From the November 2012 magazine.

November 2012: Bobbleheads

A newcomer learns the heard truth about the men who keep smiling and nodding

I came to Alcoholics Anonymous with the aid of two older gentlemen who propped me up with a hand under each one of my arms as I came through the door of the smoke-filled room. I had no idea that these men would become so important in my life. Now and then, through the curtain of smoke, I would see some old guys sitting around the room. As people talked, their heads bobbed up and down. I took this to mean approval or disapproval of what was being said. So after a short time in the rooms, I started using the bobbling as a gauge to how good my shares were.

One day, burning with enthusiasm, I gave the most brilliant share I had ever given. The old bobbleheads around the room nodded. I’d done it! I had arrived! From there on, I thought, I would be asked to speak in every AA hall in the country. I ran to my sponsor and said—loudly and with excitement—“I really did good today, didn’t I? I saw everyone in the back of the room shaking their heads with approval.” My sponsor looked at me with a smile. “They weren’t shaking their heads in approval,” he explained. “They were shaking their heads because they remembered when they sounded that silly.”

-- Dan W.

Eatonville, Washington

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