This A.A. found a meeting that feels like home

by Henry Y.

I believe it was one of the first A.A. meetings I went to back in early 2013. I remember it as small and welcoming, and that is still the feeling I get each time I attend a Park Presidio meeting. More recently, Park Presidio has supported me over a period of years where I began to lose faith in A.A. and life in general. I shared frankly about these struggles—with depression, with my first onset of suicidal ideations, with a creeping cynicism that needed to be expressed to be understood—and the group members would tell me to come back the next week. I didn’t always do this, preferring to keep the group at arm’s length. I think I feared that it would eventually lose its potency and I would become disillusioned and disconnected from this group of people as well. This, it turns out, is a self-fulfilling prophecy that comes true when I believe the false prophet that whispers in my ear. Each time I returned, I was reminded that I often could not help but feel connected to these people, even if my depression told me this would be impossible.

Sometimes the meeting might be disorganized

As is so often the case in A.A., I was elected as secretary because it was exactly what I needed to remain a participating member. It is a commitment that forces me to be involved in the meeting. I can never totally retreat into my own head. Something about reading the script, remembering newcomers’ names, and noting where someone has filled in on a commitment for the week helps me get more present. To my mind, part of the beauty of different meetings lies in their imperfections. It reminds me every member shares a common goal: to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety. Even if sometimes the meeting might be disorganized, disjointed, or disrupted.

This also applies to me. As secretary, it has honestly been a pleasure to let go of the notion that I can achieve “perfection” in my role. For example, serving as secretary has required me to find a speaker each week. This aspect of the commitment is especially beneficial to me, because it forces me to connect with other people. Once I’ve exhausted the small circle of people in A.A. I feel comfortable texting on a regular basis, I am forced to branch out. Sometimes I put this off until the 11th hour. Then my self-consciousness really goes out the window and I find the willingness to ask someone whom I might not otherwise ask. In those moments, without necessarily thinking that much about it, the spirit of service is easily more potent than my self-centered fears. 

I was elected secretary because it was exactly what I needed to remain 

photo credits available upon request to [email protected]

I enjoy seeing the same people each week and hearing their shares because I get to observe them moving through different challenges and life events. I realize I sometimes prefer to play the role of A.A. drifter, never totally connected to any one A.A. group. While I think it is important to continue to explore new meetings and meet different members, I also see how playing the drifter has allowed me to avoid the more intimate connection that comes with seeing someone every week. In short, Park Presidio has shown me the importance of having a home group and holding a commitment that forces me (at times) to be of service. Oh, and it’s funny as hell. We are not a glum lot, after all.

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