I do believe that is why AA has worked where everything else had failed. We are just a bunch of drunks who have found a way to stay sober and hope to pass that along to others because it helps us to stay sober. (here's the disclaimer, I slept too late this morning, I didn't run this morning, and I have a lingering broken heart - this might be where the leakage into my life is showing....)
So, last night I went to the 5:30 meeting, they have declared the Thursday night meeting a "newcomers" meeting in the last few months. I liked it at first. Last night it just hit me all wrong. Very wrong. At the beginning of the meeting, they ask for the usual... anyone at their first, 2nd, or 3rd meeting since their last drink?... clap, clap, clap. Anyone in their first 30 days? clap, clap, clap. Anyone celebrating 30, 60, or 90 days? clap, clap, clap. Anyone celebrating an anniversary of a year, or multiples thereof? clap, clap, clap. (This is what my friend Larry calls the Academy Awards.) Then they go on with this meeting and ask all of those in their first year to raise their hand. Most of the hands in the room go up. This is where they lost me. Then the format is that the "new" people, in their first year of sobriety, share in the first half of the meeting, and then the experts will respond in the second half.
Hmmm. so why not rope off the room in the middle. Or get color coded tee-shirts. People with 30 days or less get red tee shirts, 30-60 days get yellow, 60-90 get green, 90 days to 60 months - blue... etc.
AA works because we are all in the same boat. Any time you cut that up, you cup up our chances for recovery. I really believe that. We all start by saying "my name is ____, I am an alcoholic." I do not hyphenate my alcoholism. I don't say I am a GRATEFUL alcoholic, a HAPPY alcoholic, a RECOVERING, or RECOVERED alcoholic. When I do that, I separate myself from you. I divide our commonality. I say I AM SPECIAL.
Does it make us feel better on some level to believe that once I have achieved x amount of time of sobriety that I will be immune from drink or insanity? Does it make "new" people feel better to believe that we have rankings in AA? I looked around that room last night and realized that I was sober longer than anyone there. What the hell kind of honor is that? I just want to be one of the drunks. I just want to talk to a new lady and show her that I care, that I understand, and that I have found a way to stay sober. I don't want to sit on one side of the room and be set up as an expert. An expert what?
I won't be going back to that meeting. I can go any other day of the week, and most of those same people will be there, but I find the format on Thursday extremely offensive.
"As sobriety means long life and happiness for the individual, so does unity mean exactly the same thing to our Society as a whole. Unified we live, disunited we shall perish." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 229