The AA meeting I regularly attend on a Wednesday has been generally small affair in all the years I've gone there, it is probably the closet to my house as the crow flies and I've always considered it my "home group". There are normally about 10 of us, on a good night.
Last night was football wasn't it, which normally deflates attendance somewhat and one of our stalwart members who ferries others without transport to the meeting was on holiday so I was expecting possibly no more than 6 or so. But we had getting on for 20 of us which is really good. We meet in a little room in a village hall whilst the indoor bowling club raucously conduct their games next door, God knows what they get up to in there.
Among the usual faces, I noticed a new one as I dashed about sorting out kettles and readings (the tea boy was ill as well) so I said hello and welcomed him asking "Are you a visitor?" You can normally tell a visitor from a newcomer, he was well dressed, standing up straight, no sign of swaying or shaking but most importantly the give away sign ... a sparkle of life in his eyes rather than the dark hollows of despair you normally see in a newcomer or a returnee.
Turns out this guy lives in the middle east and was visiting on holiday to revisit boyhood haunts and looked us up on the internet. He was very gracious about the meeting, thanking us for being there and the sharing he heard.
Amazing... he goes half way around a world, walks into a room of strangers but within seconds is "one of us" and within minuets feeling right at home. He's off to Scotland for the next leg of his tour then back home so we'll probably never see him again but it really showed to me again the amazing power of the fellowship of AA. I've done it myself by walking into meeting rooms in USA (some with warnings that "ALL firearms are to be handed in before the meeting" !?!?! However I've always felt welcomed, at home and always safe.
Thanks to Bill W and Dr Bob for starting this all in 1935.