Meeting Makers Make It

Look what I had for dinner last night:

Yep, that’s right folks. A chocolate cupcake with marshmallow cream and chocolate sauce on top. Mmmmm.

So to all the healthy food and fitness bloggers I follow … I’m sorry. I have failed in my attempts to become slightly more healthy than I was before I starting reading your blogs. Don’t worry. Your tips still fascinate and motivate me. But sometimes a girl just needs a cupcake.

This is also what happens when I am at work until 9pm and don’t remember realize that I am hungry until 8pm, at which point it is almost pointless to have dinner delivered to the office.

In other news I chaired the 10:30 clubhouse AA meeting last night and for the first time in MONTHS I had acquired a speaker ahead of time! I was so proud of myself for thinking ahead. You would think that with my obsession with controlling my life that I would always be prepared for my chairperson responsibilities. Yes, you would think…

For those of you who have never been to an AA meeting and are curious as to what the heck I am talking about, I will let you in on some secrets. Any 12-step program meeting you may have seen on television or in a movie (The OC, The Town, Dexter, ER, etc.) is usually not an accurate portrayal of what really goes on, so do not be fooled by the media. To find out what it’s REALLY like you should find an Open meeting in your area and check it out (“Open” means you don’t have to be an alcoholic to attend). But for a quick run down of what meetings at my clubhouse are like – they usually go like this…

You walk in, sit down in a room full of chairs. There is someone called the “chairperson” who runs the meeting. This person is not in charge per se, but basically helps guide the meeting. Most AA meetings in NYC last 60 minutes (90 minutes for NA). In the beginning there will be a few readings to explain to you what AA is, how it works, etc. The chairperson explains the format of the meeting. Then the speaker will qualify for 15-20 minutes. Qualifying means that the speaker will share his or her experience, strength and hope with the group. They will talk about what it was like when they were in active alcoholism, what happened to get them to AA and what their life is like in the program today. Sometimes the speaker rocks and sometimes you would rather they just stop talking. Either way, if you stay put and listen, you will hear something insightful.

After the speaker finishes the chairperson will pass around the Seventh Tradition basket. The Seventh Tradition states that AA is to be fully self supporting – so each member of the group puts a dollar or two in the basket to help pay the rent and other expenses to help the meeting run. If you have ever been to a church service, it is very much like the offering plate. Note: If you do not consider yourself a member of AA, do not contribute to this basket! We might like you, but we don’t want yo’ money.

After the Seventh Tradition, the meeting goes to a show of hands which means other people in the room raise their hand to share and the speaker will call on them. Each person shares for 3-4 minutes on what the speaker said or whatever is going on in their life today. Preferably people will share about something related to recovery and/or AA. Then at the end of the hour everyone holds hands in a circle and says the Serenity Prayer:

And that’s it! After the meeting people usually stick around to talk to eachother or head off to the diner for some snacks.

It’s pretty neat actually to have a group of people (all crazy in their own ways) sit quietly for an hour and listen to each other speak, especially when no one is really in charge. I always find this fact fascinating: you can say whatever you want to. Literally. To perfect strangers. It’s pretty awesome. One of the biggest things for me when I first started going to meetings was that my faith in men was reaffirmed. I grew up in a family and environment where men did not share their inner most feelings outloud and especially not in a group of people. Early on, I sat in a meeting and a man broke down in tears sharing honestly about something that he was struggling with…I was in awe.

It can be heartbreaking to listen to friends and perfect strangers share their pain and suffering in a meeting. It is also incredibly powerful. Someone may be sharing about pain that you have felt before or about an obstacle you are about to face. Today I firmly believe that all the pain I have felt in my life has turned into experience that I can share with another person. And I know that no matter what I will face in my life, there will be someone who has gone through the same thing and can offer me words of wisdom. 

Wow it got really sappy in the end there, didn’t it? Geeeeeeeeez, sorry about that. Here’s some humor for you:

Did I mention we get a lot of comedians in meetings too? It’s not uncommon to be laughing in a meeting. Anyhoo – I just think it’s pretty cool how it works. I never went to rehab so I have immense gratitude for meetings. It’s not the same as therapy. In therapy you sit with a doctor and talk about your problems and they ask you questions and they might give you some insight. Usually they have nothing personal to offer you. There is something powerful about one addict helping another. You believe that addict when they say things will get better because they’ve been in your shoes once.

Not all meetings are good ones and not all will be peaceful or moving but if you aren’t satisfied when you walk out the door – don’t leave for good – just try another one. Last night happened to be a kickass meeting and my speaker was awesomesauce!!

Where you do share your deepest emotions with others?



Filed under Recovery

7 responses to “Meeting Makers Make It

  1. That cupcake looks amazing. I just want the frosting!

    The meeting sounds like a great thing. Very motivational and it sounds like they’re very accepting. I wish I had something like that to attend. I should look in my area. Not sure what kind of group, but there must be something out there for nutbags right?

    • The frosting was truly delish! And yes, I think they have meetings for everything possible that you could be dealing with. I’ve only been to NA, AA and Al-Anon but I’m pretty sure there are groups for weightloss, eating disorders, gambling, debtors, co-dependents, etc. There’s gotta be a meeting out there for everyone!

  2. Meetings! I never went to rehab either so I only know the meetings. I remember one of my first meetings thinking, “these people are just like me! I have finally found a niche!” you spoke the truth many times. I lead a big book meeting on Thursdays and it’s funny when people want to ignore what you’re doing and get off the subject. If they really need help, I let them, if they go on and on without an end in sight I gently lead them back to the topic, or remind them that we need to let the other people talk. I have been to some awesome meetings, and I too have seen grown men sob like babies. I too love the laughter. People ask me, “but you don’t drink, do you have fun any more?” I find this absurd but get it, and yes I have fun, more fun than ever and the best part is that I can remeber what I did the night before! Bonus…..

  3. I’m glad to learn more about the meetings! I imagined many a heartfelt story shared but laughs too? Well laughter is medicine isn’t it =) I feel like buddy the elf… “smiling is my favorite!” bahaha!

    omg girl cut the tofu so it LOOKS like bread and say its gluten free bread. then tell him the truth after! I bet I could trick my man too! Deal? hehe! =)

    mwah! thanks for sharing this with us today!!!

  4. Oh don’t feel bad. I want one of those cupcakes pronto! I guess I fail at healthy eating too because I’d eat that for dinner for sure. 🙂

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