Sunday, May 30, 2010

Home Groups

There's a little sprig of lilac - brought indoors to scent my entire house. It is stationed between two icons. The large one I did myself - St. Michael the Archangel. The small triptych was a gift from London from my beloved sponsee. You do not "paint" an icon, you "write" an icon. I took a class 4 years ago. I wish I could take another, but it cost a fortune and took an entire week. Someday... someday.

This morning I hopped in my car and drove 18 miles to my old homegroup. Every single time I drive there, I say - "this is NOT my OLD homegroup - this IS my homegroup." This is where I belong. It has never ceased to be where I belong. I don't know why that is. I have gone for 15 years to the other group. But the old group is where I belong.

Here is a little illustration:

On Friday morning at the southern (new) group: I shared - I never share for more than 10 minutes. After about 5 minutes, I said something about shutting up, but continued to talk for probably 5 minutes - because I thought of something else. After I talked, a young man who is brand new and in serious trouble for domestic violence shared. After he talked for 15 minutes or so, he told me - in the meeting - that he was resentful at me for talking SO LONG - after I said I was going to shut up. The guy was obviously enraged and pretty nuts. I just smiled and told him it was OK. And there was a whole room full of people watching this -

This morning at the northern (old) group: I wasn't going to share. I was happy to just sit there and look at my old pals and listen to the old and new people talk about real AA stuff. Real sobriety stuff. But the chair person called on me. I talked for a little bit about probably nonsensical stuff - probably what I wrote last night in my blog. About being grateful to be sober. About my son's wife being pregnant. About being present in the moment and available to my family - because I am not drunk. After the meeting, three different new guys - not old friends - but new guys who do not even know me at all - came up to me and thanked me for what I said and told me they wished I came to that meeting more often.

Nobody at the old group is getting their phones out and texting or reading magazines during the meeting as they do at the other meeting. And they all pray - they say the third step prayer at the beginning of the meeting and the Lord's prayer at the end of the meeting. They have not opted to try to throw God out yet, Thank God. Maybe that is the difference.

I guess I know where I belong.

Oh, I know some AA members say they have never been to a bad meeting - but I have. I have been to meetings where there have been fist fights and chairs thrown - I would call that a bad one. I have been to meetings where people have been called names, etc. Those were not stellar either.

I am facing a lot of losses right now - I am not writing about them - some of them I will sooner or later, some of them I will not out of respect for others' privacy - I am profoundly sad. If I can go to a meeting and actually hear about recovery from alcoholism, the steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, and be treated nicely instead of crazily, I think I would prefer that, thank you very much. We do have these choices you know.

I can treat myself well by going to the meetings that will be good for me and will contribute to my recovery from alcoholism. This is a life and death proposition.

By the Grace of God, I can choose Life.


Kelly said...

You know, accepting and enjoying God's presence can make a world of difference. It sounds like the southern group knows this, and the northern group just isn't there yet.

in al-anon, we suggest 6 meetings for this very reason. each group has a different flavor, a different flare.

I'm glad you have your older group, and God.

Carverlane said...

MC, I dropped by to see if you perhaps had a Memorial Day message, and you have been back since THURSDAY! I am so, so happy to see you back. You have been missed!

Kim from sAn Antonio

Syd said...

I think the home group just feels like home--comfortable and with a lot of good times as well as ability to comfort each other.

dAAve said...

I think you hit on the secret. We go to the meetings that are good for us; the ones in which we can not only receive the message, but occasionally give back as well.
This can be different for all of us. It's not up to me to say what's a good meeting for you -- and vice versa.

Anonymous said...

Your icon of St. Michael the Archangel is beautiful! I joined a class that met weekly a few years ago but the class ended due to poor participation. I had big plans to finish my icon at home but never did. (Maybe I should say "not yet!") Congratulations on your perseverance, Mary Christine.

As far as meetings....I too have definite preferences and feel lucky to live in a city with lots of different meetings. There was only one little group in the town where I got sober. Somehow it worked! Eternally grateful for that!!!

Ann P.