Nor is this the only kind of Twelfth Step Work. We sit in A.A. meetings and listen, not only to receive something ourselves, but to give the reassurance and support which our presence can bring.
I really believe in this, that anyone sitting and listening at an AA meeting is giving support to the program and to the others in the room. Even, I would say, the drunk attendee. That was me, many times. A drunk person at an AA meeting is not a good example of someone who is working the program, obviously. Almost always this is a good example of someone who is NOT working the program, and the demonstration is sometimes dramatic as to how bad things can get. But I think that bodies in the seats, any bodies, are better than none, and they are important.
And I have a special interest in this as an oldtimer. I honestly feel that my very presence at an AA meeting is support for the program. I have been sober for 26 years, and often I have the most “time” in the room. I would like to say, just by being there, that AA works and it works over literally decades. So, should some inquiring mind want to know, “How long have the people at that meeting been sober?” if I am one of the people, the answer would be “26 years” or maybe more. And I know that even if I drink tonight, I should have been dead 26 years ago (or longer), and my sober time and life are still a testament to the success of AA.
Even as I write that my very presence lends support to the program and to the people in the program, I know it is arrogant, conceited, prideful and self-centered. And probably a few other not nice things I could add. I understand that, and I struggle (a little bit) with it.
My real struggle comes in the fact that I don’t advertise my time, and, more importantly, I don’t act like my time. I’m introverted, and quiet, and I’m sure that many people who attend meetings with me have no idea I have all that time. I know the next section of the step talks about talking at meetings, and that’s a whole other can of worms for me. Here I’m saying that lots of people don’t know I have all that time, and lots who do know I have it are not impressed. Not in the way that lends credence and respect to the program of AA. And this is because of my actions, or my lack of actions.
To wrap it up, my mind races to the fact that I’m HERE. Hardly anyone else from the class of 1984 or earlier is HERE. They are mostly somewhere else.