“Are we Ready for a Meeting?” the chairperson’s voice rang out in the old church that is an AA meeting hall this afternoon.
A cacophony of voices rang out, “Yes!” and “Hear! Hear!”
We went through the usual twelve steps and traditions and the daily reflection. This always tires me and all this stuff we have to read, and I want to get to the meat of the bone: the confessionals and discussions. We talked today of how us, as alcoholics, must be ever mindful of what we say and do to others – that conflict breeds resentment and that can lead us back to drinking.
As I was walking out of the meeting hall, a very portly man said to me, “Glad you came and I am glad you were here!” It surprised me. Not too many people in my life have been glad I was there in my using days. I am still always amazed at how happy Helen, George, or Mrs. Florene are when they see me. I had terrible self esteem issues for years.
“Thank you,” I told the portly man. “I got a lot out of what you said and what happened to you at church the other day.”
He had spoken about doing service at his church – passing out coats, gloves, and refreshments to impoverished people. He said he resented the people for having to do all this on his Saturday and wished he was somewhere else. He realized the error of his ways and remembered that gratitude was an attitude. He was once one of these impoverished people. He said he started to hand out extra coats, shirts, and hot drinks.
It is a long drive home from Lagrange and I thought long and hard about where I was going. Does all this matter? I am but one insignificant speck in the universe. I then thought that if one thing I shared in today’s meeting touched someone in need then I made a powerful difference in the life of another. That settled it in my mind that I was doing the right thing and to not always just think of me, but what I can do for others. A powerful concept that can be hard to grasp for a recovering alcoholic. A concept I want to learn to master – the art of giving of myself.