It seems a lot of us are talking about THE Newsweek article ostensibly about AA this week. There was a copy of it lying around the meeting room the other day. Great message for the newcomer. Someone tried to steer the meeting topic to it last night. It didn't work - there are so many new people in the room, I am sure most of them had no clue about the controversy.
So the Midtown Group in Washington DC is bad. So what? There are "bad" groups all over this country. There are many, many more good groups. Whenever you have self-governed groups of social misfits like many alcoholics, you are bound to have trouble now and then. We are alcoholics in various stages of recovery. You have the people who are only there for sex, the people who are only there to try to scam something, etc. If they are alcoholics and keep coming back, and doing the deal, they may eventually straighten out. And maybe not.
The important thing is: If you are alcoholic and want to stay sober in AA, you will either stay sober in whatever group you are in, you will find another group to go to - or you will get drunk. This is not rocket science. It is unfortunate that vulnerable newcomers get hurt by people in AA. But it has happened since the beginning of AA and probably always will. The real story is the incredible love that is showered upon newcomers and oldtimers and everyone in between at most AA groups all around the world - every single day. But who wants to write an article about that?
Last night I had an upsetting incident. I got home and cried. Then I cried some more, and then my crying seemed to feed my crying. I got on my knees and prayed. And still I cried. After a while, I realized I would need to call someone. The person I thought of was Larry, so I called Larry. He listened to me while I cried. He listened to me even though I had a hard time telling him what was wrong. He listened, and listened, and listened. He told me that when he sees me his heart is happy. He told me I am a kind person and a good person. He told me that whatever I was telling myself was not correct. And he told me that I would need to do some work and get with my sponsor. I told him I am already writing and working with my sponsor. This is what AA is about. One drunk helping another drunk. A simple voice on the other line, listening. The incredible love that we show one another, in the most simple ways.
I am forever grateful for Alcoholics Anonymous and all that has happened to me in it... good and bad. Because it is all good - I am a sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous, and you can't get any better than that - if you are a drunk like me.
"It all went on a little care about golf-score size. The cover read: 'Middleton Group #1. Rule #62.' Once the card was unfolded, a single pungent sentence leaped to the eye: ' Don't take yourself too damn seriously.'" -- Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 149