I have been having trouble getting to meetings with any regularity for some time now.
My list of excuses has three main themes. Together they form a set of ideas that have real power to keep me away from meetings. The reality is that this is just silly drivel that seemingly justifies not getting myself out of the house and into the proverbial chair I have paid such a high price to earn.
Here are the big three:
- I don’t know many people/meetings here – I moved to my present house about 9 months ago but have been coming and going (foreign and domestic trips, from months to weeks at a time) so much that I still feel like I just moved here.
- I am so busy – My main work, my upcoming marriage, developing my own business.
- My back issues – It had been real uncomfortable, for much of the time I have been in my new home location, to get around and even to sit down.
All of this may be true but it is pretty weak. I am a drunk and if I want to remain a sober one then my alcoholism and God need to be my two biggest priorities. One outward sign of this commitment to keeping- my-ducks-in-a-row is attending meetings. Going to meetings is really so easy – it should be a no brainer. It can also serve as a serious underpinning of supporting so many other things I can do to maintain my sobriety. Meetings will of course not keep me sober but can help me, and allow me to help other people, in a a myriad of ways.
Another part of this is how easy it truly can be for me to get to a meeting where I now live. I am just outside of a major U.S. city. There are many meetings within miles of my house that are taking place morning, noon, and night.
One of my old sponsees, now living in another part of the country, pointed something out to me about my not attending many meetings. He said I was able to begin to help him because I consistently attended my home group. After watching and listening to me this fellow showed up at that meeting one day and asked me to sponsor him. If I wasn’t there I never would have been given the gift of helping to take him through the steps, to see him get sober, and to remain a part of his still improving life. I know from experience with him and with others that being so deeply involved in someone’s recovery is one of the most gratifying experiences I can have. So why go to few meetings and decrease my chances of connect with new people?
Another aspect of this is I need to be much more active in getting out to help others. It is one thing to be at meetings and somewhat passively attract others to the idea of being sober. The steps have taught me I need to be proactive in spreading the news about recovery from alcoholism. I need to get plugged into and become part of that group of local AA folks that are doing the real AA footwork – going out on the front lines of alcoholism, as the big book puts it. I’ll come across these dedicated people at meetings. They are not going to show up at my doorstep while I’m sitting at home working on my next big project.
So let this post serve as a warning and sounding shot – to me! Get off my rump and go claim my seat. Find out who I need to be around to best position myself to find the next poor drunk that needs God to work through me (or perhaps that poor, newly sober bastard needs to teach me a thing or two!). Get back in a position to be able to tell folks what this program of action has to offer. Find more like minded friends and once again be a part of a fellowship I enjoyed in those places where I was more a part of AA, rather than the newly sober drunk or the new guy in town.
Last week was a good start. Three meetings, rather than one or none. I need to build on that but realize a new week is beginning. The here and now is what matters.