Last night there were five of us at the 8:00 meeting. I chair this meeting every Sunday night. The last few weeks there have been only a handful of us at the meeting. Last night it was just three of us to begin with: M, T and myself. The three of us ladies all share a drug-using background as well as a past with alcohol. Tradition three states: The only requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking. Sunday night is a closed discussion meeting. Closed meetings are limited to alcoholics only. S showed up after the meeting began. He is a recovering IV drug user. Meth, I assume. Heroin is not a big drug in these parts of the country. L came in after we had begun reading “A Ward of the Probate Court” from Experience, Strength and Hope, a volume of the stories from the first three editions of Alcoholics Anonymous. Though the Sunday night meeting is a closed discussion meeting, I held a group conscience and asked if anyone would mind if we read this story, thinking that we might not have much of a discussion with only 4 people present. The discussion after we read the story, which began with S, turned to “other issues”–program speak for drugs. He spoke of needles and spoons. I did not shut him down. S shares rarely in meetings and I was not about to stop him tonight. He stopped himself at one point and wondered allowed if he were saying the “right” things. I told him that he was speaking our language, that no one in the small group that was there that night was going to ask him to leave for speaking about issues other than alcohol in a closed meeting. I wanted to hear what he had to say. T shared about the first time she was arrested. It was for having a meth lab in her back yard. M shared about losing her home and children–twice–to alcohol and drugs. L shared about becoming a cocaine dealer so that he could use as much as he liked. I shared a little bit about drugs, even though alcohol was my drug of choice. Although we all talked about addiction in the form of chemicals, we each touched on the solution. Here is what the author of the story shares about our new way of living:
I have a new outlook on life. I look forward to each day with happiness because the real enjoyment it is to me to be sane, sober, and respectable. I was existing really from one drink until the next, with no perception about circumstances, conditions, or even nature’s elements. My acquaintance with God-lost and forgotten when I was a young man-is renewed. God is all-loving and all-forgiving. The memories of my past are being dimmed by the life I now aspire to.
I was like this man, existing from one drink to the next. I shared in the meeting that whether it was drugs or alcohol, nothing filled that hole like the solution that I found in Alcoholics Anonymous. There was a plateau with those substances, but in recovery there is no plateau. I can go as high as I seek to go. The way this man has worded the last sentence has particular meaning, to me: “The life I now aspire to”. I don’t always live this way of life the way it is laid out for me. I aspire to live this way. What I have is a daily reprieve, contingent on the maintenance of my spiritual condition. I miss the mark, often. I will take steps forward and then take steps back. But I will continue to advance.