It’s amazing how much power I gave the chairpersons. I know now it’s simply service work and the chairperson is just a small cog in a big wheel. At the time, I saw them as powerful and at the top of the pecking order. I would go up and ask them questions – whether they were male or female, young or old.
I already wrote about my FIRST first meeting. But there were other first meetings. They all seemed like firsts, especially with the years spanning between them. But these were close-ish together.
1. Wednesday Night at 8PM in 2002 – This was my first meeting in a while. My reasons for going were always the same. I drew a line in the sand and announced to myself “when I start doing THAT, I’m quitting.” And I would. For a couple of days or so. Then I’d draw the line in the sand a little further out. But now the stakes were getting higher and I went to a meeting because I was getting violent AND blacking out. In the instance that drove me to not only go to this meeting, but to call the hotline in the wee early morning hours, was violence. Domestic violence. I was the aggressor. I went to the meeting and sobbed. People would take an interest in me and ask what was wrong and I gushed. I gushed the details and no one batted an eyelash and to me, it was the worst thing I had EVER done. One man asked how much I had drank and I told him. I forget the ounces/liters/pints/quarts/measurements ….. but he whistled and shook his head. He asked why I wasn’t at ______________ [the name of the local detox]. I shrugged. He suggested I buy candy. “There’s lots of sugar in alcohol ……. candy will help.”
2. Friday Night at 6:30PM in 2002 – now the meetings were growing in frequency. I think this one was two month’s later and it was the beginning of putting together 2 months. TWO months. But I didn’t know that at the time and couldn’t possibly imagine that. It was a small room with brick walls. The chairman ultimately took me under his wing, introducing me to his girlfriend and other ladies he knew to be respectable. He ALWAYS checked on me if he saw me at a meeting. I felt important. A CHAIRMAN was checking in with me. I had no idea that he was just another guy. I think he had 3 years then and it seemed like an infinity to me. I couldn’t fathom having THREE whole years. I went there because I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. There was no clap of thunder, no parting of the heavens, no epiphany, no jackpot…… the night before, I had one shoe on and was intending to go to the package store. I thought, “Why don’t I just stop tonight? Like for practice?” I had no idea I was beginning to think of sobriety as “one day at a time.” I planned to possibly drink the next day, but I didn’t. I went to a meeting, fully expecting I might drink the next day – but I didn’t. I went to a meeting.
That last one, that “Friday Night” in 2002 is a special day to me. It’s the day I had the requirement for AA MEMBERSHIP: a desire to stop drinking. That genuine desire came then – even if it’s not my sobriety date because I had to experiment some more – but that was the beginning of my AA membership. I didn’t get a laminated ID card and I was never issued a number. But it’s special to me.