Note: Post written a couple of months after events described
My first AA meeting was horrible. I was not ready for it, I had certain expectations of what it would be like, and they were met. Not to sound elitist, but the room was filled with toothless disheveled folks talking about Alcohol and God, many of them had court papers – so they weren’t entirely there by choice. A very sketchy looking woman asked me for a ride to the corner, I said yes but when the meeting was over she didn’t seem to be seeking me out so I just slipped out the door. I just did not identify and I left there angry – this was certainly not for me!
I have heard more than once “If you don’t like a meeting, find another one”. Luckily I followed this advice, before I had ever heard it, maybe that was my higher power interceding. Five days later, I tried another meeting. A men’s only, closed (alcoholics only) meeting. Put simply, it was amazing. The room filled with all varieties: tough guys, old guys, young guys, guys in shorts, guys in suits, heavily tattooed guys, blue collar, white collar, everything. They were hugging and genuinely happy to see each other – and I immediately wanted to be a part of it all. My lack of true connection to other people became immediately apparent. Bolstered with the realization that there were others like me, I stood up for the first time and admitted to these men that I was an alcoholic. Immediately, it was like someone had just lifted a 20 ton boulder off of my shoulders.
When the speaking began, my amazement grew. The talk was not just about Alcohol, or how they had found God and their lives were great. There was brutal honesty. Grown men talking about the crazy shit in their minds that leads them astray: anger, resentment, fear, jealousy, etc. Speaking about their imperfections and how they were striving to better themselves. Where they had failed and where they were still failing. I was blown away – in my world, men did not do this. I believe I can say that I never had a male role model who could admit faults and imperfections. This is the behavior I had learned and practiced throughout my life. I do not miss this meeting, only once so far on the day my house was burglarized. I am learning new behavior from these men and I like the feeling.
I am now able to go to some of the more regular AA meetings (Alcohol, God, life is great) without problem and can enjoy them as well. I see the different perspective and I have my mens meeting to ground me and help me keep thinking about the things that go deeper than just drinking or not drinking.
So, to reiterate, if you feel you need AA and try a meeting and don’t connect – try another one.