Yesterday I was privileged to give one of our occasional school talks. The normal pattern of these is that we get the students for about an hour, we play a 15min DVD which is actually available to view here. Then one of us will briefly talk a little about their experience in alcoholism trying to relate it to the students. Often if we’re dealing with 16 years and over I can honestly relate I was already drinking abnormally by then, I was different from my mates cramming drinks in, the one always throwing up some point in the night etc. Then we open it up to Q&A which can be the best bit.
Yesterdays talk followed a similar pattern. I was on my own largely as it was only a single talk, sometimes we are there all day seeing about 7 or 8 groups in the day and then having a bunch of us to stave off our boredom and to deflate our egos probably more importantly.
The one major difference was that yesterday was a talk to a group of 16 year plus teenagers all of whom have some form of learning difficulty. It was a mixed ability group. What a lovely bunch of people. One of them helped sort out the PC and projector to show the DVD for me, clearly he was very proud of being the IT fixer in the team. One of the lads with Downs Syndrome kept shaking my hand when questions were asked and laughed loudly at my gags. A couple of the boys really asked great questions and another girl was very engaged as well. The three teachers in the class were great as well as they chipped in with questions and generally made the hour there fly by.
It was a very rewarding experience. Firstly just having the chance to “pass the message” is one of the most important planks of the AA programme. As the AA saying goes – “You have to give it away to keep it”. Also you never know something said yesterday may one day save one of those kids lives in the future or cause them to help someone else. Also it made me be again very grateful that my children are not faced with some of the challenges in front of those kids.
Couple that with having been at a meeting all three of the last days, esp returning to an old stomping ground in Chatham I’ve not been to for about a year and finding that meeting in good health and a secretary looking very like a much recovered man compared with the newly released prisoner that came in sweating like mad one day some while back when I was a regular member there. All led to a day when I felt just a little further on up the road.