Happy Love Day to you, my friends. It is a cold one here, unusual for even February. We have a good fire going. And some warm soup on the stove. Nothing too special but some time together.
What I want to write about is my home group. Sadly, few people attend anymore. We were always a small group, but it seems that over the last 8 months, our numbers have dwindled remarkably. If you recall, this was the group that my sponsor started over 20 years ago. It was where I worked my steps and studied the traditions. It was where we did book studies. And now, it feels like a dying group.
I have driven an hour to this group for nine years. Now, I am tired of driving the distance and have three other meetings within 15 minutes of our house. The other meetings have from 12 to 25 people. Yet, I feel sad at the decline in the legacy of the group where I felt most at home.
I am not going to give up and plan to be back in the spring. Hopefully, others may come back too.
Unfortunately, there appear to be a decline in some groups throughout the area. And numbers are down nationwide. As the population ages, it seems that fewer young people are coming to the rooms. And men are definitely rarer in meetings than women.
I am not sure why this is occurring. Perhaps as problems in society increase, people have less time for "self help" and spend more time just making ends meet. As for lack of men, most of us are less likely to seek any help for any problems, both professionally and in a "self help" format. Maybe it is the mention of a "God of our understanding" that is off putting.
Having tried therapy years ago, Al-Anon was the place where it all "clicked" for me. It was where I found fellowship and support. I learned that others had the same problems that I had. And I learned to not hide those problems, but to share what I felt in a group of strangers.
This was hard at first. But I stuck it out and learned to trust, feel safe and be emotionally present to ourselves and others. I believe that the fellowship is probably the reason most people stay. The real work of the 12 steps and doing service work seems to be not as high a priority.
No matter how long we go to meetings, family relationships cannot always be transformed. I have seen individuals transform though, from angry people to those who have learned to be loving even when our families are dysfunctional. We learn to soothe ourselves, and we learn that we need to be close to others. No longer being a victim is empowering. In the meetings I attend, I experience patience and kindness, especially when we see traits in others that we have looked at in ourselves. As we truly learn to love and accept ourselves, these traits are seen as a reason to love than as an excuse to persecute.
I will keep coming back. It is where I feel at home.
Hope that you are experiencing love today.