Let there be light
December 2022 | Remote Communities & Sober Holidays | Special Section

Let there be light

After some drama and quick action, their annual AA holiday breakfast went on like a charm

Back in 2020, our Christmas morning AA breakfast was anticipated more than ever. At the time, the COVID lockdown in our area was beginning to subside and restrictions were lifted on gatherings. For many, the holiday would be the first open gathering since the pandemic’s beginning. We were experiencing a lot of eager anticipation, as our “hut” was known for our bountiful breakfasts.

Our AA meeting starts at 6:00 A.M. We like to jokingly call it the O-600, with the “O” standing for “’Oh, my gosh it’s early!” And we meet every day because that’s the type of drinkers we were. Our daily meeting kicks off the four to six meetings that our clubhouse hosts daily.

Our Conscious Contact home group is known throughout the Charlotte metropolitan area, even though we’re on the outskirts of the city. We are both the closest meeting to the Charlotte Airport and the earliest morning meeting around. We are affectionately known as the “Hut in Belmont,” in the Charlotte area, which has about 100 meetings per day

This frosty Christmas morning, we were eager and ready to see many members and friends that we had not seen in the past eight months. It was a special occasion and that meant we needed to arrive early to set up our holiday breakfast.

It was  chilly. Temperatures dropped into the 30s overnight, unusually cold for these parts of North Carolina. The temperature drop-kicked in Murphy’s Law and caused an electrical malfunction in the city’s power grid, thus causing the power to suddenly shut off at around 4:00 A.M. As the meeting openers arrived around 4:30 to no power, there was no panic because we had a program to lean on. There was no fretting, just some solution-seeking—all the more challenging given the temperature and pre-dawn darkness. After engaging in some gallows humor, we set about to find a solution. We are not a glum lot. However, we were sight-impaired in the dark and needed some help.

One of our founding members drives a car that used to be a police car. So he drove his car right up to the front of the building and directed the police spotlight on our front door so that folks could see. Suddenly, we were open in the darkest hours of the pre-dawn. The folks who lived nearby quickly ran home to get candles and one fellow even brought back a generator.

In our meeting place, we have an interesting candelabra that came from an old hotel and is over 125 years old. When we lit it up with candles that morning it served as an apt analogy for showing up and doing what we’re supposed to do. Like our Eleventh Step Prayer, we brought light in darkness and met adversity with gratitude and solutions.

In no time, we were back to business as usual and served breakfast and coffee and commenced our meeting on time, all by candlelight. Meanwhile, the generator was busy powering our coffeemaker. We had a jovial meeting, sharing much fellowship and some rather interesting solutions. 

There indeed was something special on that dark Christmas morning with the candles flickering shadows on the slogans, Steps and Traditions on the wall. They also lit up the smiling faces of hope and recovery as we fellowshipped around our meeting tables. We shared some prayers for neighboring families in this electrical grid area, as many kids were now awakening to find presents but no Christmas lights to open them by.

Today I’m no longer imprisoned by the mistakes of my “ghosts of Christmas past,” just as I’m no longer obsessed by past holiday “spirits.” I have the Eleventh Step Prayer, and together with my group, plenty of holiday spirit.


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