First Meeting – The Good and The Bad (Mostly Good)

So my friend who is genuinely excited about her year+ of sobriety reached back out to me to see if all was well. She must’ve known that I’m just not a phone gal…and we emailed back and forth for a bit. I asked her if she still goes to meetings, and she does, but they are at noon, a little farther away. So she told me about one that is at 8 AM and less than 5 minutes away, and told me she would skip her workout this morning and meet me there.

We met up in the parking lot, and it made it a lot easier to have an ally going in to the meeting. I came prepared with my coffee (I think most drinkers are caffeine addicts as well), and it was exciting for her because this was her “old” meeting – so she was able to catch up with a lot of the folks. There were people from all walks of life…older men and women, men and women about my age, and one or two who were younger.

And then my biggest fear happened – a girlfriend of mine from my neighborhood walked in and was obviously comfortable in getting her coffee so she had been there before. We happened to catch each other’s eyes, and I think we were both mortified and ashamed and then remembered that the group is ANONYMOUS – so what happens in there stays there. She came and joined my friend and I at our table, and the meeting started.

First were “guidelines” and expectations – and then a brief reading from the Big Book. Then it was sharing time. All of the stories were different yet the same. I just sat and listened and soaked it all in. My girlfriend with the year+ shared – and I had no idea of how difficult things had gotten. I wasn’t sure if my neighborhood friend would share with me there – but she did – and kind of incorporated me a bit into her stories as literally most everything in our ‘hood revolves around drinking. We decided it should be our goal to make “not drinking” cool in our neighborhood!

She and I were able to talk one on one after the meeting. She has a few months under her belt, and I do think I will find it helpful to get advice from her along the way. We have also talked about meeting for coffee and sharing more. I did not expect to see her there although she was probably not too surprised to see me there. As scary and wierd as it was, it’s almost a relief.

My friend who invited me to the meeting asked if I wanted a white chip. I asked what that was and it sounded like it meant you were totally ready to quit – I envisioned a white flag that meant surrender. I told her I wasn’t ready for that yet – but that I was interested in the meetings. I did make plans to go tomorrow with my neighborhood friend.

I’m not at that step to make complete and final promises. I did like the peaceful start to my morning. I didn’t like not being able to start work until 9:15 AM because that is when I got home. I did like knowing I would be getting up earlier and preparing for it – although I woke up at 1:45 AM last night and couldn’t get back to sleep until 4 AM – so not as much sleep as I would have liked. I am proud to come on here and share with you.

I don’t think it will be the “end all be all” for me – but it is another tool to have. I cannot imagine 90 meetings in 90 days. It felt hard enough to take an hour out of my day. But this is for me. I had a brief discussion with my always loving husband when I got home. He is so supportive whatever I choose. I am at that place where the devil is on one shoulder and the angel on the other. I know which voice I *should* listen to, but they are equally vocal and equally strong right now.

I am continuing to obtain tools and take the steps on a better path for me. I am scared, relieved, happy, sad, overwhelmed and at peace. Quite a lot going on at 10 AM in the morning, huh?

So anyways – long story short, I did not drink last night and I do not plan to drink today. That’s all I can promise. Thank you for listening.


5 thoughts on “First Meeting – The Good and The Bad (Mostly Good)

  1. I love first meeting stories. This is no exception. I like that in your story, you mention that the stories were different, but the same – what a powerful thing to realize, isn’t it? Our circumstances are different, yes, but the core beneath those circumstances are the same. Our untreated alcoholism looks the same when you get down to it. The fact that your girlfriend from the hood was there just made things even more amazing. Shame is one of the reasons why people are afraid to go to meetings, or even to admit they being alcoholic, but when something like that happens…shame starts to melt. And the feeling I get from your post is that you don’t feel that shame.

    Even if you don’t go back for now, making plans and talking to that friend you saw there and the one you went with are still so very beneficial. You are starting to grow a support system outside your lovely hubby…people that understand what you are talking about, and that you can learn from. You don’t need to do 90 in 90. I know a lot of people say that, but the expression “it’s the steps you take, not the meetings you make” rings true for me. If you decide AA is something you want to try, get a sponsor and start the steps…then you don’t need to go to so many meetings. I love my meetings, and my step work, and now bringing other men through the work.

    You’re on a wonderful journey – thank you so much for sharing it. 🙂


  2. Wow, I think it’s actually fantastic that girlfriend was there even though, yes, I can fully imagine how you felt. I mean, it’s why I blog anonymously and have this deep fear of being ‘discovered’. But as Paul said, melting the shame away is probably essential to recovery and also, now you have not one but TWO real life sober friends to talk to and support each other. That’s terrific! So well done you for going to that meeting! I know it’s not easy. It’s hard as hell walking in those doors for the first time but you did it. xx

    • It was hard. The absolute hardest part for me is the word alcoholic. Not that I don’t think I am one. I just wish there was a different word. Am I allowed to say my name and that I have a desire to quit drinking and that I’m working on using the word alcoholic?? I’m going back tomorrow so stay tuned.

  3. I found this post so interesting — you know, in my first year I went off to a meeting once a week in an old church hall in the city and I also struggled with the idea that I would ‘have to’ do certain things, by nature I’m quite solitary and independent. What blew me away was the warmth and that ‘comfortableness’ you mention. And the longer I was sober, the less the word ‘alcoholic’ bothered me, the less I felt obliged to conform. I didn’t get a sponsor — not common out here in Africa — but I found befriending was enough to help me get support and feedback..

    Nobody minded that i was agnostic and still working things out, and I made some very eccentric anarchic friends there who remain friends to this day. It is a great resource and way to learn from shared experience.

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