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Wednesday, May 25

My Experience at an “Alcoholics Anonymous” Meeting

(I had to go to an AA for my Addiction Studies course, I wrote this paper as proof of attendance for my professor. I should've posted this earlier but end of semester things got in the way....enjoy)

It was Monday, May 2nd . I was stressed because I thought that I wasn’t going to be able to go to a meeting, on time for this assignment. And honestly, with all the work I have to get done for the end of the semester I was not looking forward to this assignment either. I thought that one hour at this meeting was going to be a waste of my life.
A close friend of mine referred me to one at the Calvary Baptist church right near campus. So I went and dragged a close relative with me because I was scared and didn’t know what to expect. We got there it was like a little alley way on the side of the church. And I see old people, middle aged people and a young man too. Everyone was friendly and said hello and asked if it was the first time. I laughed because someone asked me so are you an alcoholic? And in my head I’m like “Oh my do I look like one”? But, what do you expect standing outside the door of an AA meeting.
One lady there who actually led the meeting said something like “Yeah, going through an ugly divorce with a bad man and its all bad. But it’s all about staying sober you know..” Right then and there I knew that this meeting was important to some people.
So after a while of standing outside my relative and I entered the room. There was a table in the front and there were chairs lined up in front. On the side there was a table with coffee. Everyone took coffee! I guess it’s an equivalent to the alcohol, because a lot of the people came in with cups from Dunkin Donuts.
To my surprise I then saw Robert who had talked in the class, everyone was really happy to see him. And he hugged everyone, at that moment I saw true fellowship.
My relative and I sat down, they had a twelve step and traditions book on the seats and my relative started reading it while we waited for the meeting to start.
And at 5:15, “Happy Hour” started, that was humorous. They started saying the steps, traditions, the serenity prayer and asked questions like is this your first time? Or something about thirty days and who can be a sponsor.
I introduced myself and so did my relative, the “HI CRISTINA” chanted by the crowd was a little weird but everyone just looked happy to help, I sensed a real community.
They read a chapter from the book about the third tradition I think. It was something about the only requirement is to want to stop drinking. It was interesting but I didn’t feel like I belonged because I’m not a drinker.
And then the exciting part was the open part just to talk… I was surprised to see that after the person said now you’re free to talk. The person who got up was my relative. I knew this person had used all sorts of substances when he was in his home land before becoming a Christian but I had not linked the two things together.
He was nervous I could tell because his accent was worse than ever but you could still understand what he was saying. He spoke about his experience with alcohol and other drugs. And how now it’s been 20 years of him being clean and having “one woman” (everyone laughed). He said that what made the difference in his life was finding Jesus. A pastor went to his house preaching but he didn’t want to tell anyone that in his heart he asked God that if he was real to forgive him. And since that day everything changed.  I began to cry because I know from personal experience that God is real and that my relative does not struggle with alcohol or anything else anymore but he took the opportunity to talk about Jesus to these people who were trying to overcome this addiction.
Others after him agreed with relative that it wasn’t until they found a higher power to help them they couldn’t have done it because they needed the power of someone else.
But there was one man that made me want to just sob on my knees and pray to God. He said something like, “Every day I struggle and I read the 2nd step (I think that was it about finding a higher power). And I find myself with the bible on one side and the bullet on the other. I try to read but it makes no effect and I just want to end my life, there’s no point. I’m done.”
Someone in front of my eyes wanted to commit suicide because alcohol has destroyed their life. I cried and realized that God made my heart sensitive to these people. I never experienced something like this live! And I noticed that these people need to be prayed for. And as a Christian I saw the need that these people had of finding forgiveness and healing through Jesus. I cried and cried because I know that God does not create life for no reason, each person has a purpose.
Several people responded to this man. One that stood out to me was one that said, “you know what, I know you’re in a tough spot, I was there. But I lost my wife because of alcohol. I never thought alcohol could do that but it did. And instead of me trying to do something about her death, I’m trying to do something about me, by stopping. And it’s hard but I take it day by day…”
This A.A meeting has changed my life. It has given me another reason to pray for, opened my eyes to the real brokenness that addiction produces. May God find his way into their hearts and allow them to find healing.