When I think back now to my first AA meeting on the 7th December 2015 it is all a blur. I can remember a couple of people and that I cried a lot but as to what was said I have no clue other than it was incredibly overwhelming.
So many people refered to me as brave but I didn’t really see it that way. To me I was a total failure my drinking had brought me to my knees so to be told I was brave seemed insane.
My journey into the rooms had started 6 months earlier where I got tired of always being the drunk one, always dreading seeing people from the night before. Drinking while not wanting to drink is horrific, its like someone is forcing you to drink poison but you can’t say no. I emailed AA asking for help but was encouraged to call the number. At the time I was angry at them but I realise now it was only because I wanted someone to fix me.
I carried on drinking until one night I had a night so bad that I knew I couldn’t carry on like this so after calling my best friend to tell her what a mess I had made I called the help-line. The response I got was incredible and the next day I got a visit from a lovely lady who scooped me up and took care of me.
She was an older lady, a mother, a granny and had been sober a long time. She knew exactly what to do to help me and offered to take me to my first meeting. This sense of support and care made all the difference as I know I wasnt brave enough to go to my first meeting alone. She did this for me for some time until I was ready to brave it on my own – after that I just grew and grew and so did my network of support.
Whenever I am vulnerable or scared I remember the strength in her grip and also know that she is always there for me, no matter what. I see her regularly and it is wonderful – that is the joy of the fellowship, exactly that fellowship.
When I see someone come into a meeting that has done it alone I do have that sense of admiration. It does take a huge amount of strength and in my eyes makes them incredibly brave. I am also acutely aware that this is not how they are feeling so do try to offer assurance and acceptance.
I can be very quick to want to give others what I have now and that can make it overwhelming for the newcomer. I have to learn to be patient and to hold back so as not to scare them off, I need to learn to listen and let me get out all of the madness in their heads and let them see it is a safe place to be. I also need to learn to not force my opinion on them but to let them find their own way and support them through their journey.