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Grapevine : December 2011
I WAS ONE month sober when I trav- eled from Baltimore to Pittsburgh to be with my parents and brother for Christmas. Every detail of the holiday felt overwhelming—from wrapping presents to the 300-mile drive—and I worried whether I could make it through without drinking. Knowing that I needed to attend meet- ings for strength, I called ahead to find out where some would be available. However, due to Christ- mas church activities, many had been canceled. By Christmas Eve, I needed to be in a meet- ing, but knew of only one, which was 45 minutes away. I reluctantly told my parents that I wanted to go to this meeting. They were busy with last-minute Christmas preparations, yet both instantly said, “Let’s go,” making it clear to me how much they sup- ported my recovery. My mother drove me in the snow and darkness to that meeting, both of us talking about alcoholism and recovery. When we arrived at the church in Chippewa, Pa., she dropped me off at the door so that I could get there on time, and told me she would park, then come in and find me. The door I entered was to the school, and I stood still for a moment to listen, figuring I would hear the sounds of fellow- ship somewhere in the building. I heard nothing. Having seen lights on throughout the building from outside, I decided to walk through the halls and find the group. By the time I made it to the second floor, I became discouraged, thinking the meeting must have been canceled. After passing one empty classroom cold water in the face. Here was my chance to be of service! Thankfully, I had my “Where and When”—the area’s meeting directory— in my purse, so I opened the meeting with the Serenity Prayer and began to read the Preamble, How It Works, the Traditions and Promises. Next I shared my experience, strength and hope by telling my story—how I became an alcoholic, how my life had become unmanageable and how my Higher Power and AA restored me to sanity. I asked the older gentleman if he would like to share anything, and he gladly told his story, one very familiar to me, of a lifetime of heavy drink- ing, depression and loneliness. The younger man also wanted to share his experience of getting a DUI and how his education about alcoholism had been life-changing. When the meeting ended, I of- fered each man my phone number and assured them they could call any time. They both shared their thanks to the Rescue 18 December 2011 GRAPE_16-19.indd 18 10/20/11 6:55 PM