So I went along to the meeting on Friday that I'd mentioned - it is a little way from me but one I've been to over the years, it does have cross over of some membership with my Monday meeting but also new and different faces including some old ones not seen for a while. One of those is a guy who got sober same time as me, one of the class of 2004, who used to go to the same meetings as I for a while, but work, life etc. mean our paths rarely cross, probably a year since I last saw him. He came up gave me a huge hug and big smile. It was worth going for that alone - truly linked to these people through mutual pain and understanding and through a love and fellowship you can't describe (I've paraphrased the quote apologies).
Then another old friend is now secretary there, bizarrely we drank in the same pub for years and were nodding acquaintances there. As I got my coffee and biscuit he said "Would you mind doing the chair?". I had to chuckle but agreed - when I'm asked to do these things there is probably some reason behind it I don't understand and I honestly don't mind, it is good for me to listen to myself sometimes and hopefully others get something out of it, if only that AA and the programme have worked for me one day at a time to stay away from a drink for over 8 years, and I have a relationship with my family and friends I never had before, and a changed attitude to life where I don't judge and measure my success (or failure) against size of bank account, car, house, holiday etc. I judge my success against how I feel inside, how my spirit guides me and is guided itself. So I did the chair and enjoyed it, even if I did nearly cry when talking about something - but again I'm no long ashamed of that, the things I did in my drinking that hurt my family hurt me too now and that is precious to me. Talking about my daughter telling me only in the last few months how she used to lock herself in the bathroom, shaking with fear as I raged about the house drunkenly shouting and screaming hurts me now because I cannot believe I behaved like that and didn't realise how it affected others - but then that is what alcohol will do to me, make me do things I don't want to do and anaesthetise me to both my feelings and the feelings of others too. It is important for me to remind myself on a regular basis of those things. So mixing up my meetings is working, I'll continue to do it I've decided - it helps improve the level of charge in my spiritual battery.
A quick warning - I've just helped my daughter apply for her first driving licence... yes... I know... I should be more responsible to the people in my area... Where the hell is the time going... oh yes finally do actually turn 50 for real on Wednesday as well.