From time to time, I like to wax on about things I hear in AA meetings, because frankly, some of it is really scary.  I was recently at a meeting where a woman (obviously drunk) was babbling on about things drunk women babble about–I happen to know a lot about that.  There were hushed whispers of condemnation around the room. A few people went so far as to say (after the meeting), why did she even come drunk?

It really made me think about the program.  I live in an area where most newcomers have much higher bottoms than I had (but then, it’s not hard to have a higher bottom than almost incarcerated.) I’m so grateful that there are a lot of meetings just 5 minutes from doorstep, but I worry sometimes that we’re forgetting why we’re really here.  We are here for the drunk.  When I was going to meetings in North Hollywood and Compton and all over L.A., it was practically not a meeting worth attending if someone wasn’t passed out somewhere in the room. That was the person everyone was trampling over everyone else to get to first.

~I’m gonna take the drunk guy to Sittons for coffee.

~No, I”M gonna take the drunk guy to a meeting over the hill.

Everybody wanted to get to the drunk guy…because there was some sense that if you could help the drunk guy, you could stay sober, just for today.  It was like that for me when I was new in A.A.  They told me the drunk person, the new person, those were the most important people in the room, and I still believe that. I still want to carry that message. Not the message that the doors are open for me, 11 years sober, all cleaned up and pretty, speaking correct grammar and freshly showered, but that AA is here to serve the alcoholic, and that we might be able to grab somebody who in a rare moment of clarity about the deadliness of their disease, stumbled into a room of Alcoholics Anonymous and tell them, you never have to feel this way again.

Since when did it become a crime to be drunk in an AA meeting?  Are we really so recovered that we have forgotten what this thing is about?

Today I’m thinking about all the funerals I’ve been to in this program.  Addiction is a terrifying disease. If we somehow think that drunk people shouldn’t come to meetings until they sober up, we’re missing it, and what’s more, we’re forgetting that each of us is here by the grace of a power greater than ourselves.  Carry the message, that AA is here for the alcoholic who can’t stop drinking today.