It's been a good week for meetings. My home group met on Monday night. Being the last Monday of the month it was our speaker meeting, where the speaker gets the whole hour. We heard from someone who regularly attends our first meeting of each month (because it's a a Tradition meeting) but never any other.
On Tuesday night, I attended a meeting I rarely go to and heard Luigi, who had a great, great message. On the surface he and I have little in common, other than being alcoholics. He grew up on the city streets; I was a country boy. He was a heroin addict; I never got into any drugs. He never thought about getting a job till after he was sober; I never considered not having one. But he seemingly spoke directly to me, about how we can focus on the differences and find plenty of them, or focus on the similarities and find plenty of those too. With several years sober he had the thought that a lot of us have had: that we can go out for one night, have a few drinks then just come back to A.A. and easily get sober again. Luigi acted on that thought and couldn't get back for quite a while. I'm quite sure I'd get similar results.
On Wednesday night, my sponsor, The Rock, spoke at an anniversary meeting. He was outstanding. I've heard him several times and this was the best so far, full of humility, gratitude and emotion.
Early Thursday night, I went on my semi-regular walk and was debating whether to go to a meeting. I decided against it just before I got home. I walked in the house at 7:45 pm and got a load of criticism dumped on me, turned around and walked out to my car to drive to an 8:00 pm meeting. I was a few minutes late to the meeting—something I hate to be—but it did for me what I needed it to do and came out feeling a little less restless, a little less irritable and a little less discontent.
Last night I took Nimue to our Intergroup's annual dinner-dance, attended by almost 500 people. I asked her, thinking she wouldn't want to go, but for some reason decided she wanted to. I wound up half wishing I hadn't asked her, not because of anything that happened, but just because I'm more comfortable these days when I'm not around her. I saw a lot of friends and heard a DCM with whom I served on Panel 51 (2001-2002). I had heard him before too, and he was as good as ever on Saturday night.
This afternoon I spoke at a meeting 40 minutes away that I've never attended. I felt pretty good about how it turned out and had a nice drive home through some gorgeous countryside on a wonderful fall day (unlike the drive up which was up a main artery with far too much traffic and wall-to-wall commercial establishments lining most of the distance). I hit on two points I always try to remember to make: the importance of the steps and of carrying the message.
A guy who shared after I spoke commented that, for him, the steps are the meat and potatoes of the program. I like good analogies and the more I thought about this one, the more I liked it. Meat and potatoes don't just magically appear on the table for us to eat. There's a cook or two in the kitchen who had to prepare them. Someone had to go to the store and buy the raw ingredients. Some people at the grocery store had to make sure these ingredients were available on the shelves. Some others had to transport the raw goods from wherever they were produced to the retail outlet. Still others raised the beef and grew the potatoes and harvested them both. And these are just the most obvious things that had to happen. There are many, many services that go on behind the scenes in order to make the meal available, all of them essential.
Then tonight I attended another anniversary, that of my first home group, where I first got involved in general service. I was their GSR for about 15 months in 1993-1994. I heard the same person speak that spoke at the same church for another group's anniversary eight days ago. He's a guy I saw regularly in early sobriety but rarely see anymore. He was a big help to me in those early days and I got thank him publicly for it.
I'm so fortunate to have so many meetings to choose from, to have so many recovering alcoholics for friends. It wasn't alway so and still isn't so many places today, both in the U.S. and around the world. And it wasn't ever so, anywhere for ages and ages, up until a few decades ago. So if I'm still feeling restless, irritable and discontent, it could be worse. Much much worse.