Faces, voices, and holding hands with strangers

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As I’ve embraced a life that revolves around recovery, I’ve suspected that I’m missing something by not connecting in person with others who are doing the same.

I decided yesterday to look up a meeting. There are so many available.  I selected one close to home (though not the one at the end of the block, which feels too close) and I chose one that is for women only, thinking it may feel a bit less intimidating for my first visit.

I’ve read a lot of AA literature and testimonials, and I had an idea of what to expect, but I was nervous as I pulled tentatively into the church parking lot. There were a few other cars parked and I watched a couple of women walk into a side door of this building that I’d never entered.   I followed, staying close enough not to lose sight of them as they made their way to the “fireside room”.

As I walked in, the woman who turned out to be the meeting chair asked if I was new and we introduced ourselves. I took a seat on a chair set up in a circle. This could have been a Tupperware party in a neighbor’s living room. It felt cozy and familiar as a dozen or so women filtered in and took their seats.

The discussion was organized but not formal. The topic was the 12th Step – reaching out to others and being of service. A couple of women did readings and then one by one, each person made comments.

One voice at a time, I heard bravery, sincerity, humility, maturity, faith, and loving kindness. Each face was like a textured canvas painted with subtle colors, inviting me to take notice of the nuances and enter an open landscape. Then I spoke, and the eyes around me responded. They knew me.

The voices and the faces. In real time. That’s what I’ve been missing.

The meeting opened and closed with us standing in a circle, holding hands, reciting the Serenity Prayer. Then came the hugs, and the “welcomes” and “glad you’re heres” and “come backs”.

I didn’t turn to AA to get sober 22 months ago.

I haven’t relied on the 12 Steps to stay sober.

But I think I’m going to include the program and fellowship of AA to grow in my recovery.

“Yes,” I said. “I’ll come back”.

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6 Comments on “Faces, voices, and holding hands with strangers”

  1. really enjoyed reading this, thank you!

  2. This is a beautiful testimonial of an AA meeting. I am so glad you enjoyed it, and that you are coming back! I can’t wait to read more!

  3. UnPickled says:

    Awesome. So happy for you!

  4. glenn says:

    I very much enjoy your writing. Going to AA, when I do, is usually a stress relieving occasion to relate and be reassured that others, in a face to face environment, can understand my addiction. While AA is not the sole reason to which I can attribute my sobriety it played a role. I appreciate your take on your attendance and I believe that I understand where you are coming from. Thank you for sharing such a thoughtful piece.


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