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Grapevine : November 2011
I have lived in many different places and attended many kinds of AA meetings. It's amazing to me what a vari- ety of people are to be found there, all with the common problem of alcoholism. Gratitude is my favorite meeting topic, although it may irritate some folks. It is the best of emotions, over- riding all small and petty aggravations that may be stirred up among mem- bers in various stages of recovery. For the past 10 or 15 years, I have attended the Friday night meeting in our small rural town. We have a fluctuating number of attendees--- more in summer, fewer in winter--- but our basic group is around seven, not counting the two well-mannered dogs that sit or lie quietly, waiting for the time when we all rise and join hands for the closing prayer. Then they head for the door, or sometimes one will pad into the center of our circle to watch and listen attentively. We can usually depend on every- one being there at birthday meetings, and when all are there, we consider we've had an outstanding event. On some cold, icy winter nights, though, it is left to one or two faithful coffee- makers to keep the door open and lights on for an hour or so. There have been times when a visiting AA has come in out of the cold, very grateful to find the Fellowship alive and welcoming, even though we are so few in number. We quite often re- mind each other that any two alkies can have a meeting. On one of the aforementioned cold winter nights, I bundled up, scraped the ice off my car's wind- shield and set off through the snow. Arriving a few minutes late, I noticed only one other vehicle parked there, but the windows glowed. Tending the coffeepot was a young cowboy with his faithful "cowdog." We de- parted from the usual meeting for- mat and readings and just visited. I asked about his wife and baby girl; his dog came and rested his chin on my knee, in mute appeal. I enjoyed giving him affectionate pats while his master explained, "Bud's feeling kinda neglected since the baby gets so much of our attention." We talked on about the weather and road conditions, as country folk do, and I don't recall whether sobri- ety was mentioned. But, as I'm sure many of you have noticed, there is always an unspoken bond between recovering/recovered alcoholics, a knowing that we are here and sober only by the grace of God. And I drove home warmed by the contact and sharing with another member of the Fellowship (and his dog, too). My gratitude for the AA Fellow- ship knows no bounds---"my cup runneth over." I especially appreci- ate those faithful few who "keep the lights on" for the rest of us. Vera T. Mont. PHOTO BY TAMMY G. aagrapevine.org 49