No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.
#5, The AA Promises

The acceptance of our wounds is not only the beginning, but the journey itself.
Thomas Keating, Intimacy with God

I attended my first AA meeting this weekend. I am not an alcoholic, but I know a little bit about how the alcoholic brain works, how it wakes up angry and hung-over, how it hides the shame of warm white wine in a coffee cup, how it can have everything that matters in the world and still hate itself.

But Saturday night was not about wallowing in anger and self-pity. Saturday night was about embracing even the ugliest of times with laughter and self-acceptance in the company of others who have been there done that. Saturday night was a beautiful celebration of one of my dear Dharma sister’s nine years of sobriety.

There in the meeting room of a church basement just a stone’s throw from the Capitol building, my fearless friend told us how she walked into the same room nine years ago on the verge of suicide. Day-by-day, step-by-step, she gave up alcohol and did the hard work on herself, surrendering to a higher power and making right her relationships to food and men.

As I sat and listened to the stories of two other incredibly accomplished women who hit rock bottom (their jokes punctuated by references to meth, maggots, and shit buckets), it occurred to me that their life’s work and path to recovery is essentially a spiritual awakening and therefore not so different than my own. We are all on the same journey. Different curriculum (as Ram Dass calls it), different reference points, but same journey.

It is only through our enormous pain and suffering, when we sink into the abyss, that we realize we are powerless without God’s grace. Our trauma then becomes a vehicle for our own transformation and an inspiration to others who are beginning to awaken.

The whole time I was at AA I felt like I was at the Dharma Yoga Center. Everyone was so friendly and open. No judgments, no one trying to fix you. Just acceptance and support. We are all in this together kind of thing.

At the end of the meeting we all held hands in a big circle and recited the serenity prayer, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” Amen and Hallelujah!