I have been monitoring a Wednesday night AA meeting for just shy of 3.5 years. Last night when I got there, one of the old timers asked if I had a minute to chat. So we ventured to the front room where we sat. He proceeded to tell me how he loved my meeting- it was one of his favorites- and that he appreciated my service. In the next breath he went on to saw that “they” like to give lots of people the opportunity to monitor and a guy with six months wanted to step in and monitor that particular meeting. I said okay and thank you and just like that it was over.
Now that I’ve had some time to process ( I have rarely been one to think on my feet and my past tells me that when I have, my mouth tends to get me in deeper than if I had remained silent), I’ve come to some conclusions.
In the past, if someone asked me to speak in private, my heart would race, I would feel defensive, and my mind would kick into overdrive searching for what I did that was wrong, offensive, inappropriate, etc.
But that didn’t happen. I was calm and open-minded. I took what he had to say as this is a natural transformation in our group. I didn’t look at it as a “punishment” or an “I’m not worthy moment.” In fact, I felt a bit relieved because I have numerous commitments this summer that would require me to either make a choice between the meeting or say one of my son’s baseball games or find someone to fill in which stirs up the old tape of not fulfilling my obligation. This is huge for me in terms of personal growth.
I wasn’t angry nor did I feel short-changed. I didn’t question why I didn’t get to be a part of the discussion and why this was decided for me. I didn’t internalize feelings of lack either.
When some members approached me after the meeting and inquired why I was moving on, I explained the scenario. The reactions were varied: mostly anger directed at the old-timer. “How dare he make this decision?” “Who does he think HE is?” “We don’t have a president here!”
In all honesty, the only two feelings I have are relief and fear. Relief for the reasons above. The fear is my own. Wednesdays have been MY anchor, my absolute, my no excuses get to the meeting people are counting on you. Without that sense of obligation, I worried about what I would do. Would I slip away from AA slowly but surely? Would I become bitter? Would I find myself going without a meeting for weeks on end? What did this mean for my sobriety?
What I have come to conclude is that all things happen for a reason. Giving up being a monitor isn’t going to make me relapse. Not having that duty won’t be the reason I slip away. Actually, I feel I have more freedom now because I used to fret before the meetings to pick a good reading, have enough coffee on, debate to nauseum who would do the opening readings.
I am free now to go and to sit and to relax and to grow. Growth comes in many ways and this is just one more of them. For that, I am grateful. 🙂