So last week I mentioned that I was speaking at my home group's anniversary meeting. Based on questions from my best friend and husband, I thought I would explain some things. There are anniversary meetings, and then there are anniversaries of the meeting. The first is when we celebrate people's sobriety time, usually done once a month. People are acknowledged for how much sober time they have, and given a coin (medallion).
The second is when we celebrate how long that actual meeting has been in existence. My home group has been around for over 30 years, and that's what we were celebrating last week. When we do that, it's a huge crowd, kind of like Homecoming, where people come back who have moved away, everyone brings food for potluck and there are two speakers who sit up front with the meeting chairperson. Family members often come to this as well. Hence my crazy nervousness since I knew it would be a hundred-plus people.
God was sympathetic to me, as my sponsor was chairing the meeting and she gave me the most beautiful introduction. At one point I mouthed to her, 'You're going to make me cry!' I mostly focused on her while I spoke, and she just has such peace about her that I felt much calmer. It was great to have Tom with me, since he has never gone to an AA meeting before. It's much easier to understand me if you go to a meeting with me and see what it's really like. I am always intrigued when I see fictional AA meetings done on tv or in a movie, because they aren't always realistic. There are also many different kinds of meetings too, such as open or closed. My home group is an open meeting, which means anyone can attend. A closed meeting would be only where alcoholics can attend. You may wonder why someone would go if they weren't an alcoholic, but we do get family members who are curious, or medical students or people writing on the topic.
There are Big Book discussion meetings, which is the format of mine. We take turns reading from the Big Book (actually titled Alcoholics Anonymous) and talking about what we read or sharing whatever is on our heart and mind. Other meetings use the Grapevine or As Bill Sees It or some other AA approved literature. Some are Step meetings where they focus on a particular step each time and how it can be lived out. There is a women's meeting I sometimes attend that uses the Joe & Charlie tapes, listening to a portion each week and then sharing on the step or topic.
Any questions, feel free to ask. I'm happy to educate people about this program, because it saved my life!