Last night I went to an AA meeting. I’m having trouble finding the words to write something after that statement. My mind is flooded with memories and thoughts and I’m not really sure where to begin. I am not an alcoholic; in fact, I rarely drink, but both sides of my family have been plagued with alcoholism. I associate alcohol with a very painful past whereas many people think alcohol is simply used for fun and partying, especially during high school and college. I want to clarify that I am not judging anyone who drinks; it is just my personal choice to rarely drink because of my family.
My mom and I attended an AA meeting last night for a class that she is taking. Most AA meetings are closed but this one was open to the public. It was an enlightening experience and once again, I was reminded that you can never judge anyone. Some of them did look like they’d weathered some storms in their lives but with many of them, you’d have no idea they were alcoholics. Everyone was there: woman, man, young, old, and every ethnicity. It was just assumed that most people there were alcoholics. For example, they all immediately say something like, “Hi, I’m Jessica, and I’m an alcoholic.” And then there’s an instantaneous chorus of “Hi Jessica!” What was hard for me was that people thought that I was an alcoholic just because I was there. Granted I was attending their meeting, but this made me feel fairly uncomfortable considering the fact that the word “alcoholic” is the last thing I want to become. I don’t want the losses of my family to be in vain; I am determined to prove that I will not make that choice in my life.
I have to say, for battling such a disease (as they called it last night), most of them were extremely happy to be there. Everyone was very friendly and eager to help. They all seemed to know each other, even though there were hundreds of people there, and my mom and I were greeted by many people. They had two brilliant speakers and I can’t remember the last time I was so enraptured by the power of words. Their shattering honesty and their humble gratitude for their Higher Power was so moving. Everyone there had a story; some had 30 years of sobriety and some had only an hour. The courage that they all shared with one another was absolutely amazing; seeing alcoholics walking into that room, asking for help, and accepting change was the most inspiring experience I have had in a long while. Even though I have lost two uncles to alcoholism, it reminded me that not all is lost and that there is always hope.
As I conclude, I would like to say that I hope I did not offend anyone in writing this piece. I tried to be as respectful and accurate as possible and I’m very sorry if I upset anyone with what I had to say.