I went to one of my favorite AA meetings yesterday.
It was one of the first ones I went to after I finally decided I needed to stop drinking.
Although I have far from perfect attendance, I know many of the people.
When the leader asked if someone had some sober time they'd like to celebrate, I raised my hand to celebrate my 9 months.
I shared the story of my last humiliating drinking time, along with my cochlear implant operation and healing, because both of these things affected me greatly.
I learn something every time I step into this room. This time was no different.
I was humbled, when the people who have seen me over these last 9 months, made some lovely comments on my growth.
The most touching comment came from a man who I had not even known had seen me that much.
He said that when I first came down the stairs, I was in such pain. That I was "in a mess". (Not his exact words, but as I can't hear everything it was something like that.)
He said, now every time he sees me, I have a beautiful smile on my face.
That it brings him joy.
I almost cried.
I had no idea.
Another lady at the meeting shared how she had killed someone in an accident. Although the accident had not been totally her fault, she had been drinking and so she was sentenced to prison. She said she will never be able to forget what she had done. Gone from the top of her career to nothing.
The room was so quiet.
This could have been me, as I did drive after drinking many, many times.
One time, I even blacked out while driving and have no memories of how I got from one place to another in my car.
This is why I think it is so important not to judge or compare other stories as worse or better than our stories. They are just different stories. All having to do with the pain caused by this drug of alcohol.
After the meeting, we stayed and talked. I hugged the lady who shared her story. I hugged the man who gave me the gift of his comment.
I hugged everyone I could.
Because this is what we have; a place where we can come and share our shame as well as our light, and everyone will understand.
I have the same feeling connecting to all of you sober bloggers and readers. It is the light you all shine for me, your stories, your whole self that helps heal me. I will always need this. I also want to one day, be able to give the gift of words to someone like was given to me in this meeting.
We all need a place to belong. Not just in a place of recovery, but in many areas of our lives.
It is my deepest wish for all those who suffer with drinking problems, that you can find a place to share and get strength. Whether it is here on-line, or a meeting, or a therapist.
A safe place, where you can start to heal.
With Gratitude on Day 279