A Spirit Like Nowhere Else
February 2022 | Getting Through Tough Times | Home Group

A Spirit Like Nowhere Else

In the Gulf Islands of British Columbia, the love of the Fellowship makes this member feel right at home

It is a long drive to my first AA meeting. The first step through the door is hard. I walk into a crowd and I feel alone and intensely uncomfortable. I feel the kind of loneliness that’s more like fear than sadness. Someone smiles and warmly shakes my hand. It’s a guy who remembers me from a voting assembly three years ago. His name is Keith.

Keith and many others greet me with hugs and love, and I don’t know why. Everyone just does and they’re sincere. These are my people. So in I go.

There are good talks and lots of laughter. And in our breakout groups our discussion is surprisingly civil and intelligent. I’ve heard that alcoholics have above average intelligence, but I only hear that in AA. I’m sure that the world at large has a very different opinion. But I’m not so in debt to the world at large as I am to the people in this room.

There’s a spirit here like nowhere else and an understanding that I share that’s absolutely found nowhere else. As soon as I start to listen and offer my help with sweeping the floor or arranging chairs, I feel at ease. I listen as someone inevitably starts to talk about something real: really sad, really funny, really tragic, real-life sober. They talk about how it was to be drunk, and I always identify.

We drunks know how to suffer, and we know how to overcome. So here I am with my fellow survivors sharing in this awesome journey of service.

The speaker today is a woman and her story starts in a normal home. I don’t know what that’s like, but after not too long, there I am with her in the wilds of an alcoholic life. I see through her eyes my own restlessness that drove me to that first drink—and then time and time again.

As she tells her story I hear the pain and loneliness I know so well. Then she talks of getting sober and the laughter starts in earnest as we hear the misconceptions and rationalizations familiar to all of us in our first strides into AA. The way we try to convince ourselves that we’re not “real” alcoholics. Or how we tell ourselves, “I wasn’t that bad” or “My case is different.” And though almost all of our circumstances differ, I know that she knows all about me. She tells my story in its most fundamental way. I am just like her; I felt the way she did.

In my home group, there are a few women who are “just one of the guys,” and I’m happy to say a lot of the time in the meeting after the meeting, I’m “just one of the girls.” And when I’m not, my sponsor lets me know what a selfish you-know-what I am, and I feel better. And if you understand that, you belong here too.

Back home here in British Columbia we gather in about eight groups over several islands, including Salt Spring, Mayne, Saturna, Galiano and North and South Pender islands. We number about 102 members. As far as I can tell, there are still 17 meetings a week and all the times and dates seem to be correct in the paperwork. Salt Spring is having their annual rally soon and it’s going to be a “gooder.” I hope to see you there.

 

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