These days it is very rare I’m able to travel out of town. Typically I have sporadic days off. Those change like the wind due to staffing issues at work. I took the opportunity to “request” this weekend off some time ago. Thankfully I’m able to travel out of town to my Sponsor’s brother’s home near New York City. Trips such as this gives me a reprieve from the monotony found in my own recovery community.
Like my Sponsor, his brother has over 25 years of sobriety. His brother is also a very active member of his recovery community. Whenever we have a chance to visit, he ensures that we receive a warm welcome back. Many times it’s as we never left, though it’s been at least six months since (my) last visit.
The differences between our local meetings and my Sponsor’s brother’s meetings are like night and day. For one, they have 100’s of years of continuous sobriety, whereas at local meetings there are only a couple of meetings where “old timers” attend. Second, meeting formats are completely different. For instance at many meetings you say your name, “I’m an alcoholic” and your sobriety date. This is not for boasting but an indication for new comers if they work their program, long term sobriety is possible. Unless it is a “Young People’s” meeting, typically those with less than a year of sobriety are encouraged just to listen. In other words, you don’t hear about someone with a couple of months of sobriety relapsed yet again and again, yet they can spout their “knowledge” of how the program works. Hence the reason “old timers” where I’m from typically have meetings elsewhere. Don’t get me wrong, my community does not shun a new comer. However, when we see the same people come in and out of the program, again and again, hearing the same thing like a broken record, I just want to stand up to say, “Shut up, sit down and listen. Obviously you don’t know anything.”
Their recovery community always has special events. There is always a local workshop, recovery activity (baseball, basketball, softball game) or someone is throwing a sobriety anniversary party. While my community tries, many times they fail. For instance, a gentleman owns a home on a lake who throws a picnic three times a year: Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day. Everyone brings something, so there is never a shortage of food or non-alcoholic drinks. The workshops are amazing. Very good topics, speakers due to large attendances and good planning.
Jealous? Yes, yes I am. Since my first attendance “down State”, I have dreamed my own recovery community could become such a strong community. It will never happen. The commitment to almost anything is slim to nil. It’s unfortunate. But I’ve realized that I play my own part in my recovery community doing the best that I can for those that care to listen.
Basically the trip is one giant vacation for me. Something based on recent events I desperately need right now. Despite the impending weather (heavy rain, thunderstorms, wind and afterward cold temperatures and possible low accumulation of snow) we are committed to make this trip happen today. It’s a four hour drive. We stop in Roscoe, New York for a break (coffee and a donut and/or lunch) getting there for the afternoon and evening meetings.
I haven’t been this excited in a long time. Even when I get back there is another reward! The 2017 NASCAR season starts tonight. I couldn’t ask for anything more 🙂