90 meetings in 90 days. Let’s see. I made over 150 meetings in that time. I never heard of this, meeting-a-day theory. So why did I go so often? Simply because it was only during meetings that my mind slowed down enough for me to feel safe, to feel possibilities… I looked across the tables and saw transparent people who had overcome a deadly disease – the same one I had and there they were– laughing, crying, and being real. It was miraculous, what I saw. I wanted some of what they had. No! I wanted all of what they had!
What happened to me when I walked into the first AA meetings was purely God’s grace. I found quality sobriety in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Naturally, I assumed all regions were similar in how their meetings were structured. Not so. In the years since leaving the Midwest, I have found a shocking variety.
What I have found is that often meetings are of the open discussion format…meetings made for drama, for wild tales, for old war stories with a fair amount of bellering and posturing. Honestly, if I’d heard only consequences and horror stories that I couldn’t identify with, I’d never have stuck around, let alone craved more meetings.
They did not tell me to make 90 meetings in my first 90 days. They told me about the Steps, instead. They gave me a sponsor and taught me about the program of AA: the 12 Steps. They listened to my drama until I learned to save that for the before and after meetings by the coffeepot out in the hall. I ate it up like chips and dip! I couldn’t stop with just one a day. I loved it! I needed it. I was dying for a solution to living. They showed me how to find it.
We read from the Alcoholics Anonymous textbook and then they discussed how they applied that page to their lives. It was fellowship I’d craved all my life – people who weren’t glossing over problems, but struggling and finding solutions. They weren’t just rehashing the gutter experiences but reaching back and giving the rest of us a hand up. They did the work and they opened the gate to a life worth living – a plan using the 12 Steps that has given me a spiritual solution for my own life.
I thank them by trying to do the same for others. I couldn’t possibly say ‘just do 90 in 90’ and you’ll be fine. What does that even mean? Sobriety by osmosis?
Here is where you can begin Step work: Not So Scary Worksheets