Friday, June 20, 2008

Chairing a Meeting

Tonight I did something I've never done before - I chaired a meeting for the first time. Thank God I had another gal with me who knew what she was doing, ahaha, because I am such an OCD person who needs structure, and this meeting was totally informal and we could run it however we wanted.
Now, I'm not sure why I thought this was a good place to stretch my wings, but I had just made up my mind to make the decision without overthinking it... The meeting was in a prison. I knew it would be a good thing to do, I wanted to do it, so I just said yes when the commitment was offered up. I did have a moment of utter inner shrieking and wanting to run for the hills when we entered the main hallway and stood before a giant steel barred door, but I managed to remain calm (yay God) and not run from the building. I did wonder though, if you run screaming from a prison, do they tackle you first and ask who you are second?
The meeting was uneventful and small and seemed to go pretty well. The hardest part was that the girls all just looked so young to me, it really broke my heart. I can't be judgmental towards any of them, because I could so easily have ended up there myself. I did my fair share of stupid and illegal things when I was drinking, and it's only by the grace of God that I never got caught. I certainly deserved prison time.
Maybe it's the mom side of me; I just wanted to hug them and convince them to stay sober, as if somehow my own will could do it for them. I don't know what any of their chances are, or what the statistics may be for alcoholics in prison. I don't think I would want to know, because I'm sure it would tear me up to think of them going back out once they are released. I can't stop thinking about their faces, and thinking how it didn't even seem real that they were incarcerated - it felt like we were just all sitting around having coffee in someone's living room, talking about our problems.
Seeing people in situations like theirs brings me back to something that I have been thinking a lot about lately. Why not me? Why am I the one who made it out without losing my marriage, my kids, my house, my freedom? I feel guilty in some ways about this, because I don't deserve what I have. If I couldn't talk to other alcoholics and share my experience, I think that guilt would just eat at me. It somehow always comes back around to gratitude, and living a life that shows how grateful I am.

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