By Christine R.

As a newcomer to the Program, commuting by bus into San Francisco to a stress-filled office, I would jealousy keep the last remains of the Cabin coffee in my cup. Certain that even the home group’s drops of coffee would keep me sober. In a way – they did and still do. Here’s how.

Looking into the one dark eye of my coffee cup, I could recall the Cabin. The knotty pine walls. Who said what. What the reading was. Who attended. “Maggie sat there. Barbara over here.” The entire session would replay in my mind’s eye. In a way, I had what you’d call an “Insta-Meeting.” Now playing in theaters and coffee cups near you. Savoring the good-luck-drops from my home group keeps me sober even now. Not just a travel-mug, a meeting-mug. Sobriety and love travels with me.  

Speaking of coffee comes the Coffee Commitment. You know the one where you have to arrive early? To keep a Coffee Commitment at a 7am meeting like mine, you have to get up and out the door by 6:30. Heaven help us if the coffee is not ready by 6:45am, fifteen minutes ahead of time, for a gathering of happy alcoholics. 

As a newcomer, I couldn’t understand how making coffee enhances sobriety. I wanted an easier, softer way than the early morning sprint. With time came the awareness of undiscovered benefits. First off, comes the enjoyment of my home group itself. A beautiful antique cabin by a running stream in the woods. Arriving early I enjoy the quiet morning hours. The hooting of the owls. The freshness of the trees.

From here, I learned to think of others. As one would do for guests at home, there’s creamer, sugar, and spoons. Table cloth, plates and cups make the place cheery and inviting. Arriving early I began to talk with people, the last thing I wanted to do when I was new. Got their numbers and shared mine. I learned where the great meetings are.  

Eventually, like the line we cross from being a problem drinker into an alcoholic, so comes the line we cross from being an outsider looking in to an insider looking out onto that “host of friends” they talk about in our literature. A “host” meaning more than one. 

“We can be the ones who take on the unspectacular but important tasks of good Twelfth Step work arranging for the coffee…where so many skeptical, suspicious newcomers have found confidence and comfort in the laughter and talk.”  Some of the best twelfth step work comes from get-togethers with a sponsor or sponsee before or after a meeting at the local coffee house.

In olden days they used to say, “All it takes to create a meeting is a Big Book, a resentment, and a pot of coffee.” There’s something about a warm beverage that keeps body and soul sober and sane. Admittedly there are times when the coffee smells better than it tastes. If that’s the case – take up the Coffee Commitment. Come learn how to make the best out of Maxwell House. 

The Coffee Commitment, the Clean Up Commitment, the Butt Can Commitment (mine for years) are among countless commitments to support sobriety. You may have heard, “We go out when we stop going to meetings, we stop going to meetings when we stop having commitments.” Meeting makers make it. Make some coffee and make it.

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