Walking into the AA meeting made me feel very awkward and out of place, but as the meeting began and everyone started sharing their stories I began to feel comfortable about being there. When I first went in the room the chairs were set up in a circle with some on the outside of it. I decided to take a seat on the outside so I wouldn’t be of focus during the meeting. They started the meeting off with reading some inspirational words and then reading the 12 steps. Their focus tonight was on a higher power and how believing in that higher power helps you stay sober.
After brief introductions and stating their names, they began discussion and whoever wanted to speak had the opportunity to do so. Listening to all of their stories was really interesting. Almost all of the members have been sober for at least 30 days and more and about four people were just recently sober, with one being sober only three days now. One of the member’s stories really stood out to me. He said that he has been an alcoholic for years now, but always believed he can cure himself and control how many drinks he has.
He mentioned that he went out last week with his buddies and wasn’t able to stop himself from going overboard with the drinking. He said he was in a blackout for four days and lost his job. That’s why he ended up at the treatment center; he said he realized that it isn’t possible to be a social drinker when you are an alcoholic. During his story he explained how he had the shakes and the classic withdrawal symptoms and I began to think about what I had learned in class and related it. Another member’s story was about social drinking.
She said that her friend was coming home that she knew from college and wanted to get together. She thought about the friendship and realized that she wasn’t a friend and that she was just an old party buddy. She explained that she has a whole new group of sober friends that she hangs out with and that she can’t hang out with her old friends of whom she always went out and drank with. She started saying how she realized she doesn’t even like the sport of football and that she always went out to bars to watch it with friends because it was a time for social drinking.
It brought to light that anything can become an excuse for people to partake in social drinking and too much social drinking can turn into alcoholism for some people. Another patient mentioned that she had her first drink at four years old and was in treatment by ten. I was really perplexed by that comment, thinking how could somebody even know what alcohol is at the age of four. She didn’t elaborate on what or how it happened, so I was just left in shock by that.
There were many other stories told and I felt good after hearing all of them. It’s so nice to see everybody get close with each other and be there for one another when they’re having a bad day or week. They celebrate the landmarks of each other’s length of sobriety and that’s really heartwarming to see. They ended the meeting with the 12 promises and a prayer. Overall, after getting over the initial feeling of awkwardness, it was a successful experience and got to hear about the personal effects of alcohol on their lives.