Thursday, November 5, 2009
I got back late last night from Newport. What a great town. I was reminded of going there about three years ago. I was an anxiety-ridden mess. I was going through a crisis with my wife. I had just gotten into Al-Anon. Everything in my world was a maelstrom of confusion.
I called my sponsor from the airport. I can remember having a conversation in which I didn't really hear what he was saying except that I needed to keep the focus on myself.
I thought that the best way to do that was to go to some recovery meetings. I went to several open AA meetings while I was there because there weren't any Al-Anon meetings during my stay.
I walked into a mid-day meeting and introduced myself to an elderly gentleman in a wheelchair. I told him that I was in Al-Anon but needed to be at a meeting. I think that he could sense my anxiety. He asked me to chair the meeting which I declined. He told me that it would be okay (which I now realize does not coincide with Tradition One). I felt a bit unsure but decided that if I was being asked to do something then I needed to go ahead with it. God knows, I needed to be at that meeting. For some reason, I felt that I was being guided to do this and just trusted that it would all be okay.
So I read How It Works and then he asked me to tell my story. So I gave about a 15 minute share about what being me currently felt like and how I had gotten into Al-Anon for help in my own recovery. There were about 10 people present at the meeting and each one who shared indicated that my story reminded them of why they needed to stay sober and of the pain that they had caused others. One fellow said that he had committed crimes on a daily basis during his years of alcohol and drugs, had been to thousands of AA meetings but had never heard an Al-Anon speak. He said that the honesty and courage that I expressed were to be commended. I felt very welcomed and had a sense of well-being that put me at peace.
So going back to Newport this week made me remember the kindness I was shown by the AA fellowship there. And for some reason that made me feel better about a lot of things. It may not have been the best thing for a beginner in Al-Anon to do, but I appreciate that the elderly man in the wheelchair recognized a fellow lost soul and reached out to help.