Bill invited me to a clubhouse where he said he was going to give his a talk. This place had a bunch of alcoholics he said. I figured he was big and he’ll protect me in case those people try attacked me. See, I did not know what Alcoholics Anonymous or the twelve step programs were back then. When I was sick, I wasn’t misinformed, I was just uninformed. I did not know certain things. One day I walked into this clubhouse where they had AA and Al Anon meetings and everybody was sitting around tables just like we’re sitting here today, and I thought, “Wow, this is really a nice place to be, where are the alcoholics?” I thought people would be lying on the ground drunk, and people would be all over the place, but they were just sitting there peacefully.
After the meeting started, he went to the podium and he began to talk. He began to say things I had never heard before. Now I was raised in a loving family, remember that, but he talked about things that we didn’t talk about in my family, that we would never have talked about. He spoke with joy about it all and he just laid out the dreadful things and people were just laughing. He’d say things like, “Yeah you know when I was in the Canary Islands I had the best tan of anybody on the island.” He said, “Because every day I would go down to the beach; some days I’d pass out face down, and some days on my back.” I began to realize that there was something in that room that was going on. I began to feel like I was in a church that was more church than my own church. I began to hear the sound of angels moving through that little smoke-filled dingy room. There was something going on.
By the time we left there, I knew I wanted to hang with you guys. I liked being with these people. I was loved. Growing up, I might be loved a little bit more if I got good grades, but this was different. This was my first exposure to non-judge mental acceptance. You all gave it to me and I wanted to hang with you. So Bill, who brought me to that meeting, we courted and we would go to many open AA meetings. I think it’s important for me to say, at some time when we were dating it began to dawn on me that Bill was the same at the end of the evening, as he was at the beginning. This was very unusual for the men I had been dating back then.
He hadn’t taken any mood altering drugs of any kind and I thought, “Well shoot, if he’s not going to have wine, neither will I.” So I just stopped drinking. I think it’s important to point out that Al-Anon doesn’t care if you drink or not. You just come on in to the Al-Anon meeting take a seat. We don’t even ask, we just say, “Come on in sit down you’ll figure out where you belong.” I love that about Al-Anon. That was my first exposure to the amazing, indescribable feeling in the rooms.
Odomtology’s note: This is a wonderful story of coming in to the rooms of the twelve step fellowships with an open mind can be very beneficial. The speaker’s story is not an uncommon one in regards to how she expected a group of alcoholics to be like. However, when she went to the meeting, she was able to see the honesty, the recovery, and the new life the AA members were living. It changed her life forever and set her on the path to her own recovery.