19 October 2007

Attitudes towards meetings

Last night's speaker identified three phases he went through in his attitude towards A.A. meetings. These all occurred during the first 11 months of his sobriety, while he was in prison. He was in a work release program where, starting with one night a week, they gradually increased the number of nights he was allowed out to attend A.A. meetings, as he continued to not screw up.

At first, he said, he went because he had to. He hated being there and kept thinking, "Is this what my life has come to? To hang out with a bunch of alcoholics?" After a while he entered the second phase, where he realized that he always felt better while at a meeting. He still would have preferred not to go at all, but had to admit that it wasn't so bad. Finally, towards the end of his 11 months, he started looking forward to going to meetings—phase three.

This reminded me of what I was told in early sobriety: there are only two times I needed to go to a meeting: (1) when I wanted to and (2) when I didn't want to. In early sobriety, the number of times I went for the second reason exceeded the number of times I went for the first, but quite a lot. At some point, years ago, that changed. Now I rarely go for the second reason (though it does happen, usually when I'm thinking, "I've got better things to do").

After a number of years of sobriety, I recognized a fourth phase in my attitude toward meetings, namely, to go because I might have something to offer a newcomer, because I might be able to help someone who is struggling. For me, this brings the deepest satisfaction of all.


Kathy Lynne said...

I can see myself progressing through these phases. I found myself very uncomfortable at some of my earlier meetings because I felt on the outside. Lots of people knew each other and laughed together and I didn't get the joke. I was just in pain. Now, even if it is my first time at a meeting, I feel comfortable. Definately progress in 4 months. Love it!

dAAve said...

I have heard that before -- that someone didn't want to hang out with a bunch of alcoholics.

Who the hell were they hanging out with in the bars?
My feeling is that I traded one group of drunks (in the bars) for another group of drunks (in AA).

sharonsjourney said...

I have progressed thru those phases. But I also go because I need to go. I have sure been needing to lately, there's some things that have come up that I'm having a hard time with. Not terribly serious tho. I s'pose it's only a bump in the road. I haven't reacted very well, that's the biggest part right there, my own reaction. So in that is the solution. Thanks

Katia said...

I like going to meetings for the most part. I have to admit that I feel better after meetings. There are things that frustrate me, but they have nothing to do with the meetings themselves.....personality differences, if you will.

I get all kinds of annoyed, but I also get over it.

recoveryroad said...

"Is this what my life has come to? To hang out with a bunch of alcoholics?"

--Yup. Remember that myself...drafty church halls on a Saturday night. Glad I stuck it out. Saved my life.

Lmao - at Dave.

Anonymous said...

i loved when i started to feel like "i don't HAVE to go to meetings, i GET to go to meetings." the phases of sobriety are amazing.