled, mostly with 20- and 30-somethings, most new to sobriety.
I started the meeting thus: “What do you think is the first thing someone says after they leave AA, start using again and then came back?”
“I quit going to meetings!” most the crowd called out. So true!
Of course, there’s much more to AA than meetings, but I access all the other aspects of AA by going to meetings. Chief among these aspects off AA is a safe haven to tell my story and to hear other alcoholics/addicts tell theirs, but also listening to folks read the Big Book and 12×12 book, the opportunity to discuss your own life, work the 12 steps, finding sponsors, learning about sober events after meetings, finding fellowship like going out with friends before/after meetings, hot coffee, service opportunities and more.
I didn’t want to be an alcoholic, I didn’t want to go to AA, but I didn’t want to end up in jail or die either. When that’s the choice, the choice is easy.
When I first joined AA, I kept coming back because I was terrified of where my life was and where it was going. I needed a way out and was hopeful that AA would work for me.
A few months in, I had a three-month slip (Sobriety Lost Its Priority) before returning to AA. Then, after achieving a few years of sobriety, I started to identify as a person in recovery. AA had become a big part of my personal identity. (AA isn’t my entire life, rather it guides my entire life.)
Then, a few years later, I was given a powerful reminder why meeting makers make it. I was getting a bit bored in sobriety (I needed to do more with my sobriety and life) until I heard one man speak in a meeting. He said he had had 15 years of sobriety, but quit going to meetings and ended up drunk again for some time.
I was used to hearing about newcomers going back out to drink, but never someone with 15 years of sobriety doing it! His story was a powerful reminder why meeting makers make it. The man has stayed sober since and so have I.
Several times over the years I’ve had ‘normies’ ask me, “You’ve been sober all these years and you STILL need to go to those meetings?”
My response is always, “No, I have been sober this long BECAUSE I go to those meetings!”
If you’d like to comment on this story, please email Mark H. at firstname.lastname@example.org