12 Step Paper
April 23, 2009
Last Wednesday April 15, 2009 I attended an open AA meeting at the Church Of
The Lakes in Nineveh. On my way to the meeting I was a little nervous. All of that
disappeared the moment I walked into the door, where I was greeted by strangers who
acted like they knew me there whole lives. Almost everyone came up to me right away
to give me a hug and welcome me to the meeting. I don’t think I have ever been around a
group of people that were so happy to see me. It was a little strange.
Once everyone arrived for the meeting, it was called to order by the volunteer
chairperson. He was a very eccentric man with a long pony tail and you could tell that he
was very passionate about his sobriety. He was very good at leading the meeting so this
told me that he had been doing this for quite sometime. He read the AA preamble and led
the group into the serenity prayer. After the prayer, they took turns reading “How it
Works” and the “Twelve Traditions.” (Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.,
2004)All of this was completely new to me so I was grateful that they went over this
information to help me better understand the group and how it works. They talked only
briefly about the 12 steps that were on the wall. (Alcoholics Anonymous World Services,
Inc., 2001) They said if anyone was interested in a copy of the Big Book to talk to them
after the meeting and they would get them a copy even if they couldn’t afford it.
After the opening of the meeting came the introductions. The chairperson asked if
there were any newcomers. Since I was a newcomer, I raised my hand, introduced
myself and told them that I was just there to listen. To my surprise, they all said that they
were happy that I was there anyway. After my introduction, they just went around in a
circle and everyone took turns introducing themselves. It seemed that most of the people
there were people that attend regularly.
Once the introductions were finished, they past around a basket for papers that
people may have that need to be signed for court. During the meeting, I just
listened while people shared personal stories with one another. Some of the stories were
really sad. I definitely felt like sharing these stories with one another helps remind these
people why they do not drink anymore. For some of them, if they did not stop drinking
they would have died. Many of these people lost everything because of their drinking.
Children, marriages, freedom, houses, and jobs just to name a few. These stories lasted
the majority of the meeting.
Once the meeting was coming to a close there were a couple of people who
received tokens to celebrate a certain length of sobriety. Everyone clapped and
congratulated them on their sobriety. I thought that was really encouraging. It makes
you feel really good when you have people supporting you like that.
Finally, they passed the basket back around for people to get any papers they put
into it. The chairperson recited the twelfth tradition, “Anonymity is the spiritual
foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before
personalities.” (Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 2004) The very last thing
they did was stand up, in a circle, hold hands and recite the serenity prayer one last time.
Once this was finished there was a lot more hugging and they tried to convince me to
come back. I didn’t have the heart to tell them that I wasn’t an alcoholic and that I was
just here to learn.
Overall, I would say that this was a very good learning experience for me. I really
didn’t know what to expect when I went to this meeting. I pictured these meetings to be
filled with a...
Cited: 1. Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., (2004). The Big Book Of Alcoholics Anonymous. New York, NY: First Printing.
2. Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., (2004). The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. New York, NY: Fortieth Printing.
3. Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., (1998). Living Sober. New York, NY: Thrity-seventh Printing.
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