Why AA works for me

What do you think about Alcoholics Anonymous? Perhaps the same as I, before I attended my first meeting: a group of expired people on the margins of society. A company of wretches who are miserable together and who leave the meeting just as depressed as they came in. Not a place I would see myself in.


When God answered my prayers for help, He dropped the regional newspaper, Eilanden-Nieuws, the newspaper for which I now write myself. The letters on the front page almost jumped off the paper: Alcoholics Anonymous starts at Goeree-Overflakkee. Not the answer I expected and wanted. I wanted to solve my alcohol problem on my own. I was therefore not eager to go to AA. At the same time, I knew deep in my heart that this was the way God was showing me and that I had to sign up. Here I went, one week later. My first AA meeting, which I wrote a blog post about before.


At AA we share our trial and error. We laugh and cry together. We sometimes joke about the times when we were still drinking, jokes that at the same time carry an undertone of shame and sadness.

What turned out? My image of Alcoholics Anonymous did not match reality at all. At AA I meet people who, like me, have an alcohol problem, but are (usually) at the same time in the middle of everyday life. They have a family, a job and a social network around them. It is certainly not a group of pathetic people in gray raincoats, sleeping under a bridge with a bottle in their pocket.


The first meeting felt a bit uncomfortable, but gave me the hopeful feeling that this could work for me. God had not brought me to this place for nothing. And indeed, AA helped me build a life without alcohol dependence and still helps me to maintain it.


The key? The feeling of recognition and connection. Because although we have completely different backgrounds and beliefs, the common denominator is the battle we have fought and sometimes still fight against our craving for alcohol. We share our trial and error. We laugh and cry together. We sometimes joke about the times when we were still drinking, jokes that at the same time carry an undertone of shame and sadness.


In my next blog I will write about the content of the AA meetings and why I find them so valuable. I go to my 'club' almost every week, as they call AA here at home. I don't like to skip it. Last year I didn't go to AA for a while to see what that did to me. Could I have had enough support from my community and from the Church? I found out that I could not miss contact with people who really understand and so I joined the meetings again with full conviction.


We are here for each other. Sometimes I need a helping hand, at another time I can be there for someone else. Certainly the fellows who have just stopped drinking, desperately need this support.

AA feels like a kind of special family that has the same goal: to be dry and stay dry. So thank you, dear fellows!


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