Recently, I attended an A.A. meeting, which stands for, alcoholic anonymous. The meeting I went to was located in Penfield, NY at 1601 Jackson Road, area code 14526. It was called the Yellow House.
When I walked in, everyone was very welcoming and nice. Many people stared at me intensely as I entered the Yellow House. I think they thought I was a recovering alcoholic, until I explained to them later that I was there to listen and observe for a school project for my drugs and behavior class. The place was very cozy inside, had a number of chairs lined up for everyone to sit down and coffee ready to drink. I sat down in one of the chairs. A lady came up to me and handed me a coin that said “24 hours recovery”; this was before I had the chance to tell her that I was there to observe for a school project. I guess when you go to an alcoholic anonymous meeting for the first time you get awarded a 24 hour recovery coin to make you feel good and know you’re doing something good to help you recover from your alcoholic addiction.
The meeting started promptly at 5:30 P.M. like it said it would. The leaders read out announcements and let everybody know if someone new has showed up. If you’re new joining alcoholics anonymous, you introduce yourself by saying your name and stating you are an alcoholic, and then everyone else in the room say “hi…” whatever your name is to make you feel welcome. Then the person can either talk more about why they came or stop talking and then another person will randomly say their name and why they are attending and so on. There was a vast majority of adults and older people in their 50s or 60s. There were a couple grandfathers, grandmothers and one or two kids my age. I sat next to a kid who was around the same age as me and I felt shocked that he would be attending this type of meeting at such a young age.
As the stories from the crowd of people kept going on, I recognized everyone clapping very deliberately and diligent at everyone’s accomplishments for the most little to no importance scenarios, for instance, a man got up and said he had been sober for 90 days and everyone clapped for a really long time. I also realized everyone laughed at everything that was the least bit funny to make it feel like a warm, comfortable, atmosphere.
There are meetings every night at this place in Penfield at 5:30 P.M. Each meeting has a different name every night. The meeting I went to was called a “First Step” meeting. It was for people attending the yellow house or an alcoholic anonymous meeting somewhere for the first time and admitting they are an alcoholic and that they want to get sober.
When you start the program, you commit yourself to following a “12 step program” and attending 90 days of alcoholics anonymous. The first step states “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol-that our lives had become unmanageable.” And when you finish the program, you end with the last step, step number twelve, which states: “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.” Attending the alcoholics anonymous groups around the world has changed many recovering alcoholics lives and brought stability to their mind body and soul.